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The long term effects of being bullied; a personal account

Updated on June 6, 2016
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Target of A Bully

This is my personal story of how being bullied affected my life. It is important to know that if you are the target of a bully or bullies that it is not your fault. Seek help! Find someone who will listen to you. Sometimes it might feel like there is no one who cares, but you must believe me, and know that it is true; there is always someone who does.

Now, let's begin...

Not so very long ago, in a land not so very far away, there was born a little red haired girl....

Family Ties

My first experience with being bullied didn't happen in school, or even preschool. It happened at home. My sister, three years my senior, made it perfectly clear from the moment I could understand and recall, that she hated me for existing.

Her words and actions toward me went far beyond sibling rivalry. Her insistence that the worst day of her life was the day I was born carried on until adulthood. Blaming me for anything she wanted but couldn't have, for our father and mother getting a divorce, and more. I was too expensive you see. The cost to feed and clothe me took away from funds that should have gone directly to her. She wanted newer, nicer clothes. She wanted a more upscale house to call home. She wanted more toys, more shoes, and more of everything. I was the reason she didn't have it... and she hated me for it.

Strength in numbers:

As if being hated, picked on, beaten up, and teased by one sibling wasn't well enough; my mother was kind enough to marry a man who had three children of his own. They were all too happy to join in this game my sister had developed of making me cry.

I was locked out of the house, locked in my room, beaten up, picked on, teased... sounds like normal sibling fun? Well, let me get a little more specific.

When our parents were working & we were left unattended, that's when these "games" occurred. I was pushed out the door in the winter with no shoes, no jacket, nothing to protect me from the freezing temperatures for hours at a time.

I was locked in my room. Being that my room was really a 3 season porch, converted into a room, the lock on my door was on the inside of the house! They would lock me in for hours until I wet myself because I couldn't hold it any longer. Then they would unlock the door, let me out, laugh at me and call me a baby for wetting my pants.

We lived near a lake. When we would go out for a swim they would lure me out past the dock, over my head with promises that they wanted to play with me. Once I got out there they took turns holding my head under water until I thought I was going to drown.

My sister got the entire school bus to chant all the way to school and all the way home this cute little rhyme she made up about me being a bed wetter. I was not a bed wetter, but no one would listen, no one would stop. They were all having too much fun laughing, pointing, and teasing me about it. It didn't matter that it was a lie.

Looking for love in all the wrong places

My mother was no better than my sister. She intentionally punished me for things she knew I didn't do. She sided with my sister and my step-siblings because she wanted them to like her. (yes, it's true. I asked her once, after she had divorced and enough time had passed whether or not she knew, those were her words. "Yeah, I knew. I just wanted the kids to like me.") Wow, thanks for backing me up there mom.

To her, I was also a very easy target. Everything she hated about her life, she saw in me. Everything she was proud of, she saw in my older sister. So I was beaten, spanked, grounded, and accused of anything and everything she could possibly think of that would warrant and excuse her behavior toward me.

The only thing I knew for certain in my house was that whatever went wrong - it was my fault, no matter what.

School Days

From the first day of kindergarten to the last day of graduation, not a single day went by when I wasn't teased, made fun of, picked on, pushed around, or insulted. I would love to say that is an exaggeration but I'm afraid it's the truth.

If being the red haired freak wasn't enough, there were my ratty hand-me-down clothes, my knobby knees, my ill fitted shoes, and my freckles. I was pigeon-toed, lacked proper social skills (I wonder why), and I had a sister who encouraged the other kids to take cheep shots at me instead of sticking up for me.

I managed to make a few friends, but it never lasted. How could it when my mother moved us around so much. I went to over 8 different schools, so I was always the new kid, the odd duck out.

A few memories that really stand out being:

When a girl who didn't care for me (and was repeating the 8th grade for the third time) went into my bag that I had for an overnight stay with one of my few friends, she took out my bra and threw it up on the EXIT sign in the hallway. The entire school was laughing at me!

There was a boy I liked who decided it would be funny to pretend to like me back. He walked into class one day and announced that he had a gift for me. The entire class hushed and turned to watch. He presented me with a bag of dog food and a dog collar. The class roared with laughter and I cried. He even came up to me after class and asked for the things back because they were his dog's.

Or the time when some kids thought it would be funny to put Vaseline all over my locker handle.

Then there were the countless times kids would just slap my books out of my arms, sending my papers flying. No one stopped to help me, they just laughed and kicked my things further down the hall.

Let's not forget about the rumors and lies that were whispered about how many boys I had slept with and how "easy" I was when I was actually still a virgin who had never been kissed!

Ah, and those wonderful names like "Fire Crotch" being screamed at me down the hall or right in the classroom....

I will survive!

Clearly, I made it through the entire agonizing development process from infancy to adulthood, but barely. By the time I was 19 I had tried to take my own life, twice. I had developed a long list of mental illnesses and disorders.

It took a lot for me to straighten myself out, and it wasn't with the help of that wonderful family.

When I became a parent myself, I was pretty over protective. In defense, one day my mother said "I can't be THAT bad with kids, you survived your childhood with me." I laughed. Not because she was right, but because she had no idea what she put me through!

What they taught me:

I am grateful for every painful experience I went through, for the years of feeling worthless and unlovable, for feeling like an outcast, a black sheep, and a freak. Why? Because it gave me strength, courage, compassion, and the ability to forgive. I have a deep understanding of pain and an even deeper desire to help and protect others from it.

I don't have to "fit in" to belong. I am who I was meant to be.


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    • Mom Kat profile image

      Mom Kat 5 years ago from USA

      Great insight SandCastles, you're right; kids can sense a weak or vulnerable target. I am sorry that you went through anything remotely similar to what I experienced. I am glad to hear you've set strict boundaries for yourself and do not allow the abuse to continue.

      I appreciate you taking the time to check out my article & comment. Thank you very much & have a blessed day :)

    • profile image

      SandCastles 5 years ago

      I'm sorry those things happened to you and I can relate. I was the family scapegoat too. I have an abusive older sibling who made my life hell. I don't see her anymore and will never see her again or any of the family. For me, forgiveness doesn't mean contact because the abuse never stopped.

      I was often teased in school too. It's common to be teased at school when you're bullied at home because the abuse makes a person vulnerable and the kids sense it and attack.

    • Mom Kat profile image

      Mom Kat 5 years ago from USA

      Awww, thank you so much Ausseye! I'd like to think some of my strength does come from the hair :)

      Redheads are a tough bunch. We've got to be.

      I really appreciate you stopping by & leaving such a wonderful comment, truly.

    • profile image

      Ausseye 5 years ago

      Hi Kool Kat: The humanity you have developed is on the best side of terrific, does it come from the red hair? My sons a redhead who is called a “ranga” and has a good dose of really pleasant traits that all go to make a humble human. Stronger than Zoro, Batman, Superman all rolled into a super kryptonite mom. An inspirational story of what can be achieved by someone with a good heart, soul and brains.

    • Mom Kat profile image

      Mom Kat 5 years ago from USA

      oh my goodness, I am so sorry! lol ... well, thank you still.

      (darn screen names)

    • Globetrekkermel profile image

      Globetrekkermel 5 years ago from CALIFORNIA

      MOM KAT, I AM A WOMAN 100% .HA HA HA !!!

    • Mom Kat profile image

      Mom Kat 5 years ago from USA

      You boys are so crazy with your flattery! Thank you so much, really. It's nice to hear, especially after giving birth to 6 children. Nice to know I've still got something :) I'm pretty sure I'm way past the modeling age though

    • Globetrekkermel profile image

      Globetrekkermel 5 years ago from CALIFORNIA

      HAHA HA !! Cheaptrick!!! you are so funny...I bet any woman would love your sense of humor. Hey Mom Kat, I agree with cheaptrick. Girl, you can give America's top model a run for her money.I don't know how old you are but when I was young TWIGGY - was the rave.she was the top model in the 60's.

    • Mom Kat profile image

      Mom Kat 5 years ago from USA

      Well that's quite the compliment, thank you. I'm pretty happy with my hubby though :) He likes to tease me that I'm the older woman because I'm a whopping 3 days his senior.... lol

      I appreciate you reading my hub & taking the time to comment!

    • cheaptrick profile image

      cheaptrick 5 years ago from the bridge of sighs

      Hi'a Kat.Rather than sympathise I'd like to say this;I've been the bad boy all my life and had countless girl friends so I consider my self something of a connoisseur when it comes to women.My magnifier lets me get close up as I'm sure we all know.I just put it on your photo and was blown away at how beautiful you are.Yes,If I were your age you'd have to scrape me off your porch cause I wouldn't give up...Just beautiful.Glad you reconciled the past...and If you ever want to give Geriatric dating a try...well,I'll be the first in what I'm sure will be a looong line lol.Stay cool and stay beautiful girl.


    • Mom Kat profile image

      Mom Kat 5 years ago from USA

      Thanks Shaddie. Now that I'm older & wiser none of the insults people use against redheads offends me. I know why they do it and I feel sorry for them. It's a terrible thing to feel so insecure about yourself that you feel the need to put others down in order to lift yourself up.

      When someone attacks my value as a person, now that one still stings, but I'm a whole lot stronger now than I was back then.

      I appreciate your comment. Thank you!

    • Shaddie profile image

      Shaddie 5 years ago from Washington state

      The "fire crotch" comment makes my blood boil. Being picked on for any reason is maddening, but poking fun at red hair is unforgivable. I do not even make friends with people who use the word "ginger" in conversation... I understand your pain and I'm sorry you had to go through so much of it. You are a survivor!

    • Mom Kat profile image

      Mom Kat 5 years ago from USA

      I couldn't kick her butt... lol, she was 3 years older than I was. Always bigger, always physically stronger. Besides, I didn't hate her. I loved her. I just never understood why she couldn't love me back.

      Thanks for your comment :)

    • Mom Kat profile image

      Mom Kat 5 years ago from USA

      Thank you so much TM, I really do hope that I am helping others and giving them hope by sharing this with them. And, yes, I am very much the "go to" person for moral support and spirit lifting with my friends :) I appreciate your comment & everything in it very much. I'm sorry that you also had to go through your own trials. I'm glad, however, that you are the wonderful person you are today! Be well.

    • Onusonus profile image

      Onusonus 5 years ago from washington

      I would have kicked my sisters butt if she did that stuff. Especially if you were going to get in trouble regardless of what you did. That stuff about being a red head I can't empathize with though. Some of us think "fire crotches" are hot!

    • TeachableMoments profile image

      TeachableMoments 5 years ago from California

      Mom Kat, I can't even begin to think of the right words to write down right now. My head is spinning after reading your personal story, your personal struggle(s). I don't understand why anyone would want to be so cruel. So many adults justify why kids are bullies, "Their just kids. That's how they work things out. They have low self-esteem. They have a hard life." Well, I battled my own share of demons as a child and I never thought about unleashing my pain onto others. Never. You are a survivor, and from what I've read in your hubs, you did not let your past turn you into a bitter, hateful adult. If anything, it sounds like it made you a mentor for others who are going through the same pain. I'm sure people come to you all the time to help them heal. Perhaps that is why you had to travel down such a painful road...sigh...what a road it must have been. Thank you for sharing your story. Voted up, beautiful. It will bring others hope.

    • Mom Kat profile image

      Mom Kat 5 years ago from USA

      Thanks Globetrekkermel. I'm just me.

      I really appreciate your support, encouragement, and for taking the time to read my writings. I feel blessed.

    • Globetrekkermel profile image

      Globetrekkermel 5 years ago from CALIFORNIA

      Oh my god!, MOM Kat.Girl, not only are you a survivor but a real trouper against all odds. GOD BLESS YOU, GIRLFRIEND.You are a saint.I MEAN IT. You make me cry!