- Politics and Social Issues
The long term effects of being bullied; a personal account
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....
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.
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.