I agree that bullying in schools is a problem and that schools are crap at handling it. I was ruthlessly bullied in school. My friends were too scared to stick up for me. I was scared of some of the bigger girls. I was passive and took a lot of crap… until I didn’t anymore. It was my experience that the schools did NOTHING. Teachers who tell you to ignore it, are WRONG. Most teachers say to ignore it and they’ll stop. They don’t stop. They never stop. In most cases they get WORSE, because how dare you ignore them? Teachers have said to try talking to them and reason with them… that’s crap. Bullies don’t reason and they’ll just punish you for trying to be nice or talk to them. Who do you think you are to think you could be their friend? Most bullies don’t have a good reason to hate someone… most of the time there is no reason other than they are assholes or jealous. That’s not to say that everyone who hates you doesn’t have a reason, but in school, usually it’s stupid and unwarranted.
Some kids are just mean. Perhaps they are mean because their parents are mean. Maybe they are mean because of peer pressure. They might be as scared as you are, but even less strong than you because they are bullying others. Some kids are unforgiving. No matter what you did wrong, no matter what mistake you made, you just can’t apologize or fix it. You are forever tormented and hated.
Some teachers tell you to tell your parents. In a lot of cases, getting parents involved just pisses off the bullies and makes it worse. You cried to mommy and now you’re going to pay. You ratted them out and now it’s going to get worse. Sometimes, it’s the parents who make it worse, because they are angry at you for being weak.
Some adults preach that you should stand up for yourself. Hit a bully twice as hard as they hit you. If you put them in their place, they will be afraid to hit you again or pick on you. What if you aren’t physically strong enough to fight back? Do I deserve to be beaten, because I’m not as strong as you? In fact, most bullies have a little gang with them. Like I said, most of my friends wouldn’t have had my back, so what happens when it’s you against 4 or 5 kids? Now what?
Other adults say “what’s the worse they can do?”, that calling you names or punching you is the worse they can do. WRONG! They can gang up on you and beat the crap out of you. They can put you in the hospital. The worst thing they can do is kill you. What if a bully brings a knife to the fight? Do you think the teachers will be able to save your child? They already don’t handle it, ignore it, etc. What if the bullies attack your child in the bathroom and by the time teachers know what’s happening… it’s too late. Killing you is the worse they can do to you. Some kids are bullied so much and hurt so much, they commit suicide. That’s the worse they can do to you.
Being confrontational or violent in defense of bullying, can easily escalate the situation to the unmaginable. At the same time, if you don’t stand up for yourself, bullies will continue to stomp on you. Bullying doesn’t stop when you get out of school either. It happens in school, in college, at work, and everywhere. Bullies don’t stop bullying just because they get older.
So what do you do?
The first thing you need to know, is that even though bullying doesn’t stop after school… it gets better. As an adult, you have the law on your side like you didn’t have as a child. There are harassment laws and police. You don’t have to rely on schools and parents to protect you. Police generally don’t “ignore” the situation. There are restraining orders. People get arrested. Having a criminal record is detremental to your personal life. Being a bully as an adult has far more consequences than when you are a child. Adults are more aware of the consquences than when they were a child. As an adult, you can get a permit to carry a weapon to defend yourself in extreme situations. But those are extreme situations. Dangerous people get themselves locked up or killed and then they aren’t your problem anymore… but those are extreme situations. Adult bullies aren’t usually willing to go to jail, prison, or die for the sake of being an asshole. Some are, but most are not. Assholes can just be assholes.
Children, please NEVER resort to using a weapon or killing other children. If you’re life is in immediate danger, by all means protect yourself. Don’t put it in your head that you need to be violent. Consider that there are children like you who deserve to live. You deserve to live too, so don’t throw away your life. School shootings are tragic… don’t ever let it come to that. I’d rather be a matyr than a murderer.
As a child, you have to consider the bully before you can figure out what to do about it. First of all, if the bully is violent, or it’s a group of violent kids, or you are afraid for your life. Talk to your parents and make it clear that you are afraid of DYING. Tell them if they have threatened your life, or had raised a weapon or object of any kind towards you. Be clear that they are VIOLENT and you are scared for your life. If you feel that your parents won’t help you, talk to your principle or school counsellor. These days, schools and authorities are becoming more involved and concerned with bullying, due to unfortunate school shootings. Don’t let things get to that point. If you have to, go to the principle every day, or refuse to leave the presence of a teacher even if between classes. Stay strong and be persistant. Who cares what people say… being a live is more important.
If your life is not in danger and it’s just mean kids being mean, then stand up for yourself. Don’t allow others to walk over you. Bullies don’t like being bullied either, and sometimes, standing up for yourself will shorten the duration of such situations. Sometimes, they move on when it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
Also, if you want your friends to back you up, then you need to back them up too. I have defended my friends in the past, because I’m super protective. In fact, defend other kids are being bullied and you are likely going to make some new friends. I should not have tolerated friends who wouldn’t back me up. In fact, you have to surround yourself with good friends.
Work on yourself, be a good friend, be a good person, and focus on your own happiness. If you have friends around you, who are your real friends, who support you, defend you, and make you happy… bullies aren’t going to be as big of a deal. Have fun in life, so that the discomfort bullies cause is small in comparison. Don’t be afraid to loose friends, because if they don’t support you then they aren’t your friends anyway.
If bullies are talking shit and making fun of you… who cares? If you are happy with yourself and having fun with your friends… then ignore them. They’ll get bored. In fact, if it’s realitively insignificant, try being nice to the bully. In some rare occassions, being nice can work. There was once a girl named Johnny who used to bully me. One day she was being bullied because of her boyish name. When she was crying, I walked over and shared some popcorn with her and was nice to her. I made her feel better, and then she never picked on me again.
There was a girl named Dallas who used to bully me by making fun of how I looked and calling me names. I was having a particularly bad day and I lashed back out at her. I made fun her weight and her “stupid” name. She started to cry and said I was mean, and to be honest, I was being twice as mean to her and she was to me. I replied that she was hurtful to me all the time and if doesn’t like it, she can stop being mean to me. She was still a bully, but her level of engagement dropped to a insignificant level. She resorted to eye rolls, “hmph’s”, whispering to her friends while staring or pointing at me, and not picking me for dodge ball, etc. Not a big deal. It was way better than her berating me outloud and saying mean things to me, and throwing food at me.
There was a girl in middle school who was being physically aggressive with me. She started with slapping books out of my hands, or taking my bag and dumping it out. Then she started the shoulder swiping, then it was tripping me, and then pushing me. I grew up in a violent household as a child, so this was not at all okay. I tolerated it for a week, after being pushed against the wall, I turned and grabbed her by the hair and slammed her face into the wall twice. Her nose was bleeding and she was crying. Her two friends were too scared to do anything about it. After that she was terrified of me, she would avoid me, and even had a terrified look on her face when I approached her. I’m a good person, so I felt bad about it. I approached her to apologize, I said I’m sorry that I hurt you, I was just defending myself. I asked if we could be friends and put my hand out to her. She shook my hand and nodded, never said a word to me. She continued to avoid me and give me a look of fear. I did feel bad that I hurt her and it was clear to me that I was stronger than she was. I could have seriously hurt her and I could have scared her off with a lot less force. I acknowledged my mistake, I learned from it, and I let it go and went on with my life. That bully was no longer a problem.
In high school, there was a girl who was jealous of me and hated me taking to her boyfriend. So she was on a hateful mission to bully me any time she could. I tolerated it, and then one day I get tired of it. The more she harassed me, the angrier I got. I started talking shit back to her one day and she decided to slap me really hard in front of everyone. Before I could do anything, another girl named Kelly punched her and told her off. Kelly threatened her that if she ever touched me again, that she’d beat the crap out of her. Suddenly, the bullying stopped. Me and Kelly didn’t really know each other and we didn’t end up close friends, but she made a big impression on my life.
I used to make friends with kids who didn’t have friends, and the troubled kids. I have several friends that were foster kids and had a lot of troubles outside of school. One of them had issues with suicide attempts, and I used to visit him and just listen. I was there when Ryan needed a friend. He was someone that had different classes and ran in a different crowd. Most of our friends didn’t know that he and I knew each other… because what we shared was above school crap. I would visit him and listen, we’d talk, and his foster mom appreciated my visits just as much as he did. I never told my friends or other people what we talked about. I used to talk to him about my violent childhood and other troubles. We were on a different level of friendship.
Ryan introduced me to another foster kid, Peter, who was also troubled. Peter was very quiet and wouldn’t open up to people, and had trouble opening up to his therapist too. He had some serious issues. I think Ryan felt I would be good for him. So we used to sit at the park and one day, I just started telling Peter about my childhood issues and some things I had dealt with. He had said that he doesn’t like talking about his problems. I nodded and said, you don’t have to. One day, we were sitting on the park bench alone and he wasn’t talking at all. I was bold… I hugged him and said, we don’t have to talk to be friends. He laid his head in my lap, looking up. We were just there and we were quiet for a long time… then he said something to me that I won’t share here. He had told me something deeply personal and then he had this look on his face. It was like he was shocked that he had said anything. He got up and walked away. I didn’t persue him or ask him about it. I let him go. Later on, he told me more personal things and I listened. It was a strange friendship, but he was my friend. A lot of times, it was just me, Peter, and Ryan alone somewhere where other kids didn’t go. It was like a secret club for messed up kids. We didn’t judge each other, there was no pressure, and we trusted each other.
So, there was a big girl at school who was a bully. She was tall, big, and strong, so kids were definitely afraid of her. She had a crush on Peter and one day she happened to see the “Fosters Club” (though I wasn’t a foster myself). Peter never really smiled or laughed… he was always so sad. Seeing Peter talking and smiling with me enraged her. She was so jealous and angry. Even when I tried to tell her that Peter and I were just friends, she wouldn’t listen. She was constantly aggressive and threatening me. She told me I needed to stop hanging out with Peter. I wasn’t about to abandon Peter. He’d been through so much… most foster kids have had to deal with a lot of loss and pain. I wasn’t going to do that to Peter.
Her and her friends ambushed me at the park away from my house and she pushed me pretty damn hard. I got up and walked away. My “friends” who were there did nothing to defend me. Thanks. I decided that day to just walk away. She pushed me again as I was walking away. Then they just berated me, calling me a coward as I walked away. She was virtually stalking me. Then one day, she went too far. She started coming out to my house to harass and threaten me. I got so angry. I went outside and threatened her back. I made it clear that school was one thing, but coming to my house was another. I told her I would never back down in my own yard. She shoved me and I pushed her to the ground (which made me realize that I was stronger than I thought). I told her, that this was too far and that from now on I would defend myself. She slapped books out of my hands at school, so I did it back, then I grabbed her stuff and threw it down the stair case. It was a battle and the school was shit at dealing with it. I started to push and hit back, then I escalated to instigating the bullying. Yes, I was being a nasty bully and started to harass her back. All of sudden, her friends backed off and didn’t have her back. Then one day she says, you are crazy and I don’t want to deal with you anymore. I told her, you started this and if you stay away from me I’ll leave you alone. And that’s exactly what happened. It stopped… just like that.
But what if it hadn’t? What if we had gotten more aggressive, more violent? What then?
I had a friend who betrayed me and we were warring at school. She decided to attack me physically and I beat the shit out of her. It took two teachers and one male student to pull me off of her. I dented three lockers with her head and pulled out a chunk of her hair. I was vicious and she got the brunt of my pent up anger. That day, we both got expelled. And even though we were no longer friends, I still offered the bitch a ride home and give her a polite lift. Other kids at school started to berate her and tease her about being beat up by little ole me. I did not participate in that bullying and had been leaving her alone at this point. I also didn’t defend her. They harassed her so much that she switched schools and moved out of town to live with her grandma. I was glad to see her go, but at the same time, I felt bad. We were once very close friends and it all turned to hatred. It’s not a good feeling.
I had a very difficult time even after that. I started to lash out at the school and teachers. I was so angry. I felt like the school didn’t care what happened to me. They didn’t protect me from violence. I was mad at my parents. I started to fight back at anyone who dared to bully me. I made sure anyone who tried to bully me were as miserable as I was. The direct bullying of me stopped. It was no longer fun or worth it to bully me. I lost friends who weren’t really friends. The real friends stood by me and supported me. Finally, I could breath. I was free….
When I was tired of being bullied, I lashed out. However, even though I was defending myself, I know I did some damage. I shouldn’t feel bad, because they deserved it, but at the same time, feeling bad is how I know that I’m a good person inside. I still didn’t feel good about myself. When I was tired of being angry and unhappy, I decided to change my life. I stopped going to school, and while I don’t condone dropping out, this really was the best thing for me. I got my GED later on in life. I decided not to care what bullies thought or said. I started to be who I am unconditionally and I accepted myself and loved myself. My definition of friendship was drastically altered for the better.
My compassion makes me gentle, but there is no mistake I am a strong, fierce redhead. I forgave myself for anything I did wrong. I view myself a good person and I have continued to try to be compassionate and forgiving. I am protective. I have worked at being non-violent and to let go of anger.
Dealing with bullies is tricky, and though it never stops, it gets easier once you’re an adult. My number one piece of advise is to be yourself, stop caring what mean people say or think, and work at improving yourself and making REAL friends. Making friends is so much easier when you are happy, nice, and in a free environment. In schools you are forced to co-exist. As an adult, no matter what, you are free.