Hey guys. By now, you may have heard about a local Vancouver girl that committed suicide. It’s said that she was driven to it because of online bullies.
Have you ever been bullied? I have. Let me tell you a few short stories. This is very personal for me, and no doubt someone in my family will get pissed off about it, but I hope the truth will help other kids that are in the same situation as I was.
I was a weird kid. From the very start, I never quite did get along with my parents. I’m not sure why, or how my parents ended up the people they are, but by the time I got there, they were pretty miserable people. To simplify, they were not meant to be parents. My mother hated children. I was not planned either, and she let me know this on a daily basis.
From a very young age, I was exposed to constant verbal and physical abuse from my parents. My father was just an angry person, my mother was downright cruel. I know it’s sad to say, but if I had a choice, I would have rather just been hit. The bruises and bones always healed and I learned to run and hide – but I can never hide from the voice in my head from my mother.
I saw something on Pinterest the other night. ‘What you say to your children becomes their inner voice’. I can say with complete authority, this is so true. And man, was that inner voice a mean mother-bitch.
But it’s not just the parents that can build that mean inner voice – it’s other people too. With children, your peers have an especially important voice in your head.
Let me explain. I was also bullied at school too. Now that I think on it, it was partially a result of the stuff at home - it made me a very shy and withdrawn child. I was pretty much terrified of everyone, so I hid in a book. Not well enough though, I still got beat up.
It wasn’t my fault of course, but the thing was: Everyone acted like it was. And this is what frustrated me.
No-one pursued the bullies. The most that ever happened was them being suspended for a week. They just came back and beat me harder! Same thing with my mother. Every time someone caught her out, she just tried harder not to get caught. It didn’t stop her.
I was the one dumped in therapy. I was told to be more social, to be this and that. I’m sure many others have been told the same thing. But why aren’t we trying to fix the bullies, rather than just putting a band-aid on the victims after the fact?
If someone is being stabbed, you don’t try to bandage them while they’re still being stabbed. You stop the stabbing first!
I’ve heard and sensed the same frustrated undercurrent in other people I’ve talked to about this. Here are some of the things that were said:(After asking her how being bullied for her appearance affected her)
”Yeah, in freshman year, I didn’t exactly trust anyone. I was pretty angry most of the time, and I was still working out my clinical depression.” – D
On bullying from family:”My ‘biological’ mother was not the nicest woman. She inflicted a lot of emotional bullying. This ranged from being told on a regular basis ‘You were a horrible mistake and I never wanted a girl’ to inflicting horrid guilt trips which at a very young age made me responsible for raising my brothers and sister. At the time, it made me feel very unwanted and like a waste of space. It affected how I built relationships with other people and I had real trouble making friends at school due to lacking social skills as all I’d ever known was being tormented. Luckily for me, I had huge support from my Dad and his wife (who is seen as my Mum). It has taken years but now I have come to accept me for me and be content with that. I have grown stronger from everything I have been through and feel that this has made me more accepting and non-judgemental as I would never want anyone to experience the negative feelings I have from another person.” – Ashleigh
I went through a similar situation as Ashleigh, and it’s hindered my social skills ever since. I’ve since worked on them a lot, but I’m still very distrustful of people. For 20 something years, every adult I knew that was supposed to take care of me, betrayed that trust over and over. All I wanted was for someone to help me in an effective manner, not imply it was my fault.
Here’s another effect of being bullied: Anger and shame. This is from a guy who was teased for his weight as a kid:“My parents told me never to hit anyone, but if I could go back into time and talk to myself at age 13, I would have said, Matt, beat the hell out of Tony.” – Matt
Matt said he felt ashamed he had never fought back against his bullying. Of course, like with me, this wasn’t his fault. But again, he was told the same sort of ‘boys will be boys’ crap.
So, what should we do about it? The answer is obvious: Stop endorsing and allowing this idiotic culture of ‘pride proving’ and work on the kids that are bullying, as well as the bullied. I found that 9 times out of 10, the bully was picking on me or someone else to prove they could control SOMETHING in their lives, because they were being bullied by someone else.“ Bullies do not always target/select/seek out people with low self-esteem or others having a lack of confidence. People sometimes have other emotional issues (jealous, envious, angry, etc.) that prompt them to harass and treat others poorly.” – Teresa
I’ve come across this too. Even when I was older and have the confidence (at least most of the time), some people are just assholes because they’re unhappy that you’re happy.
The point of this post is to show the different ways it has affected me and other people – but we all agree, that something has to be done about it.
More has to be done to help the bullies out of that sad state. We all know a person that was just a charming child and grew up to be such a dirtbag…they need to be pulled out of that before they reach adulthood.
PS: The Province newspaper has a tumblr site for people to tell their stories: