Bullying is the New Black

I’ve been thinking of the effects bullying has on children lately. I’ve been watching several documentaries on how deeply it scars them during their formative years. I’ve also been the victim of some pretty severe bullying myself, some would argue I’m still bullied daily in some form (the internet is FULL of bullies, huh?).

What’s also interesting (but not surprising) is that over the years, I’ve learned that many of
my bullies have also been the victim of bullying. It not only damages the child they’re bullying directly, but also often creates another bully that will terrorize others… a domino effect with no end in sight.
Violence begets violence, after all, whether it’s emotional or physical.

For me, growing up wasn’t fun. Not only did I have bullies at school harassing me because I wasn’t a size they found acceptable, I also lived with two bullies as well, my brother probably being the worst bully I’ve ever had to deal with.
What did this perfect storm create? A lost little girl afraid to come out of her room. A girl who not only didn’t like people, didn’t trust people, but a girl who was truly afraid of having to deal with anyone… because all she saw every day, all day long, was ugliness. I was being bullied daily and when I asked for help, I was told to “get over it”, “stop being a baby”, “it’s all part of growing up” – even when my brother slammed me on concrete, making me lose consciousness and suffer a concussion – even when a neighborhood kid threw a metal bat at my face (I still have the scar on my chin) – even when I would show up in class or come home with new scars on my hands and legs.

It was much more than kid stuff but I didn’t know that at the time. People kept telling me that it was normal, so I learned to accept it and eventually didn’t ask for help anymore, didn’t tell people about my day or why my nose was bleeding, why I had a black eye or why I was crying. It became part of the norm and most of the time, no one even asked.

When a kid is overwhelmed, outnumbered, and out-sized, standing up for oneself can often make things worse. I know it did for me. I tried for a while, I fought back HARD, but when I saw it didn’t help, I surrendered. I let it happen. I escaped into fantasy until it was over.

So what needs to happen?
What these bullies really need is to be told about the stories of kids lashing back dangerously, they need to be told about the suicides, they need to be told about what the bullied actually feel and go through. These bullies are simply pulling wings off insects, it doesn’t occur to them that what they’re doing can have a profound effect. We need to shove that in their faces, drown them in empathy. They need to see and feel the consequences of what they do.

I have no idea what I planned to accomplish by writing this, I don’t really feel any better, per se, I guess it was simply on my mind because I was “bullied” again recently, for reasons I was never able to ascertain. I guess there’s never really a reason.

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24 thoughts on “Bullying is the New Black

  1. I agree that bullying is a serious issue and can deter some of the best and brightest kids and even adults from living up to their full potential.
    The problem is, as you pointed out, the victims are often shamed for being weak, however there is a clear limit to what one person can or cannot handle.

    What we need is to get support to the children who are experiencing this at an early age, and to make sure that we don’t end up neglecting someone to the point where they either feel like bullying is the only option or even suicide is.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well said! Here’s to hoping for a new generation, one in which this is NO LONGER acceptable. No child should have to hear “it’s all part of growing up.” Growing up means not having to deal with this anymore. (Hugs)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m probably going to break the normal narrative on bullying, but in some respects I don’t refer to bullying that occurred when I was a kid as the most horrendous thing. Granted, I hated being bullied, but it had the effect of driving me to be better, more decent and more respectful that then piece of poo-poos that I had been bullied by.

    On the other hand, when I was a kid, bullies were not nearly as mean as they seem to be now, and you never had to worry about seeing the humiliating moments of your life replayed on YouTube for the world to see. It’s a different world too, because nowadays the teens that get into fights don’t do it with the purpose of dominating someone, they do it to the point of total destruction and annihilation!

    I also used to mentally distinguish between bullying and abuse…to me, what your brother did to you was utter abusive violence. It’s not like he demanded your lunch money, he was trying to hurt you. Big difference in my mind.

    In this day and age, unfortunately, standing up for yourself doesn’t mean you’ll earn respect from your bully (like it did when I was a kid), rather standing up for yourself results in an escalation of violence. Unfortunately, it’s hard to prevent without a legal intervention.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s actually a really good point, showing the way bullying and even the term “bully” has evolved over the years. It’s true, there is “being bullied” and “being abused” and too many people confuse the two, including myself, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t get me wrong, I think bullying is a form of abuse, but it used to be more of a mental/emotional from that could be beat back with the right type of fortitude. Unfortunately, I think we are in a period of time where people care more about totally destroying their enemies than they do about figuring out a resolution.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, bullying was an issue for me too. I was an outsider and a bit of a “soft lad” so I was easy pickings. When I changed schools from Primary to Secondary, two of my supposed best friends joined in. It was horrible. I wouldn’t say it is the worst thing that has happened in my life but it doesn’t leave me with the happiest memories. Still, life can be a bag of poop sometimes as well as smelling of roses.

    Surprisingly that sort of thing doesn’t stop at school. I’ve come across some real pyschos at work too! I don’t think people or the world has changed, you always get the wrong social animals. Men and women who like to use fear and intimidation to gather a following or get what they want. Sometimes no matter how good your coping strategy might be, you just might catch the attention of one of these animals.

    In many ways I’m glad I missed out on this internet bullying period. That is so much worse for teens than what I had to deal with. There was no Facebook, Twitter or Google+ back when I was at school. I didn’t even own a mobile until I was 19. In that respect things have changed. It just means that the bullying can linger.

    I find it hard to write more on this because even though those events happened long ago, they are still raw in me. Whenever I get those feelings I tend to relive a whole bunch of unhappy memories that I thought I’d locked down. I totally sympathise!!!

    The worst part of this is that you got physically attacked and that became a norm. Being beaten is not something that should be considered a norm. I find it pretty abhorrent.

    Finally, I do think it is good that we talk about this stuff because with every new wave of children, this old issue resurfaces in one ugly form or another. I can’t imagine a time when it won’t. I don’t believe in Utopias.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry to hear you were bullied too, and worse, that your FRIENDS even joined in, ugh! That’s awful and I’m sorry. I, too, experienced a little of that as well. What surprises me is that I’ll think I’m “over everything”, but I still feel like a little kid when I run into someone who bullied me (especially my brother), it’s like my mind hasn’t quite moved past that mentality. I’m still working on it, working hard! I am also glad that social media didn’t exist when I was a kid… that would’ve made things so much worse and while I endure some of the internet bullying now because of my job, I am an adult and no doubt better at handling it than I would’ve been at 13, 16 or even 18.
      Thanks so much for reading and for your comment…. I hope people keep talking about it and maybe someone will eventually do something that REALLY makes a difference.

      Like

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