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Don't let bullies win

mourning wreath
I assume most of you have heard of the case of Phoebe Prince. She was the recently-arrived Irish girl who was so brutalized at her Massachusetts high school by bullies who hounded her there and online that she killed herself.

At one point her bullies--her school's Mean Girls--were certain they were going to get away with it. The recent handing-down of nine indictments of her schoolmates is a clear sign that some of them won't. But you know, and I know, these nine weren't the only ones. Bullying doesn't work like that. There are plenty of people who stand around and laugh, or remain silent and let it go on, or who add their own remarks to show how cool they are (or to prove they aren't as dorky as the victim). Online, you know there were plenty of people who didn't even KNOW this poor kid who were happy to pitch in. They are just as bad as those nine, and they will walk away from them. I hope they are haunted by Phoebe Prince all of their days for their part in this.

And then there are the people who say "suck it up," "shrug it off," "give as good as you get," "ignore it and they'll go away," "don't be so sensitive," "stop whining, you invite this stuff," "report it," "they'll get bored if you don't react." And the people who say they'll do something, then aren't there when the bullies come back for revenge because a teacher or administrator told them that the bully's behavior had been reported to them. This includes the people who don't follow up on their warnings to bullies. Without follow-up, without real, concrete support for the victims, without sympathy and comfort for the victims instead of thinly veiled contempt, they are also part of the problem.

I've been bullied. Two different best friends turned on me overnight and called me out for a fight. The principal who punished some boys for fighting with my friends and me didn't come back to see if the boys might take revenge on us (and they did try). I was always the poor kid, the new kid, the kid from a divorce (which meant my mother was called a you-know-what--divorces were rare in those days), the walking dictionary, the person who always said the wrong thing. I know how bad and how lonely it can get.

Somehow, we have to find ways to endure. Not come out on top, not get in their faces, which is so rare. Neither do I want to be one of those scornful "give as good as you get" people, when so many of us are introverted and shy to begin with. I would have given anything to be able to ignore or shrug off some of those remarks and all of that laughter.

But please, in the name of your God, my gods, don't let them win. Don't let them win, ever. Even if all you can do for someone who is being bullied is put a hand on her/his shoulder or arm as you pass, a kind hand, or whisper "they suck," it will mean something. Don't let the bullies drive you to killing yourself. Live. High school will end, and these people will become small adults with no power, because high school is the greatest arena their minds are capable of taking in. You will be greater. You and the others they picked at will be free. Tell yourself over and over, as I did, "This will end. I will leave, and they won't be with me." And hang on.

Don't let the bullies win, in RL and online. Block them; close your accounts; stop IMing, whatever it takes online to shut them off. Your real friends will understand. Send your counselors, teachers, and administrators anonymous notes to report their behavior if you feel you cannot tell them directly, and report the behavior of bullies with other students as well. You can't be certain that the other students will have the courage to report being bullied, so report for them, if you can bring yourselves to do so.

No one else should die because a base, petty, scum-brained, louse-licking, dunghill bully battened on her, or him. No one.

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whtmtnwmn
Mar. 30th, 2010 08:23 pm (UTC)
My heart goes out to the loved ones of Pheobe Prince. I hadn't heard her story, or about the bullies who are now being held responsible for their reprehensible behavior.

I'm blown away by the timing of your post. About fifteen seconds before reading this, a dear friend and I were talking about being bullied at work--as adults, by adults. And it hurts just as much as it did in high school.

When will it end? Which generation will be strong enough and smart enough to finally put an end to bullying?
echan314
Mar. 30th, 2010 08:34 pm (UTC)
It just gets worse. They get meaner and sneakier. It never gets better. I wish it would. I was never the bully or the bullied, I was lucky in that. My little sister got picked on for being blonde. She hated herself because of her hair, because she stood out. Teachers step in, and kids just get sneakier.
(no subject) - tammypierce - Apr. 4th, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
spence_reid
Mar. 30th, 2010 08:28 pm (UTC)
You're very right, and I am glad there are adults who understand this. I guess I'm one of them now, though I don't really feel like an adult!! A lot of people told me to just ignore it, but that's almost impossible, and for people who can't, like Phoebe Price, it can be devastating. Thank you for saying this. There are a lot of kids who can take comfort from it, I'm sure.
tammypierce
Apr. 4th, 2010 03:36 pm (UTC)
A lot of people told me to just ignore it, but that's almost impossible,

It's like being told to ignore the death of a thousand cuts. It makes you wonder if the person who says that was ever bullied.
anisetheghosted
Mar. 30th, 2010 08:32 pm (UTC)
You are very, very correct. I just wish portions of this post find broad publication so those being bullied know that you stand with them.
tammypierce
Apr. 4th, 2010 03:38 pm (UTC)
you stand with them.

How could I not?! To see it happen to those I care about, to have lived through it myself--I have to say something, and I have to let people know what they go through matters!

(I'm not implying that you said anything wrong, I'm just being emphatic because I feel so very strongly about this.)
echan314
Mar. 30th, 2010 08:32 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, I think there are too few people who are willing to stand up and help others. It's so much easier to stand back and laugh, or to join the bullies, the tormentors, the rapists. I can list so many stories of group-violence which could have been stopped if only one person had had the strength to stand up and make the others feel shame for what they have done, or what they are doing. It's easier to stand back and laugh, but it's certainly not right.

All it takes in most cases is for one person to say "they're wrong" to make you feel so much better. If just one person disagreed, reassured the victim so many less would kill themselves.
tammypierce
Apr. 4th, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC)
It's so much easier to stand back and laugh, or to join the bullies, the tormentors, the rapists.

Or just to keep silent. A lot of people are afraid. On the low end of the scale they're afraid of losing their own social status, and on the high end of the scale they're afraid of being beaten, raped, or killed. That's why I suggested quietly letting someone know, with a hand on the shoulder, a quiet "I'm sorry," and anonymous reporting, things like that. Those things may seem cowardly, but to a person who's scared, they're a major effort, and they would mean something to someone who's being bullied.

I know this is unrealistic of me, but forming a group with other people who are being picked on also has its advantages. No matter how nerdy, a larger group is more intimidating, and there's always the presence of more witnesses to consider. People will be less inclined to get physical if you're part of a group. Just don't let them separate you at school in the halls and cafeteria.
stormsdotter
Mar. 30th, 2010 08:34 pm (UTC)
Dear gods, that poor girl. Why did not one stand up? Why did none of her teachers try to stop the harassment?

I've also been the new kid, the child of a divorce. I got the "just ignore them" bullshit. That's what it is: complete and utter bullshit. Bullys do not stop until they are punished each and every time they bully. That is what our school systems need, nation-wide.

When I have children, the karate lessons will start at age five. The lessons in standing up for themselves and other will start before they leave diapers.

And hopefully my stories will get published. Books were about the only thing that kept me going when I was a kid, Tammy--yours and many others.
tammypierce
Apr. 4th, 2010 03:49 pm (UTC)
Books were about the only thing that kept me going when I was a kid,

As they did me. I couldn't be brave against the kids who made fun of my clothes and hair and social status, but I could write myself brave.

Good luck with your writing! It does so many things for us!
anaquana
Mar. 30th, 2010 08:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you! The town that Phoebe lived in is just twenty minutes away from me. EVERYONE around here is completely shaken by her story and the story of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover an 11 year-old in Springfield who committed suicide last April because of bullying.

I was bullied in middle school and will forever bear the scars from my attempted suicide. It was the worst time of my life, but yes, it does end. You do get away from these people. And you do get stronger.
tammypierce
Apr. 4th, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC)
I did also hear about Carl--11 years old, it breaks my heart. And you, driven to the same thing! I hope you're happy now that you failed. I have yet to meet the school bully who is worth dying for. Worth hanging upside down in a barrel with a snake inside (type of snake is your choice), maybe. Definitely not worth suicide.
euphrosyna
Mar. 30th, 2010 08:35 pm (UTC)
My family knew Phoebe Prince at home in Ireland. I tear up ever time I hear her name. I wish she'd never moved away from here. :(
tammypierce
Apr. 4th, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC)
::hugs::
I wish she hadn't, too--or that she'd met better Americans.
dungeonwriter
Mar. 30th, 2010 08:36 pm (UTC)
In memory of Pheobe.

I hope everyone reads your message!
(Deleted comment)
tammypierce
Apr. 4th, 2010 03:58 pm (UTC)
I certainly can and will do more.

Thanks.

which got me through secondary school in one piece, sane, alive and (mostly) unharmed.

Which is the best most of us can say, I think.
silvertwi
Mar. 30th, 2010 08:53 pm (UTC)
Oh my God. I hadn't heard, thank you for posting this. I tend not to hear these things unless someone else watches the news--I'm at college, and I don't much care for T.V. so it's easier not to watch.

I don't understand how the teachers ignored the bullying. They're the ones who are supposed to help us! I can at least understand other students trying to ignore it, but teachers? Phoebe Price has my prayers, as does her family. I hope her little sister recovers from the shock that had to have been.

I hate bullies. I have memories of attempts at bullying me in middle school about the fact, for example, that by the end of the school year I wouldn't have enough clothing that fit and wouldn't get more until the next year, so I was wearing the same khaki shorts every day (we had uniforms). Somehow, it never got beyond words, although I and my friends got in trouble for forming a group called "The Outsiders" or some such designed to strike back at the kids who were tormenting us--and it wasn't even the same group that made fun of each of us. I managed to get once clique, probably because I shared the advanced classes with them where the other students didn't. I suspect, looking back, that I made them feel stupid.

That's why I stand up for people when I see bullying. I have a harder time standing up for myself, but others? I speak up. A guy who was extremely homophobic tried to sit at the table I joined (at lunch) shortly after I moved to a new high school. He then started objecting that "That f----t is sitting here?" "Why yes, yes he is," I assured him. He left. Half the school was afraid of him, was the impression I got, and half the school was "protected by him" presumably from other students. I didn't quite get it, but was glad when he graduated. This is a kid who literally ran away from me and my friend (the gay guy he objected to sitting with) in the hallway. Because J. was openly gay.

I ramble. Thank you for the message you're trying to get across.
tammypierce
Apr. 4th, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC)
I don't understand how the teachers ignored the bullying.

I don't, either, though I can try: they had too many students to keep track of; maybe the bullies are children of rich and powerful people who could cost a teacher her/his job in this economy; the teacher may have felt the person being bullied was a whiner or an attention-seeker or someone who didn't try to fit in; the administration (principal, assistant principal) told the teacher it was being taken care of; the teacher was afraid of the bullies physically (if teacher is smaller physically or if bullies have been known to attack teachers' cars, homes). Some of this certainly makes sense in a gang neighborhood, but nothing I've read suggests this was a gang neighborhood.

I guarantee they are doing a lot of soul-searching now.

As for the extremely homophobic guy--wow! issues much?!
(no subject) - zodiacal_light - Apr. 21st, 2010 02:37 am (UTC) - Expand
buriramtourakom
Mar. 30th, 2010 09:00 pm (UTC)
This is a wonderful post. Thank you.
tammypierce
Apr. 4th, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. I just hope it helps people think.
evamagick
Mar. 30th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you for saying this, Tammy. I really wish I would have known this from the age of 12 to 15. They were the worst years of my life and I didn't know how to make it better. I hope a lot of younger girls read this and take it to heart.

Especially this "High school will end, and these people will become small adults with no power, because high school is the greatest arena their minds are capable of taking in." THIS IS TRUE. This is true of my bullies and the bullies of everyone I've known. Please believe this.
tammypierce
Apr. 4th, 2010 04:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

Yes, it is true. Our school bullies don't fare so well out of their natural habitat.
sholamith
Mar. 30th, 2010 09:11 pm (UTC)
Having been bullied at work and at school, I understand some of what Pheobe Prince must have gone through. As a tall, large woman; many people did not understand how I could be bullied, but it happens. Bullies latch onto whatever makes you different than them. It may be something they are afraid of seeing in themselves, something they envy, something they don't understand... There is no one reason. Let just one person stand up in support of the person who is being bullied and they might make a difference. Sometimes they might even save a life.
tammypierce
Apr. 4th, 2010 04:10 pm (UTC)
As a tall, large woman; many people did not understand how I could be bullied, but it happens.

It can, and it does. I remember how kids ragged on the tall, big girls and the milder big guys, calling them names like "cow" and "moose." Unless you're prepared to smack them, and take the grief you get for doing so, they're always going to be on your case. I'll be a lot of us know a tall girl or two who walked stooped in the hope that people wouldn't pick on her for her height.
deborahblakehps
Mar. 30th, 2010 09:14 pm (UTC)
I was always the weird kid--the one who was a little out of step with everyone else. I was bullied. A lot. One girl and her friends rode my bus for a couple of years. I had gum put in my long hair. I was laughed at and taunted. And I spent so much time being afraid and alone.

I am, thankfully, now a happy and secure adult with many friends. And I always go out of my way to stand up for the underdog.

What those who are being bullied need to understand is that the viciousness of the bullies stems from their own fears. Often, they have also been victims. Of course, sometimes they are just mean.

That poor girl.
tammypierce
Apr. 4th, 2010 05:22 pm (UTC)
the viciousness of the bullies stems from their own fears. Often, they have also been victims. Of course, sometimes they are just mean.

Exactly. The more we learn about bullies, the more we learn that yes, some are bullied elsewhere, including at home. But we're also learning that some people are just plain mean. And we learn that some people take their cues from older kids and adults. If they condone or enact or wink at bullying behavior, kids will bully because they think it's obviously okay.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 30th, 2010 09:26 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I could go on for pages. I've tried to keep it short.
People are cowards. When I went to elementary school I would stand up for the new kids that the other girls would try to bully; these girls would stop picking on that girl, because they knew I would get angry and kick the crap out of them. Often, a single sentence will make the mob stop. They are a mob, they lack intelligence, they are horde of zombies. Ignoring them doesn't help and well reason doesn't seem to either, they are zombies. Confrontation worked back then.
However, High school changed the playing field. I was then the victim of bullying and even by the people I protected in elementary school. Confrontation did not work then, apparently it makes you less a woman if you fight back, even a teacher told me she was ashamed of women that fought back. Apparently being a woman means I should shut my trap and take it, I deserve it. She was also apparently a feminist. I am rolling my eyes. Instead, I went with my science teacher's suggestion, that it would be over in a few years. I would have scars but in the end I would grow to be stronger, successful and interesting than any of those other girls and boys that attacked me.

High School, though painful, is only a single moment.

Talking about being bullied is hard. Most people don't get it. I was often told I was melodramatic; how could words hurt? Or that I should feel sorry for the person attacking me because they are clearly hurting which is why they do it. Some how it ended up that it was not about being bullied, but about society trying to me tell me that a 10 on 1 fight is fair. That is acceptable for people in bad situations to attack other people. That being teased for not being 'normal' is okay. It builds character. It is only when I tell people that I was teased because people believed me to a lesbian that others get angry. I am not a lesbian, but I never corrected my classmates because I do not think it is wrong to be one. Apparently, it acceptable to be teased for looking 'weird', but not okay for sex orientation. That's a double standard. No person should be harassed for any reason. It is not an acceptable behaviour.
tammypierce
Apr. 4th, 2010 05:20 pm (UTC)
even a teacher told me she was ashamed of women that fought back. Apparently being a woman means I should shut my trap and take it, I deserve it. She was also apparently a feminist.

Is this what they mean by "victim feminist"? "Here's to the new boss/Same as the old boss." She was wrong. You're not less of a woman if you fight back, any more than you're less of a woman if you're picked on. This kind of thinking lays it on the victim, when the blame belongs solely to the bullies. And you deserved bonus hero points for your grade and middle school work.

I was often told I was melodramatic; how could words hurt?
What kind of happy crappy is this? Would they say the same if the words were racist words? You say they valued it when you were called a lesbian; so some vile words counted more than others? Weirdos don't count as much as gays? Where do you draw the line at bad words? At threatening a kid? Threatening a teacher? Threatening the president?

Or that I should feel sorry for the person attacking me because they are clearly hurting which is why they do it

And in the meantime, who is going to feel sorry for you? You're visibly hurting right there.

This cookie-cutter social-work-speak is just so much cow-sploot. The speaker heard it somewhere and likes it because it sounds deep, so they use it to dismiss what the victim says. "Here, I have a solution; take it and shut up." It's every bit as bad as "Ignore them and they'll go away." If the situation makes you uncomfortable, say it makes you uncomfortable. Don't dismiss it. Don't use a swell-speak shorthand for "here's an answer; now beat it." If you don't want to talk or hear anymore, say "That really sucks. I'm so glad you survived it," or something equally good. Don't add your layer of indifference to the abuse already presented to you.

I hope you're finding better people to talk to. People who know what razors words can be--and what salves for pain they are, as well.
akino_ame
Mar. 30th, 2010 09:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you for saying this. I've put up with it all of my life, whether from being teased in kindergarten for being easy to frighten and chase, or to being verbally sexually harrassed and having things thrown at me by two separate boys in middle school. For all those years, I was told things from adults and friends that didn't help: Ignore them and they'll go away, don't run because then they can't chase you, go report it, and he does it because he probably has a crush on you.

Being bullied as a girl is hard because they rarely take you seriously. It took a long time and several things thrown at my head before someone finally took me to the student resource officer to report the last bully. By then, the damage was done: I was painfully introverted throughout high school and to some extent through college.

So I felt complete sympathy with Phoebe Prince and with all the other girls whose suffering like this has made national news. One of the worst parts is that maybe it could have been prevented if just one person had stood up for her. If one person had helped her through it, helped her do something about it instead of just offering petty words. Because having that help can make a huge difference.
tammypierce
Apr. 4th, 2010 07:10 pm (UTC)
If one person had helped her through it, helped her do something about it instead of just offering petty words. Because having that help can make a huge difference.

I think--it seems to me as if--you would have been grateful simply for validation. For some people to say, "This is dead wrong." Or even for some kids to say, "I know. They do it to me, too." That it had to get to the point of physical violence and sexual harassment just makes me sick.

It seems to me like maybe there ought to be a Phoebe Prince/Carl Walker-Hoover Day against bullying, to raise awareness of it. Something that can't mend what happened to you, perhaps, but will draw awareness to what's going on now.
(no subject) - akino_ame - Apr. 5th, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
kristincashore.blogspot.com
Mar. 30th, 2010 09:26 pm (UTC)
Amen.
keladry_lupin
Mar. 30th, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC)
I used to think that the phrase "so angry I can't see straight" was a figure of speech. No longer.
lied_ohne_worte
Mar. 30th, 2010 09:40 pm (UTC)
High school will end, and these people will become small adults with no power, because high school is the greatest arena their minds are capable of taking in. You will be greater. You and the others they picked at will be free. Tell yourself over and over, as I did, "This will end. I will leave, and they won't be with me." And hang on.

It can still stay with you, though. I'm 28, and I still have a hard time trusting people not to turn on me. I constantly expect the worst from others, because I've learned that people are not to be trusted. And, of course, I still think somewhere deep down that it was all my fault.

When my actual bullying in school occurred, the inability of the adults responsible to deal with it was what affected me most. Teachers organised "conversations" that should "clear the air", but were practically tribunals, because I as the bullied person was in a room with several of the bullies who were allowed to go on how I was supposedly at fault for what they were doing, with the teachers not interfering. And then there was the school psychologist responsible for our district who told my father (who phoned him because he thought I was suicidal): "If your daughter says that the other students are at fault for her situation, that indicates that it is in fact her own fault." Yeah, we didn't pursue that avenue any farther.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 30th, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
Ya, my psychologist also told me it was my fault. /sigh What a pseudo-science.
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angel_9_lives
Mar. 30th, 2010 09:40 pm (UTC)
you know, the best thing I ever heard was "the best revenge is success".

I've been...um...lucky? enough to have a LOT of friends who have/had severe self esteem issues. most of them were to the point of self mutilation, and a couple were suicidal. my first roommate actually attempted it a couple times, but something always happened and the attempts failed.

each of those friends, I tell them that quote. It's true. You want to give all the bullies a good dose of "take THAT", succeed. make your life as kick ass as possible.

also: if you haven't read it already, you should check out the book "The Only Alien on the Planet". I believe it's by Kristin Randle. The main female character's brother told her to "never make the mistake of thinking you're the only alien on the planet."

no matter how awkward/out of place/alone you're feeling, there is ALWAYS at least one other person out there feeling the same way.

the kids I take care of crying for attention now, so I'm pasting this poem and then I'm outta here~

~Angel


Freak Like Me

too short,
too young,
too smart,
too new

always a freak,
on the outside,
looking in...
wondering who they're talking about...

too shy,
too loud,
too me,
too you,

always a freak,
on the outside,
looking in...
denying what I know inside...

too real,
too nice,
too good,
too everything..

always a freak,
on the outside,
looking in,
wondering why they can't see..

too angry,
too hurt,
too sad,
too me...

who's really the freak,
on the inside,
looking out,
wishing they had the guts?

too stubborn,
too proud,
too smart
too you...

who's really the freak,
on the inside,
looking out,
wishing they could be me?

too bad,
so sad,
I'm everything,
you want to be...

and everything you fear.

too bad,
so sad,
You're everything,
I would never want to be...

and nothing I could ever want.

so I ask again...

who's really the freak,
on the inside,
looking out,
wishing they could be,
the person they really are...

wishing they could be...
a freak like me.


originally posted to moon_reversed
tammypierce
Apr. 4th, 2010 07:27 pm (UTC)
You want to give all the bullies a good dose of "take THAT", succeed. make your life as kick ass as possible.

Indeed you do!

And thank you so much for the poem!
(no subject) - angel_9_lives - Apr. 4th, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
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birgitriddle
Mar. 30th, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
When I heard about the suicide, I wanted to go out and kill those petty little girls who bullied her because those are the kinds of human beings that don't deserve to exist.

I don't really feel that way anymore because it's not really worth it, but it just triggered my own memories of being bullied and I tended to have a violent reaction to it in high school (which also didn't help my case when I was being verbally sexually harassed by an asshole football player - people misheard what I screamed once when I was telling him to get away from me and as a consequence I ended up unable to attend my graduation).

Anyways, that's not the point, I suppose.

What I was going to say that when I was in middle school, I was banned from going onto the computer (and so the internet) and somehow people who disliked me got a hold of my email address (I had given it to someone so we could work on a project together and apparently she shared it with these other people) and I got tons of emails just from this one email account and when I wasn't responding they got increasingly threatening. I discovered these emails when I sneaked onto the internet one time and I had to tell my mother that I did that because of these emails. I didn't get in trouble, probably because of the nature of the emails, but she did send a complaint to their email provider, who then suspended their account.

Turns out that it was an email account shared by a bunch of people at my school including the girl I gave my email to in the first place and all of them ended up pissed off at me because I dared report the harassing emails. And this was before facebook and myspace. It's...if you block them or do something to prevent them from doing stuff, it might just make them angrier. And stopping IMing completely is just letting them win.

At least people can change. A boy, who I swear teased me in middle school and early high school, ended up later defending me against others in my Junior year.

Edited at 2010-03-30 09:50 pm (UTC)
tammypierce
Apr. 4th, 2010 07:35 pm (UTC)
It's...if you block them or do something to prevent them from doing stuff, it might just make them angrier. And stopping IMing completely is just letting them win.

Very true, but which is worse? Letting them dump their garbage on you whenever they feel like it and hoping that "delete" will make you feel good enough, or blocking them and taking the chance that they might get angry? I think we both know bullies well enough to realize that you gamble no matter what you choose, and I tend to think at least you feel better if you know you have done something.

I think the boy you mention, the bully who changed, must have been a helluva guy, to make that change when probably the others were giving him a bad time to do it. But then, I think you're a helluva person for getting back in people's faces in high school.
miri_me
Mar. 30th, 2010 09:48 pm (UTC)
Poor, poor girl :-/

The only reasons I didn't try to kill myself aged 10, after 2.5 years of non-stop bullying, were (a) there were only a few more months before I'd finish primary school, and (b) I didn't want them to win. It completely destroyed my self-esteem - I didn't know what was wrong with me, couldn't see the sign on my forehead that spelt out exactly *how* I was different, but I was pretty sure I didn't deserve to live. After that long, after spending that much time at school isolated and friendless, I believed them. Sheer contrariness was the main force behind me continuing to go through the motions because I might be able to escape them, but I'd still be me...

At 16, after spending half my life turning into and being, ultimately, a brittle, miserable, lonely shell (it was like I built up a brick wall of being too thick-skinned to notice or care, and then got trapped behind it so couldn't give myself or other people a chance... I don't think I believed I really deserved one), I gave up hope of it getting better and tried, and - thankfully - failed. After that, I couldn't really dismiss how I felt, or ignore it. A few months later, after thinking about who 'me' was, I came to the startling conclusion that I didn't actually hate myself any more!!

My brother's friends - guys who'd known me for years, but who I didn't often even chat to - remarked to my dad how much calmer and happier I seemed not long after that. It probably took the best part of 3 years - so the same length of time I'd been bullied for - to get properly comfortable and secure in my own skin again. There were setbacks, and it was a long journey.

I am so glad that my bullies have no idea how long I let them keep that sort of hold over me. I am so glad that now I know that I'm not perfect, I'm not going to be everybody's cup of tea - but that's OK and I like who I am! (And those people I don't hit it off with? Do I really want to be friends with them if they can't see past us not having much in common? Not being friends with them just doesn't mean that I've failed!)
tammypierce
Apr. 4th, 2010 07:39 pm (UTC)
. A few months later, after thinking about who 'me' was, I came to the startling conclusion that I didn't actually hate myself any more!!

I'm so glad you did. Sometimes it takes something extreme to shake us out of those long-term thinking patterns.

I like who I am!

That's the important person, not those teeny-souled people who never gave you a break. They'll be wondering what happened to their lives long after you've gone and built a good one for yourself and those you care about.
apurplepatch
Mar. 30th, 2010 09:54 pm (UTC)
As bad as the entire situation is... does anyone else think the worst part of this whole situation is the total and complete lack of remorse of these bullies?

What sort of monsters is this world creating?



sorayume
Mar. 30th, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC)
Yes, they are not good people to not be upset, yet, they probably are being torn up with guilt. They are going to have to live THE REST OF THEIR LIVES remembering the girl that killed herself because of their bullying.

Maybe not now, but in 10 years they are going to be in offices of someone, laying on their back, balling their eyes out in regret.
(no subject) - apurplepatch - Mar. 30th, 2010 10:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tammypierce - Apr. 4th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tammypierce - Apr. 4th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
highlyeccentric
Mar. 30th, 2010 09:54 pm (UTC)
*chokes up a little*

Thank you. I'd somehow missed hearing about Phoebe Prince, so thank you for bringing it to my attention.

And thank you for being... sincere, I guess. It seems sort of fashionable for successful adults to announce that they were bullied as kids, but often, even when it's an author whose books suggest that they really do know what they're talking about, the public discussion seems to cast bullying as very trivial, a necessary basis for any success story :s.

This is not that story. Thank you, again.
tammypierce
Apr. 4th, 2010 07:46 pm (UTC)
the public discussion seems to cast bullying as very trivial

Ugh! No, it's not trivial. As we've sadly seen, it's not an accessory. For some of us it's a f*****g tragedy. (pardon my French) And I probably wouldn't have mentioned it, had this not come up. It's still too painful, and me 55 years old. 8-\

sorayume
Mar. 30th, 2010 10:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the encouraging words.

I am 23.I am in COLLEGE and I just recently became the focus of bullying. I *know* it is insanity. I am a senior. I never expected this. I joined a class in a different department than I normally am in, because I am a sucker and really liked the subject. Just this last week we went on a research trip together, and then entire class decided to give me the cold shoulder. The only person who spoke to me the entire trip was the teacher. Fortunately I am 23. I have grown up being 'That weird girl in the corner with the book' so hearing people call me names and treat me like that again is surprising, because of the circumstances, but not ultimately disturbing

Push comes to pull, I am an adult, I pay for my college, I don't have to pay to spend a weekend being bullied, I just went home. It sucks for them. I am a cook and I was suppose to make the meals for the trip. But after the first night when no one thanked me (though they did tell eachother how good the food was) I was not prepared to cook for them again!

Weirdest part is, I am an extrovert! I am often told I am bubbly and talkative, but when people just ignore me I just read to take myself away. I guess leaving let them win in a way. But it was a win for me too. The teacher saw what was happening and I got credit for 3 days of work without being there the entire three days. Ok I am rambling... Thanks again for the encouragement!
tammypierce
Apr. 4th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
Just this last week we went on a research trip together, and then entire class decided to give me the cold shoulder. ... (though they did tell each other how good the food was) I was not prepared to cook for them again!

Oh, for ...! What was these people's damage? How old were they, two? I thought, when I got it in my senior year, that it was just writers are toads to each other, so I never tried to join a writer's group after I took that class, but this is just nasty!

Did the teacher ask them what their childhood trauma was, or take them down a point for being assholes?

sarcasm/ Great. Departmental politics as an extension of the playground. Let's have some more of that. /sarcasm
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