I want to talk about “bullying”.
Yes, we all know it is wrong, and nowadays we are trying to make sure that our generation of children live in a “bully-free” world, but, I’m here to tell you the truth — it’s not working.
Before I begin, this is not a “feel sorry for me post”. I’m not asking for that. I just write about personal observations in my life. Stuff that I hope other people can take away from or learn a thing or two. But, please, do not feel sorry for me.
My first instance with bullying was in kindergarten. I was hanging out with my friend (name withheld because it’s not important) on the playground, and this taller kid that I never met, but knew my friend came over to us. He whispered something to my friend, and then asked if we wanted to race from one end of the sidewalk in front of the doors leading to the school to the other end. We all lined up. He said, “Ready. Set? GO!” I took off like a bolt. I wanted to show my friend how fast I could run, and I also didn’t want to be left behind. I made it to the other end of the sidewalk, stopped, and turned around to see the person who I thought was my friend and this other person laughing at me, calling me “stupid”, and turned and went to another part of the playground.
I was devastated. I had never experienced that feeling of being teased from anyone at school. It only happened from my older brother (anyone who had an older sibling or siblings can attest to this). It obviously didn’t phase me to much, but like I said, that was just the beginning.
As I got older, I became a four-eyed, ugly, punching bag that was constantly teased and tortured by not only most of my classmates, but also a few of the teachers had their attempts at bullying me for the choice of clothes I wore. I went to my parents, because I knew I couldn’t trust the teachers or staff to help me, and they told me to “turn the other cheek”, “ignore them”, “be the bigger person”, etc.
You know, you can only do that for so long before it finally gets to you. Sure, I finally had a few instances where I stood up for myself, only to get beaten harder.
I finally got out of high school, and straight into the workplace. Guess what? Bullying comes in many forms, even after you get out of high school–rude customers, patients, supervisors, bosses–it came from everywhere.
You can only push a person so much before that person “bites” back.
I had become a “monster” at home. At one point, I was diagnosed with “bipolar disorder”. To me, that was just a reason to continue to be angry whenever I wanted to.
Looking back on it now, I realize that I became the bully. To my wife, and sadly, to my daughter once she was old enough to take being yelled at.
After my mid-life crisis last year, I have sought help, and things have gotten better with my mental health. In fact, my current nurse practitioner and I have realized that my bipolar disorder was actually brought on by the medications I was on prior to being diagnosed. In fact, it’s possible that I was mis-diagnosed and medicated incorrectly. We are taking steps to fix that, but we can only fix so much.
Oh “Great Fartsupial”, what is your point?!
It’s now 2018. I’ve become a different person, a better person, but the past never goes away.
My daughter has been getting picked on at school by some of the boys and by some of the girls. The boys are calling her “ugly” or saying she has a pointy nose, or that she’s ‘teacher’s pet”. The only thing I’ve heard about any girls is this one who happens to be one of our neighbor’s children.
A friend my daughter has over tonight says that she heard from this girl that my daughter is a bully, and get’s her in trouble all the time for no reason. That’s not the first time my daughter has heard that. And you have to understand, I’ve done everything in my power (and so has my wife) tried to engrain in her good morals and how to be a good and caring person. We definitely did not raise a “bully”.
When she first came to me, sad and on the verge of tears, I asked if she went to the teachers, because that is what we are now being told is what is now the safe thing to do. She says the teachers haven’t helped. So, you know what advice I gave my daughter?
“I’m sorry, sweetie. I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve been in that spot before, and all the advice I was given never helped me. The only thing I know is that you should be yourself, and don’t let anyone change that. Because, that is what is most important.” (Granted, I may not have said this all at the same time, but it was in the same conversation with her.)
That was the one piece of advice that I have been told by many people in my life, is be yourself.
Am I still bullied? Yeah.
Is there anything that I have done to make it stop? Yeah.
Has it stopped? No, and it may never. That’s why bullying will never end. It happens in our schools, in the media, in the world, in the animal kingdom, EVERYWHERE! It just keeps happening on a daily basis. And, it sucks. But, it’s a part of life, so I guess that’s just the way it has to be.
I just hope my daughter perseveres better than I have.