My Experiences with Bullying, Part 2

by Elizabeth on November 24, 2010 · 3 comments

in Adventures, bullying

This is the continuation of my post about my personal experiences with being bullied. If you missed part one, find it here. As I said yesterday, this is a bully-free zone, so if I see mean, petty, or derogatory comments, I will be deleting them. As the old saying goes, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Thanks.

What made me such an easy target for bullies? Probably because I was an easy target. I was just popular enough that everyone knew who I was, but not enough to have the social standing to be the one doing the teasing. I am very emotional; I wear my emotions on my face, so it was very clear when the bullies were getting to me. I had a huge desire to fit in, and those sorts of people are always targets.

How did I react to being bullied? No well actually (who would?)  After I realized laughing at them and/or with them wasn’t cutting it, and that I wasn’t a strong enough person to start dishing it back, I started trying too hard. This started mainly sophomore year. I tried so hard to fit in, to be friends with those girls. But it only gave them more ammunition for jokes and only made me cry harder at night. 
After that I began retreating into myself. I was never quiet or very shy, but I avoided social situations. I stopped making plans with friends (except those who really mattered). I started reading more (everything’s happier in books). I started slumping my shoulders and walking with bad posture so I could be as small, and as invisible, as possible. I lost any self-confidence I ever had.

Friends from college and grad school are probably reading this, wondering how the hell could this be the same person. While I tended to shy away from constant parties and social engagements, in college, and especially in grad school, I was not quiet nor did I act like someone who was lacking in self confidence.  I am social, fairly outgoing, and I like to organize group outings, whether it’s a night out, throwing a dinner party, or getting a group together to see a movie, it’s hard to see the bullied girl in me now. 
So how does one get over being bullied? You don’t, not really. But it is possible to move past it and put it behind you. I did it in three ways.

  1. I had a breakdown. My freshman year of college was a nightmare, mostly because I was waiting to be rejected and bullied at every turn. My confidence was so low that when I was dropped from a few houses during sorority recruitment, it was like someone had ripped off my arm. Not knowing enough guys to find a date to our formal was like being called Mrs. Hippo all over again. After several very rough nights, some medication, and two bouts of therapy, I came out of it a stronger, better person.
  2. I found better friends. A lot of my problems in high school stemmed from who I wanted to be friends with rather than who I should be friends with. It took me two years of college to narrow down a good, solid, core group of friends, but once I did, I realized that I didn’t have to try so hard. People either like you or they don’t. Just like you either like people or you don’t. It doesn’t really matter in the long run that some people don’t like you, as long as you have a group of people who love you for who you are (no matter how crazy or neurotic), not who they (or even you) think you ought to be.
  3. I put the past behind me. I used to dream about what I would say to those girls who made me so miserable, until I actually ran into one at a party. She chatted, laughed, and reminisced with me as if none of those things had ever happened. And then I realized, “she probably doesn’t even remember”. She wouldn’t remember what she had said 7 or 8 years ago, and even though it destroyed my life at the time, in the larger scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter. I wasn’t physically hurt because of the bullying I endured, and thanks to some good therapy, I had let most of my bitterness towards the bullies in my past go. So I put the idea of tracking down those petty girls and humiliating them like they humiliated me so long ago behind me. Revenge wouldn’t make me any better than them. Bringing up old wounds in a public place, while it might make me feel better, would only be rude and upsetting to people around me. So I let it go. I may not have fully forgiven them and I probably won’t be any more than polite, I will look them in the face with dignity and calm, and let my actions show just how awesome I’ve become.

I appreciate you letting me tell my story. I realize these are long posts, and I thank you for your time. Were you the target of a bully? Were you the bully? If you would like, please share your story in the comments. And no fear of cyber bullies; if I find mean and/or derogatory comments, I will delete them. This is a bully-free zone.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christine November 24, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Great work E. And as far as running into those people who used to bully you, I agree that they were either painfully oblivious to the fact that they were bullies or did it out of their own fear of being bullied and are probably ashamed of their former actions (I would certainly hope so). 🙂


2 amber November 25, 2010 at 12:50 am

i love you & i miss you. & you rock. & shame on those sucky high school people.


3 Jenna October 22, 2012 at 1:16 am

I started my childhood as a bully, was manipulative, demanding and callous. Had a team of minions and I know they fear me and looked up to me. I didn’t understand why but I enjoyed the power trip. Funny thing is, I was only 9 at the time. Can anyone imagine that a 9 year old child have the ability to insinuate and scheme so much psychological damage and hatred towards another child? I think when it comes to bullying age is just a number. My power trip ended when I started High School. A change of family circumstances made me matured and cause of the change I was able to established some close friendships for the first year. But unfortunately one of my friends was the target of bullying and I became the bystander. It was really hard watching your close friend suffer in silence. There was pushing, shoving, names calling, spitting, and personal belongings was being graffitied or damaged. I was a coward for awhile, I did nothing but only watched as my friend got harassed and abused. When I finally took a stand and fought back I became the bullied. My friend showed me kindness by forgiving me and for fighting back when I was troubled. Then our retaliation scheme started. Rules was, whatever is done to us we will return back the favor. The rest of the other friends was also influenced by our unity and that made our group even tighter. I know most people won’t agree with me about fighting back, but at the time we thought there’s nothing else to lose. School life was already a hell hole and have tried notifying the authorities which have failed. I believe at times you just have to take a stand otherwise you will always remain a push over. The bullying did subside, we made sure there was consequences to the bully’s actions and she backed down within 2 weeks of our retaliation scheme. As all bullies do, she changed targets and started traumatizing another student. We then adopted that student into our group. We voiced our opinions and pressured the bully to stop her cruel antics. I highly doubt her behavior can be stopped but at least she didn’t ignite anymore problems when we are present. The bully never graduated, she got expelled for damaging school property. She tried to light the mailbox on fire and scratched a teacher’s car. I think it was her way stress release. Thinking back I did not hate her, she was also a troubled child.

I played all 3 roles by being the bully, bullied and bystander. And I have to say I disliked being the bystander the most. That was the hardest for me to endure. I felt utterly worthless and useless because I believe it was my duty as a friend to be loyal. And I ended up betraying my friend when she needed me most. Overall I’m glad that all these events happened otherwise I will never learn empathy. I will not be as strong as I am today and most importantly I have found friendships that will last a life time.

For the Bullies that are reading: “Often the right path is the one that may be hardest for you to follow. But the hard path is also the one that will make you grow as a human being.”
― Karen Mueller Coombs. Just want to say alter your mindset to defend and to protect instead of destroying and tormenting. Try understanding and learn to reason.

For the Bullied that are reading: ” No matter how dark the night, somehow the sun rises once again and all shadows are chased away.” -David Matthew
Stand tall, know your alliance, make friends, don’t ever remain silent. And do report it, because every school is different. Try everything and be constant about it until you’re heard. And thoughts of suicide should never be an option, because if you die they will win. I would rather remain the biggest eyesore than letting the bullies have their victory.

For the Bystanders that are reading: “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” – Helen Keller
Report the crime, it is also your responsibility. It does not matter if you report it anonymously or not, but at least do your part. It is the right thing to do as a human being. Having integrity is very important.


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