I was bullied in grade school and junior high. This is my story.
The Name of My Bully
The name of my bully was Donny Conner.
There is a reason why I open up with the name of my bully. Anyone who has been bullied in school never forgets the person's name. They don't forget their name, what they look like, or what they did. Now, bullying has become much more of a big deal. With the boon of the internet, it has become much easier to torment the lives of others on an almost continuous basis.
Being bullied leaves an impression on the person. In my case, I was bullied in my grade school and junior high days by this person. That was over 20 years ago. So while it doesn't bother me like it used to, I haven't let it go either.
Even in high school, I saw this bully when walking down the halls. By that time he had moved away (we lived in the same area). Even then I couldn't look him in the eyes, but I made sure never to look away or take a different path either as I didn't want to give him the satisfaction. He never bothered me in high school, but he never apologized either. He was a jock at that point, so he felt even more intimidating to me. I don't even know what happened to him after that, nor do I care to know.
Do you want to know what's funny? He and I started out as friends. I don't know what happened to turn that into him being a bully and me a victim.
Common Traints of Bullies
Bully uses his friends as back-up.
Learns about your life to bully physiologically.
Either really low or abnormally high self esteem.
More likely to commit a crime.
May have been bullied themselves.
Won't hesitate to use violence.
May not have a close, tight-knit family.
My Experiences of Being Bullied
Below are just some of my experiences of being bullied as a child. I want to share these details so that others out there won't have to feel alone.
- When I was in grade school the bus dropped the students off and they would hang out in the playground until school starts. Only one (and just one) teacher or assistant was out on the grounds at that time. One school year there was a librarian who I knew well enough to stick around so I could avoid being bullied. The other one was a teacher who was very gruff and wasn't that friendly at all. On those days I hung out in an area where he could see me, hoping he would intervene if I were to be bullied. Well, this bully (and his friends) would harass me, taunt me, etc. This teacher knew they were harassing me but always did nothing. These bullies would make fun of me, my parents, my life, etc. I just had to stare forward and ignore them. One incident I still see clearly in my mind. Donny was imitating my mother, saying she was very large, and when she sat down she squished people. That hurt me so much and made me so angry. But I stood there and didn't do a thing. I didn't want them to get a rise out of me. But it did, so much it did.
- Another incident was when I was dropped off at the bus stop after school. We took the same bus since we lived in the same area. We always walked by this huge fruit tree. He picked up one of the fruits that had split open and threw it at me. It hit the side of my head and made juice run all down my head. My mother was there to take me home, as she walked the dog down to meet me. When she saw my head she asked me what happened and I told her. As we were walking down the block, she saw him and basically called him a bad name, one I won't repeat here. He was in shock, and it was in front of other adults. As far as I know, nothing happened.
- One time I was on my rollerblades (when they were cool) and was using them to skate to a friend's house. But my bully's block was along the way, and I was so scared of passing it because if he saw me, he would stop me. Sure enough, when I was skating by he saw me. I wasn't that good on skates yet, so he and his friends easily caught up with me and stopped me. I pleaded with them to let me go, and eventually, they did.
- The gum incident, as I like to call it. We were again on the bus on the way home (or to school, I forget that part), and one of the bully's friends was chewing gum. They took it upon themselves to slowly throw their gum into my hair. Of course, it was so small I didn't notice. At least until my hair was sticking together and it looked horrible. Fortunately, it didn't need to be cut, I was just able to wash it out. But it was quite humiliating for that to happen to me.
- One time he was bullying me again on the bus (notice a pattern here?), and I stopped by a friend's house and called my parents asking them to pick me up. I didn't tell them why; I just asked to be picked up. They said no (I think they knew why) and told me to walk home. Sure enough, my bully waited for me and berated me until I got past his house. The bullying was so bad I would purposely miss the bus just so I wouldn't have to be around or deal with him bullying me. It would upset my parents to no end that they would have to pick me up, but I was just too scared to ride on the same bus as my bully.
- Dreams. Yes, the bully was even in my dreams and still pops up from time to time. That is the effect a bully can have on someone. I have nightmares that he does all sorts of horrible things to me. When I was a kid, those dreams would be much worse and feel so much more real. I would wake up so upset after those nightmares.
- During lunchtime in school, I had to spend them in the library. I had friends I could be around, but I remember them not wanting me to hang around them too much just because of this bully. So I would quickly eat my lunch and spend the rest of my lunch period in the library. The librarian knew why I would spend my time in there, but again she wasn't too active in solving the problem. She was supportive and very nice. It made me feel comforted. However, I feel more should have been done to solve the problem.
- My house and my bully's house were close to one another. In fact, you could hear them in their backyard from my own backyard. I loved playing in my backyard. I would run with my dog, sit outside, etc. I enjoyed it. But if my bully heard me playing outside, he would yell at me from his backyard, throw things from his backyard into mine, etc. It made me not want to go into my own backyard anymore, and I know it made me more of a recluse.
- One of my bully's friends, who also bullied me, walked up to me one day. I immediately told him to stay away from me. He said that he just wanted to say he didn't plan on harassing me anymore. I honestly remember not believing him at all. And I know I told him okay, but I still didn't want him around me. I don't recall if he did anything after that or not.
The theme of all of these stories is that no authority figure stepped up to put a stop to it. Maybe my parents talked to his parents, but I don't remember that happening. But no one in my school did a thing to stop it.
What Bullying Did to Me
Just to outline some of the problems I felt I developed due to this bully:
- Social anxiety
- Trust issues
Now you can say that people always have those types of issues. But there were times that was all I felt. I was sick to my stomach, I was scared to go outside, and I didn't want to go to school. I know that bullying changed me as a person. Imagine if the internet, cell phones, and other such things were around at that time? He could have done so much more to harass me. Taken videos and posted them online. Tweeted stuff about me. You name it. It's no wonder children are dying by suicide due to this.
Warning Signs of Bullying
Watch for the warning signs for a child that could be bullied.
- Changes in behavior. I used to be an outgoing child, but that changed when I was bullied. I didn't want to go outside, hang out with friends, or go to school. Watch out for sudden mood swings, crying with no explanation, eating less, being unable to sleep at night, etc.
- School performance suffers. If grades start to drop, that could be a good sign of bullying. Mine suffered because all I could think about was avoiding my bully throughout the school day.
- Physical appearance is different. Clothing is torn or missing. There are cuts or bruises the child can't explain.
How to Prevent or Stop Bullying
There are ways you can help stop bullying.
- Ask questions. Inquire as to what is going on at school, why they could be eating less, who they hang out with, etc. Be persistent about it. No one wants to admit they are being bullied, as they can feel like it's their fault. But this can be the first step in helping the victim.
- Get involved. Get to know the child's friends, talk to the school, or contact the bully's parents directly to find a solution. My parents may have done something, but no one at my school did anything for me, despite knowing I was being bullied. Getting involved is very important.
- Tell the child to stand up for themselves. Violence should not be the solution, but sometimes it's necessary for a victim to stand up for themselves. I wish I had. Even a verbal confrontation can make a bully stand down.
How parents, teachers and kids can take action to prevent bullying.
- What Are the Best Ways to Prevent Bullying in Schools?
A new study identifies the most effective approaches to bullying prevention.
- How to Prevent Bullying | StopBullying.gov
Parents, school staff, and other adults can help prevent bullying.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: I was bullied when in high school it really affected me my relationships and the way I interact with people, how can I put this behind me?
Answer: Have you thought about receiving some sort of behavioral health assistance? Or talk to your family about it? Talking to a professional may make a world of difference.
Question: Do you easily cry when you see someone being bullied?
Answer: No, I can't say I do, then again I don't think I've seen someone bullied in a long time. If someone would cry from it, I would hope they would step in to try and stop it.
© 2012 David Livermore