I was bullied in grade school and junior high. This is my story.
If you are having suicidal thoughts in any way, then please call the National Prevention Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
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 became 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.
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 being 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 them 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 were 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 at a friend's house and called my parents asking them to pick me up. I didn't tell them why, just asking 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 lunchtimes 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 was 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 friend's, 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 to 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 type of issues. But there were times that was all I felt. I was sick to my stomach, I was scared to go outside, 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, 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: 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.
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.
© 2012 David Livermore
David Livermore (author) from Bakersfield, California, United States on April 18, 2020:
Bystanders react how most people do in any situation like that. They watch and rarely intervene. They may know about it, but don't speak up. They may see it, but don't put a stop to it.
That isn't to say it can't happen. One of my bully's friends came up to me and said he was going to stop bullying me, and he did. So some can own up to their mistake and stop the bullying. But really, I don't see people stepping in at all.
Uchenna Lizmay Umeh on April 18, 2020:
Hi, I am writing a book on bullying. I am a pediatrician and speaker on youth suicide. I would like to know your thoughts about bystanders.
John Dove on May 20, 2019:
Bullying has no place anywhere! But especially in schools entrusted with our children's education. It is damaging to the psycho and taints the learning experience. Terrible!
Niquel Cozart from New Jersey suburb on October 15, 2014:
This is a very important hub. It should wake people up to what it's like for children in schools that are being bullied. I am very involved in my children's experiences are in school. You are not alone, I too know how difficult being bullied can affect one's life. Thanks for sharing.
Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on September 02, 2013:
Thank you for putting this out there David, in your usual compassionate, eloquent way. Bullying is endemic, and perhaps has been forever. I was bullied in Junior High by the 'school bully'. Years later I learned that he had been bullied at home by his Dad from early childhood on, and was what we now call "attention deficit disordered" but in those days was just considered a belligerent kid by the teachers. I once watched a teacher take the opportunity of banging his head up against a goal post during a game of soccer. Part of me was a little thrilled that he got his 'come-uppance' but part of me was shocked that a teacher could also be violent. As a mother, my heart broke when my child was bullied for a while in middle school. But in high school he found his 'voice' so to speak, and is a strong adult, teacher, good parent. I'm hoping that he is able to counter bullying in his school. The best books I've read on the topic are "The Bullied, The Bully, and The Bystander" by Adlerian author/educator, Barbara Coloroso and Gavin de Becker's "The Gift of Fear" and "Protecting the Gift". As one commenter stated "it's such a huge topic". Again, thank you!
tamron on May 21, 2013:
I didn't have many female bullies mostly males because of my build. I was like a gentle giant to those kids.
I was scared to go to the bus stop because of my bully. So I skipped school mom found out. So she walked and waited at the bus stop with me.
When I got off the bus after school. I had a ton of books and my bully chased me. There was a kiddy pool the bully shoved me and my expensive books into the pool.
My mom took a broom stick and broke it over her leg the next morning.
She said don't come home until you beat the living hell out of him. I beat him at the bus stop right as the bus was coming so everyone seen me beat him up.
I beat him good. I made sure he wasn't going to get up and beat me up.
I got into trouble but it was worth it.
I was thinking you should Google or search Facebook for your bully and confront him.
Let him know how his bulling affected you. This is the only way you will get closer and start to heal those open wounds.
It obvious it is still effecting your life.
David Livermore (author) from Bakersfield, California, United States on November 20, 2012:
Wow, that's horrible. Sorry to hear that even a boss can do it. I'm a supervisor myself, and can realize the horrible spot that must have put you in. Thanks for your comment.
wabash annie from Colorado Front Range on November 20, 2012:
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. I, too, remember the name of the person who bullied me in school. I also remember the name of the last person who bullied me ... it was my supervisor at work. They are out there, no matter their age.
David Livermore (author) from Bakersfield, California, United States on October 25, 2012:
I hope so, it's been nice to see the reaction I am receiving. Mostly understand and encouragement. I hope that shows victims of bullying that they aren't alone either. Thank you for your comment.
Lisa McKnight from London on October 25, 2012:
Thanks for writing this. I think it is another brave step on the path to healing from bullying to write about it. There are so many people affected by this kind of behaviour too and I am sure they will find encouragement in your words. I don't like bullying and I don't think anyone is immune to it. At some point in your life it does happen and it is never pleasant, funny or appropriate. Thanks again for standing up!
H Lax on October 24, 2012:
I wrote an article about bullying that I first wrote in school back in about 2004. The movie One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is all about the ramifications of bullying even into adulthood. Watching that movie was what made me aware of the severity of the effects caused by bullys.
David Livermore (author) from Bakersfield, California, United States on October 24, 2012:
I have received a lot of support since putting my story out there. I don't think it's been realized yet that being bullied can have lasting ramifications even into adulthood.
Thank you for your comments, they are appreciated.
H Lax on October 24, 2012:
You did a superb job of getting your story out there and giving examples of what bullies do and what to look for. It breaks my heart that you, along with so many other people, had to or still have to deal with people who do these horrible things. I have been a strong advocate against bullying for quite a while now and I think that your suggestions were right on! While some schools are bringing bullying discussions into their environment, I think they could do so much more. By now, children should know not to stand by and watch these things happen to anybody. It's a shame that they still do, as in the video, which was amazing. I have talked to my son about how important it is for him to stand up against bullies whether they are bullying him or anybody around him. I hope that he will do the right thing or that he has if he has found himself in that situation. I have often thought about how much worse it is now with the internet and all. I'm so glad we didn't have internet when we were kids. I have some of my son's friends as friends on facebook and I always put messages out there against bullying. I know that some have become more thoughtful because of it. We still have a lot of work ahead of us to get it anywhere near the end but you have put a great start out there. Thanks for sharing your story. Voted +++
David Livermore (author) from Bakersfield, California, United States on October 22, 2012:
My hope is that more people come forward with their own experiences and show their children how easy it is to express if they are being bullied. Thank you so much for your comments.
Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on October 22, 2012:
This is such a huge topic - both in our current times and historically. While it's great that we finally have attention to it (because of the Internet), it's sad that this sort of thing was ignored for many generations.
Thanks for sharing your experience being bullied - and I am so sorry you had to go through all that!