Words can hardly describe the state you’re in. Walking down the street, you keep your eyes to the ground and, looking up from time to time, you feel people’s glances piercing your heart. There, a couple of girls, they are whispering, giggling, staring at you. Your stomach starts to ache and you quicken the pace. You want to run away from this place, away from these people … away from yourself.
Bullying, once experienced, can affect you even years later. I prefer walking in the dark to a stroll in sunlight. At night, there would be no one looking at me. It’s the last nasty habit that’s left, but an overpowering one. I’m working on getting rid of it at last, and I’m making progress, but it will still accompany me for a while.
It’s a sad truth that this was done to me by people who are more pitiable than I’ve ever been. By unsatisfied, unsuccessful, unloved teenagers projecting their hatred onto me. They weren’t blessed with a loving family nor special achievements in school, didn’t have real friends and had been left alone too soon. They were not as happy as I was. And they envied me that happiness. So they decided, possibly being unconscious about it themselves, to make me as unhappy as they were.It started with calling names, then they would ignore me, later destroy my school equipment. No one talked to me. They didn’t tell me why, but I assumed I knew it. My marks were too good, my clothes too average, my cheeks too chubby. I was sure, it couldn’t be them. It simply had to be me, for all of them had agreed on detesting me. But my family kept telling me that I mustn’t blame myself, otherwise the others would have won already. With their support, I worked up the courage to confront my teacher. He started a class talk and threatened the bullies with punishments. Being confronted with my pain, the eyes of many of the hangers-on had been opened. I found a friend and it all slowed down when because of a school project the classes were newly assorted. I became part of a large group of lovely people sharing my attitude towards life. I was happy again, if not necessarily healed.
But I had gained a certain self-consciousness and confidence from discussing my situation with the bullies, being observed by a teacher. I understood that their arguments for hating me were unfounded and started to believe that I shouldn’t blame myself for their behaviour. During the period of my bullying I had withdrawn from my peers, but not changed my attitude towards school, family and life itself. I had still uttered my opinion in class and later didn’t regret it. Doing so, people didn’t stop bullying me, but I showed them they had not yet knocked me down. It might have made them angry, but saved my personality. Eventually, I got through with it and could be myself completely.
So, here are a few tips to face bullying and remain true to yourself. I know, it’s far from easy, but you won’t regret making a try.
#1 Don’t be ashamed.
#2 Don’t blame yourself.
You’re not the only one. People aren’t really bullied because they might lack in anything that is regarded important in youth culture. The bullies keep telling you so because they believe it to be the reason themselves. They would never admit that bullying someone else makes them think less of their own problems (they might not even be conscious about it!). By making you their victim, they distract other people in order not to become a victim themselves. Also, followers of the ‘big bullies’ may act in the same way.
Being bullied doesn’t mean you’re hated. Mostly, it dosn’t even have something to do with you personally. The real victim is the bully, projecting the hatred against his or her problematic life onto you. Even if the bullies are ‘popular’ people, that doesn’t say they’re happy. You don’t know what’s going on in their private lives, if they might be unsatisfied in their relationship or have no family to get moral support from. Still, that’s no excuse to treat you badly, but might help you as an explanation.
#4 Tell someone you trust.
#5 Let others help you.
This could either be someone from your family, a close friend or a teacher/colleague. Tell this person what the bullies did to you and talk about your feelings. Try to discuss possiblities to face the bullies in a situation they can’t take advantage of – e.g. an open talk in class. Don’t keep everything to yourself; if there’s no one you want to confide in, call a helpline. And don’t try to confront the bully on your own. It might be successful, but there’s a great risk to it.
#6 Try not to hide from public life.
I know, it’s incredibly hard. But it only adds to your pain and you start to support the bullies by not socializing and therefore isolating yourself. Meet with friends and family as often as possible, go out in the company of people you trust in and try to enjoy life. Making yourself happy is the best way to escape bullies.
Be yourself; changing your behaviour in order to please the bullies won’t make them stop. And if yes, it wouldn’t satisfy you either. At some point, just being yourself will make you meet with people who will accept and admire you the way you are. I’ve found true friends myself. Just keep believing in yourself.
Lots of love to all of you.