October is Anti-Bullying month. After reading a number of posts on other blogs about bullying, I did some serious thinking about my own bullying experience.
I was viciously bullied for the first four years of high school. From the time I was 12 years old until I was sixteen. During this time, I was emotionally and physically abused. I was hit, kicked, and punched. I had a plethora of awful nicknames. Boys would wave lit matches along the ends of my hair on the school bus, singeing it, while whispering in my ear that they wished I would burn to death. One boy regularly threatened that he would come to my house and kill my pets. I was spat on in the hallways at school. P.E was my least favourite class, because it opened up a range of new torture options to my bullies. On the sports field, it was easy to pass off a trip, a punch or a jab as an accident. They could say whatever they wanted to me without the teacher hearing. It got to the point where I was terrified to leave my own bedroom. I was lonely and depressed.
The worst part of being bullied wasn’t the physical abuse. It wasn’t the name calling or threats. The worst part wasn’t having boys trying to put their hands up my skirt when I walked past, or having a girl grab my arm and bend it painfully behind me, boasting that she was going to break it.
The worst part of being bullied was constantly asking the question, “Why me?”
I spent years wondering what it was about me that attracted the bullies. I wasted countless hours trying to understand why they hated me so much, and why they’d chosen me to pick on. Television and movies had taught me that there are always bullies, and bullies need somebody to bully. I just couldn’t understand why that person had to be me.
I asked myself this question over and over. I figured that if I could identify that one offensive quality that made them despise me, then I could change it and they’d leave me alone.
Spending so much time actively looking for reasons why people didn’t like me took it’s toll. Asking “Why me?” forced me to focus on all the negative parts of myself. All this critical thinking wreaked havoc on my self worth, and created a constant feeling of self loathing.
The worst part of being bullied was that question, “Why me?” By forcing me to ask that question over and over, my bullies had inadvertently created a situation where I slowly dismantled my own self esteem from within. I actually helped them to break down my belief in myself, and to destroy every shred of self confidence I had. I wasted so much time and energy looking for reasons why I wasn’t worthy of their acceptance, when I should have been spending that time celebrating all the reasons why the most important people in my life loved me. That was the worst thing about being bullied.