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Bullying is a strange thing to live through.  The years of accepting it as a facet of life is near soul crushing, and trying to lift the guilt and shame and humiliation of it all from your back is enough to send people crazy.  The culmination of it all nearly was the end for me, but I am still here, so I guess I'm still alive.

A lot of it fades into the past for me, thankfully.  But one day in particular stands out.  It wasn't the daily beatings, emotional and physical.  The betrayals of trust and confidence.  The teachers who turned a blind eye or said it was a natural part of school life, and that it would pass and I just needed to stand up for myself.  Or the teacher who would actively bully me for all of year 4 herself in front of the class, leaving me even less people to go to for help.

No, it was the day of my new haircut.  I was 11 years old.

The night before I went with my parents to the local shopping centre.  It was a Thursday night, which was the only night available for shopping after 5:30pm (it's Australia folks, what can I say?).  My mum dropped me off at the barbers to get a haircut before the next day's school.  Usually, she waited on the bench outside and read Australian Women's Weekly while the italian men in the shop set to cutting your hair.  They knew their business, even if every hairstyle they gave you was rather conservative.  But then again, I was a kid, I didn't get to choose my haircut, my mum did.  Just like she chose my clothes, every damn year, which somehow always turned out to be the daggiest (Aussie for lamest) things ever.

However, this time was different.  I don't know the circumstances, but she dropped me off and said to get a haircut, before hurrying off to buy who-knows-what.  Left to sit on the cold but rapidly warming vinyl seats, I thought of many ways to have my hair done.  Parted to the left?  To the right perhaps?  Rakishly combed from front to back?  Or even the completely bogan rat tail?

No, I decided to get what is completely common around today.  A crew cut.  Number 1, all over, just like the US sailors that had come into Fremantle Port recently, which the media loved to make a scandal about, and the regular australian man hated.

When my mum came back to fetch me, she was in shock.  I still remember her face now.  Well, actually, it's the same face she always puts on when she is shocked.  Anywhere from mildly to dumbstruck, it's always the same mouth open, eyes bulging "what have you done" face.  There were no in-betweens for my Mum.  It was either the worst thing in the world or not a big deal.  Me falling off my bike and scraping the hell out of my legs?  Not a big deal.  Me coming home with a letter from my teacher?  Huge freaking massively big "end of the world" deal.

So, I was standing there, recently shorn, my mother standing aghast and the italian men behind me smiling sheepishly.  I had a grin on my face, and she berated me about how radical I had gone, how I would be teased etc, but I didn't care.  I got to make this decision, and I liked it.  Dad just laughed, and took us home.

But, by the next morning, the fear had set in.  Every day was a new test in seeing what inventive ways the other kids could hound me, try to hurt me, or isolate me.  It was standard by that time.  I walked to school, not taking the open path across the big sports oval near my home, for fear of making myself an easy target.  I took the long way out the back of the school where the teachers parked at the end of the day so I wouldn't be confronted out the front of it.  Depending on how bad my day was, I strategised.  I spent time in the library to kill time and let the majority go home, or at least have some parents around, so they wouldn't attack me in front of them.  That was always the funniest, having kids act so sugary sweet to me in front of their parents, only to be abused once they had gone out of sight.

So, I made my way to school this morning.  Now regretting my choice of haircut for the attention it would bring, I wore a cap on my head.  A cap in late winter.  Never before had I worn one to school.  And it was not-inconspicuous either.  Bright white with a red brim.  Clashed marvellously with my dark green and yellow pinstriped school uniform.  As soon as I got close to the school, I could already see the stares, and the other kids talking.  Thought to myself that I should just bluff my way through, and try to make it into the classroom.  If I could hold up there until class started, I could at least get some cover from my teacher.

"Hey idiot, why are you wearing the hat?" came the first call.  I ignored it.  "What's the matter, you lost your hair?" came another, followed by mocking laughter".  Focus, just keep going, the ramp up to the corridor isn't too far away.

Another skidded in on his bmx bike and tried to snatch my hat away.  I fended him off.  Girls came up smiling to greet me and then tried to lunge and grab my hat.  I put both hands on my head and held it on and ran, the stormy sound of pencils, texta's and books rhythmically sounding in my backpack against my plastic lunchbox.

I had almost made it up the ramp and inside before I was tripped.  I fell, hard, against the door-frame, and I was knocked silly.  I groggily got up, but was pushed over another's leg and landed on my face on the carpet.  Still had my hat though, so I got up again and ran, trailing a legion of kids behind me.

I made it to the classroom.  I thought it was safe territory.  The classroom was always supposed to be a place of quiet listening, of order and planned methodology.  It was to be my sanctum, my refuge, my bastion against them and their hate for me.  Not today.

I was quickly corralled to the back of the room.  The questions and accusations flying at me while my terror filled eyes sought a way out.  Why was I wearing a hat.  What was I afraid of.  What couldn't I show them.  Who did I think I was.  The years of the hate, beatings and abuse began stacking high upon me.  I was being shoved from all sides.  Hands grabbing at me to pull me down and hands grabbing at my hat.  I began to cry, tears streaming down my face and mucus running freely from my nose.  I began scream and hyperventilate.  My hat was torn from my head, but my hands still grasped onto it, holding onto it like it was my last shred of sanity.  I fell backwards onto the ground, feeling like a trapped and tormented animal, pressing my back into the wall and wanting to try and escape or disappear or... anything.  A large tortured cry escaped my throat and I felt my world collapse in on itself.  It wasn't going to end.  There was no escape.  There was no one to look out for me.  This was it, this was my fate.

It was at that time that the teacher came into the room and yelled out "what the hell is going on here?".  Children, now come to their senses after their wild screaming stood silent, arms quickly going to their sides, their mouths open slackly as if wanting to offer an explanation but having none.  And in the middle sat me, crying hysterically, hyperventilating and still gripping my hat in my hands, my face awash in tears and snot.

I was led outside and was allowed to go to the bathroom to clean myself up.  I looked a mess.  I was still in shock, breathing erratically and crying.  I washed my face a dozen times until I calmed down.  I was then allowed to sit outside on the bench under the pegs that we hooked our bags onto, and then I got to come back into the class.  The teacher had asked me what was wrong, but all I could say was that they had tried to take my hat.  I couldn't communicate the years of abuse at their hands, for fear he wouldn't believe me.  I couldn't say what they had done for so many years, the myriad of tortures that ruled my life.  All I could say was that they wanted my hat.

He patted me on my head, told the other kids during recess to knock it off, and the day progressed as normal.  But not for me.

I had lost everything I had.  Any shred of dignity I held for myself was gone.  I couldn't fight any more.  There were too many.  It was too much.  Lunch that day tasted like ash in my mouth, and I sat alone in the quadrangle, huddled in a corner.  The other kids kept away from me, or looked and whispered before running off.  The fight left my body and I sat broken.

After that it was just easier to take the beatings.  I didn't try to defend myself, or say something pointed or try to deflect.  I just took it.  I now have a weird habit of smiling and laughing at spiteful comments thrown my way.  It's just easier than trying to fight.

I often think back to that day, and wonder what I would change if I could go back.  The thought of hurting those who hurt me enters my mind, but only briefly.  If this has taught me one thing, it's that hate against any person, whether they deserve it or not is never constructive.  But my present day self could go back to that day.

I dream of being able to storm into the room, bat away the pesky brats surround my child self, and gathering him up into my big arms before taking him away from that place.  I'd hold him close to myself, letting him cry, while calming him down.  I'd tell him it was ok, that I would never let them touch him ever again.  I'd put his hat back on his head and press him into my shoulder, letting him cry out all the frustration of his short life.  And I would hold him until he was able to put back together the part of himself that was broken.

It's never the one event by itself.  It multiple.  And it builds on top of each previous humiliation, every word and every hit.  And you reach your limit and you just break, and you're not the same any more.  The potential of who you could be is shortened and it affects your life for a long time.  Potentially the rest of your life.

I am 36 now, and I am diagnosed with acute anxiety and long-term depression.  I am trying Pristiq and Zyban, even though it's expensive to do so.  The medication wrecks my body temp and I still find it hard to leave the house, but at least the crushing depression isn't as acute.

I am trying to get my own business running, but I am failing.  I can't manage myself and feel trapped by my own lack of ability at functioning to get things done, but I don't want to give up.  Problem is, I don't even know if this is something I really want to do, or something that I am just doing in lieu of not knowing what else to do.

For years I have been dreaming of just giving all of my old life up, donning some monk style robes, and walking across the world with just a staff and a small cart for what I need.  China to Europe, across America, then across Australia, from Sydney to Perth.  And coming home finally, a different person than I left.

I barely stepped outside my front door today.

6:24 PM PT: The rec list?  I am honoured.  First time for me.  Thank you all who have read this, I really appreciate it.  If you have a story to tell, feel free to tell it below or let others know of any diary you write.

Originally posted to TDP on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 05:14 PM PDT.

Also republished by House of LIGHTS and Personal Storytellers.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (183+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weck, Horace Boothroyd III, hotdamn, SallyCat, Margd, Lorikeet, Wisper, blueoasis, wasatch, Vayle, marykk, twigg, Cassandra Waites, vacantlook, CT yanqui, Demeter Rising, Tamar, starfu, postmodernista, Terranova0, lapin, ChurchofBruce, EdSF, Blazehawkins, elmo, anodnhajo, nancat357, Dallasdoc, zaka1, bnasley, lovespiral, Ekaterin, sarakandel, ms badger, m00finsan, Ree Zen, FiredUpInCA, jhop7, Safina, theKgirls, cai, gmats, raster44, Dreaming of Better Days, FarWestGirl, kathny, dtruth, dirtfarmer, greenbird, 73rd virgin, Naniboujou, shortgirl, Chaddiwicker, corpsechorus, WI Deadhead, entrelac, rose quartz, Lefty Coaster, implicate order, Son of a Cat, stellaluna, SadieSue, DaveP, arizonablue, No one gets out alive, Steveningen, ladybug53, petulans, Lujane, jhb90277, princess Kes, dejavu, BRog, bookbear, Flying Goat, Bionic, pixxer, gizmo59, magicsister, grannysally, LoreleiHI, scribe, geebeebee, mconvente, nuclear winter solstice, DamselleFly, fumie, ontheleftcoast, rmx2630, Stein, Renee, uciguy30, Chrislove, greengemini, peptabysmal, sfarkash, Its a New Day, leavingthezoo, dotsright, doingbusinessas, kyril, radical simplicity, noemie maxwell, smrichmond, Kitsap River, devis1, soarbird, mofembot, FogCityJohn, peachcreek, hulagirl, SolarMom, SanFernandoValleyMom, La Gitane, chimene, Creosote, helpImdrowning, Dave925, kaliope, donaurora, SCFrog, SaraBeth, reginahny, KRYPTOS, msdobie, northsylvania, Beezzley, SwedishJewfish, mamamorgaine, Mark E Andersen, momEEE, bumbi, JoanMar, letsgetreal, Texknight, sweeper, Matt Z, Sarella Sand, ClapClapSnap, Foundmyvoice, political mutt, BlueInARedState, gloriana, eeff, allensl, kimoconnor, offred, Melanie in IA, zerelda, gustynpip, BlackBandFedora, jennyp, aravir, dwayne, Emerson, Heart of the Rockies, kevin k, manneckdesign, Preston S, be the change you seek, get the red out, blue aardvark, DixieDishrag, regis, hopeful, Dont Just Stand There, my2petpeeves, jillwklausen, MaikeH, Russgirl, Unit Zero, oldmanriver, Roxine, Sean Robertson, ardyess, JayRaye, Catte Nappe, laserhaas, TX Freethinker, Iron Spider, Regina in a Sears Kit House, Joy of Fishes, 2thanks

    I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

    by TDP on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 05:14:12 PM PDT

  •  Recommend a book that might help (40+ / 0-)

    "The Depression Cure: The 6-step program to beat depression without drugs" by Stephen Ilardi. Last name spelled I - l - ardi.

    It goes through the basics. Exercise, diet, "don't think, do" sleeping, etc.

    Good luck.

    It sounds like you are in a real tail spin.

    In my own case, self hatred was constant and horrible. I have grown out of it.

    Easier said than done: stop beating yourself up.

    •  Thank you for recommending the book (16+ / 0-)

      From the reviews it looks really good, and certainly makes a lot of sense.  I will have to order a copy for myself and a few friends of mine who experience the same problems.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 05:41:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good words. (30+ / 0-)
      stop beating yourself up.
      Sometimes you get so used to others doing that when they aren't you fill in the gaps for them.

      If it had not been for my mom, I would not be here today.
      I lost her in in 2010 and I hope I am never so low as I was.
      So many good things have happened for me after her passing and the worst part is I can share non of those things with her, to let her see how much she made a difference.

      But again, very good words.

      stop beating yourself up.

      -6.38, -6.21: Lamented and assured to the lights and towns below, Faster than the speed of sound, Faster than we thought we'd go, Beneath the sound of hope...

      by Vayle on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 05:47:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's exactly it (41+ / 0-)

        The school yard bullying stopped over 20 years ago, but it had such a dramatic impact on my life that now I do it to myself.

        That's one thing that some people don't understand unless they have experienced it.  It is weird, and you think you would be of the mindset "Phew, thank goodness that's over, it will be smoother sailing from here on out".  But it's not how it goes.

        Thanks for your words, they are appreciated.

        I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

        by TDP on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 05:58:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the bullying, the repeated destruction of your (40+ / 0-)

          trust in yourself, others, people in authority, undercuts all your self-confidence and impairs your ability to believe in yourself. I don't find it surprising at all that it continues to haunt you and damage your everyday life.
          My youngest was bullied (not physically) when she was 3 by another girl and her followers in her preschool. You'd think -- oh, little kids, no big deal, but it was a very big deal for her. The thing is that 3-year-olds, unlike the kids you dealt with, aren't all that good at hiding it, and on a visit to the school I saw it happening.
          But her two teachers swore up & down it was nothing, the director of the school told me I was exaggerating -- we were being over-anxious (this was our 3rd child so I don't think I was all that over-anxious). Luckily, I happened to be talking to another mother who told me that this same bully had picked on her daughter the year before -- when they were 2 1/2! this little girl was just born mean.
          We met with the director and insisted they do something so they had a behaviorist in and restructured the classroom. It greatly improved things, although there was still some nastiness on the playground. When my daughter told me of an incident on the playground, I did something I've never done with my kids before -- I've always tried to help my children understand other people's point of view and understand why someone might act badly. But I'd had enough -- I said to my daughter: "Chloe is just a stupid, mean little girl and you don't have to listen to anything she says." And believe it or not, that really helped.
          But it was a couple of years before my social, cheerful little daughter was very trusting about her friendships.
          If some relatively minor bullying that was mainly stopped affected a 3-year-old for a couple of years, what does years of more severe bullying do to a person?
          I'm glad you wrote this and hope you find some sources of support soon. You deserve better than to feel awful about yourself because of the horrible behavior of others.

          We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

          by Tamar on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 06:33:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You need to reprogram your inner dialog. It (19+ / 0-)

          sounds weird, but giving yourself a positive script to repeat silently to yourself to replace the destructive ones that the bullies implanted really works and it takes no time or expense. It may feel a little silly at first, but no one can hear it and it helps.

          Peace

          Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

          by FarWestGirl on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 07:06:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your suggestion is so valid, but perhaps it (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bumbi, TDP

            needs a little more specificity and detail to truly be of value.  I for one totally appreciate where you are coming from but more information may be necessary to accomplish the desired goals.

            "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

            by helpImdrowning on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 04:13:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  My mother sang me a silly song I still sing to (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TDP

            myself sometimes. ... And it always makes me laugh it's so ridiculous.

            Nobody likes me,
            Everybody hates me,
            Guess I'll go eat worms.
            Fat ones, skinny ones,
            Ooshy, gooshy, gooshy ones,
            Worms that wiggle and squirm.
            First one's greasy, slips down easy
            Second one sticks to m' tongue
            Third one's rusted,
            Fourth one's busted,
            Fifth one tries to run,
            Bum Bum!

            Stop the party of Gut & Spend policies that gut our Earned Benefits programs like Social Security and Medicare and spends on tax breaks for the wealthy elite.

            by jillwklausen on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 08:05:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  the litany (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TDP

            that's the clencher....stopping the internal telemarketing script that keeps selling you on how much you suck.

            it does feel silly, but it's good advice. i was told recently that it's now believed that your cognitive paths are deepened over time, so that quite literally you reinforce your thought patterns through repeated thinking.
            it's a bitch to re-route that river, but it can be done.

            for specificity, right down everything that litany says. then write down the exact opposite of that shit. then memorize it.

            ignore the litany that says this is stupid. repeat the litany that says it is not. eventually the positive one will get louder. it's worth the work.

            When life gives you lemons, don't elect them to Congress.

            by papa monzano on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 10:13:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you for this diary, TDP. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MaikeH, TDP

          I can vouch for much of what you've said, because I've undergone a bit of it myself. When I was young, I was eventually bullied in pretty much every new social situation that I became a part of, from the kids on the street, to swimming lessons, to summer camp. There was probably just a certain something, some set of missed social cues that I've never been able to "get," that would lead in short order to this treatment. At school, because of a language immersion program, I was in the same class cohort, for better or for worse, for about twelve years. This meant that I didn't even have the possibility of trying to reinvent myself, because all of the old baggage was brought along from year to year.

          Things ended positively for me. With that class, the homeroom teacher essentially conducted an intervention, holding a special class meeting to discuss the bullying. In retrospect, this seems like a laughably big risk to have taken; the whole thing could have gone horribly wrong, and I have trouble imagining that this tactic would work with the current generation coming through school. But the weird thing was that it was like a reset button: once the students were asked, for just a moment, to think about what they were doing, the vast majority seemed to come to some realization, like "oh yeah, I guess that's sort of stupid" -- and started treating me half decently. This is not to say that some of them didn't relapse: the "intervention" took place in middle school, and there was still plenty of bad shit to go through in high school, on top of a new set of bullies. But some of my erstwhile antagonists became friends.

          I'm not going to say that all this didn't take a toll. I continued to have self-esteem issues for many years afterwards; even today, I struggle a bit. I've chosen a profession that is largely made up of introverts such as myself (though the standards of that profession are, with market pressures, becoming more extroverted by the day), and while that's worked out for the best, I do wonder what could have been if I had been treated differently, or if I had just had a bit more of that "X" factor that seems to exempt many young people from being teased.

          When Dan Savage and others started posting videos as part of the "It Gets Better" project a couple of years ago, I nearly cried in recognition. I'm straight, and can barely fathom some of the difficulties that many young gay adolescents go through growing up, before they are able to find a community of like-minded people. But I still felt a shock of recognition: the sense that some arbitrary personal trait had been chosen by others as justification for bullying was not at all foreign to me.

          I don't want to claim that it unequivocally always Does Get Better. As TDP has testified, these experiences leave scars. But the important thing to recognize is that out there, beyond the myopic, ignorant brutality of the bullies -- whether young or adult -- life still has possibilities, if we can only find a way to hang on and to partake in them.

          Thanks again for your words, TDP.

          Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

          by Dale on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 07:28:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for this Dale (0+ / 0-)

            I also have to agree, I have had it a lot easier than if I was gay.  I was brought up in a Christian house, and when we shifted to an evangelical church, the rhetoric was passed onto me.  However, I only saw them as being "icky", and hated when I was called gay (because it's wrong, right?).

            All my ideas changed when I hit high school.  I was well into puberty, and knew that people couldn't help being born how they were.  We were told to not make fun of the ill, sick, or those with disabilities.  Why shouldn't we also love our brothers who love men, or sisters who love women?  I am not wanting to sound like I am saying gay, lesbian or transgender people have a disability, as I don't see it that, way, so I apologise if I am inelegant with my words.  It's just if I am to follow the teachings of Christ, then every man is my brother, and all women are my sisters.  And who they love is no business of mine to interfere, but if anything, I wish to encourage their love of others.  And I couldn't give a hoot if it's a same sex relationship or not.  Just that they love and are loved.

            If anything this world needs more of, it's love.

            I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

            by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 08:26:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  If I beat myself up, I preempt them. (9+ / 0-)

        And at 52 I still do. Just ask my beloved.

        Organ donors save lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate.

        Why are war casualty counts "American troops" and "others" but never "human beings"?

        by Kitsap River on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 10:54:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  {{{{KR}}}} (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TDP, bumbi, papa monzano

          It's a girl thing, maybe. I'm 59 and still can't interact with people very well. I tend to anticipate how unpleasant a conversation might be and then get discouraged beforehand.

          "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

          by northsylvania on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 04:20:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Both of these are me as well (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bumbi, northsylvania

            Pre-conceive the possible outcome as a negative, self sabotage beforehand, and then discouragement of going to anything.  Beat myself up before they get a chance, so I won't have to hear them say it. I can stay at home and get all the humiliation I need.  Don't need them to do it for me.

            Often though, I have been proved wrong.  But it never stops me.

            I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

            by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 08:29:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  stood at the bus stop (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TDP, northsylvania

            every morning before junior high and played out scripts of what my perceived conversations would be that day, preparing my defenses against other people.

            i used to believe kids would get better as adults. that's not necessarily true. being an adult has simply allowed those of us who were fucked with to find each other more easily. the majority of my fellow citizens still horrify and disappoint me.

            i'm now a guy who doesn't look like he would ever have been messed with in school, which heightens the "you're overreacting" response when I try and share the past that brought me to the person I am today. nothing feels quite like the wholesale invalidation of your trauma by someone you're confessing private emotions to...

            When life gives you lemons, don't elect them to Congress.

            by papa monzano on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 10:19:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yep. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TDP

              Don't want to hear it, don't want to know. It definitely leaves a hollow spot.
              That being said, at least the wonders of the interwebs prove that there are a lot of us out there and among them are some delightful people. The diary and the subsequent posts have been a big help. Thanks all.

              "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

              by northsylvania on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 02:16:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  mine was (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TDP

          if i destroy myself before my misdeed is found out, there's no need for outside punishment.

          what strange child-logic that was, and still is sometimes.

          When life gives you lemons, don't elect them to Congress.

          by papa monzano on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 10:15:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I'm glad the book (20+ / 0-)

      worked for you, but sometimes the bullying isn't just in school and I think many of us come out of it thinking there is something terribly wrong with us and that gets so ingrained that it is very hard to overcome.  Years of therapy helped me, until I became disabled, and now I find myself having to defend myself again in a society that has been told disabled people are lazy, drug addicts, or mentally ill.  But, after six brain surgeries I'm not sure how they can expect to pick up from where I was before all the surgeries especially when I was barely able to walk and not able to hold my balance prior to the first surgery.

      Yesterday I had an incident of someone questioning me about being disabled.  On good days I can hold my balance somewhat and walk with caution.  But, now people who don't really know me all that well feel they have a right to question and bully me for not being completely paralyzed.  So, once again, I'm being bullied by people without no medical knowledge or understanding of how the brain functions after six invasive surgeries and all because the Republicans have told them it is OK to bully disabled people.

      "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

      by zaka1 on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 07:10:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You touch on a really important point: (15+ / 0-)

        how people learn and take their cues from what's going on culturally.  It's not just kids, and national mood matters.  If the national discourse is cruel...

        •  Exactly, (10+ / 0-)

          just look at history and how certain groups rise up against other groups.  It is all done by bullying, lying and creating a victim which has worked so well for Republicans in this country.  Sometimes those who are being vilified can't rise above the rhetoric because others have adapted a mindset that isn't easily overcome.  

          The whole saying what doesn't kill you makes you stronger is such a lie, because it does do harm, it is just the victims have to adapt to living life differently than others who are not effected.  And it is a life lived in caution and fear.  It is like trying to become invisible in a world that hates you for being who and what you are or a world that sets standards way beyond what most humans can accomplish.  

          "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

          by zaka1 on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 07:50:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  "If the national discourse is cruel..." (13+ / 0-)

          something I ran across while researching something else and I don't have a link. But apparently, before we got into the war to end all wars:

          Wilson had been worried about the effects the war would have on the homefront. He "feared the American people would forget there was any such thing as tolerance. To fight you must be brutal," he said, "and the spirit of ruthless brutality will enter the very fiber of our national life, infecting the courts, the policeman on the beat, the man in the street."
          and so it goes. We don't seem to acknowledge that we have been a nation at war for...how long now? But like a tooth-ache that causes pain and irritability far beyond its root, we are a country infected and inflamed.
          •  That is so profound (7+ / 0-)

            and true.  Just look how our country has changed since 9/11, and eight years of Bush.  Look how crazy people have become after a decade of war and the election of President Obama.  Even people like Michelle Bachmann come out and say things like the President is a terrorist and/or a Muslin, blah, blah, blah.  The Republicans and people like Bachmann have whipped up, inflamed, and infected the minds of people.  Not everyone who follows a certain faith is a terrorist or something to be feared.  There are a hell of a lot of good people in this world of all colors and faiths.  But, this labelling and compartmentalizing of people is stirring the pot and creating intolerance beyond a point of no return.  

            Think of the things we have supposedly become so intolerant of in this country, the poor, the uninsured, the middle class, the handicapped, any non-Christain, etc., etc.  I'm very sadden by all this because a better world is up to us to create, we are the ones that should create heaven on earth and instead we are creating hell.

            "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

            by zaka1 on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 09:44:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  How true and how profound. n/t (5+ / 0-)

            "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

            by helpImdrowning on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 04:17:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  A wonderful wonderful thought by Wilson. (2+ / 0-)

            When Australians returned from service after WW1 and the failed Gallipoli campaign, that was about the time we started developing our own national identity.  Being used as sheep for the slaughter on the Western Front and at Gallipoli for British interests caused a schism.

            Hence why on Anzac day the motto has ever been "Lest we forget".  We should not forget the stupidity and foolishness of war.

            Unfortunately, with the right wing having been in control under John Howard, our remembrance of Anzac day has now slowly morphed into a nationalistic ideal of Australians going to war to defeat those who would dare to... well who knows what.  I fear that as time progresses, it will more and more become a ritual for encouraging xenophobia, rather than a condemnation of war and it's hideous consequences, for everyone involved.

            I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

            by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 08:35:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  My sister bullied me and others. (5+ / 0-)

        As a child, I always remember my conservative sister being mean to me and other females.  In front of adults she was sugary sweet, but at school she would bully other girls.  At home, she would pick fights with me to get a reaction and my mom would punish both of us, because she believed that was fair.

        I think that my mom being in total denial of the person my sister was/is was a major problem.  To this day, my mom can't believe that my sister is anything other than the sugary sweet little girl.  My sister is in her late twenties and she is still mean.  But she has upgraded her meaness to those catty comments that are meant to humiliate myself and other females while at the same time claiming no ill intent.  To this day, at family gatherings, my conservative sister does not miss an opportunity to try to humiliate me in front of others or at other public places.  And my mom wants us to be best friends!!!  She can't accept that my sister is a mean person.  And the thing is, that just about every female who meets my sister does not like her.

        At least with school bullies, sooner or later you will lose contact with them.  With family bullies, they are with you for life.

        •  Your mom probably does know she is a bully (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TDP, my2petpeeves, Russgirl

          but if she admits it, it's an indictment of her parenting. Not right or fair, just the way it is.
          There was a discussion in another diary yesterday long these topics. We can't choose our families, but we CAN choose to not let them hurt us. That's the beauty of being an adult with functioning cognitive skills - as children we can't choose to take ourselves out of a bad situation because we depend on our families to keep us, literally, alive. As an adult we can make a conscious choice.
          You will not change her. You can only change how you relate (or not) to her. If that means you have to distance yourself, then so be it. You must care for yourself, first.

          America is a COUNTRY, not a CORPORATION. She doesn't need a CEO. Vote Obama.

          by manneckdesign on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 07:25:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for sharing your story. Hopefully people (19+ / 0-)

    will realize that bullying is not right, and must be stopped. My kids never had this problem, but a friend of mine's daughter did. She was in my son's class, and her mother told me she was thinking of transferring her to another school. I told her not to do it until I witnessed the intimidation. She transferred her and she did fine after that.

    I hope you are able to get a grip on your problems.

  •  We moved around...a lot. (34+ / 0-)

    It was new kid syndrome every where I went.
    Over time, while I still made friends, I made fewer of them. It made moving easier because it hurt less not losing so many friends. It was easier because making friends got harder and harder. Everyone knew each other from x number of grades before. They had a history. I was the outsider.

    I met my first bully when I was 5 or 6. He'd hit me with a basketball. My mom handled that one. I was just too young. Once he knew someone was on to him, he changed his ways and actually was quite protective of us younger kids at that neighborhood park.

    I was about 7 going on 8 in Raleigh. Two teenage guys decided they did not like me. gain, I was the new kid.
    One day there was a knock at the back door at the kitchen. My parents were in the next room watching television. I opened the door and was yanked outside roughly. The door shut behind me and those two beat me and left me laying at the doorstep. One large teenage boy would have been too much, but I was held by one and then hit over and over by the other.  I'm not sure if my parents took my to see the doctor after that incident, but when neighbors to the left and right of our house found out about what happened, those two were in serious trouble. The guys living on either side of our house were like 23, 20, and 18. Those two other teenagers were pretty messed up the next time I saw them and they never really messed with me again.

    Several moves later...

    In the eighth grade I put up with a lot and kept on getting told how much trouble I would be in if I fought. It wasn't until I let too much pass, and turned the cheek one to many times that I snapped. When I fought back, the ones who had been torturing me never bothered me again and no one spoke the way they had to me or the few friends I had chosen again.

    Another move...more new kid syndrome and more bullies...
    This time, I fought back and found my own group to hang out with. We were the group that kept to ourselves and seemed unapproachable except we could just about get along with any other cliche' in school. We weren't emo, or goth, we were just a group of sorta kinda outcasts just being our individual selves and accepting one another for who and what we were. We formed our own group together and wound up being able to get along with most others. The bulling went away, and there were times we'd intervene and protect others if we could, but it was not overt or heroic or anything. It was just a bunch of us who were tired of being judged by a few so called teenaged elitists who assumed they were better than everyone else because mommy and daddy had more money than others.

    I'm still inclined not to make a ton of friends and I see a sharp distinction between the many people I know vs. the few who I actually call friend. I like spending time with people, but at heart, i am still a loner but while I like being a lone and can do just fine, I recognize that too much of anything, even being alone, is a bad thing.

    If anything, I wish I had been taught to fight back instead of silently accept the bullying. There may be strength in turning the other cheek and taking it, but for too long, turning the other cheek was the wrong thing for me to be doing. It was not until I fought back that I staved off bullies and could begin to help others in similar situations.

    I telecommute so am only out of the house very little myself, but given the costs of going here and commuting, and doing this or that, I feel better saving money and building my reserves back up to where they were before I bought my house a few months ago. Maybe its an excuse, but going out for the sake of going out just isn't as interesting as it once was.

    -6.38, -6.21: Lamented and assured to the lights and towns below, Faster than the speed of sound, Faster than we thought we'd go, Beneath the sound of hope...

    by Vayle on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 05:41:41 PM PDT

    •  I am not too different (32+ / 0-)

      I find spending time alone is better than with others, though as you say, too much of anything isn't good for you.

      I can't imagine why teenagers would want to beat up an 7 or 8 year old, but then again, I never knew why they did it.

      I had an older teenage bully who did that at school.  I would often take a book and sit under a tree to read.  In different places often to get away, but often I would be found by him.

      One of the worst times was when he pinned my arms down under his knees and pretended to type a letter out on my chest to my parents saying what a worthless piece of shit I was and that they shouldn't love me any more.  To emulate the recoil on a type writer, he would slap me across the face.  That brings back memories of anxiety and smothering I don't care to face too often.

      I've held a lot of this stuff in for too long, so getting it out here is a good thing.

      Thank you for sharing your experience with me.  It hurts to know other people suffered poorly at the hands of others, but also helps a to know I am not alone, as weird as that might sound.

      I hope you are doing better now and that the future is ever brighter.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 06:12:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In the end, I had to fight another bully... (28+ / 0-)

        It took me a long time to recognize this bully for who he was.

        My father.

        I was never who he wanted me to be. No choices I ever made. No accomplishments, were ever good enough.

        He was emotionally abusive towards my mother and me from an early age. I know he had his own issues growing up too, but those server as no excuse for the way he treated us.

        He's a bully to this day, but I have removed him from my life. One of his excuses for treating me the way he did is that it 'made me independent'. He's so full of bitterness and hatred...if anything I pity him now, but I don't think I can forgive enough to see him even if it means he is dying and asking to be forgiven. The thought sounds so hollow, and honestly, if he did ask for forgiveness, it would be the ultimate in hypocrisy for him, not that he isn't already a hypocrite.

        You're not alone. And some things my mother told me.

        You have value. Your are loved and worthy of love and friendship. Don't let the actions of others allow you to devalue yourself. You're stronger than that whether you feel that strength right now, or not.

        -6.38, -6.21: Lamented and assured to the lights and towns below, Faster than the speed of sound, Faster than we thought we'd go, Beneath the sound of hope...

        by Vayle on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 06:25:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  anxiety/smothering (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TDP

        nothing like close physical intimidation to ruin touch and close physical contact later in life.

        personally, i was very ticklish as a kid, and my peers were nice enough to pin me down and tickle me until i either passed out from hyperventilation or wet myself.
        As an adult, i'm very good at making acquaintences who think we're closer than we are. I make very few friends. Of the two I have, I have known them each at least 20 years. I still don't share but maybe half of my inner thoughts with them. One of them is terminally ill and awaiting a transplant, so the number may drop by half in the near-term. I am not actively seeking to trust another person as a friend, but if it happens so be it. Thanks to the children I knew and the adults present in my childhood, I will never fully believe that people aren't being nice on a long con, awaiting the perfect moment to punk me.

        When life gives you lemons, don't elect them to Congress.

        by papa monzano on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 12:01:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  also (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TDP

          the standard answer i get when i do talk about this stuff is "well, you're driving people away by your mistrust".

          True or not, making it out to be my fault that I didn't handle being reduced to a piece of shit by my peers (with the silent approval of inaction by other adults) feels like insult on injury.

          When life gives you lemons, don't elect them to Congress.

          by papa monzano on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 12:05:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  There are different ways of fighting back. My (11+ / 0-)

      son was being bullied by two boys on his way home from school; cowards always need "back-up"! He was born even-keeled, mild-mannered, and non-confrontational..a perfect target for bullies.

      I called the school counselor and explained that he had a brown belt in karate; and while I certainly did not condone the use of violence...if the bullying did not stop, my son would be given permission to use his karate skills to defend himself; I asked for her help "since it was better to try a non-violent resolution" (wink, wink). Hell, it took all my self-control to keep from coaching my son to beat the crap out of those brats!

      She called the boys in, and they resolved the problem.  My son felt great that his problem was "solved," and he had helped solve it by standing up for himself; he never knew that I instigated the solution.  He would have fought the boys if I had pushed him to physically stand-up for himself, but his personal growth would not have been as great.  

      Bless you for helping defend others from what you encountered!

      "I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are?" Barry Goldwater

      by ranton on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 07:49:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for sharing this (29+ / 0-)

    That takes the kind of courage most of your tormentors would never recognise.

    There was a time, a long time ago, when I faced something lessor, but similar. There came a point where I either did something or simply sat it out for the duration.

    Unusually for me I decided to do something.

    There was a particular group of boys who delighted in making the lives of others miserable, and I was to be their latest target.

    In the end I simply singled out the biggest and toughest ... he was two years older, and miles bigger than me. I waited until all his mates were around, walked up to him, and smacked him, as hard as I could, on the nose.

    I was lucky. He was on the ground, his friends were gobsmacked, and I got to walk away. They left me alone after that, but it could have gone badly wrong.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 05:48:21 PM PDT

  •  It had to be painful to write. (18+ / 0-)

    All I can do is wish you the best.  Thanks for sharing.

    The last sound on earth will be the squawk of an optimist.

    by CT yanqui on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 05:58:14 PM PDT

  •  There's a woman in our neighborhood who (28+ / 0-)

    was complaining that our elementary school was too strict on bullying issues and why couldn't kids create clubs if they wanted to (you know, the kind of playground clubs which kids create in order to exclude other kids)? When I disagreed with her she got furious with me -- I could see she wasn't listening to a thing I said, but I listened to her anyway. She claimed that what really needed to be done was to teach kids how to deal with being bullied.
    I really thought about what she said and the next time I saw her (at the school bus stop) I said that I still thought the anti-bullying policy was good, but I could see that what she said made sense also, as something to add to the program. I thought we might have a good discussion after that, but she was just as angry as before.
    Turns out her son has real problems, and eventually had to be sent to a "special school," apparently because of his cruelty to younger children and small animals.
    I don't think the woman's child-raising created her son's problems, his problems are far more severe than would come from just not teaching him to be nice. But I do believe her inability to face her son's cruelty, her raging against the policy that meant her son got in trouble instead of trying to do something early on about his problems were probably detrimental to his development.
    Bullying is really bad for the bullies also. I try to remind myself of that even though it's hard for me to have sympathy for them.

    We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

    by Tamar on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 06:11:42 PM PDT

    •  The First Stage of My Bullying (4+ / 0-)

      Was "the Hate Angie Club", started by a girl who had been up til then one of my best friends (5th grade). This girl then for some reason (years later she would tell a room full of school staff and parents it was because she was jealous of my hair) she made it her life mission to destroy me. I'll never forget the day I heard kids talking about this club and how it felt.

      Bullying is rarely done by one individual. In my experience, which went on for 8 years, was that the instigator is typically mean enough to scare people into doing their bidding and savvy enough to keep finding more people when she tires of the ones she's using. It's not a "meet me at the flagpole at 3" one on one fisticuff event. It's a gang mentality. All you can do is hope to not get caught alone by them. You can't win.

      My bullies weren't just content to hate me and threaten me with violence. They would scratch crude names into my locker. They stole my yearbook, scrathing out all the pictures of me and writing "BIT*" over them before returning it. They stole my (very private) creating writing journal. They spraypainted "BURN IN HELL" and "BIT*" in 5' letters on the side of my garage. I was followed in my car regularly, often driving to the police station or going home and hoping the garage door would shut in time to keep them out. Guys wouldn't date me for fear of being ostracized. I couldn't go to dances, football games, basketball games, movies.

      The school had very little to offer in the way of help....counseling, where I took refuge often (if I wasn't in the nurses office). My principal actually asked me once why I didn't just get some "tough friends". My senior year I took a zero hour class in business which allowed leaving at lunch to work a part time job just to lessen my time in school...and even then, they issued a pass for me to go between classes 5 minutes early to avoid my tormentors. I moved away the week after graduation to a city where I knew no one just to start over.

      I still cry thinking about it, and when I read about other kids being bullied (or adults remembering, like the author and so many here).  I have a 9 y.o and I worry daily she will have to deal with this on some level and how I'll handle it.

      All that said, I recently realized that the people in my small home town who stayed there and think it's a fantastic place are living in a hell hole, ridden with drugs and violence. In many ways I have to thank my bullies for making me leave....so many people there get caught up in the drugs and drama and baby making and end up miserable and trapped.

      I'm better off, but not for lack of work and a lot of tears.  

      "I'll tell you, if there's anything worse than dealing with a staunch woman. S.T.A.U.N.C.H. There's nothing worse, I'm telling 'ya!". Little Edie

      by vintage dem on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 07:17:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Small towns ARE hell holes (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TDP, vintage dem

        The small town I came from had those who were in, and those who were not.  These rules were often made by kids at school and seemed to be followed by adults as well.  

        The town I come from is now a drug-ridden hole as well, still with a church on every corner.

      •  I am so sorry you had to deal with that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vintage dem

        It is so hard to go through such things, and be constantly let down by those who were supposed to protect you.

        Teachers turned a blind eye, or said I should apologies on the times I got into fights, because I was the bigger kid, and I should know better than to pick on people smaller than me.  Not kidding.

        Sometimes, I even think teachers do it deliberately.  My year 4 teacher who was a hateful woman put me next to the school problem girl (ALL the boys were afraid of her), so she could punch, hit, kick and pinch me all year.  One day she took my ruler, and I fought with her to get it back, as my Mum had spent a lot on it (it was a nice thicker wooden one which was less likely to break, and had a nicer edge) and I was worried I would be yelled at when I got home.

        She was grabbing it, I lost my grip and it hit her above the eye, splitting the skin.  She screamed, and I was accused of attacking her.  I was brought in front of the teacher, principal, her parents and my Mum.  I tried to say she had been bullying me all year, but apparently the only proof was her injury.  I was made to apologise and got 4 strokes of the rod (bamboo cane) over my hand as punishment.

        I have no idea how people who are charged with teaching students can be so damn terrible at it.

        I am sorry for your experience, but I hope both you and I can find healing for ourselves in time.

        I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

        by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 08:43:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Holy Wow! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TDP

          I'm sorry you went through that, and the punishment....that's insane!!

          Most of my teachers were clueless about what was going on, aside from my writing teachers who read my poetry and journals and did the best they could. The nurse, the counselors. In the 80s it wasn't big news, the bullying, and no one had any idea how to fix it. We tried the meetings w/ her parents and staff but it only made things worse. It was the principal who was useless. My Mom says now if she had to do it again she would sue the school system for not maintaining a safe space for me/kids to be educating. I'm glad there is more awareness, but even now there are limits to what the faculty can DO. My daughter has a friend who has serious mental illness issues (age 9), has mood swings, hits teachers, bullies kids, slams her desk on the floor repeatedly til the room has to be evacuated to bring someone in to deal with her. My daughter is scared of her but likes her, and has seen more than one event where this girl bullies other kids and has had to go in to the principal as a witness so they could arrange to suspend the girl. They are trying to keep her out as best they can til the parents/drs get her some help and she can interact better without keeping other kids from learning and being afraid....it's a tough spot for everyone.

          I'm so sorry for what you endured. I hope you're doing well!

          "I'll tell you, if there's anything worse than dealing with a staunch woman. S.T.A.U.N.C.H. There's nothing worse, I'm telling 'ya!". Little Edie

          by vintage dem on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 03:20:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I was bullied a bit, (20+ / 0-)

    never to the extent you describe, but on occasion, close.

    One thing I found to be extremely gratifying on a number of levels, that did tie off a lot of loose ends and put to rest any number of bad/good/weird thoughts about those who bullied me, was to look them up.

    Figure out where they are and what they are doing. Find out who they became.

    In several cases, at reunions, at random, or through a bit of my effort, I came into contact with a former nemesis or two...

    In a couple of cases, they had turned into quite decent people, we got along resonably well... and later into the encounter (in a couple of cases) I got this ... "look" from them.

    And they would say, uncomfortably, "you know, I don't know how to ... um... you know... um... well, um, I wasn't very nice to you, and um..."

    And I said: "you were an absolute shit... but your apology is accepted."

    And then we would continue on socializing.

    In one case, that person became a "closer than acquaintance, almost friend" ...

    Apologies can do wonders. Closure is good.

    You were a kid, and they were kids, and kids can be really, really awful. Find out what and who they are now. It might help.

    The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

    by RedDan on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 06:20:14 PM PDT

    •  So very true (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TDP, MaikeH, Russgirl

      I was bullied and teased a lot in school. I got my revenge, being a late bloomer, when I went to my 10 year high school reunion in a strapless dress, my long blonde hair swinging, with a guy I worked with who was a big cheese in sports, (he was in the Olympics and everybody knew him). No one knew who I was when we walked in, but everyone knew him. When they found out it was me, some jaws dropped on the floor. Sweet revenge, served cold.

      America is a COUNTRY, not a CORPORATION. She doesn't need a CEO. Vote Obama.

      by manneckdesign on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 07:40:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have been found on facebook by some (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Russgirl

      late high school people I have known.  I added a few, ignored most.

      They are planning a 20th school reunion for October, and included me in on the chat about it's organising.  I dropped out from the conversation about 4 responses in.

      Why would I want to hang out with people who only made fun of me and never treated me as a human?  The only person I would love to meet again from those times who I haven't kept in touch with was Craig, the only cool kid in school who sought to treat others with respect, and curb bullying from the cool kids.

      He died at age 19 from Leukaemia.  I would have given a dozen of them for one of him.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 08:47:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The reasons to do so (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TDP

        are:

        1) They are not necessarily the same assholes that they were - sometimes people do change.

        2) If they did change, you may get some closure (which is a good thing) out of seeing who they are, and how they changed.

        3) If they didn't change, and others did change, you may see the worm turning, as it were...

        If the very thought makes you cringe, then by all means, no need to torture yourself... but you might be surprised...

        Just a suggestion.

        The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

        by RedDan on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 12:08:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It took a lot of courage for you to write this (22+ / 0-)

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry you are still dealing with the damage they did to you.

    Sending strength and positive thoughts your way.

    Peace.

    A little blue dot in a vast sea of red.

    by deha on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 06:21:54 PM PDT

    •  Thank you very much deha (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      deha

      I really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 08:47:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Know where you are coming from (24+ / 0-)

    I wonder if it's something about the country. I grew up in Australia, in Canberra. I'm Indian, and compared to some of the other kids, my skin tone is actually fairly light. But that didn't matter. What did was the fact that I was different, and I was an outsider. When I joined Canberra Grammar, a prestigious white school, I went through hell. I remember one of the taunts: "God had you stand against a wall, then spray paint you, which is why your hands are white, but the rest of you is black." I also remember running to the classrooms, because there was nowhere else for me to go. All I can say is that I never got it nearly as bad as you did, but it did leave me a changed person. I'm not able to make strong personal connections, with anybody, and I think part of the reason is that my heart died, just a little, along the way.

    But listen, don't give in. It may seem like the hardest thing to do in the world, where just getting out of bed is impossible, but I assure you, you are not alone. Find those like yourself, and it can change a whole lot of things for you. Just knowing that you aren't the only one can really kick things into overdrive. Just know, even if I'm 10,000 km away, I've got your back.

    Keep fighting.

    •  I am so sorry that bullying left you such a (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TDP, bumbi

      changed person, unable to make strong connections with other people.  Please just know that many people have gone through similar circumstances and hope your heart can learn to live as strongly as it might otherwise have lived.  Please be well and strong and know that you are loved.

      "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

      by helpImdrowning on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 04:48:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's definitely a cultural thing. (0+ / 0-)

      In Australia, we have a thing called the tall poppy syndrome.  It is essentially egalitarian in nature, that you shouldn't ever seek to put yourselves above others.

      It morphed into cutting down those around you who you thought were either lesser, or easier to take down.  Watch yourself or I will cut you down to size, which is enough to let me stomp on you.

      I am not sure how prevalent it is for kids today, but I do know bullying still exists, as my nephew has found.

      For those of us growing up in the 80's, it was probably just the convenient excuse.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 08:52:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I do not know (16+ / 0-)

    if the bullying contributed to my long-term depression. Probably a little bit, though the first "trigger" for my depression, which happened when I was 15, had nothing to do with bullying. (It was the death of my best friend from leukemia.)

    However, yes, I do think the bullying contributed to my claustrophobia-induced anxiety.

    Here's where I start to get a little tough :)...even with all that, they never broke me. Because I WOULD NOT ALLOW IT. I'm still picking up the odd pieces, but those pieces will get picked up. I'm back in university--at 47--because that was a depression-induced piece that needed picking up. I'm divorced and single, so that's another piece (which can wait until I'm out of school because I have NO time to date :)) but it'll get picked up.

    If you continue to refer to this as the date you got broken, you will remain broken. No, this is the date you got dented. Dents can be mended.

    "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

    by ChurchofBruce on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 06:28:36 PM PDT

  •  Take That Journey..... (11+ / 0-)

    I think you will find that bullying you won't happen again.  You are not that ll year old kid anymore.  

    Talk to a therapist & get armed against the bullies of this world.  Take your meds with you when you start your travels.  But go outside.  

    Take those first tentative steps.  Keep walking.  

    •  yes. I was just going to suggest that when I saw (6+ / 0-)

      that you did.

      For years I have been dreaming of just giving all of my old life up, donning some monk style robes, and walking across the world with just a staff and a small cart for what I need.
      Far away is an important element. When my church women's group (mothers with young children) decided we needed to do a mission project but we also needed a "retreat" we combined them by getting together with another church 2000 miles away to do it. The benefits we found were that being physically far enough away that you can't be called back gives you a freedom to let go of the responsibilities of home. And being that far from friends and family means no one knows your background. It gives you a chance to feel anonymous in a good way.

      Just like an elimination diet it takes you back to a clean slate for a season.

      For TDP: You and so many others talk about "years of abuse" and I believe you all. What I don't understand is, was it like that even from before the time when your childhood memories begin and you found out afterwards that it's not like that for every one? Or did it have a definite beginning?

      Who were you the day before the first time?

      •  Going on a trip with my brother (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bumbi, nuclear winter solstice

        was one of the most fun and rewarding things I have done.  I am very eager to try it by myself.

        I think it had it's cleared beginning right at the start of year 1.  Worst that happened at kindergarten was boys fighting over who got to wear the soldiers helmet at playtime.

        I brought my favourite toy truck to school for the first few days of year 1.  Another kid had the exact same one, and didn't like that, so he broke mine.  I ran to tell the teacher and she said "Oh I am sure he didn't mean it, now go and make up and play together again".  From then onwards it slowly but surely got worse as I became known for being the easy target.

        It was better before that, but I also have a good idea that I may have been being molested by a family member, as I remember a lot of things.  Or if it's some kind of addled crazy thought brought on by years of other kinds of abuse.  I can't be certain, and I dread trying to find out.  It matters little, they are long gone anyway.

        I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

        by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 09:01:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I am currently in therapy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bumbi

      Thankfully, for the time being, the government can help provide mental counselling for those who need it.  My psycho analysist is so nice, he bulk bills me for my appointments, meaning I have no out of pocket expense.

      I have been trapped inside for so long, I really do want to get out and walk.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 08:57:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have gone through this somewhat in my (7+ / 0-)

    school years. Many times I was bullied. Just out of high school I was taking karate lessons and I always dreamt of going back to that small town in Wyoming and kicking ass and taking names. I never did but have no use for any of them and do not need to be a part of their ignorance. I am above waningt retribution now.

    "I want my fair share, and that's all of it" - Charles Koch

    by nancat357 on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 06:35:53 PM PDT

  •  You are a wonderful writer (24+ / 0-)

    Have you written other pieces? I'd love to read them.

    Our daughter is on the autistic spectrum. When she was little we sometimes got together with moms and kids at the park, etc. If the group got bigger than one or two other children, I noticed a certain dynamic developing where the kids would start to pick on my daughter. I was right there, so I nipped it right in the bud. I remember one time where a 5 year old boy stalked my daughter around the playground with a look in his eye that reminded me chillingly of the look of a predator. He was waiting for me to look away, but of course I never did.

    We homeschooled our daughter. I know she would have been the target of bullying in a school setting. I figured she had enough to deal with working around the issues that being on the autistic spectrum present, without her having to deal with bullying, too.

    I am so very sorry that the adults in your life failed you. They failed to protect you from treatment that no child should have to go through. That was their job, to protect you, but they didn't do it.

    •  My 2 year old daughter was stalked by a very weird (10+ / 0-)

      ten year old around the toy department of a store. When he followed us out to the parking lot I marched right back in and pointed him out to the manager while he glared at me and pretended he was on the payphone. The truly whacked ones are like that even as children, and like you said, I could see it in his eyes.

    •  I have written other pieces (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bumbi

      But some I took down because I didn't find them relevant any longer.  One other I took down in solidarity with the Boycott on Daily Kos back last year.  That left me with none, and that was ok.  Not many read them, so I didn't feel that bad about it.

      I would like to write some more, so hopefully this is a good road back into that.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 09:03:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What a truly (12+ / 0-)

    amazing story and diary.  I'm so sorry about your experience, no one should ever have to experience be bullying.  I sometimes wish I had something profound to say that would help take away your wounds and give you comfort, but I suffer from some of the same wounds and have spent some fifty years trying to not let this tough world get to me, but at times it stills makes me feel very overwhelmed.  

    As humans I really think we need to realize that this kind of behavior is not the fault of the child/person being bullied, but a serious problem in children who bully.  The child who is bullied is often treated as if they are the problem, however it is the child who bullies another child who is the problem.  I think bullying behavior needs to be recognized as a behavioral problem and faulty thinking, let the bullies go to therapy and be treated with medications if they have this kind of behavior.

    Honestly, I was bullied in school myself, and it really does something to you.  You see the world in a different light than others that haven't been bullied.  It does kill something in the victim, however, many who have been victimized somehow maintain their sense of compassion and caring for others that suffer the same faith.  

    We are so imperfect as humans, but we must try to make living with each other possible.  And those who bully should be treated as having a serious mental health problem.

    "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

    by zaka1 on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 06:46:44 PM PDT

    •  Or a problem in society, letting kids (16+ / 0-)

      go all Lord of the Flies on one another, when for most of our evolution (living in bands and small villages), there were probably a lot more adults around, and mixing of children of different ages.

      •  That is exactly what I thought when I read this... (8+ / 0-)

        "I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are?" Barry Goldwater

        by ranton on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 07:15:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was thinking, how we take it for granted, that 1 (12+ / 0-)

          adult can handle a passle of kids, and we only argue over whether that should be 20 or 25 or 30 or 35.  But for most of our recent evolution, there would have been many adults around, even if some were off hunting, fishing, gathering, or farming.

          As for mixing ages... I've read it argued that junior high school is a terrible idea, because it takes kids right at puberty, when they're apt to be acting out, and takes them out of larger society.  If they're the oldest in the grade school, they may act as role models.  If they're the youngest in a high school, the older kids may keep them in line.  

          But saying, "I know, let's put all the 12 and 13-year-olds in one place together"?  There are no checks on them but the adult ones, and the adults are far outnumbered.

          •  And then let's make 'em take sex ed in front of (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TDP, hulagirl, kaliope, Sarella Sand, bumbi

            each other, boys and girls of all different shapes and sizes together, yeah...

            As a library assistant for ten years I can say that we have had some very unruly households disappear from our radar and then reappear as home-schoolers so different they're nearly unrecognizable. Learning to interact with all ages of people, from all walks of life, and to do it in front of your parents and with their instruction and support rather than only backed up by your peers is very important.

            I support home-school because our family can. I also support public schools because not every family can.

      •  I agree (6+ / 0-)

        but too many adults in our country are bullies themselves especially in the workplace and even there they are not held responsible for their behavior by other adults.  We have become a society where competition is all the rage which opens up more people to be bullied by those who are more aggressive.  It is working for the Republicans and do the Democratic representatives stand up to the bullies, no they don't, they are always apologizing to the Republicans for standing up for themselves and their beliefs in a democratic society that operates fairly.  It is like third grade in Washington D.C., and it just demonstrates how well bullying works even for a political party.

        The point is everything is based on two income families, and that has really screwed up those who are single and living on one single income as well as it has totally screwed up raising children who are often left on their own without adults around while the parents are at work.  And I'm sorry, but daycare does not fulfill the bond parents should be developing with their children.  That bond between parents and children is what builds a better society.  And even if someone is a single parent that bond is still vitally important.  If want a better society we have to find a way for people to make a living and still be able to spent enough time with their children and bond with them.

        "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

        by zaka1 on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 08:20:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Feel us all hugging you (15+ / 0-)

    and holding you for a long, long time.  Now multiply the safety, comfort and healing you feel from that hug by the hundreds and thousands of more people in the world who may never know your story, but who are filled with compassion and love for anyone who is hurting, no matter what their age.  And if you're able, imagine that maybe even a few of the kids who terrorized you grew up and looked back in horror at what they'd done, and now think of you often and remember their cruelty or indifference with waves of sorrow and remorse.  There's enough love in the world to always outweigh the cruelty, fear and hate.  Thank you for your courage in sharing your pain and for helping us to remember to always care for and about one another, whether we're 8 or 80.

    •  Thank you Thornrose (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bumbi

      I do feel the love from this community.  I am overwhelmed by the messages of support and love from Daily Kos.

      Thank you again for reading and leaving such a lovely comment.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 09:06:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am sorry. (7+ / 0-)

    Our primary school social experiences can affect us for the rest of our lives, in ways both obvious and subtle.

    I never called myself bullied -- I was "teased" -- but I do think it has affected me, how I view myself and others.  

  •  (((TDP))) (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDP, cai, mconvente, kaliope

    Can't say I don't empathize- stay strong. Those years are hell (as I am further learning each day) but you are still a good person through it. So you won.

    15 years old and fighting like hell to make a difference, Tomorrowsprogressives.com

    by TomorrowsProgressives on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 07:05:35 PM PDT

  •  Did you post a similar diary here (7+ / 0-)

    once before?  I know I read it somewhere--and it still has the same impact today as it did then.

    The most untrue saying I ever heard as a child was

    Sticks and stones can break my bones.  But words can never hurt me.
    Indeed, it is the words that sting forever.

    "Hate speech is a form of vandalism. It defaces the environment, and like a broken window, if left untended, signals to other hoodlums that the coast is clear to do more damage." -- Gregory Rodriguez

    by Naniboujou on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 07:11:02 PM PDT

    •  Yeah I had previously written it (6+ / 0-)

      but then in a moment of pique, I deleted everything I had written.

      I should have listed it as a re-publishing, but it wasn't on my account any longer so I couldn't do so.  Apologies if I have misled anyone here.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 07:15:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, you didn't mislead anyone. (5+ / 0-)

        It is a powerful & memorable story. I am glad you republished it.  

        "Hate speech is a form of vandalism. It defaces the environment, and like a broken window, if left untended, signals to other hoodlums that the coast is clear to do more damage." -- Gregory Rodriguez

        by Naniboujou on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 07:47:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Don't worry about it. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mconvente, TDP, kaliope, Dave925

        It needs to be said over and over.

        I was bullied to some extent because my sister was one of the stars and I was one of the town nerds.  My family to this day can't figure out why I left home and never went back.

        Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

        by loggersbrat on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 07:54:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I too, was bullied relentlessly (9+ / 0-)

        I'm an Indian-American, as in India, not to be confused American-Indian.

        In 1978, we moved to very posh neighborhood with "good" schools. There were no African-Americans in the school. My classmates had never even seen an Indian-American. To make matters worse, I am a vegetarian, wore thick glasses, and was no good at sports.

        They called me a "nigger".
        They called me a "spic".
        They mockingly asked me what tribe I was from.
        They blamed me for the Iranian Hostage Crisis.
        They called me a "fag" because I was vegetarian*
        While playing touch football, they said I would ruin the football by touching it.
        They wouldn't let me sit next to them on the bus.

        The teasing was relentless and I was often beaten up. One time, three guys held me while a fourth rammed a baseball bat into my face. Why? I refused to leave a dugout when they said "No niggers allowed".

        The bullying subsided when I entered high school, but turned into intense loneliness that lasts to this day. I spent close to 20 years drinking heavily - but I've been sober for seven years. I still am also being treated for depression and anxiety and I'm 42.

        Does my story have a point? There are some very common threads. The biggest one was the silence of the teachers. I also lost faith in a lot of things - authority figures, myself, and even God.

        As a lawyer, I have a belief that the judge dislikes me and I am too afraid to rock the boat. I'm afraid to make objections or creative arguments for fear that the judge will get mad at me. I'm afraid of opposing counsel. I much rather rely on written arguments and avoid oral arguments at all costs. Hence, I'm limited to mostly administrative law.

        Honestly, if I hadn't met the great lady that would become my wife, I seriously don't think I would be alive.

        Surprisingly, about three years ago, a guy who used to bully me wrote me an email apologizing for everything.  I too have learned not to hate the bully, but do blame those who allow or create an environment that causes it to happen.

        *Being called a homosexual is not an insult, but concluding my sexual orientation based on my diet is.

        •  You are truly blessed to have a person who (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TDP, Heart of the Rockies

          loves you; many do not.  You are also blessed to have a profession which you apparently love, which has the potential to positively change lives, but for which you need to gain confidence.  Don't be afraid of anything, there is little point to it.  At the end of the day, none of us are perfect, there will always be people who will find us wanting from time to time, while some of us will never accomplish the end all/be all that we expected/anticipated.  I wish you well.

          "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

          by helpImdrowning on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 05:15:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  thank you so much for those kind words (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TDP

            I am blessed - and how could I forget to mention my children. They also love me.

            At 13, at the height of the bullying, I was inspired by a movie about an Indian lawyer named Mahatma  Gandhi. I set aside a portion my time to do pro bono work because it slowly gets me out of my comfort zone and allows me to affect change in my own little way.

            In one of my cases, I fighting for political asylum for a Chadian refugee. What she went through makes what I went through look like a walk in the park.  So I am truly blessed and must overcome my fears.

        •  One of the greatest regrets I have was (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bumbi

          joining in on the group of bullies picking on some Aboriginal kids from the nearby block of flats, near the school.  They only wanted to come play cricket with us.

          I joined in because for once I wasn't being picked on.  As I saw the hurt in their eyes, I knew what I had done was wrong.  I never got to see them again and apologise for that, and it's one of the things in my life which made me realise the hatefulness of racism, and what such a goddamn idiot I was to participate in it.

          We have a bad reputation here in Australia towards those who are different.  First it was the Aboriginals and Irish, then Chinese and Japanese, then Italians, Greeks, and Yugoslavians (from whom my Father was descended from), to the Vietnamese, Indians and Pakistanians, Lebanese, and now those from Africa.  All have to endure the gauntlet of hate.

          Unfortunately, where some groups are now considered the norm (such as the early Southern European immigrants), the Aboriginies are still hated by many, no matter how many years go by.

          I am sorry for what you went through, and I am sorry for the negative impact it has had on you, but I am so very glad you have found your wonderful wife, and that your days now are better than those before.

          I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

          by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 09:15:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  One hell of a powerful diary (8+ / 0-)

    That was as beautifully written as it was painful to read. I'm sure it wasn't easy to do so thank you for sharing this.

    Score Card: Marriages won by me, 1. Marriages destroyed by me, 0.

    by Steven Payne on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 07:38:15 PM PDT

  •  :( (7+ / 0-)

    I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I wish I could back in time and protect that 11 year old that was you.
    Thank you for telling your story.

    •  Thank you for reading (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bumbi

      And I thank you for your support.  I do feel the love of this community tonight, and will sleep quite well I believe.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 09:16:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  thank you for sharing (5+ / 0-)

    I'm so sorry that happened. I wish we could all go back in time and protect that precious little boy you were. Please feel us all hugging you now.

    •  I do feel it. (0+ / 0-)

      The reaction from the community has been overwhelming, and I thank you all for your comments and warm wishes.  It does help, alot.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 09:17:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm sorry, man... (6+ / 0-)

    I wish I had words to help you, but all I can say is (and I know YOU know), those kids were the problem, not you, and I'm sorry it happened, but it's not your fault, and you are not a bad or weak person in ANY way for this to have happened to you.  The fact that you're still standing here shows that you are MUCH stronger than you probably give yourself credit for.

    I can tell by your writing that you are a sharp, good-thinking guy, and there is no reason you can't be a success.

    Please, do see someone, if you currently are not, to talk this out, and/or see about any medication that might help you, if you are good with that.  Me, personally, I had a bad few years in school that probably affected me for 20 years before i got smart enough to realize that I wasn't going to take care of it myself.  Things are much better now thanks to me finally getting the courage to do it.

    Hang in there, man.  I think you're very accomplished, just by surviving, and moving onward.  I know it's not easy.

    Best of luck to you.  You deserve good things to happen to you.

    •  Thank you very much (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      geebeebee

      I am lucky to have good access to services for mental health and treatment here in Australia.  Medication is helping, but I look forward to do without that to be quite honest.  I will be giving "The Depression Cure" a good read, and looking to implement that for myself.

      Thank you again for your comments and advice, it is appreciated :)

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 09:19:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mine was milder, but constant (7+ / 0-)

    from the fourth grade most of the way through high school.  I moved to a new town, and at recess everyone played baseball.  The entire class, girls and boys, no exceptions.  The problem, of course, was that I was terrible at all sports--no depth perception, knees were slightly off (found that out when I had them replaced), etc.  To top it off, I had an August birthday, so my social skills were immature, but I was bright.  I always got the details of social stuff wrong.  Anyway, I was picked on a lot.  Not horribly, just constantly.  When I was in the 10th grade I started fighting back a bit, and I don't know if it changed me or them or both, but it got better for the most part.  There were two or three boys who would never let up.  When I went to community college, one of them was there.  We met on the sidewalk one day, just the two of us, and he called me one of his usual names, and I just said, 'Oh, Ricky, grow up!' and that seemed to be the end.  So they didn't break me.  What you went through sounds like something from a concentration camp.

    I think the key is that you have to find a way to feel in control again.  You are doing it by limiting your exposure to people, which helps with the control, but gets lonely and isn't allowing you to grow.  It would be good to figure out little things you can do that are a little scary but safe to help you trust your world and your ability to live in it, and take tiny steps toward healing.  A therapist could help a lot if you find the right one.

    Writing this diary is probably one of those steps.

    I also agree with another poster that seeing those bogeymen again would help you to understand emotionally that they are not the all powerful people they once were. But that would probably be very scary, and not something that you would want to do before you were ready.

    Sooner or later you will have to learn to trust again--yourself and the world.  Good luck.

    Not all those who wander are lost.

    by Leftleaner on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 10:40:37 PM PDT

  •  So sorry for running out and leaving this (7+ / 0-)

    diary.

    I had to get root canal surgery done on one of my teeth and they were able to fit me in today so I jumped at the chance.

    I will go through and comment and reply to people as soon as I can.

    Thanks to everyone for their lovely comments and anecdotes, it feels good to be in such a loving community.

    I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

    by TDP on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 10:56:11 PM PDT

  •  I feel you, TDP (9+ / 0-)

    While my experiences weren't quite as serious as yours were, I had more almost constant emotional abuse at home. I too have a first haircut story, about the same age. I came home and my mother said I looked like "a fucking dyke".

    I have struggled all my life with depression, lack of self worth and anxiety. I am 43 now and I can finally say that I have figured it out to the point that I am truly happy. There's always more work to do, that's for sure, but I have crossed the point of no return; I know I'll never go back to those dark times.

    One of the things that helped me the most was a therapist that explained the physiology of the brain really well. As our brains develop, they grow the connections that we use the most. Our most common experiences get "hard wired" into the grey matter.

    For example, when a kid learns a foreign language, new neuron connections are created for each new word. When a kid grows up in a positive, loving environment, those neurons are built and wired in. Conversely, if a kid grows up like we did with constant negativity and lack of encouragement and love, those are the connections that are built instead of the positive self love ones.

    So then our therapy focused on the idea that you have to learn to love yourself, just as you learn anything else. Now while that wasn't the magic overnight cure all (I still had years of growth to do after that) but it was definitely a turning point. It helped me immensely to visualize my brain forming new connections in order to feel better about myself.

    These days, I do feel like those neurons have been built. I also take amino acid supplements that make a huge difference without all the side effects of drugs. Hope is very important, and never stop believing that you can have the life you want. It is possible, but it does take time. Be patient and kind to yourself. Feel free to send me a PM if you like; I don't mind lending an ear.

    Take care of yourself and I'm glad that you shared with us. Thank you for the diary.

    "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 12:50:36 AM PDT

    •  I think you've nailed it right on the head (0+ / 0-)

      How you develop determines how your brain is conditioned for later in life.  It is one of the reasons why I am trying my best to be a positive influence on my godson.  I love the little guy, and he is so exuberant and outgoing, I couldn't bear it if someone crushed that.

      And believe me, he will also be getting lessons on why he should look to stick up for those being picked on, and why being a bully is one of the worst things in life to be.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 09:22:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good for you, TDP - (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TDP

        and points for "nailed it right on the head"  ;))

        Our family has done a lot of healing, and now my little nephew is going to benefit from being raised by nurturing, loving adults who have been addressing their issues instead of taking them out on the little guy.

        Damaged people like us who work through our problems can be the best influence ever on children - good luck to you and your godson!!!  xoxo

        "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

        by La Gitane on Sat Apr 14, 2012 at 04:05:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The only thing I can say is I have read, and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDP, treesrock, Heart of the Rockies

    appreciated this diary and every single comment made here. Most, if not all, of them break my heart.  How so many of you were let down by family, friends, adults, teachers, and others who were supposed to protect you from emotional and physical harm is heartbreaking and disturbing.  My heart goes out to each and every one of you.  May the latter years of your lives prove to be more safe and fulfilling.  I wish you all love,  kindness, and peace.  Most sincerely.

    "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

    by helpImdrowning on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 03:59:50 AM PDT

  •  I overcame it, and so can you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDP, sweeper, Heart of the Rockies

    [The depression too]

    I had to forge my own identity in the world, but it is easier to let go after you've done it the first few times.  Think about it like this: do you really want to give up your power to these dillholes for the rest of your life?  Reinvent yourself, transcend yourself, and show these bozos that you are now above it and that their actions have had absolutely no effect on you long-term: indeed, it was their actions which have made you stronger!  That which does not kill me...

    Think deeply about it.

  •  Any society that does not protect its children, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDP, SwedishJewfish, treesrock

    whether individually or communally, is a society that will fail. The Syrian government is proving that right now with vicious bullying of the most destructive kind.
    I guess I was bullied at times during my childhood and young adulthood but I had always thought of myself as nothing at all like other people so whatever social message the bullies were trying to give me, they didn't get the expected response. Personally I began to think "hmmm that was odd, what was that supposed to mean?". Maybe because I didn't react like a victim should the bullies found no pleasure in repeating the torment. I guess I learned early that what frightens people the most is the unknown. Since I never reacted the same way that freaked them out.  Like, one time I'd silently take it, and another time fight back physically, and another time laugh at them, then another time try to ignore it, another time ask them how lame did they think they looked, etc.  After a while I was considered the "strange" kid nobody could figure out, and more or less went my own way unhindered (this while attending 3 different schools between 5th and 10th grade). Oddly enough, I acquired a great tranquility from these events. Maybe that was it -- to the bullies it seemed like I wasn't even there or that they didn't exist. Being ignored when you're trying hard to be noticed is quite terrifying to a human. And at its heart, that's what bullying is --- a big screaming "Look at how important I am!"
    BTW my parents had nothing to do with giving me this attitude or for teaching me how to survive such things.

    The people demand the fall of this regime ...

    by fourthcornerman on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 04:30:39 AM PDT

  •  Bullying can be a nightmare (7+ / 0-)

    One of the reasons I homeschool my son is that the bullying started for him in the second week of Kindergarten and never let up.  The principal lied about it, the administrators believed her lies, and he turned from a sweet, enthusiastic, gregarious child into a poor sleeper who cried every morning and suffered from nervous problems.  He came home with torn clothing, missing clothing, blood on him and his clothes, crying, dirty, and every single time the principal denied he'd been bullied.  Every single time the administrators took her side.

    I pulled him out in first grade when it became clear that bullying is a system-wide problem that nobody truly cares about - it would just have started again at another school.  When I told him homeschooling was a possibility he begged me to do it.  My son is happy every day now to be home schooled and never wants to see the inside of a school again.  He'll never even wear a pair of navy blue pants again.  His happiness and confidence have returned, along with his love for learning.  

    All meanness hasn't disappeared from his life - the neighbor boy tries to hurt him sometimes - but my son has control now.  He can just come in and refuse to play with that boy until he apologizes.  He's not abandoned with a handful of unsympathetic or malicious adults halfheartedly overseeing lord of the flies brutality anymore.

    Be vigilant:  your kids won't always tell you everything, and the adults who are supposed to be responsible are more likely to participate in the bullying than to stop it.  Other parents may express their sympathy, but really most of them don't care unless it's their child being hurt.  Your child only has you to count on, so step up.  Your child doesn't have the power to change his environment by himself.

    •  My 5 year old daughter is being bullied (4+ / 0-)

      and the school has done nothing about it, despite me bringing this to their attention on a number of occasions. It's always a toss-up when I go to pick her up- if she has been bullied, I can see it on her face instantly and it breaks my heart.

      This girl who is bullying her tells her she's a "retard" because she's in the reading enrichment program, tells her that she's FAT, pushes her and trips her in the hallway.

      I really don't know what to do. The school isn't doing anything, and I've been told that I am not allowed to contact this child's parents. I know that the odds are pretty high this child is being abused herself-that is often where the behavior stems from. For now I just talk to her about it, reassure her that there is nothing wrong with her and she's smart and beautiful, and urge her to tell the teachers when this happens (she is very shy and usually only tells me)

      If you have any advice (homeschooling is not an option for us) I would really appreciate it.

      The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places ~Ernest Hemingway
      Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle ~ Anonymous

      by SwedishJewfish on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 06:13:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wish I had useful advice (6+ / 0-)

        If I had thought anything I tried had any useful effect, maybe my son would still be in school.  The gang of bullies called him names too - fat, stupid - usually before they started punching him, kicking him in the nuts, scratching his face, etc.  My boy is so kind and gentle that his idea of a witty parting remark after being crowned with a big stick is "you really have to work on your self-control."

        I think part of the reason these behavior patterns are so ignored in schools is that we have a gross societal bias, growing even more so, towards extroversion.  Children are routinely told it's their fault they're being bullied because they're not assertive enough.  If your child is shy, or gentle like my boy, it's unlikely that advising them to fight back harder is ever going to be useful or productive.  In loudness of voice, meanness of tone, or ability to collect strong allies, they will always be at a disadvantage.  Thoughtfulness and gentleness don't get valued until much later in life, and then only by a minority, because (as said above) ours is a bully culture, and our schools are training our children to be successful bullies.

        All I can advise you is to go up, up up.  If the principal doesn't care, find out who her boss is.  If her boss doesn't care, find out who her boss is.  Go all the way to the superintendent of schools, and if she doesn't care, write to the attorney general.  Your child has a right to equal access to an education free of intimidation and violence.  Document every event, and keep going up the chain until someone is for real.

        And before you start talking to anybody, be ready for them to throw it right back at you, because the first time you get any response but "I'll look into it and get back to you in two months," it'll be "Well, what do you want us to do?"  It's another way for them to deflect responsibility, so be ready for it.

        It's going to be a long fight for you, and don't forget that your daughter is the foot soldier here.  Take care of her first and foremost.  You should consider that it's easy for someone who is the target of violence or bullying to fall into a victim pattern that advertises them to potential bullies.  It was pretty important for us to find other places to be that either didn't have or didn't tolerate bullies.  

        I remember when the school nurse called me because my son had strep.  He got it so bad he had huge impetigo scars all over his face.  My first thought when she called was that he'd finally been injured enough to need medical treatment.  When I was home nursing him from what I feared would be disfiguring scars, I was still reassured that at least he was safe (that was a turning point for me).  Your daughter has to feel safe, and you have to feel she's safe.  Don't stop fighting.

        •  That is very good advice (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TDP

          thank you. We are moving out of state at the end of the school year, and she is going to repeat Kindergarten. She was very young when she started (she turned 5 at the end of December, she just made the cut-off) and I'm hoping that I will have better luck in the new school.

          The school she goes to now is considered one of the best elementary schools in the state. I think that is a big part of the problem- they are very competitive and expect all kids to be high achievers. My daughter is extremely bright, but she has a learning disability. For all of their accolades, they do a pretty shitty job with LD kids. I feel like she has been ostracized from the beginning since she apparently brings down their test scores.

          I'm sorry for what your son had to go through. He sounds like a great little kid, and I'm glad you were able to get him out of that situation.

          The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places ~Ernest Hemingway
          Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle ~ Anonymous

          by SwedishJewfish on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 06:56:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with Gareth's advice to keep going up (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SwedishJewfish, TDP, Gareth

            the chain of command.

            If the teacher isn't responsive, talk to the principal. If that doesn't work, talk to the superintendent. If that doesn't work, write to the school board. Let them see you taking copious notes. Document everything. If you have access to an attorney, bring that person along or have that attorney write. Remind everyone that failure to respond to bullying is a legal liability issue for the school district.

            Someone in my community who works with at-risk youth says that the biggest protective factor is for the bullied child to have one good friend; this breaks the sense of isolation that is so wounding.

            Here is a website with a collection of links about bullying:

            Facing History

            Blessings to you and your daughter.

            "It's not enough to be right. You still have to use your nice voice." -said by my then six-year-old daughter; "Love binds us all."-willb48

            by be the change you seek on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 07:49:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I can't offer any advice better than this. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gareth, SwedishJewfish

          One of the things I have learned is that if it is put to a stop in a very strenuous and serious manner, that it helps stop the bully from re-offending.

          A lot of them get off on the power trip.  If you suddenly bring a lot of pressure down on them for this behaviour, the power trip isn't there any more to be enjoyed.  It's them that is feeling the heat, and they won't like it.

          The problem is getting someone to realise this, and actively work to put this to an end.  I can only suggest to keep going up the chain of command as far as you can.  With any luck you'll finally hit someone who will listen, and who also has the power to intervene, and see that it is properly resolved.

          I would also recommend that if you feel that it hasn't been properly resolved, ask for a further meeting, or even a meeting with the parents, administrators and the kids involved to see it done the right way.  It will be hard to do, as everyone loves to think their child can do no wrong.  However, if a mediocre solution is given, it has a likely-hood of starting all over again.

          It's going to be tough to be firm and hold your ground, but please do so.  If you can find support from a local group of citizens, who can also write in and petition the school about the detrimental effect this is having on your daughter, even better.

          Bullies love to work when they think they aren't being watched, or face no repercussions.  Make something real and make their actions visible, and they are more likely to see they won't be given leeway for their horrible actions, and will hopefully quit it.

          Hold in there SwedishJewfish.  You sound like a wonderful loving mother and commend you for taking a stand.

          I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

          by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 09:31:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Do you have an attorney? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SwedishJewfish, TDP

        Have the attorney contact the school directly.  For some reason, attorneys seem to help in situations like this.

        Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

        by aravir on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 07:03:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't, and I honestly can't afford one... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aravir, TDP, Gareth

          I'm going to keep trying to go up the chain of command. I also have a PPT meeting coming up and will definitely address it there. For all their "concerns" about how she is doing academically, they seem to have a blind spot about how being bullied might be influencing her ability to learn.

          Worst case scenario we will just make it through the next couple months, and then she will have a fresh start next year since we are moving to a different state.

          The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places ~Ernest Hemingway
          Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle ~ Anonymous

          by SwedishJewfish on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 07:37:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  ((TDP)) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heart of the Rockies, TDP

    I can say, as someone who has been through a number of different traumatic experiences, being terrorized in school ranks up there among the worst. And yes, it is a form of terrorism. I don't think that's hyperbolic at all. The constant fear and unpredictable nature of bullying- not knowing when it will happen, but always anticipating it- is a form of psychological torture. That kind of trauma stays with you, often for a lifetime. I'm not at all surprised you are still suffering with the effects.

    Have you ever gotten a diagnosis of PTSD? I am not a clinician, but your symptoms (especially the anxiety) fit the characteristics of it. I don't know if PTSD has been linked to bullying yet-but for experiences as severe as yours, I think it's very plausible.

    I invite you to join the group Tree Climbers here at Daily Kos. We are a group for survivors of childhood trauma- physical, emotional and sexual abuse. I think your experiences definitely fit into that category.

    With your permission, I would also like to republish this to the Tree Climbers blog. I think your story is very important, and can end up helping people who have gone through similar experiences.

    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places ~Ernest Hemingway
    Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle ~ Anonymous

    by SwedishJewfish on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 06:03:33 AM PDT

    •  I will definitely join your group. (4+ / 0-)

      I was moved to tears by your account when I read it.  It resonated with me on so many levels.  Feel free to republish to the group as soon as you like.

      I do believe I have PTSD.  And I am nutting such issues out with my psych.  He is good at what he does, and it all helps.

      I have had other attacks on me as a kid, some sexual in nature, but thankfully I was able to escape those before they got worse.

      As for being a tree climber, my anxiety manifested itself early in my life.  My friends Daniel and Chris would climb to the top of the mint tree in our garden.  I was too afraid to go above the second or third limb.  A fear of heights also came along, and I am still not so good with those.

      Thank you for your stories and work, SwedishJewfish.  I hope to contribute well to the group.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 09:36:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OK you had ME crying... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TDP, TX Freethinker

        So much that I couldn't form a coherent response. I was already moved by your diary, so the idea that what I wrote could have helped you in any way is just very touching.

        I am so glad you are joining Tree Climbers. And don't worry, we will help you get over your fear of heights ;-)

        The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places ~Ernest Hemingway
        Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle ~ Anonymous

        by SwedishJewfish on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 03:05:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Dear SJF (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SwedishJewfish, TDP
          I was already moved by your diary, so the idea that what I wrote could have helped you in any way is just very touching.
          You have already helped more people than you will ever know.  And that number will only be growing.

          Politics is like driving. To go forward, put it in "D". To go backward, put it in "R".

          by TX Freethinker on Sat Apr 14, 2012 at 07:50:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'll hang out with you on a low branch. (0+ / 0-)

        I missed your diary last week and saw it when checking in to see what the tree climber gang was up to.

        You wrote about wrapping your arms around 11 year old you.  I've held 5 year old me on my lap with my arms around her and assuring her that she is deeply loved.  It helps in a way that I can only explain by recognizing that the little 5 year old me is still with me.  

        Blessings to you, TDP.  

  •  Poignant & Heartwreching (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SwedishJewfish, TDP, Catte Nappe

    description of the hell you endured. I find it infuriating that the teachers an other adults in your life did not intervene and stop the thuggish behavior directed at you. I feel strongly that this is part of the job description of any educator- talk about values education. Sheesh. If a school can't ensure a safe environment and respectful climate then they have failed- and they should get out of the profession.

    I have observed for better or worse youth/students can get caught up in a pack mentality. Brain development in social/emotional spheres takes years. Recent science research has confirmed that impulse control and other areas of social/emotional development in males continues until the mid-20's. Nevermind when your a 10 or 11 year old child. This is why adult guidance and interventions are necessary.

    I know from my own conversations with students that got caught up in bullying - there is shame. Often times they don't know how to opt out. I think that you would find a number if not the majority of your former tormenters also feel shame for their behavior and would take it back if they could. Doesn't excuse their actions- moronic behavior.

    I wish you the best as you move through your own very personal understanding of those years. You sound sensitive and sensible. I thought it was very cool of you to get the crew cut- loved your description of the hair cut experience, and I bet you rocked it!

    The good news... there is a whole lot of goodness and good people in the world too. People who do act like grown ups and appreciate and embrace differences. I sure do!
    Take good care.

    Watch out for the UnderToad ~ The World According To Garp

    by donaurora on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 06:03:58 AM PDT

    •  I know a lot of people who feel bad for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      donaurora

      joining in.  I know I do from the times I had.

      The one thing that was cool about the crew cut was being able to make an "eye" shadow.  With the light behind you, you can put your hands on your head, and it becomes the iris of an eyeball.  Got a friend to laugh with me at that and we ran around like idiots playing floating eyeball games.

      There was a lot of bad, but the good memories of that time shine out like gold in a river of mud.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 09:39:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Eye Shadow (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TDP

        Now I can add wicked sense of humor and imagination to how you come across. And your prose is very good! Draws the reader in. Happy Friday the 13th.

        Watch out for the UnderToad ~ The World According To Garp

        by donaurora on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 11:38:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm finding that, (3+ / 0-)

    of all things, working around dogs has done wonders to help me heal.

    All my life I have struggled with a damaging attitude toward myself.  I'm was that person who went  around telling herself she was stupid and ugly.  

    But working with dogs changed that.  Being a good dog caretaker means constantly saying upbeat, affectionate things to the dogs. After a while, I had been sweet-talking dogs for so long the habit spilled over onto me.  The things I say to myself in my own mind have become kind.

    You may not have the money or inclination to have a pet.  If you do though, it might be a real blessing.

    All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind. - Adam Smith

    by treesrock on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 06:19:49 AM PDT

  •  Very good diary! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDP

    It must have been painful to write.  Thank you for sharing.

    BIARS

    To my anonymous subscription donor: THANK YOU!

    by BlueInARedState on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 06:27:11 AM PDT

  •  I read an op-ed in the WSJ yesterday (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heart of the Rockies, TDP

    that made my blood boil. Nick Gillespie claimed we are making too much of a big deal about  bullying and claiming it is no worse than in years past.

    But the comments got me even angrier, so many people think that this is just a normal right of passage, and suggest the kids who are bullied take karate or something  and beat the hell out of the bullies.

    I think a lot of these adults may have been bullied as kids, and never got over it, and evolved the notions they have today.

    As someone else said here, don't beat yourself up over things that you had no control over as a child.

    Take care of yourself, and remind yourself that you are a good person, and deserve happiness and success.

    Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. - Dalai Lama

    by kimoconnor on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 06:37:41 AM PDT

    •  I think a lot of it might be self-hate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kimoconnor

      They didn't stand up to the bullies as kids, and were hurt and tormented for it, and consider themselves weak for not doing so.

      Now they feel that others should stand up to the bullies and do what they could not, and that it would make them stronger for it.  They wish the same for themselves, but don't have the ability to go back and make it so.  So they'd rather condemn others to their fate.

      It's sad, and a significant statement of our worlds state of mind where considering humiliation and torture to be a good thing for our children and others to be subjected to.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 09:44:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Where did go to school (approximately)? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    be the change you seek, TDP

    I need to know.

    This resonates with me so much.  I'm an Australian as well.  I too was bullied, perhaps not as bad, but still horrible.  I was told I came home crying every day of my primary school years.  I don't remember hardly any of it.  I was an outcast all through high school, completely stopped caring about my outward appearance, and remained an outcast through uni.  In high school they used to pull my clothing off to humiliate me.

    I got lucky, though, after I reached the 20's.  I met someone.  I moved to a different country.  A different continent.  The complete opposite side of the planet.

    To this day I hate being laughed at.  A certain kind of laugh just catches in my head and triggers a blind, violent reaction from me.  I honestly hate this part of myself.

    Two things you said hit me like a ton of bricks.

    One, hugging your younger self.  So much this.

    Two, travelling the world as a monk or wandering hermit.

    I've wanted to do both of these things.

    And fuck those teachers.  None of them helped me.  None of them could see what was right in front of them.  The bastards.  Even my parents let me keep going to the same school.

    I'm almost the same age as you.

    •  Oh and... (3+ / 0-)

      When did they break me?

      When a girl tried for several days to convince me she liked me.  The super-unlikeable kid.  And when I finally started to believe it, when I finally came around to it, and tried to talk to her?  She laughed at me in front of the whole class.

      God damn it.  It's been twenty years.  Fuck those kids.

    •  Doggonit - My post to you was eaten. (0+ / 0-)

      I went to a state school near the coast here in Western Australia.  Wanted to go to the private school my best mate went to, but my folks couldn't afford it.

      If you want to travel, I hope you get the bug for it.  My experiences have been wonderful thus far, when I travelled with my brother.  Some negatives, but a lot of positives.

      Check out this website.  It was listed in another diary and I find it wonderful.  Lots of good hints and help too.

      I wish you love and joy Craziel.  Our lives don't seem so dissimilar, and with love and luck, I am hoping that it can change.  I don't think we'll ever forget it, but perhaps we can finally move on.  A lot of the hurt, shame, humiliation and bitterness is still there for me, and I would love to dump all that.  It's going to take time and work, but I am hoping to get there.

      Thank you for reading and writing here mate, I really appreciate it.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 10:10:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  east coast here (or was) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TDP

        Consider yourself e-hugged :P

        My older brother got the travel bug.  Ran around Europe, learned a few languages, loved it.  Now he's back home and settled down.

        I never really got it, funny cause i'm the one that ended up emigrating.  I'm getting on in years and i've only ever lived carefully and occasionally wonder what I missed.  I do a lot of things the way I do because i'm afraid of stepping outside of carefully calculated boundaries and inviting scorn.  I'm naturally really frugal.

        Moving helped, I ended up in Canada which is not so different.  I'm almost an auto-celebrity here on account of the accent, which is still going strong after a decade, though I had one idiot spend 20 minutes insisting I was really from Boston.

        Having the nationality icebreaker helped me make friends, repair my self-confidence, become successful.. my life has done pretty much a 180 from when I was 20.  There was also quite a lot of luck involved (bad jobs leading to good jobs leading to immigration possibilities).

        Have a rec purely for Hunters & Collectors.  Love that song.

        •  Recced right back at you! (0+ / 0-)

          Would love to go to Canada, it is like Australia in a lot of ways.

          I worked on a mine site for over a year here in the WA Pilbara.  You've never seen as awesome a sight as 50 male miners belt out "You don't make me feel like I'm a woman anymore!" from 'Say Goodbye" at the top of their lungs at the wet mess (bar).  It is awe inspiring and so fun to be a part of.  One of the only decent things on the mine site, heh.

          I am sad the Hunters never got the recognition they deserved.  Their thumping bass lines and metallic guitars just nailed that rusty, stomping Aussie feeling, much like Midnight Oil.

          Cheers mate, and an e-hug back at you :)

          I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

          by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 10:50:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The main bully in my life was my brother (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDP, Catte Nappe

    He has long since made amends, and we are very close today.  But it is fair to say that, until I reached high school, he either physically or mentally abused me virtually every day.

    A couple of things came out of this for me.  First, nobody else was allowed to bully me.  He would protect me in the neighborhood agains RJ, the local terror.  Second, I learned to be defiant.  No matter what I did or said, I would be bullied.  So I said or did whatever I liked.  Third, I learned to fight dirty.  This didn't help me with him, but it kept other bullies at bay.

    The one incident which I remember well happened when I was nine, and had just moved.  I was carrying my trumpet case through the schoolyard on my way home from band practice.  A large group of boys came upon me, and the ringleader started pushing me.  I snapped.  I got him on the ground, somehow, and started to strangle him.  Someone shouted that a teacher was coming, so I stopped.  There was no teacher.  But I picked up my case and resumed walking and crying.  I heard laughter.  Nobody ever tried to bother me at that school again.

    My brother went to Germany on an exchange program when I was 13.  By the time he got back, I had grown a foot, and he left me alone after that.  Years later, I learned that he had been bullied at school himself.  So his behavior toward me was a "trickle-down" effect.

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 07:25:16 AM PDT

    •  My brother bullied me also when I was younger (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aravir, Catte Nappe

      He is 8 years older than I.  It sucked getting a double dose of it at school and at home.

      I now know it's because he was bullied at school, and needed some way to release it.  He has apologised to me on numerous occasions, and I forgive him totally.

      We're good mates now, and I love him heaps.  I hope the same is with yours, or that you can work it out.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 09:54:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDP, Catte Nappe

    For years I searched the web for any kind of information about the potential effects of bullying on adult survivors until it started popping up.

    I was filled with hate for so many years.... I don't know which contributed most to my anxiety disorders and depression, the bullying at school or having a mentally ill mother at home.  But have those I do, and I didn't want to face that until a couple of years ago because I didn't want to be one of "those people".  Treatment has been one of the greatest blessings in my life.  At least I am understanding why I washed out of so many things in my adult life, why I went through times when I could barely leave the house, barely speak to people.

    I remember when I got to college and for the first time in my life boys were showing an interest, I couldn't tell that they were because I thought they were setting me up to humiliate me.  I had been convinced growing up that I was simply ugly and unacceptable to the opposite sex.  

    When I was about 30 I was talking to a very close friend about the bullying experiences and she basically told me to shut up, that what I experienced was nothing and there were people around who had real childhood trauma.  I did shut up, am still shut up in most situations.  I am so grateful this is being discussed more openly now.  Thank you for being someone with courage to do that.  I'm 47 years old and I still watch my back.

    •  Thank you for your comments and love (0+ / 0-)

      I have had such a wonderful outpouring of support, it is so lovely.

      I haven't dated since the 90's.  It sucks.  I know girls sometimes take an interest, but internally I always fear what you feared - that they were doing so to set me up for greater humiliation.  It's hard to break out of.

      Thank again for taking to time to read and comment, I really do appreciate it.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 09:58:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish you peace and strength (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDP

    I know what it's like to feel as if there is an elephant standing on your chest. To need Venlafaxine to get through the day and Clonazepam to get through the night. To be terrified of everything ... and nothing ... at the same time.

    When they say, "It gets better," they're telling the truth.

    Take care of you. If you think you can't even tackle one day at a time, get yourself through one hour at a time.

    But the one most critical piece of advice I can give you, is reach out to a friend. Ask them to come over to visit. Tell them what you're going through. Accept their offer to help you clean your house, do your laundry, go through your piles of unopened mail. Let them hug you and comfort you through whatever embarrassment you may feel. Make a pot of coffee, go to Funny or Die, and laugh yourselves silly together. Make it a weekly "ritual."

    Letting others in is the only thing that got me through my darkest days (when I didn't have a single clean dish or utensil and couldn't even clean myself because I'd piled all the dirty ones in the bathtub).

    Reach out.

    People care.

    I promise.

    {{{TDP}}}

    Stop the party of Gut & Spend policies that gut our Earned Benefits programs like Social Security and Medicare and spends on tax breaks for the wealthy elite.

    by jillwklausen on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 07:53:04 AM PDT

    •  I am lucky to have found two new friends (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jillwklausen

      My mate Matt who knows what I am going through all too well, and his lovely wife.

      I am looking to move close to them both, and get Matt and I into a work out scheme so we can lose weight and start working on getting rid of our depression and anxiety.  I am grateful for having him as a mate, and know he will be there to help me out.

      Thanks again for your comments and advice, I appreciate it :)

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 10:00:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just the fact that you were able to write this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDP

    and elicit such a powerful response in so many people says that you have a lot to offer.

    A lot of people believe in you. Maybe this diary is the first step of a long walk towards a new life.

    "It's not enough to be right. You still have to use your nice voice." -said by my then six-year-old daughter; "Love binds us all."-willb48

    by be the change you seek on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 07:55:11 AM PDT

    •  I am hoping so (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      be the change you seek

      I am creative, and I love to write and make things.  It's just hard to come out of your shell and actually do so.

      I would love to be able to write for a living, I just don't know how to achieve that goal.  More work in the mining industry where I live than in writing.  Most likely better pay also.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 09:55:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for sharing your story and for being so (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDP, laserhaas

    honest and open.  Your diary moved me to tears.

    Thank you.  And welcome to the Tree...

    Roxine

    "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley

    by Roxine on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 10:10:23 AM PDT

    •  Thank you for having me! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roxine, laserhaas

      Do I need to ask to join the group, or do I just set myself to follow the group?  Not 100% sure, it's been a fair while since I worked all this out.

      Thank you again for welcoming me into the group, and for reposting the diary to it.  I appreciate it very much.

      I'd cry, cry for the future, but I wouldn't get anything done - 'When the River Runs Dry' - Hunters and Collectors

      by TDP on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 10:25:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is wonderful to see all this great humanity. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TDP, TX Freethinker

    That one can share the pain

    and so many decent people come here to empathize and offer comfort.

    KUDOs - to all of you...........

    If you desire a better world - be a better person.

    by laserhaas on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 06:40:13 PM PDT

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