The Long Term Effects Of Bullying

You know how jokes are often funny because they are based in an ugly truth? I had a new realization of that phenomena while watching Bill Maher's new stand-up comedy special "The Decider" on HBO the other night. Bill was talking about various recent sexual abuse scandals and was comparing the complaints made against Michael Jackson to complaints made against various Catholic priests with the aim of suggesting that what Michael allegedly did to his victims was gentle compared to the treatment received by victims of the priests. Seemingly out of nowhere, he started talking about a time when he was a child and was rather viciously beaten up during an incident of playground bullying. As part of his punchline, he commented that he would have gladly subjected himself to the worst abuse Michael has been accused of perpetrating rather than having to endure that single beating.

The comment resonated with me, probably because like Bill, I too was bullied as a kid, and also found the experience to be pretty ugly. I don't think I'd ever choose to subject myself to Michael's ministrations in order to have escaped my own bullying experiences (you gotta have standards in life), but I know I would have given a lot to have been able to stop them from happening.

The bullying I was subjected to did not occur on the playground, but rather on the school bus. I can vividly recall days when I would have to launch myself out of the school bus door and run as fast as I could up the hill to the shelter of my house. A group of older neighborhood boys would be after me for reasons that were never entirely clear. I was younger, more sensitive, certainly more vulnerable and not talented at fist fighting. Most days I'd make it home safely , but some days I'd end up belly up on the grass trying to fend off blows and kicks while a ring of kids jeered and cheered that day's aggressor. A blow to the head and you'd see stars like in the cartoons.

I'm 40 years old now; it's been something like 30 years since that sort of thing last happened. Still, the experience has not left me, it sucked so much. I don't think about it much these days, but I know that having lived through those experiences has shaped me as an adult, and not for the better.

The experience of getting your face smashed in by bullies (or taunted by them, or pushed, or shoved, or excluded, etc. ) has got to be an almost universal sort of thing; something that many others who have endured similar experiences can perhaps recognize and respond to. In this spirit, I offer my self-disclosure (and hijack Bill's) as seed for discussion.

There are lots of programs designed to help schools and other institutions prevent bullying. It's kind of a hot topic these days in a small sort of way. Hopefully the things that researchers have and will come up will help limit the scope of the problem in the future. However, I'm quite confident that it will never go away entirely. It seems to me that bullying is just one of those things that are just a part of human nature. Something that can be suppressed but not eliminated.

Where I want to go with this essay is not to talk about how to make bullying stop, but rather, to explore the sorts of damage bullies do to their victims, and to discuss a few paths through which some of that damage can be, at least in part, undone.

Bullying is Abuse

Here's a few statements to get us started: 1) Bullying is a form of abuse, and 2) Bullying is a narcissistic sort of act. In making the first statement here, I mean to say that both bullying and traditional forms of abuse are selfish and/or sadistic, destructive, and often violent acts perpetrated upon victims who do not in any way, shape or form deserve to be treated in that manner. In making the second statement I'm suggesting that ring-leader bullies (those who organize bullying) are behaving as though the emotional and physical health of their victims is not important or is at least less important than their own desire for the thrill of aggression and dominance. Narcissists treat other people as though they were objects either to be used, or discarded, and the bully both uses his victim (for purposes of self-gratification and aggrandizement) and then discards him.

Now, children are fairly narcissistic by their very nature. Children are not born appreciating that other people are actually just like they are with their own needs and independent rights. A long period of development must occur before children grasp that the other people around them have needs and interests just like they do and need to be accommodated and accorded respect. The golden rule of treating others as you would yourself like to be treated makes no sense to a young child who has not yet matured to the point where this basic appreciation of the individuality of every person has been grasped. Instead, children need to be held in line with what amount to incentives (and sometimes punishments) for acting as though other people matter. So by saying that bullying is a narcissistic action, I'm not at all saying that all bullies are narcissists. Adult bullies who have not outgrown their childhood narcissism probably do qualify, but little kids are just going to be that way. This is why I'm not terribly optimistic that we can solve the problem of bullying in our time.

Bullying Causes Long-Term Emotional Damage

The experience of being bullied can end up causing lasting damage to victims. This is both self-evident, and also supported by an increasing body of research. It is not necessary to be physically harmed in order to suffer lasting harm. Words and gestures are quite enough. In fact, the old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never harm me" is more or less exactly backwards. For the most part, physical damage sustained in a fist fight heals readily, especially damage that is sustained during the resilient childhood years. What is far more difficult to mend is the primary wound that bullying victims suffer which is damage to their self-concepts; to their identities. Bullying is an attempt to instill fear and self-loathing. Being the repetitive target of bullying damages your ability to view yourself as a desirable, capable and effective individual.

There are two ugly outcomes that stem from learning to view yourself as a less than desirable, incapable individual. The first ugly outcome is that it becomes more likely that you will become increasingly susceptible to becoming depressed and/or angry and/or bitter. Being bullied teaches you that you are undesirable, that you are not safe in the world, and (when it is dished out by forces that are physically superior to yourself) that you are relatively powerless to defend yourself. When you are forced, again and again, to contemplate your relative lack of control over the bullying process, you are being set up for Learned Helplessness (e.g., where you come to believe that you can't do anything to change your ugly situation even if that isn't true), which in turn sets you up for hopelessness and depression.

At the same time, you may be learning that you are helpless and hopeless, you are also learning how you are seen by bullies, which is to say, you are learning that you are seen by others as weak, pathetic, and a loser. And, by virtue of the way that identity tends to work, you are being set up to believe that these things the bullies are saying about you are true.

It would be great if the average person was possessed of unshakable self-confidence, but this just isn't how identity works. Identity is a social process. Other people contribute to it. Particularly when people are young and have not yet survived a few of life's trials, it is difficult for people to know who they are and what they are made of. Much of what passes for identity in the young (and in the older too) is actually a kind of other-confidence, which is to say that many people's self-confidence is continually shored up by those around them telling them in both overt and subtle ways that they are good, worthy people. This is one of the reasons people like to belong to groups – it helps them to feel good about themselves. Bullying teaches people that they are explicitly not part of groups; that they are outcasts and outsiders. It is hard to doubt the reality of being an outcast and an outsider when you have been beaten or otherwise publicly humiliated. It takes an exceptionally confident (or otherwise well-supported) person to not internalize bullies' negative messages and begin bullying yourself by holding yourself to the same standards that bullies are applying to you and finding yourself a failure. In other words, it is rather easy for bullying victims to note that they have been beaten up and then to start thinking of themselves as weak, no-good, worthless, pathetic, and incompetent. These are the sorts of thoughts that lead to depression, or, if they are combined with revenge fantasies, to anger and rage feelings.

Where the first ugly outcome of bullying unfolds rather immediately in the form of a wounded self-concept, the second ugly outcome unfolds more slowly over time. Having a wounded self-concept makes it harder for you to believe in yourself, and when you have difficulty believing in yourself, you will tend to have a harder time persevering through difficult situations and challenging circumstances. Deficits in academic performance can easily occur when bullying victims succumb to depression or otherwise become demoralized. They certainly also occur when victims ditch school to avoid bullies. The deficits themselves are not the real issue. The real issue is that if deficits occur for too long or become too pronounced, the affected children can lose out on opportunities for advancement and further study, and ultimately, employment. I've read retrospective studies where people report having left school early so as to avoid continued bullying, and this of course will have altered and limited the job prospects they have available to them as adults. Leaving school may be a dramatic (if occasionally realistic) example of how early bullying can affect one's life, but there are surely other ways that anger or depression caused by bullying harms and developmentally delays people's progress.

Inevitably, it is the sensitive kids who get singled out for teasing; the kids who cry easily; the easy targets. Targeted as they are, many sensitive kids learn to think of their sensitivity as a bad thing and to avoid it, and/or channel it into revenge fantasy and anger. This doesn't much work when you are a kid (it is difficult to reinvent yourself without actually moving to a new place), and it can have negative consequences in adulthood when the same children, now emotionally avoidant or angry or cynical adults, find themselves having difficulty entering into or maintaining loving and warm intimate relationships.

A similar form of damage comes when bullied kids internalize negative attitudes concerning aspects of themselves that set them apart from others, such as their sexual orientation, minority group membership, or religious affiliation. In such cases, bullying sets up a peer pressure to reject aspects of one's self which are fundamentally not rejectable, and thus a potentially lifelong tension gets set up inside that person. If anyone out there has a better idea for how someone can end up become a homosexual-hating homosexual, or a jew-hating jewish person or other seemingly self-contradictory person I'd like to know about it.

The following list, culled from my reading on this subject, summarizes some of the effects bullying victims may experience:

In the short term:

  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Anxious avoidance of settings in which bullying may occur.
  • Greater incidence of illness
  • Lower grades than non-bullied peers
  • Suicidal thoughts and feelings (In one British retrospective bullying experiences survey I came across (of unknown scientific value), 20% of the sample attempted suicide secondary to having been bullied, whereas only 3% of participants who were not bullied attempted suicide).

In the long term:

  • Reduced occupational opportunities
  • Lingering feelings of anger and bitterness, desire for revenge.
  • Difficulty trusting people
  • Interpersonal difficulties, including fear and avoidance of new social situations
  • Increased tendency to be a loner
  • Perception of self as easy to victimize, overly sensitive, and thin-skinned
  • Self-esteem problems (don't think well of self)
  • Increased incidence of continued bullying and victimization

A few interesting observations of factors that seem to lessen the negative impact that bullying has on people have come to my attention during the process of cataloging the ways that bullying can mess you up. For instance:

Perception of Control

A 2004 Spanish college student sample study suggests that there is a direct relationship between victim's perception of control over their bullying experience and the extent of long term difficulties they experience as a result of bullying. This is to say, that bullied students who believed they were able to influence and/or escape their bullies reported fewer negative long term effects from having been bullied than did students who felt helpless to influence their situation while it was happening. Perception of control (and not reality of control) was key in this study, as no relationship was found between the various ways that students coped with being bullied and how they turned out.

I can see the outline of a mechanism working here (where students who believed they still had control over their situations avoided developing learned helplessness and therefore had less of a chance of experiencing depression). However the study doesn't really help us to know what to recommend that people do to lessen their chances of long term problems. Remember, it didn't matter what the students actually did; it only mattered what they believed.

If we go with the idea that believing you have control over events is important then the thing to do if you are being bullied is to keep persevering in your efforts to stop the bullying as though those efforts will result in your being able to get the bullying to stop. No single thing you do may actually stop the bullying from happening, but the effect of continually working under the assumption that you haven't tried all options and may still get the bullying to stop may do the trick. And, of course, you might actually get the bullying to stop because of something you do or don't do.

Rather than try to control the past (which is impossible), it might make more sense for hurting victims to get themselves to focus on what they can control in the present, for the benefit of their future happiness and fulfillment. As the poet George Herbert's classic phrase wisely advises us, "living well is the best revenge".

Early Exposure

The age at which kids are first bullied seems to be important according to some research. Young children who are first bullied during their pre-teen years appear to be less negatively impacted in the long term than are children who are first bullied as teens. People first bullied as young children report experiencing higher long-term stress levels than do people who were never bullied. However, people who were first bullied as teens report more long term social withdrawal and more reactivity to violence than other groups. There is a greater tendency towards the use of self-destructive coping mechanisms in the first-bullied-as-teens group, and an interesting but hard to make sense of sex difference, where women tend to become more aggressive as a result of their bullying experience, and men to demonstrate a greater tendency to abuse substances. I can't help but wonder if the increased independence and emancipation that teens enjoy makes them more likely to experiment with and then get locked into maladaptive coping strategies like substance abuse than their younger peers.

Social Support

Finally, multiple researchers point to the protective effect that a good social support network has with regard to bully victim's short and long term outcomes. Having supportive family members and peers around who can be confided in when one has been bullied and who can offer support and advice tends to lessen bullying's impact.

There are a number of reasons why it makes sense that a supportive social network should help, but one of them deserves to be made explicit. Namely, that when a bullying victim is surrounded by and bought into a supportive social network, they are receiving many positive messages about their worth from network members, and there are thus fewer opportunities for bullies' negative messages to find purchase and grow to take over self-esteem. If bullies can only succeed in harming people physically; if they do not succeed in harming them emotionally or harming their identities, then relatively little lasting damage can be done.

Undoing the Damage

If the primary damage that bullying causes is damage to identity and self-esteem, then taking steps to repair identity and self-esteem are in order for people looking to heal from past bullying experiences. What needs to heal, in most cases, is not the physical body, but rather, identity and self-concept. Bullied people need to learn how to feel safe again in the world (or safe enough). They need to learn that they are acceptable people who have something to offer other people. They need to feel in more control over their moods and urges. They need to feel again that if they set their mind to something that they can hope to accomplish it. These are not modest goals, by any chance, but they are the sorts of things that bullying victims need to think about working on.

I'll refer people to our topic centers on Depression and Anger Management for ideas about how these problems can be treated. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is likely to be of particular utility with regard to depression and anger that is secondary to having been bullied because mood problems that have originated in this way are very likely to have come into being as a result of victims having become convinced that they are worthless and incompetent. In the language of cognitive behavioral therapy, these would be thought of as dysfunctional core beliefs which could be addressed and repudiated using cognitive restructuring techniques that encourage people to closely examine such beliefs and dispute them when they are found to contain exaggerations and distortions (which these sorts of beliefs surely will).

Social withdrawal problems and social anxiety also can be very profitably addressed within the context of cognitive therapy. One of the really nice things about a therapy setting is that role playing can take place between therapist and patient so as to provide anxious patients with opportunity to practice and improve how they will interact in feared but desired social situations. When basic social fears and skill deficits have been addressed, it should become easier for socially withdrawn people to find the connections they need to finally feel fundamentally accepted by others.

I typically hate the overused word "empowered", but I'm going to use it here, because it really fits here. People who have been bullied have been fundamentally dis-empowered. Their feelings of personal safety have been violated and their belief in their own competency and adequacy has been brought into question. Such people may exist in a state of perpetual avoidance and paralysis. In order to feel good about themselves, they will need to break through that paralysis and engage in something that helps them feel like they are gaining in power. Not power over others, but power over themselves. No other people can do this for them. Each paralyzed person has to decide to empower themselves.

There are a million avenues one can go in to fulfill an empowerment goal, the one that is right for any given person being a function of that person's talents and opportunities. Anger can be productively funneled into a competitive endeavor (such as education, business, sports, gaming or some other means of becoming excellent) or a creative expression. Fears can be faced down and courage can be found. I, as author of this essay, cannot offer specifics on how this can be accomplished as the right path for each person will be individual, but I can say that it is more or less as simple as picking out a goal you desire to accomplish (which will assert yourself) and then deciding to make it happen. As with any self-improvement goal, it is good to start small, and to dissect larger goals into their smallest possible elements, so that each step you take on the way to a big goal is manageable. You can read more about this process in our Psychological Self-Tools self-help book.

I'll end here with an appeal for comments and contributions. Have I missed anything important with regard to being bullied, in your opinion and experience? What are your own experiences with having been bullied? How has bullying shaped your life, for better or for worse? What are the problems that you developed as a result of having been bullied, and how have you managed to address them? What messages can you give to young people who are being bullied today. What would you have done differently if you could do it over? The more people who contribute to this essay, the more useful of a resource it can become.

  • Someguy

    I have a facial paralysis.

    Do you really think I was treated well by my peers? Preadult behavior is very much like something out of 'Lord of the Flies'. If you're perceived as being weak and undesirable then that warrants 'contempt'.

    Hey, I knew a 'teenager' from 11th grade that had a cleft pallet and a speech impediment that dropped out of high school. Now why do you think he dropped out?

    I think contempt is the visible emotion that is above the underlying currents. I think the underlying currents consist of 'being in control' at the expense of others. And it is narcissistic

    I grew up in a school system that gives accolades to sports and aggression, and little merit to intellect. My facial paralysis caused emotional discomfort do to constant questions that eluded to opinions that there was 'something wrong with me'. Because of the constant pecking, I felt I was worthless. When you feel worthless, you don't feel you have the right to be aggressive. When you're not aggressive, you're less likely to excel at sports........And would anybody take an interest in me and help me? Nooooooooo. I was set up for failure in my own school system and neglect from my family to my special needs. Well, how many people do you know with a facial paralysis?. This Spartan mentality lead to my ostracizing and contempt by my peers.

    I simply accepted that this is way it was. Keep in mind I was still a child. As a child you're taught to accept things as they are, and not to think for yourself. That is where the group mentality plays in.

    I guess in order to recover from bullying, you have to recognize the absurdity of human behavior. To this day I have never been married and I am struggling to achieve recognition in a career.....I still feel worthless.

    I've surfed 20 foot waves, I've hiked to the top of 12,000 foot mountains....and yet I still feel worthless. Y'know, people are a'holes. How's that for human absurdity?......well, I'm expressing 'contempt'. That's what people did to me, so I'm throwing it right back at you. And if you reply with contempt to what I just said, then you're just perpetuating the absurdity of human behavior.

    I believe that 'bullying' is what contributes to a lot of our personality disorders.....such as Borderline, Antisocial, Paranoid and what have you.

  • Isabella

    Everything in this article really resounds within me...

    I was lost for many years due to being a victim of bullying and a chronic lack of acknowledgement and support in my home environment. I am woman, around 4ft 8" in height and I never really grew after the age of 11. I was overprotected by my mother from a very early age and to a great degree smothered with love and I never established my own concept of myself. I remember many times trying to express my feelings of being different and 'not as good as everyone else' hoping that somebody would want to listen and maybe even support me and help me find myself. I had limited access to non-family members and I found it hard to relate to anyone. Firstly I had trauma from being bullied by my parents into stopping sucking my thumb at age 6/7 and among other things I was subject to my maternal aunt and uncles quasi religious ravings about veganism at the age of 7,8 - that was infact whilst I was eating meat at our own dinner table! After that particular trauma I stopped eating and my dad shouted at me and forced me to eat meat - leaving me with a strong sense that my feelings were irrelevant. I was then bullied numerous times and by numerous boys at school - I think because I was successful academically, as well as giving off that emotional vulnerability bullies seem to thrive off, and as such stood out in more than one way. I can relate to everything in the section about the long term emotional damage of such events. To survive my childhood I began denying my feelings and living purely in my intellectual side. For example trying and failing to rationalise the actions of the bullys both adults and children - but most of all adopting the 'rules', the shoulds, the musts and other limitations of my parents. Thinking that would bring me closer to obtaining love - something I felt I was dying from the lack of. To look at things as I left my teenage years you would think I was fine, normal but I had just managed to turn around my A'levels from near failure, and a failed relationship in my first year of uni resulted in panic attacks so much so I couldnt sleep or eat or do anything. Now I realise I had pinned so much on being 'rescued' from this trapped world of living by my parents limitations and so much so I had perpetuated those limitations so I was in effect trapping myself. I felt anger and frustration but had no way of expressing my true feelings. This cycle continued throughout univ, my teaching qualification, my life as a teacher and I had many instances of panic - where my mind and body was shrieking YOU CAN'T LIVE LIKE THIS. This is the worst feeling ever - you are to all intents and purposes LOST! So lost from yourself - which is the thing that matters the most. Even now as I write this I can go to that awful, judgmental and terribly unsatisfying place and I am only just beginning the path to getting out of it. I have been seeing a psychologist for several weeks now and I finally feel, with the love of my partner, that I can take that control that the article mentions. In fact me writing this is the beginning of that process. I want to take a stand and get my story out there. As you say in the article evidence (the study of spanish students) is showing it doesnt matter what the true situation was, or what the students did, it mattered what they BELIEVED. Only with love and support can someone who is fundamentally disempowered begin to heal. I want to help anyone I can by sharing my story. There is hope. Listen and make time for your feelings.. people might not have thought you were worth it before but you were a child then and you were powerless. Now you are an adult you dont have to be trapped anymore.

  • dna

    You're very correct when you say "I believe that 'bullying' is what contributes to a lot of our personality disorders.....such as Borderline, Antisocial, Paranoid and what have you."And making good relationships can heal those "disorders". It's too bad you haven't been able to do that. I hope you try to trust someone enough to form a lasting relationship.

  • Pam Moore

    At age l3, I was assaulted by five girls all at least a year older than myself. I agree completely that these incidents leave a lasting effect on one's social and personal development. Also I feel strongly that having a supportive background (someone to dispel the negative feelings) has a tremendous impact on how one recovers from the abuse. Sadly in my case, this was not so. I have, however been in continuous therapy for three years (cognitive behavioural therapy) which has helped immensely. I also take meds--cymbalta and wellbutrin xl--which have helped correct chemical imbalances. I feel that until some realistic and readily available solution is found, bullying will contine unabated, regardless of how many programs or "zero tolerance" policies are in place. Thank you for this opportunity and God Bless You.

  • Someguy

    I know a woman that is hiding from her ex-husband because he's a control freak with anger management problems. I can tell her mind is racing do to the trauma he has inflicted.

    Imagine what this guy was like as a kid?

    We seem to be in a society that admires aggression, but pays little attention to its psychological affects. We have a school shooting televised every year, and yet we always seem to be in denial of its causes?

  • Truth

    Thank you for the article. It's true... all true. The bulling that I recieved as a child has left feelings of inadequacy, mostly relieved by cognitive therapy (a wonderful perk of college life). It's not perfect, and I'm still prone to depression... I'm on preventitive antidepressants. I'm down at the moment because I'm looking for employment... another symptom.

    While I'm at it, I want to mention the other side problem: shame. In my recent "Human Development" class, I learned about the Erikson stages of development. The school-age one, Industry vs. Inferiority, was "unsuccessfully resolved," leaving me with a certain lack of ambition. This is compounded by the feelings of inadequacy that do tend to pop up from time to time like a doggone whack-a-mole. It would be fabulous to have a nice rubber mallet to beat them with.

    I also wish to offer a secondary look at bullying, more common among females: pure and simple rejection. I had no friends at all throughout my childhood, and I remember with unabashed joy the feeling of having a place saved for me at the lunch table for the first time. I was in 8th grade.

    I'm completing my training as a special educator. I now understand that some of the rejection I faced was a result of my own poor social skills. I am, unsurprisingly, dedicated to and passionate about teaching my future students good social skills.

    This article has helped to clarify and pinpoint my own personal demons before I try to help others with theirs. Thanks.

  • Anonymous-1

    Dear Mr Dombeck,

    Thank you very much for writing this essay! I have been searching the internet for answers for several years (too embarassed to try the library ...) but there is next to nothing written for adult survivors of childhood bullying (at least that I have been able to find). This essay gave me some of the answers that I have been looking for. It feels great to know that it's okay and normal not to be "over it" yet, even though it's been 12 years now since I left school. Twelve years - and it still hurts SO MUCH! But I also learned from this essay that I'm actually doing very well! I have completed higher education, and I have managed to get married and have children - that's actually a great achievement, I see now! Knowing this made be feel great.

    To those who are currently being bullied: PLEASE ASK FOR HELP! Don't be ashamed! It's not your fault! My biggest mistake was to hide it from my parents that I was being bullied - please don't make the same mistake as I did!

  • Anonymous-2

    It is finally nice to realize that I was not the only one to suffer bullying. I always thought that I was the only one and alone, and I am still young. I was one of those who was bullied from Kindergarden to senior year in high school and it was a daily routine, and sometimes more than once a day. I learned early on that no one would support me as my mom got sick of hearing me talk about it and I got in trouble once for trying to defend myself. I learned to silently suffer, as I believed that no one woudl believe me nor woudl anyone listen to me. I felt I had no where to turn, so I turned inward adn silently suffered under a "false" steel wall i made to protect my sensitive insides. I received teasing adn taunting daily for my weight, for looking different, and other things. Everyone teased me, but no one more so than the bully of the class who made herself leader of the class because she was older than most of us. She made my life miserable, with teasing insults and later it did get a little physical, but most of it was wearing down myself esteem. I chose to rebel and maketry to make her life miserable, but it did not help me other than to survive. I did not have the opportunity to leave my horrible situation until I finally went to college, but my internalizing of all that I went through has made my life difficult to deal with. It is so hard for me to be confident in myself. I try and I try and yet when something goes wrong, my confidence shatters like delicate glass, and it takes quite a while to rebuild. I am conituing to struggle with what happened and have had one year of counseling, but it was only enough to reopen the can of worms. Now I am so confused what I shoudl believe or do. I will say that I am glad to know that I am not the only one to have suffered bullying, it does not make me feel so alone and forlorn.

  • Anonymous-3

    Thanks for the article. I haven't found much on the internet on adult survivors of bullying. What I have read seems to downplay the impact on survivors. I am presently trying to get some counseling to help me reach my potential and become capable of having a long term relationship. I was bullied from kindergarten until I graduated from high school. I am still a loner and don't have any close friends in my generation. I am incredibly critical of other people. If I want someone to be my friend and they begin showing an interest in me I start to see their faults and back off. I identify myself as a loner and I choose to find support for this belief. It seems logical to me that my behavior would be the result of the bullying I experienced growing up.

  • Anonymous-4

    Being bullied is no life for any man or animal I take extreme pleasure when bullies are put in prison and remind them tactfully when they get out so they can keep walking.

  • Anonymous-5

    Because I was an obese child, I was bullied mercilessly in elementary school. I was also exhibiting symptoms of depression, and cried quite a bit. My parents were no help--they told me to simply ignore my tormentors (how do you ignore someone who is torturing you?) If I tried to defend myself I found myself slapped down by those in authority. I quickly learned that it was my lot in life because I was inferior, mainly because I was overweight.

    I was a brilliant and precocious child academically, but my achievements were overshadowed by the fact that I was considered an easy target.

    Now, at age 40, I am still struggling with feelings of inferiority, powerlessness, shame and loneliness. I have had difficulty finding and keeping a job. The jobs that I have held are way below my abilities and education level. I simply do not have the confidence to search for greater opportunity.

    I've been in therapy for several years, dealing with the issues I can trace directly to the bullying (including body image--I suffer from bulimia.) I do not have children, mainly because I fear that my clinical depression and weight issues would be passed on, and they would suffer the torture that I did.

  • V

    This article hit everything I've ever felt and is a huge wake up call about the long-term effects of bullying that I have not even considered. My negative thoughts about my self-worth, why I avoid relationships, why I never feel close to friends and, unfortunately, a lot more have been influenced by something I thought I buried.

    I recently had a strong emotional reaction when my 20th high

    school reunion was announced. I initially dismissed the event as irrelevant. I don't spend any time thinking about the high school or any other school experience. When a high school friend called to talk about it I was surprised by all the negativity that came out of me. I never expected that reaction and now I realize that the bullying experience had more of an effect on me than I care to admit.

    Thank you all for your comments.I too relate to continually

    seeking jobs that I am overqualified for, avoiding social situations and not trusting people. I still struggle with depression and anxiety.

    All I can say is I am saddened by how I let them change me. I have new personal and career goals I'm working toward. I have resolved to not let the bullies take up anymore space in my head. They've had enough. I don't want this to go on any longer.

    My advice is that if you are bullied tell someone, anyone that

    will listen. Don't let anyone dismiss your feelings. They are

    completely valid and don't feel ashamed or embarrassed. It's not your fault. You are strong for surviving it.

  • Someguy

    My chronic bullying experiences at school and a messed up family life with an alcoholic father led to me having traits similar to post traumatic stress syndrome or borderline personality disorder.

    It took me a long time to realize that my adverse personality traits were 'not' biological, but rather from abusive black and white perceptions other people would inflict upon me, associated with their inability to regulate their emotions. If you're in an environment that is abusive, IE bullying, it reverberates upon you negatively....especially when you're young and you're apt to think that it's 'normal'.

    When I was younger I use to studder, have anxiety attacks and feel empty inside.....a form of dysthymia. Now, I'm just angry, not all the time mind you......I would like to think that is a natural conclusion?

    I had a neighbor yell as his daughter that she was an ef'n kunt. Then I would go to school and put up with all these neurotic bullying kids. Do you see the connection?

    I repeat I have a facial paralysis, and for some reason that warrants contempt.....especially in childhood. I think people should reevaluate their motives because for some reason insensitivity is becoming standard.

  • Nk

    Wow! I sit here reading this essay with tears in my eyes my heart pounding, bile rising in my throat thinking that i'll never find the real me ever again. what the hell hell happened how did i allow this to happen to me. I wasn't bullied as a child my expereince happened 3 years ago and i no longer function with my family, at work or soically, i have to take medication to be able to cope on a daily basis, i could never have imgained that another person could inflict so much harm to another human being. Everything you talk about is so true it's scary. It sounds silly but it's good to be able to see that their are people who unfortunatly really understand what happens to you. it has made me feel not so alone.

  • Patti

    This is the first article I've ever read that reminds me of my childhood bullying experience. All my life it seems like I've suffered from low self-esteem, lack of goals, not working to my potential, loner-ism and so on. I was diagnosed with dysthymia in 1988 and have been on medication ever since.

    Reading this article makes me wonder just how much of my problems can be attributed to the bullying I experienced. The dreaded MILDRED MCKINNEY! ! ! ! my nemises! I don't know what her problem was but she made my life a living hell. I don't know at what age it started or when it quit (if it ever did). We moved away from that town when I was in the middle of 8th grade. I think I've blanked a lot of the misery out but can remember some specific episodes. She was a group leader and when she would tease me, so would the others. I don't remember why she did it - I don't think I looked all that different - my weight was not an issue - maybe I cried easier but I don't remember. I just know I have never forgotten her or the feeling she inspired in me. I remember also how I was always chosen last for any team sport (that I was FORCED to particpate in) - again I don't remember why. Was I clumsy, awkward, a bad player? I don't know - I just remember a teacher saying "come on now! Someone's got to pick Patti!" How demoralizing was that?

    Later, in another school, I hung out with a bunch who went to the trees and played Star Trek during recess instead of doing team stuff (finally they didn't force us). I was always Spock and somewhat of our group leader (the geek squad?). Did I admire Spock for his ability to shut off emotion and pain - who knows?, sounds plausible.

    Mildred was there throughout my childhood from 2nd grade to 8th as far as I can recall. I wish I could remember more about it all. I wonder if hypnosis really works?

    So anyhow, I'm looking into the therapy idea but if it costs much I won't be able to do it.

    Thanks for this opportunity to vent.

  • A Mom

    Bullying starts YOUNG. I put my daughter in a local YMCA preschool in Nothern New Jersey and there was a five year old girl, MORGAN, who started bullying my daughter from the first day. My daughter was not even 3 1/2 at the time. My daughter only went twice a week for a few hours. Once I realized what was going on, I pleaded with the teacher to help, but after many pleadings and no action being taken by the school, I removed my daughter from the school.

    Though, I also had her signed up to go to summer camp there. I asked her teacher if Morgan would be at summer camp. She said no, so I felt safe in having my daughter there for camp. She did not have the same lead teacher as preschool, who is basically a teacher with her head in the sand who did absolutely nothing.

    You can imagine my surprise when on the first day of Camp, there was MORGAN in another classroom upstairs. I told her teachers that I did not want morgan around my child. Little did I know that I was talking to an absolute "shell" of a human being who told me what I wanted to hear, but again, did NOTHING. I pleaded, I begged, I spoke with the executive director, I spoke with the director -- all she did was try to figure out the point of view of the teacher -- really helpful.

    Luckily, my daughter had minimal contact with Morgan a shared playground a few times a week. But this was enough. Morgan stole her ice cream, Morgan taunted her. Morgan wiped her fingers in her own vagina and held them up to my daughter's face and said, "SMELL!" This kid is sick!!

    I complained and complained and complained. Then the teacher said to me, Listen we have 17 kids and only two teachers, we can't keep Morgan away from your daughter." Well, ever see a volcano erupt? That was me. I laid it into that totaly moran of a teacher. It was then I relayed the VAGINA story to him and FINALLY, I got some action. Morgan was not allowed to approach my daughter anymore.

    But the damage had already been done. And it's been three months since my baby has seen the dreaded MOrgan and she talks about her nearly every day. My daughter has also taken on the personna of Superman and now wants to be a boy. I assume because she sees boys as bigger and stronger, so this is how my precious beautiful girl is trying to cope with the lack of protection she felt due to Morgan and a bunch of coward teachers who refused to take responsibility and pretended there was no problem.

    To help her cope when she talks about Morgan, I have told my daughter that Morgan is such a bad girl that Santa has crossed her off his list and she won't get any presents this year. I have told her that Morgan is not allowed to have any fun and must stay in her room alone with no toys. I have told her that no one likes Morgan and Morgan has no friends because she is so mean. My daughter enjoys these stories and wants to hear them over and over again. Of course, I NEVER bring up Morgan. She does, nearly every day. I also told her that her teachers had to go to "time out" in the teacher's room for not listening to Mommy and Daddy when we told them to keep Morgan away. They got in BIG TROUBLE, we tell her. Again, she wants to hear this story over and over again.

    I am thinking of going to a psychologist for advice on how to best handle this. Please...if any of you can offer any advice, I'd so much appreciate it. My baby is only 3 1/2 years old.

    Question: why didn't I remove her from camp? Except for the minimal contact with Morgan, she was having a fabulous time. She made new friends and would have been broken-hearted, and very bored if I removed her. Also, all the other summer programs were booked, so it was either this or nothing.

    Thank you.

  • Anonymous-6

    Hi, Im nearly 18 and have been bullied pretty much from the start of high school (age 11). It was only ever verbal, you know, a nasty comment practically everyday, but as you said in the article, I would have much rather it had been physical as then It would heal quicker. Id say Its left me pretty messed up, I suffer from periods of depression, panic attacks and feelings of inadequacy. Theres not really alot young people can do when they get bullied, I know theres the age old "tell someone" advice, but Its absolutely pointless, nothing Is ever done. Its a sad fact that there is no actual law on bullying, despite the evident damage that it causes.

    Unfortunately, I doubt there will ever be a society without bullying, Its just the way it is. There will always be a weaker and a stronger party those in the position to take advantage of their "power".

  • Dave

    Hi Im Dave from the uk i went through years of being bullied at a private school in the uk a terrible time all alone no one at my family life lacked love.

    It was through sport that i found my wings.......Cycling saved my life I fought on the roads night and day all the Anger within me.......I became a national champion.

    But the hurts stay and reading this on this day in London i notice self destruction still plays too much of a part within me.........I still ride now in fact im a elite athelete.........thsi essay makes me sit up these things have no part in my life any more

    My advice ids find somthing annything u are good will be likea Angel at ur side

    Any through Cycling and a close freinds family did i pull through Im pround and strong at my best thats the way I will live the rest of my life

    Take the power back

    Good luck guys

  • Anonymous-7

    After 25 years I finally found the courage to finish college. I was finally able to identify the reason for my procrastination as the years of bullying I received in school. Walking on campus for the first time made me physically ill. Now I know why. I grew up in Oakland, and by the late 60's I was one of only a handful of white children in my school. The Black Panther movement was at its height and violence was erupting all over. When Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed, the physical violence against me began. I was constantly kicked, shoved, knocked to the ground. The walk to and from school seemed like miles long. The time on the school ground was endless. I ended up missing the last three weeks of third grade. I didn't know what suicide meant back then, but I knew I didn't want to live life anymore. My father was an alcoholic, my mother addicted to tranquilizers, and my only sibling, an older sister, was already exhibiting signs of clinical depression. There was no one to turn to. The teachers saw first hand what was going on, but turned a blind eye. When we finally moved away to another city, the opportunity to reinvent myself was lost. By then I was incredibly overweight. Something new to be picked on for. By the time I was in my teens, I had begun the diet merry-go-round. My self esteem never improved. I ended up getting married to a man I knew for three weeks. He was so good looking that I couldn't believe he would be interested in me. Maybe I got married so quickly because I thought he would soon move on to someone more worthy than I. What I ended up with was another bully. He turned out to be just as emotionally and verbally abusive as any of my childhood tormentors. It took me 10 years to work up the courage to leave. All my life I had dead end jobs. Although I was incredibly bright and got straight A's, I always felt inferior and worthless. When I finally got up the courage to change jobs, I ended up with a supervisor who herself was a bully.

    I am now 46 years old. Only now am I beginning to see myself for the wonderful person that I am. I am taking my last class now to complete my degree. While doing research for a paper I have to write for class, I ended up on this website. Our text is about Multiple Intelligences. As I began to read through the book, I kept telling myself that I wasn't good at anything. After a month of introspection, I realized how I never had given myself credit for everything I have accomplished. The thesis for my final project will now include how the effects of bullying are life-long.

    Thank you for this article, and the opportunity to share our stories.

  • Anonymous-8

    In the 70's bullying was completely acceptable and considered normal.

    I agreed to allowing the boy who lived next door to me to pimp me out in order to avoid his bullying (he controlled all the children in the neighborhood). I was quite young and really did not know much of anything about sex but he showed me what to do (blow jobs). My parents refused to believe me. I was grateful that the bullying stopped and didnt care what I had to do- I was so relieved. Of course then I was called a whore...all at around 9-10 years of age.

    This occurred in the most "normal" Midwestern middle class suburban neighborhood anyone could imagine- no poverty, no desperation, no gangs, etc.

  • Dave

    I too was bullied for a few years from about grade 5 to grade 8. It was mostly verbal, sometimes I would build up the courage to mouth back but usually got my ass kicked for it. The school bus was the worst, i was told where to sit, had things thrown at me and the whole bus full of kids would chant out names directed at me. Most of the kids went to a different highschool, so highschool wasn't to bad as far as getting picked on. My main problem was social anxiety, whenever attention was turned to me I would experience panic. My face would go red, my heart would pound my voice would shake. This really affected my grades as you can imagine, I would not participate in any discusions and refuse to speak in public. In my mid twentys I knew I had to correct this problem and found many resources that helped, such as hypnosis, NLP, sedona method, yoga, meditation, spirtuality you name it I probably tried it. And you know what, they worked. Today I'm 32, athletic, married to a wonderful beautiful women, I'm back in university studying psychology and I'm very positive about my future. In some way I wonder if the universe presents certain obstacles in your life only so that you can grow from them. Maybe just maybe everything in life does happen for a reason. Maybe those bullies in our lives were sent to show us how NOT to treat others and to have love and compassion for others. Persevere in your efforts for healing and forgiving. Not only for those who bullied you but yourself for being bullied.

  • healthynut

    Hey NK - good for you for having the brazen courage to even recognize that anything happened in your life. You will GET STRONGER AND BETTER day by day! stay real - stay moral - help others - heal and look for the truth in everything! peace

  • Matthew Kendell

    Hello Mark,

    Thank you for you enlightening essay. I can truely connect with many of the points that you have made.

    I was born in Egypt and moved to England at the young age of 10 due to parental divorce. I began being bullyied when I entered the last year of primary school. I think the children who bullied me somehow felt threatened by my foreign status and by the fact that I had only joined the school in the final year. I was punched a few times in the stomach. But physical pain, as you say Mark, is not the problem - it was the verbal abuse that destroyed my self-esteem. The constant attack of my race, and name made me feel inadequate, out of control and scared. When I was in Egypt, I had never stuttered, but when I started going to primary school, I suddenly could not respond to the teacher at morning registration. Being unable to say 'goodmorning Mrs Bedo' in front of a whole class in the midst of being bullied is probably one of the most frightening experiences I have ever had. Every morning I would worry to death about stuttering at registration and being victimised again.

    Mark you are right when you say that bullied cannot be completely solved. Punishing the main line of attacks by schools but this is counterproductive. It just makes the student more rebellious and more judgemental. There has to be preventative measure right from the start. Survellances need to be set up to identify potential bullies and potential victims. The earlier you detect a problem, the less damage will have been done. However this requires the input of teachers. Im afraid my primary school teacher did not notice most of the time and neither did my secondary teachers.

    The parents of bullies also need to be educated. Yes children do have somewhat underdeveloped emapthic skills, but there is a spectrum and some children fair worse than others. These children probably come from hostile, destructive familes where love is at sparse. Parents also need to be educated.

    So yes the bullying continued in secondary school and certain times I was afarid to leave my house. My school was 7 miles away and one day, my mum gave me a lift, but I was so anxious that I as soon as my mum left me for work walked home. I suppose this scenario is an examplar of my tendencies to walk way from stressful situations.

    I am 25 and have never had a girlfriend to shout about. I simply do not have the confidence to ask a girl on a date and do not have the confidence to hold the relationship. This causes me great social anxiety when I see my friends doing the opposite.

    My school grades suffered as a result of my constant anxiety and poor stress tolerance and lack of motivation. Eventually I was diagnosed with ADHD. I do not think it is ADHD per se. I have all the symptoms of ADHD but they are caused by my anxiety, lack of self esteem and confidence and lack of control. I am NOT taking drugs.

    All I can say is that my bullies destroyed my mental health. A year after i left school, I found out that one of my bullies died from a drug overdose. Unfortunately I showed no remorse. I regret it now but at the time I said 'he had it coming'. On numerous occasions I have even visualised myself gaining revenge on them through torturing them.

    I am beggining to find a way back to optimal mental health through Cognitive behavioural therapy, hypnosis, affirmations, neurofeedback, meditation and educational/professional achievement.

    Dont let the bullies beat you.

  • Em

    I was bullied all the time at school, but it got much worse at secondary school - I was threatened many times, had rumours spread about me, had more names than I want to think about and was isolated most of the time.

    I told my teachers but they didn't believe me and one of them started making the bullying worse by drawing attention to the fact that I didn't stand straight (a direct effect of the bullying). My parents didn't believe me either so I had to 'cope' by myself - mainly done by teaching myself Japanese, smashing people at badminton and avoiding people. I considered committing suicide twice. I felt so lonely and helpless.

    I got through college but at uni was unable to keep what had happened at school to myself any more - told my parents and thought that would be the end of it. But all the effects of my 'coping methods' came to light and I struggled the whole time at uni. I got a degree but the grade was nothing like what I know my abilities are.

    My 'coping methods' and the effects are still causing me many problems now. I started experiencing panic attacks while at secondary school, and have only recently stopped having these I also get depressed very easily and my self confidence is very low. I have a dream of going to live and work in Japan, but still doubt how I'll manage if I ever get there. Have been in therapy for over 1.5 years now - even went back to the school where it all happened and was surprised how different it was - but the recovery is nowhere near complete.

    I think parents need to know that the phrase 'sticks and stones may break my bones but words can't hurt me' is not true, and that just because they think something shouldn't hurt you doesn't stop it hurting you. And schools should accept that there is a problem of bullying in schools. I get really angry sometimes and wish had more support. But one day I will make my dream come true and start my life again in Japan.

  • Anonymous-9

    I make great first impressions. I'm 29, well spoken, handsome, and in good shape. The problem is when people get to know me they realize there is something seriously wrong with me. I've have never had a relationship with the opposite sex. Being with a prostitute is the only way I can get an erection. I am also a misoganist. Although I became somewhat social in my last year of high school, I now consistantly have less and less friends every year. I trust no one. I haven't worked for almost a year, living off my parents. Before that, I worked for my dad. By the way, I resent my dad for impregnating my mother. I also resent my parent's for not properly socializing me into the world. I have a tremendous amount of anger and hate but no one to channel it toward. Thus, I try to punish my parents for having me by making them miserable. Unfortunately, I don't think I will ever change. I hope my time on earth is short.

  • Jeff H.

    My experience with bullying began at home. My father was overly critical, controlling, dynamic and an alcoholic. He was the bully on the homefront and it eroded my confidence over time. I'm 36 now and still have no self-esteem, confidence, or sense of control over my life. The stance I used to take was to pretend it didn't hurt and pretend I was "tough"...all the while, my insides crumbled.

    I was very confused as a child and still am today...why would someone so close to you treat you so poorly? On one hand, I wanted his acceptance, security, love and positive support but on the other hand didn't want to put up with his tyranical behavior. I let him run me over and have problems with boundaries today...I let him run me over because I really didn't know how to deal with it as a young kid.

    There was so much that went into it and it's a complex problem because it is/was a close relative and not a neutral person on the outside of the home. I couldn't just avoid him or dismiss him...I had to live with him and had no escape...there were no relatives that lived close enough that I could run to and live with. Plus, he was the bread-winner although my mother did work too...he seemed to use ANYTHING he could to gain control over me - play me against friends, control me with money, or use plain force to intimidate.

    I didn't defend myself against him, but smiled instead, hoping he would see it wasn't getting to me and stop. This didn't work. I was very afraid of him also...I seen some violence inside the home between him and my mother and I didn't want to play sides or choose between the aggressor and victim because they would both initiate it at times. A very confusing childhood to say the least. I suppose I ended up turning into a peacekeeper of sorts because I grew to hate conflict of any kind and this is coming back to bite me badly as an adult as conflict is unavoidable.

    My options were poor when I was a child...but I have a choice today. I can't seem to think straight thoughts seem random, jumbled, etc...and I know this comes from a chaotic upbringing with little stability. And when I run into someone overly aggressive today, I get something like PTSD and just want to plow that person over and squash them to "end the conflict immediately". And I beleive this comes from watching his vengeful rages...I feared that he would want revenge against me if I ever crossed him. Not a very good role model.

    And this father who drank, bullied, yelled on the inside of the home pretended to be nice, warm, and cooperative to drove me crazy! He wasn't the person he pretended to be on the outside of the home...I feel like I'm going schizo but believe it just dealing with the past. It's hard for me today to think straight, believe in myself, have my own voice (inner), etc...there are so many little nuances and triggers that came from living with him, it's hard to put into words.

    And I'm far from being the innocent victim...I used to bully at school somewhat...more of a vengeful bully...that is, if someone said something the least bit disrespectful, there was going to be a fight - no questions asked. And I ended up outright bullying at times, which I hated...I didn't want to be "known" as a bully, so I turned inward...turned the anger and rage inward at myself - at least I wasn't hurting anyone else.

    Again, it's so parents and sister were all I really "had" in terms of potential emotional supports and for my father to "betray" me by turning against me and bullying turned me inside-out. I think I let him run me over because I had no one else and let him do whatever he wanted to, to me. I never really learned to defend myself verbally because that didn't seem to sink in with him...he's the type of guy who really only learns from physical pain. So, when I was 12 or 13, the confrontation was on!!! - At least I could take some, but also give it back.

    Today, I barely have a sense of self or know who I am. My thinking is jumbled and feel I have no control over my life. Hating him is not the answer because I fear that I will take it out on other people also...I think forgiveness, compassion, and understanding is the way to go for me. I need to remember that bullies and controlling people are very, very scared people and not strong or "tough". Later.

  • Anonymous-10

    Thank you.It seems you can find resources for survivors of just about anything but bullying.Oh yes we hear all about the anti-bullying campaigns,we hear all the time about how bullying is 'wrong', but more often than not the long term effects and emotional scars of persistent bullying are downplayed. If anyone out there thinks that bullying cannot cause 'real pain' then you have never been bullied.

    I am 21 years old.

    I've had many bad experiences, my family life was dysfunctional, I was sexually abused by a neighbour from the age of 7-10,yet it's the taunts and jeers of my former classmates that keep me up at night.It's the one issue I can't resolve. As a child i was quiet and 'over-sensitive' (ie. i cried pretty easily).I taught myself to play piano at six years old, I was writing songs by age 8 and by the time I was 11 I was quite the little guitarist.It's one of those things,music is my one and only natural talent, i suck at everything else.besides it's off no signifigance considering how i turned out.

    Now?I am a bitter,misanthopic adult,prone to debilitating bouts of depression and self loathing.I am harsh and critical of the people that surround me,I have few friends and little prospects because i dropped out of school at 15 to escape my peers.I struggle with self-harm and panic attacks. Deep down I know I am not completely useless and it's not too late to turn it around,but even now I second myself. I fear failure, I fear rejection of any kind and I just want to avoid it.

    I hope I get over this in time :(

  • Mike

    I know how you guys feel because bullying happened to me you just need to find someone that supports you and let them know what is happening. As long as you can think toyourself this is not going to affect me and you understand that the people bullying are worse off than you are. You have to keep positive no matter what and believe in your self because no matter what whatever the bullies are saying is not true and if it is something about your physical apearance who cares. Everyone is different noone is normal there is always someone somewhere that will accept you no matter what. Never give up and always believe there is a way out.

  • Anonymous-11

    Like so many who have written, I too was bullied as a child. I consider myself lucky, because the bullying lasted from only 6th - 8th grade. But those 2 years changed my life. I'm pretty sure I was bullied because 1.) I was the smallest in the class, 2.) I had no siblings to look out for me, 3.) both of my good friends moved away the begining of 6th grade, leaving me with no real allies. The bullying was both physical and verbal. I was often hit, punched, kicked, tripped, had my hair pulled out, etc. Verbally, other students would call me "gay," and wouldn't allow me to sit anywhere near them at lunch (then the lunch monitor would yell at me for not sitting down). Thankfully, once I entered high school I made some new friends and the bullying stopped. I've been able to "move on" somewhat, and am able to function as a pretty happy adult. I am currently seeing a psychologist to try and deal with the remaining lasting effects (mostly anxiety).

    I can't even say what my best advice to those currently being bullied would be. While I was being bullied I stayed strong, fought back, and never let them see me cry or weak. It didn't make one shred of difference. For the few times that I did try telling the teacher or principle that I was just beat up, they would only say "kids will be kids" I tried to get my parents to send me to a different school, but the school counselor said that I would only be "running away from my problems" and my parents would be allowing me to "get my way" I can only hope that nowadays bullying is taken more seriously than it was when I was in school.

    I would also tell people currently being bullied to please, please. please never give up hope. You will find a place where you belong, and where people will treat you how any human deserves to be treated. For me, I found this in the local music scene. Everyone has a place and a purpose, and you will find yours. As a young person it is hard to explore everything that is out there in the world, but trust me, there is a whole world out there with endless possibilities.

    I'll also echo what other people have said regarding support groups for adult survivors of bullying - this would be a great idea.

  • United States - Atlantic

    I was persecuted from 12 - 16 yrs...physically and verbally. It was cool for other kids to ignore and ridicule me.

    My siblings were all straight 'A' students - I on the other hand was focused on 'getting out' to anywhere! Finally made it to college and from there to a somewhat successful career. I did make alot of friends and I have have good friends and a great spouse.

    I have no desire to have children ever. I feel that that may put me back in a place that I do not want to be - I might not take too kindly to my kid being persecuted either!

    It takes alot of effort for me to push forward and I do suffer from anxiety and 'second guessing'. I still have nightmares about being back at school...when I meet folks from back then I think I regress and feel panicked.

    I am very sensitive to criticism and unwelcome comments - sometimes my reaction can be too strong...using the sledgehammer to crack the nut. I don't like family members trying to 'give advice'...perhaps I think this is a type of bullying...perhaps I'm just stubborn : )

    I am always happiest when I make my own decisions (with my spouse of course)

    I fight the self esteem issue daily and try hard to cover it up. I work hard not to undersell myself.

    My best advice is to try and conquer your fears...hit them straight on. Don't let the bullies win.

    You know what they say - If it doesn't kill you it'll make you stronger.

    Be your own person and stop looking for the acceptance that you were once denied - it has made my life and ability to overcome bullying much easier.

  • Mike

    I am only 17 and the bullying happened also from 6-8th grade. people liekd to pick on me because i was small and I was nto the smartest kid in our grade. Now i am 6' 4'' and on "A" Honor role the best thing that was there for me like i had said once in a previous post was my support system. I never went to a counselour or anything like thta i jjust talked to my parents about what happened. they were there for me not with advice but with support.I got through both physical and verbal abuse. The best thing to realize that you do matter to people and what the bullies say shouldnt matter

  • mona

    I did not have a label to describe how the kids treated me in Grade 3 when I was 8 years old. It was a grim fact of my life that the kids were were being mean to me. There was nothing I could do about it. My parents never knew about it. The only kids I could be friends with were the other bullied kids in the school. I was grateful to have some friends. The following year I changed schools and was happy that the bullying did not start at the new school. I was in the same peer group there for the following 3 years, and I found the leader of the group to be a bully in her way. In order to be included in the group I often had to be a follower yet always under the scrutiny of the leader. I wasn't able to just be myself like during the summers at camp. Then I realized 'what many people were like' and kept learning ways to talk back at anyone who seemed nasty. I am soon to be 50 years old. I have become worse than a bully in how I deal with anyone who is in my way. I have become intolerant of people mainly because bullies were intolerant of me and that's what is making my life a kind of living hell. I can't get over the hurt that shaped my young life due to not having anyone to talk to about it and little support. Plus it's a progressive dis-ease being a bully. I'm at a place now where I have been so mean and offensive to people, it's as though I'm acting in a way to have someone take out their shotgun and kill me. That's what the effects of bullying has done for me.

  • Spencer's Mom

    This essay has been very helpful and understanding what my son is still going through thank you. Spencer would always seem to be the one to get into trouble at school for not listening Spencer has a significantally hearing loss, all through elementary school he was picked on we dealt with it as a family so I thought. I thought he learned how to deal with it even through his middle school years he was always active in sports an very good at them but didn't have many friends and kept to himself, when he would come home from school he pretty much kept to himself he has 3 other brothers one older the other two are younger he always seemed to be mad at the world we would talk from time to time about how he was feeling he seemed to always over come what was bothering him. By the time he was in 8th grade he seemed to becoming out of his shell made some new friends and even became friends with some of the bullies,by high school he turned out to be one of the popular kids I thought he was doing well and all the bad experiences he had growing up were gone I thought. Every once an awhile I would see the old Spencer angry,confrontational with tachers he thought were jugding him and then he would be in trouble again an get another detention an I would get a phone call from the princple. The princple would say I dont know whats bothering Spencer, well I heard that for the last time I was going to found out just what was bothering him,he finally told me through tears and anger an yelling I finally got to the bottom of it after all this time I thought he was over all the bullying that he endured in elementary I was wrong he thinks he is a bad child he says he can still hear the voices that bullied him and it makes him cringe an very angry and he doesn't know how to stop feeling this way. He's a junior in high school now very popular has a girlfriend plays varsity fooball,basketball and baseball he's a very funny kid he can always make me laugh he should be looking foward to graduating an sat's an act's prom an colleges I fear that my son is not going to over come this,when he told me how he was feeling an why he didn't think that I believed him that I thought it was impossible for him to feel this way still even though the bullying had stop even though I told him I did think it was possilbe. Please somebody help me help my son so he can over come this I just don't know what to say to him. I should of known I'm his mother I feel that I let him down how can I help him. We havn't talked about it since he let it all out 2 days ago an I know that's doing more harm by not talking about it PLEASE help me tody to help SPENCER.


  • Mike C. from CT.

    I was bullied on a constant basis from kindergarten until I'm ashamed to say, but my high school graduation ceremony right before the hat throwing. I was made fun of from girls, boys, etc. I'm 40 yrs. old now, and still try to avoid social situations. I'm nervous all the time, and can never just finish anything. I was told I'm ugly constantly while growing up, and to this day, still believe it. I never told my parents until my ex-wife had to tell my mother because I was so sad and depressed I didn't get out of bed for a couple days. No one I think entirely believes I was bullied to the extent that I say. I wouldn't make anything like that up. It was terrible, I was (and still am) ashamed to do anything, go anywhere, and I prayed to GOD while my ex-wife was pregnant both times, that our children did not have red hair. My children do not, thankfully have red hair. They are beautiful and loving kids. It still infuriates me when someone makes a red hair comment. It's like everyone sees that and just has to make mention of it. I thought about suicide many, many times. Even had thoughts of what it would be like with out me here. It's truly a terrible thing what bullies do to people. I really wish I could get better. I still hear the comments, and have several mood swings each day. I know I'm not healthy mentally because of this. I just wish the torment would stop.

  • Susan Wilson

    What a wonderful article, thank you. Everyone seems to talk about bully prevention, but no one talks about the long term effects.

    I was bullied... no... TORTURED.. by a group of girls from 7th grade until I graduated high school. I'm now 50, and it hurts like it happened yesterday. I feel robbed of my teenage years. I never got asked to the prom, and I never got invited to the parties. I was treated like I had leprosey. I had no friends because I was a target, and anyone associating with me would then become a target as well. Girls are cruel.

    When I went to college, I couldn't believe that people LIKED me. I was suspicious.. why were they talking to me? I unknowingly sabotoged my friendships because I wanted to reject them before they rejected me. After all, why would anyone REALLY like me?

    I always felt "success was your best revenge." so I succeeded in my career and in sports, and I made the news. My former tormenters are losers in life, and I'm a big success. HOWEVER.. I still FEEL like a failure. I still suffer from poor self esteem. I have never had a successful relationship and am still single because I am so insecure. No matter how much money I make, no matter how many sports medals I win, I still will always "feel" like a failure. My head knows I'm a good person.. that I'm smart, kind, and pretty, but I still hear my tormenters over and over and over in my head. Thank you Nancy (the bully ring-leader) for ruining my life.

  • Maota

    I was bullied throughout my entire middle school year until the 9th grade. It was because of my race. I am Korean and black. Kids in the 6th grade thought I was arabic...yet I looked nothing like an arabic kid. Then when the whole "Osama bin laden" thing happened, i was ridiculed because he was "my father". When I finally blew up on someone who was saying i was arabic...everyone realized. Oh she's ASIAN! The comments grew worse and worse. They would say i was related to Jackie Chan and Jet Lee.

    But eventually when i came to high school, it faded away. People didn't no longer make fun of my race but rather praised it because they liked asians. I found it weird because i was never LIKED because i was asian. But this was a high school where no one knew me. so i decided to start over.

    I'm very grateful i didn't experience the dramatic bullying others have. I'm also grateful it eventually stopped.

    To all of you who has or still is being bullied, there is hope! there's always hope. talk to someone you can trust about the situation!

  • jean

    I read your article and it was right on the mark. My husband and I are dealing with it now with our son. It's been months.The school is un cooperative. We are now seeing the short term effects that are heartbreaking. We are seeking outside help. I recently saw the video with the teenaged girls in FL beating their classmate. No matter how much the schools are addressing bullying in this country, it seems to be getting worse and worse. What is wrong with our society and our youth?

  • Lulu

    I was bullied from kindergarten through 12th grade. I was told I was fat, ugly, stupid, had death threats against me and my family. Nobody at the school told these kids to stop even though it happened often in front of them. I am 30 now and have absolutely no confidence, I swing between anorexia and bulimia. I cry at the drop of a hat. I am on a lot of medication and see a therapist. I always feel like I am in the way of people and should not be here. I have attempted suicide 3 times in the past 5 years. I can hear their voices and the insults every day. I love animals and have better relationships with them than people. I have surrounded myself with pets and volunteer at animal shelters. They don't bully anyone and they are always happy to see me. It sucks and there should be a better punshment for these abusers.

  • Sarah

    I really appreciate this article. I, too was bullied off and on throughout school. The worst was during grades 8-10. I had never really dealt with it and had never admitted to myself that I had been bullied. Today, I was visiting my mom when I saw my old yearbooks. I immediately felt a sickening rush of the old feelings flood over me. I think, that now, at the age of 29, I finally feel safe enough to look back and try to deal with my past. For years I have dealt with extremely low self esteem, problems maintaining friendships, mood swings, depression. I think I understand why now. They stole my identity at an age where I was figuring out who I was. They made me feel ugly, stupid, unwanted, like a failure. Not only kids, even some of the teachers picked on me. I hope and pray that each person reading this article will, with God's help, be able to experience the healing we so desperately need in order to live happier lives.

  • PK

    I can really relate to you people, and good on you all for having the courage to share your feelings.

    I was bullied by a group of boys in Years 6 and 7 at an all-boys college. Sometimes itw as physical, but mostly it was psychological, until at the end of Year 7 I was effectively ostracized and rejected. I have been angry at my parents, particularly my dad, for sending me to that school, which has damaged my self-esteem and steered a life direction of not reaching my potential.

    I have avoided group situations and have friends who are much older than me, another legacy of being rejected by that group of boys in primary school. Older people have more empathy and understanding. I only have several friends who are my own age, but mind you, they're good ones. Everyday I count ny blessings.

    I'm 34 and it has come to me how much my young life has been marred with anger, resentment, fear and comfort-seeking. While I can't change the past, I am determined to do something about it now that I can. This year is the year I change my life for the better. I have a girlfriend, am studying Buddhism, have a university degree, and I try to get up before 6am. Every day is precious.

    I say to the person on this forum who did something about their childhood bullying effects in their mid-20's, about going out and trying different healing paths - GOOD ON YOU! It's great you gave yourself those things. I started at 29, picking up an astrology book while teaching in South Korea. Now I'm back in Brisbane, Australia, whiere I live, and have been getting some great support by a good friend of the family. My girlfriend is there for me when I need her. She's making me aware of my acute sensitivity, and my aversion to group activities, which come from the school experiences. My challenge is not to lean on her too much, but to work on finding out who I am independently, living independently, while having her there for me, if you know what I mean. Self-nurture.

    Bullying has left me with issues to work on. I have come a long way, and have had some great experiences in my travels which have started my healing process. Travel has opened me up and made me feel safe in the world. I am now speaking out about my experiences. The next thing is to get a job which reflects my talents and strengths. While bullying has caused me great setbacks, I feel I can't go down the lone ranger track anymore, and I can't ignore people.

    As for the bullies I hope they have learned, or are learning, from their mistakes. I pity the ones that haven't. I wouldn't like to be in their shoes, particularly the ones who may have criminal records, or worse. When we are young, we don't realise the consequences of our actions - not until we're much older. I am still annoyed with the teachers, who as adults, should've done something about it. Unfortunately at my time at the school, which was the mid-1980's, nothing was done. It wasn't until the 1990's, after some brutal bashings, that one of the mothers contacted the media, an the school cleaned up its act.

    As I said, I count my blessings and try to put it all behind me. Good luck guys, I hope you can find ways to make your lives better. Every day counts!I'll pray for you, and can you please spare a prayer for me too??

  • Carol UK

    Thank you so much for this article, and to all of you who've added your own comments. As so many have said, although no-one would wish this experience on anyone else, it's kind of reassuring just to know that there are people who understand. Through reading all of this I think I now have a better understanding of why I'm the way I am (lonely, single, pretty antisocial, etc etc!), but I'm also tremendously encouraged by all the helpful advice.

    I was bullied, verbally, and given the cold shoulder, for 5 out of my 7 high school years. (I was somehow just 'a little bit different' Aspergers, maybe, or leaning that way? Does this ring a bell with anyone else?) My family was the sort who would simply say 'you have to learn to stand up for yourself', and in any case were going through all sorts of other problems, so I had no support and no-one to turn to. I too tried to emulate Mr Spock by trying to suppress all my emotions, and succeeded to a frightening extent, but alas they don't go away they just lie buried deep, ready to sabotage you for the rest of your life. So here I am with low self-esteem, like others having done jobs below my ability for most of my life, with few friends because I can't believe anyone would really like me and I find it hard to trust people. I do have a handful of really, really good friends and a loving family, without whom I'd be lost.

    I'm middle-aged now and perhaps just beginning to stand up for myself. For the past week or more I've been plagued by daily phone calls from a finance company who for some reason think that one of their defaulting customers is on my phone number. They won't believe they've got the wrong number, and I've felt so powerless that it was pushing me to the edge of insanity, but today for some reason something in me rose up and decided to fight back. I've written a letter of complaint, and had the enormous pleasure of being extremely sarcastic to the young man who called this afternoon - a bravura performance though I say so myself. So I would echo all those who have said: Take back the initiative. Take back the power. It feels so-o-o good. And the younger you start, the better! And bravo to all those of you who are parents, and standing up for your children.

    And I too wish there were support groups of some sort for us survivors.

    Editor's Note: Please know that you can discuss the long term effects of bullying in our Support Community's Abuse and Bullying forum.

  • Iain

    Hi All,

    I'm not sure of anything. Yet after a lifetime of emotional bullying. One physical blow that broke my face. A child. In a seatbelt. Two seatbelts plus guardians, backup guardians, and constant scrutiny in the name of the child. Before I could have any concept of language I understood I was in a place danger. Someone elses need. An endless nightmare of being an Adult in a Child's body and mind.Taken from my Mother at five days old (for the benifit of the child) At 54 I just found out the truth. My Mother did want me. Her Father did not. All this time I've battled with how or why I was alowed to be placed with such cruel self serving people. None the less, I achieved what I wanted to. A natural and gifted. Well and good being gifted with the ability to play many instruments. Compose, Record and the toughest one... releasing the bird to fly.

    I am lucky and driven by something I do not understand. What I know is this. I am me. I am still standing. I stand on my own two feet in health & sickness. When I find myself spinning. A head so full of characters. Performances, from which it's most important to the mind and body to calm down.

    Unfortunately it takes a perceptive and proffessional mind to help re establish that which is perfectly settled. Safe. I love to live. Yet people seem reluctent to live up to what strengths they may or may not have. They haven't experienced the "Corner". I prefer these days to see life as a circle. Within the circle are many cycles of disfunction unaddressed, ignored and labelled normal. If you are a child you jump in trust upon a cycle. A life sentence of am I? Safe?

    About face.... the hardest action I've made is to have jumped from the corner/cycle. I didn't fall. All I know is if I turn back only to re live the past in my understanding is dangerous. There is always the chance I may be fooled in my open heart. Slowly I'm beginning to see what I have been legally forbidden to see. The change is. I now know what everyone else new. They are now on the war path. Undermining my own child. Dangling carrots in desperate hope that the taste of carrot intoxicates. Leaves me helpless as inside the carrot are carefully placed and accurately timed bombs designed to react defensively if approached. The "Softspot". A terrifying and crippling explosion from within. Placed by those without.

    I can see very clearly. The view is a nightmare. I tend to blur the vision. Not turn away. As I need to know that what I see, is in fact there. Yes, regardless of my struggle I have been examined and dismissed. As they now want to return the Pup to the Pound. Damaged goods. All Iask is that I see clearly. Believing against all odds. I am. That is enough. It's beautiful to say "I AM". then sit and let it go.

    Easily said. If you can hope. Then so can I. That makes us a family of sorts. An open family. Until, someone begins to fall. We know how it feels to fall. Be broken. How could any normal? person let a member of the team fall. The Answer?... Very Easily and with a good kick in the head to help you on your way...

  • Anonymous-12

    I'm 17 and I'm still being bullied verbally. It started when I was 14. I told my parents but they didn't believe me.They ignored the fact that I was being bullied. They ignored the fact that I was already full of anxiety and hatred each day. There are days when I get so aggressive. I even cut myself thrice. It was so depressing because I didn't get the support that I needed from my family but I found some precious and amazing friends who will support me all my life. I met them on a Christian organization in our campus. They're my Bible study buds. They helped me realize that I am a good person and I am likeable. Also, as I read the Bible each day I realize that I am so blessed and so loved by God so even though my family failed to support me, God never failed to give me the strength and the courage to face my life head on. I therefore advise those who are being bullied and those who are still suffering the long-term effects of bullying to search for Christ.

  • Pete - usa

    Thank you so much for this article. I am just beginning to come to terms with how my childhood aggressors have effected me into my adult life. at 31 i was recently diagnosed with disthymia which holds a lot of similar symptoms to someone who is being bullied. in elementary school i was bullied a good deal by neighborhood boys because i had an accent, i was sensitive and cried easily. to this day i still feel alienated from society, without identity and powerless, or moreso afraid to change anything major in my life. while it hasn't effected my career, my childhood bullying has effected my relationships with other men (as long as i can remember my friends have been female) my relationships with women as more than friends - inability to fully emotionally commit to someone - and as you can imagine, my general feelings about my own worth. it's horrible, but at the same time comforting to know that i am not alone in this.

  • Bree

    Thank yah lots. ferr puting this site on herre. i learned alot about it. I appreciate it. Im doin a report on it. and yeha thank yah.


    Bree :]

  • D.J.

    Im only twelve and have been constintally bullyed my my brother throughout my life. And it is more than just brotherly stuff, it was as if he was just another kid at school who bullies me. Once I got into sixth grade I started being bullyed there, too. I told on them a couple of times but the school didn't do much and it still contined. Now I'm in seventh grade and my "friend" (he's kind of spineless) hangs out with a bunch of jerks. At lunch nobbdy really likes me (our grade has two lunches) exept him(supposedly). So I hang out with him but all of his freinds just call me "gay" (which I'm not, though I don't have anything against people who are), "fag", "homo", "prick". etc. More than that they say "Nobody likes you" "get outta here, we hate you", and "stop following us around you annoying fag". I'm starting to realize that I'm showing most of the long term signs (and a few of the short term signs, i.e. anger and depression). Now I'm doing a paper on it and i read this article and it really hit home. BULLYING SUCKS AND NEEDS TO STOP NOW!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous-13

    Im 14 and I've been for almost 2 years by the same person. The funny thing is this person was my friend at first, and would always make rude comments to me and instead of me ending the friendship I allowed it to go on. So I would internalize everything. This year in 8th grade i realized I cant continue being this person's friend. I just couldnt take the name calling anymore. I thought that would make me happier but it didnt. The person ended up making me more miserable than i was when I was their friend. Everything seemed to be going wrong all at once. I felt like i had no one to talk to and it was to the point where, everyday after school I would go home and cry. I felt so alone. I eventually formed 2 eating disorders. I felt like they were the only things I had control over, but the eating disorders formed deep depression and they just fueled each other. It got to the point where I didnt want to live anymore. Soon teachers started to notice I wasnt myslef, and I was very withdrawn. They contacted guidnce and I refused to tell them. Finally, I gave in and told them. I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. But things didnt get better soon enough. I planned to kill myself and told my guidance counsouler I no longer wanted to live. So they sent me to CCIS. Which is in the hospital, and its for kids who want to or have harmed themselves or others. I was there for days and it was the most strangest place ever. However, the other kids were so nice and supportive, they were much nicer than any of the kids at my school. We could all relate to each other. When i got out I began therapy and she told me I had post tramatic stress syndrome from being hospitalized. The counsoulers at my school confronted the bully and it has been 2 days and no bullying has occured. It may be too soon to speak though. But, I belive that things will get better. It is harder to say that some days more than others but I have faith. I still struggle with all these problems and I want to help other kids who have the same problems I have. I think bullying is a serious issuse that can have long term and even deadly results. It needs to stop. Too many kids have taken their lives over it, but I'm still here and I will not let this bully win. There are days that I still cry out of anger and pain. In this situation excepting an apology would make me the bigger person but that's something I dont think I can ever do. I will never forgive this bully for the hell they put me through and they damaged they caused me. Today I still stuggle with eating problems and irritable depression.

  • Anonymous-14

    what is a bully ? someone who appears from nowhere as a new face but eventually conjures up fear in the unsuspected. projecting feelings of guilt onto his victims for his own shortcomings and making them feel smaller an smaller. there is a short bracket of time at which you can stand down these neglected children but after that you are trapped and forever theres to deal with as they see fit. breathing becomes hesitant, stance is weakened. your own voice sounds unconvincing and not applicable in a court of force. you are irrelevant. you do not matter. you look like a complete failure and everything and i mean, absolutely everything is your fault.

    these people are tyrants and not to be taken lightly. they are looking for a friend or an enemy. there lack of understanding and love leaves them to see things in black or white. hesitation is fake. false bravado is fake and leaves them more inspired to knock you down just to prove a point to themselves. to rid the world of all that is not real or find another comrade who understands them.

    lack of self respect should never be taken as a consolation to giving the correct dealings of a bully the attention it is required.

    good luck. xo

  • Anonymous-15

    I'm so glad there are people out there who truly understand that there are lasting effects from bullying even if it's not physical abuse. It saddens me to think that so much of this goes on while the adults who are supposed to protect us as children see it as harmless or as developmental.

    From as early as I can remember, I was constantly teased by my older brother. He is eight years older than me and even today, at the age of 26, I get angry just hearing his name or seeing his face. I honestly do not have a single good memory of being around him. Only that I was constantly seeking his approval only to be denied and ridiculed instead. "Toughen up," was the perpetual attitude. The constant torture of being afraid in my own home with no where and no one to run to. My parents still don't see the big deal and don't understand why I became mean spirited. They think that I should just forget it, although my dad has admitted that they should have been around more often during my childhood. I always remember being teased at school too, mainly for having red hair, and later for being too skinny. I became depressed in High School and resorted to drinking at an early age. It is only now that I realize that I'm a "loner" and feel that no one understands me and get so angry about things that I feel like I'm going to pop, all stem from my brother's need to feel powerful over a little girl.

    I really hope that I can someday get over this, but I don't know if it's possible. It brings me to tears to think that a sweet little girl can turn into a lonely mean old woman. People never understand how I can be so guarded but so sensitive at the same time. My miserable childhood has only progressed to a miserable adulthood. I get angered so easily, I'm afraid of being reprimanded at work for no identifyable reason. I'm always thinking that I should be better, stronger, smarter, prettier, have a better, higher paying job...the list goes on and on.

    I definitely need to find some constructive ways to cope. I think if he and my parents recognized what he did to me and apoligized it would be a start. But until then I just cannot bring myself to forgive.

  • Elizabeth Bennett

    First off, kudos to the author of this article. The person who wrote this is dead on about Peer Abuse and does not "pussy foot" around the subject like society wants us to. Every bit of what was written I completely agree with. Especially when it comes to those who are more sensitive or are different.

    Bullies do this because they can. Nobody stops them. Its done in secret as in any other form of abuse. The threats of telling someone.....whats the difference in this and a child or domestic abuser? It is well documented that these childhood bullies grow up to be these charming abusers. Its high time people stop excusing this and see it for what it is.....ABUSE!

    As an Adult Survivor Of Peer Abuse, for 27 years I was subjected to this treatment and it is taking me a lifetime to heal from it. However, I have learned that I am not the scum of society but a good person. I do not listen to any crap from others. Or take it either.

    Kudos to the author and please, if you see this occuring anywhere, please report it. Its not just kids stuff but outright abuse. As these bullies mature, they grow worse. Then they filter the workplace. Best to stop them while young and save them from themselves.


    Elizabeth Bennett

    "Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From A Psychological Perspective"

  • Karen

    I was first bullied at the age of five when I started to wear glasses - just name calling, nothing physical, but I hated the name they called me and always argued back. The situation was at its worse when I was 12 or 13. At that point gangs of up to twenty other students would follow me around chanting the name I hated, and I felt I had no friends at all. Sometimes they would call me names behind the teachers' backs, so the teachers got to think I was crazy when I started to swear at the other kids. I always responded verbally and could never bring myself to ignore them, thinking they had no right to treat me like that. I couldn't understand why they singled me out when I did nothing to them. I had a really hot temper and always took the bait - they even sent me to see an educational psychologist at one point, but that was a waste of time, because the ed. psych. didn't believe what I told them.

    I was never one of the crowd. I didn't wear what they wore, I always did my homework and I was small and played the violin. I don't think that my bullying experiences really affected my self-esteem, but they did make me deeply mistrust people. Even now I tend to think that people in the street are laughing at me, and I am a very angry person. If I feel that someone has slighted me in any way I can fly off the handle and be very aggressive, although I would never physically harm anybody

  • Ashley

    I've been reading a lot of the comments and I can see that I have symtoms but I could never figure out why until now. I'm soon to be twenty but I struggle with sustaining relationships with friends I guess because in High school I was excluded from a group I used to hang around with. I used to cry myself to sleep. At one stage I wanted to end it all, I wondered why did my two parents have to meet in the first place. I feel my Dad can only contribute negativity to my life and my Brother verbally and sometimes physically bullied me constantly since I was very young. I Can't even look at him in the face, I get thi horrible feeling of hopelessness, anxiety and fear when he's in the same room as me....I feel that my bad relationship with my dad and bro may be having an effect on me being able to have a relationship. I feel that I always make excuses for never allowing a relationship to go anywhere than the superficial stage! It Irritates me to death. If anyone could tell me more about how bullying (social exclusion) can effect relationships!!

  • Anonymous-16

    i was very young from 4 to 13. it never went away. i have two cousins and a sister, all girls around the same age. except for me i am the youngest by 2 years. they always excluded me in every activity they did, whether it was playing house or just fooling around. i was just "too young", "i wouldn't understand anything", thats what they would tell me. what they didnt know is that they would scar me for life. i have minor depresion but it affects the way i feel about them. the way i see them now. today they are just there, i dont talk to them alot, and the dont talk to me either. of course they got excited for me when i got my first kiss, or my first boyfriend, but that was pretty much it. because they wouldnt be my friends i had to make my own, i had imagenery friends, i was extremely shy. now im abit more open, but only about certain things. most people would call me the quietest girl in the class, "i dont make a peep" they say. but inside im screaming, because every time i hear that it makes me remember the past. and i just hate it.

  • Rachael.B

    i just wanted to say thank you for posting this article, and to everyone else who commented. Reading all of this info has been great.

    I dont pretend to have got over everything thats happned to me, but i think over the last few days after reading this article i have done some serious thinking. I have firstly realised that i have probably done more dammage to myself than anyone else has, through negative reinforcment over the last ten years or so. I have made some serious changes to my lifestyle, and my way of thinking, in the hope that i can turn my life around and esape what has been a massive downward spiral. I already feel much more positive, although my confidence is going to need a lot of re-biulding.

    I hope that other people out there will take inspiration from this article and make similar realisations.

    You can turn your life around, and do you know what guys . . . forget about them, there the ones who arnt worth it!!!

  • mira simic

    My son Duncan died by suicide on March 14,2008. He was 36. He was bullied from the womb, through his childhood, especially in junior and seniour years of highschool, and then when he was trying to get help for depression by doctors. He was an extremelly sensitive person, he had all the requisites for a great life, the looks, the intelligence, the interrests, was accepted to Carnegie School of Electrical engineering, but he was unable to finish anything he started. The depression arrested his maturity at a young age, so he was a child's soul within a 36 years old body. He hated himself and turn the anger he felt onto himself and finally found peace by suicide. The bullying is a sociatal cancer. We are all in danger and specially our children from the suffering of individuals who cannot defend themselves and suffer in silence until they lash at sociate and/or themselves. We have to start a turn around of our brain chemistry that could be done by love towards others, education from a very early age, teaching parents how not to be toxic and addressing bullying at school in an efficient manner that is good for the victim as well as the perpertrator who also might be sufferer. This is a big fight that if not organized and carried out coud destroy our society. Why let that happen? How many Virginia TEchs shootings do we need to understand this problem of bullying? Please, if you would like to join an effort, write to me and let find a Hillary or Obama or another powerfull person to leads us towards a better life for all. Thank you. Mira, a mother whose life has been shattered on March 14.

  • Sunny

    I am a 30 year old female. For me bullying started when my 4th grade teacher made an ugly comment about my personal hygiene aloud in class. Every since then, I was teased about that particular incident and any other thing that my classmates could come up with. Before then, I remember having childhood friends, getting on the bus happily and just feeling normal. Right after the "4th grade teacher", the bullyng got worst. Kids would tear at my clothes and throw water on me saying that they was giving me a bath. My body developed early too, so I looked like I was older than what I actually was. I was bullied about that. Kids said that I must have been having sex with older men. Even though I knew this wasn't true, it was very hurtful and humiliating none the less. While I still had a few friends, even they would sometimes turn their backs on me. I struggled through junior high and high school. I constantly thought about dropping out and I would find the smallest reason to miss classes even weeks at time. I felt ugly even thought others disagreed. I felt worthless, and shameful. I was talented in music playing 3 instrument very, very, well but found that I tried to not play as well as I would have liked fearing that that would be one more reason for kids not to like. There was no one I could go to to talk about how horrible I was feeling. Not even at home because I would get teased at home about being bullied at school. A few time I told my mom but her answer was always,"well, if you had of just done this...... Then.......".

    when I graduated high school, I ran. I erased my mind of all the hurt I had and I moved away to the furthest college that would have me as a student. And I hardly talk to anyone that I knew in high shcool even now that im 30. I don't won't to be reminded of how I felt. Even when I see a classmate (bully or not)by chance in a grocery store or something it is such an akward meeting for me because, I know that they are saying in thier minds "i know her, she was pathetic in school.

    what I went through might seem insignificant to some people who didn't go throught it. But it destroyed my self-confidence, it destroyed my self-esteem. I have not accomplished what I set out to accomplish as far as an associated in science. I questions myself so badly to the point that I gave up on everything. I questioned friends loyalty, relationships, even family. It's only been lately that i've come to a conclusion that bullying is the reason why i've been despressed and without any self-confidence for so long. I avoid all social situations even sometimes my family, my in-laws and the few friend that I still deal from time to time because being reminded or talking about old high school days are very depressing. I am still a hugh work in progress and I don't feel mature like a 30 year old should feel.

    however I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old that I constantly encourage and praise so that they could be prepared for bullys because bullys will alway be around. So maybe if the feel good about themselves, bulling by any standard won't be so damaging.

    and also sometimes its not just the kids that do the bullying, you have to be aware of the teachers as well such in my case.

    the article on the long term effects of bullying really is my life's story and I am going to learn from it and gather as much information as I can to repair the damage.

  • Graziella Zahra

    I am a lonely 33 year old women. I was always bullied when i was both in primary and secondary school since i was an ugly 'duckling'

    Can t take it anymore!!!!

    Please Help ME!!!!

  • Leila

    I was pretty much bullied from elementary school(2nd grade-5th grade)on through middle school (6-8th grade) and finally highschool(9-12th grade). I don't know what I would have done if I would not have had my friends and family. I guess in some way I am luckier than most. I did not take my anger out on my classmates in a violent fashion and I did not hurt myself, at least not physically.

    I do however suffer from bouts of anger that scare me sometimes but I am working through it. I am finally getting myself on track after 10 years.I got my highschool diploma through distance education and am planning to take the SAT's and go on to college. Better late then never.

  • Lissa

    I was first bullied in elementary school, in grade 1. I was a small, petite child, and I was shy. From grade 1 to grade 8 and a little in highschool (but not so much), i was bullied, not in the physical sense, but in the emotional and verbal sense. It was hard to go to school, although i knew i had to go to school. There was a big group of people who hung around together (the popular crowd), they made fun of me every chance they could get, it damaged my self esteem, by grade 8 i was constantly thinking of suicide and of murder. I was so enraged. I feel alot better now a days, but i still have lingering feelings of being below others, and feeling inferior. I avoid many social situations, and i have a tendency to be a loner. I love people and i have forgiven those people in my heart, because other wise, i would still have alot of pent up anger. It has effected my social life, and it doesn't help that i was shy to begin with, it runs in my family. I feel stronger and happpier, than i ever have in my life, but i wish for more, and its hard for me to trust people. In highschool (grade 11-12) i would drink alot and smoke pot and in my college years got into harder drugs and drank alot. I'm now a sober person and i go to church, which gives me strength, although its hard for me to go to social functions. I find it easier to talk to older people and younger people. People my age, its harder for me to trust..I wish this soul crushing phenomenon would be irradicated. Why can't we all find the good in everyone and be kind? My belief is the bullies are more screwed up people than the bullied.


  • katie


    I have just stumbled on this article and it has offered me further welcome insight. I know that I endured bullying at two quite distinct stages of my life and that they have interacted with each other to leave me with some significant issues to deal with as an adult.

    As a young child, I remember my father "helping me" with my math homework by starting out trying to explain the sums but rapidly becoming incredibly angry and frustrated, belittling me and telling me how stupid I was because I couldnt do it. He would get very irritable and tell me over and over that I was "stupid" and that this was 'basic stuff" and that I would never amount to anything if I couldnt get this.

    At these times I remember my brain feeling paralysed and my chest so choked up I literally couldnt think or speak. My ears would just ring and the room would swim around me. The anxiety of being seen to be so stupid and failing, totally overwhelmed me. I felt pathetic and when I was eventually allowed to pack up and go to bed, (often not for many hours - because he felt as though I needed to be taught perseverence!) I would then cry myself to sleep. To this day - although I have 3 degrees and a PhD - I still believe I cant do math.

    Although I had spent several very happy years in primary school, without incident - later as a teenager I was sent away to another country to an all girls boarding school - when I got there I knew no one and I was very much a loner. The popular gang decided that I was totally uncool and a real loser. They began to hassle me. Calling me names, stealing my things, shoving me, bumping into me, spreading untrue rumours through the school about me and socially isolating me so that very few people were brave enough to be seen speaking to me in public. I was an outcast.

    There was no where to turn for help. When I tried to call my mum to tell her what was happening, she told me to stop making up stories and exaggerating. She accused me of saying those things so they would agree to take me out of this school. It was very frightening. I was 14 years old and locked up in this place 7 days a week with these bullies - there was almost no where to run or hide. I remember going to the toilets to cry and be safe and they climbed up and looked over the walls at me and laughed. The depth of the loneliness, humiliation and despair that I endured during those years is difficult to describe. I felt like a hunted animal.

    I carry the scars of these experiences deep inside and alas they seem never to heal. The flashbacks happen in places and times I can never predict or control.

  • JD

    Good discussion. Recently, I got my invite to a 20-year reunion. The invite dredged up a lot of bad memories of bullying abuse, both verbal and physical. What hurts the most is the group of popular kids are busy planning the reunion. A few of my former bullies are flying in from all over the country - one even from England! As someone who wouldn't go near the reunion, it boggles my mind that so many of my classmates are excited about it. I feel like I've missed out on something great, something that was taken from me. I'm also not happy that I have recurring fantasies and even a few dreams of making the news by going on a psycho rampage at the reunion. I know I'm not seriously going to hurt anyone, but it disturbs me that I still have these feelings.

    I told a few of my male friends about the reunion, and the only reply is I need to "man up" and forget what happened. That I can't hold people responsible for their actions as children. I really wish it was that easy. I think a lot of people have had the occasional experience with a bully, and therefore think they know what it's like to have experienced daily torment.

    So, anyhow, I'm glad I'm not the only adult who still has depression and anger over what happened.

  • Maryam

    I experienced this from the time I was 8 in a small town. So much so I ran away to the other side of thr country to a big city where no one knew me. It took a long time to get through it with lots of starts and starts. There will never be a full healing unless you are enlightened like the Buddha. For everyone else, a simple suggestion is this: use the rage of the injustice and find a construcitive positive way to transmute it in to passion for something you are passionate about: your career, a cause, training for a marathon, and whatever positive thing you can put 100% of yourself into. Get the right help because the more you release the anger and the tears and the hurt .... the less you allow those people to kleep you prisoner. It is true ... the best revenge is success and the well lived life.

  • Jon

    I found this article insightful. One thing I'd like to add is that in my experience of being bullied I started to aspire to being the bully. I wanted to be one of them, and indeed when given the opportunity would bully those on a 'lower rung' of the ladder than myself.

    I wouldn't try to avoid responsibility for this. I ended up with a 'double whammy' of being bullied and the consequent 'dis-empowerment' you talk about, along with a foundation for self-loathing and shame that would surface later down the line. I have guilt, and basically hated myself (and still do from time to time). The bullied loved to bully me more because I gave them some form of justification, and everyone else liked me less too.

    Now I'm battling with both these problems. I've found that acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) helps. Greater awareness and compassion for my inner demons is a key to being happier.

    I agree with the other posters, it's a very long road to recovery.

  • Anonymous-17

    I was bullied as a child by my brother who was seven years older than me. Now, I'm in my mid-thirties and I have largely put that behind me, though I believe it has intimately impacted who I am till this day. I attribute most of the improvement to the years of therapy I was in. It took time, but with hard work and a supportive therapist, I have become less cynical, negative, and more open to connecting with other people. I have learned to accept and even embrace many of the negative emotions I have and have found more effective ways to cope. For the first time in my life, I now have people in my life that I love and feel close to.

    I've been touched by many of the comments of those who seem to be suffering with this alone. There are tens of thousands of caring therapists out there who can make a real difference if you reach out and let them reach back. I know it can be scary, but I hope you give it a shot. Don't just go looking for more information. Healing occurs through a new relationship with someone who is caring, not through more info.

    BTW, I'm also a big fan of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, like the previous poster.

  • Anonymous-18

    It is so refreshing to read this article. I am absolutely amazed that more studies haven't been done on the long term effects of bullying.

    I am 52 years old. I find a common thread in most of these replies.

    I have a mild case of cerebral palsy and was subject to physical, psychological and emotional abuse through elementary school and highschool. Fell into a deep depression. But I feel that I was luckier than most. Married my highschool sweetheart, really depended on her emotionally. I am now divorced. I still struggle with feelings of low self esteem and anxiety. Sometimes wonder if I will make it through the rest of my life.

    All I can say is thank you for the article. Everything that I have struggled with makes more sense now. I wish that I could feel confident of getting this monkey off my back, but quite honestly there seems to be very little academic research in this area.

    God bless your efforts.

  • 39 year old male survivor

    Greetings all. I'd like to sincerely thank you for having the courage to share your views on this often overlooked subject. I personally was made fun of from the time I was in 3rd grade through middle and high school and occasionally thereafter (in some cases by total strangers) primarily due to a larger than average nose. I set lofty goals to compensate (i.e. I'll show them at the 10 or 20 year reunion) but failed to achieve them. I have suffered chronic depression since I graduated high school, attempted suicide, gone to therapy, taken medication, moved cross-country and even had surgery. And while I'm quite a bit better than I was in the past, I am still suffering immensely from low self-esteem and a poor body image which affects my quality of life immensely. Is anyone aware of any support groups in the Connecticut USA area?

    Any info you might provide would be most appreciated.


    39 year old male survivor

  • Anonymous-19

    I am 47 years old and was bullied starting when I was 14 until I left highschool and home. The bullies were my counsins, uncles, aunts and grandma. It started out of no where but made my life a living hell during my teen years. The bullying consisted of anytime that they saw me , on the school bus, in the halls, and out in the community. They would yell at me , call me a whore , slut, try to trip me , push me. The male cousins would "beat up " any boy who showed an interest in me. The adults would ignore me when they saw me or they would glare at me with so much hatred. I felt I had noone to turn to. I was truly alone.

    At home this caused a great deal of stress in my family. My mom attempted to defeat me but was not successful. My dad ( it was his family) worked away and he and my mom were in a very unhappy marriage. My home life consisted of constant fighting between my parents. I was never clear on what my mom had told him was happening. i remember the night like it was yesterday, my dad who used to drink alot during this time in his life, had been drinking with his brothers( my uncles- the abusers) and he came home in the middle of the night, and dragged me out of bed. He was yelling and threatened to hit me. He went on and on in his drunkness saying how he'll sort me out. If i was a whore then he would get to the bottom of it. I remember how his yelling made no sense but his anger at me was so overwhelming.

    After that incident I thought many times how if I was not there then my parents won't have to be stressed about the situation. I though often of killing myself but could not bring myself to do it. The feeling of worthlessness were so overwhelming. i was a young girl just starting to sort out who I was as a young woman. They took that away from me. It changed me. I felt ugly , unworthy , not wanted by my family. If your family cann't love you who can ?

    I think that I could have copied with the bullying if my dad had defeated me. That was and still is the most hurtful thing about the entire situation. My dad , how could he not defeat his little girl. It just reinforced the facts that I had told myself. I truly am unworthy. Not loved. Not cared for.

    I am now a parent of a 17 yr old boy and a 14 yr old girl. I have had a number of unsuccessful relationships. I married someone that I shouldn't have , divorced and have been raising my children. My career is working with families. Surprisingly I am good at it. I think given my experience I can relate to feelings of hopelessness and victimization that people are experiencing. So the positive of the bullying has been my heightened empathy for others pain. Unfortunately my personal life is not as fulfilling . I have friends, some good ones, but I don't have and haven't had for some time a relationship . My confidence in this area is permanently damaged. The older I get the more that I am accepting that i will be alone for the rest of my life. I am sad at times about this fact but know that this is my life. I still on occassion would love to be close to someone , to have someone in my corner , and i in their corner but one can not make something happen if it isn't meant to be.

    My children on the other hand are thriving. They are confident children who are loved dearly by their father and myself. I have worked hard at giving them what i should have had . Unconditional love , support and encouragement.

    My dad passed away in 2005 after a couragous battle with cancer. I ,with my brothers and mother cared for him at home until he passed. This was difficult because regardless of what happened I loved my dad. I never ever knew whether he loved me or not . I never asked and never brought up that time. I feel that my dad knew in his heart of hearts that he had hurt me so deeply that it was not repairable. He was never one to say he was sorry. I accepted that and cared for him like nothing had ever damaged our relationship. In 2007 the depression hit me full force. I finally decided that I needed to share my experience with a safe person. I had kept it inside all these years because I was so embarrassed by what had happened to me. I had moved away , and in my life noone knew my past . What would they think of a family that would do that to a little girl? I didn't want others to think badly of my family.

    The counselling helped I only wish that I had done it sooner. Oh well hindsight is 20 20 . Now I try to see how i can be of service to others. What's done is done but perhaps I can give something to someone else.

  • Nicole

    I am a mother of two boys - who are COMPLETELY opposite of one another. This article helps to explain thier emotions as they BOTH have experienced bullying in so many different forms (In a school setting).

    It is sad to see how far down we have come as "human kind" in respecting others, treating others as you would have them treat you, and DEALING WITH THE MATTER PERIOD. I have gone to COUNTELSS proncipals/deans to gain assistance in stopping the torment my boys have endured to no avail. When kids see that even when thier parent intervene, nothing gets solved or stops the acts of violence, what does that teach them? To suffer in silence?

    I feel for every one on here who has come up with the courage to share thier story. My heart goes out to you all. No one need suffer in silence, there is help - there are resources! Sites like these are the beginning...don't ever give up,

    And to the Mom's....HANG IN THERE...becasue at the end of the day when you witness your child hurting emotionally and physically from the hands and mouths of bullies...there is ALWAYS KARMA!

  • Anonymous-20

    I was never bullied at school but I did have a mother who had anger issues and never dealt with them or even acknowledged them. Subsequently my siblings and I learnt that to speak up resulted in either a slanging match or she would play the victim every time accusing us of us her as our favourite whipping boy. Our feelings were never acknowledged by her. My father was the parent we all loved and looked up to and I thank God for him.This though has meant that when I first encountered workplace bullying 4 years ago I cannot deal with it. I am stunted in that I seem unable to say anything to stop it.

    It got so bad I ended up placing a formal complaint. My employers, although having policies to address this just compounded it by not believing me. From starting here very happy and with my life going well I left seriously depressed, on medication and feeling extemely hurt, and angry. Despite this I got more temporary work and soon got permanent work again . For the first two weeks this was fine , then I believe due to things said to me and through common contacts this started up again despite me not knowing anyone there prior to joining the company.I again put in a formal complaint after being shouted and having my obvious hurt laughed at. I was accused of the vilest things, had lies told about me , my character and work. On taking it to a formal appeal I had the MD shout me down everytime I started to talk.Luckily I got another job just before my sick pay limit ran out as I could not afford to live on DHSS money alone.

    This job I was in for just under a year and it was fine but unfortunately it was maternity cover and it came to an end. I was so desperate to get out of the other job I took a temporary one .

    Three months later I got a part time job and am still here. I have no issues here and am happy. A month after this I also got another full time job ( I work the two ) and within a month of working here I realised through things I have overheard being said of me and things being said to me that the previous bullying had followed me again despite having stopped a year previously due to my leaving there.

    My life has since been made hell and all because some sick, twisted and inadequate people think it is fun to destroy another persons life. It was not enough that they did it once but they now have their cronnies to carry on and I have never met any of these people before or given them any reason to hate me. I tried very hard to ignore it and did so for months but the abuse continued unabated and the rest of the department was turned against me. I eventually started taking more sick leave after previously having an excellent one at this job so that is now ruined and will appear on any future job application. My work has also been falsely maligned and I have been falsely accused of verbal abuse. .

    My employer is aware due to physical evidence I have given them that this is going on but has again turned against me and is trying to make me sound paranoid and mentally unstable.

    I do however have support and a fantastic character reference from my other employer and support from a couple of outside friends who I confided in despite being very very nervous of doing this due to major trust issues I now have in every facet of my life.

    I am a strong person and am determined that this complaint will go all the way even to tribunal if necessary as I believe I know have very good physical evidence to support me. BUT these experiences have left me with real anger issues against these people, I am very scared of any new workplace I go to and have real trust issues now. Very few people ever get to know the real me and I am a nice and very kind person. They make you feel ashamed to admit you have been bullied as it is assumed that once you become an adult you can cope with these things . Employers , even those who have policies, try to make the bullied out to be paranoid and unstable as it is usually in the form of verbal abuse and snide put downs and that is very hard to show when it is done in secret and out of their earshot. They do this as they are afraid on retribution from the bullies to their business. My current employer had 6 vacancies filled in the last 6 months of last year alone ( unknown to me until joining ) That is no small number!

    I will not let these people win. On reading a lot about this subject I wrote down things I knew about these bullies and it made interesting reading when seen altogher.

    One cannot get the promotion she wants,another cannot get back into the kind of work he would prefer to be doing, another claims to be christian and is obviously suffering from the God complex but what God I do not know, another is aware that she skives , another is aware she has failed in dealing with another issue related to this and the last cannot make friends off her own back but instead slags of others to make "fearful friends" which really are not friends at all.

    To all those out there who are suffering , have suffered or are suffering still try doing this and see what it reveals for you. It is never about you and ALWAYS about the inadequecies of the bully . I have found that having the courage to join social groups totally unrelated to these vicious people will give you confidence and an outlet away from them. Please do this - DO NOT LET THEM BEAT YOU - YOU ARE WORTH A BILLION TIMES MORE THAN THEY WILL EVER BE.

  • Tucker

    I was bullied in high school. Severely and to the utmost of extremes. The physical bullying I underwent wasn't so bad, I could fight back against that on the rare occasion it happened. The spoken word is the weapon that stings the worst. I was insulted behind my back and to my face constantly, it never let up from 7th grade until I graduated Highschool. Then once I got out I found I was so withdrawn and socially akward that no one wanted to be around me, they just thought I was wierd. Until my friend Jason finally taught me how to get my self confidence back and come out of my shell. Unfortunately though, the only way to get bullying to stop is to take matters in to your own hands. Street justice is the only justice kids understand. Your only option is to let your fists do the talking, since what goes around never comes around. Those kids that did those horrible things to me? They're all finishing their senior year of college, and one is starting at Harvard Law. I work a blue collar job for a telephone company after being medically separated from the Navy. Where's the Karma in that?

  • Anonymous-21

    I know a person that was bullied for 7 years and one day me and him was at his house he got his dads sawn off shotgun and shot himself in the temple and i saw the whole thing he had a note it read

    Im sorry for being a waste of space but why do i get so much shit i didn't do fucking anything. ive been called names and been beaten up been bullyed at work so for this im sorry that i come in to this world i hope your happy you faggots because im dead.

    The worst part is that at school they were celerbrating and his best friend commited suicide due to him getting bullyed about his friends death help stop this !!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous-22


    Great article. My bullying stopped at the 12th grade. During college everyone was too busy trying to stay in school and out of the Army to do any bullying as far as I saw.

    I was a Naval Officer LT(jg). A superior officer got drunk one night and tried to mess with me in the officer's club at the Naval Communication Station in Guam. I responded by attempting to take his head off. He got in trouble and I still feel good about defending myself.

    After the Navy, I simply decided that if I were ever to even feel that I was about to be bullied, I would flat out beat the living shit out of the bully or kill them if necessary. No questions no apologies. Life is too short to be bullied again.

    Now that I have back problems and am a ripe old 63 years old, I carry a cane. It has lead weights added to the business end. That and a beard make me hard to read and dangerous. :-)

    I have as yet to be put to the test. I guess I project such anger that no one wants to screw with me. I have lots of friends and no enemies.


  • mini

    I'm glad I came across this community and this post.

    I was bullied in grade 5 by a group of girls who had been my friends all through elementary school....I wasn't the first one as the group had systematically excluded a girl every month or was like they were going in a circle and no girl was safe. So then it became my turn and I responded by crying all the time. And then I got made fun of for crying. Nothing ever turned physical but the name calling and exclusion and ostracism were constant and really broke me down. I remember telling the one friend I had that I felt like killing myself. And then my mom intervened and called the parents that were once her well-liked aquaintances...and then that made things worse. Anyways, I went to junior high and made new friends but had issues with trust so I became a sort of clown. I would do things on purpose to be laughed at so at least I was covering my bases if there was any chance these new-found friends were going to make fun of me. It was a nervous reaction. I found out that I was not taking myself seriously and that nobody else really was. Then these people made fun of how I danced at a school dance and then I broke down and cried. And they ditched me. Then I went to a school in the city where kids were even more crass, and I was constantly sexually harassed for my pre-mature development in grade 9. I started drinking heavily and smoking pot and hanging out with the bad crowd that was trying to make me "less innocent". Of course this was all a game to me and I wasn't taking myself seriously at all, nobody was and they were taking advantage of me and I felt like a mannequin. I did have a few close friends though, and din't get bullied becase I was so far gone into drinking and drugs all the time that that crowd accepted me as a hang out buddy. I knew I had so much more to give but I decided to try to end my life-unsuccesfully but it put me in a psych ward for a week. Talk about stigma and loss of self identity. That experience did not help me at all, I felt like a ghost, like I was not supposed to be there, and started dating a much older man who was in there for more severe reasons. He was childish but all he wanted was to sleep with me but I thought I found love. So I dated him for about a month until he dumped me. After all this, I went to another school to finish my highschool and did not tell anyone about my past. I felt I was pretneding but I was much happier being a new "me" without revealing gory details. I am so much happier now, I forgave all those who have offended me because I realise that there are people out there who appreciate me. I am in a loving relationship and have close friends and a nice family, I am about to finish my undergraduate degree in psychology. I have become a loving person and have combatted my trust issues and embraced myself as a wonderful human being-------and I have embraced the fact that not everyone is out to get me, I don't have to over-extend myself to be a clown....I can just relax and if people don't like me, then at least I like me. I want my story to inspire people to love themselves no matter what. I was given a second chance at life for which I am deeply greatful. Yes, people are going to be bullies and be mean, and it is so hard when you are young and in a place so seemingly inescapable like school--but it is never too late to rebuild yourself, you can be anyone, anything....

  • Harold

    I am 50 years old and the father of 2 wonderful daughters. Reading this articlle and the comments that have followed have been revealing and wonderful.

    I was tall for my age, shy and withdrawn. I was a victim of bullying from kindergarten until my sophmore year in high school.

    I grew up in fear of leaving my house, walking down the street of making friends.

    To this day, I struugle with anger, depression, an eating disorder. I do have friends but often avoid them because the irrational fear o fbeing hurt and rejected has never left me.

    I was publicly humilated, threatened, physically abused and emotionally tortured. I hid in my room at home and comforted myself with food and television 2 addictions that are carved into the fabric of my DNA.

    In my young adulthood I married a controlling abusive bully and subjected myself to the same treatment. I worked for 10 years for a completely abusive bully.

    In my young adulthood i moved away from my home town and made a new life in an area where no one new about me or my shameful past. I nowl look back on my difficulties and the poor choices I've made in my life fand link it to the cruel and demeaning abuse I suferred from in my young life.

    If I was not being degraded in public I was being told at home what a loser I was.

    I don't forgive the bullies in my life. I don't know how neccesary it is to do so. I do know that the forces that have governed my adult life are not based on present day reality although they feel like they are. They are based on people, places and things that are liog buried in my past.

    Thank you for your article. My heart goes out to all people who have suffered cruelty and abuse.

  • Whitney Smith

    I have endured physical and emotional abuse. My self esteem was gone by grade 7 and the beatings became more unbearable as my older brother ego grew. His bullying became more intense and frequent as the years went on. My parents were oblivious mainly because they had busy busy times with raising 3 kids and maintaing life itself for all of us.

    Today I am 21years old and my brother is 24years old. To this day I wish death for him, I am rude to him, I do not respect him. Infact I have nicknamed him satan. Because to me, that is all I see in him, pure evil.

    I dont feel this abuse has affected any of my relationships elsewhere but it definatly has affected me. I dont know me. I dont know where to start. I am shy, think badly of myself, feel guilty. I am definatly damaged.

    However, I do see hope. Just recently I had a troubling dream that brought up all my feelings on this issue. I have decided with close help from my mom to tackle these feelings, find answers through books and websites to finally move on. I will never forget what I endured but I have to face the fact that even though my brother may be heartless, I am a warm individual and need to recognize that he is my blood and my family.

    I will not let my negativity damage me anymore. because then he wins. I will not drown in hate and be a victim anymore. I will find help and I will move on.

  • Dr. T

    Hello Whitney, I feel for you. I have a brother who has also abused me, but in a more subtle and evil way. Please allow me to share a story with you and perhaps you'll see yourself.

    My brother has always proclaimed to be a loving brother in front of others, but holds jealousy and hatred in heart toward me. I am the youngest child and my mothers only girl. When I was born my brother was about 12 years old and appeared happy to my mother. He always wanted a sibling and I thought because of that we'd get along. As time went on he decided to rebel against my mother and became the "problem-child" in my mothers eyes, yet, she still showed him unconditional love. He did very foolish things.

    Essentially, I became the "good-child," the one who went to college and followed a good career path and listened to mom. Now, as a graduate student (and even as a college student) I find that I could use a brother in my life. However, he has shown me by his actions and the things he's said that he doesn't support me and he never will. He expressed his jealousy and his wish that I would just die. "You were always the favored one" he says. Because of his deep feelings of regret of his own life and thus, his anger toward my mother for not accepting his bad judgment, he's punishing me.

    One of the biggest lessons I have learned is this: when a person has shown you that they do not love you, that they could take you or leave you, that they could spit on you if they weren't afraid they'd get paid back somehow, etc., leave them alone...they are not healthy for you or your psychological health. In situations such as yours and even mine, the conventional image of "family" is not to be upheld anymore. The traditional aspects of a family system have been dismantled by abusive behavior. If counseling or spiritual guidence cannot help, then sometimes separation is the best choice.

    Think of an abuser as a drug addict. They are obviously abusing you for some deep-seeded reason that we know not of. A drug addict can do two things: either say goodby to the drugs and get help, or keep taking drugs and lose their loved ones. A drug addict is sort of abusive as well because they can't consider others when they need a drug and sometimes their livelihood will go lacking because of the need of a drug. An abuser can be the same way. They thrive off of seeing you hurt or being afraid of them, it gives them a sense of self, a sense of power, and the sense of being in control. Something most abusers find is the food of their lives.

    I wish you well.

  • Anonymous-23

    As of now I am finding it extremely difficult to understand that bullying has a very destructive effect on the victims who are left behind to pick up the pieces once the ring leader of bullying is gone. How can someone move on if those who supported the bully are left behind are still continuing to bully in a very passive aggressive way?

    I have been subjected to an abuse most of the time in a very subtle and passive way and there was nothing I could do about it. The ring leader had a very strong influence on the others that they went along with him abusing others.

    As I have been subjected to this bullying for a long time I became so ill when he left. It seems as if my mind and body halted from running all the time. I did not realise that not until now.

    Life is so precious......... I wish people who continue to get what they want in the expense of others will see that. Bullying strips off the dignity from others. They completely destroy the self esteem of their victims and the bullies rejoice doing this. How can these bullies be stopped. Why does it go on?

    I cannot accept the fact the influence a bully has on others that it seems as if it is the culture or norm. Bullying leaves a tract that others follow. The victims continue to suffer like me if my choice is to stay on in the workplace to continue to fight decently to stop bullying.

    It is hard to be a victim and it is so difficult most of the time to know what to do. Most people do not know the trauma it leaves on the victims not unless they have been a victim themselves. One thing that people do not understand as well is each experience a victim suffers is completely different from others due to the circumstances each one of us has in our lives.

  • Anonymous-24

    I was bullied for 3 years from 12-15 when i was turning into a young woman.

    Firstly it was because the group of horrible girls said my teeth stuck out a bit so they would follow me round every day doing bugs bunny impressions infront of everyone. Then a year later they got bored of that so they bullied me for my slight lisp, and followed me around everyday talking with a lisp.

    I had friends but these girls would always be there when my friends werent, and i would cry alone all the time, to not let anyone see it was affecting me, as i have always been a strong person.

    I am now 33 and am a successful person in my own right. But it has now just caught up with me and for the last year i have been a wreck. I have had severe depression for the last year. I also now think that i have something wrong with my mouth, tongue and teeth. I spent a fortune on dentistry even though my dentist assures me my mouth is fine. I am constantly feeling pain in all of my gums, always having excess saliva in my mouth....and i feel like i am completely abnormal.

    Everyone says i am really gorgeous but i feel so ugly and i hate myself so much. It is really affecting my everyday life as i think everyone is staring at me as i am always moving my mouth in odd ways.

    I like my personality but i hate the way i look, i have always been very self critical of my whole appearance, and am constantly wanting to lose weight even though i am only 8st 3.

    I have loads of friends and a great family. But i cannot sustain a relationship with a man as i dont believe they will love me when they see how ugly i am in normal everyday life.

    I am hoping that one day soon i will wake up, my mouth will be back to normal and i can meet a man that i can settle down with and have a family with. But as all of you reading this know, its a deep rooted physcological problem that wont go away for along time!

    Good luck to everyone


  • Cal daawg

    The heading says it all

  • H

    I had been bullied from 1st grade until high school. In high school it was much more tolerable because I got labeled as a nerd instead of untouchable caste because I got good grades. I learned to be a loner to survive. I had no support at home because my parents divorced when I was 6, and I had an older sister who bullied me horribly because she was angry about having to help take care of me.

    I'm 42, but I isolate myself socially because I'm really scared of social situations. Put me in a room of people, and I immediately feel inferior and "different" despite the fact that people say I'm pretty. I've learned over the years to act like a normal person in social situations, but I haven't changed much inside. I've suffered from depression since 2nd grade, and I still suffer now. I have a husband who loves me and two wonderful teenage daughters who love me - I lavish love on them and homeschool them because I didn't want them to suffer like me. They are very happy and have wonderful social skills. They are active in community service projects, and they do so many wonderful things that I never did at their age - I'm so proud of them. I still feel like I don't deserve such a wonderful family, and I don't know why I still get so depressed.

    Oh God, I need help. I can't seem to handle the normal bumps in life - whenever other people say nasty things. I get such horrible feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and rage. I bottle it up inside because I know that it would be inappropriate to react in rage - so I just go home and lose sleep over it, which contributes to depression. I take perscription sleep pills that don't help much because I have so much inner turmoil. I have to learn how to unprogram all of my negative thoughts, or I'm going to die an early death. Before reading this article, I had no idea that I could get help. My husband and my daughters need me.

  • Grand

    A great post however I find the comments more informative and helpful. I thought I would share my story.

    I have been the subject of bullying for 7-8 yrs starting from 6th grade. Back then it was only the getting beat up on the bus or being pushed around by a particular person. I didn’t understand then why I was being targeted—I’m not tall (5'2, im 19 right now) so I suppose that must have been it. Moving on to middle school things became more nebulous. I would get pushed down a flight of stairs or have my things thrown out the window, having rocks or chocolate milk thrown at me--of course no one could ever be blamed for this and it became a me vs. school. Eventually I found out who was doing these things to me and I started getting beat up again however at this point it bothered me that no one cared about this. I wonder how people can be so blind to these things. I remember one time being assaulted in study (a class for free time) in front of a teacher and some students and no one did anything--no one corroborated my story, the whole thing never happened.

    I never told my parents of this and they oddly enough see me as a sociable happy person, which I am not. Throughout the times I was being bullied I have had to work during my free time for my family (my father runs a construction company) and I could expect at least several hours of verbal abuse every time I went to work. My dad is especially good at this, and short of taking a sledgehammer to his skull I could not stop him or stop working since I was obligated to work. This grew to a point where I could expect same things every day, every day. I do love my father, but it is a strange relationship we shared.

    Although at high school it slowly tapered off, but by then (having been with the same group of people several years) everyone treated me as an outcast. I am not a particularly sociable person but I do hate people in general and I have trouble suppressing this vibe I give off. Even though I have never paid much attention to my academics, I managed to be accepted by an ivy league school (Thankfully it is several states away from where my parents live).

    I thought I could re-invent myself in a new setting but I cannot. I prefer being alone for the most part. I have developed some rather strange habits which I am trying to change--I lack the drive to eat and I often overwork my body I am a very emotionless person and I lack any interest (people, music, anything). I am at a pivotal point in my life where I have to decide what to do with my life and I do not know or care what. I am surprised that more people are not angry about their experiences I am. Given the opportunity I would have no hesitation in hurting those who have hurt me.

  • Anonymous-25

    I know exactly how it feels to be bullied and severely picked on, and how the wounds never seem to heal completely. Those years of abuse altered my life. I had no support at home. I felt ashamed that I was unable to defend myself. I was haunted. Though I received my high school diploma, I lost several years after high school--just wandering around, trying to sort things out. I joined the Navy, and later went to a community college, and have lived a fairly "normal" life, if normal means keeping one's head above water, being in a marriage, etc. I sometimes feel that I'm always hiding--always afraid of people and their cruelty. Life is still a struggle related to issues created in horrible those years. Despite the passing of time and efforts I've made to understand how and why this happened to me, I still don't, and I still curse the little bastards who were so cruel to me.

  • Kurt Steiner

    No, the wounds don't completely heal. I am an almost 43 year old man and was heavily bullied as a child, to the point where my major depression (undiagnosed) caused me to be kicked out of high school because I couldn't make myself go. I got a GED later.

    I was also medically discharged from the Air Force because of the long-term effects of bullying. I thought the Air Force would "straighten me out." Instead, my Military Training Instructor (AF version of drill sergeant) brought back horrendous flashbacks of the bullying and I ended up in the base hospital.

    I have been almost completely unable to keep a job. At my last job, I was carried out on a stretcher from a severe panic attack. I am now on SSDI.

    At best count, I have made six suicide attempts, as well as cutting myself with glass shards as a teenager. I have drank heavily, though I've been away from that for probably 10 years.

    I am almost nonfunctional sexually, and I hate that because I love my wife very, very much.

    Finally, I have been diagnosed properly. My diagnosis is PTSD/major depression/personality disorder. I am on medication and in intense therapy, though my counsellor says I'll probably never be free from the pain. Walking wounded, indeed.

    The worst thing is that NOBODY WOULD HELP! The ones who were my tormentors were rich kids and "jocks" from "good families" and the so-called school administrators didn't believe me or told me to "ignore it." My divorced parents were too busy fighting with one another to notice that I was going to hell in a handbasket.

    It scared me to death when the Columbine thing happened. I could easily have been Dylan Klebold. It is only by the grace of God that I wasn't.

  • Anonymous-26

    I'm a secondary school teacher in the UK and just want to thank all of you for this article and your stories. I was constantly bullied at school by the "in" crowd who would generally mock me to make themselves look better to their peers. It completely knocked all self-confidence out of me and I couldn't wait to get to uni so that I could reinvent myself - I'd spent 6 years trapped with those idiots.

    It took me a ridiculous amount of time to dig the real me back out and I'm still digging now and it wasn't really until I became a teacher myself and saw just how pathetic bullies are and what they generally become that I really started to come out of myself. The problem with it is from a school's point of view is that it is so hard to spot and sometimes impossible with all the new technology bullies now have at hand with the likes of mobile phones and social networking (or exclusion) websites.

    If you are a victim of bullying at school then you have to, absolutely have to, tell someone about it - your friends, your parents, your teachers - anyone. If no one but you knows about it then no one but you can do anything about it.

    I'll be reading some of your stories with my tutor group. My school does a lot of work with its students on this topic but none of it has been as powerful as some of the things I hae read on this page.


  • BJP

    I was bullied extensively for about six years of my life - middle school through high school. I'm only beginning to understand how these experiences as a teenager shaped my adult life in profoundly negative ways.

    My bullying took the form of constant degrading comments about my sexual orientation and weight. Less frequently, I would be physically harassed by my abusers. The comments began in sixth grade, before I was aware what it meant to be a "faggot." My fear of continued taunting and verbal abuse robbed me of many nights of sleep and instilled in me a near-constant state of heightened anxiety of the people around me. To this day, I remain fearful and anxious about what passers-by on the street may think of me, and whether it's clear to them that I'm gay. I worry about what they will do to me if they know.

    Currently, I am recovering from some pretty severe addictive behaviors that put my life and the lives of others at risk. I am in counseling and, as mentioned, am just now beginning to understand and validate how teenage experiences that I wrote off years ago still affect me today. In fact, it was only last Friday that my therapist suggested I may be suffering from depression because of this. It blew my mind to hear that, since I am a relatively high-functioning adult. But, depression comes in many flavors I guess.

    Anyway, I was grateful to stumble across this article and the related comments this afternoon. Thank you.

  • Tom

    I was bullied from ages 9-17 in school and in various institutions. Mostly verbal and physical abuse. I remember being very embarrased about it and I found it difficult to tell anyone though I think it should have been obvious to someone when kids are flinging you around a schoolyard. The one time I was bullied and scared in front of my mom and I went over to her for protection she called me a coward. I think it all had a profound effect on my development. I was sickly (ear infections etc) and underweight as a child, (I was small and looked girlish) and I noticed that sick equalled no school so I soon started to exagerrate my illness or feign it outright to escape the bullies and the extreme humiliation. I seemed to be able to create a fever just by wishing it. So I was soon in many hospitals getting all kinds of diagnoses...leukemia, cancer, I had spinal time a doctor said to me before a spinal tap....your faking it....why? I couldn't be honest because I was afraid to be sent back to school or be seen as a liar. I tried to convince myself that I was sick. I was hospitalized for weeks at a time. As an aside, my family was somewhat dysfunctional....very emotionally distant.

    I was soon referred to psychiatric services as they found no physical issues and I ended up in an institution and later group homes. The bullying stopped when I started lifting weights at 17. I guess I looked bigger and so people chose other targets. I even defended myself successfully though it was certainly not a life changing moment. Im now 42 male and very unhappy. I have SAD, have been diagnosed bipolar, have essentially zero self esteem. The times I have been in school since the bullyin I got very good grades but I didn't stick with it and am now definitely employment skills challenged. I tend to sit around and obsess on various topics like diet and how maybe the way I am is related to say nutritional deficiencies or some food or protein intolerance. I think though lately that maybe all this stuff, the bullying and lack of a loving family home and my growing up in hospitals and institutions and all my reactions maybe playing more of a role in my unhappiness and life than I give credit and I am just avoiding dealing with it. I think I am going to focus more on it and try to come to terms with it.

    I think I am generally a nice and kind person and optimistic at heart. I can relate though to the hatred some feel towards bullies. I think the destructiveness of bullying is underestimated and in my view it is akin to a kind of murder. I think bullying should be punished very harshly.

    Anyway, thanks for the article and for letting me share.

  • tony

    hi all

    this has been a great site for me to find,its now made me realise im not on my own, this is my storey

    at the age of 5 my great grandma used to emotionaly bully me by way of when we were on our own she would make me stand in the corner of the room untill my dad came to pick me up, shortly before she would tell me to dry my tears and give me sweats.

    im from the uk but settled in adelaide sa in1988,needless to say i ran from the pain,unfortunatly you can run but cant hide.

    the bully effects from my grandma took away all my self esteem and confidence.i started junior school and 3 yrs in to school begain to get bullied by other boys most emotional, i recall not knowing what to do about it almost as if i lacked some sort of skill to sort this out.

    i went up to high school an all boys school i might add which was run by mostly ex military generals or the like.half the school was made up of west indians or jamacian and the other half white english.

    there was alot of conflict and racisim in the school i was basicly bullied from day one mostly emotional but some physical, my school yrs were the worst years of my life.

    im 47 now and have just discovered that i have been repeating a pattern that has controled my entire life since leaving school and all because of the bullieing.

    after leaving school and up to my age now any girl or woman that i met i always ended the relationship with in a year.the 1st 6 months would be great then id start asking about there past boyfreinds, as soon as i new of there past i then begain to compare myself to the past boyfreinds,i would feel threatend,low self esteem,no confidence basicly i felt a no one,the deppression would then set in and as it does it takes over your life.

    i did get married and was for 20 years with 3 great kids but unfortunatly the same thing happend and i ended the marriage all because i was bullied.

    iv never had male freinds only f/male freinds and could never understand it.

    after my marriage ended i met another woman who im with now, she has never been married and 46 you know the path and pattern i took.

    its not till recently after 2 years of deppression and alot of soul searching and hard work that iv got to the root cause of my pattern and the nain issue is men.

    as i sit here typing this i can only thank thoses boys for the punishement they delt out to me because over the last 2 years with working on my self i have resolved alot of issues i did not know i had and have got to the root cause of my destructive pattern that has ruled my life for so long.i am now a better person for being bullied i have matured grown into a loving man and very out there with my emotions now,i dare say if you look at other sites on the internet of those that did the bullying and are now confessing to it life has caught up with them and they are riddle with guilt.

    for all the other stories on this sight i can see alot of you are angry but rest assured you are in a better place now then the bullies.

    i will now go on to complete my journey and deal with the remainder of my issue now i know what it is.

    i wish every one the very best for the future and gather your strength you will all get there eventualy

  • Anonymous-27

    I feel for so many of you, and your pain! I'm only 19, and your stories have given me real incite into how far-reaching the emotional trauma really goes! My past experiences, as i have started to realize, are catching up with me. I was bullied from day one litterally. As soon as I entered kindergarten, with my red curly hair and last name that only could be laughed at, I was done for although i didn't know it then. I try and have blocked out most of it because it hurts too much to uncover. I guess my only option was to fake "sick" to get out of it. The painful experiences continued up until high school, when i dropped out for another option. I soon ran to doing drugs, not just pot, but hard ones to "sink" in to reality. When i finally quit, with the help of my best friend, which was only 3 years ago, I have found that my "hurt" often comes "out" through my explosive and intense anger, which seems to be reflected upon my family, or the nearest person that it comes on to. needless to say, i know and share the pain, hoping for another solution. Another problem i am experiencing, is being totally afraid of social situations! I have a hard time opening up fully to people whom i know and trust, and opening up to make new friends. there's also this guy i like, which i suspect likes me, but everytime we communicate face to face, i tense up so much that he practically has to "force" me to talk, and i can't even look at him directly! ahhh frustrated :-S

  • Steve

    I was Racially bullied whilst in the care of Social Services in a Private School in UK.My depression has worsened since beating Alcoholism 8 years ago.I've spent that time trying to get some answers from my so called "Carers".They simply do not concede that bullying could have done this to me, whilst overwhelming research shows otherwise.Anyone who has been a victim of bullying to the extent(2 yrs at a boarding school 350miles frm home at age 10!) that I was the recipient of 24 hours a day will know exactly how I or we feel.I have no self esteem and these so called protectors of abused Children need to begin to face up to the miriad of damage they have helped to cause. It is now impossible for me to lead a "normal" life, depression,psychosis, suicide attempt, and Alcoholism do not look good on a CV!! so I have chosen to go after the Authority i feel did me so very very wrong, and show them the true outcome of their CARE for me.

    Thanks for lettingme rant!


  • Nicky

    Thank you so much for this wonderful website. I've never come across anything like this before, and it really helps to know that other people have had similar experiences.

    I was bullied a lot at school - primary and secondary school, both physically and verbally. I have to say that the verbal was a lot worse most of the time. Although in the end the police became involved when a girl hit me and stole my bag when I was out at a youth club disco when I was 15. At the time, I know it sounds strange, but I didn't feel it affected me all that much. I still had friends, and was determined not to avoid the places where the bullies were, and tried to ignore it. But it would burst out in terrible rages at times and I always had a feeling that I was odd and different, didn't have the right clothes or shoes, etc. I don't think I realised how serious the bullying was until that girl hit me and my parents thought we ought to get the police involved. I wasn't that badly hurt but was pushed on the floor and had a small cut under my eye. I decided to leave my school after that - we were moving anyway, but I had planned to stay at the same school. I felt I'd failed by moving schools, that the bullies had won.

    I used to come top of my class, and this was part of the reason I got picked on. I then started not to value being clever, and feeling I wish I was more ordinary. Although I got O and A levels I never went to university and have sets my sights lower and lower on the jobs I got. I was good at languages but never pursued it. I do still sometimes speak German, and now I kick myself that I didn't do better!

    Sorry this all sounds rather self pitying! I have managed to overcome a lot of these bad feelings, but still lose my temper easily - although I'm very calm and quiet when I'm out and try to please everybody.

    I'm now realising I have to help myself more - I have a husband and six year old daughter, and my depressions and anger affect them. But the good thing is that my daughter's really confident, I've tried hard to ensure she feels confident and good about herself. Also I think schools do a lot more to build self esteem these days. I also work part time in a pre school myself and it gives me a lot of pleasure to be part of building up the childrens' self-confidence, while building up my own!

    I think it's good to find a counsellor or someone to talk to, and be kind to yourself (although I don't always do this). I also think good comes from these experiences in that it makes you more understanding and caring of other people.

    It has been great just to write this, and I wish everyone on this web site good luck with their journies.

    Nicky (aged 40)

  • Melissa

    I am a 33 year old female and I was bullied from the ages of 5-9. Those 4 years, although so long ago, I can recall extremely well. I may not remember the exact taunting language but I can easily remember the settings, events, and the way I felt.

    My story:

    I began going to a private kindegarten/preschool at age 5. Almost immediately, two older girls paired up and chose me as their target. Every day I was taunted, made fun and laughed at in front of my peers.

    When I got first grade, I transfered to a small private lutheran school. Think bullying does not happen in a lutheran school? Well it does. For the second time, two older girls paired up and chose me as their target. Being that I was new to school, had no friends, and also was very shy at that young age, I did not stand a chance.

    The bullying began right out of the gates. Each day I would get dropped off, walk into school, and there they would be. Ready and waiting for the taunting. When the bell rang for recess, I cringed, and took my time heading out to the playground. Recess was the worst time of the day. For 15 min, 2-3 times a day, I was made fun of with no breaks. All the other kids played, and I just tried to make it through recess and get back to class. Note** I tried to ask the teachers to let me stay in the classroom, and even confided that I was being bullied and there response was always, "It is a rule. Every child is supposed to exit the room and go out to the playground.** My pleas were simply overlooked as to stay within school policy.

    I missed a lot of school those 4 years. Unlike some of the other stories, I did not make up any illnesses, but rather begged my mother to not send me to school. My mother knew what was going on, but thinking back I am not sure what she did to help stop it? Instead she would just comfort me, hold me, and let me cry on her shoulder every day after school. My mother is not a bad mother by any means, but I think like most parents, it is an area that is hard to figure out the right thing to do? So she did what she knew best and that was to build me up at home, tell me she loved me, I was wonderful, and beautiful, and let me sob and sob till I was done.

    My bullying did not stop until I reached 3rd grade and I met my best friend. She happen to be a popular girl and had quite a group of friends. Almost overnight, the bullying stopped. Suddenly I was not alone, nor an easy target anymore. It was such a happy time in my life and I have told my best friend, that she saved me more than she can even imagine. I dont think she will ever quite understand how much I love her, for taking a a chance on a shy girl who got picked on every day.

    The long term effects of being a victim of bullying:

    I still house some pretty big scars from those early years. I get testy and defensive extremely easy. I also struggle with my own self worth. Looking at myself I should be making a lot more money than I am and be in a better job, but I cant seem to think that I deserve more. Feeling like I dont deserve more or am worth more, is the root problem to so many things in my life. Looking back, I know exactly where those feelings came from too...

    The most used phrase(s) that my bullies liked to taunt me with, was anything to do with putting me down for trying. For thinking that I could do anything. They put me down even for just being and told me that any attempt to do something was pointless as I would just fail horribly anyways. After hearing those words for 4 years as a kid, well as an adult they stick with you.

    Thank you for listening. I hope my story helps someone else not feel alone.

  • Scott

    Dear Mark,

    I had to write this comment because of my experience from 1962-1968 riding a county school bus and being bullied all the way to school and back.

    Then came the bully who thought it was funny to punch me in the testicles to make me drop my books. High School was a horrible experience for me.

    I was always an outsider. No friends, get the picture. College i flunked out..similar problems...many I feel were related to bullying.

    I have chronic anxiety which I take medication for and have had a lot of therapy. I had trouble for the longest period of times riding the subways to work in NYC where I was working. Then I had IBS so bad but still managed to go to work and raise kids take care of a chronically ill wife with type 1 diabetes. So the long answer is that bullying cause long term effects.

    I hope your website helps others because I read it and said thats me....


  • Shaun, Nottingham UK

    I was bullied all through my Junior and Secondary school for being different from the other boys on my council estate. I wasn't born macho and rough and I've no interest in football and girls, and for this I've paid the price. I was taunted and humilated everyday for being gay (even though I didn't know what I was then) and I was made to feel I was worthless and nothing. I'm now 38 and been through lots of different therapies, medications, alcohol and drug binges and I still feel like the little boy everyone haterd and picked on. My self confidence and self esteem have never been good and as I get older it seems to be getting worse. It's affected every part of my life. I make bad friendships, can't do relationships and I can't find what in life will make me happy in myself. It's like something in my subconscious sabotages everything (Like I deserve nothing) Bullying has left me so immensley unhappy and not living the life I deserve. I don't know if I ever will find the place I want to be.






    YOUR SIZE............

  • Lora

    This site is true and moving. I suffered depression and self-hatred till I found acceptance through looking good and partying. So my life revolved around getting acceptance via good looks and high grades but it still left me vulnerable to rejection and I felt empty. I probably would have resorted to prostitution as I completely objectified myself for the acceptance of others, had I not joined slaa ( and then Al-anon and Coda (both 12 step programs for codependency). Through my work there I have managed to overcome depression and selfhatred. I have considerably more social-skills than I did before but I still feel I'm more emotional and critical of abuse than people around me. I was bullied from 10-12 and it's hard to believe how much one is affected by it ..I still feel ashamed and am prone to aggression and sarcasm as defense mechanisms and am also afraid of loosing the friends I have as a result of being damaged and difficult. I fount this site because I was researching wether there were any 12-step programs for survivors of bullying as I plan to start some meetings. Although it's amazing to learn about oneself through identifying with others I don't see much solutions here but for those looking for one, in my own experience the 12 steps have helped me ALOT coming to grips with my angers and fears, overcoming my self-defeating behaviour that is based on this anger and fear and I recommend this method to anyone suffering and isolated. I hope the human race will find a loving solution for future generations for better and safer schools and a better and safer way to teach our children boundaries and respect.

  • kate

    I was bullied from 2nd grade until 8th grade at my Catholic grammar school. I was certainly an easy target I cried easily and was made of by my peers from the time I entered the school in the morning until I got off the bus in the afternoon. I was a shy kid who didn't talk much and tried in vain to make the other kids at school like me (e.g., agreeing with them on such stupid things as type of music, etc.). One girl, in particular, was the ringleader and made the others pass notes to me in class regarding my appearance, etc. The Catholic nuns at my school did nothing to help stop the bullying they gave me lame advice such as "get a thick-skin" or "just don't listen to them." Really sage advice!

    The kids at school who made fun of me for practically everything didn't realize how lousy things at home for me. My parents would fight about mindless things and made the home environment nerve-racking to say the least.

    Looking back now in my mid-thirties, I am sometimes sad when I remember my grammar school days but I also try to remember that the best way to move beyond the past is to live a good life now, be kind to others, cherish the friendships you have and try not to be bitter about past wrongs.

  • Jenny

    Hi all,

    What a great site we have all found.

    I felt i was alone too i read about the affetcs of bulling.

    I lived in the city to i was 13yrs old then my parents sold the house we moved up to the country on the N.S.W border.

    Being very popular in Melbourne and had lots of friends bulling even did'nt enter my mind, i was a normal happy teenage girl.

    My first day at the new school, i wore my old uniform i got teased thats where it started.

    I went to my first disco and because i dressed different to the country kids i was laughed at, i am more artie and dressed with lots of colours.

    I had alot of rumors going around town which was'nt true, the kids would pull my hair, hit me, spit near me and mentally abuse me.

    We lived in a small town so this happened from 13yrs t0 21yrs old , and it was all the kids who lived in town and on farms. I had to walk through a park to get home and they would group around me there would be at least 20 kids frighting.

    17yrs old i got my self a job as a waitress and saved and saved, i finally moved backed to Melbourne but ended up with alcohol problems.

    Having finding my beautiful husband Graham who has done so much for me and is a very understanding man, we had so much in common he was bullied to because he had a hair lip, he helped me to counciling.

    It still effects me now i still cry, i am scared of making friends,but i do have a small circle of friends who i have told they are great, but i will not get involved with school commitees or large groups because i feel that i will just be put down, i like to keep away.

    Our beautiful children Patrick and Sarah, have been told about the effects of bulling and how it can damange a person live. We always tell them that everybody is born different but that is alright, because thats want God wants we are all beautiful people.

    I hope one day that the school eductaion board has a group of people teaching the kids about the effects on bulling. I would talk about it to schools, it may oneday stop someone else being bullied. More education is needed on this for all the schools in the WORLD!


    Thank you for reading my story,


  • sara

    for writing this!

  • Anonymous-28

    I just want to say thank you for writing this article. It really helps me because when I was younger I would constantly be bullied. It effected me so much that I almost went suicidal. I serioulsy believe that kids now of days should hear real life stories which impacted many lives.

  • Jen

    I'm a 30 year old female. I was bullied throughout my school life but most severely from when I was between 13-16 years old. I had quite a ‘hippy’ upbringing and dressed differently from my peers. Additionally, I went through a very unattractive phase during my adolescence, with bad hair and braces. I have a very rebellious streak, which is at odds with my generally shy personality and this certainly didn’t help me fit in at school.

    I would get verbally abused wherever I went. Kids burnt my hair with cigarettes when I was on the school bus. They would shout abuse out of the school windows when I walked past them. Boys were horrible to me and the abuse had a nasty, sexual element to it. I was bullied in the lunch room. I started to have panic attacks and this stopped me from being able to eat properly. I developed a fear of eating in front of people. At the same time, I started to starve myself, partly because of this, partly because of phobias that I developed and partly as self-punishment.

    I developed horrible depression, which unfortunately I had suffered from when I was younger, but it was 10 times worse and I was very difficult to live with. I had terrible mood swings and outbursts of aggression. Each day I would get crazily scared as night closed in and consequently couldn’t sleep. I would wake my parents up as I didn’t want to be alone. They reacted quite aggressively towards me, probably because my behaviour towards them was out of control. I had no close friends, my parents couldn’t help me and I felt totally alone. Around that time, my Aunt had a nervous breakdown and I remember thinking, ‘Why won’t my body give up like hers? How much more shit can I take before I crack?’ It seems so shit and stupid now as I wouldn’t wish a nervous breakdown on anyone and being jealous of someone else’s suffering is crazy but I just wanted an escape from what I felt was a living hell. I thought that the only thing that would get me out of it was suicide. However, I didn’t want to resort to that. There have always been parts of life that I have found beautiful and I didn't want to leave that behind.

    After a couple of years of being continuously bullied on a daily (hourly!) basis, my sense of reality became incredibly skewed. I had the idea that my experience of the abuse and my own self-harm was a test of my own endurance and that if I developed my ability to endure I would become a morally stronger person. Looking back, all the ideas I had seem crazy but it’s taken me almost 15 years to be able to look back at them objectively. I really believed, at the time, that I was being bullied for a reason – to test the morality of my peers. This seems crazily narcissistic and I am very ashamed of this nowadays but I guess it was a way of dealing with a situation that I felt was totally out of my control.

    At 16, I began obsessively and critically studying my appearance in the mirror and although this was kind of unhealthy, I got an insight into what I could change about myself to become more accepted. I altered my appearance and toned down my behaviour and eventually the bullying stopped.

    Nowadays, I have very mixed moods, in terms of feeling incredibly high and depressed at the same time. This is partly because I am a very sociable person. I am someone who gets great pleasure from talking to and being around people but at the same time I have very strong feelings of negativity and self-hatred when I am socialising. Also, when your emotional state has, to a great extent, been controlled by external events I think you lose the ability to regulate your moods. I have had trouble at work with being loud and unprofessional and also with bouts of depression that have affected my concentration. However, I am determined to stop the negativity and have sought help – I’m on a (rather long!) waiting list for psychotherapy and I’m hoping this is a positive step in the right direction.

    It has made me feel so much better after reading about other people’s similar experiences as I don’t feel so alone and no longer feel like I have been upset over nothing. If you're reading this and you're currently being bullied, I promise you that it will get better. I have had wonderful periods of my life and now have lots of friends. Although I have problems, I am now trying to repair the damage. I would urge you to get help as soon as possible. Please - go to the doctor, ask to see a counsellor, tell someone at school. Please don't let it go on. Also, don't think that because you're parents won't help you tha tother people won't (I wish I could have given myself advice when I was a teenager!). Good luck to you all.

  • Anna

    I was sexually abused as a little kid,then bullied in elementary,then beaten in middle school,now at sixteen in high school still getting bullied. People don't like to talk about it. I went to my counselour and the only thing she asked is if I were high. The answer no. Everyday I try to change my attitude but then someone says something mean and I'm back in the depression.I have honors classes and it's starting to make me crack,going from class to class carrying tons of books getting laughed at in the halls then in class ignored by kids occasionaly they see me then make some joke. Its like im invisible.The scary part is when I see someone getting picked on my flists clench and I scream and hit them.I scare myself.But at school nobody gives a shit period.

    I cant tell you how many discussions Ive had about bullying ignore them ignore them....if everyone picks on you....your going to be reeeeaaaalllly lonely

    my advice try to be social ,for me it's too late I am not social ,not anymore a therapist once told me I'm like a pin cushion letting people hurt me ,like holding a sign that says victim

    my credo

    DO my work


    talk to at least one person(or listen to music)

    ask people what their lives were like when they were your age


  • Abs2000

    Hey! my name is abs im 22 from Bradford, UK, bullying all started with me really early on in my life when i was around 4 or 5 and carried on from there. The effects are showing now 6 years after school, the main feature is lonerism. I feel no need to have others in my life because of my negative associations. I’m very introverted and suffer with depression, I have social anxiety, Seasonal affective disorder and schizoid personality traits. I am pretty emotionless, monotoned and stone faced most of the time. I don’t show emotions and don’t know how to I don’t see joy in anything. Negative thinking, perfectionist ways and very judgemental and cynical about the world and everyone in it. I’m not a people person and can sometimes feel myself slipping into ‘auto pilot’ when communicating with other human beings. Sometimes I feel like im acting my life not living it.

    I am cold and aloof and have no interest in others or what they do not even those closest to me. I have no interest in friendships, social norms and I lack social skills. I feel alienated from society without an identity of my own and feelings have of powerlessness, Looking back on my life like I have been doing monotonously the past few months has been emotionally and physically draining. No wonder im like this finally I have an explanation! Thank you all! Thank you all so much I have spent so long trying to forget and move on in every way but its not working and my behaviour is bringing it to light now. I suffered with so much bullying and pain as a child, feelings of loneliness and emptiness. Dysthymia or Aspergers syndrome perhaps? I was so shy and timid as a child.

    My Story:

    In Primary school I was being physically attacked at play time by some boys on a daily basis, Punched, slapped, pushed, grazed, nipped and bitten. Basically coming home battered and bruised. My sister was in year 4 and stepped in to sort out the problem she got teachers to step in. My parents noticed the marks on my skin becoming worse and worse and contacted the school immediately. The school was not co-operative and didn't take the complaints seriously, my parents went to the school so many times but nothing was ever done about it. The bullying got so bad that my mother used to come down to the school when i was having swimming lessons because she was terrified that they would drown me given the chance!! The head mistress asked my parents to ‘MOVE ME’ to a different school to ‘avoid the bullys!’ Where is the justice in that?? Eventually my parents contacted the under 13's group who took more action and used to offer support to my family and visit me at home and in school.Things calmed down the boys gradually started moving houses and schools. My teacher in year 4 once badly shouted at me and dragged me across the class room infront of everyone mocking me and calling me stupid because i couldn’t do the work I felt really hopeless those early years of my life I feel brought on post traumatic stress disorder and avoidant personality traits undiagnosed of course, i was a child and couldn’t communicate the depths of my feelings. That’s when the anxiety button was pressed in my head and I started stammering a lot and found it hard to make friends.My parents forced me into doing karate which didn’t help me and i didn’t enjoy it. I only wish now that instead of wasting money on karate lessons they would have sent me to a child psychologist instead. I probably would have benefitted a lot more from that in the long run. Addiction set in at age 12 with food. I was really unhappy as a child and spent most of my time hiding and avoiding people and anxiety related situations, I used to comfort eat when I was depressed and started to gain weight which made me more self conscious and lowered my self esteem lower. I was brought up in a middle class family the food was there so I ate it.When it came to upper school my mother and father were very aware of my quiet shy tendencies and they were weary of where to send me so they sent me to a small upper school a few miles away from my house. By this time I was overweight and very unhappy. I started the new school and didn’t know anybody. I was very shy and quiet but got along ok for a while made a few friends and got used to things. I was still gaining weight over time and was at my worst at age 15. The other kids in the class used to call me fat and constantly ostracise me about it. I had upper body fat around my chest and used to get physically attacked nipple twisted in the playground humiliated by the other boys. Everyone used to laugh at me. I was so alone and depressed. I started having suicidal thoughts life was just not worth living back then. The name calling, comments and nicknames haunted me every day of my life. I left school after finishing my GCSE’s. I started working as a care assistant.I attempted suicide aged 18 and ended up hospitalised for a week. I suffer with anxiety, depression as a result of it all. I have low self esteem and feel empty inside. No matter how much I exercise and look after myself on the outside, I will always be dead inside the feeling comes and goes but is always lingering in the background ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, words will shatter my soul’ Im seeking help now to fight my self destructive addictions and I’m on medication for the depression and attend meditation for the anxiety. Im also on my way towards seeing a psychologist then cognitive behavioural therapy. I am determined to beat this and correct my negative thinking patterns and be successful in my life. Ill show them J

    Thanks for reading my story

  • aju

    thank you all for writing these articles! its fantastic!

  • abs2000

    Hi! Im 22 from Bradford, UK, bullying all started with me really early on from the beginning of my life when i first started school. I was around 4 or 5 years old. I have recently realised that as a child I suffered with autistic traits. In the 1990’s Autism wasn’t a well researched and known about condition, my symptoms were dismissed by my family and the primary school. it was always clear that I was different, I wasn’t connecting to my peer group, my parents and teachers just thought I was shy and quiet. My mother confirmed my symptoms with me today after looking it up on line. I was a late developer with walking, talking, toileting etc etc. Also my perfectionism and ritualistic behaviours as a young child, my mother commented on my purposeless daily body movements (rocking my body back and forth when sat and doing this for long periods at a time) I had difficulty falling asleep, speech difficulties stuttering, stammering and finally my unwillingness to initiate any social interaction.My storyIn Primary school I was being physically attacked at play times by some boys on a daily basis, this went on for quite a while gradually getting worse over time I was pushed around, slapped, hit, kicked grazed, nipped and bitten. Basically coming home battered and bruised. My sister was in year 4 and stepped in to sort out the problem she got teachers to step in. My parents noticed the marks on my skin becoming worse and worse and contacted the school immediately. The school was not co-operative and didn't take the complaints seriously, my parents went to the school so many times but nothing was ever done about it. The bullying got so bad that my mother used to come down to the school when i was having swimming lessons because she was terrified that they would drown me given the chance!! The head mistress asked my parents to ‘MOVE ME’ to a different school to ‘avoid the bullys!’ Where is the justice in that?? Eventually my parents contacted the under 13's group who took more action and used to offer support to my family and visit me at home and in school.I was so shy and timid as a child and felt powerless to what was happening. Things calmed down at school. The problem was at home we all lived on the same street, I was enticed on to his doorstep and he had a large house brick dropped on my head whilst I was playing. I ran home screaming I had done nothing wrong I was only playing. The boy moved house and schools. My teacher in year 4 once badly shouted at me and dragged me across the class room by my arm in front of everyone, mocking me and calling me stupid because i couldn’t do the work project I felt really hopeless and unsupported.Those early years of my life I feel brought on post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Dysthymia (childhood depression) After that I totally went into myself and developed avoidant personality traits undiagnosed of course, I was a child and couldn’t communicate the depths of my feelings. That’s when the anxiety button was pressed in my head and I started stammering a lot more and found it harder to socialise. I suffered a lot of bullying and pain as a child, feelings of loneliness and inadequacy. I was really shy and timid and easily targeted. In middle school I was threatened by a group of boys on a regular basis no physical just threats of violence causing me stress and anxiety. I was also mugged at 13 whilst walking home from school by 2 16 year olds which was very frightening. I completely shut down my emotions and started living in my intellectual side.My parents forced me into doing karate, they thought it would help me stand up for myself and build confidence. But It didn’t help much I was still shy and timid and I didn’t enjoy doing it. I did get a black belt in karate I did it for 6 years during childhood quite an achievement. I only wish now that instead of sending me to karate lessons they would have taken me to see a child psychologist. I probably would have benefitted a lot more from that. My parents were unaware of the psychological problem I had. My anxietys as a child were extreme in social situations I never used to put my hand up in class or interact much. Addiction set in at age 12 with food. I was really unhappy as a child and spent most of my time hiding and avoiding people and anxiety related situations, I used to comfort eat when I was depressed and started to gain weight which made me more self conscious and lowered my self esteem lower. I was brought up in a good family the food was there so I ate it.When it came to upper school my mother and father were very aware of my quiet shy tendencies and they were weary of where to send me so they sent me to a small upper school a few miles away from my house. By this time I was overweight and very unhappy. I started the new school and didn’t know anybody. I was very shy and quiet but got along ok for a while made a few friends and got used to things. I was still gaining weight over time and was at my worst at age 15 years old about (14 stones). The other kids in the class used to call me fat and constantly ostracise me about it. I had upper body fat around my chest and used to get physically attacked nipple twisted in the playground humiliated by the other boys. Everyone used to laugh at me gradually wearing down my self esteem. I was so alone and depressed. I started having suicidal thoughts life was just not worth living back then. The name calling, comments and nicknames haunted me most days of my life. I left school after finishing my GCSE’s. I started working as a care assistant as a comfort job, I’m working below my abilities im just so lost I don’t know what else to do as a job. I just had to get out of school I didn’t even consider staying on for further education I just wanted away from the situationI attempted suicide aged 18 and ended up hospitalised for a week. I now suffer with anxiety, depression. I have low self esteem. I have managed to get in great shape but no matter how much I exercise and look after myself on the outside, I will always feel like a failure inside the feeling comes and goes from time to time. The old saying my mum always taught me as a child ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, words can never harm me’ is backwards it should be ‘sticks and stones may break my bones and words will shatter my soul’The effects of the bullying are showing years after. It is around my age when mental health issues surface. I am 22 at the moment still live at home with the family looking at ‘the Erikson 8 stages of development’ my stages 3-6 were directly affected by the bullying leaving me feeling inferior to others, low self esteem isolated and at an emotional distance.The main feature I am experiencing is lonerism. I feel no need to have others around me friends, partners, mainly because of my negative associations with people in the past. I am very introverted and suffer with depression, I have social anxiety, Seasonal affective disorder and schizoid personality traits. I am pretty emotionless, monotoned, stone faced most of the time and I have flattened affectivity. I don’t show or express my emotions anymore because I spent years constantly suppressing them and ignoring them. I don’t see the joy in socialising or anything anymore. I have negative thinking, perfectionist ways and im very judgemental and cynical about the world and other people in it.I’m not a people person and can sometimes feel myself slipping into my defensive ‘auto pilot’ when communicating with other human beings. The same one i used as a child to switch off. My apathy is stopping me from connecting to others. I also consider myself a bit of a misanthropist, I too am working below my abilities with no hope of better. Im 22 and love money and crave independance thrive on sexual gratification but at the same time unable to commit to a relationship. Because of my alienation from others and my ‘auto pilot’ I decided to become a high class male escort for extra income.Most of the time I feel like I’m acting my life. I am cold and aloof and have no real interest in other people or what they do, not even those closest to me. I am very selfish and have no interest in friendships, or relationships, I don’t do social norms and I lack some social skills. I dislike socialising because of my past negative experiences I at times feel alienated from society without an identity of my own because I was never allowed to build one as a child, Looking back on my life like I have been doing monotonously the past few months has been emotionally and physically draining. No wonder im like this finally I have an explanation! I am still young aged 22 and im determined to turn my life around im seeking professional help now. I have suppressed and tried to forget about all of this. I’m on medication for the depression and attend rehab to address my cannabis addiction, I have acupuncture and meditation for the anxiety. Im also on my way towards seeing a psychiatrist then ill be on the waiting list for cognitive behavioural therapy. I am determined to beat this and be successful in my life. Ill show them J Thank you all! Thank you all so much for your storys on here it has positively inspired me. I am on my way to finally healing now. Wish me luck J

  • Anonymous-29

    I was bullied mainly in my early years of high school and intermittently before that. I was mainly bullied, mainly by boys, because I had acne, achieved excellent grades and was quiet and sensitive. I remember deliberately making mistakes in school tests so that I wouldn't achieve high marks that I would be later teased about...and hiding my report card so they wouldn't see how many 'A' grades I achieved. I was made to feel ashamed and self critical and I recall definate depression and thoughts of suicide back then.

    I am now 37 and have never had a soon as someone shows interest in me I disappear as I don't want them to notice all the bad things about me a leave me anyway. Although I do have some female friends, I prefer my own company and still get nasty comments from time to time from workmates about *being good*. I suffered a severe nervous breakdown at age 30 and also developed anorexia nervosa. I have been in psychiatric hospitals 14 times to treat these over the last 7 years, including to courses of ECT/shock therapy. Lately I have also been turning to alcohol and self harm as well. I trained in a professional career which I was forced to leave due to my health and ended up on Disability payments. I have fought back to working in a non-professional job with low wages and respect for my skills and knowledge.

    I place a lot of the blame for where I am now on what happened to me at school. My self esteem was shattered than and I haven't ever really developed it again.

  • Anonymous-30

    Hi. Thank you for writing this article. I was bullied quite severely in my early adolescence to mid teens. I have suffered from bouts of depression and other psychological problems since. However, these seemed to be improving over time and in my mid-20s, after a few years of sporadic employment bouts of depression and feeling quite out of control I suddenly felt like someone had switched turned on a light-bulb in my mind! I felt focussed, my mind felt like it was working properly for the first time in years. I retrained in a professional career and got a job in a high profile organisation. Though I sometimes felt geeky and nervous I was known as the happy person always up for going out and always willing to help. For two years I was socially networking like crazy. I got a new job, earning more money. However, I did not feel like I deserved it and I started to feel out of place and ugly and ended up drinking a lot and going out every night. I was so embarrassed by my behaviour and although I was still performing at an acceptable level in my job I became convinced my boss hated me and suddenly developed these ideas that I could not trust him. I started crying at my desk a lot, which was really embarrassing. I jumped at the chance to leave the organisation when I got head-hunted by somebody else. This was a disaster. Again, I didn’t feel like I deserved the job. Straight away I felt I did not deserve the money and that the company had made a mistake in thinking I would be any good. I no longer cared about the way I looked and felt no motivation at all. My mind felt so blurry I could not think. Unfortunately, because of my terrible performance and my shyness, my new boss (who has a reputation for being a bully) started to bully me. I spent the next 9 months totally spaced out, too scared and depressed to quit my job. I was forced to leave when I discovered by accident that I was facing a disciplinary. I have a new job now, at a lower level. I’m still finding it difficult to concentrate but I am feeling more settled. However, I definitely feel I am back to square one with my social skills. I feel that being bullied and being made to feel like a freak and a social outcast has massively affected my life. I don’t feel like I deserve anything good. I smile all the time so people think I am happy but it’s just a defence mechanism. I feel that if I start to climb the career ladder again that the same thing will happen and I will be back to square one. People don’t take bullying seriously – it has had such a massive impact on my life but I don’t feel I can talk about it, which is driving me crazy!!! So again, thank you for this article and thank you to everyone who has shared their similar experiences. It's nice to have been able to get all that off my chest!

  • Sandra Humphrey

    Bullying can indeed leave lasting psychological scars. As a
    children’s author, I do a lot of school visits and almost invariably we end up talking about the problem of bullying. Since the students enjoy role-playing, we generally role-play some of the stories from my book Hot Issues, Cool Choices: Facing Bullies, Peer Pressure, Popularity, and Put-Downs. Role-playing gives the students the opportunity to “feel” the same situation from the viewpoint of the bully, the bully’s target, and the bystander. I also always emphasize the importance of the role of the bystander in bullying situations because the bystander can unintentionally (or intentionally) frequently facilitate or stop the bullying. The more we bring the problem of bullying out into theopen, the better!

  • Silvia

    I grew up surrounded by bullies. My mother was very competitive . Around people her age, she never won so I guess she used her children to feel good about herself. She was always letting us know how good she was for everything, from cleaning to cooking, organizing, etc. At the time , I did not realize it was abusive when she took the handicrafts I was working on and finish them. After finishing it , she would praise herself oh how beautiful it turned out.. She would not let me talk when we were in front of other people, even if someone would ask me a question directly she would answer for me. She would criticize my personality in front of other people or make herself a victim to get people’s attention. If I invited friends over she would make sure she got all their attention.

    My brother, was the popular one in the neighborhood, everybody loved him, he was fun, energetic, and cute. He was everybody’s best friend. But he hated us, he was cruel and would use his popularity to humiliate me and my sister. He would laugh at the way we looked, the way we dressed, he would openly express his despise towards us in front of other people. Since he was a natural leader his peers would show the same lack of respect towards me and my sister.

    My father was a bully too. He would bit my mother and he would constantly make negative remarks about the I way looked .

    The pattern of bullying continued during all my school years.

    I grew up full of anger and terrorized. Always expecting the worst from people.

    I never had self esteem , I was always afraid and isolated. Children and adults scared me. I did the best I could to defend myself but the anger started getting too deep and I could not find a way to release that anger in a healthy was. I left my house when I was 18 years old and navigating life with no life skills and no self esteem has been really hard. I am 40 years old now and I still struggle with the bullying pattern. It lives in my mind. Reading about the effects of bullying in adults has been an eye opener to me. I never related my sadness or anger to this abusive behavior. As a child I really came to believe that I was worthless and that was normal for people to be disrespectful and abusive.

    I have a been in a healing path for sometime now. I have read a lot of self-help and spirituality books. I have added meditation to my life and I know there has been progress. I have made a lot of progress indeed. Reading all these honest and touching testimonies have added to my healing process. They help to expand my awareness and awareness has become my most important tool in this interesting path of overcoming emotional distress.

    For the ones that are in the same recovery path please remember “ Progress no Perfection“.

    I wish to all victims of bullying a peaceful transition form emotional pain to love and peace in their hearts.

  • CB

    Attending an inner-city school after the divorce of my parents contributed to some bad experiences. The bullying began in 5th grade by a student I thought was my friend, and soon other kids joined in. I can remember one incident where about 6 kids were all throwing things at me on the playground, (dirt, snow, playground balls). Another incident involved me chasing a student into the school (after I became enraged) and somehow I ended up slamming his head into my knee. I look back at these situations and can't understand how I became so violent. The bullying continued with the same kid from 5th grade, and for some reason I still considered him my friend in 8th grade. Again, the bullying was contaigous and other students joined in, resulting in a few fist-fights outside the school. Of course, I was not truthful to my family members about how I got a black eye for fear that their reaction would get back to the school and cause embarassment. After completing high school, University, and 6 years of employment, I have never been in a relationship or had a girl-friend. This is beginning to get me down and I feel like I may need counseling to work through these issues. I do have a good job, however I still find it difficult in social situations with people my own age. Reading these postings have been worthwhile and I feel better about moving forward! -thanks

  • Dan

    I was always bullied since I was a kid. I remember being in kindergarden and never being allowed to join in any of the games and i would always have to get last pick in the toy box. For what reason i still don't know.

    When elementary school rolled around, I was excited about meating new people and I would have dreams about makin new friends. Thos dreams were crushed by the second day of 1st grade. I was made fun of, called names like stupid, idiot, poo poo head. Now adays I'd laugh at being called poo poo head, but at that age it hurt. As I got older the insults continued and eventually began to believe it myself.

    I made my first friend in 5th grade, but I still felt like I didn't deserve any friends. My grades began to fall and I just stopped carring all together. When 6th grade hit, I was delt the ultimate crippling blow. I was diagnosed with cancer. At first the kids were nice to me, but after I had my finger removed from it, I was taunted worse than ever. I got the nickname four finger freak. I wasn't even considered human anymore. I slowly fell into a cutting addiction and I began considering suicide after I realized that the administration didn't even care about what happened to me. Only the other kids. I was a freak in their eyes. Add that to slowly coming to terms with my sexuality. I was a ticking time bomb.

    I finally blew up during 10th grade when I almost managed to sucsessfuly comit suicide. That's when everyone started to take notice and try to help me. But by then it was too late. I'm a junior in High school now and I still suffer from suicidal thoughts everyday. I've been on suicide watch for a year, but I'm starting to slowly heal. I've made some friends and I'm trying my hardest to push past depression, but for the moment, depression is rulling my life.

  • Thaddeus

    I was bullied since I knew the world, out of the name of fun, by my own cousins and relatives.

    Every week when I went up to my grandma house, they would all gang up to outcast me. They forbidded me from playing all their games, and when I finally got my place in a game, they would gang up to make me lose. The worst thing was, when I complained to my parents, they got away from everything in the name of fun, and I was subsequently classified as petty and not being game enough.

    I am glad I found this article and know that I am not alone. Indeed, I had never had a close friend in my life. There were many things that I wanted to do but didn't because I didn't believe I could do it, and my irritating cousins and relatives were always ready with their wet blankets. I felt very jealous when I see my other friends having close friends, and it sucked totally when they tell me about their activities with their other friends.

    I am only 20 this year, but I am thankful I found my problem at this age. I am also thankful to have met many kind souls in my school life, who opened me up (after being bullied for so long, I became very introverted, shy and timid when I entered school). Sometimes I feel the outside world is so much nicer than my own family. These few years I have been improving a lot on my social skills, but as my counsellor described it, I am like running a race where everyone else have already started running for very long, and I just barely started. Till today, I've never had a close friend, and I don't suppose that I will ever find one. As for my relatives, I have stopped going up to my grandma's place because they sucked so much and I hate them all!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this great article, and thanks to all the commenters for sharing their stories. I could totally relate to so many of them. In my experience, the inaction of the adults in my world--and, believe it or not, in some cases their bullying, as well--was much more painful and still causes me more grief than the bullying of my peers.

    For me, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and the 12 Steps have given me a wonderful life where I am truly becoming happy, joyous, and free. Healing is possible, I assure you.

  • Anonymous-31

    My heart goes out to all those who posted here. This is hard to write - i've never spoke to my "new" contacts about what happened to me in high school. Not even family - parents added to trauma.....

    Wow, o.k., so a ray of hope is glimpsed because all the symptoms that i had - wow, a bunch of other people have felt the same way and done the same things and it's because of the blow to your development that comes from the bullying.

    My deep seated shame took about a dozen years to start to subside. When i was 26 I tried to reach out for counseling, i made a call but was crying so much over the phone - it was humiliating. How do you get counseling when that means sitting there in front of a stranger being completely vulnerable?? I've done everything to make sure that I'm never in that position again.

    Many people on here despite their suffering have actually gotten married and have close friends? How did you all do that? I went nearly two decades without friends - the pain from that was just unbearable.

    I've finally evolved to the point where i have pretty good social skills and am liked by many people - i also can be quite fun, am probably the most sensitive soul you're gonna meet, am attractive, considered quite "cool" (woohoo lol) by lots of people - and it's only in the last couple of years that i've actually been able to make a few friendships stick - and they're pretty surface in of themselves.

    I long for friends - real friends, close friends, - not to mention a relationship. I know that God's plan is for us to have just that, so I have to conclude that it must be me - but I don't know how to change this. People still terrify me. Oh, I act all cool and nice - but when I start gettng nervous I make sure I leave. I have NO IDEA how much you're supposed to seek of the other person at first, I'm terrified of pushing someone away or of them not liking me/turning on me.

    I have noone to talk to or support me when i am going through hell - like the recent workplace bullying that i survived.

    Still trying to figure out the formula for getting real friendships. i know some will say, "just be yourself" but that's bs - that only works for those who are doing the right things.

    Again, my heart goes out to all the people on here, i hope you all find healing.

  • Chris

    This article was fantastic. For the past year or so, I've been trying to pinpoint and actively change my shyness. I was bullied all my life up until high school for being quiet, sensitive, gifted and weird. It all came to a head between the ages of 10 - 14. With a divorce in the household, I withdrew further than I had previously. Stopped doing homework, tried to avoid school, suffered through what thinking back, could only be called depression (which I still have bouts with). Which all perpetuated a circle of bullying. Teacher would mock me, I would in turn be mocked by the kids at school, which in turn would make me want to be there less, and lash out by not doing my homework rinse lather repeat ad nauseum. My folks sucked at helping and were too occupied with their own things (divorce and such) to notice that I was dying inside (a little melodramatic, I know but it's to make a point).

    Never finished High school, because of cutting classes and a lack of motivation, and continued studies on my own. I am now a proud autodidact and can say that I know more about most subjects then my peers. Had bouts of anger and became what this article would refer to as a cynical adult, however none of the rage or revenge fantasies, thank god.

    But things could have turned out badly for me...

    Here is what has helped me greatly. I have worked in bars for most of my adult life. (I know, crazy. Talking to people all day, putting myself out there!) Through that, I have started to learn that I'm not a horribly flawed human being. I still have some issues to work out but I'm trying. I'm really, really shy when talking to women, I can't go up to a stranger and chat (unless I'm working, or it's someone I'm not sexually attracted to) I sometimes feel like I can't leave the house, (I justify it with the idea that I'm bored and there's nothing to do).

    I'm now 24. I can socialize with difficulty in a strange environment, but am considered hilarious by my close friends and bar patrons. My solution so far is to break through the comfort barrier. As many times as it takes to break my negative behavior. I go to karaoke, I play music, I sell art. All things that require a certain level of trust in yourself.

    But, I digress. I feel for everyone here. There is hope though. Fight through the sucky and go outside your comfort zone. It will take a bit, but it will start to feel a bit more natural after a few times.

    So, you know what I see, reading all these posts? A forum full of standup comedians. Comedians always have that cynical I've been bullied mentality.

    Hope my story helps.


  • anonymousdom

    With regards being is hard. (yes yes...been there too)

    It's easier in a way as a child, to point and say 'he or she is a bully' since the bully child is probably also not yet skilled in the manipulative way of gathering 'right persons' to his side. ie: the bully child is usually the class clown or troublemaker or both. ie: the bully child gives the TEACHER a hard time and so...all one needs to do is go to that teacher to talk of how that one is bothering ...and the bullied child can come to be believed and the other told to stop or be suspended.

    Of course, life goes on and bullies get smarter. They know who 'to play' for their 'benefit' ... Bullies learn well the 'art of manipulating' and 'putting on the charm' ... They become 'skilled' (bullies are not dumb by any means)
    The dumb adult bully always winds up in trouble with authority just like the dumb child bully. The 'intelligent bully' goes to college, learns to do something others need or want, they are proficient in 'making money for others' (thus why management tolerates bullying behavior in these humans. Humans look the other way, if looking the other way will benefit the bottom line and that's just the human nature thing)

    Ironically, as educated and skilled as a bully becomes - bullies are still just scared cowards who do not themselves know thier worth. They are insecure and the one's they bully are those they perceive as 'better' than they. The bullied one merely wants to work in peace. The bullied one wants to do good also. The bullied usually are quieter while the bully besides having a 'skill' is adept at TALK. Bullies learn to charm others. (thus they win friendships and thus no one dares tell them NO)

    Concisely: bullying occurs when the mere human is nothing but human. Looking out for self and not 'other.' Looking out for the needs of another, sets one up to seem 'weak' 'easy target' 'nice guy or gal' to be 'used' and 'tossed' when no longer usable. Those who think of others are GOD centered and in a world where more and more are abandoning any notion of an eternal destiny for 'temporal happiness' - ANYTHING GOES to any who strike a nerve in the bully that it is he or she the bully that is heading for a real major loss. (bullies live only for the moment)

    The authentically good can survive bullies through THE STRENGTH given them by the one who endured 'the cross' ...mocked, spat at, side pierced, crowned with thorns, that's bullying. To survive a bully - one needs to know thier worth beyond what any mere fleshly mortal wants to tell them. The bullied have to know with a firmness from whom they came from and to whom they are going back. and THE BULLIED must always REMAIN IN TRUTH. STAY FOCUSED on doing the work hired to do. Speak 'facts' to management at the very start of bullying... with date and time and specific quotes by the bully. Do it quietly and un-emotionally. Go to good management before 'the bully' goes to them. If the bully so tries to undermine the good's work efforts the bully will be seen as the liar they are. DO GOOD WORK and DON'T BE A CONSTANT GRIPER. DON'T EVER POINT SUBJECTIVELY AT MANAGEMENT'S 'PRIZE HIRE BULLY' who makes them money. Keep the facts objective in how 'the following incident can have negative consequences to them' They will take they are indeed self interested in 'their bottom line' ...

    If one allows a bully to push ...and one lets the bully rattle them and the bullied emotionally reacts to...then 'the bully wins' with management. The bullied are seen just as THE BULLY wanted that one to be seen. If management brings one to the table first, 'the bullied' has not a chance to defend oneself. If then, the bullied tries to defend ... management will lay the 'insubordinate' thing on the bullied and the bullied loses rightful claim to unemployment 'benefit'

    STAY IN THE TRUTH, STAY FOCUSED ON ONE'S JOB, AVOID contact with bully as much as possible except when in a large group (bullies never act out where others are watching) and yes, have one or two allies of support in a workplace (though they too may look the other way for self protection, but at least one can eat lunch with someone and not look like a loner loser) Be friendly but not overly so...with any. LISTEN more than talk.

  • Anonymous-32

    I began to be bullied in the 4th grade. Not only was I bullied on the bus, but also the classroom, playground, and any public place that I happened to run into a group of peers. I was the kid that everyone picked on. I had to switch schools in 8th grade after a girl put paint all over my seat in art class. Everyone laughed when I stood up. That was the turning point, but 4 years is hard to erase. With a bit of self-confidence, and a couple new friends from the area, I was persuaded to return to my old school. Although the bullying stopped, I continued to be a victim of the occasional snide comment. I dropped out my senior year, and opted for my GED. I am 26 years old, now, and while I am about to graduate with a B.A in Psychology, and go on to Grad school, I continue to socially isolate myself, and have a persistent feeling that nobody likes me, and although I know that this is not true, I cannot convince that hard-wired part of my mind otherwise. Two steps forward, a step back, It takes a long time to overcome the social and emotional damage inflicted on the victim.

  • Anonymous-33

    Hi, I'm in the 7th grade and I get bullied all the time. On the bus all the 8th grade guys make fun of me and say oh look at her she's so ugly and stuff. It hurts me but I know I'm not ugly. I just tell myself, they are jelious. I am beautiful and they just need to feel good about themselves.

  • mr. murray

    Hello I am in 8th grade and I Want to know why. Why are kids demorolized if they a from a different race or religion. . Kids dont deserve that kind of torture. In most schools Every thing is revolved around this disgusting ring of kids who think they are sooooo cool and do what ever they can to feel better about themselves. Those kids are of no importance. When you are on your lunch break at your big corperation an you go to Mcdonalds, those kids will be the ones taking your orders. bullies are just dirt that need to feel like pretty flowers. Well you are the ones who will be walking all over this dirt in your future. Id love to help people in anyway possible and i hope to be a pyschologist in my future. I dont think it is funny in anyway to be bullied and take action. I dont care how you do it but dont hurt yourself or anybody else

  • Anonymous-34

    IN REGARD TO THE COMMENT7th grade - - Apr 20th 2009just letting you know, what you wrote is completely true about you being beautiful.I like it. Its a fact that everyone sometime in their life is bullied, particulary in teenage years. Bullying is a nasty way of someone making them feel good about themselves. They bully because they are not completely happy with themselves and find reasons to pick on someone else, either because of jealousy or they find them an easy target. Dont listen to the others that say stuff like that to you, all that matters is that you are happy with yourself, and by what you wrote about knowing your beautiful even when they say horrible stuff like that to you..well thats true beauty. You show positivity and charateristics that these others cant find in themselves, your not doing anything wrong and it will blow over. As long as you keep positive and tell yourself your beautiful then you will be ok. The others, they dont matter and to you, they never will because its people like them who try blowing others self esteem...but your showing courage and thats awesome.I dont know if this has helped but just letting you know your comment was inspiring to read :).Keep your head up girl... your doing fine.... and keep telling yourself that ok. Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

  • 2002to2009

    I'm really deeply moved by everything I've read here. I may have to come back and write a more substantive reply later, but it would be difficult to address everyone individually.Which just goes to show that you are not alone. This is, for better or worse, a human experience.Don't lose hope. Re-training yourself is difficult, but not impossible.You are all very strong people.

  • Donnie

    Yeah I can definitely relate to this essay. I really enjoyed it. I'm 30 with a wife and very happy now but adolescence was brutal. Junior high was very torturous for me. No one put their hands on me or anything but I was constantly ridiculed. It was an every day occurance with the exception of just one day those 3 years from 6th-8th grade. The kids would form circles around me and just cap on me. Making fun of everything you can think of (I can't even name it all anymore) and none of it made sense. Sometime girls would join in too. That definitely didn't help puberty any at all. That was especially rough on me because I already didn't have any friends and a distant father to begin with. My only support in life was my mom. My self esteem was severely damaged and I wasn't able to make an actual friend until I was 16. I tell the story to anyone who'll listen but most people don't seem to care or don't think it was that was that big a deal. Thanks again for writing this essay

  • simmering

    My heart goes out to you, and I wonder if you have told an adult about this? Your post didnt say... I am so angry for you, the adults are supposed to intervene. Have you told your parents? Can you show your parents this website? Can you talk to the school guidance counselor? Show that person this website? Honey, if you were my kid I'd have the name of each and every one of those little bastards and give them and their parents hell, then I'd help you with some snappy comebacks to say if anyone dared insult you. Do you have any friends on the bus? How about in school? At all?I'm so glad you found this website, you are not alone. I want to help you so bad but it's hard not knowing anything about you and what resources you have. Perhaps you could post again, let us know if you have told an adult? I want to try to advise you but that's hard without knowing if you told, who you told, their reactions, etc. Please let us know - every adult here is one who has gone through this. I will say a prayer for you!

  • Paula

    I am so amazed at this article. After all these years I now know why I am ...the way I am. I too as many of you was the victim of bullying as a child. I was chubby. I also was the child of a parent with Mental illness, which was because his father was abusive verbally and also a pedophile. Unknowingly he became abusive to us, his children. So I was bullied at school and then came home to bullying at home. My father, who did not realize the impact, always chastized me for having a second helping at dinner. I had no escape. My mother, also a victim, did not know and could not challenge anything that was happening. As a matter of fact their solution to my bullying for being chubby was to enroll me in weight watchers at 12 years old. So much for acceptance at home. Anyhooo I wrestled with sadness in school and thoughts of suicide. Even though I did not want to die...I just wanted the hell to stop. After a failed suicide attempt, my mother bargained with me. I wanted to leave the town and finish high school elsewhere, but instead she arranged with our family doctor to put me on diet pills at age 16. I lost 44 lbs and looked good for graduation. In 4 years I gained over 100 lbs. Now became bullied at 21 years old and continually hereafter I skyrocket in weight and social bullying. Until finally I am over 400 lbs and society treats me with this wonderful scum-of-the-earth banter. I know I sound pessimistic. I wish I did not. I wish I had a "can-do" attitude and accomplish my goals, but I feel defeated before I start. P.S. I must tell you I tried drinking and did not like it, drugs and did not like it, I even got converted, a born-again christian, which was great for a while as people seemed to really like me and I was gaining such popularity, until I went to their theological school to become a part of ministry. It was the bullying there by fellow ministers that really took me low. I left and have isolated my self and I know it is because I just do not want to subject myself to any more abuse. I am on self-protect but also on self-destruct with my weight. I never feel safe and I hate that. I am actually a creative person but feel paralysed by the internal frustration. I am going to counselling this week and hope that it will take me out of this depressive funk. If there is anyone out there who can relate...please email me at

  • LL

    I remember being confident as a child. I loved exploring the world and creating art. I felt secure and un-selfconscious. Then we moved and I started 5th grade at a new school in a different state. It started almost immediately because I was small for my age and this is when kids start to really enter into diverse stages of growth. The teacher was a polite Southern woman who was completely blind to anything that happened right in front of her. At first it was boys...I had chairs pulled out from under me, volume cranked up while listening at an audio station so loud it physically hurt, pinching, having things thrown at me. At first, I protested. But it became clear that the teacher benefited from ignoring other kids bad behavior. Because I was new and most of these kids had all lived grown up together, no particularly wanted to be the friend of the target except other kids who were also targets. Of course, I understood pretty quickly that socializing with other "targets" would make me even more of a target. So then the verbal abuse began. In some ways, it was hard to take personally...these rotten kids even taunted the bus driver. I think it was the attacks on my personal appearance that hurt worst of all. I was small and a "late bloomer". These same bullies would verbally attack me for being undeveloped and at the same time grab girls with boobs. I'm sure those girls felt terribly self conscious, but I would have given anything to be in their shoes rather than my own. I developed mysterious stomach aches so my mother would have to come pick me up before lunchtime. I finally told her how bad it was and I wanted to go to another school. But she didn't get it I got those same bits of worthless advice about being extra nice to people, turn the other cheek, toughen up. So the teachers didn't help me and my parents didn't get it.The worst of it was a girl who thought I was smart and suddenly decided to be my friend. She was like leader of her own small gang of girls who idolized her and boys (many of them the same ones who had tormented me a year earlier) who followed her around like dogs . She was coy & manipulating. It wasn't long before I did something embarrassing in class, trying too hard to be likable, and it was all over for me. She turned on me in an instant to keep her position in the "tribe" and she spent the next three years tormenting me through the her friends (or minions as I like to call them). Again, like many other stories I've read here, it all had sexual overtones to it.Junior high was like going to school with baboons and prison guards. I never knew when someone was going to jump out of the woodwork to try & humiliate me. I'd be excluded from parties, left out of conversations, jokes, etc. I was always on the outside, because even though I had a few friends, I was never anyone's best friend or confidant because that would have stigmatized them. No one ever stood up for me and I had no idea how to stand up for myself.By the time I reached 9th grade, my self-esteem was shot. We live in a world that glorifies popularity, physical attractiveness and being well endowed. It was easy to internalize that I had deserved what I got. I had watched teachers & counselors walk buddy-buddy with my bullies down the halls. I learned that keeping to myself and staying invisible was survival. I kept my head down and my mouth shut. And then we moved again and everything changed, except the scars were already there. I made friends, but I couldn't confide in anyone. I participated, but kept to myself at the same time. So I looked normal on the outside, just labeled the quiet one. So teachers like me and I excelled. But again, as someone else put it so well, I'm "haunted". I had trouble making women friends, I chased after men to prove I was attractive and I focused on escaping instead of achieving after college. Certain songs from that era, yearbooks, pieces of memorabilia, conversations with my sister, bring it all back. Years ago, I drove across the state to visit the one friend I have from those years and left flowers on the doorstep of the school for my child-self and for anyone else who suffers the way I did. After reading some of these stories, I can understand that I was fortunate in many ways because at least home was the refuge. I wonder time and time again, what I would do if I had a kid in this situation. I find that most people's thoughts on the subject are akin to blaming the victim instead of holding the bullies accountable. Instead, I find that as I open up to my friends in adult life, that so many of them had a similar experience, feeling isolated and in pain. And there is healing in that sharing. Anyway, to all those who left their stories here before me, peace be with you.

  • Lori

    [Don't worry. This isn't about molestation. It's about bullying.] Sorry for the delay. Rob touched me, put his fingers inside of me. I was eight years old. He thought I was asleep. On a couple occasions, he showed me his dick and pubic hairs to show how he was maturing. What Rob did in that sexual aspect was never anything in comparison to what Doug did. There was a constant bullying that I had to endure until about age 13-15, when both Doug and Rob were finally gone and out of the house mostly. Even after Doug and Rob left, I had to struggle to gain any positive identity of myself. I still struggle with it.Rob had a spanking game, and it was really mostly an irritant, but sometimes funny where we would try to smack each other’s butts. I don’t think this was sexually exciting for him, but it may have been another means of bullying and exerting his control over me.I spilled the beans about what happened in front of cousins Kristine and Kevin ------- one time when I was young. We were in the pool room. It was me, Rob, Kristine and Kevin. Ask them. They might remember. Rob was playing his spanking game to annoy me. I told him to stop, and of course he didn’t. I tried to get him back, but then he called ME, “Freshie,” as in someone who was getting fresh with another person, even though he was being the Freshie. (Such is the way it goes with bullies. You’re always wrong, and you’re always the one who is IN the wrong.) I yelled back at him in front of Kevin and Kristine, “You’re the freshie! You stuck your fingers up my crotch at ReuAnn’s wedding.”Rob pulled me quickly into the shop area, closed the door, and whispered at me, “SHHHH! No one’s supposed to know about that!” He was obviously disturbed, and he even looked scared when he thought I would tell on him even more. I think I saw this as an opportunity to bargain with him, because I told him that he had to stop being mean or something, or I would tell. I remember him bargaining back like, “okay, okay, just don’t tell Mom and Dad, okay?” He really had some fear in him, because he didn’t make me promise or anything. It was like a hand-shake agreement. It was not long after that, that we began to have a better trust with each other. I must have had a golden key over his head, because our relationship became better after that, not greatly better, but it was a beginning of something kind of decent. He slowed down on trying to make me feel small, and he started treating me like I wasn’t so much less than him anymore. We found camaraderie in what we both had in common, which was hating Doug. It's so easy to hate someone who hurts you and hates you.I remember learning about how Rob molested some kid in Colorado or somewheres-abouts. Mom told me. We were in the kitchen, and I was following her to the laundry room. I was standing with my back toward the window as she messed with the laundry and the cupboard on the right. Some time before, I had overheard Mom talking on the phone with someone discussing how molesters usually abuse the same aged child. That’s pretty much all that I knew. Unwittingly, I asked Mom if Rob had molested someone that was eight years old. She was alarmed by me asking and asked me if Rob had ever touched me. I quickly said, “No!” I recovered from the alarming question and my boo-boo in saying something, and I said, “I just thought that was the age that people were molested at.” And of course, Mom told me that any kid at any age can be molested, which I already knew.And really… truly, really, I have more hurt from Doug than I ever did from Rob. I had a few years to experience what it’s like to not be completely Less Than someone else. But Doug. Doug bullied me my entire life, which has hurt me worse than Rob ever did. That was the crux of what I wrote to you in my last e-mail.If we want to talk about something, then it should be about Doug and how he was about eight years older than me and the biggest bully I have ever known. He loved to watch me feel pain, and it was very, very sick. He told me that I was ugly, that I was no good, that I was fat and stupid. He did this repeatedly, for years. He called me a ratt, and he called me dirt. He pinned me down and spat in my face and in my mouth, so did Rob. He slapped me in my head, so did Rob. He would sing to me, "You're no good." I would tell him to Stop it! To SHUT UP! SHUT UP! But he didn’t. He just laughed and sang more and kept on singing. He put me down and made me hateful towards him. He made me into a person that is unsure of herself, constantly needing outside approval to feel okay about myself. He made me feel so small and meaningless. I was only useful if I pleased him, only useful for changing the T.V. channel. “Sorry, Mom. I didn’t have a little shit to kick around while I was at school.” He said that after he had returned from college one year, after he had dog shit on his foot and was trying to wipe it on me. I was 13 years old, I think. Can you imagine someone saying these things to Sierra? After she had been bullied her whole life? Could you imagine her self-esteem? Being bullied? Oh yeah, he called me, “Little shit” A LOT. He never stopped tormenting me and making me feel bad about myself. I remember often telling him, "Don't!" "Stop it! Stop it!" "Don't!" while making me punch myself in the face with my own hand. But telling him to stop doesn't work. Telling him "NO!" doesn't work, yelling, screaming, crying, throwing little fists, it all does no good. Being aggressive is pointless and futile, but I hated being dominated against over and over. Being assertive with him did nothing except for making him mimic my words and laugh at me even more.It makes me wonder how many times I said, “I’m going to tell.” Only to have him reply, “Go ahead! See if I care.” Then I tell, and, yeah, he doesn’t care. He wanted to hurt me. He wanted to dominate me and be bigger than me. He loved it when I was helpless, and he was hurting me. He would laugh in my face as I cried it would just make him even happier and continue to make me feel smaller. He loved it. He loved being bigger than me and hurting me over and over. It’s just fucking sick! That is not normal. It is sociopathic, having no remorse for hurting people, and enjoying it all at the same time.I'm told that I have to deal with this bully who is twice my size and twice my intellect, and twice the skin. I'm told to just ignore him, and I tried to ignore him. I tried really hard. I tried to muster all the goodness in my heart and be good and just ignore him, but I couldn‘t, because he hurt me too much, too often, too deep. And he rarely ever stopped hurting me. I was just a little kid. It came to a point where I was already so deeply hurt from the years of his abuse, that anything that may have resembled a possible insult to me, was humiliating. Kids who don’t get bullied don’t react that way. So, I’m told that he puts me down and dominates me, and he does hurtful, bullying things like spit in my mouth, because he loves me. He hurts me over and over, making me punch myself in the face with my own fist, put crap in my hair, because he loves me. I knew this was wrong, and I argued it with you saying, “No! He doesn’t do it because he loves me!” How could I believe that someone who spits in my mouth, someone who makes me feel small and worthless, and laughs in my face is doing it because he loves me. It just buried me deeper into myself which later became depression. No wonder I was a cry-baby. No wonder I ran from the table crying. He had just abused me the same way just moments before we sat down to eat! How else does an eight-year-old react to a life-long abuser? No wonder I’m a goddamn lesbian. I was abused, I wanted it to stop, and I cried about it, and I acted out, and I tried to make it stop myself, but I couldn‘t. I was dominated by a person who loved to hurt me, and that became my picture of what a male is. Until a few years ago, I had this belief that men really don’t feel love for women at all. They see women as just play toys, and they think that women are a lesser gender. They are smaller, and men like to feel bigger and stronger. I hate feeling small. I feel small as I write this, and it burns my throat. It burns my soul, and I feel hatred. It burns my soul whenever I think of Doug and the way that he treated me, how he would laugh in my face. I look at myself, all of the bad characteristics about me, and I can see where they came from. My insecurities, my instant reactions of anger when someone tries to be dominant against me. I can see why I am always trying to be great, excellent, better than. And it burns me into the ground when I’m nothing. I don’t want to do anything. I want to retreat into myself and wither away, just disappear, anything but feel small again.There were calms in the storm, but that’s all, just short moments of calm. I remember sometimes during these calms, like on vacations sometimes, I would think, “Maybe we can get along now. Maybe he thinks I‘m equal to him now, maybe I really am good enough to not be spit on.” Looking at him with hope and love, only to have him say, "get out of here, ratt." The good, it never lasted. I wanted to have a good relationship with him, but he would just hurt me again, which really was more hurtful than the constant hammering of hate from him because I would open myself up and start to trust him. These calm times were temporary, because he would hurt me again and again, until he was finally away and off to college. Even after college or during college it wasn't great, because he would still come home. I never discussed Rob with Dr. Shadle. I don’t think I ever discussed it with Dianna. I’ve carried this secret for years, having only shared about it once with strangers in treatment. Every time they said in treatment every year, “Now’s the time to share about being molested, or being abused,” I’d say, “I’ve never been molested.” I always denied it until the last time I went to treatment, but I was so irritable with trying to quit nicotine that no one even really liked me. They thought I was cold and heartless, and they didn't really care anyway.It’s so hard to walk through life being cold, secretive, having hate in my heart. It hurts so much. I know that Doug was just a kid, too, but he’s psychopathic. He loves to hurt me, and he can’t stand anything good in me. He abused me so bad and put me down so much. I know what is real. He made me believe that I was small, and I had been trying all of my life to be something great, because that’s the only time I feel any worth.

  • Anonymous-35

    I was a happy, confident child until my family returned to the UK when I was 5, after living abroad. My parents say they noticed my whole personality changed and I became much more withdrawn and serious.This is because the first kids I met here, at a neighbours garden party, took me off behind some bushes, pushed me to the ground and sat on my head until I couldn't breathe. I still have no idea why they did that but I was so shocked that I became wary of other kids, which I never had been before.In primary school I had a few close friends but I was seen as an outsider in the small village where we lived and one of the girls resented me because I became friends with her best friend in grade 2. She used to call me names or whisper about me to other people but it wasn't too bad at the time. When I was 10 I went to camp along with my best friend and some of the other kids there started hiding my stuff. Again, I didn't know why. I reported it to one of the leaders who said she would talk to them. The girls gave me me stuff back, but then started a regime of hiding something for a while and then giving it back later. I spoke to the same leader again who said that as long as they did give it back then what was the problem?My family moved again for high school and again I was the outsider in a close-knit group of kids. The bullying started almost immediately and over the next 5 years on a daily basis I was called names, pushed into the wall while walking down the hall, had spit balls thrown at me during class, had cartoons and horrible things written about me on the blackboard, my so called 'friends' never once stood up for me and would even play a game of rating eveyone by who they liked best. I was always at the bottom. I was very tall for my age, the youngest in my year, got good grades and my father was a prominent member of the community. All of these things were apparently a reason to hate me. I was told by other girs that I was unnattractive and that the guys didn't like me. One guy who did seem like he might was scared off by the bullies who started laughing and cat-caling when they saw him speaking to me and that reinforced my feeling that these girls were right.I tried to develop a thick skin and pretended that I didn't care. I put up with the bullies treatment without retaliating and tried to ignore it but in doing that I built walls around myself which I am only now learning how to break down. I spent a lot of time outside school at home with my family, who didn't understand what was happening and kept on at me to invite friends round or to go out on a saturday night. They didn't believe I had no one to go out with. At University things were better but I had become so practised at not letting people in, at putting on an act, that I was unable to make any close friends and for the next few years I got by but I pushed friends and potential boyfriends away because I was scared they would reject me once they got to know me better.I am now 27 and am slowly but surely learning how to let people in and to trust them. For the first time in my life I have friends who like me for me and who have my best interests at heart. I have also become best friends with someone who was also bullied and we are helping each other see that we really are ok and that what happened to us wasn't deserved and doesn't relate to who we are now.I have a great job, a family who love me, have travelled the world and now have some wonderful friends. But even now, I still get nervous when I see groups of teenagers, I think people are laughing at me if I hear a group of people laughing near me and I find it very hard to believe that any guys are interested in me and have been on very few dates. But my relationship with my friends is allowing me to see that I can get close to people and it is definitely worth it and so I am hopeful that this side of my life is something that will get better too.

  • Anonymous-36

    Greetings fellow survivors.Oh boy--ok--here's the dreaded "chaise lounge incident of '78"...I had a group of 'friends',,,about 6 of us girls..all close --or so I THOUGHT.I was in those impressionable teen the summertime this happened.i was at the house of this girl I was friends with.She had a chaise lounge chair in her front lawn...I liked her.We were suntanning.She told me that these girls we both hung out with were on their way over.i said,"YAY!!!!!!!!!"and she said,'What do you mean 'YAY?'""They talk so mean about you!"I said I did not believe her-that those were my good friends!She said,"Here-get under this chaise lounge chair..quick--they're gonna be her any minute"and she said"If you lay there, I will then throw this sleeping bag over the chair and you hide....I will then bring up YOUR name--telling them I'd just run into you moments earlier..that they just 'missed you'... and so then you LISTEN to eavesdrop of what it is they then say as a response"Well, along they came.She broght up my name"I just ran into ______(anonymous me)..she went home-u just missed her!"They then began to SHRED my character,,,insulting me, making fun of how I walk, talk, of my nervous TWITCH(I have VERY mild tourettes which expresses itself in a vague twitch/nervous tick when I am nervous or very tired), insulting my Mother, our house,,of how poor they thought our family is, of how I dress, of how I wear always my brother's hand me downs, of how unpopular and horrible they thought I am...and I do especially recall the word "loser" repeatedly peppering the was a HOT day...and I was BOILING under there...and crying my head off SILENTLY...just balling my eyes out in utter complete and shocking humilitation! and to top it off, I REALLY had to PEE!In FRONT of them, I crawled out from that friggin' chaise lounge chair--and they all saw me crying..and I was so humiliated..have not been so humiliated in my entire life--to this very DAY..and I said NOTHING..they stood there-GAWKING at me...with their jaws a-gape...and I just RAN as fast as I could--all the way home...crying..From that moment forward to present time (now age 45), I have never voluntarily been in the company of more than one woman at friends...never in groups ever again--all because of them..stabbing me in the BACK...f-ing bitches! Broke my trust of women in groups as friends.Now I can only feel at ease one-on-one and am always VERY wary of a person who gossips about a friend of hers...because to do this is indicatie of a chronic back-stabber. I am getting really mad at what those girls did to my inner child...and they drastically damaged my I relate to and can no longer realte to people..they crippled me.My home life growing up was tumultuous. As the youngest child and only girl in a family with 3 older brothers, parents who drank andhad violent fights...the home life was unsavory...unstable and, being the youngest and only girl, my brothers paid no attention to me.I guess by the time I came along, my parents were kinda bored with the whole "child" thing and I was rather like somewhat of an accessory--the only novel thing being that I was to be LADYLIKE and not be like my siblings...I had to conform, behave, be 'dainty'..and a "nice girl" said parents.I of course rebelled like crazy...all I wanted was to fit in SOMEWHERE...and, launcing rather early into Puberty, I took note that the girls who seemed to be popular were rather -- promiscuous.Long story short, I had sex at an early age...and kept pursuing it...I loved it--was a real rush...but at the same time, it awarded me that Human contact...that semblance/reasonable facsimile of "love & acceptance" I was starved for not to mention a welcome diversion from the incessant insanity in our violence-riddled homelife.So a slut I became...and the thing is--so WHAT? When a guy sleeps around as a young man--he is a big "ladies' man" but if a young woman of identical age does it, she's branded a "harlot",,,I know, from my own motivational factors, that I was lookin' for "love" in all the wrong places --(as that 'twangy country-ish' song goes)...point being:I did NOT deserve to then be beaten to a PULP in the parking lot of a highschool dance by a large murder of screeching, hidious CROWS who were my ex friends' older sisters...they beat me to the ground before the dance all because I'd dared to ask this hot guy to the Sadie Hawkins' dance...and I guess they were jealous...I was a very attractive young woman who I am told at the time looked very much like a young Jane Fonda from the film 'Barbarella'...they beat the CRAP outta me..shook me, shrieked at me like hysterical tea kettle banshees that I am a "slut" loser, whore, b-tch...kicking my spine, pulling my long blone hair, spitting on me, kicking my privates, till one hot shot who bore a strong resemblance to a female Brian Denahey decided it's a good idea to kick my head...What they did not expect is I got up, brushed myself off, went to my locker, changed into a t shirt and jean shorts...cleaned myself up and WENT right into that dance where that young stud did indeed dance so seductively with me to a corny Nazareth song...but my point here, fellow survivors ... is people who bully--do not act so fussy when targeting a victim...the person just has to differentiate enough to stand OUT...oftentimes, bullies misinterpret kindness and friendliness for weakness...and they underestimate the target .... We targets grow up.As an adult survivor of bullies...I took great pleasure in going back to my home town of Deep River Ontario a few years ago to take NOTE of what those bullies look like now--where they're "at" in Life...because 99% of them aged about as well as the rotting fish in the back of a Chinese Delicatesson...they looked like HELL and were not mavaricks in any way, shape or form...just bland, boring, generic dullards--while I--survivor, have aged magnificently, am a very talented portrait painter and, cynical? Yes --you bet...bitter? Sporadically yes--if I get to reminiscing...but mostly-what haunts me now are these fantasies...not entirely legal or morally sound fantases of revenge which--I shall NEVER act on...nevertheless--they DO --'LOOM'.Nowadays, I have a very hard time trusting people and letting people in. My assholery- detector is set to 'high',and I am like the U.S.of A.:Zero now, I will do routine housecleaning on my friendship roster...not entirely a big fan or practicer of forgiveness and certainly not tolerence in terms of anyone showing me one iota of it in form of snide remark, attempted 'clever' sarcasm...using...none of that.I detect it and tehn i FIRE the abuser...coldly...Yeah-so I guess that sums it up.I'm now hard....But ironically, to those who treat me with the respect, compassion, consideration and loyalty I deserve : I am a very generous, patient, warm and loving person--and a good listener.So I am effected by the residual emotional aftermath of the **numerous** incidents in which I was singled out as "freak, eccentric weirdo, slut, b-tch, falsely assumed to have been 'weak and not intelligent' (just because I was good looking, kind and friendly) --that physical and more emotional bullying-(2 incidents of which I shared here with you)...can't help but infultrated the essence of "ME" to shape who I have become.Cynic ?Yes.Nevertheless hopeful and tenacious? Moreso!The bullies?F-ck then in the necks...they're peasants on the greter scope of what matters...nothing but incidental rotting flora and fauna in comparison to all the other great people out take heart fellow survivors...most of the interesting and unique and entertaining people on this planet happen to be those who've endured a rocky terrain and tumultuous ride.Hurts?You bet.But makes us stronger--that what has not broken us...Remember this--always:The strongest person is the one who has the CAPACITY to hurt another--BUT--who CHOOSES not to.The others are operating on the most base, low, foul, evil animal attack that what they fear and fail to comprehend...US:The Marvellous MAVERICKS.A-MEN!Thanks for listening.Big cyber hugs to you all...D.L.

  • Anonymous-36

    I forgot to add that I have residual sensations of bitterness, self doubt and resentment...and I have a hard time trusting people -- keeping them at a safe distance...the crap that was spewed at me from the cesspools that were the bully's mouths as verbal diarrhea as a young, vulnerable, lonesome teen kind of stuck and, every now and then-their harsh judgemental words-echoe in my memory...the taunting. The insults, The berating. The exclusion... I'd like to approach thoe people now, as adult to adult...and put them in their PLACE....but I know...people don't change the essence of who they are. They're still the creeps they were then...maybe they are now posing as imposterous prigs as active memebrs of their community and even church....but I know what they did...and even if they might clain to myraculously have some defective memory--deep in the bowls of their fetid minds....they DO so remember...I bet you they do...and they're probably still executing their wretchedness in a more organized, subtle and snide fashin to their peers at work...and- the bigest crime is they're more likely than not -- passing along their defective seed of judgement to their off spring...perpetuating the cycle of hatered, disharmony and intolerence for anyone who fails to "blend"...but rest assured...only one with the lowest self perception would stoop to that low and evil level...When people are truly happy with themselves and where they are AT in life,,,when they are brimming with self confidence and love, then they ressonate love to all...and compassion, understanding, open - mindedness and's all about respect--and that stems from the inside outward.So, yes--while I am somewhat vaguely bitter and resentful of that what was wrongly done to me at the hands of uncivilized banshees in their pack dog mentality--I am the lone and capable to sustain on my to function alone...wanting company but not NEEDING it to the point of fore going all moral fortitude to get it--to FIT in--with pack - dog mentality of hateful abuse and disregard for Humanity and ones right to be individual...We are all of intrinsic value and each and every one of us human beings is an important component in the machine called LIFE.NO ONE has the right to make anyone else feel less than valuable.Anyone who does...can kiss my royal ____________.D.L.

  • mom

    My daughter started getting bullied in kindergarten, some teachers were helpful in stepping in, others were not. She was cute and smart, but an easy target because she cried easily. She had never been picked on before school started, and didn't know how to deal with it. Years flew bye, schools changed, I can't count how many meeting I had with teachers, principles, eventually the school police officer. I used to joke that I would start dating Officer Kelly to keep her out of trouble.I tried to encourage her to ignore comments, but instead she became angry and lashed out, getting herself into more trouble than the bullies. I encouraged friendships so she would feel she belonged, some lasted, most didn't. I tried getting her counseling, she hated having to talk about it with a stranger. I intervened at school by speaking to teachers, counselors, and principles. At one point a student came up to my car and threatened her right in front of me, and I went to report it immediately to the principle, and let him know that if I ever heard that that boy said another word to my daughter I would sue the school, that he'd better call that kids parents and let them know what is going on so they can step in at home. In high school I got a psychiatrist and an anti-depressant to help her cope. I tried the teaching of cognitive therapy for her. Ultimately one day in high school she told me a boy she liked had forced himself on her in the bandroom and we went to the school to deal with the problem. The Officer found her story not-believable and the boy claimed it was consentual. My daughter actually got referred to the youth authority and a probationary sentence for having sex on campus!Thankfully, the probation officer was a woman, and after hearing that it was not consentual and that my daughter suffered from depression, was under the care of a psychiatrist, and on antidepressant, she dropped the case against my daughter and was kind enough to provide her with some other resources. I took my daughter out of the school, where clearly she was not safe. I enrolled her in a home study program and that was how she finished high school. I fostered her few friendships as much as possible so she would still have friends.She suffers from low self-esteem, and often feels like she can't accomplish the things she needs to do. She became overweight on the antidepressants which she got off of about a year and a half ago, but the weight stayed. She is in junior college and ok. There's always more time for video games than home work. Then a low grade just make her feel more defeated. She is kind of slow at taking on the responsibilities of adulthood, she is 18 now. For example she didn't want to learn to drive. It's like she doesn't have the normal desire for freedom and independence.I did all the things I thought I could do, but nothing worked, and nothing helped. I think the only good thing I did was take her out of school. It really lowered her stress level and made her feel safer. I think she felt relief that the action proved that I believed and supported her, but I always had. I would just like to know what I can do to help her become a happy, healthy adult and put all that behind her to some degree. She is still young and living at home and I would like to think I could still have some influence over her over-all outlook on life. How can I make the loving acts of the people who care for her seem larger to her than the cruel acts of the people that didn't? How can I empower her to feel able, successful, and safe in a world that really isn't?

  • Anonymous-37

    WOW that is wowo i mean that was very interesting bulling is very harsh these days and the best way to ingnore it is by just tune it out they dont know what there talking about xoxoxox CC

  • Anonymous-38

    Hi. I wrote about my own experience of bullying on 5th Feb under the name of ‘Jen’. I wanted to let you know that I think that you ('mother of bullied child') sound like a really kind-hearted and caring person. It sounds as though you have tried your hardest to help your daughter through all her difficulties. She has clearly had a really bad time and it is no wonder that she still has some problems today. Although she will probably always bear the psychological scars from her experiences, I am certain that things will get better for her as she gets older and that she will start to heal.You will never be able to fully protect your daughter from the knocks she might face in life in the future but the fact that you are able to show that you care about her and that somebody thinks she is worth something and loves her is SO important. Try not to worry too much about your daughter’s future experiences – let her go out into the world and learn – but don’t stop what you’re doing! You sound great! I bet a lot of us who have shared our stories on this website wish we had similarly caring parents! Best wishes to you and your daughter and good luck with everything!

  • Jo Jo

    Ugly and worthless is how I feel, and how I've always felt because I was teased all through primary and secondary school. I am nearly 40 and for the first time ever last year, I punched a woman in the arm because she was the third person to jump the queue in front of me at the shopping mall. I screamed at her like I'd never screamed at anybody before, and if my workmates or girlfriends were with me, they would've been ashamed to have been seen with me, because my behaviour was disgraceful. Tnat was the day I knew I needed to see my gp. He referred me to a psychologist, for anger management, and because I have trouble socializing with other people at functions and parties. I hate men too! I have improved somewhat, but I could do better. Seek help as soon as you can. I should've done this years ago.

  • hannah

    all i can say is wow!. these stories i have read are astonishing and totally discust me. i live in a small town and go to a very small school but even there i see kids being bullied everyday it hurts me to see it happen even though ive never been a victim of extreme bullying and also have never been the ring leader in such acts. i would like to know from all of you who have been bullied how i can help to put a stop to it in my school. i have an appointment with a 5th grade teacher to make a speech in her class about bullying and how the long term effects of it can be dangerous and even life threatening. so please if anyone could help me i would love to be the end to kids suffering in my schools and possibly other surrounding ones, i really want to make a difference. thanks=)

  • Kathy

    Yesterday my child told me that upon hearing the true story of a child who was bullied and eventually killed himself (the teacher shared it with the class to relate the effects of bullying), that he sometimes felt that way, too. That sometimes it was just too much to handle. We talked to the school a few weeks ago, and in no uncertain terms made it clear that the bullying needed to stop. This latest revelation has now shocked us into immediate action to withdraw him from his private "Christian" school, transfer him to the charter school where my husband teaches, and most likely get into counseling with him. Our child is the one who most kids want to be like - he's extremely talented musically, funny, handsome and likes most everyone. I can only believe that the bully is utterly and completely jealous. The time for talking is over, now we are taking the steps necessary to make him feel secure and protected. He's been begging us for several weeks to not make him go back to that school, and it looks like now he will be getting his wish . . . and getting his life back!

  • andrew

    i didnt think that anybody else had it as bad as me. but i was wrong.

  • Kathy

    I was at a party this past weekend and I have been over the years, a visitor. Each time a middle-aged man constantly humiliates his son and his friend. For instance, in front of a group he calls out to one of the boys, who is shorter than the rest" Have you hit 5 feet yet..?" The kid laughs it off but at the age of 21, this must be embarrassing to be focused on like this. The sad thing is not one of the other adults say anything. I did and am told I am a crank or they have no sense of humor. Even one of the youngest noticed the singling out and depressed her as well. She is only 7!! She asked why does he do this and why is he so mean to so and so.

    Everything these 2 boys do is subject to riducule. It has been so for at least 10 years. They try to have a conversation, like wow I would like to have a house, and the man smirks and says right. As boys, he always singled these 2 out...making them walk home from the beach while others rode, forcing them to sit and finish a meal because he had heard they had a bagel before dinner. One young man suffered from depression and this man dismisses it as a weakness in his son or not real.

    I really avoid going to any affairs at this "home" anymore. I advise the friend to stay far away from this person. I feel this constant humiliation is is going to explode or implode one day.

    Is there something I can say to the other adult witnesses who sit and say nothing or worse join in the mocking.

  • laura

    I have only recently been interested in the bullying I recieved as a teenager.

    To make a long story short, my best friend sophomore year in high school turned on me and made my life a living hell.

    I know the reason why she picked on me is because I was an easy target.

    The worst (and most embarassing thing) that really broke my self-esteem was when her and her friends spraypainted "I (heart) ni**ers" on my parents house and had strewn garbage all over the front yard. Even my so called "friends" knew about it, and lauged at me behind my back because they had been swayed by her. Of course, only one person had the guts to tell me it was her - over five years later.

    The tormenting didn't end until I switched schools. In fact, my parents wouldn't let me leave because of the bully and I had to make excuses to get enrolled at a different school.

    It all reared its ugly head again this week when my father was admitted to the Veterans Hospital here in town. I called him to talk, and immediately he went into "Oh, (your old bully) works here. Shes doing great, married, has two kids.." etc. etc.

    When I told him I didn't want to hear about it he told me to "get over it", and had the balls to ask me "why does it bother you so much?"

    I was 14-15 when everything went down. I'm 27 now.

    I just can't understand how my father would say something like that to me, after being the person that I would come home to crying because of the alienation I suffered at the hands of this girl. It felt more like a knife in my back more than anything.

    So here I am, crying uncontrollably all day, wondering why I am so upset about something that happened so long ago.

    And it only brings back the pain, worse almost than it was before.

  • Anonymous-39

    Hi everyone I'm an adult in my thirties who endured constant name-calling and rejection in Year 7, as well as being sexually assaulted, which has affected my life. The memories are still fresh and I regret to say I still get angry, particularly at situations involving bigger people asserting their "authority" over smaller ones.

    I hated the school and became more detached as the year went on. The taunts were against my character which led to a bout of severe depression when I was in my twenties. I became fearful that there was something wrong with me - all because the taunts and rejection hurt so bad and the useless teachers did nothing about it. I'm not trying to say "poor little me" but the reason I'm writing this is because I'm doing an uni essay on school bullying as part of a teaching diploma, and it has inflamed old feelings.

    Not long ago I was awarded some money from an organisation (Christian Brothers) due to negligence and a failure of duty of care by the teachers at that school. I didn't contact that school. I feel I've got something off the wroing people - a national organisation instead of taking the school - teachers and students to court. This would be a monumental effort, bringing back past hurts and resentments. What makes me angry is that a lawyer once said to me that I could made a case within 4 years after leaving the school. I still don't believe this, and after 23 years I want to see if I can sue the school for damages.

    Yes, childhood can be a rotten time. I think the bullying stems from not only school condonement but from the wider dysfunction in society. Many teachers don't want to get involved. Why? Sticking up for a kid is what teachers need to do, I don't care what people say. I was made to feel that it was my fault, so I turned the blame on myself, sapping my energy and self-confidence. Sometimes I'd like to meet these teachers now and tell them all my life's achievements to say "There, I prevailed".

    On a positive note I feel that even these bad experiences will do good in the long-term. I have been resilient. Like many of you I have workplace skills challenges, I go in and out of employment, I have anger, but I will overcome these experiences as now I'm an adult and have clout. No longer am I the helpless 12 year-old. I am educated, good-looking, have a car and believe the world can be a beautiful place. I'm committed to nurturing my talents, and I love to travel (very healing!!).

    And thank goodness for the internet!!

  • joanne

    I found the article and other readers comments struck a lot of chords with my own experiences - i was first bullied by girl classmates at ten years old and then again from the age of fourteen until i got to leave school. The hardest thing to deal with and what i remember mostly was feeling so alone, and it is hard to shake off that horrible thought that somewhere the bullying i received had some validation. Girls tend to bully in a herd mentality and in my experience it was always verbal, day in day out i was ostracised and had stupid things yelled at me, when you are trying to struggle with already surging hormones as a teen you really are poorly equipped to deal with all that on top. I am 35 now with four children, and i have to admit i am still left with a much larger distrust of other women, although i will stick up for myself much more than i did as a girl, the fear of it is still there. I wasnt loud, or fat, or spectacled or any other of the usual suspects as normally used for reasons of bullying - none of which you would ever condone anyway, and that makes it a bit harder to deal with, in that i cant to this day understand why me. I do notice on the way home from my childrens primary school i will always intervene if i see any bullying - even if i dont know the children! Its terrible, but i cant walk on by, its over twenty years ago but i can still all too vividly recall how hellish the whole experience makes you feel. Bullies do lack empathy, they stick two fingers at any thoughts of compassion, they are cruel attention seekers, and thinking about it i would actually rather be on the 'been bullied' side than to ever think i had been one of them.

  • Anonymous-40

    I am so sorry to read these stories of abuse. I am a parent and a grandparent and maybe I am just pathetically blind. My son was probably bullied because he is so gruff and insecure today. My daughter was probably tormented and I'm sure that I told her to tough it out. I wanted my children to be tough because I had to be. I should have helped them to build their confidence rather than give credence to the idiots of the world. Why are we so afraid? Why do we allow ourselves to be victomized and then ignore the signs when, as adults, we are empowered to make a difference. I'm so sorry for those of you who carry these burdens of pain and insecurities because of people who were too lame to stand up for you. I'm sorry that you suffered in the hands of someone who could have been stopped. I want you to know that you are the strong ones and we are the weak ones. Don't ever doubt that. The weak ones are the creeps who hurt those who cannot defend themselves, those who look the other way, or those who could not hear your cries for help. I am so sorry that you feel tainted for someone else's crimes or that you are burdened with memories of their idiotic, narcissistic behavior. In the long run, you are the tough ones and maybe, just maybe, you can help to stop the cycle. I'm sorry for your pain.

  • 41 Year Old Woman

    I'm so glad to have found this website. This is a subject that I've been trying to research for years, but there was not much information out there. I was a very confident girl up until the 8th grade. When the 8th grade began, I became the scapegoat of the class. One boy used to spit in my hair, and other kids would laugh. If the teacher left the room for a few minutes, the whole class would pick on me. It was a hellish year, and the only thing that kept me going was that I would start an all girls high school the following year. It would be a fresh start.

    During the second week of high school, three girls started in on me during a bus ride home. The ring leader was the worst. She was very tough, and I knew that she could kill me in a fight I was afraid of her. I was picked on so badly on the bus that day I cannot describe it. Something snapped in me that day. After that bus ride, I had no desire at all to socialize with people my own age. Instead, I feared social situations. I stopped taking the school bus, and went out of my way to take two other buses and would get home a half hour later every day. I gladly did it just to avoid those girls. I never told my family what was going on, as I was ashamed of my complete lack of popularity. By junior year, those girls had matured and stopped picking on me. However, the damage had already been done.

    Although I finished college, I never became a big success and found myself being severely bullied in two of the jobs I've had over the years. After college, I gained weight and became a shopaholic. I'm now digging my way out of severe debt (it will take a few more years to pay it off). Although I take full responsibility for my actions, I don't think my life would have turned out this way had it not been for those earlier years of being bullied. My self-esteem took a nose dive at a very pivotal age, and I believe that's where my shopping problem came from. I will always wonder who I would have been if those kids in the 8th and 9th grades just left me alone.

  • john y

    During my school years (11-16yrs) I was merciless physically and mentally abused. My parents (especially mother) didn’t help as they didn’t understand/ believe the problems I had to face every day.
    I was forced to go out of the house when my parents went out and often I would walk for hours in rain storms.
    I walked and walked asking myself the question why me, what had I do but couldn’t work out the answers.
    In my 20’s I was encouraged to get fit by a colleague and we trained for a marathon. I didn’t understand then but I was starting to take back control into my life and empower myself.
    I left home and embarked on a challenging career full of mistakes and successes.
    My career often seemed to stall and at the age of 31 I returned to full-time education. I was told I as bright at school but couldn’t concentrate in lessons and was always worried about how I would get home in 1 piece.
    After 3 degrees including 2 career direction changes I seem to be locked in a conflict of identity. I will explain, you see I used running to empower myself to take control of my life. It gave me a physical confidence that would help me stand up to my parent and although I was never violent I managed to stop my parent using physical force towards me. Also, running using up negative mental energies that had built up in both in a self loathing way, not standing up to the bullies, and against the bullies themselves.
    I am 48 now and have been through 3 knee operations and have almost given up hope of running. I have 2 issues I hate the way that people in the UK don’t look after their environments and a remnant of the Thatcher era is a dog-eat-dog culture where people are not very friendly. I hate a number of what some people call minor issues such as people parking on the pavement blocking access for wheel chair users, pram pushers. I hate people fly tipping and littering the countryside. I had a colleague who was bullied and just wanted to stand up for her. Really, I could continue forever.
    My wife is fed up with my negative comments. I have to say something to point things out to these people as it seems to do not so would go against me as a person, the identity I created standing up for myself, rather than letting myself be bullied/ not heard/ not valued. I just don’t know or understand how to break out of this destructive cycle. Any help would be appreciated!

  • Steve

    This article is spot on in terms of how it describes the long term effects of bullying and how they can manifest themselves throughout a person's entire life. I was bullied to some extent at primary school and it was, in my belief, the start of many years of alienation, introversion and silent suffering. I feel that my situation back then was grossly complicated in that both of my parents were teachers at the school, (my dad being the head teacher) and they often had to be 'seen' to be fair in not showing favouritism on my behalf. This meant that in spite of feeling protected at times I would often be punished and humiliated in classroom situations when it was really quite unnecessary. I received many mixed messages from both parents and peers and in retrospect my childhood bullying followed a particular pattern of being victimised or ostracised by those who I considered as friends.

    The same thing happened in my teenage years but to a greater degree. Friends would frequently turn against me as a group and I would often be the subject of humiliating remarks in front of girls, constant jibes and jeering on the school bus and some physical attacks in my home town and outside of school. It wasn't so much the punches and kicks that hurt but the effects of being angered and then forced into submission where I could do nothing but admit defeat. The feeling of being nothing more than a weak, stray animal forced to the bottom of the food chain is so extremely painful that I wouldn't wish it on anybody or any living creature for that matter.

    I never really fitted in at secondary school but found that when I put my energies into study I felt far more at home with the 'nerds' than the 'in crowd' I'd originally hung around with. Still, I aspired to fit in with everyone to some extent and never wanted to break my ties with either group. I admire the confidence and inner strength of people who have been victims but have somehow summoned the courage to stand up to and/or ignore the bullies but somehow I knew that trying to cut them out of 'my' life would only make matters much worse.

    Towards the last two years of school I started binge drinking, playing truant and experimenting with drugs. Somehow I managed to do really well in my studies and this was my only real source of pride. Outside of school I'd try to spend time on my own as much as possible. I would spend evenings and weekends immersed in reading, study and listening to music but would always be up for some alternative escape with drugs or alcohol when a few of my friends/bully buddies might turn up. Needless to say that after several heavy drug binges on cannabis & certain hallucinogens I ended up having a complete breakdown at the age of 16. I wound up in a psychiatric hospital at the time I was due to Start College. At the time I didn't really know what was happening to me and needed to be sectioned. It took me several years until I was even able to leave psychiatric care.

    Sixteen years have passed and I'm now 32 years old. It somehow feels like my life has been some strange sort of dream. I've embarked on several college courses and have somehow achieved two, (albeit relatively minor) qualifications. I started a University degree and dropped out due to not fitting in with the other students. I've had occasional jobs but no real career and have had no serious girlfriends as such. I live in a small one bed flat by myself, which I struggle to keep clean and tidy and fear that some day I will end up old, lonely and sick with no one to care for me.

    People, including my family tell me that I need to 'try, try, try' but I have tried and it's got me f**king nowhere. I'm still here, nothing has changed, and psychiatry has failed me along with numerous others. It's my opinion that antidepressant medication does not work effectively for SERIOUS DEPRESSION. I've tried an online cognitive therapy course as well and while I admit it may be successful for some, the truth is I found it to be really quite vague, overly simplistic and at times almost patronising. There is no way that challenging your thoughts and beliefs can help when dealing with gruelling emotional upheavals and the unique and highly complex problems such as those which arise from persistent bullying, harassment, abuse etc. It's not the thinking of the victim which has to change but the way in which society at large views and deals with bullying. People who commit murder (are supposed to) spend 25 years or more in prison and yet people who have displayed the equivalent in vicious, sociopathic bullying behaviour are at worst given a slap on the wrist or are all too often actually commended in some way for this evil. I read Laura's story below and hearing about how her dad informed her that her (old bully buddy) is working in the hospital he's staying in and that she's doing great etc. I can say that I can totally empathise on that score since I've randomly bumped into a few school bullies since my school days and on hearing that they are doing ok, have good jobs etc. I seriously would like to buy them a stiff drink for their merits and lace it with cyanide. I know this is only a vengeful and far fetched fantasy but for me there is a hint of truth in it. I feel very strongly that it is of paramount importance that any society is built fundamentally upon principles of justice and that regardless of how some may tell us to forgive, forget and transcend our hurts everyone must be held wholly accountable for any amount of bullying inflicted upon another. In other words bullies must always be punished and made to feel deep shame for their actions.

    I know this is a real long shot but some day in the distant future I really hope that some radical change in society may occur in order for completely new standards of behaviour to arise so that bullying in any situation will be viewed in the same way that we view paedophilia, rape and murder. In that way there will be absolutely no stigma attached to having been a victim of bullying and anyone who has been a bully (whether child or adult, woman or man, black or white etc.) will be made to feel the same sort of shame that most of us victims have been made to feel for years through no fault of our own.

  • anotherbrick

    Hi. I have been bullied far too many times in my life, and the psychological damage that has been done to me may be irreversable. Here are some things I have experienced:

    I have been pushed to the ground at school countless times.

    During class, I have been punched by three guys at once over and over again.

    I have been kicked in the groin during class.

    (One of the most traumatic of all) - During class in 8th grade, a bunch of guys were throwing things at me constantly, and when my teacher noticed this, she got mad at me, not them. I ran to the library and bawled my eyes out.

    Even after high school, when I worked at a fast food place, I would be poked incessantly by coworkers and people would come and make fun of my voice.

    Today, I often go into phases of low self-esteem, deep hatred towards people from my past, and an intense desire to get even somehow.

    I have uncontrollabe feelings of loathing towards my male peers that I don't know, to the point where I shake my head in disgust.

    The long term effects are very serious, and more people need to take action to prevent this. Doing so could very well save your child, or your future child's life.

  • Alice

    I am pleased I have found this site, but what is apparent from reading the accounts of others is sadly, time is not a healer - but can make matters seem worse.

    I'm 33 now and suffered badly between the ages 13-15. Very vulnerable years. I was persistantly verbally bullied by a girl gang one year above me at school. It was physical on one ocassion and I ran away from school. I remember that dark day in January very well. A group of them waited for me in a dingy corridor whilst I ate my lunch. The school was being refurbished so I had no other escape route. There were no teachers around, and three of them pushed me to the ground and then kicked me - whilst a couple of others watched on. I ran away from school and then had to confess all to my Mum. I was ashamed of what was happening to me. The school dealt with it reasonably well, and the bullying did die down. But the hostility I suffered was unbearable. I lived in a small town and was labelled a loser. I had few friends and boys were rarely interested. When I got a little older, I tried to fit in at being a 'local' but going down the town and the pubs just filled me with such anxiety I rarely went out. I had a couple of long term relationships with guys I was not in love with, just to get me away from seeing with these people and anyone associated with my past.

    My expriences have left my afraid of change and meeting new people. I have been in the same job for 15 years. Like others, I often wonder what life would of been like and would I have achieved more had I never been bullied?

    I sometimes see my bullies - although they ignore me now I still feel the same fear. What annoys me is they all seem to have done so well for themselves. Nice houses, husbands, kids...

    I do believe in what goes around comes around though, I have not got the courage for revenge, but boy do I think about it!

    Good luck everyone, I wish you all well - we are all survivors. I hope one day we can put all this behind us, where it belongs.

  • Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

    I found a rather good blog entry on this topic of long term effects of bullying the other day which people here might want to read. It's on the website, and the title is "Very off topic: Why I won't be at my high school reunion".

  • kerrie paul

    as a child from the time i started school until i left school i was subjected to an environment that was harsh unnurturing and unmerciful i can not remember ever being treated out of kindness the bullying i endured came from all quarters adults children and often teachers mercifully while my home life was dysfunctional it was a nurturing and loving environment and credit this as the reason i have gone on to achieve such a happy life iendured this meaness and resolved never to treat any individual in this way .I am 51yrs and come across many bullies and none of them are as happy as need to be patient however it is my experience that without exception they eventually bring themselves undone.BULLIES ARE IGNORANT AND UNHAPPY INDIVIDUALS

  • Migel

    Bullying can indeed lead to some long term damage. I am 25 ( dutch ) but still filled with anger about those days.

    When I joined that school I was typical nerd-type of guy I was silent, didn’t have much social skills and wasn’t particularly strong.

    However since I did a higher type of education in my country so I wasn’t in a bad class, still I was the main target in my school during break time and traveling to school. Eventually I lost interest in real life events and did more things I liked to do like gaming and creating software. Eventually duo to this my grades got so low that eventually I dropped from highest to highest to lowest of lowest form of education.

    There my life became upmost horror, I was the outcast of the class and I now had to spend time with same type of people that bullied me around in break time. I have to say that those days were pretty hard. I was trying to survive day by day which was doable at first I tried fighting back but nothing seemed to help. All I could do was resist and give some bite full comments back once a while since I wasn’t stupid those days I could think about 1 or 2 things to sneer back. Eventually though I kind of gave up and just held on the thought of completing education as best as possible so I could go to higher ladder of education.

    I never had the courage to fight back but they didn’t have the courage to fight me either because of my sneers eventually it just remained at taunting me what seemed endlessly, the girls were more a problem those days they started rumors about me being gay and those rumors traveled must farther and had more detailed lies than that of the guys. And it didn’t feel properly to address them for that with anger but I now had old friends asking me if I was gay.

    Finally I finished school with high grades of course and moved to the middle class type education ( bachelor level ) but the damage had been done despite me feeling great in those days

    I became semi-attractive and even got a few flirts at start of that education ( I was bit older than rest and my body was in good shape ) but those moments soon ended after a girl tried to steal my agenda in playful matter.

    I just snapped and pushed her so hard she was tossed through the hallway, I was filled with disgust of what I had done I wanted to apologize to her but a good guy from school went to her protection and wanted to beat me up in her defense of course he went down with same ease. I apologized to the girl and the guy ( of course those 2 got a relation with each other ) later in the office of the school director. Despite the apologies my name in the new school was set, at least I was never teased again though but at the price of never being able to enter any circle other than that of a group of nerd like guys I used to be myself 2. At least my status could protect them from same behaviour and eventually group was accepted an none the guys got bullied upon..

    Between that and now I managed to get at least one girlfriend but she dumped me for my friend saying I was to insecure and since then I just feel like my heart is been replaced by something else.

    Later I found out that bullying is a tactic to move attention from a scared individual to another person ( basically meaning that most bullies ( older ones ) are also not very secure people themselves and often were bullied upon themselves that’s why my sneers kept most of them at bay and when I met them when they were alone they would act like they did not see me )

    I am doing well now got into the bachelor studies (2nd year ) and my cynical behavior and remarks has its charm to some people I can luckily call my friends. The more I train my body the more the feeling of revenge is disappearing ( despite the main reason im training is still to carry out the revenge fantasy ) but I don’t feel like I’ll ever want to get into a relationship again and the feeling I might snap anytime still remains.

  • Tee

    My husband was bullied from 5th grade on. He displays obssessive behaviors and seems addicted to a certain type of online site. States he uses it to fill this void he has , that the response he gets from the indiviuals on these sites kind of allows him to feel like he's the "Big man" on campus so to speak. Allows him to be the way he wished he was back then. That it makes him feel accepted. Problem being it makes me feel like dirt about myself. I'm doing my best to understand it but it's difficult. He also lied about alot of his life to me. Says he was afraid I would think he was a loser and would'nt be interested in him if I had know the real truth of how he had no friends. I've been with a man for 14yrs and just found out I don't know him. Kids are horrible and cruel. I love him and I want to work through this but I need to know from others who experinced bullying if this is common. I'm asking for help so I can understand and learn how to help him. I have two children with this man and love him dearly but our marriage is suffering. Please reply. I'd be forever grateful.


  • William

    I've been on the end of abuse from bullies throughout my schooldays and college thereafter. I can't stress more strongly that people, like me, who've been on the end of bullying must get deep in touch with our anger that we've been turning against ourselves all these years and turn it out against the perpetrators of these crimes.

    I've seen it all before. Bully targets a victim, gets others around them frightened and turns them into henchmen who they can use to accumulate more force and backup. True bullies are often of above average intelligence and work like chess masters in developing and maintaining a sick strategy game.

    Here's the real problem! Most people, either deliberately or unwittingly are actually playing along with this game. We are all victims of bullying on some level, whether it be coercion by media and advertising to amass more needless possessions in keeping up with manufactured fads. Or becoming enslaved by religious institutions and forced to believe in their dogma becoming hypocrites in the process. There are a million and one ways in which people are controlled and the only real solution is to become aware of them and consciously break the rules that they enforce. I admit that this takes some real courage and that, at times, courage runs counter to immediate survival but it's so vital to overcome the fear which these evil sub humans instil in us. Sadly, if we don't develop this courage then we will never defeat the evil in this world and don't stand much chance of recovery ourselves.

    An example of how I have defeated some (sadly not all) bullies within my lifetime is using violence unexpectedly. I've always been a peaceful person who loathes wanton cruelty and violence but in spite of this I have managed to corner some bullies back in my schooldays by catching them on their own. In doing this I had to be prepared to use actual physical violence to the extent of inflicting serious injury, and be totally ready for anything they could give back. Some kid who used to make fun of my acne on the school bus on the way home had it coming to him when I followed him down a cul-de-sac and ambushed him from behind a garage. I have to admit that laying punch after punch into him and watching him break down in tears was really quite a satisfying experience. He had got his just deserts and would hopefully think twice before trying those same antics again.

    Some people who want peace may not agree with a violent reaction to an oppressor but all I can say in response is that you are deluding yourself in this respect. True peace is not merely the absence of conflict but the presence of a continuing movement for justice. A true bully will never give you peace! They don't want to make up with you and become your friend unless they can make use of you as another weapon in their arsenal to intimidate other potential victims. Would you really want to go the way of weak minded idiots who are bullied into becoming the bullies themselves? I have seen this happen and I'm sad to say it has 'almost' happened to me in the past, but now I choose to take a 'hard line' against anyone who attempts to victimise me or others who I see being bullied.

    The worst thing to do is to stand back and watch. This is the precise attitude that has resulted in the death of 6 million Jews in WWII, the continuing apartheid in South Africa, the ongoing oppression of the Palestinians on the Gaza Strip and many more global atrocities.

    Bullies, whether on the world stage, in the home, on the street, in the office or in the playground must all face stubborn resistance and be subjected to the harshness that they have so liberally shown to others. This is unlike the philosophy of many so called religious people who advocate forgiveness but are only ever forgiving to those more powerful then them. A sycophant like this is effectively being cruel to the innocent by being kind to the guilty. Sounds like trademark hypocrisy to me. Please never become lulled into a false sense of security by people who are only concerned with using you for their own ends. Please develop a hard line form of justice against bullies and together we might eventually put a stop to their vile cruelty once and for all.

  • Anonymous-41

    what a wonderful changing actually!

    I was bullied as a child by my brother, life was actually really good for me at first but the green eyed monster took over and he gave me hell.

    from being a really bright, popular, happy child i became introverted, unhygenic and of course a victim for the jealous kids who had hated my popularity in the first place.

    my brother would whack me, verbally abuse me and sadly force me to carry out sexual acts on him so as to control and demean me.

    the bullying carried on throughout my teenage life and whilst i verged on suicide i decided to pull myself together and try and make something of my life.

    i did okay, i now have a wife and 2 beautiful boys but i am still haunted by my teenage life which was stolen from me by people who just totally victimised me.

    last year i confronted my brother (30 years on!) and he would not apologise, instead he became aggressive, angry and very spiteful to me in the end i gave up with him.

    i did track down one of the bullies at school (turned out he had also raped my first love at school when she was 21) and i sent him a xmas card delighting in how my life had gone. his though had gone terribly, he had recently been to court for various acts of animal cruelty, i ran into the story on the bbc news website!

    of course i printed it off and sent it to him with the card telling him how he who laughs last laughs the was a shame i never got to see him open it but the joy off doing it took so much of my shoulders.

    i have had my trousers ripped from me and forced to walk home in my pants, beaten up without provocation, verbally called queer when i was young when i was'nt and on and on and on...yes i am still very angry and bitter but this site has made me realise that there are others out there and it is right turn the anger on the bullies not yourselves.

    they already controlled your life once...dont let them do it again is now my motto!

  • Laura

    I am so glad to have come across this article and realize I'm not alone. I'm 36 and was bullied from 3rd grade through the 10th grade. Hard to know when the bullying really stopped though, because I had changed myself so completely by that time and had purposely isolated myself to a point where lack of active bullying didn't really signify that it had gone away. I became an expert at making myself disappear.

    At first the bullying had to do with my weight--I'm a girl, and the tormenting began about the time I started to grow and develop more (I was tall and chubby, but not by any means fat at the time). The bullies were girls and boys, hard to tell which were worse--they had different techniques and different areas of emphasis. Day after day after day for months and years I was repeatedly told how ugly, fat, nasty and dirty I was, how no one liked me, that my parents were ashamed of me, etc. The only decent trait they let me have was my intelligence, and it's not like any of them cared about that.

    When you are told such things often enough, they have a tendency of becoming true, and even if they don't it is monumentally difficult to not believe them, because the picture of yourself drawn in the loudest and most obnoxious paints is the one you remember.

    The bullying stopped late in high school b/c an eating disorder made me thin. However, it wrecked my health and could not be sustained, and over time my self-destructive coping choices slanted the other way, and I built a fortress of fat for myself to keep the pain out, to keep people away from me.

    Even though the bullying stopped, and new people I met didn't understand why I was so hard on myself, deep, deep inside I couldn't get past the belief that I was ugly, fat, nasty and dirty. I had difficulty communicating with people. I was constantly on edge b/c I feared they would find out who the "real" me was. Of course it was no surprise that I had few friends. I tried to tell myself that was due to things about myself I believed I could fix, or due to things about my environment that could be changed, but deep, deep inside I knew it was because I was ugly, fat, nasty and dirty.

    After a while I got tired of the complete sense of isolation I felt while being around people, because I felt like everyone around me understood the secret language of friendship and love and intimacy, and I just couldn't figure it out, no matter how hard I tried.

    I keep trying. I keep trying. But it's like there is something terminally broken deep down inside of me that can't be fixed, no matter how hard I try.

    I feel like if someone could just tell me what to do, I might be able to change my life, but I'm really losing hope.

  • Anonymous-42

    I was bullied by the same group of girls from 1st grand through 8th grade. I now have an anxiety disorder. I began ticking in the 3rd grade and since the age of 10 I have had severe TMJ as a result of clenching my teeth from nightmares. These girls hated me. I was "not allowed to be friends" with certain girls. I had secret friends who pledged their alligence to the ring leader. I had mothers making fun of me. I was a cute little girl. I was just different creative and small and boys liked me. I was naturally athletic and good at almost anything I attempted but I could not be liked for anything. One day during recess in the 3rd grade I was taunted around the entire playground w/ a cheer that the girls had made up about me with all sorts of nasty mean things. I had an intervention the next day w/ all of the girls in the psychologists office. It did not work. The long term effects are horrible. What kills me is that I seriously doubt any of those girls even think twice about me or the damage they caused. I am now a very nervous person, I fail to attach to people for fear of getting hurt, I am numb to most feelings, I am very reserved. I have always said that in the 3rd grade I aged 20 years. I have since had a knowledge about people and who they are. I feel that I am wise beyond my years. It is a good thing I suppose but it has turned me into a very untrusting person. I am very unhappy and I long to be able to walk with my head up and not staring at the ground on which I walk.

  • Elly

    Thank you for this intelligent article.

    So sad to hear from so many people who have continued to be affected.

    I'm now 36 and was badly bullied from age 5- 15 or so. The worst time was at age 12/13. The whole class would gang up and make sure I hadn't got a chair to sit on etc. I would dread school with the constant being put down, name-calling, spitting, threats, being locked in the toilets, pushed and publically humiliated. Then at home my father and 2 sisters would also gang up on me and make me feel small and like a rubbish person. I was made to feel completely unattractive, worthless- a common class joke would be about taking me out on a date.

    Thinking about it i think I definitely had Learned Helplessness going on- I never even thought of running away or doing anything dramatic which makes me cross at myself now. Why didn't I? Why did I sit there lkie a stupid sheep and take the abuse? But my mother taught at the same school (which was one issue I was bullied about) and we had been so well-trained to behave and not answer back, not show emotions really.

    When I left school and went to uni I tried to reinvent myself and completely discard the old me. I would tell myself that that had been a different person. I couldn't stand having been a victim. Instead I went out alot and had sexual experiences and took drugs. I thought I was confident and coping- of course I wasn't, I was still acting in response to the bullying trying to prove something to them. I started to suffer very badly from depression and also developed anorexia.

    As an adult I have suffered serious depression and am on long-term medication. Also I still have long-term eating problems and body dysmorphia. I work as a psychiatric nurse and sometimes can feel I do a good job but my confidence is still fragile. I have not managed really to have long-term emotionally intimate relationships- I isolate myself through my behaviour and feel terrified of people getting close, yet am also very lonely. I still can feel pathetic for having been a 'victim'. At the same time a lot of the feelings I had then seem to be lost or cut-off. I can't really relate to it very well emotionally. But I do not cope very well with bullies - it sets off bad reactions in me.

    I am about to start Cognitive Analytic therapy. I hope I can make some changes. I don't give up. I see a future- there are things to be changed in this world and I can make a difference to them even if I can't massively change the way I am. I am a sensitive person and I am glad that I am these days.

  • Anonymous-43

    It took me until 17 to realise I was a shy introvert due to pretty much most of the bullying experiences in the above article I have suffered from to a certain degree apart from suicide thoughts and familly bullying (god forbid) and for anyone who has, God bless you against these scum people. shyness yes, partially, but introversion no which in a way made me feel more comfortable about myself in a very small way along with a very very small close circle of genuine friends who understand me but not nesaccerily have me as their top priorities. However I am still very socially anxious above the majority and lacking in confidence.

    As i hopefully get a place in uni next year im not sure how to go about it socially. Should I go with the "I stand for what i believe in (difference) what I do, say, react etc etc regardless of if im the most unpopular person there, or if im still bullied for years to come" hopping (but not fully convinced) that I will gain quality really close naturing friends where in the short term be a laughing stock but be happier further down the line (again not fully convinced) or just be stuck in the same position as of now.

    Or do I go with the mentallity "I will push myself beyong belief to take risks, say and do things way out my comfort zone to conform (e.g. regular parties of the unknown)" Where in the short term go through stress, on edge and seen as very wierd and in the long term hopefully (once again not fully convinced) become popular and gain gain quality really close naturing friends (perhaps conforming is the only way) aswell as casual friends where i become confident and get included far more socially or which may make it even worse then it is at the moment socially.

    Open to a large discussion please!

  • Autumn Rain

    I was bullied when I was 12 years old, and it went on for years until I finish the 3rd year of junior high school and go to high school. I never notice this long-term effect of bullying until I read your long-term effect of bullying points. OMG, they're matching! Since then, I was bullied over and over up until now.....maybe about 5 times or more, and by different people/group of people. I always thought it's because my personality is really bad, I don't know why and I just think that maybe I am that ugly-hearted as a person.

    Now that I found out the main source of my problem, I believe I can achieve better quality of life if I can break myself free from this long-term effects.

    Can someone please help me to find out how to shake this long-term effect of bullying? I am in tight-budget now, and I don't think I can afford therapy by myself since I'm still studying in a university and can't find a work now with my condition(hyper-sensitive, thin-skinned, negative view of herself, bullied over and over by different people, low confidence, and many more). I am broke, on the verge of adulthood yet too afraid of fail finding a job, and I don't know if I can manage myself.

    My other soiurce of problem is, my parents are one of those who think going to "shrink" is shameful and embarassing (I don't think I can change them) so they won't give me the financial needed to go to a therapy, so I need quick help maybe in the form of online group of therapy?

    When I ask my mother that maybe I need to see a psychiatrist she said it's unnecessary- as long as I'm strong hearted and willed then I dont need to see one, means she will never let me go to a psychiatrist as long as I'm still in her debt.

    Can someone help me please?

    I really need a chance to heal, but I don't know how. I really want to break free from this chain- being bullied over and over repeatedly will destroy me and makes me think of myself as maybe I am that bad as a person.....please help me.

  • Ann

    After reading your article, I realize exactly the long term implications of bullying. I succumbed to being bullied for about 9 years. I have low self esteem, anxiety and depression problems. I yearn to want to belong but never seem to belong anywhere. I'm always the one apologizing and basically excusing my existence. I never have felt good enough. I can't seem to establish friendships or hold onto jobs. Of course, I always blame myself. Dr. Phil comments that abuse changes the person you could have been. Yes, I probably could have been okay if there was some assistance as there is today. Although I have extreme difficulty fixing my life, I hope that early intervention prevents others from becoming like me.

  • Little Grasshopper

    Just read the story, the comments, and that additional blurb "Why I Won't Be Going to my High School Reunion." This is going to sound strange, but it's been both helpful to me to know I am not alone in this, but also sad for me to see how many people are affected. Sounds impossible, but that's the best way I can explain it.

    It seems I was bullied since the first grade, where I was the only minority in an otherwise all-white private Catholic school. I was pretty much excluded, ignored. Then in public school the bullying got bad right around the 7th or 8th grade, and continued onward.

    I just realized how ironic this is, but I think in high school there were two episodes that I'm still working through today (I'm 29). One was with boys who could not stand to see me without shouting how ugly and undesirable I am (supposedly... ha!) Since I was fiercely smart, a common joke was, "If you give me all the answers to the test I'll go out with you."

    Another instance in high school was with a lesbian who was in the same grade as I. I've told my therapist about this individual and she said it sounds like this lesbian is a textbook borderline personality. This girl was a "friend" of mine until the age of 16, when she started seriously coming on to me. When I decided enough was enough I pushed her away (emotionally) and began ignoring her. She went schizoid and began stalking me and members of my family, threatened to kill me, began every nasty rumor imaginable about me and turned all our common friends against me and into pawns that would do her dirty work.

    Like the man who wrote the blurb about why he won't be going to his high school reunion, at least one of these "common friends" I had with this crazy lesbian has e-mailed me through various social networks wondering why I stopped speaking to her. Like the author of the blurb I wonder what the hell is wrong with her...? How dare she. The best thing that ever happened was for me to get rid of people like her in my life.

    Someone said here that she does not believe the bullies ever think about her. Think again. For a bully, his/her whole pathetic life centers around the enjoyment of torturing their victims. For example: I ran into one of the guys from high school who used to shout across the hallway how ugly I am, and how he'd never want me. I was at the store shopping. He was at the store stocking shelves. He repeatedly tried to get my attention, while other store workers looked on and laughed. I couldn't think of what to do so I continued ignoring him and made like I didn't remember him.

    Am I supposed to be impressed that this idiot is in his late twenties, stocking shelves at a retail store? He seems too old to be doing that kind of job. I can't help but wonder if he's mildly retarded. There's really not a single bully from high school... all those guys who thought they were so cool.... none of them are doing much with their lives today. I hope they had fun in high school because the rest of their life is gonna suck!

    Again... I'm 29... heterosexual (just to make that clear) going to graduate school. I'm far from being interested in some nut stocking shelves at the local Target or some other nut who now drives a UPS truck. THEY are the REAL losers!!

    I'm working on building self-confidence as well as my ability to form relationships. I come from a dysfunctional family so this has not been easy... I wish everyone on their own personal road to recovery the best of luck as they discover who they were born to be!

    As others have aptly stated here... it could be worse... YOU could be the bully!

  • CA

    I've found this article very informative. Problem is although it does render a better perspective it's difficult to say weather it actually helps. (Please don't take this the wrong way) but looking back I had a moment to act (and get vicously beaten or just badly beaten as I in fact was) and I didn't. There isn't a day goes by where I don't wish I had been braver or just done something (ANYTHING), emotionally that would have at least been a psychological ledge to hold on to. I didn't. Since those events many years ago most of my live has been spent replaying them, acting out things I would have done differently. Of course I've done other things but it's always there waiting in the wings for a quiet moment.

    I go a bit glazed, some times audably snigger and mumble to myself as I replay and this time (secretly) I win. I have regained a modicom of self confidence on my own, thanks in no small part to my love of making things (I may perceive myself to have little worth but the things I make do. Simple maths stipulates that 1 cannot come from 0, therefore I have worth Q.E.D.).

    Still I have this knawing feeling (sitting here, back in time travelling emotional replay mode, AGAIN) that I would have been a hell of a lot better if all of this hadn't have happened in the first place.

    I have a daughter now, and as a father it is my duty to teach her that actions have consequences. It is also my duty to teach her that inaction can have emotional consequences that follow you around for the rest of your natural life.

  • Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

    There's a good article about how to stop bullying that is occurring *now* over at slate that some people may want to look at:

    Bullies can be stopped, but it takes a villiage

    The main author is psychologist Alan Kazdin, Ph.D. - a past president of the APA

  • Anonymous-44

    Bullying is one of the most underestimated issues that are in schools today. Many people, even psychologists dont know the long term effects of bullied children. Im 26 years old, still live w/ my parents, and Im barely making it in the profession that I am in. People at work are telling me that I need more confidence. I have been through traumatic experiences in grade school, high school, and college and the worst part is is that NOBODY UNDERSTANDS, not even psychologists. Not even family. Family will blame me for my low self-esteem without even realizing what has caused it in the first place. Its like I am being blamed for having lack of self confidence. This article hit the issue head on. But its up to us to do something about it. We cant fix our past but we can prepare for our future. Its hard, but Im trying to get all the help I could get. I am a Christian and I started getting into the word of God. I say postitive self- affirmations to myself almost everyday. It has helped a little bit, but little by little i can just feel my self-esteem getting restored. I just have this hope that one of these days, i know that i will be self-confident in myself.

  • Anonymous-45

    For me, the bullying began at the age of 11, when I began high school, and continued until I left at 16. The bullying was never physical (although there were threats at times), it was all verbal. It began by being accused of taking drugs, due to the heavy bags under my eyes. This continued for a year until it gradually changed to taunts about my personal hygiene. What didn't help was the fact that I had a fairly poor upbringing, being raised only by my Mother (my Father visiting occasionally), who never really taught me about personal hygiene when I was a child, and it's her who I feel the most hatred towards. She also believed that the school I attended was perfect and things such as bullying never occurred there.

    As the taunts continued, I felt myself become more and more withdrawn. I made very little effort in class, I felt even teachers targeted me in class too, certainly asking me more questions than anyone else, or placing me in awkward situations which inevitably embarrassed me in front of other students. Despite this, my academic performances were not all bad, and there were good, sometimes excellent grades, only this would sometimes lead to even more hostility from students, who couldn't accept it when I achieved more than I obviously should have done in their eyes, and this included so-called friends of mine.

    By the time I reached 14, the stress I was feeling led to thoughts of suicide. In the end I never actually attempted this, but looking back, it was the suicidal thoughts that acted as a refuge, a potential escape route where I said to myself that if it ever became too much, I could take my own life, and I knew how it would affect the people who were making my life a misery. These thoughts came to a head when I turned 16 and things at home had taken a turn for the worse. My Mother had suffered a breakdown and had walked out from her job (I also worked there at weekends) and with my final exams on the horizon, it became an even bigger struggle to cope. No-one at school knew what was happening at home and the taunts continued. Sometimes I wonder if I should have spoken to a teacher about the problems I was encountering at home, but by now I didn’t know who to trust.

    The final situation I had to deal with at school was an incident when several students in my year, who were stood at the other end of the playground during lunchtime, decided to throw stones, as well as broken bricks at me and some friends of mine, one of which struck a student on the back of his head, drawing blood. During the next lesson a teacher visited the classroom I was in and asked everyone if they knew who had been throwing missiles in the playground. I had no hesitation in giving names, although I assumed at the time I was doing this in confidence. But of course when it came to trust, I should have known better, and the teacher duly informed the perpetrators that I had given their names.

    Throughout the rest of the day, I was subjected to threats and abuse. Then, the next day, it stopped. By now there were only a few weeks of school left with just final exams to take, but within those final weeks there were no more taunts or abuse. Perhaps blowing the whistle on the individuals who threw the missiles made them realise I wasn’t afraid of them, or maybe they simply wanted to concentrate on exams themselves. I should also point out that no action was taken against the individual who threw a brick at the student who was injured as a result.

    Once I began college, the bullying stopped, but the residual effects are still (and always have been) present. Despite holding professional qualifications in catering, computer programming, Business Analysis and Design, with degrees in Earth Sciences and Computer Science, a certified IQ of 142, as well as competing in several marathons, I still live with my Mother, and externally I have little to show for what I have achieved. On top of all that, last year I entered into an Independent Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) to help pay off debts I had accumulated due to a failed business. I’m also in a job which I hate and isn’t relevant to any of my qualifications.

    Personally I’ve never had a real relationship, and I have very few friends, as I feel like I attract the wrong kind of friends all the time. After failing to finish an Ironman Triathlon a few weeks ago, it has made me look at my life and what has gone wrong. Until recently, I had buried the experiences I endured at school, but after joining sites such as Facebook and Friends Reunited, and seeing the names and faces of people who made my life a misery at school, I have been reminded of what happened during that time. But I now realise where all the problems stem from. The fact I had a bad childhood at home is a major factor in how I am today, but the miserable time I had at school has also had a major effect. I know I still face an uphill battle but I feel after years of burying this issue, I’m facing up to why my life isn’t as good as it should be.

  • Rosalind Lord

    Hi all:

    Just discovered this site and topic yesterday.

    I never fit in at school myself, and there were certainly times when I was teased and ostracized though I was never physically beat up.

    In the eighth grade, four of my best friends stopped speaking to me when my parents divorced. Two of them did it because they did not know how to deal with me because I really was a troubled kid, and I don't really blame them for that. But the others shunned me because they just didn't want to be seen with me I was too much of an embarrassment for their appearance-oriented families. I think their parents told them not to play with me any more.

    Many years later, one of those snots actually emailed me saying she found me through Google. I did not answer her email. I had completely written those girls off a long time ago.

    Some of my other ex-classmates emailed me too, and I didn't respond to them either. I completely ignored them. Over the years, I occasionally ran into some of my ex-classmates on the street, and I would pretend I didn't remember them. When I told one of them this, she said: "Well, I remember you." I think she suspected I was lying. I don't care.

    None of these people would give me the time of day when I went to school with them. All they did was snub me because I wasn't a cheerleader, or stoner, or a "brain," or fit in any of the established high school cliques. I will never understand why, after all these years, they seemed to want to befriend me now. I have no interest in them. I don't give a fuck about any of them. I don't care what any of them think of me.

    When I was in high school, I would turn myself out, wondering what was wrong with me that I couldn't seem to have friends like normal people. I tried very hard to fit in. Eventually, I gave up because no matter what I did, no one would accept me. So I just stopped taking high school seriously. Of course, I still studied, since I had to make decent grades. But for me, school was just this place where I was stuck having to go and never wanted to be. I went there because I had to, never because I wanted to. I would call school a prison, but (thank God) I didn't have to be there 24/7.

    I had always hated cliques and "mean girls." If any of them want to gang up on me and diss me, they can do it as much as they want. As long as they're out of my life, as long as I don't have to associate with any of of them, that's all I care about.

  • danielle

    One of the things my Dad would say when I came home crying was "buck Up, your making them not like you" Yeah ok dad. I am sixteen now and was sexually abused from 3-5 then I went to school and from 5-16 have been bullied constantly. I agree with the physical part not hurting as badly as the words. I am suicidal,and believe if it all never happened I would be happier and a better person.I want to go to college and become something, but we are very poor, but I will still try.

  • anna

    Hi everyone, Ive read this article and its brilliant. I was also bullied as a child an am now studying to be a counsellor, in which im now doing my dissertation on the long term effects of school bullying. If anyone would be kind enough to email me ( and answer one of my questionnaires that would be fantastic, also mark i would like to contact you if you would be so kind.

    Kind regards


  • Victoria


    I was subjected to 18 months of bullying at senior school. Mostly mental abuse in the form of name calling and people not talking to me. On a couple of occasions I was nearly pushed down the stairs by older girls and one girl had me by the throat over a banister. What I couldn't get my head around at the time was that it was mostly from people I didn't even know, hadn't grown up with. I was an only child and was never one for being 'part of the crowd' and had more of a sensitive nature. Did this mean I should be bullied???? Thinking back, this probably set me apart from the minority who knowingly bullied. I experienced anxiety and weight loss and lost so much weight people didn't even bully any more because I probably looked so ill. I felt I was achieving something by losing the weight because it stopped the bullying! Only one teacher out of the whole school had any understanding of bullying and the effects this could have on an individual. The rest were a waste of time and not long out of teacher training college themselves. My parents had always been supportive and loving and knew there was something wrong, but for 18 months I didn't feel I could tell anyone. I told them because I had come to the end of the road. Not suicidal but completely 'done in' and exhausted from putting on a front. My parents were horrified that this had been going on.

    I am 40 this year and happily married. The way the bullying made me feel is something I will never forget. It is said you can forgive but not forget. I would still have to work very hard on that one because these things can run very deep. However I still believe some things happen for a reason. I am a sensitive loving person, but have a very strong exterior which I have gained through the bullying. It is not something I will never condone, but it is something which I think will always be around because we are human and all different.

  • Trauma Victim

    I'd first like to say thank you for writing this article.

    It is such an important topic and it seems that very few are truly interested in the subject itself, let alone take the time to write about it in a manner that shows not only an understanding of the effects of being bullied, teased and taunted, but with compassion for the victims as well.

    I would PRAY with all my might that somehow, someday, the Dr.s, and mental health "professionals" who are so quick to stick a mental illness label on anyone, will be educated enough to know, that by doing so, can almost be the last straw for those who's live's have been profoundly effected in every way by being bullied.

    Being teased, taunted and bullied most definitely causes the most negative of emotions to be felt by the victim, however, maybe it's time for some new diagnosis....a trauma victim would be simple enough without the negative stigma that the mental health diagnosis hold.

    I was teased and taunted everyday of my life since I can remember (literally). I now have three daughters who are going through the same teasing and taunting. I have many doubts that my oldest, who is now 17, will actually survive it.

    It is too much for me to write about my experiences and the impact they've had on my life, but, I would like to add that in my entire lifetime of 42 years, the most painful, and thus the worst "bullying" of all that I have experienced came from ADULTS. The worst coming from an adult family member who is a RN, who used a facial difference that is hereditary in our family, as a means to imply that we were mentally ill, her statement was very clear that she was trying to say that we were "crazy" without actually using that exact term. Her goal? To help her Brother in law, my ex, get custody of my two youngest children. Although her sickening attempt did not work (in fact, she made his case worse) due to the rebuttal from the Chief Pediatrician and Head Genetic Specialist at Children's in Seattle.....she was able to cause the most harm of anyone to date. Her words have caused my immediate family (my children and self) immeasurable and irreparable damage.

    Getting help? Getting better? In our situation this seems highly unlikely considering that it would be the people we would normally trust to help, the health care professionals, are the ones who we now trust the least.

    It saddens me to think that those who have had it the hardest of all, you will never hear from, because those people are no longer with us.

  • Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

    A news article came across our desk today regarding a Finnish research study linking early bullying experience to later life psychiatric conditions. Readers of this essay may want to check it out: Scars of Bullying Linger

  • Des

    Thanks for writing this article and for the comments. It really has made me feel better that I'm not the only person in the world that had a terrible time in school. I was bullied by a narcisstic mother who felt that I was wrong at home and grandparents who insisted I was never meant to be born. Then after 3rd year I changed in school it was the other kids who teased me about my ethnicity. I was the outcast and they made sure that I knew it by writing racial slurs on anything they could get their hands on. To this day I can't believe that I am what ethnicity I am when I look in the mirror. It's disconcerting to look at pictures of myself. I changed schools again in 7th year and the teasing turned into the mean girls stuff. Pushing down the stairs, being called names, homosexual remarks because I wasn't developing, teased because I like science (I'm a girl). I became a different person during that time. Angry, defensive, cocky, and depressed all at the same time. I had a complete break at 17 and transferred again where more problems occured. I met an abusive boy who strung me out of whatever diginity I had left and made me feel absolutely worthless. I've almost split into two people and to this day (20) I'm having issues with this (the original me who loved life and the angry person who stops everything original me tries to do). Don't know where things will end up but life isn't going anywhere at the moment. Every little thing social rejection triggers a bad reaction. I started crying because some young teens laughed that I was scared of this big dog that came running barking at me. I almost punched someone because they muttered why I was wearing sandals with pants (kicked a tree instead). There was a class in uni that the girls purposely didn't call on me (roundtable discussion lead by the class). It hit me so bad I withdrew the whole semester and I took the next semester off because it just tore me up inside. It's dumb I know but .... can't stop. Therapy don't work...but I'm hoping to move to a new city in a diff country next year...a chance for a new start to rebuild myself.

  • Cindy

    Bullying is a Killer. It is disguised by taking many forms, it is planned and carried out with the strategic mindedness of a professional. It is rarely, if ever, 'caught' and brought to justice. And people of all ages die- in the worst case-by their own hand, in most cases they wander around life like dead trees that continue to stand-lifeless. I was bullyed as most starting in 4th grade. The invitation I unintentionally displayed was a weight issue. As others with this same issue well know, bullying brought on by a weight issue never ends-ever. Starting in 4th grade, bullying consisted of learning how to be totally by myself in school- kids would play the pick a number game to see who would have to sit next to the fat girl in lunch, in gym actual shouting matches between team captins took place infront of the gym teacher, over which team would be stuck with the fat girl. Being home brought no relief. We lived in the country, there were no neighbors, my parents were unable to assist or support in any way. Once having mentioned the situation to my mother, I was told the story of her high school bullying experiences and suddenly our places were exchanged- I became her support for all her bad experiences, and continue to be that support today. After this I never said another word about anything. Both parents then and now have always said "We never have to worry about Cindy- she knows how to take care of herself" From 4th grade until graduation, bullying was equivalent to daily vitamins. There is no exaggeration here. The pool of potential bullies is so vast and varied it truely never stops. Classmates, work associates, total adult strangers, family members are all contributers. Enough for a lifetime. I try hard to forget these events but most are stuck, burned in for what seems to be forever.

    4th grade: from the unfortunate who picked the low number- "Hey Cindy, do ya think if ya poked yourself with a pin all that fat would leak out!" and a whole side of the lunch room joined in the fun.

    7th grade: From an unknown locker artist- a road-like caution sign beautifully drawn with a large moose on it saying " Caution Moose Crossing"

    9th grade: Swimming, getting weighed to find the right color bathing suit (color indicated size e.g. blue-skinny, green-skinnier...) As I stepped on the scale with my face down so no on could see me cry, the gym teacher laughed and called over to her assistant- a student from the class (in a green suit) saying "209lbs- Good god hurry up and get the black suits before she gains anymore weight!" 48 other voices joined the laughter.

    18yrs. old on vacation. Going on a trail ride at a horse ranch. The man who gave everyone a leg up looked over at me making the entertaining remark "Oh lord- give me a break" Fellow trail riders enjoyed the entertainment. Once in the saddle, he looked up at me and said "you know, you'd almost be pretty if you weren't so damn fat."

    24yrs. old: showing the one and only somewhat friend I had ever had, my new swim suit. She herself slender and lovely, took one look at my thighs and in an utterly mystified way said "My god, how did you get your thighs so huge? Do you mind if I grab some?"

    I am over 40 now and the effects are still as strong as the moment the words were spoken. I have developed an eating disorder, trust no one, know many people but have no friend or friends. Everything I do or make or think or say disgusts me, while at the same time those around me would indicate the opposite. But who will be next in line with a comment- the person I say a polite hello to everyday, my co-worker, the grocery store clerk, a gas station attendent, a neighbor- because there is always a 'next' and I have the feeling there always will be a next. I don't hold out much hope for learning the types of techniques mentioned in your atricle- although I do agree with nearly everything else. While some people have been cruel -how could so many people be wrong? I have the feeling they can't.

  • Nic

    I know exactly the situation faced my many in schools. The entire system of school forces association with individuals that otherwise you would be able to adequately avoid. It's punishment and procedures are almost perversely designed to entrap the victim. I feel I would have been far better of having never been to one.

    For some reason I just never ever feel comfortable talking about what happened. I can't even do it anonymously here. Not that it is anything unusual or overly extreme. I just can't discuss it. I always feel embarrassed or ashamed. I do believe it permanently alters the way your brain processes and reacts to the world as it often happens at such crucial formative years.

    You can get better. But I don't think I will ever be what is thought of as "normal". I used to feel intimidated just walking down the road. I would become completely concourse of how I was walking or moving and terrified I would be mocked for it. I never developed any personality or taste in music till my late teens because whatever I liked I felt would be ridiculed. The same with fashion too. I became depressed and felt there was no point in doing anything just for me. Everything seemed pointless.

    But I also know because of the things I have managed to achieve or do I have grate courage. Unlike ordinary people who wouldn't feel terrified I know I have had overcome great anxiety. And so I know I have had to face fear end stress they have never needed too. An attitude of fu*k it and do it anyway as well as not giving a dam if it all goes wrong helps. I'm not sure if that is really healthy. But while I can overcome it and so do things even when I have managed it many times it never goes away completely. Like being scared of motorway driving. I did it. All day. I was good at it. But if I got in a car now a drove to one I would still be scared until i got on it and was doing it again. I would still have to say fu*k it and just do it. Even though I know I can.

    That sort of thing is what makes me think I will always have this lingering over me to cope with. It still amazes me my girlfriend finds me so attractive. That she genuinely likes me seems strange. It's unbelievably great but it shouldn't feel confusing and bazaar. I still am nervous at social occasions but instead of avoiding them and hiding away it takes me a while to get in to them instead. Just to prove it to myself I even did karaoke sober.

    Life can get better. And overcoming some of my demons made me far better at dealing with things other people totally stress over. I care much less what anybody else thinks now. I am still quite antisocial and avoid interacting with people but that's better than not doing it at all.

    I guess I'm still angry. And I can never forgive them. I doubt that will ever change as I the only reason too is for my own benefit and it just doesnt seem to be a good enough reason for me.

    Remember you are not the only one. The world won't cave in if you help yourself. It is not a disaster if you fail at something. And if ANYONE tries to stop you making yourself better. Or ridicules you for trying. Tell them to FU*K off. You don't need people like that.

  • Seth

    I am very grateful that when I was a child, the endless disorders, diseases, and conditions were not yet invented/manufactured. I have no doubt that I would have been diagnosed with many, and within those diagnosis, obstructions would have been placed in my path toward an otherwise perfectly determinable resolution. I was bullied terribly throughout my school years - most significantly in my teens, once puberty set in. I agree that it was a very painful experience and it would have come as a welcome relief for someone capable to step in to relieve the situation. However, for someone to be capable, he would have to have had an understanding for both the recipient of the bullying and the bully. In order for me to have been satisfied, I would have not wanted the kids who bullied me to be condemned or harshly judged, or "bullied" by adults, but rather I would have liked a mutual understanding and respect to have been presented and created, where learning and growth could occur. Understanding is key to all of life's challenges. Our understanding takes us beyone the specifice perspective which painful experiences leave us with. I do not accept that bullying has to have long term or worse, life long affects. As an adult, and because of my commitment to overcome, learn, grow and change, I not only understand myself - in terms of my familial experiences and how I presented myself, and how to overcome the impact, but I also better understand those who bullied me and recognize that they too were in equal or even greater pain, conflict, or whatever term one wishes to use, based on his specific circumstance in life. Kids are not born bullies. They are responding to something very specific within their own circumstances.

    I don't claim to have everyone else's answers, since each of us has an individual path, but I do wholeheartedly believe that each of us have within us the ability to overcome challenges, despite how seemingly overwhelming or insurmountable. However, these answers come from within the individual. These days, I honestly believe that while it is not always the case, the mental health industry can very well become an obstruction to solutions. The labels, disorders, conditions, and predetermined and often inaccurate assesment of a person, which is based on some "case study", rather than based on the individual, can guide a person away from himself, and therefore, his solutions.

    I am the last person to minimize one's pain or experience, but I admittedly am the first one to defy the conventional perspective that people require diagnosis and subsequent medication, or need to embrace long term/life long depression/pain/hurt as a result of an experience, which being bullied is an experience. We have the choice to interpret is as permanently negative or to interpret it as something we can provide a purpose to and make it positive, without denying, dismissing, or invalidating the hurt from that experience - hurt that can be something of the past, and the present can include growth, understanding and a new, amore fullfilling interpretation can be taken with us toward our future.

    To the dismay of many, I am grateful for my combined experiences, indluding those of being bullied. I don't say it because I dismiss how "wrong" it is or because I think it should be tolerated. I say it because my bullying and the subsequent pain, desolation, conflict of it was really an extension of feelings and challenges from within my home life, which pre-existed being bullied. I was able to learn from the bullying and take a closer look at myself because of it. And I did ultimately come face to face with some who bullied me. I did not blame, attack, condemn, or judge those individuals. I used the understanding that accompanied my resolution of other challenges and my commitment to strive toward being all that I can and offered it to the individuals who once "tormented" me. In most circumstances, retaliation or vindictiveness is not a solution. While we each have a right to express ourselves and rid ourselves of frustration and "hate" or pain, we don't have a right (nor is it a step toward inner peace) to impose it on another human being, even if that human being was someone who belittled, ridiculed, tormented, or beat us up. Resolution comes from understanding. Understanding come from being honest with oneself. I did not ignore my deep and profound frustrations that came about from being bullied, amon other things. I created circumstances where I vented those feelings, physically and mentally rid myself of those feelings, which in turn, created a space for understanding to occupy. I could go into more specifics about how I resolved my own personal issues - without professional help, but it would take up too much space and time. My main point here is that despite what conventional methods tell us, we are not destined or required to suffer long term or for the rest of our lives for something which in reality, is perfectly within our reach to overcome permanently.

    I am deeply sorry for those of you who have been bullied. I do understand how painful, desolate, it feels and how it can compel us to judge ourselves as negatively and harshly as how we feel those who bully us. Please do not interpret this as some sort of intolerance to your pain. I have felt that pain - deeply and profoundly. I just hope that reading this will somehow loosen the grip that those painful experiences have on you and above all else, help you to recognize your entitlement, ability and deservedness to be free of those feelings.

  • Anonymous-46

    I was bullied all through school because of my weight, getting beat up and called names.I have never gotten over it,I pick terrible friends and married a verbally abusive man.I am struggling in school because of anxiety and depression and now I am seeking therapy, I hope it works for me.I feel no control over my life and now that I am 40 I wish I would have sought help earlier.I never understood why I have so many problems until I read this article I think I know were this is all comming from.

  • erika

    i once got a very short haircut in 5 grade. everybody called me "mushroom head". i would cry all the time. it was bad

  • Anonymous-47

    i have been bullied from elementary school thru college. by people i know, like classmates, and by strangers walking down the street. i was a big time target being unpopular and looking different (much shorter than an average person) and acting different than "normal". i want to say that the bullying has (and i believe) will always stay with me. it is an immense inner pain. and i try to forgive but it is a great struggle. it makes you think terrible things about you are less than everyone else. and bullying makes me outraged because i do not believe any person or animal should be subjected to that evil. bullying is pure evil. well for now i try to forgive and i am looking to God to hopefully one day make things right.

  • Anonymous-48

    The other night I was thinking about this article and the so called "new information & research", but really, all abuse is a form of bullying, and it has been going on forever.

    It isn't new..I'm not thinking we'd need therapists if bullying of any sort didn't have severe and long lasting effects on people's lives.

    I do think the people who have the power to actually do something about this is in fact our therapists, doctors, attorneys etc., I'm not trying to be rude, however, I don't think we will ever see the laws changed or the punishments that are so badly needed because it would put many a therapist, counselor, & psychs out of business.

    And the article mentions Columbine..just out of curiosity, I asked one of my children if they could name and/or remember many of the people who bullied (him/her) and 42 minutes later, without one single second thought on not one name, the list of names came. More than three pages of names I wrote as they were spoken. That was a enormous "WOW & OMG!" moment! My child wouldn't ever hurt anyone but it sure did open my eyes!

    My children know that the one thing I have absolutely no tolerance for is teasing anyone about anything, and I do mean ZERO tolerance. I think some parents out there need to look in their own homes before blaming the person who finally snapped and decided to take it to the extreme. I'm sure most would not agree with me that I believe both bullying and the killings because of, are of equal crime.

  • Bob E. Ruane

    This was a clear, concise, well-written piece, and I could relate to it very well. I was bullied for many years, from junior high through college, because of my Asperger's Syndrome. Because I also have a condition called super memory, I also remember the exact dates of the harassment, as well as songs that were popular when the bullying occurred. Sometimes hearing a song from the bullying era--especially a maudlin mid-1970s ballad--can trigger the unwanted memories. I am currently working on a project on bullying for a graduate social work class.

  • Catherine

    The comments of those bullied explain a great deal for me – the anger, depression, shame, severe breakdowns, always being alone and never belonging anywhere. I don’t really want to write this, but I feel I owe those of you with the courage to talk about what happened to you. My mother sent me to school at age four to get me out of her hair, and I never knew what was going on in school to begin with. I went to a small Catholic school in a semi-rural area. I was small and skinny. In fifth or sixth grade, the bullying began on the bus when two older girls started harassing me every day for no reason.

    Then the bullying and ostracizing started in the classroom.Almost every boy would scowl at me and call me ugly, stupid, etc., every chance they got. The girls ostracized me and said nasty things. They never allowed me to play with them and would send me away when I wanted to play ball, etc. I remember walking the playgrounds all alone every day. I was so ashamed I wanted to die. I would crouch down on the other side of the school building, where not so many people could see how rejected and pathetic I was. They also had “slam books” – notebooks that each kid had that rated everybody. I was always called, “the ugliest girl in the school” or some variation of ugly. I skipped school as much as I possibly could.

    I then went to a public high school, where the girl down the road decided she hated me and began bullying me there -- always threatening to beat me up, saying and doing mean things. One day she got this popular guy to take his huge textbook and slam it down on top of my head as hard as he could while I was walking down the hall. I saw stars and felt faint. In my state of shame, I tried my hardest to smile and just said, “What was that for?” Like it was no big deal – a real betrayal of my own self.

    Life at home was a nightmare too. My mother lost her hearing soon after the second baby was born – there were nine of us kids, and she spent every single day crying and screaming hysterically until the veins popped out in her neck and she turned purple. She called us every name she could think of, anything she thought would hurt us the most, especially my brother and me. It was her goal to make us cry before we left for school in the morning. I finally refused to cry, and told the other kids not to cry. She always saved the worst for my father, though. She went after him with a vengeance, screaming and yelling sometimes all night long. This went on every single day, with no let-up. Holidays were worse.

    But I believed there must be something really repugnant and awful about me. I decided to mask my shame and inferiority by wearing a protective mask of assertiveness, competence, etc., though I could never shake the feeling of being inferior. I’ve been a loner all my life have suffered from severe depression, and anxiety and breakdowns. I managed to get a B.A. degree, but never got anything more than menial secretarial jobs. Now I feel that I have to, for the first time actually begin my life, since everything that happened before seems invalid. And that’s a good thing!

  • Gary Holohan

    I went to a local Comprehensive School ( High School ) during the 80's and for four yrs I was constanly bullied I was bullied by Teacher's as well which gave the "green Light" for kids to feel "its a free for all"

    One of my problem was/is I had two hidden disabilities 1) Dyslexia, 2 ) Dyspraxia,

    Many yrs later after leaving school I still have those fears of large groups of people and social events.

    I still have trust issues and have problems forming relationships.

    I had to undergo many yrs of counciling to address these feelings.

    I would say to Bullies what give you the right to inflict pain both physically and phycologically on others!?

    As we all know most of us learn to cope with stratigies but sadly there are many who do not and choose the only way out.

  • Nina

    I found this article very interesting and helpful. I am speaking from the point of view of a partner of someone who was severly bullied as a teenager. My fiancee went to a boarding school and so had nowhere to run and hide. He was 'psychologically tortured' for over 4 years as he describes it because he was smaller and also there were rumours he was gay. He told me he coped by running on the athletics team and also by retreating and spending most of his time on his own. I feel so saddened. But how can I help him? He is a successful doctor now, but in his personal life it is a different story. He gets very angry and rages if anything emotional comes up. It makes it difficult for me to talk to him as he takes everything personally. He is now 40 and he has had only one other long term relationship and even that was unstable. He is very much a loner and although he has friends, they are not close intimate ones. I worry he is a bit self destructive too. If we have problems, he becomes totally passive and doesnt fight for the relationship and when we were having problems last year he started seeing another woman albeit stopped it when we resolved our issues. I dont know what to do. I want to help him heal. Can anyone advise on any ways I can help him? I love him dearly but I dont think he trusts me at all.

  • LeeAnn

    I don't remember a time when I wasn't bullied in school. I am learning disabled (dyslexia, audio processing disorder, and ADD). I was also bullied at home by my brother, who was academically "gifted." I was also very skinny, and different looking. I would get bullied all day, every day, and then come home for more. I managed to take advanced placement classes in high school, and graduate from college. I have been a target at each and every one of my jobs, and I have been in mostly abusive relationships. All of this ended when I choose to get psychiatric help. I have learned how to stand up for myself, and how to act confident. I am now married to a wonderful, supportive husband. I have a terrific job, and I'm very happy. Getting bullied ABSOLUTELY lead to more bullying later in life. Bullies have radar for these people, I'm telling you. The best advice I got was, when someone starts messing with you, is to say (in a stern voice), "Why the F*CK did you just say that?" You have to act agressive back the FIRST TIME. Usually they will just pick another victim. If they keep bullying you, avoid them. If that doesn't work, tell a teacher, or your HR manager. If that doesn't work, transfer to another school, or get another job. It isn't your fault, and bullies NEVER CHANGE.

  • Sara

    This is a great article it rings so many bells for me.

    I moved house aged 9 and this along with some other big changes at the time resulted in bad depression. I was badly bullied all through comprehensive school and after that. I can totally relate to everything said about being bullied at school and the long term effects of this. All the comments here show the same reasons for bullying and methods bullies use.

    People often categorise 'victims' or people with mental health difficulties into boxes. Children that suffer well known about methods of abuse e.g physical, sexual are well known to be likely to suffer mental health issues.I'm not for one minute saying these experiences aren't terrible, but bullying and consequent problems happen for so many reasons.

    I came from a well off, supposably 'ideal' family where problems where not supposed to exist and there was a lot of pressure to present a sucessful, perfect image to the outside world. I was the 'outsider' and felt very guilty about being bullied. When I did pluck up courage to ask for help my parents didn't want to know- I got told off and consequently felt more ashamed. I had depression, eating disorders and suicide attempts. I still struggle to understand how my parents- pillars of the local community- ignored and castigated me for this.

    You can survive bullying and depression. I am 34 and mainly happy, although I feel my experiences will always be with me and there are times of great sadness. It's very helpful to have this website. Bullying works by isolating kids and reading others experiences makes me feel less alone.

  • Matt L.

    Thank you so much for posting this insightful treatise on the problem of bullying.

    I was bullied for most of my formative life, until I was 16 years old and finally moved to a different school in a more tolerant area.

    It was the most incredible, emotionally debilitating experience I've ever had, and I still, at 37 years old, suffer from its effects. Low self-esteem, depression, bitterness about society, massive interpersonal difficulties, avoidance, hard-time advancing at jobs, it just goes on and on.

    It's easy to feel totally alone out there, like nobody gets it - like nobody understands the seriousness of what I went through and the traumatic effect it can have on you for decades afterward.

    People say, "Get over it, it was a long time ago," as if it's possible to just snap your fingers and have perfect self-esteem and confidence. But they never experienced it, so they don't get it.

    I'm extremely grateful to be able to read all of the comments here from people who have been through the same experiences, and to know that I'm not alone suffering from the effects of the incessant abuse that undermined my sense of identity and ability to get along in the world.

    So thank you to the author, and to those who were kind enough to share their experiences. It really helps to know you're not alone.

  • Rabbit

    Dear All

    I have been on the receiving end of over 6 years of bulling from my neighbours, which began as soon as my father - to whom I was very close - died.

    The neighbours decided to breed 11 dogs in the house, which is joined to mine. I was subjected to noise and barking day and night and kept awake incessantly. When I challenged the woman, I was subjected to bawling and shouting and demanding of rights for the animals and the herself. No discussion, just 'What do you expect, they are dogs!!!'. They began to set the dogs out in the garden every time I opened my back door - to go to the bin or put out washing. They took great delight in my terror and it just made me a nervous wreck. I ended up screaming 'Shut up' at the animals, again, to great delight by the 3 sons.

    The parents went off and left the 3 lads in the house for a month on their own with the dogs. I was then subjected to incessant hours of dog yapping, plus 48-hour drunken swearing parties. Eventually I could take no more and banged the wall and told them to shut up. This was a great opportunity to get the 'father' round to my house to terrorise me in my own home. I opened the door and he was in my porch, then he swore and screamed and yelled at me. I was so scared I fled my home for a month, and only went back when my Mum came with me. I was terrified to go outside and petrified inside.

    The abuse has continued unabated for 6 years. They have attacked my car, sworn at me, kicked the wall and sung filthy songs, had incessant drinking parties lasting weekends or even every night of the week at times. I have had to flee the house 3 times in all. I constantly called the police and council. They seemed to want to help at the beginning, but earlier this year, they got really nasty with me for persistently ringing up, and now I am so scared to contact the agencies, I have now to live in the house with all the doors locked.

    I only go to the door when I have first checked through the window to see who is there. I have been repeatedly on the verge of a breakdown and am still taking antidepressants after 6 years. I am trying to sell the house, but unsurprisingly no-one will even give me an offer. I am trapped in an evil cycle of abuse, out of which it seems impossible to get. I thought of renting out the house, but when I thought on this, I realised that it is quite likely these people will try and get into my house, through whoever rents it. I also worry about it being smashed up because my brother rented his house out, and it was bashed to pieces. These people would take great pleasure in smashing my place up. This would not help me sell. At least the house is in good order at the moment.

    The abuse continues, and just when I start to think it may be settling down, they think of another nasty thing to do to me. I had a serious operation 3 months ago and had to be in the house for weeks afterwards. This of course, made me a sitting duck. As soon as I could drive again, I basically left the house every day no matter the weather, just to be away and get some peace for an hour or so.

    I don't know how it will all end. I think of suicide quite often, but then I think why should such evil people win? They are the perpetrators and they shall not win.

    Playground bulling is a terrible thing, but so can adult bullting be. And just because there are laws in place, it does not mean the authorities will listen to you or act to defend the innocent victim. I have found that it is those who can shout about their rights that get all the help, not their victims.

  • Carolyn

    Hi I have been suffering from bullying before I can even remember. I have been told that I have been beaten up and bullied everyday since preschool. I don't remember a time when I was 'not' being bullied. It's been a consistent part of my life. I don't know why I have always been bullied either. I think a small part of it is that I am a 6 ft tall female.

    Until I went to college I hated myself. I was an empty shell. I had a list of names that went for pages. Everyday I went home crying. My mother just told me to ignore them. That didn't do a thing. I had no support network whatsoever.

    I was suicidal since I was 4 until I was 19. I saw psychiatrists since then. Back then they did not even consider bullying and my horrible home environment being the cause. They just labeled me as having major depression. Now I can see that the environment is what made me depressed. Unfortunately I must try to wean off my meds (effexor) on my own since I have discovered it is worser than heroin. The doctors don't know about the withdrawal effects. I wish I knew that a pill was not the solution. I never received the proper treatment for the right thing.

    The verbal abuse from 7-9th grade was the worst. I forgot most of it. It's a big blur. All I remember is everyday having food thrown at me, spit balls and paper being thrown in my hair, teachers having to comb it out everyday at class, being called jolly green giant, ugly, fat, the beast, monster, moose, stupid, that I should die, getting death threats being put in my lunches and locker, getting my bag searched when I wasn't looking and having stuff thrown away and stolen and laughed at when I went through the garbage to get my stuff, having my private information read aloud to the entire class and laughed at, sitting alone at recess and lunch everyday, getting desks slammed against me, getting tripped in the halls, having songs sung about me, boys saying that they would never go out with me, etc. It never ended. The bus, the bathroom, lunch, classes... Teachers did nothing about it. I tried committing suicide a few times. I would rather die than have to go through another day.

    These kids I didn't even know. Most of them I have never met. 98% of the class joined in. The girls would chase me to the bathroom stall where I would be crying and then stand on a seat to look over the stall to make fun of me crying. On the bus I would get sexually assaulted by the boys. They would touch me everyday and beat me up. The girls called me a lesbian even though I was not one.

    My mother did not give me a razor for shaving until I was 16. The girls called me a man. My mom also gave me really strong horrible smelling spray on men's deodorant. The teachers had the nurse talk to me and my mother about my smelling problem. I hated the way I smelled. She just gave me stronger more horrible men's deodorant.

    I slouched making myself smaller with a hunched back and never looked anyone in the eyes hoping they wouldn't notice me. That never worked. I hated my height. To this day I wish I could cut my legs off so I wouldn't be noticed. All I want is to be left alone. My entire life I was told when I grow up I will love being tall but I hate it even more. I can't buy clothes, shoes, everywhere I go total strangers comment on my height wishing they were tall, I am always reminding of my height, I can't fit in public transportation, my knees get black and blue on buses and planes, I have to sit crooked and this is bag for my back since I have chronic sciatica and a herniated disk so I am always in pain, I can't go on some roller coasters, I don't fit anywhere and feel like a gigantic beast, etc. I have to pay 1000’s of $ more for more expensive plane seats that will fit me even though my sciatica makes me handicapped. I have to spend my student loans on these seats. Being that the world is built for small people is a constant reminder of my height. My height is the only thing I wish was different about myself.

    But to this day I can't look at anyone in the face. I never had my first kiss or date until I was 22 because I couldn't actually look let alone talk to someone of the opposite sex. Everyone I met was through the internet and let me tell you there are tons of creepy men out there. (including my husband! lol! j/k! I met him through the internet as well however. That was the only way to meet anyone.)

    If it wasn't for my husband I don't know if I would be alive today. I am currently in graduate school and feel so alone. I have no friends where I am and the isolation is crippling me. All of my friends live 2,000 miles away. I can't seem to approach anyone and am so afraid of not being accepted that I still cannot look at anyone and only speak when spoken to. Every time I show my personality I feel like I will be immediately be rejected. So out of fear of rejection I remain invisible. This is a crippling panic disorder. When I am in a social situation such as a party, after a while of standing in the middle of the room feeling awkward I start sweating and my heart races and feel like everyone is staring at me and I can't take it anymore. I usually go into a room and start crying for hours because no one will talk to me. And then I sneak out of the party and no one notices (not even the host) that I left. Every time I go to class I feel this way. I am reminded of how alone I am when I am surrounded by people. I am so terrified of going to class and even more terrified when the teacher wants to talk to me. It's getting worse. I avoid social situations at all costs and have decided to choose a career that will allow me no contact with people. As a result I have already missed so many opportunities for employment. Since I cannot get close teachers at parties and functions, I cannot get references and contact of alumni. I have poor social skills and cannot network.

    When I have no friends around, it reminds me of my growing up. I cry several times a week reliving the experiences. I wasn't like this when I had friends in my undergraduate school. It's all coming back now and is getting worse and affecting my relationship. Every night I have night terrors where I scream constantly throughout the night. I wake up and don't remember a thing. I can't go back to sleep and am always so tired.

    As of the past 3 years some anger problems have just appeared out of thin air. I have this uncontrollable anger that just bursts out whenever I feel there is the slightest injustice such as someone cutting me in line. I get so angry and explode. I can't stand injustice. It seems to be getting worse.

    What drives me nuts is finally I actually have great self esteem (with the exception of hating my height) and think I am an awesome fun person to be around. I just see it an no one wanting to give me the chance. People only like extroverts. (I guess thats where my bitterness plays) This boggles me because it is so contradictory. I always believed the myth that once you like yourself then you are excepted. Well sorry to say that it is not true. You have to be extroverted. Shy people are overlooked. Now i see the world as a bunch of idiots who don't know what they are missing out on.

    I know I have healed partially because I have my esteem back but now feel stuck as I can't afford to see a shrink to help me socially and also don’t trust them anyway. I know the second I go back to my doctor she will refer me to someone to pop me on more pills. I wish that doctors could recognize that it is not always a mental illness to be depressed. My psychologist whom I saw for many years always thought I was very 'sane' and more functional than most adults. I believe that the abuse just left me lingering way behind with social developing skills. This article is great. It seems like all of my problems make perfect sense now! Thank you!

  • Ai

    Interesting, I could definitely see myself relate to what had been said.
    I am 20 now, in the last years of primary school I was bullied. When I look back I wonder how I survived the situation and continued to go to school. As the initial bullying did happen for about 2-3 years about 10 yrs ago, I perhaps felt that I had over come it, not forgotten, but..perhaps moved on.

    When I was young, I was such a friendly person who was extremely confident and always wanting to try new things, but ever since being bullied for being an over achiever...I had lost basically all my confidence..when I got into highschool i hated attention. I stopped liking the way i was...constantly saw myself as ugly. After highschool...perhaps I have gained more confidence...but I still find myself being paranoid..I can't be enthusiastic and open, which is hard because people employ people who have a positive and confident vibe..I'm still so afraid of everything.

    I guess knowing about the problem helps you understand...growing confidence makes u understand...but it's a very hard thing to go through, and I hope everyone does find the peace they need.

  • Anonymous-49

    Hello. I'm a seventeen year old female. I read the articles and all the comments and I think I can relate to what you guys have experienced. I didn't have it as bad as some of the people of commented here but I was emotionally bullied for quite a long time.

    Bear with me if this seems quite long but writing it all down helps me sort it out as I've only recently realized I had been bullied.

    I think the first person who made me feel bad about myself was my nanny. I had to spend a lot of time at her house because my mom worked a lot and my dad traveled frequently and for long periods of time due to his work. She kept saying that my dad liked being away and other things like that. She constantly favored her own children in very obvious ways. There was another kid she was taking care of there too and he, too, was favored. I think all the things that happened there still affect me to this day.

    When I was 6-7 years old, some girls in my class started verbally bullying me. My parents still remember I came home crying many times. A new girl, whom I had tried being friends with, starting messing up all the friendships in my class. She was always mean to me, trying to get the other girls to stop being my friends.

    The things mentioned above continued for a few years and the entire grade above me all agreed they hated me and started verbally bullying me. I tried to be their friends by agreeing with them on everything and one girl accused my of being a lesbian. I also wasn't good at sports at all and didn't get picked very often. I started comparing myself to other girls (physically, I mean). i wished I could be prettier(mostly thinner) as if it would somehow solve my problems.

    I didn't mention it but I tend to make good grades and some people don't seem to like smart people.

    Afte primary school (ends after 6th grade), I went to a summer camp. The cool thing there was to get a boyfriend (a bit silly when i think about it) and suddenly one boys pretended to like me. It turned out it was a bet and people were having fun and laughing behind my back. The first person I liked (still hurts me to think of it) was just playing with me. it was so nice ( sarcastic).

    When I went to secondary school, I became part of a group of girls who were semi popular. I thought i was part of the group but somehow i never got invited to birthday party or just anything. They would leave me behind, one time i left my bad with for a few minuted and found it in the middle of the playground, damaged. Again, so nice of them (still sarcastic). One day they just threw me out the group. They wrote a letter and all signed it. They passed it to me in class and I had a really hard time not crying ( i ended up crying anyway). I don't know how i did not realize they were playing with me until they 'dumped me', now it seems so obvious.

    Pretty much the same thing happened to me during a summer trip to Ireland ( to learn English, it's my second language). My 'friends' were just really using me as a scapegoat.

    With boys, it didn't get better. I pretty sure one was cheating on me and it didn't last long anyway. The other one also was pretty uninvolved with me. I have developped a pretty thick skin with boys, i can be pretty unemotional when I want to.

    One time, at the mall, two girls I absolutely didn't know came to me and started bullying me because I was supposedly staring at them ( i sort of was but still is that a reason i wasn't being mean). they called me lesbian again. To this day, I'm still wondering if there is a part of me that likes girls.

    After 9th grade I moved to the USA. I only got bullied once in Spanish class by a boy because of my nationality (belgian). I got upset a few times but now it's better, he's not in any of my classes anymore ( thank god).

    I'm now in senior year I'm not bullied anymore. Next year, college. We'll see how it goes.

    All I can see is that, I am pretty reserved. I constantly feel inferior, ugly, not capable, unliked,etc. It's not fun. I have very few friends and most of them are not close at all.

    Sometimes, I get depressed and think no one will ever love me (american boys apparently aren't interested in my at all), that i will die alone, that i won't have friends when I get older.

    As you can see, I am very insecure about myself, especially about my appearance. I don't think anyone will ever be genuinelly attracted to me.

    I love travelling and always have but I have recently realized it's also a way for me to run away from all this.

    I'm even pushing my family away, I feel inferior compared to my brother (who is good looking, popular, social,etc). Also, i don't seeing some of my female cousing as I feel they are always better looking. My parents always ask me why i don't have a boyfriend yet. what am I supposed to tell them, that no one is even remotely interested in me? My brother (who is younger) teases me about it.

    Well, thank you for reading. It feels good to get it out. It's a bit more clear now and I inted to work on those issues. I hope I will be okay.

    Thank you (and sorry for the length)

  • Anonymous-50

    I was bullied from early grade school through high school because I was underweight and had a nickname my parents gave me as a child that was unusual. Most days were barely tolerable and some days were excruciating.

    I would come home and cry to my mother (who was battling cancer since I was in 2nd grade and probably not up to the challenge of helping me) who glossed over the situation making excuses such as they must like you to pick on you or kids will be kids. As a 7 year old, the last thing you want to hear is the reason why they are doing it, you want it to stop. Period. My father excluded me as I was the black sheep of our family not fitting in with his classical taste and for the most part, ignored me.

    I had only one good friend in grade school and her best neighbor friend transferred to our grade school for the last year before high school and I was left by the way-side. I tried desparately to compete for her friendship and attention but it seemed the harder I tried the more she retreated to her neighbor friend.

    My grades suffered as a result of the bullying. When I wasn't busy trying to be invisible, I was obsessed with emulating the one friend I had and trying to be liked by those who weren't directly attacking me.

    In high school I thought this would be my chance at a new start. I made a few close friends most of whom I've kept to this day at the age of 41. However, most the students from grade school continued into high school with me so the ridicule continued but with added new students as a fresh audience. My older sister attended this school and although she herself was bullied too, she did take up for me quite often when she could. She was my protector.

    One boy in particular and his cronies made life particularly miserable and I spent a lot of time trying to avoid him even physically slouching down in an attempt to become invisible to escape his taunting. It never worked but did help in ruining my posture to this day.

    The summer of my Sophmore year my mother lost her battle and succumb to her illness. Even though her words never helped in dealing with the bullies, she was someone to vent to about it. That same year my sister left for college and my father was forced into early retirement. I lost the little support system I had and was left with a grieving father who dealt by drinking and verbally abusing me when not ignoring me. I dealt with it myself by starting to drink and acting out. I attempted suicide and thought of it often.

    The school system was no help. Because the administration never handled things appropriately, or my parents, I

    College was more of the same, gaffing off my classes and trying to fit in. I blew it. After the first year of bullying by my roommate and her friends, as everyone else was working to move ahead, I was finally fitting in, but with the wrong crowd-the party crowd. I ended up failing and working at a menial job that I kept for years.

    Since that time, I've had issues making new friends, advancing or feeling as if I ever fit in. My self-esteem to this day is low. I lack confidence even when reinforced by others. I question their motives as if I'm being set up and I am doubtful of the sincerity. I take criticism very hard and don't take compliments at all feeling I'm undeserving.

    My subsequent shyness, I'm told, is now portrayed as being stuck-up by others. Along with my loner attitude. I don't want to be a loner but I don't feel I ever learned the proper social skills to create relationships because of my attempts to hide from everyone to avoid the bullying incidents as a child. I still, to this day, have terrible relationships, even with my family. I long to be close to others but I don't know how to go about it.

    I did spend years replaying and fantasizing of bullying incidents and different outcomes in my mind. Actually obsessing over it. Wishing at what I should have said, physically taking down the bullies and finally getting some respect. I more recently was bullied by a boss at a job and instantly was brought back to that place of no-control and learned helplessness in my mind. My esteem took another huge blow. I still fantasize about telling her off. It seems nothing has changed.

    I made the mistake of going to my 20 year HS reunion (at the request of the few good friends I did have). I got up the courage to talk to a few of these bullies about their behavior as they brought up the same taunting remarks 20 years later. When I became defensive about it, I was told that they didn't care because I didn't matter then and I don't matter now. So, what's more pathetic than a teen bully? An adult one. It instantly took me back to feeling like that same insignificant, meaningless, hopeless and helpless little girl I was then. As much as I tried not to let it get to me at my age now, it still did.

    Continuing on I've had some complications that have reinforced my feelings of being an outsider. My husband and I lost our first and only child to a disorder so rare I had a better chance of winning the lottery than having had this happen. But it did. We've since not been able to go on to have children that we desparately wish for depleting all our funds in attempts with medical intervention. So, I fear I will always be that outsider looking in at what everyone else has. The haves and the have nots. I feel isolated and forgotten as my friends and family have moved forward in their own lives with their own families once again leaving me behind at Go as they move forward to finish the game. If I didn't already have such deep-rooted feelings of isolation and feeling like I don't fit in, I'm sure this would be easier (not easy though) to accept.

    I truly think I'd be such a different person if the bullying never occurred. I didn't end up being one of those people whose skin was thickened by the experience but moreso the opposite. I'm very sensitive and compassionate. The reason I found this article was because I was helping a friend whose son is being bullied now at school and wanted more information to help.

    It wasn't until I read this article that things really clicked with me. The light came on and knowing that it's not just me, and that there is a reason why I act the way I do now helps. It felt so good to know it wasn't me that made me this way. Good to know that I'm not the only one struggling even years later. For some reason, knowing the cause gives me more hope for solutions. Like a huge weight has been lifted because I always blamed myself. So thank you, for your insight. I may find the courage to step outside my comfort zone and put myself out there again. Fear of ridicule/rejection kept me from doing this before but perhaps this is the nudge I need to make the effort.

  • James

    I think these blogs say it all about the severe pain that bullying and psychological damage can cause. I am 48 , and while I try to keep past bullying buried, its still there. I may forget the actual incidents, but who I am today and many of my issues stem from bullying.

    Bullying damaged my self-esteem, and once it's damaged, it starts a cycle thats difficult to break..lack of self esteem makes it difficult to form relationships, which causes depression, substance abuse and anxiety. The problems may get further away from the initial bullying, but they can get traced back to that bullying.

    I hope if someone is reading this that is getting bullied, please know you can do something. Bullying makes you feel helpless, but you can do something.

    Don't be ashamed of the bullying or worry what the other kids will do if you tell an adult, but that's what you need to do. You need to force the adults in your life to not tolerate this behavior in your school, home or neighborhood.

    Form a support network of adults that will do something when you get bullied. Parents, teachers, guidance counselor, etc. If you need to talk to a professional counselor, then do it. There is nothing wrong with it.

    You may have to tell a few people before anyone does anything. But if you can find one person to support you, then you have one more person than you have right now, who will remind you that you are a good person and do not deserve to be treated abusively.

    Yeah, it really really sucks...i know. It seems like it will never stop, but it will. You can do it. People like me that don't even know you are rooting for you.

  • Anonymous-51

    Sometimes I can't help but believe that the most satisfying thing would be to utterly destroy any hope of happiness or prosperity for those who performed the bullying.

    The default impulse is to seek out present bullies and respond not merely in kind but vindictively with far more sadistic fury. The general idea is to take the pain they cause me and send pain at least 5-10x worse to them quickly in the hopes that they see the light and change their ways. Sometimes such attempts might work, other times they would merely lead to more aggression. I don't want to permanently crush someone, but I do want their pain to be so unbearable for an ideally brief time that they agree such a path in life is not worthwhile. And I cannot lie, for that instant in time it would probably feel good to be in control.

    Fortunately or unfortunately, I'm a nice guy who believes fundamentally in things like forgiveness and can't help but feel a certain natural sympathy for others. While I can talk about crushing someone, I'm not very good at actually doing it.

    Can any amount of therapy give me the same satisfaction and the same reality? If I do not perceive that I have emerged victorious, how can I simply move on and consider myself a true winner?

  • vish

    well, i m 20 yrs old today and i think when i was in the 8 th standard, instances of psychological bullying started with me. my peer group members would shout names at me, hurl abuses at my family, someone called my best friend left me to be a part of a group which felt more "powerful " . my appearence was always mocked at.

    ultimately, it all led to a negative impact up on me in some or the other way. the way i think now, probably or for sure depends on the experiences i have had as a pre teen .

    well, now that i had stepped into childhood, i was diagonised with obsessive compulsive disorder after a bitterly falied relationship problem (HOCD) .

    i have been told by my doctor that i have traces of symptoms pertaining to borderline personality disorder as well !!

    hurts to know that all of these problems have had actually a root in my past childhood life which could have been easily preventable with intelligent handling

  • cath

    i was bullied from day one of primary school. i was in a class which only had 5 girls, and i was ostracised right from the start. most of the taunts were about my appearance, or due to getting better marks than the rest of the group. these set of girls would one minute include me and the next dump me. i spent most of primary school fearful, lonely and totally confused. i even remember looking up the word friend in a dictionary aged 8 to make sure i'd got it right! the gang of girls would pretend to break friends with one of the girls, who would then befriend me. she would get me to talk about the other girls and then run back to the gang telling them eveything i had said. it was all emotional abuse, name calling, and sometimes physical abuse.

    aged 9 my father suffered a nervous breakdown and was sectioned under the mental health act after being found on an edge of a cliff. i was bullied for that, and i will never forget one boy telling me that the reason my dad tried to kill himself was because he had a daughter like me. i hated myself, felt ugly, worthless and a nuisance to everyone around me. i thought of suicide often as a child. my home life totally changed and was not a safe haven anymore. my mother took all her frustration out on me, again with name calling, physical abuse and relying on me heavily to listen to her problems, sitting up late at night consoling my mother and telling her everything would be ok, when inside i was in so much pain. i had told my parents about the bullying, and my mothers response was 'try being nicer to them'. so i thought it was all my fault, that i deserved to be treated like that because i was ugly, horrible, a loser.

    when i moved to high school i thought things may change, naively i thought they would finally grow up. but it just got worse, the same girls bullied me, and by being in a bigger school i just had more people there ready to join in with the bullying. i spent most days, walking to school in tears, hiding in the toilets until my first class, sitting on my own, having ink splattered all over me, fun made out of me, my property destroyed, my hair covered in chewing gum. this went on every day until i was 15. i started to self harm at age 14, through cutting. no one knew and to this day none of my family know about that. i had long stopped bothering to tell my parents about the bullying. with all the stress at home with my fathers illness i knew i had to keep quiet so i didn't upset anyone. however i was such an angry child, i would lash out at my family because i felt anything they said to me was personal. my family used to call me 'psycho'.

    aged 15 i made some new friends, who were actually nice people. however by this point i'd created this mask to hide behind. i pretented to be hard faced and tough. i started to smoke and drink, sleeping with boys so they would 'like me'. i felt so worthless, so unattractive, that if a boy actually did fancy me i thought i was being set up, or that it was a dare. i really had no self respect at all, and didn't care about myself.

    since leaving school most of my relationships have been abusive. my first ever long term relationship was with a man who phsyically, emotionally and sexually abused me. the second relationship i had was with a guy who was emotionally abusive and cheated. and i've recently come out of another relationship where the guy was emotionally unavailable and had no hope of going anywhere. i have a huge fear of intimacy, i never let anyone too close to me, and i hide behind this false self i've created to protect myself. people see me as some hard faced tough nut who doesn't get affected by anything. they're shocked if they ever see me cry, because i never let that side of me show. i very rarely allow anyone to see if i'm hurt, and that prevents anyone getting truly intimate with me. my most recent ex doesn't believe that i actually care that much about him, because i hardly ever showed it. i want to show affection, show love, but i become physically paralysed, and i stop myself doing it.

    i've been clinically depressed and on medication on and off throughtout my adult life. i'm now 30 and only now starting to put myself back together again. i have no idea about who i really am! its only in the last few years that i've started to pursue hobbies that i enjoy, because i had no idea what it was i enjoyed doing. anything i had been interested in as a child/teen was riduculed by my peers and my mother. so i stopped caring about the things i liked.

    i'm just started psychotherapy because i don't want to continue my life like this anymore. i dont' want another failed relationship, i don't want anymore hurt or feeling so detached from everyone. i want to form meaningful bonds with people and to enjoy all that life has to offer instead of feeling like a total outsider. i don't want to question someones attraction to me, or to reject compliments, or to be paranoid about peoples intentions.

    when i think back to school and my childhood its difficult to remember events etc. everything is like a blur because i've blocked it out so much to try and stop the pain. its a sad thing to say but i can't actually remember a good time or an event that made me happy as a child. i always felt i was under a huge black cloud trying to be as invisible as possible. when i saw my therapist for the first time last week she picked up on something i had said which was that i felt like a nuisance. when she repeated that back to me, i cried so hard, because thats exactly how i felt and i'd buried that so deep inside me. but it all makes so much sense now!

    being bullied has affected every part of my life, but i hope with therapy i will ensure it won't affect the rest of my life

  • Anonymous-52

    I have come to learn over a number of years that i have a bullying father. It has been very hard to overcome and i have suffered severe social anxiety and depression as a result.

    The bullying behaviour is extremely narcissistic and unrelenting and i believe it is to gain attention for himself. He expresses this behaviour by being extremely antagonistic and negative about my life chances when others aren’t around, and when i lash out he always portrays me as someone with mental problems.

    Since the death of my mother two years ago who I loved very much and was extremely supportive, I see very little of my large family, which in some ways increased my happiness with fewer bouts of depression and reduced anxiety, who has labelled me as a difficult person to get along with or someone with mental problems, which I believe is a perception that has been created by my fathers manipulation.

    He always expresses himself as a saviour to other people as he owns a number of houses and has given me some where to live, but never expresses his happiness with me living there when I tell him I appreciate it.

    I am currently nearing the end of my university degree in social science, which has been extremely liberating, as I have learnt the source of many of my problem, but it has been a difficult and long road.

    I am currently looking for a full time job and intend to move out and on with my life but have noticed the behaviour increasing, with him further isolating me for my siblings and antagonising me further and claiming himself as the victim as I don’t see them much, and when he stirs up arguments and I react.

    I understand that it is in my best interest to stay away from this environment, but I always go back hoping that things might change but it never does, and I always end up dwelling on it?

    Any way that is a snippet of my bullying father story and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel as I now have a great, supportive partner and am looking forward to moving on with my life with a good career and not just a jobI have to go to each day, which was my earlier opportunity.

  • Roslyn

    Iam 68years old & still feel the traurmas of those years of hell I know the children were fed the information to torture me but it is little conciation for the years of bashings & name calling that went bacck to starting school. Teachers did nothing as they didn't want to upset the GOOD members of the sin was being born out of wedlock to a mother who dumped me & a soldier who most likly was treated to gold statous in the country but was to gutless to take responsability for his child. life is a thing that I can't wait to leave behind not to worry I am to gutless to end it (must have my fathers genes) a good Church elder once told me when I was 6years old that I could never go to heaven as illagitamte children just float in space so I guess she got that wrong as I think this world is hell. sorry but God forgive the children they were only products of the Parents

  • dave

    "The first ugly outcome is that it becomes more likely that you will become increasingly susceptible to becoming depressed and/or angry and/or bitter. Being bullied teaches you that you are undesirable, that you are not safe in the world, and (when it is dished out by forces that are physically superior to yourself) that you are relatively powerless to defend yourself. When you are forced, again and again, to contemplate your relative lack of control over the bullying process, you are being set up for Learned Helplessness (e.g., where you come to believe that you can't do anything to change your ugly situation even if that isn't true), which in turn sets you up for hopelessness and depression."

    I do not remember when it started , I don't remember much about my school days (i have blocked most of it out) What i do remember is being treated like crap and called a hypochondriac by my mother because i was allways making like i was sick.. So i wouldn't have to go to school.

    It has had lasting effects on my life even to this day.

  • Still Trying

    Roslyn, what a horrid and unfair lot you must have had. I can't imagine the pain that you felt. Sometimes the unfairness that life brings can be utterly devastating. I do not have words to console you or mitigate your suffering, but I know this for a FACT: God excludes no one. God is with us now, even though we may not realize or understand. You have nothing to be forgiven for: you were an innocent. As are we all in the end. Lean upon faith - not the lies you were told. Take the time and find that secret space in your heart. Find a way to quiet the voices of judgement that spoke to you when you were defenseless because what they told you were lies. Strip away any meaning you put upon their words. And in that quiet place you will understand who you are: complete, whole, loved by God, and innocent from the start. May God bless you remember your innocence. My prayers are with you.

  • Anonymous-53

    I was born to a bullying father, brother and I tried to move away and was then victim of more bullying at the hands of my cousins.

    I am 29 but I've only come to realize very recently that I've been a victim of bullying. This became more and more apparent as the older I grew I noticed that I was falling behind my peers in career success etc..

    I feel that it was quite unfortunate that I didn't realize what was happening to me and I was quite suicidal for some points in my life because I was financially dependant on people who would constantly make me feel terrible about myself and still do. My father and brother criticize every action I take with the emphasis being on what I'm doing is wrong rather than evaluating the merit of what I do or analyzing the details.

    I have struggled to escape this and now I'm working in the US on a visa that has helped me reinvent myself and feel self-worthy but this emotional abuse from the past has caused me to fail in many personal relationships as well.

    I recently started seeing a therapist who has helped me through this and I wish to help my father and brother as well. Therapy has immensely improved my life and I really wish I had discovered this sooner. I think psychology and psychiatry are some of the noblest professions out there.

  • Anonymous-54

  • Sally

    In looking back, I don't think a sense of social acceptance and self worth were more palpable than during the 7th grade.

    I was the object of ongoing bullying by 2 girls on a daily basis. They continually belittled my appearance during class, so I found myself become even more absorbed to prove my value as an academic.

    One of these girls is a well-known author who recently cited her childhood friend ( the other bully) in her book dedication !

    I don't believe the pain will be aleviated, though I'm thankful for an adult mindset in looking back.

  • l.j.

    I had a speech problem growing up and was teased horribly because of it. I had no confidence or self esteem. In elementary school, I was picked on really bad. The name calling was horrendous. I've had my pants pulled down and hair spray almost sprayed into my eyes. The teasing carried over into junior high and high school. There were times when I was waiting for the bus to come after school, I was almost pushed in front of it. The majority of the teachers did nothing to prevent it. In fact, most of the teachers favored the "in crowd." I was even teased graduation day. After high school, things started to look up. I enrolled in a local community college and got a part time job, where I met my future husband. After two years, I transferred to a nearby university where I was teased because I commuted to school. The teasing wasn't as bad as grade school but I was called "uncool" and excluded from social events because of my commuter status. It didn't help that the university didn't have anything for commuters. Nobody wanted to get to know me. I was pretty much a loner, even though I wanted friends. I graduated with a B.A. and got a job. I went through hell there for four years. My supervisor didn't like me and made my life a living hell. Co-workers excluded me for no reason, even though I made an attempt to be friendly. There was a horrible rumor about me sleeping around with men. When I got married, a co-worker took my wedding announcement and made copies of it. They hung it up all over the place with the word "whore" written on it. I've nasty messages written on my car. One co-worker even went as far as to go to my husbands place of work to tell him I was sleeping around. Of course, the rumors weren't true. Sad thing is, these co-workers were all married and pretended they were such good citizens. I was eventually fired from that job. A few years later, I became pregnant with my son(age 3 now) and things have looked up for me ever since he was born. I am back working the same retail job I did after highschool and I love the people I work with. I am involved with my church where the other women are wonderful. I have a great support system of family and in laws. But the scars never leave. I am still reminded of my past. Recently, I had one of the bullies from my past make remarks about me as I was at the mall. I told him to grow the f--- up. I am a more confident, thick skinned person today. There is hope for victims.

  • mom

    My son has been bullied for 2in half year I made my write about how he feels about himself and about what has happen to him.I hope this will help him and others to understand how much it hurts a child.My son is 9 this been going on since he was 7.Alot of the time he does not want to me or his dad.I thank god for staff member at boys and girls club because he talks to him.It is hard went it seem like no-one want to help you.

  • Anonymous-55

    It broke my heart to read all these horrible stories about how cruel people can be. I was never personally bullied, but I do remember a kid in high school who was. His "bullier" was known throughout the school as an absolutely scary, violent guy. One day, in a class of at least 90 students, the teacher stepped out for awhile. The bully took that opportunity to pick on this kid and challenge him to a fight. The bully was 3 years older than this kid and was physically much, much larger. That made me so angry that I marched right up to the bully and told him to pick on someone his own size. At the time, I was 5'1'' and 98 lbs. and female. That bully was so taken aback that he actually just walked out of the classroom. Unfortunately, I think I may have further embarassed the kid he was picking on - but, on the other hand, the bully took an awful lot of ribbing for having been put in his place by a little "girl".

    Just remember this - there are tons and tons and tons of people who don't think you're awful or deserving of that kind of treatment. Try trusting that notion for awhile and see if it doesn't help.

  • Anonymous-56

    This article and many of the comments resonate very strongly with my experience. I have for a long time thought there was something very wthe wrong with my childhood mainly from the age of 6 to 11. My mother was not very supportive of any of the family, she had her own problems to deal with, and I suspect she was resentful of us for depriving her of a career and having a better childhood than she had as she often said how ungrateful we were and how awful her mother was. I have grown up something of a loner and had all the problems described in the article about, but I had never considered myself as being bullied until recently when finally the penny dropped. In my first year or two in my second school I was punched in the stomach in the cloakroom. This and similar violence happened several times. Not particularly noteworthy but there was no support at all. I was told "don't tell tales". My mother was a teacher at the school and I doubt she had really thought through being a parent and a teacher in the same place. She was also in her first year there and probably under the stress of being in a new job. My reaction was to become very withdrawn, to the point of hiding anywhere from the other children, such as in my mother's classroom. I remember spending some break times crouched in the corner of the yard, knees to my chin with my face buried in my hands. I was also wetting the bed for which I was scolded and made to sleep in dirty sheets and I had my toys burnt. I remember all those things quite vividly, but had forgotten about the bullying in the school until recently. When I did and started to make the connections between these things I also started to remember more pleasant memories of starting at my previous school and of feeling accepted by the other children and the warmth of the teachers. I remember looking forward too going up to the next year when the class would move up from the annexe across the road to the main school campus. Unfortunately that did not happen. But now those positive memories seem like a lifeline to a more happier existence. I can feel a real shift in the way I see things when I recall them as opposed to the "old" way of trying to compensate for feeling that I do not quite belong like trying to be "clever" or getting angry. It also seems that the physical feelings of social phobia are a kind of dim echo of the pain I felt when I was being beaten.

    It has taken quite a long time to get here from first going to counselling, which I kept up for about 2 years. It was useful, but I made more progress from a self help book on cognitive behavoural therapy, and the key thing from that book was learning to relax and observe my thinking. Both the counselling and the self help book arose from different crises, such as turning up to work drunk.

    The bullying I experienced probably was not that bad, it was the lack of support that made its effects far worse than it ever should have been.

  • The Tall One

    I've skimmed through some of these stories and it saddens me so much that people have suffered like this. I too suffered a kind of indirect bullying in that I am very tall and total strangers would laugh, mock and call me names. I'm now writing a book on how to help and encourage people who have been through these types of experiences.

    @Cindy on September 19 2009 - The first paragraph of your story is incredibly powerful. I've never known the effects of bullying to be described like this. If you ever come back to this website could you please email me at the address above? Thanks

  • Anonymous-57

    I have been bullied for 3 years every single day by my former friends (as well as girls from lower and higher years). Everyday I shitted myself going to school, I tried to act like nothing happens, I was too scared to tell anybody and even though I told several teachers, nothing has changed. I had family problems on top, my parents were controlling and never let me go anywhere (so it was hard to confine into them about bullying)....

    I eventually developed depression for 4-5 years, though it wasn't till later that I realise what it was, when the bullies left, I had extremely low self esteem, I couldn't talk to anyone, paranoid of everyone and I just kept to myself, withdrawn for another 2 years. I didn't achieve the grades I potentally could've got, but I somehow made it pass the boundaries. I bet everyone just thought I was weird.. In total, I had no life for about 5 years... It felt like a long slow lonely and painful journey that wouldn't end.

    Now I'm only 20, and it's still somewhat recent that all this occurred. If you look at me now, you would never suspect I have ever been bullied. I have never told anyone and I can never bring myself to say this, it makes me feel weak - I worry how people would judge me. I try to let go and have fun with life, sometimes I feel like I have, but then suddenely the past rushes back into me.

    Still I think the bullies helped me view life in a different way. I appreciate kindness a lot more, I try to help anyone in need... If I never was bullied, I probably would've end up a bit more arrogant.

  • Anonymous-58

    I was verbally and physically abused by classmates of another race in grammar school. This went on for some months as I recall. My parents or teachers did not know how to handle it. I feel it did have long term effects. I am 60 years old and the emotional scars and memories remain. As a young adult I felt powerless to have the right career or marriage. I was unable to "function" -- my life did not flow as others did. (big point). My parents had a nightmare marriage and my older sibling was my mother's favorite child. I was far behind in development compared to her. Other than that it was a good life. In college I turned to religion and through much very difficult mental work was able to grow out of the depression to a great degree. I still have an overabundance of anxiety and headaches and colds sometimes. I am still unsure of myself in some social situations and do not enjoy coming up against a know-it-all bossy type in church or anywhere else. I just mentally withdraw and don't offer opinions and go find a more gentler person with which to have a friendship.

  • Anonymous

    Last week, a girl named Phoebe Prince committed suicide in South Hadley, Massachusetts because of bullies. She was tormented in both school and on the Internet. Lawmakers are discussing this, and parents are demanding answers from school officials. You can read about her tragic case in The Boston Herald. Bullying can truly push kids to the edge.

  • Anonymous-59

    I was constantly bullied at the grade school I went to and when I went to junior high the bullying continued. I was called names and pushed around. One person chased me with a broom when I was walking to school. Some girls pretended to be my friend and gave me gum that had been chewed and laughed when I opened it. They called me "It" that was all. That would have been bad enough but the same thing was going on at home. I was a bedwetter and got a morning spanking for the first few years of my life. My parents felt that shaming me would help. It did not help to be treated like the family dog. I often suffer from problems from self esteem. Usually I can overcome it but there are occassions (usually around pre and post pms ) that I feel horrible anxiety about what the people I am around think of me. I used to beat myself up in my own head when I felt I had done something wrong. Now I just berate myself. .... This is what bullying does when combined with the issues I had at home. I have trouble even loving the person I am some days. I am now a grandmother. I have raised my children as best I can...The one thing they were not allowed to do was make fun of Anyone over their differences...( I had really crooked teeth which may have been why other kids felt it was okay to bully me ). There is more but that is enough for today.... I just want to know how to start liking the person I am so I can feel comfortable around others. I am tired of being anxious and feeling worried about what others think of me.

  • Anonymous-60

    I was sexually abused by my 10 years older brother when I was five, so it was quite severe. But worse was the way he physically dominated my sister and I all the time, so that I was constantly bullied or being a witness to his brutality toward my sister. Of course my father was a bipolar bully and my mother narcissistic and damaged, or none of this would have happened. AND, patriarchal society is a bully, so the whole structure is sick.

    For some reason, I was well-liked by most at school, even though I acted out, defying teachers and a few times got into bullying boys verbally (ones I was attracted to). I never bullied girls. I even stood up for some of them. I guess I had a combination of an innate belief in God or Goodness that one poster talked about, and I had a pretty face, so somehow I had a pretty easy time in grade school despite being suppressed at home.

    Then, I think what really sealed the deal as far as twisting my life, was when I was 13 in junior high. I was flat-chested, even have a sunken chest from having been born at a high altitude, and I got very hairy as well. At first boys flirted with me because of my face, I guess, but then I started being bullied by one exceptionally mean boy who made fun of my lack of breasts. He never let up during junior high. Like one poster said, I learned that he was the popular, successful one, supported by the teachers and administration, so I became totally repressed and depressed.

    I suffer still from rage and depression. I now, at middle age, have to deal with all the consequences of what happened to me plus getting old and being jobless. I know I am going to recover, but this really sucks. I appreciate all the wonderful information on the net and the extreme generosity of the professionals who post here and the victims like myself who open our hearts. May something positive come out of all of this pain.

  • Gregg

    I was bullied from preschool until I was in college. Two of the beatings (6th and 8th grade) gave me concussions and one of them dislocated my shoulder. Never had a friend until I was 16.

    I'm 32 now, and not a single day goes by where I wish for revenge against the bullies- I still remember every single one of their names. I have diligently trained in martial arts since I was 12 and it's been my obsession for over 15 years. This is how I try to deal with the emotional scars of the bullies, and yet I still feel completely helpless.

    There were others who were bullied in my school, and I often see some of them around when I visit my hometown- they are in their 30's and clearly living below their potential. It's very sad to see. I only dodged that bullet because I worked hard in college and my career to compensate for what those bullies did.

    Even at 32, I hope to meet one of my childhood bullies in a deserted alley. I want them to know what its like to feel helpless.

  • Anonymous-61

    I was bullied intensely by other girls from the time I was in 2nd grade until I was in 9th grade, and then after my family moved to a new community and a new school, I was only ocassionally harassed. To this day I'm not really sure why I was bullied. I was not nerdy or anti-social or anything. But, I was the smallest girl in my class and also emotionally sensitive, so I think that had a lot to do with it. I used to run from the bus to my house. One time the other kids made me get on my hands and knees when I got off the bus, and they took turns riding me like a horse. In middle school I often went and hid in a bathroom stall during lunch to avoid being taunted or threatened, or just because I hated sitting alone. I had a supportive family, but my mom held strong to her theory that if I just ignored the problem it would eventully go away. In retrospect, I spent an awful lot of time trying to avoid physical confrontation, and I probably just should have learned how to fight and/or defend myself. If I ever have kids who go through the same thing, I will teach them how to defend themselves, and how not to back down from a fight. I wish I had just had the courage to punch one of these kids in the face really hard - just once. The longterm effects for me are manifested in defensiveness, over-agression ocassionally, and being suspicious of other people's motives. It's very hard for me to trust people, and I have a hard time letting my guard down. I have been professionally successful, fortunately, and a lot of my self-esteem comes from that area of my life. But sometimes I can be really unsure of myself socially. I manage to hide it pretty well.

  • michael

    I think the title of my comment says it all. And I don't think there is the need for any specifics on recovery either - each person will have a different empowerment experience.

    and to "Recovery or reaction? - Gregg - Feb 2nd 2010" .... wow dude, our stories are IDENTICAL (except I was fortunate enough to not have such severe injuries). I feel for you dude.

  • Nikki

    Well, since everyone's been sharing their experiences with bullying, I might as well write mine down here. I didn't start getting bullied until 9th grade, and when it happened, I was totally unprepared and never defended myself.

    When I went to HS, everything just went...wrong. The experiences I've went through there is why I'm still depressed, even to this day. This is what changed me from being a happy, hyperactive girl to a sullen, reserved one.

    In 9th grade, I sat around the same girl in almost all of my classes, and she was...horrible. She came from a school that I hadn't even heard of, and all her friends came from there too, so she was popular from the first day. She would stop at nothing to make my life miserable by pestering me and spreading rumors about me. Our HS, being Catholic, was small- so what she said about me spread around fast, especially since she had so many friends to tell it to.

    The reason she bullied me because I wasn't cool or amazingly extroverted. I didn't care about my looks that much, and I didn't wear makeup. Oh, and I didn't have a boyfriend, so she assumed I was gay.

    I was afraid to even wake up in the mornings to go to school, because I didn't know what she would do next. She or one of her friends did something every day, and I cried at least once every week. Of course, most of my classmates thought that was hilarious. There was probably only a select few girls who wouldn't join in.

    Three months later, that same girl went so far as to cause me to have a mental breakdown. Why? She turned the whole class against me. She asked me, "Why don't you like me?" And I could've provided a million reasons, but I never defended myself, so I just hung my head and said nothing. Her friend just laughed and said I had an attitude and that people like me will never succeed or make friends in life.

    Miserable and disgusted with myself, I hid away from everything: my friends, my family, everything. I gave up doing certain things because they weren't considered 'cool.' I even deleted my facebook page so those girls wouldn't track me down.

    Thankfully, I've forgotten many things that happened that year, but around Springtime it picked back up again, not with the first girl, but with her best friend. And then she pestered me for the first half of 10th grade, and not just in school- even at the mall and dances.

    My mom tells me to get over it, but I'll probably never forgive them. Never...

    The only person who helped me during these times was my best guy friend, who lived down the street from me. He was the only person who could cheer me up and make me laugh during serious situations, and I swear, if it wasn't for him, I would've lost my mind. Recently, he's been depressed because girls keep bullying him. I haven't seen him in months, and I really miss him...

    Eventually, I had to resort to therapy to help me out. See what bullying does? It assassinates your character and identity, and nothing good comes out of it. I could push myself to achieve my goals, but bullying distracts me so much, I just give up because I think of myself as worthless. I wonder if I should even bother being alive, because I'll probably never be as successful as those girls are. They look so happy right now. I hope when they get out of HS, they'll be repaid for what they did to me.

    I am looking forward to college, but I only get B's, so I don't know if I'll ever get in. I'll try my best...but if bullying never happened, I could've amounted to so much more.

    Thanks for reading.

  • Anonymous-62

    I was bullied horribly in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. IT WAS UNBEARABLE. Imagine being stuck on a bus for 15 minutes having no way of escaping. Every morning, I asked my mother to drive me to school so that I could avoid being bullied. Now, I feel like I have this horrible fear of going to any place that I could be potentially bullied. How do you get rid of that pain that those stupid kids put into you? It's like they have no idea what they're doing. But, what makes me feel better, though, is that I KNOW for a fact that they're going to end up bagging the groceries that I buy when I get older and have a successful job and all that. I just know. People like that usually don't have a higher IQ than -16. Personally, I don't think that the school doesn't do enough to get rid of this bullying thing. One time, while I was taking a test, some kid whom I've NEVER met before started to make fun of me. For the full two hours, I couldn't even concentrate on my test. It was horrible. He threw my water bottle to the front of the room, kicked my chair, called me really un-creative names and thought he was witty in a sense. The worst part was that the teacher didn't do a single thing about it. And he knew very well that it was going on. Frankly, I never did anything to those kids and I wish I did. I have scenarios in my head that I think would have dealt with the problem a little better. Right now, I maintain an attitude with these kinds of kids and it seems to keep them off my back.

  • Anonymous-63

    I began to be bullied by a person my mother and I took home from school everyday. It started when I was in sixth grade, and he was in seventh grade. At that same time, which was the most important event in my life, was that I became a Christian.

    This person would talk behind my back, and when I began to grow (I was tall for my age) would get he and his friends together to pick on my weight, heighth, and when I would exercise. I could not escape these people because where I grew up was very small and enclosed.

    By my seventh grade year it worsened. People that were my friends before never spoke to me again. This continued until our family left the area after my freshman year of high school. My freshman year was very good, though, because the school was larger, and our school had groups of people from around the city. I played baseball and basketball, and always worked hard in school. I did not have faith in the guideance counselors at these schools: they would not punish people who beat up other people in the school. I was once placed in detention for talking back to one of these kids, and standing up for the person who was beat up.

    Bullying continued by junior and senior year of high school. Our family moved to Michigan, and I was teased and picked on for having a deep Southern accent. At first I tried to play along with it, but when I tried to make friendships it would not work. This was a small town. I was selected to attend an honors program my senior year, and I had one teacher tell me that he would not excuse my work and to not ask him for help. My response was to bear it, and my senior year I continued to work hard, and eventually got a scholarship.

    I returned to Michigan after my first year in college because of family problems (financial, and mother diagnosed with cancer). My freshman year in college was great, but I had a good idea of what would happen if I returned. I got into the school, and gave it my best. I graduated with honors, but experienced the same type of exclusion that I did in high school. Most of my peers were similarly unenthusiastic about my interests. I would present my research to a class, and would be hissed of-stage, to the embarrassment of my professor and myself. I was shouted down for comments that I made to the academic advisor about a class.

    Right now I am a 2L in law school, am almost proficient in Mandarin, and am working on pursuing a career in international law. In my experiences from middle school to the end of undergrad that I fit best around the international and new students at each school, and later the professors at the universities I attended. I also love cities because it offers a mix of people.

    My points are these for those that are bullied. First, it is not your fault that you are bullied. Your imperfections (seen as imperfections) are no greater than anyone else's, and you are wonderfully created. Second, be proactive to stop the effects of bullying. When mine began I started concentrating on my schoolwork, because I never wanted to see those kids again. I also played sports, but if you are not athletic, find something you are good at and develop it. I also began to befriend my peers who were bullied, and though I sometimes succumbed to peer pressure myself, I became lasting friends with them. (those of us bullied stuck together almost all the time) Third, you are precious child, if not to parents, then (to my belief system) God. Fourth, this time shall pass. I endured it from about age 12 until 23. You have to understand that if you have a talent, have high moral character, or are sensitive (a great quality), you may be sneered upon. It is different. How long does it last? Who knows, because as I have gotten more successful it has seemed to stay. Remember, it is not your fault, and though the hurt may never leave, it is not your fault. Fifth, channel your emotion into examples of the activities I mentioned above. The worst thing a bully could see is that while you may be effected by his/her taunts, you still move on. Remember Bull Connor turned the hoses on peaceful protestors, but eventually the hoses were turned off. Sixth, embrace your wounds. May sound strange, but I have examined these times, and confirmed that I have learned many great lessons on wisdom, friendship and life in general. Look at it this way: though difficult, you have been given the opportunity to do something special. Remember "The stone that was rejected has become the chief cornerstone." You can be the most beautiful of all.

    Lastly, I am still recovering from these periods. Both the length and my take these instances underscore this. How long will it take? I do not know, but what I do know is to take one hurdle at a time. For me there has been a ton to work out and heal. Maybe the same for you. I spoke to the 1Ls at law school, and about law school I said this: To be proactive and do not give up. The same applies here. All it really takes to topple a bully is to tap him/her on the nose. Do it peaceably and lovingly, but do it nonetheless. Then deal with the hurt that follows. If you do these things, I think you can grow in strength.

    (It was actually therapeutic writing this. Thanks, and good article.)

  • Michelle

    I was bullied horrendously throughout my childhood. I too can't remember a time when I wasn't physically and emotionally bullied. I have never really spoken about what went on or how it affects me even today (I am now 30). However, I now seem to have a lot of issues, and think they may be because of the bullying that went on in my past. I lie... all the time. I feel like I need sympathy and an understanding ear from my 'friends' so I make stuff up! I tell them that things much worse than bullying have happened to me so that I get 'time' with them to talk through the horror that was my life, but change the truth to make it similar. I know it is sick, and really I should be punished for doing this, because it is unforgivable but I just feel that people won't listen or understand the full affect that this has had on me, so it seems easier to make things up and get the 'listening' time that I think I deserve. I would be interested to know if anyone out there is feeling as honest as me and would like to 'admit' that they do the same?? Failing that, I will just go with the theory that I am a sick puppy and need to be put down!

  • Steff

    I am 42 years old and I still think about all the times I was bullied. It started when I was in the 6th. grade and didnt' stop until the 10th grade. I think they picked on me just because I was pretty much a loner. It has stayed with me all these years and has shaped the person I have become. I'm still scared I'll run into some of these kids someday. Like some of you that have been bullied, I too, think about revenge but then that would mean we're no better than them, wouldn't it? I would just like to know if they feel any guilt, if they're still the same person, or if they have learned to finally treat people better. They have no idea the lasting effects.

  • Jean

    Thank you so much for writing this. You all might think I am really 'crazy'...but I am 51 and have just this realized what has been wrong with me for just about my entire life. Bullying for me started when I was just in grade school at the hand of my sister. I don't need to go into details...but because I did not ever have anyone watching my back and supporting/protecting me I have spent my entire life life with low esteem. And worse - because what my sister did to me was so underhanded, long term, sneaky and of course she had large groups of people she had gang up on me - I have always accepted other people in my life that are just like her - because I thought thats just how people act. I've been bullied by countless other women as well as both my ex-husbands. In order to avoid mean people - I work for myself, do not date - how bad is that?? In the past year I have been dealing with anger and so much frustration. L:ast week I realized my daughter is being bullied...its so common.

  • Barb

    My son was diagnosed as ADHD but the school wouldn't do anything about it since he was smart. Instead he was subjected to having his desk dumped by his teacher, being yelled at and called lazy, typical ways teachers have been known to treat kids who don't measure up.

    As a result a couple of boys started bullying him and that went on for years. It got physical, he was attacked in the locker room in jr high, repeatedly punched, hit and kicked in the hallways. When the school wouldn't stop it we stopped forcing him to go, were turned into CPS who branded us guilty of educational neglect without benefit of a trial or a chance to defend ourselves and insisted we force him to go to school in spite of his psychologist telling us not to after he threatened suicide.

    We switched him to a different school but he still doesn't want to do his school work. Instead, he set up a campaign to become popular and he has. Could his popularity quest be his way of preventing future bullying? My thoughts are that he is making friends so no bullies will dare take him on.

    If so, how do I deal with it. His psychologist thinks he is wonderful and shouldn't have any problems now the bullying has stopped. Nothing we do seems to motivate him to put any effort into learning. He just accumulates friends.

  • Wildgeese

    Dr. Dombeck, I read your site. The results of bullying that you listed are all that I have endured for years. I married just before I was 30, and I don't know how I managed to date, but he was not what I would have chosen and thought I could do no better. He was abusive and violent, I had a child and ended up leaving him after 3 years of marriage. I can't date. I have attempted to date, but I get so nervous I sweat, shake and just about can't go through with it. I feel that I will be set up for ridicule and rejection before I get started. I genuinely feel I am worthless, though I do not walk around whining and moaning. I smile. I cry later when I'm alone. I've taken to spending any free time I have by myself. I don't have friends, other than those I work with, and they are great people. I have my daughter and no familial emotional support. My mother is not a nurturer and never was concerned about the excessive bullying I endured during middle school and my first year of high school. We moved across country and I attended a different school which was wonderful. Met wonderful people. Thank God. My one respite. I hate confrontation, get upset if someone becomes angry with me, fear rejection in all forms, see myself as a loser, and never finished college. After my daughter was born, I went back to school and left with only one class to take to get my associate's degree. I haven't been back to complete my bachelor's. I am now 44 years old. I work a dead end job, and in this economy there is no way I can move around within my organization. I fear losing that job everyday. I don't make enough to survive and feel that if I even attempt to date anyone at this point, I will have nothing to offer and will not be able to bring anything into a union. So I stay to myself. I'm incredibly lonely. I find myself extremely protective of my child, to the point that I am viciously protective. Just the slightest hint of bullying and I am on it at her school. She is confident and happy and deals well with problems. I'm glad she is able to. I used my experiences with her to help her, to encourage her to not be afraid as I was to fight back. She is braver than I ever was and I feel strongly that she will be fine. She is very open with me about what goes on at school. She is currently at middle school level. I can't express enough how lonely I am. I have accepted it as my fate, that because I cannot overcome these feelings of defeat, these fears of rejection and shame and worthlessness, etc, that I do not deserve to go on and have a life. I have become okay by myself. At times, it is very difficult. I have a good cry and then go about my business as usual. No one knows I feel this way. Not a soul. They think I'm happy, they call me 'the lady with the nice smile.' People are oblivious. I don't share what I went through with anyone, other than my child, because I am embarrassed and worried they will feel the same way about me as these kids did. I share with my daughter to help her. She is kind and loving. I've ranted on long enough. :-) Your site was informative and dead on. I hope that people who have been traumatized can find relief. It's too late for me. I've wanted to die for years. I can't commit suicide because of my child. She needs me. It would be selfish of me to leave her. I do what I have to do because I have to do it. But I don't want to be here most days. Thanks.

  • Anonymous-64

    As a middle aged survivor of childhood bullying, I recommend waking the tiger by Peter Levine, as an incredible resource to help people come out of the immobility response that often occurs as a result of the trauma.

  • Felisha Kay Mc

    I'm doing a speech about bullying and it has been apart of my research to read and tap into how others deal with being bullied. I feel that the ones doing the bullying are the ones who are truly different. The question that I just want answered is why? Why are innocent people the victim to such crimes? Okay, some people are over weight, to tall, to short, talk a little differently, or maybe just comprehend a little to slower than others. Does that give others the okay to take away these individuals rights? Everyone should be able to attend school or work without having such problems.

  • Bill

    A very good article indeed! I am 57 years old, but the scars from the bullying I experienced long ago has not disappeared. I believe that part of my personality was molded during those years and reversing that is something I have only partly managed to do.

    I was bullied in school between 1st and 5th grade. The bullying was physical and psychological. At the time I felt that everyone at school was in on it, but that is probably an exaggeration. Still quite a number of my class mates terrorized me - and a few teachers unwittingly followed suit and picked on this insecure lad who didn't do his homework properly and was home ill so often.

    My reaction at the time was to not tell anyone of my predicament. I tried to evade the mob by staying at home or taking detours to and from school. This did not help, since a school day is long and there is plenty of opportunity for oppressors to get their way. The terror ended when my younger brother told my parents what went on. They contacted the head master who took swift action. That ended it.

    But it wasn't over for me. I filled the void that opened itself when the bullying ended myself. I started believing that I suffered a terminal illness (a slow growing cancer). This belief plagued me for another 20 years and can still pop up at times. Psychologically this fear was in a way comforting. I got the confirmation that I was really different and failing didn't matter, since life would end soon anyway. But I didn't die. To my own surprise I am still alive.

    But looking back I can see that a lot of the problems I have experienced in my work life and my relationships stems from my childhood. Even though I enjoy friendship and love my tendency is towards being a loner. My work situation has been unstable for most of my adult life. Brief periods of employment have been mixed with long periods of selfemployment resulting in bad economy and relational problems. Now I am divorced - again.

    Over the years I have never really talked about my problems with anyone. It is my big secret, too shameful to discuss. Maybe it's time to change that. This article and all the comments gives me a new view on theese matters. Thanks everyone!

  • Tiarose

    I was bullied horrendously as a child and adolescent and never spoke about it. I endured years of humiliation and physical assault oftentimes I was blamed for what was happening. I was terrified of school. I suffered from anxiety, depression and a deep-seated shame no one really spoke up so I guess I just figured that that's the way it is. Seems strange to say that now but how is it that a child just "takes it??" I remember freezing when one of my tormentors, a boy who would punch me so hard in the arm, would get ready for an attack. I can still see him and feel the pain and humiliation. I was sprayed with a fire extinguisher by a gang... right across the hall from the school secretary's office, which was made of glass walls. I was absolutely miserable, scared and lonely. Today, I am 51 years old, still very youthful but very damaged even though many don't see it. Shockingly, I went through my life not realizing why I was such a mess until 3 years ago. I remember vividly what happened but I guess I simply minimized the impact it had on me. I may have briefly shared it with a therapist but nothing more until my 48th birthday when I slowly began to have a melt-down. I had over the years, vowed never to tell my family out of intense shame and a desire to spare them any suffering. But one day the monster just started to try and wrench itself from inside me and I spilled my guts. I have more to say but I will end for is late.

  • Anonymous-65

    What I don't understand is that if so many people have been bullied, why is it that when I going through the worst of the bullying I had to go through, I never saw it happening to anyone else?

  • Straggling

    Like everyone else I was also bullied. From grade school up to my high school years (which were worse) I have been subjected to humiliation, even to the point of tears.

    I has been 15+ years and I still have reoccurring bouts of depression, anger, hate and malice against those people who did this to me.

    I am a big guy yet with a soft heart so my classmates could just bully me easy because I rarely fought back, even never sometimes. I wanted to avoid fights but to no avail. When I speak, I was also laughed at due to my speaking. Of course, I told a teacher about it, but when you are attending an all-boys' school, such as is treated with scorn and you are further subjected to humilating abuse.

    So yeah, at those dark times I refuse to trust people, shunning my emotions against them for fear what they may do to me if I let them out.

    Until today.

    I have a hard time dealing with people. Due to years of psychological, physical and verbal abuse I don't trust people, internalize my anger into more pessimistic and possibly fatalistic thoughts, act awkwardly during social situations and more. What's worse is that during those years my morale and confidence have plummeted sharply and I don't even care what happens to other people, even to the ones who are close to me. The scars of bullying do run deep and hell, I feel like it's going to go on forever.

    Even now that I live here in Canada (was from the Philippines), I still find it hard to change emotionally and psychologically.

    I'll probably end up getting help, but this article has been a huge load-lifter. Really. To my brothers and sisters who have also been abused both mentally and physically, you are not alone. We will come out better than those who had bullied us.

    Thank you very much doctor. I will find the energy to put a closure on a stormy past into a promising future.

  • Ken

    I feel so sad reading the bullying experiences of others on this website. But I am also grateful to all of you for sharing them. I was a skinny, shy and sensitive kid who wore thick glasses and felt shy and awkward. Through my primary school years I experienced intermittent bullying but I don't remember holding onto any grudges. However, I do remember being anxious and feeling easily embarrassed. In grade 7 they move the kids into a senior public school with students from two other elementary schools in the area. My life turned into a daily hell. A group of kids from my home room class would grap my by band of my underwear, pull me up and throw me down the stairs. This happened every day, along with other incidents that involved these same people and in some cases people who I would have expected to accept me. What made it worse was that it happened on school property in areas and I think the teachers knew this was going on. Also, my parents chose not to intervene with the principal. So I was on my own. I was scared everyday. Getting to school was like crossing a battlefield, Although the bullying and tormenting stopped for the most part after grade 7, there were still incidents that perpetuated my continued fear and loathing. I've never fully recovered from it. I became a class clown in high school as a way of being liked. It always felt like the alternative to pretending to be someone else was to be tormented and bullied, so I've quietly worried that I would be rejected by others if they got to know what I was really like. The thing is, I've spent so much time trying to create a me that would be loved and welcomed in the world, that I didn't spend much time learning to love the person I am - and was. I mean, none of us chose to be bullied. The fear of being disempowered or not coping really became a serious issue when I got married a year and a half ago. After we got married and settled into daily life together, I found it hard to deal with conflict and I easily became angry and resentful. It's taken a lot of therapy to accept that I am still afraid and reacting to having been disempowered as a child. It has made intimacy a challenge, but I am deterrmined not to be a victim anymore. We were all good kids who had no control over the circumstance we found ourselves in. We didn't choose our peers, our parents, our school or anything else. We deserve to take care of ourselves.

  • Debbie

    My husband was bullied in a new job at age 50. He was hired and moved into a position that some there had been waiting 20 years to acheive. A large group of long-term employees got together and decided to "take him out". This was told to him later by one of the few decent people at that job. The verbal abuse, the "lets go to the parking lot (which would get you fired), and the daily humiliation eventually took there toll.

    Working 12 hour shifts 6 and 7 days a week, he was unable to get away from it. He left in a rage one day (so as not to hurt someone else) and was terminated. He slept for the next 6 months. It took another 6 months before he could stay awake a full day. He had re-curring dreams of murdering one of his ex-coworkers. This co-worker had worked in a prior place of employment with my husband and had been fired for hanging another employee over a conveyor in a lumber mill.

    He has now worked 6 months out of the last 4 years. He fears every job will be like this. The one he worked for 6 months turned out to have a boss that screamed, yelled and broke things along with a co-worker that would set him up to get in trouble.

    All this after 30+ years of working and supporting his family with no problem. He is depressed, has no self-confidence and with the economy and his age having a very hard time finding employment. In the mean time we are in danger of losing our home and anything we have spent the last 30+ years working for. It's taken a huge toll on our relationship. I am still here because I took the time to read some books on adult bullying and mobbing and there affect.

    We use a term in this country "going postal". Often times this comes from adults that have been bullied, but it is never called that. I think adults in this situation don't want to say that in public because it makes them feel weak and unfortunately others do see them as weak.

    Bullying is not only a problem that affects children, it affects adults too. Until more adults have the courage to stand up and say "I was bullied or I am being bullied" there will be no change.

    From the reading I've done on the topic of adult bullying, it is rampant in our colleges and universities. You'd think professors with all their education would know better and be able to control themselves better. What a joke. Especially when you consider a lot of them are trying to tell us how to treat childhood bullying.

  • Anonymous-66

    I was pegged a social outcast as a middle shooler. I attended a very small parochial school, was the smallest girl, skinny, with buck-teeth, and smart, I was an easy target. I went from a class of 15 kids my 8th grade year to transition to one of our high school's largest graduating classes (over 200). Culture-shock to say the least. Again, my freshman year, I was an easy target. My sophmore year, I enrolled in athletics, and made some friends, so although the bullying continued to a lesser extent, I had friends to empathize with.

    Fast forward to the present. My 13 year old son is very tall for his age, skinny, socially awkward, and a bit of a nerd, like his mother. He would daily come home with reports of classmates who would follow him after school, shout taunts at him, throw snowballs, etc. I went to the school, but they said they could do nothing. I asked him to ignore it as best he could, but it continued. Finally, in exasperation, I told him to go ahead and confront his bully, do whatever it takes, and regardless of the consequences, I would stand by his side. One afternoon I picked him up from school to see his jeans covered in grass stains. I asked him what happened. He said he was walking from school, and his bully was again following him, taunting and threatening him, only this time he had a group of other boys with him joining in. My son had apparently decided he had enough, grabbed the ring-leader around the shoulders and with one lanky leg took the bully's feet out from under him and threw him to the ground. From that day on, he was never bullied again. The lesson is this, the one thing a bully is counting on is that you will NOT confront him. Most bullies, at their heart, are more scared than you are, so they use intimidation and humiliation as their weapon. Take that away, and they are powerless.

  • Lynn

    My story is simular to Wildgeese's accounts with bullying.

    I am currently in the military and presently have 24 years in the service. The meer sign of weekness will be an invitation for those who are barely making it to shine a spotlight on your imperfections. They refer to it as incompetent leadership. This aids them in taking the spotlight off their ample shortcomings. I don't know how I made it this far, but I believe that no matter where I end up God will repair the damage done by bullying. I have to believe that or I will not make it.

    When I was 9 my mother had shown signs of being mentally ill. And because I was the oldest I had to be the responsible one. I never had an opportunity to find out who I was not time to experience anger. She was later diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. This was not her fault so I had to be an adult early. My mom was so sick that she would stare at me and say, " You think you are pretty don't you." I allowed her to knock me over tables and push on me but she never bruised my physical existance just my mental existance. By High School we moved in with my grandmother. My body began to change. I went from 5'4" to 5'8" during the summer. I learned after that that a complement is not the a complement when it's laced with verbal attacks. "You think you are pretty, You think you are better than anyone else." Looks from my aunts were degrading. I was built like fashion models wanted to be but somehow, I did not feel thankful. I cried and asked GOD WHY...What did I do??? I wanted to hide. I was so ashamed and confused. That same year I had been subjected to bullying by my own cousins and everyday on the bus. And guess what, my uncle was the driver. To add to this, the daily inappropriate touching from him. We were the last to get off the bus at my grandmothers house and he would yell choke. All the little kids were jumping around yelling "Choke". And he was pretending to playfully choke me, but it ended up in the inappropriate touching I mentioned earlier. I told my grandmother and his wife, my aunt. I sensed that they believed me but called me a liar. They blamed me for looking a certain way. How can you do that in hand me down clothing from them. And told me that he attended church and I didn't but we did not have a way to get there. My cousins had other girls to join in on the taunting and threats to beat me up. They threw pitballs in my hair, shot paper at me, and pushed me all witnessed by my uncle. And to this day there was not reason for it. I was the new girl in school. I did not want to go to school nor did I want to go home. I made friends with a group of girls who were being bullied but they end up bullying me with insults. I just laughed it off. I wanted to quit school but knew I had to hang in there. When I got home I cried constantly. I thought that something was wrong with me. And I know that there was nothing wrong with me but the effects of bullying have taking it's toll. I feel as though I am rotting from inside out.

    I am 44 and I have no kids. I cannot feel. What I do feel is numbness. I get nervous going outside now. I smile and fake it. This way I do not disappoint anyone. I do not know who I am. I know what I have created to get though each day, but right now the identity I have created is starting to feel unsafe, lonely I feel as though I have a big V branded on my forehead. I'm angry all the time and I hold grudes...I take my time in getting my revenge. And it doesn't make me happier once completed. I cannot get myself to care or feel for anyone else even the ones closes to me (sisters and brother). I go though the motions. But it was nice to get it off my chest and share with you all...Thank You. And to that person that asked if there are so many people being bullied why did she see them while she was going through it? Because, you were in react mode. We all wore a mask of strength or shame...And we were good at it because we had lots of practice. I sure that there was not a particular look or a secret handshake that we wanted to identify our selves with. We here trying to make it through OUR day.


    I am so afraid that I do not have any fight left.

  • Edward

    Hi Everyone,

    My story is similar to many others in here, although I grew all the way up to 12 years old as a very happy kid and teenager with lots of friends when I had to move to another school at the age of 13.

    In this new school I suffered physical and psicollogical abuse as the "new kid" and I never managed to fit in. My belongings were thrown in trash bins and broken in front of all class and all I could do was try to stop that by being an outcast.

    In the beginning I tried to fight the bullies but it never stopped them. I always stayed in the library during recess so as not to be bullied in front of everyone. That became an obsession, forcing me to be a loner.

    When I finally got out of school, only 6 years later, after suffering much, I went to college and there I had a very good time with lots of friends and somehow my personal and professional life changed for the best since then.

    However, I can see that some effects from that time are still in me. I still suffer a lot of lack of self-confidence and self-esteem, I am very close to being a loner and I dislike very much socializing and going to social events such as parties and dinners always prefering to stay home.

    Whenever there are people laughing I always have this in my mind that they are laughing at me.

    I have only searched for help 2 years ago and it helped a little, but I believe we will never be totally healed.

    I think we need to come out more and start searching for help and organizing support groups, because many people talk about bullying and helping the kids, but no one talks about grown up people that have been bullied in the past.

    My best wishes to all of you,


  • Ken

    Hi, everyone. I wrote a couple of weeks back about my experience in grade 7 and up. I recommend individual counselling with someone who will support and care about you. I've been in counselling for a year and a half. The counsellor I had initially was remote, offering comments at the end of the session but otherwise acting in a manner that conveyed disinterest. Today I have a counsellor who takes a personal interest in my journey. It has made a huge difference. I entered therapy because when I got married I became incredibly insecure and begain disconnecting emotionally and in other ways. I recently realized that every time I talk about what I'm afraid of I end up back in that situation I was in almost forty years ago. Now I realize something very important about being bullied. When you are bullied, in most cases I would think, we deal with the daily terror and the anticipation of terror by running and hiding. It's only natural. But there is more than one way to run and hide. Other ways include cutting yourself or limiting social interaction, tapping into what others seem to care about and making that part of our external persona in the belief that it will secure a bond with them, performing instead of being ourselves, etc. We become so invested in surviving that we don't invest in ourselves. I wonder where my real feelings are, what I really believe, what I really want. I bet if you're an adult today and you really ask yourself why you won't come out and make yourself truly visible to your spouse, friends, colleagues and others, you will not find an actual reason. What you will find is an irrational fear, a belief that you are, at your core, a running, hiding child in the shadows who has fooled others into believing he has it together and that if others saw your true self they would disgard you and you would be alone. Except, the truth is, they would not. The people who love you believe in you not for what you think you are pretending to be but because of tangible qualities you actually have and your potential to become more. They love you more right now than you love yourself and you may be thinking it's because they don't really know you. You would be wrong if you thought that. I just began soothing my own feelings and grieving what I missed out on for the past forty years. I'm going to get out of this. I'm going to make it out into the full light of day because I'm happier there and I want to share mysef with my wife, family and friends. I hope you will all join me.


  • Andrew

    My actual bullying stop about 18 years ago when I cracked in classed and punched the bully who was stabbing me in the face with a pencil. I had been bullied for a long time, first it started with some older kids in the town I grew up in then spilled over into school.

    The school bullying started gradually when I started at my final school. It was a school which had children from 3 different lower schools came to, so there was a kind of fight frenzy the first months as the boys from these schools sorted out who was the toughest. I had been one of the tougher kids in the intermediate school, and enjoyed a good fight. But I had rescently lost a fight and my self esteem was down, I was 13 and realised that I need to start focussing on my education. So when boys wanted to fight me at the new school I refused, and let them punch me, saying that you cant hurt me. This was true for a while then as it continued it became harder to be with. I would be bullied at school, on the school bus and in my home town. It felt like every context i was in was hostile. My parents were in the process of breaking up at the time and felt I did not want to bother them.

    The way a delt with it was to fantasize about revenge,worked out like crazy waitng for the day I snap and beat the bastards up, I would contemplate suicide regulary and would cry in the bath where no one could see me. I would take this out on my younger brothers.

    I did not manage to do well at school, due to processing the bullying ( grandiose fantisies as life seemed to painful to be part off) I was un able to focus on tasks.

    In my late teens I found it hard to be in public, and used drugs to give me the confidence go out and socialise. The pub seen in the area of England that i lived at that time was a rough place with lots of fights happening and this just made me paraniod about having a girlfriend as I felt this would lead to fights with other men.

    Buy the time I was 21 the drugs had messed me up, life felt unbearable. It was at this time I went to live in a Buddhist monastery. In the time I was there I came to experience the affects of the bullying more directly. This was a extremely painful process yet it taught me not to identify with these thought processes which had been developed during the time of bullying.

    Yet here I am 36 been meditating and living as mindfully as i can for the last 15 years. The bullies are still roaming in my psyche affecting my life. They dont stop me from moving forward any more, yet i feel the energies of potential depression and self destruction floating through as these dark clouds. When my life is busy they create the tone of being overwhelmed. Every person honking there horn becomes a bully, work place unfairness, demands from my daughter , wife , the ex all become pokes and words pushing me deeper into the cloud. Noting the thoughts, feeling into the feeling I manage to stay afloat. It is a hard path to walk, like to wish you well.Be gentle.

  • anonymous

    I was raised in a single parent household, missed out on a lot of masculine upbrinigng without Dad there including the stick up for yourself & push back bit. I was always told to be the bigger person, there's never an excuse for a fight. So I just took it all. Not getting an ass kicking every day made it seem like I could too because it seemed the bulying never really got THAT bad. I could ignore the comments, the names, being spit on, my locker & property being disrespected and messed with, I could ignore them all because I was the bigger person but that was fooling myself - things just accumulated and negitively impacted my own self worth.

    I did OK once I got out of school into the real world. I'm in my mid 30's, I'm married with 2 wonderful kids, and a career which while bumpy has been good to me for the most part. I still don't do very well in social situations and have a hard time making friends with people outside the office, but it seems that's how things go when you get older.

    But then one email from an old friend which says "You were dealt a bad hand there in High School", and it's just a flood bad thoughts and bad memories. Remembering how I was victimized and didn't fight back... just tears me up inside. How would things have turned out if I just stuck up for myself? How would they have been if I just acknowledged I'd be suspended for a week or a month and then just dove in and kicked my bullies teeth in. I fantasized about it then, and after remembering, I fantisize about it now.

    Just 1 email, and I'm back in high school.

    That was years ago actually that I got the email, and it doesn't dominate my daily thoughts, but it lingers out there in the fringes. You can definately move on, but you can't ever get past that completely.

    But I can't help but feel that dwelling on it and even discussing it all this time later is just being self induldgent and narcissistic in a victim mentality way, that these bad experiences in our past is just a way to take easy excuses for choosing to avoid responsibility for things in the now (like being more social, etc).

    Something about people having only as much power as you give them comes to mind. Wish I realized this back in the day, but it's still true now.

    The more I think about it the more fired up and annoyed I'm getting that I'm still writing about it. F! them all I say - it stops here and now, and you won't get the best of me any more!

  • Monica

    My brother has FAS ( Fetal Alcohol Syndrome ) and he bullied a lot because he likes to talk a lot. He can’t help it. It’s just how his mind works.

    My family has estimated that he has the mind of a twelve year old. It most defiantly shows. He still likes toys and he still sits on the floor making vrooming noises and imitating trucks.

    He is 17 and a sophomore in HS. People call him a creeper because of the nasty lies that with no avail and no help, I’ve helped spread.

    Doing a research about bullying and what these people feel has brought me to understand that life completely sucks of these people and that its hard for them

    my brother is better than wat ppl say

  • Emma

    Thank you so much for your article. I am 32 and was bullied through primary and secondary school. I recently found out that my ex had cheated on me for 18 months and my confidence plummeted. I couldn't help remembering what had happened to me at school. I'd been living abroad for years and have just come back to where I grew up - where some of my tormentors still live. I've recently felt like I want to get revenge - one of the tormentors owns a pub and I have fantasised about burning it down. I've also fantasised about destroying another tormentor's marriage. All horrible, I know, but this article showed me that anger and seeking revenge is common to people who were bullied. I feel better that I'm not so crazy to have these feelings.

    All support goes to my fellow victims of bullying - getting over it is a hard road to travel, but we've all taken the first step and we WILL come out of it so much happier.

  • Anonymous

    It's been almost a year since the last comment, but I'd still like to add my own 2 cents.

    I was bullied, mostly verbally but a bit physically, from kindergarten (so about age 4) all the way through my first semester in university (age 18). That's a long time to be bullied. In fact, I knew no other way of life for all my formative years. My parents were no help, often as critical in their own ways as the bullies themselves. I knew I could not count on them for support I was on my own.

    Yes, I struggle with low self esteem. Yes, I fight with a low grade depression. Yes, social situations, especially parties or large groups, fill me with anxiety. Yes, I know I suffer from all the classics effects of bullying. The only thing I have never even contemplated is hurting myself in some way. I never had suicidal thoughts and I never became a cutter or promiscuous.

    I saw myself as a victim, I was a victim. That was as much a part of my identity as my name. One day, while recounting one experience to my husband, he laughed. After much explanation, I got his point. That was the turning point for me. The moment where I stopped looking at all those experiences as a victim and began to see that I could have power. In fact, according to him, I had it even then. I simply failed to see it.

    I can't say that recognizing my own power alone has changed my life. I am still slow to trust, still don't like crowds, still prefer solitary pursuits. But once I let go of my sense of powerlessness, it changed me. I am more confident, though still very self-deprecating. I believe that what I feel is important. In short, I believe in me.

    Each person will have that aha moment - the time when something someone says will allow them to see the situation in a different light. It may not come tomorrow or a week from now. It may be years in the making. My own aha moment was something like 10 years after the last of the bullying and nearly 20 after the incident I was recounting.

    In reading so many of the stories and recognizing so many of the feelings since I've been there too, I hear so much bitterness. I still feel bitterness myself, but it is muted now. I realize that in some ways, that bitterness is directed as much at myself as it is at my tormenters. Why did that young me not stand up and be counted? Why allow others to make me feel so small and insignificant? I am angry at myself, not just them. That knowledge too helped me to move on with my life.

    For those of you who may be curious about the incident and how I came to see it in a different light, keep reading. Growing up, style and fashion was pretty important to us kids. I rarely had clothing that was the latest fashion. When my mother finally relented and let me buy one of the new fads to wear, everyone in the school stopped wearing it, rendering my wearing it an exercise in futility. I was devastated and when my mother asked why I wasn't wearing it after the money spent, I could only answer that the style had passed. When I told my husband this story, he laughed. From his perspective, I had a ton of power over the other kids. I didn't see it that way, so he explained. I could have been the only fashionably dressed girl in school, he figured. After all, if no one else would wear what I wore, I could wear all the latest styles and fashions and outshine everyone. I had so much power, I could stop an entire school from wearing the latest fashions. And in the moment, I saw that line of logic and accepted it, I regained the power I had lost.

  • Anonymous-67

    Thankyou for this article, it made me realise I'm not alone and theres hope that some of the things can be fixed.

    I've been bullied since I was 11, because I've always had anxiety problems and people thought it was funny to give me panic attacks. Eventually, it triggered me to develop depression and become suicidal and have a breakdown at 14.

    I'm slowly getting better, but I'm still dealing with low self esteem, not trusting many people, anger and resentment, and feeling like the world is against me.

    reading this made me realise that it will get beter, and that actually I can do something about it instead of thinking I can't. So thanks (-:

  • David.s

    Hello,to all the courageous people who have shared their moving accounts here.I never really understood why I felt different,seperate from others.This was probably why I was targeted by people ,it still affects me profoundly today.My self esteem is low,and I still have suicidal tthoughts to this day.the motivation I have now is in setting up a self group,in order to confront these issues,and to support/share our experiences.As I delve into this emotive subject,I am saddened at the number of decent ,loving,intelligent people whose lives have been blighted by these spineless ,cowards.But I grateful to you all ,because ,so many of you have gotten through seemingly unsurmountable odds.This gives me hope,everyone needs hope ,and I now feel their is a point in me surviving all these years of feeling useless.I am now going to devote my time to setting up this group,it will help me feel worth something, and bring others together,to defeat the isolation,and unjust treatment we have endured.Good will come the ashes of our pain ,be who we should be.STAY STRONG,you are not alonePEACE

  • Steven

    I spent alot of time in my 20's and 30's in therapy,I found myself really not dealing with the issue of being bullied.From this site I was able to identify with all of the related attributes associated to being bullied.Depressed,narsasistic,non-trusting,loner and living with the thoughts that I am constantly being judged.Having those attributes now at age 44 you think how does one funtion in society?I mostly deal or have dealt with it with drugs and alcohol giving me my strength to deal with the broken glass feeling that is in my guts,from exhausting my brain with all these thoughts,it reaLLY helps me rid that pain!!!.

    I feel like I am wearing a mask in public, it is a constant awareness of nonverbal cues from others as if they are taking a piece of me with their thoughts of me.I have dealt with those issues but never really knowing where they are coming from. I found this site because I am actively seeking counceling.In addition I have been home on disabilty with a back and hip injury for the past 3 years.I feel the need of drugs and alcohol to deal with pain and depression.I am an active and out to my wife( bisexual) with great guilt although I came out to her 14 years ago married 21 years,I have an autistic son who turns 18 this year,I lost monthly finacial benefits from an insurance carrier whom I purchased insurance from,I am cornered to come up with a new career for myself but limited due to my ability to stand,sit and walk for long periods of time.

    I feel I have so much I want to share and do with my life and have already but, this is really getting in my way lately. I am home and not out socially as much,and find I am getting stale and becoming more pre-occupied with the thoughts of being judged.. I hope to find a connection with a therapist that will pull out the magic wond and who can help me bring out the best in me!!

  • Jessica

    From the time I was eight until I was 16, I was relentlessly bullied. I was excluded from everything. In elementary school I had no friends at all. Every single kid in my class was absoultely horrendous to me. I was called all sorts of names. I have actually blocked out much of my childhood. I can't remember so many examples of things people said and did to me. I remember being so achingly lonely and feeling so helpless and worthless, but I can remember only a few specific incidents. I know that it was every day, but my mind just won't let me remember and I don't know when I lost these memories.

    No one protcted me. No one tried to help me. No one even noticed. I have a loving, supportive, amazing family but they didn't know what was going on and were, as a result, unable to help me undo the damage that was being done. My teachers were obviously clueless. There was a girl, Sadie. She was a devious little girl. I am dead serious. The teachers thought she was an angel, but she is actually, to this day, one of the worst people I have ever had the displeasure of encountering. She tortured me constantly. I do remember a time when I actually decided to stand up for myself for once in my life. She called me a dipshit. I told her to shut up. You know who got in trouble? Me. I did.

    I feel like that example defines my life. Or how I, however inaccurately, view my life. I take the high road. I always have. I can count on one hand the times that I have ever been mean to anyone purposefully and I swear that every one of those times that person derserved much worse from me. Each time my heart raced for hours. It is physically uncomfortable for me to hurt someone else on purpose. I am a fixer, a helper. That is my nature. But all I ever get back is shit. Physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive boyfriends. Friends hooking up with my boyfriends. People over-looking me. Not noticing me. All I get is bad stuff. I let people walk all over me. It's my fault and life isn't fair anyway. But that girl. My teacher yelling at me- ME- after years of that girl torturing me, for standing up for myself? Well, like I said, that's my life. You do good things, you try your best, you really care about other people, you give out nothing but good and all you get back is bad.

    By the age of eleven I was depressed. By the age of 12, I had a breakdown in front of a whole class full of kids. I was thinking about killing myself.

    In high school, it was worse. Insults were more creative. They cut to the bone. Every day was a living hell. By 14, I was cutting myself every day. I bear those scars to this day. It just reminds me all the time of what happened to me. I cry still every time I think about it.

    I was OK for a while. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (and being bipolar sure did help me deal with bullying effectively). I was medicated. I stopped cutting myself. I developed a healthy self-sonfidence. I was feeling pretty good, if I do say so myself.

    But now I'm 19 and it's all coming back. I suddenly feel worthless and stupid. I feel like I have nothing important to offer the world. I feel ugly. I feel betrayed because of the lack of reciprocation I have gotten for my good deeds. I don't do good things to get pay back. I do them because I like to. However, I've lost my faith in karma, because when you do good things, good things are supposed to happen to you and I don't feel like good things happen to me. I don't know what brought this on. For the past few weeks this has been a huge issue for me. I'm crying all the time. I'm thinking about it every day. I even tried cutting myself again (but it turns out that I don't enjoy it like I used to so that's not going to be a problem). I am just so angry that this happened. I know most people have problems, but I think it's different when your problems are purposefully caused by other people. It's not like your wife gets cancer or you get in a car accident or you lose your job because of the economy. I have lost complete faith in the world because people did this to me on purpose and the people who were supposed to protect me didn't think I was worth it. And that's sick.

    I know that I've done this to myself. I am just so damaged and it's happened so suddenly that I don't even know what to do about it. I'm having breakdowns all the time. I can't wake up for classes because I'm so depressed that I can't fall asleep and it makes me so tired. I don't feel like it's worth the effort to do my homework. I wanted to change my major to English, but now I don't see a point because I know that no one will see any value in my writing. I know I'm never going to accomplish anything even though everyone tells me I'm really smart. I'm never going to have a happy life. I'm engaged and I've suddenly become convinced that no matter who I marry, I'll end up getting a divorce. I want to have kids more than anything, but I've suddenly decided that, with my luck, I'm probably sterile.

    What the hell is wrong with me? I think all these things and all I can trace them back to is bullying. Every time I have a negative thought it always leads back there. How can that be?

  • Jane

    Jessica, I read your comment and girl, my heart goes out to you. The hellish life of degrading bullying that you endured could have been an exact description of my own life. I started being bullied and abused in the 4th grade, and it continued until I had a full blown rage attack in the 11th grade. My teachers saw what was going on and not a damn one of them did anything to help. My mother simply blamed me. I tried to kill myself at 16 (thank God I was unsuccessful) but one day I just snapped. All I did was walk into the school that morning, minding my own business and this girl walked by and punched me in the arm, just to amuse herself. Just to get the bullying started for the day. Lord, I lost my mind. I literally tried to kill that girl and was so enraged I turned into a raving, screaming maniac. Well, after that day, the bullying stopped. People were actually afraid of ME, they knew I'd go crazy on them. It's a shame it had to come to that. Someone should have done something to stop the bullying. Anyway, my point is this, jessica: I am now 50 years old and I want you to know that the depression you are re- experiencing is to be expected and you can overcome it. I now have very healthy self -esteem and a happy marriage and children. The only lasting side effect has been the fact that I do have a bad temper and won't take crap from anyone even to this day. But please don't think that you will be depressed for the rest of your life - trust me, IT WILL GET BETTER. It just takes time and you are still very young. God bless you, Jessica and keep believing in yourself. You will be alright.

  • Smithin

    Since i was in about kindergarden i knew something was diffrent about me! I really Couldnt figure out what that was but i had a few friends in elementary school but most of the time i was a loner sat by my classroom, i had a few bullys that wouldn't leave me alone, So i ended up using the buddy system after i got my friend and well it doesnt work the bullies picked on both of us then!! Moving on to middle school, it is the worst ever, i was picked on by four boys and my entire class, I was told sexual remarxs that i looked like a dog and that i was ugly and that no body liked me! then i was told a boy liked me and he wrote me a note, it was very pain full it said meet me out side class after school, i went to my next class not knowing if i should go our not, and then another guy came up to me and asked are you gonna meet the mystery guy out side the classroom, i thankfully asked how he new about it and he just left, so i soon realized it was a situation where the whole class was in one it, so i didnt go, but that didnt stop the bulling they even bullied me on the bus, asking why i wasnt meeting this person after class and tripping me and hurting me and i lost all of my self confidence, then im in high school and i still get picked on and that same class of kids from high school picked on me still and got others to do the same, and now i had a group of ten friends and they all got picked on two and no one did a freaking thing! Because they were popular people didnt care and now its something that still hauntes me! Im twenty three and i discover after going to many doctors that i have something wrong in my brain that my pituitary and thyroid dont work! thats one reason why i was so diffrent i had more that three glands that dont work and no i realize that my brain was in a fog and all the teasing is coming back in my memory as like why why??? why did i just let them why? well i couldnt help it i was being bullied! its that simple their may be no simple answer but we can do something, if we cant what the point! of even have drs and pricipals and good people, what would the world be like if abraham lincoln and jfk and eleanor rosevelt, ben franklin just gave up! You know theirs the oprah no cell phone in car program how about no bulling in school program an off campus program that allows children to come and discuss their problems and not be shared with others and get the help they need where is this program because i havent seen it, where getting programs such as jamie olivers food revolution in the school, how about another program for bulling they could just use volunteers and other to help with the program or off duty teachers or police officers come on are you telling me theirs no one out the that can help and volunteer a couple of hours of time seriously people let get real, lets demand it!!!!

  • Spark


    I find reading your thoughts really helpful. My boyfriend of 4 years was bullied from the age of 7-8yrs through to his late teenage years. He speaks about it sometimes and I can see that it has had a really deep impact on him. I see it and experience his impacts more now that we are living together.

    We have been living together for 12 months and I find it difficult sometimes when he is closed, doesn't show trust, is focused inward and questions his identity, belonging in this world and gathers knowledge and facts to be powered with in conversations. He takes a mild anti depressant to aid his ulceritive collitis.

    i knew bits and pieces about his health and life before but i am now putting the pieces together and I don't know what to do or how to help him. We are both 30 years old.

    His lack of trust or wanting to let me in (although I am the one he has let in the most) is really impacting me. Can anyone suggest what I could do as a girlfriend? I've shown him love, care, empathy - but it is difficult to keep this going when I don't get it back in the r/s consistently.

    Would love to hear your thoughts or's difficult for me to understand as I had a really fun and pleasant experience at school.

  • kerry

    Who ever came up with that idea was never bullied as a child.

    I was bullied not only during primary and secondary school but in every job ive had and even when i went to uni.

    Im 44 now and the effects of years of bullying have really taken there toll.

    I am a complete loner. I avoid as much social contact as possible. Just the thought of being with others creates anxiety.

    Im afraid that others will humilaite me and put me down.

    Im to scared to talk to men or even meet them so there is no way I could form any kind of relationship with one.

    I dont have friends at all. Again to scared. I dont feel lonely infact i feel better when im alone.

    I dont think im good enough or have anything to offer others. How could i not feel this way its what ive been told most of my life.

    I guess im exhibiting all the behaviours described in the article. I dont think much about suicide now but there are times when i envy the dead.

    I guess reading the article and the comments of others makes me realise im not the only one. There are a lot of walking wounded out thanks to the bullies of this world.

  • Anonymous-68

    Hey everyone!

    I guess I wasn't bullied to the extent as some others mentioned, but mostly verbal bullying. I'm so short, I'm so thin, I'm too smart etc etc.... It comes to a point where you believe that. I know my bullying doesn't sound bad, but any degree of bullying really plays with your head. There was this one time in grade 8 where everything was going wrong with my life and we had a birthday party with cake for my teacher. I remember getting the 'worst' piece of cake and I started to cry at recess. It's sometimes just the little things that really add up. It's like others don't think your a real person and that you don't deserve the best. Now I am in grade 11 and even though I have friends I feel like I don't belong. I guess I just separate myself as much as possible from others because I am afraid of being judged. I also don't trust others. I know it sounds horrible but the years of bullying makes you not want to let anyone in your life. I guess I built walls instead of bridges.

    Does anyone else know what I mean? Like I'm not a loner, but I feel that when I am in a group no one wants me there and it's like I'm a spec of air that no one pays attention to. Maybe I'm just paranoid :S I really need to change my mindset !

    Anyway, I guess I hide myself in books and studies because it's the only thing I feel that makes my life worthwhile...

  • Mom

    My son was bullied from 9th to 12th grade. He is handsome, athletic and now a college graduate (he is 24 years old). He still is bothered by his past and can't understand why he was singled out. I feel that because he was sensitive and easy going he was a good target the bullies knew he wouldn't retaliate. And oh how the unattractive, unathletic guys felt like "toughies" when they could bully a jock. When he left this bullying high school clique and went to college in another state the bullying ended. Although he has some angry "flashbacks" he realizes that this was situational bullying, and once he was removed from the bullying group through high school graduation his problem was over. So, my advice to those of you still in school...if possible after graduation leave the work or go to school. This is a big world, your personal bullies are only a relatively small number. And when or if you move back to your hometown...karma is a bitch, and your bullies' day will come...perhaps in the form of their own children being bullied. Finally empower yourself. DON'T LET THE BULLIES DEFINE WHO YOU ARE...ONLY YOU CAN DO THAT. Please stay strong.

  • jack

    im 15 and have been bullied from the age of 5. im so worried about this destroying my life. what can i do?

  • layla

    i first read this article/essay for a project, but it really made me re-evaluate my life and social life circumstances. i am now a freshman in high school, and socially and academically i am doing great. however, i now realize that i suffered in my public middle school because i didn't interest myself in boys starting at age 11, i didn't have the coolest clothes, and the few people i hung out with either were considered "uncool" or ended up ditching me for "cooler" people. from sixth thru eighth graees, my self esteem steadily decreased, and i couldn't wait to get away from the same people and environment. when i started my private high school in another city, i realized that i had wasted my time dwelling over these people who made me think they were better than me. in my new school, the people and envronment are so different, and i really have flourished. the point of my comment is to say that people just have to find it in themselves to overcome bullying, and a change of setting may help, as it did with me. and by the way, this essay really helped me come clean with my negative past.

  • Henry Walsh

    I feel a bit silly for writing this, but I feel that it is needed.

    I'm 29 years old, a teacher, and a former game designer. I feel like my adjustment in life was destroyed due to bullying. When I was in school I was subjected to beatings, name calling, I was once even insulted openly in our Middle School newspaper.

    (We had a thing, where they were supposed to list off a positive trait about someone, based on a letter thing, like L is for Loving: Dana Lott... Mine was D is for Dumb: Henry Walsh... I guess the fact that I can recall that clearly almost 20 years later is a testament to how deeply that one stuck with me.)

    One of the things that I find myself suffer from, even now, are nightmares of some of the more savage beatings and sometimes just overwhelming anger and a desire to want to get revenge. Then after those outbursts I feel a deep depression and I start to think of myself like a loser, it is like every failure I ever suffered in life feels like it was my fault.

    I can only attest this to bullying. The fact is, aside from the beating that nearly killed me, I remember the things more clearly that weren't physical. Like when an attractive girl in highschool used me to be a butt of a nasty joke, or that article in that newspaper. I shiver thinking about it to be honest and sometimes it keeps me up at night.

    I've tried therapy but, locally, the councilors were not able to help me here and I have yet the funds to look into other venues. Yes though, bullying is a horrifying thing.

  • TB Tabby

    I think the reason bullying is so prevalent is because adults don't do anything about it. Be they parents or faculty, the people who are supposed to guide the kids, teach them right and wrong, and help them when the feel victimized always stick their heads in the sand when it comes to bullying. There's any number of excuses, of course. I'm sure most of you have heard one of these:

    "It's just part of growing up." "They only want attention. Just ignore them and they'll go away." (Seriously, has that EVER worked?!) "You have to remember that bullies have low self-esteem and trouble at home." (I've never seen the research that proves low self-esteem and abusing parenting cause bullying. And even if it's true, it doesn't excuse their actions.) "You have to learn to defend yourself. Just stand up to them." (And then kids who actually do this are punished for "stooping to the bully's level," while the bully gets off scot-free. Again.) "Bullying toughens you up and prepares you for the real world." (Plenty of testimonies and research to refute this claim.) "You must have done something to provoke them." (The "1950s rape trial" argument.)

    All just cover-ups for the real reason..."I just don't care." A cynical generalization, I know. But really, when girls who doodle on their desks are being carted off to jail while driving classmates to suicide is viewed as "harmless mischief," I have a hard time viewing it any other way.

  • Jennifer

    First of all, my heart goes out to each and every person who was bullied!! I too was bullied...from 4th grade to 6th grade was the worst...but it continued throughout high school. I was small, sensitive, wore glasses, and was an "easy target". I also had family 'issues' and was never able to share my concerns with I hid everything and pretended to be happy at home. I remember the sheer panic of having to go to school. Teachers knew...the principal knew...but they all said "girls will be girls". Funny thing is, I was very rarely ever teased by was always girls. I felt stupid, ugly, unworthy...there was no escape. There was a kind bus driver, Mrs. Dasher (if you are still out there and read this...I love you and will never forget your kindness!)...who one day, after dropping me off at my stop...heard the other kids talk about how my bully was going to beat me up...she came back and asked if I was ok, which was enough to scare the girl away from me for that day. Terror is the only way to describe it. I was intelligent...but could never really apply myself like I could have. I graduated with good grades and went to college...did well...went to graduate school...did well, yet today, with a MA in psychology...I don't work because I continue to feel 'stupid, worthless, ugly' despite evidence to the contrary. I accept jobs that require nothing but a high school diploma because I don't feel worthy of other types of jobs, despite my education. I live with anxiety and depression every day of my life. I know that bullying was not the sole cause of my 'issues' today...but it contributed significantly. I will never forget the shame, humiliation, and terror I felt on a daily basis during middle school (4th-6th). The leader of the bullying has gone on to live a successful, happy life...part of me would love to confront her now, as an adult, and just educate her on how her actions have affected me, but another part of me feels like she simply would not care. I have sympathy for any child who has ever been bullied!!!! And to all of the teachers and educators out there...don't ever fool yourself by telling yourself that "kids will be kids"...NO child ever deserves to be the victim of a bully!!! The biggest insult was a few years ago...the principal of my elemtary school retired and the local paper interviewed him, and he proudly proclaimed that his biggest achievement was that "none of my students was ever bullied"!!!! The bullies and I were in his office on more than one occassion, when he told us to "just get along"...was he delusional? Please gentle with yourselves...I agree with the author..bullying IS a type of abuse, and we have to allow ourselves to heal the best way we can.

  • angie

    um hello i stumbled upon this website while doing a essay and i understand how you feel. i was often teased about my weight but what i dont understand is that to this day i never thought twice about those who teased me. i couldnt remember their names or face even though they made me feel like the ugliest thing in the world. However, like i said i moved on never thinking about them what keeps you or anyone from moving on. i mean no harm i just would like to know i hope that my question does not hurt anyone. if it does please forgive me.

  • Theory

    I found this site because I'm looking for an answer. I wan to know why I am the way I am. It's encouraging to see so many people here sharing their stories.

    Mine began in primary school where I was bullied from age 7 until age 11 when I left. The verbal bullying was constant and happened nearly every single day and got worse as I got older... The physical bullying, being pushed, punched, intimidated and beaten by multiple children, also became more regular as I grew...

    The adults and teachers ignored it. When eventually I told my parents, their advice was to ignore it. I was taught a clever rhyme, "sticks and stones can break your bones but names will never hurt you"... Whoever thought that up obviously hadn't been bullied like I had... A child can't just ignore constant verbal abuse and less constant physical abuse.

    Eventually someone told me to stand up for myself... As I grew I became a bit stronger and started fighting back and beating up instead of being beaten up. One time, 5 children ganged up and and started beating me... I semi-lost it and started striking out... They dispersed. Violence obviously was the answer. However, this was in my last year age 11 and the bullying continued.

    I moved to secondry school and was bullied by a few kids in my class. One was very persistent and one day in the playground I snapped. I got him in a sleeper hold, arm choking his neck until we were both on the floor. I didn't let go and he was crying and shouting that he couldn't breathe... Inside my head I new It was wrong to kill him so I let go and felt extremely guilty... I was 12 then and that was the last real fight with bullies I had...

    A year later, the girls were having fun and made a list. It was a list of attractive boys and girls in the class. On that list I was voted the ugliest looking kid in the class...

    I moved schools and at the age of 13 and 14, had numerous rejections from girls... Many of them telling me how ugly I looked to my face...

    At the age of 14 I withdrew socially and became depressed...

    I'm 29 now and still fighting the self-esteem, confidence, identity issues that have plagued me all my life... I feel like nobody really understands what it's like... Nobody knows how much self-improvement work I've had to do to become even moderately sociable and confident... Perhaps some of you fine people who are reading this do. And I think you and I are stronger than your average person can ever imagine... We are the only ones who know it truly, we just have to believe it.

    I'm going to carry on building my mental self into something fully functional. In the meantime I have this to say about the effects of bullying in adult life... They're real and they last.

  • Nate

    I was bullied from 6th through 10th grade and the first few jobs I had. Some of the bulling at the first few jobs was worse than the school bulling. I am now 30 and have never had a real girlfriend. I don't know if I can ever have anything like a normal relationship. As a kid I would take out my rage on insects and drawing violent pictures. The grandiose narcissistic revenge fantasies have not gone or ebbed in the slightest. I have developed sever borderline PD. In terms of personality, I am both fearlessly antisocial and rife with intense anxiety. It's a crazy, insane combination. I have two distinct personalities that oscillate, sometimes every few hours. I continuously change my life plans. As a result I have lived all over the country and have lived in extreme poverty. I have finely settled somewhat in WA. All I want right now is what I have never had before "a girlfriend".

  • Emily

    I need help now, my son is 13 and in the 7th grade and is being bullied, so much so that yesterday and this morning he made himself vomit so he would not have to go to school and earlier in the week he convinced everyone he wasn't feeling well, he tries to play with the younger kids, but the kids his age just tease him more, his grades are extremely poor, in fact, he may not pass to the next grade and he has been talking to me more about death and feeling in a dream like state. The school isn't doing much about it either. Therapy so far has not gone well have seen several, he either does not like the therapist and refuses to talk or the thereapist focuses on one single problem that to me is not the main issue/problem and that makes me mad. He has problems at home too, not listening, doing what is asked of him, lying, very argumentative and has no problem talking back to me or my husband, has lashed out physically in anger to his younger brother and older sister. I think I am beyond the end of my rope, I feel like I am falling through a big black bottomless hole with no answers or where to turn to next for help.

  • Linzie

    I too am struggling to deal with issues from my childhood. I was terribly bullied from about age 6 to age 15. I was terribly lonely and unhappy. I was a sensitive kid, and easily cried and constantly felt ashamed and ugly and an embarrassment. I had a lisp and stood apart as a kid who worked hard to get good grades at a school of under achievers -- I was an easy target I suppose.

    I still carry these feelings today at 34. I have terrible relationships and usually end up attracted to people with their own problems that I hope I can fix in order to "earn" their love. I accept terrible treatment and get more and more attached to them as the poor treatment gets worse. I think I deserve no better. So in turn my self-esteem gets worse and when it ends, I am devasted and depressed. And I end up missing the person who was no good for me. Its a horrible painful torture.

    I also find it hard to deal with social situations for fear of embarrassing myself. I am ashamed of how I look. I feel like a fraud most of the time.

    I have tried various self-help books but I don't think they really get to the route of the problem. I have quite bad depression and have suffered with it all my life. I would like therapy but I am in the uk and cannot afford private fees right now.

    Can anyone recommend any books that deal with long terms effects of self esteem specifically from bullying. I had good and loving parents- most books just seem to deal with adult abuse.

    I have tried with some nlp and cbt therapies but struggle a lot -- I find it hard to find examples of times I felt happy or good about myself on which to draw from.

    I am stuck in a loop and need to get out of it.

  • Anonymous-69

    Jennifer your story really touched me I am in college now my first year I must say and am doing a paper on bullying to conclude my semester in a writing class. I never was bullied in my grade school years, as a matter of fact may have never even been teased or called names. But even with my lack of knowing exactly how it may feel to be bullied I must say that I have a extreme amount of sympothy for those who have been teased bullied etc. But I would kindly like like to bring it to your attention that you have accomplished something major in your life graduating from college as well as earning your PH.D CONGRADULATIONS. And I feel that you should never settle for less because you spend your time and energy into earning something that is well worth wild in this day in time, so why take jobs that only require a high school diploma? When you can be so much better and ARE so much better and you are capable of accomplishing so much more and earning a salary instead of a hourly rated check. But I wish the best for you in the long run. But I just feel that you should take advantage of what you have accomplished in life. And one day you will bump heads with your ex bully and im pretty sure she will be going much worst then you are

  • Dana

    My daughter is the victim of a group of bullies. I have fought and fought and fought for her. The school counselors response was to grab my daughter one day when he witnessed one of the bullies push my daughter and tell her that he was going to separate her from everyone if she could not find a way to make them like her. She has been physically attacked more than once and is verbally abused daily. The ringleader is the teachers pet and has one several class awards. My daughter is a straight A student and is popular within her group. She tutors in other classes and participates in extra activities such as Oral language team and the Math bowl team. Yet the principle had the gall to ask what was "wrong" with my daughter that these kids would single her out.... finally, we had to take this to the district office and they came and questioned everyone involved..Most of the kids have backed of now with the questioning and treats of restraining orders except for the one girl, the ringleader. And the of course my daughter's teacher and one particular aide still single her out because I got them in trouble with the district office because of their refusal to stop these kids. But my poor daughter. She has been diagnosed with PTSD, Depression, IBS, chronic stress headaches and binge eating all because of these stupid kids and adults. I should say that my daughter just turned 12. This is going to be with her for the rest of her life. I did all I could, but we could not afford private school and the district office would not permit a transfer because all our area schools are full. I was at school fighting every day. Why do schools not care what is going on under their noses? The prinicipal even said to me that "this is what 6th grade girls do". What? My heart is broken for my daughter.

  • Man who knows

    this is a good essay i like it pluss i have always bem picked on for me size and my hight i would like to find a way to end this horid cycle so no one elts can fell as bad.

    ps. no matter how hard i can never forget the bullying that i endered for my 12 years in grade school threw high and it still hurts.

  • Anonymous-70

    i have been bullied basically every school day in some way shape of form.=( its not like im anti social or anything like that im just a tall really skinny lankey kid who is just a bit goofy and so therefore im an easy target. ive thought of ways that a could mess up the bullies like they have messed me up but after thinking of the implications of what my actions would cause i have given them up.i have started to fill out muscel wise and i dont get picked on much any in 11th grade and im doing this project on what teh mental effects of bullying is and its just f*cked up ive had friends kill themselfs and some go into deep depressions. i dont want anyone to go through this ever again.

  • Bernadette

    Hi everyone. My heart breaks for you as I read what you have all been through. It is so awful that such sweet, innocent people have been destroyed for so long by such pointless bullying.

    I too have been bullied, more verbally than anything else. I'm 6ft 8ins tall and have been since I was 13 years old so I suffered a lot as I was growing up. Not so much at school but by total strangers in the street. I was called every name imaginable, I was laughed at, jeered at, pointed at, you name it. I know what it is like feel worthless and that you want to die, when you can feel and see absolutely no reason for living at all. It took a while, but I'm now in a place where all of the pain that these people caused me no longer has any effect on me AT ALL. I've gone from LITERALLY spending every waking moment wishing that I was smaller, to not being bother by it even remotely. It IS possible to go beyond your feelings of devastation to living the life that you were always destined to live one of joy, peace and purpose. Great things are starting to unfold in my life and it will only continue as I choose to see my self as I really am, and not through the terrible memories of my past.

    I'd love to help you if you would like me to. I have left my email address for you to contact me if you would like, and we can get through this together. Please I beg you, don't kill yourselves. You are far too precious and special to have your life cut short. Even if you don't feel precious and special, the truth is YOU ARE. People's nasty attitude towards you and their ugly opinions are not the standard by which your life is to be measured by. You did NOT deserve to be bullied, you are not worthless, you are not rubbish. Everything that happened to you that has made you feel the way you feel was wrong. Don't think that you somehow invited this because it went on for so long. YOU DIDN'T. You are innocent. God has lovingly made you FOR A REASON, and that reason was not so that you could be bullied. The fact that people have treated you so wickedly doesn't change that.

    Don't think that you will never be able to live a normal life. IT IS NOT TOO LATE. Your life can start right now. I really do hope to hear from you.

    Healing and peace to you all


  • Anonymous-71


    Your article and everyones stories have really intereasted me in the effects of bullying. I am in 9th grade and i have to do a project on the book Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (p.s. its a great book that i would really recommend!). We have to research one of the conflicts in this book and a main conflict was bullying. I was researching for my paper when i came across this article. It was so intereasting to read everyones personal stories and this has really helped me alot! It has not only helped me though, i am now extremely facisnated by the effects of bullying. It's a terrible action and i just cant comprehend why anyone would do that. I am in high school and i see it happening everyday, and i want to help those victims of bullying but i never can seem to get the confidence to help, fearing if i do then i may become a victim of their bullying. your stories have really made me think about it and next time i see someone getting bullied i will try to help them. I wish i could fix bullying throughout the world but i guess in my own high school would be a start. Thank you all for sharing your stories!

  • Anonymous-72


    I liked this article. Especially the piece on empowerment, and developing your own sense of self worth. I've been struggling with low body image, self-worth, and self-esteem for quite a while. I've tried various different techniques to help myself put those feelings behind myself and embrace optimism, and high self-esteem.

    I think a huge barrier for victims of bullying, or other sorts of trauma is getting past the internalized feeling of 'I am not worth it.' For example, I am not worth it to be happy, to be in satisfiy relationship, to pursue my dreams...

    What helps me get past the 'I am not worth it' place is to find places to TAKE CONTROL OF MY OWN LIFE. In the poem, Invictus "I am the captain of my fate, I am the master of my soul.' I need to focus on what "I CAN DO" which revolves around how I respond to situations, compose myself etc. It does not have anything to do with creating other people's actions, or fixing the past. It is something about acceptance, and then self-empowerment. I can do this, I want to do this, and then the biggest thing of all I will do this and DOING It.

    Being proactive, and working for your own self-esteem. Coming to grips with that ellusive thing called self-acceptance which means forgiving yourself, forgiving others and most of all rid of that 'I am not worth it scenario.' Forgiveness does not mean erradicating any wrongs done, but accepting them and moving forward to a better place.

    Positive energy creates positive energy, negative energy creates negative energy.

    Pick the good stuff, and create your life, follow your dreams. STOP internalizing 'I am not worth it messages from other people' and START 'figuring out how to create self-worth for yourself.'

    In sum, don't deny how you feel, if you don't like how ou feel then do something about it. You deserve to do something about it. Stop wallowing. You deserve to live a happy life.

    Most of all no one can tell you that you deserve....(fill in the blank) you have to come to that self-discovery for yourself. Think about it!

    I don't have a PH.D. and even if I did. If what I says makes sense to you and it helps you improve your quality of life in a healthy manner USE It. If what I said doesn't makes sense for you FORGET IT. Seriously!

    The only reason I wrote this is in the small chance that someone benefits from it, if it will make you worse off then leave it alone! There is plenty of other roads to take. Find the one that works for you.

    Good Luck- the world can use all the positive energy/happy people it can get.

  • Melany

    Wow, in looking for a solution to help my son I came across this article. I was bullied in middle and high school, extensively. Finally shook the self esteem issues in college and was amazed to find out I was popular and people wanted to be my friend. It never leaves you, though. My son has been bullied the last year and a half and all my feelings returned as I watched him try to cope and I tried to help him. I found myself reliving those days, comiserating with him, spoke all the same platitudes I had been told. School administrators couldn't stop it. We'd no sooner get one child to leave him alone, and another would take his/her place. It seemed as if there were a line of children just waiting for the chance to bully my son.

    I finally had enough, pulled him from his middle school and called lawyers. I was happy to find out that bullying is legally considered assault, even if there is not physcial interaction. And there isn't an age limit for prosecution. All I needed to do was call the police and have them file the report. You don't need the school's persmission, the police can investigate any complaint, anywhere.

    My son was being threatened with physical violence after school. As a victim myself and experiencing a bus load of kids following me off the bus to beat my sister and I to a pulp, all I could see was this happening to my son.

    I'm religious, and I'm convinced the good Lord never intended childhood to be so traumatic. I've pulled him from school permanently and we will homeschool until he's ready for college. Control is the key, and he needs to feel in control of his life and his well-being. We surroung ourselves with supportive people and activities in which the people there are respectful of each other and rejoice in our differences.

    I will fight any attempt by anyone to make my son feel small and insecure in himself and his surroundings. We have many bugaboos to beat (afraid to leave the house, anxiety attacks when plans change from the expected, fear of being around others, outbursts and reliving incidents from the past, etc) and we will work through them in a secure environment.

  • Anonymous-73

    Hello to all. I would like to say that I am so sorry to all of you that have been bullied. Bullying is a very difficult situation to face for many!

    I have studied in the field of Social Work and Child and Youth work.

    Through my studies I have realized that bullying is not a subject that is taken very seriously. Working in the school system I have seen many bullied not realizing how detrimental the effects really are.

    I work at a Government office in Toronto, Canada. Bullying has begun for me as a new staff member, from my team and my supervisor. Such tactics have been used such as isolation, exclusion and my supervisor not giving me back approved files on time. My supervisor made a complaint on me and has stated that my team has made complaints on me, however for weeks I have not been told what the complaints are. This led to me feeling down and getting ill and unable to attend work which led to termination. I have contacted a Union rep to advocate for me but this process still takes time while I am not getting paid.

    At the end of the day I don't think many people realize the effects on bullying on the victim or the breakdown in the victim which makes it difficult for the victim to be a productive worker. If employers want their employees to succeed then employers need to pay attention to bullying in the work place and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! It makes it worse when supervisors are a part of the bullying! Yet this is a social work environment!!

    Why does the victim who is so unmotivated and broken down have to do something about it when they are going through enough with their physical and mental health already?

    There is not enough help for victims of bullying. Canadian workplaces and school systems turn a blind eye to the situation and do not care what the effects are on individuals.

    I am very shocked that a social organization, one of the busiest government offices in Toronto would not have any support for this. At the end of the day I feel like noone understands and I feel all alone except the support I have from family. But that cannot pay my bills.

    If anyone has any advice please feel free to drop a line.

  • Anonymous-74

    What a great article. I only came to realize in the last few years that I was bullied throughout my childhood by my older sister. It was always verbal bullying but every aspect of my personality was denigrated. Don't walk like that, don't talk like that, don't breathe, laugh, eat etc etc like that. I was teased by her and my younger sister whenever she was around, and grew up believing that it was wrong to like classical music and to be smart and that there was something fundamentally unlikeable and wrong with being me, to the point where I questioned my sanity. My parents couldn't see the bullying because it was verbal and I was chastised when young for lashing out physically at my younger sister when I was angry with her. It really impacted my relationships as I got older and I tended to have a few close friends. I finally had a great learning opportunity when I chose a bully for a husband in my late 30's and I still recall that wonderful day 2 years later when I thought "hey, I'm a good person and I want to be with someone who sees how great I am." Thank god I finally worked it out, but it has led to a dreadful situation in my family where I finally stood up to my older sister. That was a year ago and she still won't talk to me. My darling husband sees the whole dynamic and stands by me. Despite a lifetime of self analysis it's still a huge learning curve to learn the skills to deal with bullies, and I meet them to a greater or lesser extent so often. I still get defensive and angry around them, but it's getting less. Feels good to be able to write this to people who understand. Few people do.

  • tort

    Thank you for publishing all this. I was bullied and teased as a child, for a lot of my school years. The worst periods were when I was 5-6 years old, and thereafter it was from time to time - until I was 13. Then it was from 13-16 years old, and it is still painful to recall incidents...

    When I was five I went to a school that was private and all boys. They all loved fighting, but I did not. So I got fought every day, but did not believe in hitting back (and wouldn't have been able to, anyway!). I used to get stomach aches before going to school, but was told to eat breakfast and go to those days, it was very much 'English stiff upper lip' for children, especially boys. At the end of that academic year I left that school because our family moved house. Thank heaven for that.

    At the age of thirteen I went to a large all boys' boarding school. Having been to a smaller one from the age of nine, I had had an idea of what it might be like. Alas, I was correct. Some of the time it was OK, but a lot of the time it was not. I was made fun of for being: fat, German (well, half-German, but to the bullies that was an irrelevant detail), slow in speech, liking cats, and any other reason the bullies could or would cook up at a moment's notice. We had this ghastly thing called 'fixed seating' at meals. This meant that for the whole of the term (=semester in America, I believe) boys had to sit in the same place at table. More than once I got placed next to or close to my persecutors. At the best, this could mean being pretty well totally ignored - quite a relief, in many ways, although it could get pretty lonely. At the worst it would mean verbal aggression every single day. Like I got called 'Nazi Jew', but when I protested I was told that Jews of course argued etc etc. There were many other occasions like that, or worse. I can remember the day of my chemistry O-Level (exam taken at the end of tenth grade). The teasing started early at breakfast, and would not let up. I ignored it as best as I could. But the bullies wanted more, so they resorted to flicking tea and food at me (which is trivial in many ways, but when you are wound up with exam pressure and sitting with unpleasant people is not so easy.) I snapped, and threw a knife (the sort you use to spread butter on bread, and not particularly sharp, either) at the leader, who was sitting four to five feet away from me. Of course I missed (did I also add that I was arguably about as unco-ordinated as it was possible to get where sport was concerned?), and almost hit a prefect. Dead silence. 'Who threw that?' asks the head boy. 'Me' I replied, enjoying things even less...I was sent to my room for that, although it took the head boy a while to establish that I was not trying to hit the prefect. The only reason it was not taken further was because the house master was retiring, and the boys did not want to cause trouble for him.

    A year later I had to sit with literally the same people, who ensured my life was a misery for the whole term. I was told by the housemaster that I was intolerant, when I had said that I didn't like the bullies. Yeah, right.

    I'm afraid I never really learnt to cope with bullying it has happened to me at work at times, although not that recently. And even now, in a large room if someone calls my name out for (even) pleasant reasons I often freeze inside. How can they be calling attention to me? What have I done? Most of the time, things are fine, but this is just one legacy of bullying... And generally, though, I would always try and avoid large groups of men - for me this is too much like anathema.

    I would write more about this, but am not sure how useful it would be and yes, I am well familiar with depression. Know it well, I'm afraid. Self harm? Been there too...Would I like to be of use or help to others qua all these experiences? Yes, definitely.

    PS For many reasons, connected with the bullying and also with the current situation in which l live, I am afraid to quote my name. It's a long story...but if you do publish on your site what I have written, and indicate by some sort of comment that you would like to contact me or hear more, then I'd be happy to correspond.

  • Joanne

    This article was very helpful. My bully was my father. The effects have been extremely difficult to overcome. The desperation, the intensity of the anxiety of anticipating the next bullying episode, and the feeling a being a failure as a human being - all horrible feelings NO child should have to endure. I completely understand how people commit suicide to escape bullying. Its a sad sad thing.

  • Anonymous-75

    I don't usually comment on forums, I'm normally a lurker. But I feel pressed to write on this one since there is a wealth of truth to be found in this study, backed up by the words of others.

    As I am writing this I can feel shame building up in me, and an attitude that I should just get on with things. But I can't deny the complicated history I've had with bullying.

    When I was in primary school I came up against a few nasty comments, but it was never serious and never escalated. It never affected my self worth back then - I was an intelligent child - and at the end of bad days I would come home and draw, sing, play the SNES or listen to music. Other kids in my class used to single me out as smart and being a secretly shy, I was embarrassed about personal achievement. I never wanted other kids to think I was above or below them but I was still inwardly proud of my skills, especially art and writing. I felt resilient and came from a strong family. I was a very interested, caring kid who knew how to talk to people, and I got respect for that.

    From the age of 11, the situation deteriorated. I went from feeling part of a good group of friends to becoming picked on for small things. Aspects my friends had once liked about me started to single me out as different. When they talked about boys, they started to pair me with guys in the class they found unattractive. They grilled me for being smaller than them, for wearing glasses (which I had done for 5 years without problems before), for not being girly enough. They started calling me dweeb and got irritated when I didn't look old enough to sneak into 12 rated movies with them. When I'd invite them round for sleepovers, they would throw my own belongings at me.

    When I went to secondary school (I'm English, but it's high school more or less), that's when I remember it frazzling my brain. There wasn't a day that went by where I was left alone. I was called ugly, skinny, geeky, all by girls who used to be my friends. Some would pick and choose when to talk to me, but generally they were like a pack of hyenas when together and would only be nice to me when none of the others were about. I got grilled because I didn't smoke, because I didn't divulge who I had a crush on, because I had dark, frizzy hair. I looked bad but looking back there were a lot of others girls like me (who I winded up friends with) who looked like tomboys and they got much more respect than I did.

    They stood up for themselves, which was the difference. I tried to deny everything I was. I altered my accent (convincingly) when I got called posh, I faked a lack of interest in studies, I gave them lunch money for smokes, and I developed what i can only now see as an alter ego. I've never had the heart to make fun of people, it's just not part of my nature, but holy shit could I ever make fun of myself. The insults were still frequent but diffused when I'd agree(!) with the people bullying me. I got lightly made fun of by a gorup of friends in my later teens but they used to joke that no one could make fun of me better than myself. I would take the piss out of myself to the point they cried with laughter, it was like I was gaining respect for being a comical masochist.

    When I was 12 I remember the insults which would make me feel sick. I remember being accused of telling teachers about the girls smoking which I would never have done despite their treatment of me. I remember sprinting out the school to get away from it all. I remember trying to ruin away. I remember screaming once, a year of pent up rage exploding and ringing around the class. I remember teachers telling me I was better than these girls but consequently being ignored because I played the game. I see now that they were probably as intimidated as I was.

    I remember sneaking away to hang around with a different group of girls when I was 13, and then my memory cuts out. It's creepy how little I remember, although snippets sneak back into my subconscious, like times I was made fun of for my bad hair, bad skin and bad teeth. I remember doing art homework for half the girls in my class, unnoticed by the teachers, until my passion for art became lacklustre and I dropped the subject altogether.

    I don't know how my personality came to be like it is now, but I remember emotionally coasting this shit for a long time. I blanked it out and developed a defense where I became exaggeratedly nice to people, and tried to crack jokes and feign interest. I love making people laugh but I couldn't be serious or negative about anything. It exhausted me I'm sure, but I can't remember a portion of my teens now. I remember feeling more at home on internet forums when I got a computer, and running away from boys I had a crush on. I once told a guy that I liked him to his face when he was leaving our school, and later my friend (haha) told me that the guy had said I was a really nice person, but too ugly.

    Years later, I am a secret wreck that is unravelling. I ended up in a relationship at 17 where the guy was unnecassarily nasty. I think he cared but evidently picked up on my lack of esteem right away, and ran with it. I without realising it was just as bad as him because I couldn't handle a lot of situations with dignity, and when I drank I would become aggressive. The rest is a blur. My mum got cancer at 19, I split with the guy but spent a year sleeping with him even though in my heart I didn't want to, I felt completely out of control. I would drink until I couldn't stop, I'd spend money without thinking, I'd bring strangers back to my flat then refuse to sleep with them, I had a complete disregard for uni thinking it was pointless since I wouldn't pass.

    My mum got better but my friend was killed on the road so I got counselling. I muddled through jobs but tried not to think of it, I spent over 2 grand travelling to run away, I got into a relationship where I ended up unhappy. Like I needed more physical attention from the guy, and even though he had a heart of gold we clashed. He was as introverted as I was but because I pretended to be the bubbliest person in the room he tried to coast on these misconceptions(that I created). I throttled through life and felt like I had control over nothing, whether times were good or bad.

    And now I'm here. I'm in a loving relationship - I'm crazy about him. It's the first time I've felt completely at ease around someone since I was a kid. I have a good degree, a writing job and my mum is cured. I have good friends, 2 jobs, but when things go wrong it all comes down to this thing I never got over. I am being treated unfairly in my work and feel viewed as unequal to other employees. I can't stand up for myself against them. I get angry, but they back me down. I get on with so many people in my job but the few people who get on my case are the ones I concentrate on.

    I'm like a moth to a flame when it comes to people treating me badly. I had worked so hard to improve my confidence - my degree and last job, although mundane, was a good means to an end since I was respected there. A part of my hankering to return to that safe place is because I know I was popular and liked everyone. It's like a crutch.

    When certain friends, family and now these new workmates treat me as inferior, I blow up and then deflate pathetically. I can't get out of bed today and will tomorrow, but I know I have to speak to someone about this to change it permanently. I once thought moving away would help but since I am here for at least another year, I know I have to face my biggest fear - my self-loathing.

    I have been denied in work because I lack "self esteem and am negative about myself". But I feel like I am getting bullied, again, and they are feeding off it. Some people in this work say things to me I haven't heard for years and it cuts me down in a way it shouldn't. I should tell these people, politely, to fuck off since they aren't so special, but I find myself crawling to them and beginning the whole charade of making fun of myself - from my nose to my boobs. I am degrading myself, knowing deep down it shouldn't matter what these people say because my boyfriend is the only person in the world I'd ever want to sleep with.

    This is longwinded, personal but cathartic. It is a release for me to write these things, but I hope it can help other people. If you still feel plagued and raddled by old insecurities, you have to take the reigns and change that. Cognitive behavioural therapy seems the best option. I've studied psychology and it is a method which, if you let it, can reshape your perspective. Counselling is recommended if you need to talk, but if you're like me and would like something with more feedback, try therapy. It seems rich to preach since I don't know what to do, but never feel like you are alone. I sound like I've been watching Oprah too much but everyone has at least one amazing quality, and it's up to them to release that. Unless you are content with being a loner, there is no reason why people should curl up in a ball in their isolated apartments. Well, of course the reason is this maltreatment, but don't let the others win. You will have something you know you're good at, and it must be damned irritating keeping it to yourself.

    I want to dust myself off and believe in myself. There's a lot I don't get round to doing which I want to, but I realise that I have an inherent lack of self confidence about the way I look, and until I can get by that I'm not going to climb. But I intend to get on top of things. I wish to study learning and perosnal development so one day I can turn the pressing issues I've gone through into a positive tool I can use to help people in similar isolating situations. One day I am going to be in a job where my sensitivity and compassion are strengths and not negative attributes to be trampled on. After my experiences in work this week, I am absolutely determined of that.

    It's strange how at my core, being picked on for how I look has completely changed my outlook as a person. But the little girl in me who was a "geek" is making a big comeback, and for the first time ever I am hellbent on success. Success in personal relationships, in forging a career where I can apply passion to my work, and above all, success in being able to get up out of bed and not give a shit what anyone else thinks of me. It's called contentment, and in five years time I intend to be there no matter what. Good luck to everyone else xx

  • The_Punished

    Growing up as a kid in grade school I teased and got teased as most kids do and that was the end of it. Nothing ever got out of hand.

    Then, I was bullied through the last four years of high school. It was hell. For some reason, the older kids on the bus started throwing spit-wads and that started a chain reaction. Somtimes other older kids and teens started to bully me, but I fought them off. But for some reason I felt incompetent to fight off the bullies in the bus, maybe because they were older or bigger I just don't know. So they just continued on bullying me. Soon, I got depressed and sad and started loosing friends and social activities because of this.

    My classmates started bullying me because I was with a sad face all the time and at time withdrawn. Little did they know, what was going on. My eyes were always teary and red trying to hold in the tears from anger and incompetence. Pretty soon I was called the weird and crazy one by my classmates. Even some of the classmates were older and bigger since they had flunked at least one grade and were repeating with us. Soon enough everybody at school thought they could have a chance at me to tease and bully me.

    After a while I started skipping school. I met some bad people who disliked studying and had flunked other school or were dropouts. Luckily I never gave or met drugs, but got drunk pretty often at age 13 and on. During my abscences at school, I still got laughed at in a way. Classmates used to say I was absent due to malaria, diarrhea or other stupid things.

    After a few months the school authorities contacted my parents to find out what was going on with me. My parents took me too the principal's office. When confronted, I just cried and told them that I skipped because I was being teased too much. My mom only said : "don't worry, time flies." And ihad about 2 1/2 years left for graduation.

    The bullying never stopped and time didnt' seem to go fast enough. I can't recall if I skipped classes once in a while, I probably did. I didn't continue to play sports or enroll in guitar like I wanted due to my sadness and/or depression. I went and paid a psychologist voluntarily. I told her about everything and cried. She phoned my parents and told her everythings. That night my parents hugged me and stuff. The psychologist said I was normal, even though I was beginning to stutter and mumble, for some reason I discontinued seeing her.

    But the bullying still continued. And when this was going on, I pretty much fought with everybody parents, classmates, taxi drivers, bus drivers, everybody.

    I barely passed from one grade to another since I had to go to recuperation for several subjects. I was lousy at every subject becuase I had skipped classes so much.

    Finally, I graduated going to recuperation in 7 from 11 or 12 subjects. That is lousy. Since I had done so bad at high school I couldn't even dare to take the SAT or any other similar test for which my dad was insisting me to take.

    College was a disaster to me. I learned nothing in high school and was clear in college. I don't think my parents ever know since I was a great student in grade school.

    Because of my bad grades I had to work. Soon after I switched to night-univeristy. In all, it took me 12 years to go through univeristy. My poor grades have affected my chances at any kind of scholarship or exchange program.

    Obviously this has affected my self-confidence and self-worth. I have had the same job for 8 years now. For some reason I can't seem to get a promotion or a job some place else even though I am studying for my MBA. I have developed a slight gambling problem thinking it will supply me with an extra income. Can't have a steady relationship for some reason and only get with bad girls and had an AIDS scare. I had premature ejaculation and now am afraid to ge involved with a girl. I've got tested for almost a year an am negative, but still scared about girls and my sexual performance.

    I have contemplated suicide almost every day because at times I've been a bad son and all the emtional and personality problems I've developed. I still stutter and get frustrated because I wasn't born with it. Probably have not done it because I'm a chicken and know that my mother would be devastated.

    DAMN ME. Still wonder why I was the target of bullies. Nobody knows this story, but me and you (the reader).


  • The Punished

    Just to add to my previous note...I have a good relation with everybody at work and everybody has said good things about me, excep my boss. But i guess my boss has self-esteem problems or may have envy it only makes me angry and incompetent when he is unfair.

  • Anonymous-76

    Excellent article. I have recently started seeing a psychologist for my eating disorder and one of the things that emerged in the third session was abuse. I never thought I had been abused but then she asked me about my school experience. I embarassingly told her I was bullied but until that moment, I never thought "I was abused". It was a real eye opener. Of course my therapist could see it a mile away since I have all of the "symptoms" you discuss. Knowing this, and what effects it has, have been very eye opening to me and I truly believe the best revenge is living well and that's what I intend to do. None of the bullies are letting me affect their lives, so why would I let them continue to affect mine after all these years.

  • tort

    I'd mentioned in the previous piece of writing that I'd not really learnt to deal with bullying all that well. I'd like to comment on some of the strategies that I was supposedly given...

    1. Just ignore them. All very well, when your books are about to be thrown out of the window and a class about to begin. Or when increasing amounts of food are being thrown at you, or the bullies are quoting that all too well known line 'We are only trying to be friendly'...

    2. Stand up to them. 'I am sure you've never stood up to your bullies. If you were just to stand up and say no to them, then they'd stop!' I would imagine that there are plenty of people who have done just that, and all to no avail. I know I did, which is why when I see people being given that as a strategy that I'd love to tell the advisers what to go and do. It may work for a few people, but if anything, it made those who continually made fun of me one more weapon to use...'Oh X, we do not know what you are talking about. We're not bullying you or being unkind...'

    3. Avoid them. Sometimes this was possible, and it is a technique I can still sometimes use nowadays when faced with situations where there is a group of 'clever/quick witted' people who love to have a bit of 'harmless' teasing - so long as they are not on the receiving end, of course.

    4. Become useful to them in some way or other. This is the only strategy that has ever worked. I was always good at Mathematics at school, and developed a reputation for that. Which helped, because some of the bullies were none too good at Mathematics. Guess who helped them with their homework? Which actually meant that certain bullies were not unkind for a while. Mind you, the one time when I refused to help someone (I had an overload of homework to do), I had cause to regret it - I was beaten up, the bully announcing to his friends later on that he had beaten me up because I'd not helped him. As an adult, I'd often helped people with administration or pieces of work that involved number work and people were pleased. Ironically, it was the one ploy where I was able to stop one of my persecutors from being vile - a deputy head teacher in a comprehensive discovered that I was good at administration and stopped being quite so unpleasant when I was able to help him out with figure work. But it was an uneven relationship, as just like the bullies at school, if I stopped then he'd revert...

    5. Prayer. I do pray a lot and although it never seemed to have too much effect I cannot tell that it did not have any effect on other people. To some extent it would help me cope with things, but as prayer is essentially an intangible activity (you cannot necessarily quantify its effects like you can with medicines, for example), it was hard to say what effect it has.

    6. Therapy. I'm in therapy I've been in therapy for close on seven years, and will continue for a while yet. It helps me see why certain things happen, and to some extent there are things that are easier to bear as a result. But the pain associated with the events of being bullied (especially when I was in my teens) will always be there fortunately I will not always be reminded about it.

    I hope some of these recollections are of use to readers. And there are plenty of other recollections of being bullied that I've not written down. That will come later on, when I've the time and the energy...

  • hl

    I was bullied by my manager and had to quit my job, because HR would turn it around and make me feel as if I am the problem and am not a "team fit."

    However, after leaving the job, I can not stop reliving the bullying. I get anxious, have nightmares, and even have flashbacks. I hate it so much. I've gotten depressed and have gained weight.

    The manager was jealous of me, because I was a highly valued employee and he wasn't as valuable due to his lack of skills and knowledge to do the job. Obviously, his bullying was caused by his feeling of inadequacy. I shouldn't have had to pay for his lack of initiative in improving himself. I worked really hard to gain the skill sets that I have and feel that I did not deserve the bullying. I hate what he's done to me. I wish I could punch him in the face.

    I used to cry from his bullying and he'd just laugh. What a jerk. He obviously is a d*** bag.

  • cheerful headcase

    I just did a Google search and came across this article. Very enlightening.

    If I could give advice to a kid being bullied, I'd recommend using sufficient retaliatory force to make the bullying stop.

    I was bullied. Every once in a while I'd snap and fight back, typically lose, and then the cycle would repeat. My problem was that I tried to fight "fair" and these kids were all 2-3 years older than me.

    If I had it to do over again, I'd probably select a maple tree sapling about an inch in diameter and four feet long. Something solid enough to really hurt, but not heavy enough to crush a skull (like a baseball bat) or break bones. Then I'd find every one of the guys bullying me and give them a good solid beating.

    Forget fighting "fair". If your life is a living hell and you can't sleep at night because you're dreading the idea of going to the bus stop the next morning, it's time to do something about it. It seems like bullies only understand force, and the way to make them learn to stop bullying you is with enough force so that they "get it".

  • Bullied

    I find your article very interesting, especially the part about the long lasting consequences victims of bullying has to live with. It is exactly what I'm going through.

    I'm 21 and was bullied at school during my lower teens. Everything you say about how bullying can take form, the means of the bulliers, the feelings going through ones head when the bullying occurs and the after-effects are very true and self-experienced by me too.

    I went through hell for four years. If I had known back then what was happening to me I wouldn't have gone there for more than a year. I'm angry and disappointed about what happened to me but I feel hopeless about myself and I'm living with a constant fear of doing wrong. Even If I don't do anything wrong I still feel as if I'm wrong because that's the way it was at school. I could get abused even if I did absolutely nothing.

    I feel as if my constant fear/anxiety/disbelief is handicapping me in what, I'm reminded all the time, is an important part of my life. There are big decisions I have to make about my life but the problem is I don't feel very motivated to live. I've come to find that the best place I know is in a dark quiet room, the only place I can feel some sort of safety. But everybody is pushing me to do something of my life.

    I need to add that ever since I was bullied I haven't got anyone I could truly call a friend. That means I haven't got a friend for nearly 10 years now. By friend I mean someone I can really trust, one of the many effects of bullying is a loss of being truly able to trust another person. In many ways am I longing for someone I could trust, someone outside my family. I have done so for a very long time as you can imagine but it's very hard making friends if you can't trust anyone.

    I don't want to be too extensive here but one important and hugely disturbing effect of my experiences at of the bullying has been that I've become ashamed of feeling happy. Especially in public. My ultimate fear is losing control of the situation!

    I got so much to think about at the moment and my mood have spiralled downwards lately but I guess that changing environment could be something positive. I'm thinking about travelling to another country and maybe work for a while. What, where and how is all very unclear at the moment but simply getting out of my current life by changing setting seems like a pretty good idea right now!

  • isobel

    i found this article helpful and would like to share my experience i was bullied very bad in year 8 i got consitent threats and name calling and horrible rumours spread about me the school never did anything everyday i didnt want to go to school it got so bad that i was lucky if i went to school 3 or 2 days a week this girl abused me at school in class in front of teachers calling me names to make matters worse i was a shy kid and didnt know how to stick up for myself as i was bullied all my friends turned on me i was bullied out side of school as well and my principle didnt do 1 thing at all and i got left out of alot of things at school i used to stay in bed all day and begin self harming my self and got dignosed with serve depression after the girl eventully left the school the school principle told me that they lost a good student because of me the girl that was bulling me after that i lost it teachers at school would tell me i would never admount to anything that i will be no one that hurt because i thought teachers were supposed to courage you not put you down this all started when the girl left the school after that i felt worthless and found new friends but the wrong kind because i was so fearful and scared of getting bullied agian i would do everything to fit in and mad really bad mastakes that i wish i could turn back the clock i felt that worthless and down that i just let people treat me like dirt and use me i have never trusted no one ever since i have no friends im now 19 and still have serve depression after all the bullying at school i left school in year 10 and been studying but i still cry myself to sleep and have nightmares i tryed to kill myself in 2009 couldnt handle hit because the girl who bullied me when i was 13 still harrasses me to this day but now her 42 year old mother continues to bully me after 7 years till this day sometimes you really wish you werent born but you have your family who still loves you

  • No One

    My bully came on the scene in 3rd grade elementary school. Shoves, ear flicks, nasty comments, dirt flinging, watch and lunch token stealing, etc etc.. he made school MISERABLE. I hated the playground and thanked God he did not ride my bus. My family moved and he was not at my new school. 5th grade was bliss!

    But once 6th started and the new larger middle school opened.....there he was all the way through high school. I avoided halls, took longer routes. I could out sprint and distance him...but he was bulk of pure muscle with huge meaty hands. A year younger than I but just overall solid bone and muscle at least 70 lb heavier and a foot taller (maybe less. Childhood memories tend to fray)...I never once offered to fight him. I saw what happened to those who did.

    After graduating high school I forgot of him...only thinking of the torment occasionaly if I heard his name or the topic of bullies came up.

    Today I read his obituary. I feel badly about the smile which crept across my face. But those memories will not die until it is me put underground so I angry that in a way...he will live much longer.

  • Bex

    I was bullied for my entire school career, and I don't think I've ever recovered. For me, the worst thing is what I think of as the institutionalized abuse. The teachers were complacent in letting it happen, and in two cases, encouraged it. They viewed it as my fault. Their position at the time (late 70s/early 80s) was that a child who was bullied was doing something to incur the wrath of the bully. Therefore, if the victim would just be normal, none of this would happen to her/him. Since the fact that the victim was being bullied demonstrated that kid was not normal, the victim essentially deserved what they got.

    My experience was that every day I was forced to go to an institution where I was humiliated, isolated, beaten and molested, and where the people who were supposed to protect me in fact indemnified the abuse.

    As an adult, I identify with a lot of the symptoms listed in this article. In addition, I have a deeply mistrustful relationship to authority. I juxtapose this with being extremely law-abiding and having a very strong sense of civic duty and community. I also live a pretty counter-culture lifestyle in San Francisco, where I surround myself with other people who reject mainstream ideals.

    I am educationally successful with a professional degree, but apathetic about my career.

  • Anonymous-77

    on my school bus, a kid has been bullyed numerous times.

  • KorKy

    I am doing a school project on bullying, and I've found this article very helpful - if only a base for my research.

    I, too, was bullied. It started when I was five - only five! Of course, I had no idea what was going on, so I put up with it for a few years before telling someone. But it was the only local babysitter, so my parents just told me to suck it up, because I didn't have to be there much longer. (At that point, I probably would have been around seven or eight, and I stayed there until I was ten.) So for five years, I was picked on by a girl, a couple of her minions, each day before and after school. It was pretty brutal, but, being so young, I thought nothing of it. I just stayed quiet until I didn't have to be looked after anymore.

    After that was middle school, where other boys began to mock me. There were three of them. Every day at lunch, they would take every opportunity to destroy my self-respect - when the teacher wasn't looking, of course. After being told by my parents, before, to just ride it out, I didn't say a word except to my best, and only, friend. As early as twelve, I was having thoughts of death, which is abnormal, I think...

    This lasted for another five years, until I was fifteen. Finally, these boys eventually stopped talking to me altogether. Until this year one of them is in my first period class, but he seems civil enough. It still makes me nervous, sitting beside him... I didn't request a seat change, in case my teacher told me that the past is the past, and I could deal with sitting with him. The semester is almost over, and I've dealt with it fairly well, I think.

    For ten consecutive years, I was bullied, and it's only been two years since it stopped. I am nowhere near close to healing... I feel no self-worth, I feel like everyone I know simply uses me for their own reasons. But I feel the need to fit in somewhere, so I'm not complaining, even if I may be setting myself up for heartbreak: I have a boyfriend, who I love very much, but I believe he will leave me at any given moment because I am no longer of use to him. Plenty of these long term effects of bullying are beginning to appear, and I am afraid of who I will be as an adult, and how I will perform in my chosen career.

    But then again, why should I try to perform to my best? There really isn't a point, if the world is such a dismal place to live. I am depressed, even if I haven't gone to a doctor to get myself diagnosed. I self-harm, though I am trying to kick that habit. I have had many suicide plans over the last three or four years, and I have gotten myself completely prepared before being too cowardly to follow through...which causes me to bully myself further.

    It's like a cycle that won't break. Ever.

  • Anonymous-78

    also 8th grade. the whole school and even people from other schools in the village bullied me. with words, also beating. when i was so sad that i wanted to kill myself i called the crisis line. the woman said, that i should tell the first person, that calls me a bad word, that i would beat him, if he would do it again. it worked! but by this time, i already had to repeat the class and was double broken inside. i was not telling it to the teachers or my mother or family. because of fear and pride. 15 years later i still have problems with confidence and sexuality and partnership. i read about beta-blockers that make bad memories not so horrible anymore today. that's why i found these articles.

  • maraih

    hello! I am doing an oral on bullying and I think that your dockument is great and all the information will be a good substance of info to get me some good marks on my oral

    thank you for the information!

  • Mercedes

    its so late now..but as I searched the internet for reasons why I had a fear of intimacy-social intimacy that is, reasons why I was still single and wanted a boyfriend so bad, I stumbled upon this article about bullies. I am thankful to have finally admited to myself what I still can't admit to those that are close to me--i was teased. In 5th grade is when it all started, when I began to feel like an outcast because I was still fresh out of living in my old neighborhood. Well anyway, there was this girl that made a comment to me, saying something like "what are you looking at your not cool". Funny thing is, this same girl didnt resurface with her insults until my 7th grade year. It started when my cousin was braiding my hair and used hot water to curl my hair (you cant use a regular iron with synthetic hair) and some fell on my back leaving me with a scar. At the end of 7th grade, there was a pool party and the girl saw my scar and told a couple of my grademates, which spread to the rest of my class. I felt like everyone was gunning for me, i never felt so ostracized and humilated in my entire life. 8th was the same thing because that girl made me seem like an outsider. Although i was teased by a guy in 10th grade, the real damage didnt occur until 11th grade--my second worst year. I was teased almost every lunch period by that same girl back in middle school (since i had no where else to sit but the "black table"). The insults would range from how long I had my braids in to my nose being "too big", to the shoes and socks i was wearing, etc, saying my hair smelled. She even brought some other girls who I thought were my friends who would scrutinize my every move and make me feel like i was always doing something wrong. There were days I felt like fighting back somehow, but i always felt that if i reacted to the insults, i would be sending a message to the "bully" that they got to me somehow--in others words displaying a sign of weakness. from 10th to 12th grade, i decided to be overly nice at times, and developed a great sense of humor, which made me really popular with everyone, though i still felt i didnt really have a specific group of friends "i was friends with everyone, and almost everyone liked me". In 12th grade I decided to sit with other people and form new connections with some friends I already had on the track and field team and almost everyone had liked me by that time. Unlike most of the bully cases mentioned, I was really diligent and recieved one of the highest grades in my class. I was considered to be the smartest "black" person in my graduating in the top 25% of my class.. I guess thats why all the black people at my lunch table saw me as an outcast...and they have known me to have never had an altercation or temper problem with anyone, so i guess thats why...well I finally found freedom when I graduated from high school, and I am currently in my junior year of college working towards a career in medicine. My parents have always told me that knowledge is power, and i have used that as a weapon against my "bully". Though i reflect on those hardships, i have grown as a person--more confident and sociable. However, I still feel like i have to keep a mask from time to time, especially in the many social situations like parties that are presented in college, which have become somewhat exhausting. Its like whenever my friends invite me to parties, i always get hesitant and paranoid, feeling like i would embarass myself somehow, scared that i would be left out for not being the overly outgoing type (since thats what most college guys tend to recognize). No matter how much i try, i cant go back to what i thought i was before the teasing. Even now, i still dont know who i am as a person or what i really want in a relationship, or if i would still be the funny, popular, and outgoing person i am now. This has even affected my relationship with guys, as i overanalyze past flings. I feel like its so easy to infatuate myself with a guy, or have a quick crush, maybe because i never really had an experience of being loved for me. So embarrasing, because all my friends say im outgoing (but i never told them this story), but i believe that without the bullying, i probably wouldn't have anything to prove to anyone--i could be my shy self whenever i want. As for my bully, i think karma is true, because I recently seen on facebook lol, how depressed she was, and i think she even dropped out of college. What ever the reason was for being teased, im sure my former bullies have run out of ways to keep themselves happy, especially in the real world--which is just too bad for them.

  • Serge

    I am now in my late 20's. I'm doing rather well, really-- have a loving wife, iron health, a good job and a gorgeous place to live. However, I've often found myself psychologically distressed for no apparent reason. Somehow, it's been difficult for me to make friends, I am apathetic about my carreer, it's difficult for me to try new things and I regularly drown myself in the Internet browsing about some subject I'm obsessed with at the moment. It's like there's some black hole inside of my being that periodically manifests itself.So I've been wondering, how come?

    Recently I've been looking back into my childhood trying to make some sense of what can be causing my psychological difficulties where theoretically there should be none.

    I am coming from a family that values knowledge and self expression and abhors the rougher sides of being human. As a child, I was rather sensitive and thoughtful. When I turned eleven or twelve, my male peers started asserting their power and turning macho. My "tender" and not very "manly" nature wasn't my ally when those changes started taking place around me. What wasn't helping either was the fact that I was going to a working-class school with a lot of boys whose parents apparently didn't mind if they acted like "men", rough and tough.

    Little by little I was becoming more and more isolated.Right around that time I learned what it's like to be bullied. At first, the bullying wasn't coming from my classmates but rather from occasional encounters with older boys of whom I was absolutely terrified. The worst such episode took place in a pool shower where I got urinated on. I felt absolutely powerless and deeply ashamed. No one ever found out except for the witnesses. My anguish was sharp and wouldn't leave me for weeks, a really ugly feeling...yet I kept it a secret, opening my mouth about the episode seemed dirty, unthinkable.

    Things got pretty bad during the ages of 13 and 14, though. For my 8th grade I returned from summer break to find out that a lot of my classmates turned into thug wannabes. Smokin', drinkin', fightin'. Before I thought of them as a sort of family, as even though we became different a couple of years prior to that, I was left alone and I still felt more or less ok with them. But starting that fall and for the entire duration of that school year my life had been very miserable.

    There wasn't very much violence against me but constant, animal fear of it was instilled in me very quickly. At times I was almost afraid to breathe. I would leave school ASAP. I think what saved me from the kind of savage beating and physical humiliation that I witnessed other "undesirables" suffer was that fact that I was a very good student. As most other boys were chronically underperforming academically, I was available for "help" with tests and homeworks. Plus I had exactly one friend. He was also marginalized but, unlike me, he was good with his fists and when cornered, would often mess up the attacker pretty bad. Me being his friend certainly had helped some. Finally, while I sucked at fighting, I am very big and I wasn't a complete weakling. When brought to the edge I could fight back. I'd have tears in my eyes while fighting back, which must have looked amusing to others, but served as some kind of deterrent.

    That had been the worst year of my life. Feeling weak, inferior and powerless nearly all the time. What contributed to my suffering was secrecy of it all. I was deeply ashamed to bring this up with anyone in my family. When asked about why I looked sad or peturbed, I'd just deny it. I was really completely alone without being aware of any way to change the situation. At times I felt like a freak, like an abomination of some sort. That lack of someone to confide in may have done more damage than the actual bullying. Today is the first time I'm telling anyone about it in as much detail.

    Luckily, after that year, I was taken out of that awful school by my parents who wanted me to succeed academically, which just wasn't going to happen in the original school. And for all my denying and lying they couldn't see that my personality was in a sad shape due to the environment I was immersed in and they love me dearly, me being their only child. So I was enrolled into an excellent school. For the remaining three years I had not had a single confrontation of note with any of my classmates. Everyone respected everyone else, it was just unbelievable. Now I think that my parents may have saved my life by pulling me out of that first school. My peers there turned really vicious as they grew older, some got involved with crime. I doubt I would have avoided wide-spread physical violence against me had I stayed there any longer. I'm almost certain I'd have learned the pleasures of broken bones and maybe worse.

    I'm not going to claim that all of my psychological problems in adulthood can be blamed on the bullying in my early teens. But I think they may have something to do with that. A couple of years of feeling inferior, ashamed and helpless for no known reason must have had some effect on me. And my positive experience in that good school I was transferred to proves that being bullied is not "normal" or "inevitable" (even though God knows, it is astonishingly widespread). That realization makes me less harsh on myself and more understanding of myself. It makes me accept myself better.

  • Serge

    Having read through the replies here I realized that the bullying I experienced isn't the only kind out there. I was a boy in my early teens surrounded by kids who weren't in school to learn. My "problem" was that I wasn't "man enough", I was deeply uncomfortable with any kind of violence, even in self-defense and yet I felt too special to just follow the thug-in-charge. Yet many of you folks who posted here were bullied much earlier and many are female (naive me, I thought girls were pretty sweet to each other). So here are some afterthoughts.

    1. Actually, before my early teens, my school life was pretty happy (except for the occasional encounters with older boys). My memories of those days are pretty vague but I reckon I even enjoyed some popularity at times. What's more disturbing is that on a few occasions I participated in bullying myself, even though that was never a major activity for me and, regretfully, I just sort of "went along with the flow" a few times. There were very few episodes involving hitting, mostly teasing, and that all seems mild to me now but...having read all the testimonies of people feeling trauma from non-physical bullying during their pre-pubescent years, I feel that it wasn't quite so harmless. There are a couple of kids that I remember, actions towards whom I now regret. I would consider apoligizing to those kids today, if I knew where they were but I emigrated from the country I went to school in and am now thousands of miles away. Google search on their names yields nothing.

    2. The above realization spoiled my initial mindset of just being a helpless victim (which felt rather sweet, really). That would have been very convenient but life turned out to be more complicated (as it has the habit of turning out). Thinking harder about my childhood I just have to conclude that being a kid is a mess. There is inevitably a lot of stupidity in a child's brain, a lot of energy they can't control. The sense of right and wrong and empathy are simply not quite there yet, children are largely impulsive. If there is one human being out there who as a kid hasn't been less-than-sweet to another kid at least once, I'd be very surprised. I'll go as far as to say that pure bullies and pure "bullieds" are very rare. I am inclined to think of myself as a "bullied" because I was squarely at the receiving end when I was old enough to remember stuff in great detail. Yet with a few exceptions mentioned before, I am now clueless whom I slapped or whom I called names when I was, say, nine.

    3. While being bullied in my early teens must have done some damage to my personality, I am truly not angry at my bullies today. At times I feel sadness about the whole thing but I don't blame or hate the actual individuals. They were products of their environments trying to cope with this world of ours without proper guidance. A lot came from dysfunctional families and the entire country I grew up in was in a state of collapse. Everyone suffered in one way or another. If anything, I did rather well as compared to many of my bullies: here I am in a developed country in a comfortable chair, online and next to a beautiful blue sea, while some of them are probably in jail, on drugs or even dead. The nature of life is that it often sucks and really, it hasn't sucked for me any more than it has sucked for them. For whatever issues I have, I blame no one-- life often seems unfair, I accept that and try to move on. It's good to acknowledge the damage caused to me by someone else and it's good to trace some present problems to that damage yet once I look at the bigger picture, I can't hate and I won't blame the perpetrators as that accomplishes nothing.

    4. If you're a parent of a younger bullied child, I really don't know what to tell you as I've never really been there myself. But if your child is in a situation like I was in, a teenager who is in school to learn surrounded by aggressive and troubled kids, my advice to you is simple: do your best to take your child out. The suffering that your child is experiencing is extreme and, most likely, your child won't tell you directly what's going on as they're deeply ashamed and completely lost. I know, being able to send your kid to a good school is often a question of living in a good neighborhood and you may not have the resources. Yet I urge you, make every sacrifice to find a way. For instance, if you own a house in a bad area, sell it and rent a small apartment in a good area instead-- no amount of material posessions and comfort can justify the extreme suffering that your child is enduring. And don't fool yourself with the notion that the experience will help the child to "learn about life", "stand up for himself", "embrace diversity" or some other such nonsense. A young teenager just doesn't have the psychological resources to do that and the most they can learn is being mean and nasty to one another. Just take him or her out-- according to my experience (see below), just going to a school where kids come from like-minded families, makes tremendous difference.

  • A mom of a bullied teen

    I have read your article and some of the comments. I have a son who is now 15 years old. He has been bullied since the 7th grade. He is very sensitive. It started verbally and then went to cyberbullying. I have had him in therapy. His therapist told me she could not help him. We were at a loss of what to do. My husband lost his job and our home value went down so much that we couldn't move. The bullying has calmed down but his reputation has been destroyed and he has become a loner. He is very lonely. He started high school this year and we thought things would get better, but it did not. The school department would not help me get him to a new school unless I contacted the superintendent and confronted the school committee. My son did not want me getting involved and letting more people know of his problems. So, this is the end of the school year, my husband is working and we have decided to pull him out of public school and have him go to private. Hoping that a new environment will change his outlook and have him become more engaged in school and meet new people. I have found that the after effects of bullying is difficult for the emotional healing of a child. One thing I can say is that I have made sure that I talk to him about this as much as possible. I try to keep him busy and sometimes he gets angry with me and finds me annoying. I hope that some day in the future, he will thank me for that.

  • Anonymous-79

    Thank you for this article.

    I can remember being physically assaulted just once in elementary school. Maybe I've blocked out some other times. The assault was mostly verbal, all through grade school and some after. Those kids were relentless. They may have changed now into perfectly nice people, and I say I want to be friends with them and hope their lives are going well. But no, I don't hope that at all. I hope they ever got what they dished out. I don't f*cking want them to be ok! I'm not ok. And I won't be.

  • Jon

    Firstly I would like to thank Mark Dombeck for his article, I chanced upon it whilst browsing and am glad I have read it and peoples comments. They have really helped me to reevaluate what still affects me in life 15yrs after having left school. From the list of continued symptoms I can still identify with * Difficulty trusting people * Interpersonal difficulties, including fear and avoidance of new social situations * Increased tendency to be a loner * Self-esteem problems (don't think well of self) In school at age 12 everything changed. Although I am and always have been a big person (muscle rather than fat), and despite that I regularly play fought with my brothers till we were both black and blue. I must admit and am still ashamed to say I was a sensitive kid who panicked and cried tears during early confrontations experienced in life. To this day I still can't answer myself why I was like this, I don't believe it was through fear of pain or worse as I have never worried about that. But that is just the way I was. Also I would love to portray myself as the victim but that is just not how it was, as others have mentioned, life as a kid is messy and although I was mostly at the receiving end, and also on occasion I also stepped in to help others even though I took a beating for my troubles. I have also, I am ashamed to say, dished out bullying to others who were equally undeserving on a couple of occasions. Sometimes through fear of being victimised myself and so I just followed the crowd, but also on some days through anger and pain at having just experienced being a victim. I sincerely regret those occasions and would truly ask for forgiveness if I ever meet these people again. Looking back at the numerous experiences I had over the last 4yrs of school, (I won't go into them as there are so many) and how they have affected me, the common thing I notice was that although sometimes I would fight back (with tears in my eyes and shaking knees). The thing which affects me still most, is the shame of not being able to stand up for myself, If I had a chance to talk to myself again at that time (or to others in that situation now) I would have to say the following: Show no fear....fight back if you can, either verbally or physically (even if you always lose) but if you find you can't do this then you must at all costs show no fear, put on a brave face. Even if it does not stop the bullying, the knowledge later that you did everything you could have done through being more brave, (and being brave is not having no fear but being able to control it and not let it master you), I know from experience, will greatly reduce any future self blame, of worthlessness, of trust issues or communication problems you may have. Appearances are everything, By hiding your fear from bullies, you take away one of their major incentives which is the good feeling they get from dominance over another and hopefully the amount of bullying you experience will even reduce or even stop. So you must always confront head on the problem without crying, you must never, take the piss out yourself to deflect bullying, let yourself physically shake from nerves, turn away from the bullying your own friends may be experiencing, biting your tongue and staying mute when you are receiving a verbal lashing, Hide behind others, or run away to another school as this won't solve anything as bullies are everywhere and the real problem is your own self confidence in your abilities (unless of course you are lucky) This is all easier to say than do I know, but to confront these situations head on only requires confidence which comes from practice, talk to your family, seek help either through martial arts classes or from an older member of family. I certainly wish at the time I had broken through the shame and approached someone about this, as I am sure it would have made a difference. As for now and dealing with my own issues, I now take part in regular martial arts classes, not only for the confidence it gives me physically but also the mental peace and calmness I feel when concentrating on trying to perfect a move through repetition. Every person must find there own thing, using whatever they are good at. As I have said the thing which affected me and still affects me the most is the shame of the weakness I had at the time and how I buckled when I should have stood up. I now try to make up for those times by confronting my fear whenever possible and trying to help others. Hopefully one day I will do enough to compensate. I hope this helps, and always remember you are not alone, there are plenty of others out there who either have already gone through this or are still.

  • Dawn

    I was drawn to this site this evening as today I received an out of the blue text from someone I met through my daughter last year.Our meeting was short but not so sweet. I thankfully didnt take it to heart as I would have done so in the past.

    Here is what the text said " Hi Dawn, I have had brain surgery. i'm more convinced of the good news of the gospel -jesus christ saves sinners. Turn from your sins that you may recieve the free gift of God and eternal life. Aideen (her 5 year old daughter) and i have been praying for you.

    I was stunned. Last year when i met this lady through our daughters, she seemed nice and because i would describe myself as a spiritual person and her Christian, thought maybe some of our values would be the same. I think I was wrong. When she discovered I had Psychic abilities she came to my home and began preaching to me in a condescending way. Saying I was doing the devils work. I politely thanked her for her judgements and asked her to leave. I am 33 years old and she must be about 40. She tried to gain access to my life through my daughter a number of times after but every part of me screamed no. Even though I felt bad but I stood my ground. I live in a small area and I was barely a year here when it happened and because of my gifts I find it hard to mix with people as many can be so judgemental. They love me when I am making them happy and jumping through hoops but when I disagree I am the worlds worst. So I stopped doing that and just now keep to myself. Hence why today I was stunned to see my self in a situation of yet another un provoked attack on me. Its been like this most of my life. Bullied for been me. What cracks me up is I am very good at what I do. (psychic) I am big enough now and am able to balance giving to myself (which In the past could not do because i felt so worthless.) I lost my son a number of years ago and have had people bully me over that. for a long time I sat down and took it, took what ever people threw at me, weather it was family friends or even teachers. But somewhere within I kept standing up..after years of feeling depressed, suicidal and knowing that God didn't even want me, lol I declared to myself well no one may want me but I want me and its been a road to recovery ever since. So I guess the question I pose, when does it end? When do I get to stop attracting these kind of people into my life. I am still in the recovery stage and happily plodding along but my biggest issue is in trusting people and also I guess in setting goals. I am improving but I know I have more work to do on myself. How would you have handled the situation with the text I received? It seems the minute I try to move outside of my protective bubble someone is ready for the kill. Does been different always have to be so hard? I meet so many others like me, damned to hell cause we are just slightly different in our views. I know I would never push my views on another. I guess having come from a hard space I would never wish that on another but cannot comprehend how others can be so hurtful.

    I spend a lot of time at home and find it hard to venture out into the world. I used to have severe panic attacks, seizures and blackouts, but I am nearly a year clear of that now. I don't feel that the attacks against me are justified and if they where in the past, I have payed my price. I write alot of poems now - they have helped me to heal. I would like to share these ones with you, if I may.

    Be Nice - By Dawn copyrighted 2010

    Be nice to your neighbor
    Weather you like them or not
    Its who they are deep inside that counts
    And not what they've got

    Be nice to the person
    Who's different then you
    You where created as equals
    If only you knew.

    Be nice to the man
    With no where to go
    It could easily be you
    Without any home.

    Be nice to the child
    Learning to walk
    Just cause he's small
    Dont mean he cant talk

    Be nice to the woman
    Who begs in the street
    Look at her eyes
    And hear her heart bleat.

    Be nice to the man
    Who sees God different then you
    Does it really matter
    If you feel his beliefs are not true?

    Be nice to a person
    Who creates from their heart
    Right or wrong, good or bad
    Its about just taking part

    Remember in your judgments
    That in all that you do
    Ten fingers are always
    Pointing right back at you

    One of my favorites that I wrote is

    You Have a Choice

    When all of life seems to get you down
    When everythings a mess
    When dark shadows lurk within your soul
    And you love you less and less

    When no one seems to understand
    When no one hears your voice
    You can choice to listen or rise above
    Please know you have a choice

    It does not have to be this way
    Your not what you've been told
    Your a precious child
    Sent from up above
    Sent by God for us to behold

    Sometimes people dont see your beauty
    The laugh, they kick, they taunt
    They try to tare you bit by bit
    Your life they try to haunt

    Please remember only truth exists
    Nothing else is real
    These humans that try to hurt you
    Where once like you I feel

    Somewhere somehow they are hurting to
    There eyes no longer see
    That you where built by God
    With love and care
    Built so perfectly.

    So when darkness haunts you
    Reach inside
    To the bit of you that knows
    That you where created in love you see
    And what you reap you soe.

    Thank you all for listening and your views are valued.

  • Desolate1

    I was bullied by my mother (psychological terror such as coming home from school to find my toys burning in a bonfire for no apparent reason. When I asked what I had done, "You just have too many things..." and she was extremely angry at me for some unknown reason), verbal abuse, put downs, trying to convince me I was stupid (and had me convinced until I was lucky enuff to find a friend that made me realize differently). I was also physically abused on occasion and if my mom really wanted me punished, she'd nag and goad my dad until he would unleash on me to get her to leave him alone. She always seemed to be angry at me and emotionally distant. I was just an annoyance and in the way. She wanted a boy to replace the brother she had loved so dearly who had died. I was the 4th girl and a huge disappointment because I wasn't the reincarnation of her brother and I was not male.

    My older sister (8yrs older) terrorized me relentlessly, burned holes in my clothes, hit me, humilated me, made fun of me, took my things, broke my things, did things and blamed me for them, etc., when I told my mother, "Well honey, that's just Bobbie..." and "Oh just ignore her." Bobbie was her favorite and 'the princess', she understood her, they were just alike. I was different, so I was the punching bag.

    Neighborhood boys 4-5 at a time would beat me up, my sister would watch in the window and laugh when I came in bloodied and crying. These boys were the sons of my mom's best friend in the neighborhood. She did nothing to make them stop..."Just ignore them," was her pat answer.

    Meanwhile I went to Catholic school and was tortured by nuns by being locked in the closet for up to 6+ hrs at a time, knocked upside the head because I handed someone a pencil they had dropped and said, "You dropped this," when there was supposed to be no talking. Standing in the corner holding 2 dictionaries in each arm for an entire period, etc., etc., They knew nobody would come to the school demanding they stop abusing me, so it continued for 8 solid years. The one time I told my mother I was locked in the closet for hours she replied with, "What did you do to make her mad?" followed by an angry scowl. After that I knew it was pointless to protest any abuse.

    More bullies at school on the playground, on the bus...

    At 5 yrs old I tried to OD on pills I found in the medicine chest. My mother put the pills back in the exact same spot and so I tried it again. I had my stomach pumped twice. I tried to kill myself again when I was 21.

    I have anxiety, depression, eating disorders (my first bout with anorexia was brought on by my older sister because she taunted me I was getting fat - I was starting to go through puberty), I had anorexia 6 different times and I now am a compulsive overeater. I have low self esteem and struggle to have any self confidence. I don't seem to form good friendships or relationships. I have trouble trusting people.

    I'm constantly haunted by my past and it effects every aspect of my life. I don't understand why people like my mother decide to have children in the first place.

    I go back and forth trying to get along with adult siblings and wind up writing them off each time because of their cycle of 'bullying and enabling the bullying' and I'm supposed to just accept my lot in life as the scapegoat and stop being 'so sensitive'. There is also a pattern in my family that the youngest is brutalized by their older sibling, this has gone on apparently for generations and it's accepted as the norm.

    I've tried numerous anti depressants and they all just made me a zombie, made me more suicidal and caused hair loss.

    I have continual health problems that are stress related and that are basically like post traumatic stress (e.g., TMJ from clenching my jaw, I have tinnitus from clenching my jaw, headaches, constant tendonitis all over my body because I tense up when I try to sleep, insomnia, etc., etc.,) and I still seem to be some kind of magnet for bullies. I've been a musician for over 1/2 my life and have had several drummers who were bullies, the last one so devastated me I had numerous trips to the hospital for G.E.R.D. and panic attacks. This after we thought we'd be with this guy for the the rest of our lives, we were all best friends.

    I have bouts of depression where I don't want to leave the house for days or weeks at a time because I don't want to have to deal with people and their agendas. Sometimes I feel like they're all wolves and I'm just not up to doing battle just to survive every day.

    I am continually depressed, I'm angry, bitter, angst ridden and go through periods (like now) where I just don't see the sense in even trying any more.

    So this is what bullying is, this is what it does to people. It's not just kids in a schoolyard, it's everywhere and anyone of any age, any gender, any race or socio-economic group can be a bully. Not enough people take it seriously, nor do they realize how psychologically damaging and devastating it can be to a person. It doesn't ever go away, they're all still living in my head and no matter what therapy I pursue or what other distractions I have, the memories and scars still come out and stab me and disable me almost daily and I have nightmares more often than not. I struggle every day to like myself and to try to keep going.

    If your child is a bully MAKE THEM STOP, don't enable them or think it's funny or some passage of childhood.

    If your child is being bullied, please, for God's sake, DO something to make it stop. If you enable a bully, you are as bad as if not worse than the bully.

  • Ian

    A lot of very interesting previous comments on bullying. I would like to help anyone who has suffered and is now reading this.

    I am now 46, but I have recollections of bullying type situations in earlier years. My experiences and solutions boil down to this: You are ultimately responsible for how you choose to respond to any situation and how you construct your own reality, truth, beliefs and feelings. There are decisions you make which underpin your response to difficult situations and have knock-on effects for dealing with similar in future. It is a terrible own-goal to make anyone else more powerful than you, even while trying to explain away your apparent powerlessness to yourself, in order to soften the blow of failure. Always come back with something that re-asserts your sovereignty over self, however insignificant it might be. A bully might even be surprised and respect you for pushing back, even though you are physically no match.

    Here's how it happened with me:

    Aged 12 - 16: Homelife and the difficult puberty years - my father hated his job and was very negative and critical verbally (and occasionally physically) towards his family. Solution - I knew it would end once I was old enough to leave home and was no longer his responsibilty. He gradually recognised and came to appreciate my skills and talents in life. Some years later he remarked how close I am to my kids and how he wished he could have been the same with me and my sister. Also, how I always seemed to bounce back from adversity in life.

    School life - because of what was going on at home, I also had concurrent problems with self-esteem and was over self-conscious at school. Ripe for the bullies in fact. There was a charismatic but violent ringleader of a gang in my class, who was very jealous of my family's nice house and large garden (he complained about it several times to his cronies). What followed was an intermittent campaign of social exclusion, intimidation and harrassment that intensified through several years of school. Naturally, I couldn't focus on learning in such an environment and my eventual exam results suffered. Solution - once again, I knew it wouldn't last and I just bided my time. Oh, the freedom and sense of relief when I left that wretched school...

    There were a few workplace recurrences after I left school, but by and large I learned to spot bullies quickly and my self-confidence was greatly increased as I grew better at communicating, more skillful at my work and chose a careerpath. Bullies don't pick on confident people, so that was that.

    My winning strategy was simply to outlast whatever was thrown at me in life. It has worked for me (and my daughter, whom I managed to steer through a period of social bullying - she came through with flying colours and is now very popular at school), but I will always regret that I didn't knock a few heads together when I had the chance - it would have been so empowering! However, there is a serious side to this in today's times. Kids are getting killed by knives and guns and have to be a lot more careful than in my day. Non-violent strategies that defuse confrontations and do not further brutalise either aggressor or victim are best.

  • biker

    As a 63 year old man, I suffer from diagnosed "major depression". A primary cause, as I've learned, was the constant humiliation I was subjected to as a kid. I won't go into great detail since I could write a book on it. I grew up with low self-esteem, utter fear of people and an attitude of self incrimination and loathing due to my weakness and inability to stem the bullying that occurred. The majority of this happened in "junior" high school (grades 7 through 9) but had consequences, to a degree, in high school. The situation culminated in my raw and unending hatred of the perpetrators along with lifelong shame and self-loathing at my inability to control my own weakness. I've grown up with an unending rage against those who, I feel (sometimes irrationally) wrong me. As a school kid, I watched some teachers smile prior to turning away while the destructive behavior continued with me as the victim. I hated gym class since it was more of a showplace for the jocks and bullies than for kids like me. When organized games were demanded, I was always chosen to a team last and then only grudgingly. Of course, the gym teachers didn't teach a damn thing as they were too busy catering to the jocks only while kids like me were left out in the cold. As the title states, I'll never forget nor will I forgive the perpetrators. Fortunately, however, I have finally found a therapist (after many failures with others) who has kept me from descending into the abyss of despair when all else failed. I've contemplated suicide many times through my life but am, just now, able to temper the hatred of myself and continue on.

  • dan

    thanks, now im not alone.

    problem is my life sucks so much that i wish for my death everyday.

    im 33 , been told my whole life i have above average intelligence , i was a terrible student, no matter how hard i tried i always fluked.but i managed to graduate as an architect.

    i never had a job,mostly because i have this feelign of inadequacy. im depressed most of the time and i seem to have a magnet for bullies. wherever i go i meet people who want to make of my life a living hell.

    im good at meeting women, problem is once i speak, they say i am an idiot.

    i keep of fantasising about murder and revenge and then i get really depressed.

    life is weird, a few years back i got used to the fact that i was a looser and i started to feel better, i started to see that i wasnt so bad after all.

    and then a twist of fate has done my life really miserable, my parents have become obscenely rich and now everyone and their brother know and they say i am blood sucker, gold digger, good for nothing. ( i live wiht my parents )

    i dotn even get an allowance, and in the past 6 months i have spent probably 45 u.s dollars,.

    if you are being bullied, dont think about fighting fair, just fight with evil force and make sure everyone sees it.

    it might stop.

  • Tyler

    I've been bullied since the third grade. It never stops, only gets worse. And I always look forward to the summer. I think it'll be better because I won't see them. Well I always end up running into them. I get hit, called names. They make fun of me for any reason they can find. And Its getting to the point of me think about suicide. I never want to get out of my house anymore. I'm always sitting locked up in my room on the computer.. I feel like my family is the only ones who care. They try and help me. I'm afriad to go anywhere besides walking to a friends house. They live close to me. But the reason why is because no matter where I go, They find me. And they bully me. I feel like everyone who was my friend wants to get away from me.. And I think it is true. I have this one friend. Whenever She is around my other friends. She asks when I'm going to leave. Or if I can go into the other room. But She acts like I'm no one when she is around our other friends. And they act like it too. Tonight we have a big firework convention thing. I'm even afraid to go there. I'm afraid to tell anyone because what they might think of me. And If I don't, It'll get worse and I might actually try to do something. What do I do?

  • Anonymous-80

    Hi, I am 39 years old - I have always had above average results, always been able to re-invent myself no matter how much people excluded me --- I was always excluded since I was a kid - either being too smart, too slim, too polite, too good etc. My parents were demanding but loving, I always had good grades. The hardest has been reaching a high position in the corporate world and being put in a situation where I have "no single tasks" since almost 2 years ! This is a method used in Germany to get rid of people (because you cannot fire them). Nobody talks to me, I am told on a regular basis that I have "no future" and my local family does not even bother about my health except of course my husband. I am marginalized and I have seen that despite being strong - my body reacts otherwise. Because this methods seen to be "a trend" (several colleagues were in hospital) - I think we need to an approach to cure the victims not after but "while being in that situation". What do you think ? At the moment - I cannot quit.

  • Carol

    I am 57-year-old woman who had the tamarity as a child to fall down and get a scar on my face. In a small western PA town there was no "plastic surgeon" available at the hospital to reduce the effects of this one accident. The rest of my elementary, middle, and high school years I was made to feel worthless and unattractive. When I finally got out of the bubble of that little town, and thanks to many compassionate people, I was finally accepted for the person I was and not the small scar and acne scars that seemed to define me for years. However, those inward scars never seem to go away. I thought I might attend my 40-year reunion, but looking at a list of people who responded still made my stomach turn. I think I will make myself go and try to face my fears by being myself, a competent, attractive, self-reliant, and compassionate person. That's the only thing left to do - then I will try to bury the past after I have faced it - wish me luck.

  • Agne

    I was bullied at school. It started when I was 13. There was a boy who humiliated me in front of my class. Teachers pretended, that they don't see it. While other of my class ignored me, laugh at me. I cried almost everyday, didn't know how to defend myself, felt ashamed.

    And now after 10 years I am dealing with low self esteem, anger, fear of new social situations, can't trust people, always scared of being bullied again. Still single, because after that I am avoiding men. And sometimes even feeling that I am not worth to be friends with people around me. Memories of the past brings me pain everytime.

    No one in my family knows this. I don't know how to get over this.

  • Anonymous-81

    I have seen the results of bullying first hand and have to deal with the guilt of not doing enough to stop it.It seemed liked a over active mother to many at the time.Teachers and principal with the belief something must be wrong with the child or this would not be happening to him.Lets intervene and bring the bullies and the abused together to find out what the problem is.What a joke this kind of thinking is we know who would be at fault.It is at no time alright to bully any human being.Until this kind of attitude is taken there will always be bullying in the school.I think maybe a few courses in mental abuse needs to be taught in the school system for the teacher to really graspe the disorder that are be caused from this bullying.

  • Jess

    To the other Jessica on March 31st. I hope you learn to stop the negative monologue with yourself. I wish I was 19 again. You can turn it around. Negative thoughts about yourself are self-fulfilling prophecies. Please don't hurt yourself any more mentally or physically. Stop picking up where they left off. The Higher Power will handle them baby. ((HUG))

    I too was abused from about first grade up. I have an overjet and my front teeth protruded, and I was teased for it throughout elementary and middle school. I envied the kid in 5th grade with the headgear. I am in braces now at age 32 and am facing double jaw surgery next year. I am eager to erase the reminders of abuse and neglect from my childhood.

    I grew up dirt poor and never had clothes that were in style, and usually had ill-fitting hand-me downs or thrift store clothes, so I never felt attractive. I hated picture day. I am still mortified by my 1st grade picture.

    I was called all sorts of names pertaining to buck teeth, the most notable being "Bucky". I was punched in the stomach and lost my breath. In middle school a boy knocked me off a raised sidewalk, and it wasn't because he had a crush. I got hurt when I was 12, and lost the ability to run because of a knee injury. So, in jr high PE, I was a total loser, but still manage to pass because I "dressed out" every day. I am still unable to run, but I am active and lift weights.

    I was generally made to feel ugly and worthless, and still struggle with feelings of inadequacy. My grades were below-average even though I consider myself bright. I was invisible in high school. An absolute zero. I never went to Prom or football games and became sexually promiscuous, making my social situation worse. By some miracle, I didn't get pregnant. I am scared to have children, actually. Scared that I might not be able to give them a better life than I had.

    I have trouble making friends or keeping them. I'm alone most of the time and sometimes feel bitter and contemptuous towards others, esp. those who I consider less intelligent. I still feel unattractive, although I know I have more in that department than many people.

    My life is in a rut that I hope I can climb out of. I hope that I can start really believing in myself so that I can achieve my goals and help other ppl live a better life too. I am very self-absorbed because of my loneliness but I feel I am slowly learning empathy and compassion.

    I am not an overly religious person, but books by Joel Osteen helped, as corny as they are. Love you, Joel. You changed my life.

    Kids are mean because they are narcissistic, I agree. But adults need to stop bullying when they see it anyway, and not look the other way. There should also be more free alternative schools for bullied, gay, and just "different" kids, like the one in Chicago that was featured in Reader's Digest. Children have a right to be educated in a safe environment. I wish I could help every kid go to school with a full belly, nice clothes, and feeling good about learning.

  • dee

    This article was very helpful. My brother was born w/ a birth defect & endured years of bullying in school. He is now 28 yrs old & the horrific years in school seem to still be with him. He has no control over his anger, when he gets mad he doesn't care about anyones feelings. He will get violent. Anytime you try to talk to him he starts blaming everyone around him, including his family who has always helped him, for doing this or not doing that. I tend to think he's bipolar but I'm not sure. He can be fine one minute the next minute he's cussing & threatening you. He is so talented, he plays bass guitar, drums, & about any other instrument. Its almost like he feels he's gotta be this tough guy so no one will ever give him sh*t again. I don't know what to do...I just worry about him.

  • Anonymous-82


    Sorry that you experienced the same as me.. i am 38 years old and i was bullied and taken advantage off most of my life by different groups of people. I have avoidance personality disorder and of course,, i dont have family, girlfriend , job, etc. but i have found the buda teachings helpful in dealing with my inner pain and it has taught me to look the life as a road to find the real happiness. Today i dont have DEPRESSION,,I LOVE MY SELF AND PEOPLE, AND I DONT HAVE THE RECURRENT MEMORIES THAT I CARRIED FOR 28 YEARS..i meditate and follow buda teachings,, to the point that i can be insult by others and dont get affected by that... i am very happy today ... i recommend reading THE FOUR AGREEMENTS by Don Miguel Ruiz.. i love all of you and i wish you the best....)

  • Vix

    For you parents with bullied teens, pull them out of those prison schools and homeschool them. Downsize your junk if you have to, but do it.

    If you're a kid/teen, try to convince your parents to do this. If you're of legal "dropout" age, then drop out and work on getting your GED. Nobody needs to go through this.

    I was bullied (finally fought back and won)... but I've homeschooled my kids their entire lives and they are nothing, NOTHING, like the neighborhood kids. Not all the neighborhood kids are "bad" or bullies, but they are all a far cry from what mine are. Plus mine are 2 grades ahead.

    If I could go back in time, I would leave school and self educate (which is a much better education anyway) and get a correspondence diploma or a GED. And then... get on with real life!

    I'm thinking of you all. Please, don't just do nothing. If both of your parents work, there are plenty of self-paced, independent curricula out there you can do at home while they're working.

    The best years of your life should not be spent in institutions, anyway.

  • Anonymous-83

    I dont honestly know what to do. My child is bullied at school usually for standing up for what's right. She is 13 and awkward, heck she is almost taller than me and I am 5' 7. She is beautfiul and I get total stangers who tell me how kind hearted and gorgeous she is. But the kids at school continually pick on her. I am hoping for a better year this year. But for the last two years I have been dealing with a new neighbor who has a daughter 2 years younger than my girl. She has encouraged her daughter to hit mine when she feels she is being wronged by my daughter. As I stated my daughter is a tall girl. I told her she can't strike back. I contacted authorities to find out what can be done and nothing. This mother has also cornered my daughter and asked her why she spreads lies about her daughter. Which from all accounts from other neighborhood children, her daughter is the one doing the lying. My child can be bossy, she is the oldest and is used to running the show when it comes to younger kids around her. I have continually tried to beat into her head that she can't have total control all the time and that she needs to be willing to negotiate with the other kids. Funny thing is, the other kids in our neighborhood she used to have problems with are now her best friends. They do everything together, but this one child continually tries to pull them all apart by spreading lies and telling lies about even the silliest things. I wish moving was an option but its not. The mother went so far as to call me at work yesterday to tell me that she doesn't know what my daughters problem is with her daughter but my daughter is to blame for every child in the neighborhood hating hers right now. I questioned each girl last night and all of them told me that my daughter did nothing wrong and that they are simply sick and tired of her daughter lying to them all the time. When I tried to explain it to that mother the same way, she accused my daughter once again of being the entire source of all the problems in the neighborhood. She won't listen to reason and refuses to see her daughter for what she is doing. Trust me, they have a very troubled home life that I feel very sorry for, she isn't married to her live in and he is the father of her oldest daughter, the youngest was conceived with another man during a "split". The live in wont help her financially with the younger child and she has nothing to do with her natural father. She has some learning issues and has been on medication for some of these problems but the mother says the medication doesn't help her and takes her off it all the time. I have a loving husband and two beautiful girls. We have a relationship I know she envies. She even teaches that child to covet things we have. Everytime, and by no exaggeration, my kids have something and her daughter wants it, her daughter gets it. The mother has even gone to extremes in asking what color I dyed my hair then going out and dying her hair the exact same color. Two weeks ago when we were speaking again she called me when I was at a retail store to pickup something for her that one of her friends wore that day and she would give me the money later. I did, as long as its not what I am wearing. :) But this woman truly is making me insane and I don't know what to do. For the health of my child and myself, we aren't sure what our steps should be. This family is truly insane. Any ideas???

  • Deborah

    My thinking that no matter how clearly and logically the facts and research is presented, the pervasive belief is that if you have been victimized, you "attracted" it somehow. And if you haven't found a way in adulthood to handle it, the sympahty factor goes to nearly zero. My thought is that we have become human pit bulls. How do you make a dog lose its loving nature? You torture it, feed it bad food or starve it, beat it, etc etc. And the worst thing, you put it in a cage and so it gets little companionship. That surely messes up the character of the dog. Pit bulls were cherished at one time, the favorite pet of Roosevelt. Now they are feared and treated like the stereotype. Well, people can be changed, too. And too bad if you want relief from the long term effects. People view you as crazy or that something is wrong with you. And they are right. An animal will literally go insane by being kept in a cage (I've seen the footage of primates, it made me weep). So it goes with withdrawal of human affection...add to that torment and of COURSE there are long term effects! And then with those core beliefs in place, good luck on holding a job, having a long term relationship, or even having basic social skills. I myself will pop off at people now when they are rude. OR it comes out later, with "friends" who feel they can say whatever the heck they want to say to me. I am sick of it. I fight back, which feeds their perspective that I'm whacked. I have been suicidally depressed, am over 100 lbs. overweight, 51 and never had a long term relationship. And people seem to think it's actually cool to be rude, snobbish and outright cruel. This started in 1st grade. I hate it when I spout off and then I'm wrong. Fight back, and feel wrong. Am minding my own business, trying to be funny, and get bashed. It makes me want to leave this planet. And I am leaving a LOT of stuff out. Bullying is a polite word for sadism. I understand Columbine. I get why vets go off - because as a vet friend of mine put it: "In the bush those people would get fragged!". he goes on to say, "These people self indulge themselves in abuse simply because they think they CAN."

  • deeM

    this site has helped me heaps as i am writing an essay and need info on bullying thankyou!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous-84

    "Thank you for the information you provided in this article. It has answered and me aware that the affects of bullying does not go away overnight. My son has been bullied for 8 plus years. Last year, the bullyes were suspended from high school for some actions. It's amazing how their punishment is a relatively short amount of time they will be dealing with what they have done...My son will be dealing with the negative impact for the rest of his life!" It seems so unfair!!!!!!! I will be forwarding this article onto the school administrators, and my son's therapist.


  • Could be anyone

    I have been struggling mentally for a long time. I am most guilty of wanting acceptance. I am now in my mid thirties and I really feel I have lost connection with who I am. I truly don’t know anymore, not sure of what I like, where I belong, what I want out of life or how to get it. My confidence to do anything is diminishing more and more and it is really starting to hurt.

    My only emotion is anger and I am always on the defense. I constantly yell at my family when things aren't my way and I avoid affection and friendships.

    This article has been the closest to helping me understand, and with everyone else’s posts, show me I am not alone and life will always just be a bit different for me. Whether or not those closest to me understand, will be irrelevant. I don’t think they ever truly could. Unfortunately I will always be a bit different, a bit distant and shy. I am working on it though.

    Maybe the majority of my issues were from to being sexually abused by my brother when I was very young. I have read books, and articles or PTSD and on women who suffer from abuse and rape as children and adults. Even with all I read I could not fully understand why I had such poor self-esteem and confidence, and avoid befriending anyone....I started to keep my distance and still do. I do not feel hurt when relationships end, when someone moves away or when I move away. I am not too saddened about death either. It all just gets dumped as a “no surprise” in the back of my mind.

    My relationship with my older brother. We fought constantly. Sibling rivalry at its worst I think. But, when he was nice, it wasn’t the right kind of nice, and when it was over, it was back to fighting. I really think this started a change and my life went to hell from there. Now my brother’s only grim defense is I know he was bullied terribly in grade school. So minimal forgiveness.

    Now, my family was okay, my parents weren’t alcoholics or anything like that. Just worked and thats about it. They kept us dressed and clean, bought our first vehicles (nothing fancy), etc. So I do not feel my parents are to blame for anything.

    Moving on...Much of my childhood is a blur until 6th or 7th. That is when it started to get ugly. I was not friends with the girls too much. Not sure why either. (If anyone knows just fill me in) I had a cousin the same age growing up, we had somewhat of the same interest. I played volleyball in grade-school and sucked at it. Her mom (my aunt) was the coach, she told me no one wanted me on the team and that included the coaches. I sucked at sports, was not close to my family, really had no hobbies, and so I had nothing to really pull me up accept one thing. My life as a failure began.

    I wanted to be accepted by the boys, I guess maybe I felt their opinion is what mattered. I wanted them to accept me socially. I wanted to prove myself to better then then the person they thought me to be. Maybe since the girls weren't mean to me, I didn't need to prove myself, whereas the boys were sometimes nice but usually not. They made fun of my laugh, called me fat, heifer, a hick, etc. A few of the boys were only nice when they knew it could get them sexual contact, petting, stuff like that. For the most part I was “sexually ignorant”. Had no clue of the impact, or what was going on. Did I like it, no, but I was too chicken shit to say no. I just wanted them to like me and to see me for more then the mean things they called me. This was when they said nice things and made me feel good. But, it always went back to the same hate words and remarks the next day. It was a vicious cycle. All I wanted was to be accepted, and I was failing.

    I was not fat and I did anything I could to erase being a hick. I avoided anything “hick-ish”, being around our horses, I covered my mouth when I laughed and practiced getting rid of my accent. Anything that they could make fun of me for, I tried to erase. Still do this today.

    High school was HELL. I went to a private school. Honestly if it wasn’t for a couple of awesome teachers and guidance counselors I would of never made it. My freshman and sophomore year, I was still the same, going through all the name calling and ridicule just now with more people. No physical violence, or sexual issues with anyone from the school. I didn’t date anyone, and I started to hang out with some girls so not so bad. Then the boys from grade school showed some interest we started talking again. I was feeling pretty good. They invited me to a party and I begged my mom to let me go. I drove my own car and followed them. They ended up taking me to a house and I became a victim of date rape. They were not violent, but afterwords, they just left me. Gone. I was alone but I brushed it off the best I could. The next few weeks became true hell. Those boys did not talk to me. Classmates called me names and it sucked. The guilt consumed me and on top of everything, my brother started to become “interested” again. My life was becoming hell. I confided in a priest who was also my theology teacher. I told him everything from my brother, to what was going on with the boys at school. I needed to understand what was happening and I needed someone else to hear. But I still avoided true acceptance, and out of cowardice, never let my secret get out too far.

    My junior year I switched to public school. Not a terrible idea but not a great on either. My brothers went to school there. And my reputation was already destroyed along with my dignity. I did not know how to start over and I was just alone. One boy I dated, was okay. But, my ability to stand up for myself was trashed and I was going no where.

    I tried to date people not in my school. I got into a relationship with someone a bit older, which is probably the only relationship that was good for me. (If there is one.) He was never abusive towards me in anyway and we talked about everything. I never felt overly driven to need to be sexual. It was just nice. I was the most at peace then. But, due to the age gap and what became my instability, the relationship didn’t last. I was now enveloped with two separate men and living a lie.

    Senior year I was back to the private school. I wanted to graduate with the people I wanted to be friends with. I knew them and though they thought they knew me, I felt a part of that place. Homecoming week, we were at the parade and since we weren’t in sports, our group just walked along the floats handing out candy. It was suppose to be a great day and started as one. In front of everyone the boys on the football float, started yelling and calling me a slut and whore in front of everyone (the public). It was truly the worst thing I ever experienced. I ran as fast as I could back to the school and I waited in the gym. When those boys walked in I attacked them. I was so angry and felt so guilty I wanted to take it all on them. The teachers broke it up and there was no disciplinary action. Later that year, one of the boys in my class started calling me a fat cow. I chased him into the hall and slammed him into the lockers. I was no longer pretending anything was funny or laughing anything off. I just wanted them to stop and leave me alone. My anger issues grew from then on.

    I barely graduated and I was lucky enough to get a job out of HS. I stuck around for a year but then I had to get away. I hated it there, I wanted to hate the people, they would never get to know me. (whoever that is)

    I got out found a way to try and build my confidence, but seeing where I am today and the cycle I keep finding myself going through believing I can accomplish it all and only finding myself a failure is eating away at my soul and bringing me back to reality. I avoid sex as much as possible and usually cry when I have to give in. I hate being laughed at, failing at anything (so I avoid a lot of things) and taking a chance of misreading what someone does or says (so friendships are minimal). I mouth back to those I feel are being rude and usually make an ass of myself. I am overprotective of my kids and have some anxiety towards them. This is who I have been molded into and I want to be free. I want to find me.

  • Anonymous-85

    I was 15 when I was bullied by a girl I befriended and suffer to this day from many of the psychological ills known from it even eating disorder to nervous breakdown and depression. Initially I was suicidal from depression and attempted to take my life and hated and avoided school my parents were working hard to pay the fees for. I was extremely bright one of the top and had a scholarship to go this school and I always sat next to her showed her kindness and loyalty. She started by showing her disappointment at my high grades. Groaning infront of the class and teachers. Then she started to preach to me her dislike of arranged marriages calling me humiliating names maybe my Indian origins and she was into finding love etc. I was too young to understand or be interested and she was already in sexual relationships coming from a very liberal broken family. But then she started bullying me mentally in a dark corridor. I excelled on a project on the 2nd WW she insisted Hitler was Austrian because she and the other girl bullying me were German. She started bullying me with other girls I was friends with in my class in harsh tones and dirty language and I was surprised at her aggression. Then she bullied me along with the other girls infront of teachers at a school disco 3 or 4 of them forcing me to smoke. I remained on friendly terms with her she did psychology and once I asked for her help so I could understand my illness she refused me. It is very difficult to stand up to bullies anywhere I breakdown and can not work I am frightened by others behaviour and do not get on with adults for fear of abuse. Yet I have worked free for charities without being bullied so I stick to charity work. So does earning money come with a bully? I am very confused! Recently I contacted her on facebook she became a doctor of psychology and she wrote back. I told her she was quite a bully at school and I could not fullfill my ambitions because I hated school because of her bullying. I also told her perhaps she needed to lie on the couch...Now I feel a large part of a burden I was not to blame for lift off my shoulders. But I am still ill maybe I will get better.....

  • Anonymous-86

    I dont really know where to start. Im hoping that writing this and getting it off my chest will have some sort of positive impact on my life. Will it? Im not sure...i hope so.

    For as long as i can remember i have been bullied. The target of unwanted attention. Ive never really stood up for myself and if i have then thiose feelings get reppressed and over taken and outshadowed by the feeling that i am just not worthy of anything. Unlike some of the others who have written on here i have a gf and she is fantastic. She is really helping me try to turn my life around although she has absolutly no idea that i was ever bullied and maybe she never will. Ive tryed telling her but just cant im too ashamed. She asks me why i get so angry over such little things and i just say i have good reason. Shes so understanding she just lets it drop and says i can tell her when im good and ready. I want to tell her so bad but im just too ashamed of it , the same as i was when it actually was happening and i couldnt tell my parents. I eventually told them when we were on holiday once and i got very drunk and it all came pooring out. I blamed them pretty much, said it was because they didnt teach me to stand up for myself. I remember having a fight with a kid in my first ever school and the end result was me being told that fighting was wrong and should never happen.

    I had to stop there for a second becuase i know im rambling on and i dont want that, but thats what its like inside my head , A MESS! A total mess. I cant really make sense of whats going on half the time. I dont know how to react to what people say be it good or bad. I do find some people i can kind of connect to but i want that with all people and i know that will never happen.

    This article rings so many bells i cant even begin to say. Doesnt really offer me any help though only seems to reiterate that im gonna be hopeless for the rest of my life. I dont want that! I refuse for that to happen! I must find a way to overcome this or for me life just isnt worth living. I need to connect with people to be happy. Im not content with just being another face in the crowd. I want to be someone and enjoy my life. I think my gf loves me deerly, she tells me enough, but sometimes i doubt it, wouldnt be me if i didnt. Im afraid i will lose her if i dont socilaise more. She is so sociable and its one of the main reasons i love her so much. She can go into any situation and excel. Especially social events. S he really is amazing. We have been together now for 8 months exactly. Im only with her because i found her on msn. I made up a false name because i was ashamed tha the only way i could talk to women was online. It took me a year to finally meet her! A YEAR! Pathetic i know! I was proud of myself to finally pluck up the courage but the pride did not last long. Anyway we are now finally together and im pretty sure shes in love with me but my social anxiety has to eventually get to her. She has mentioned it once or twice so it probly already is. She just wants me to come out with her and her freinds and enjoy myself. Iwant that so bad. I just want to break down these barriers and start not giving a ****!

    I suppose id better give anyone who happens to read this a discription of what ive been through....

    As i said before i had it right through school, always letting people take advantage of me , never standing up for myself, it actually makes me feel sick when i think about it, such a wimp its pathetic. Anyway when i went to secondary school thats when it got really bad. At first i did ok , i tryed to make people laugh and at first it worked but then i became freinds with a guy named ross. Ironically the same name as my identical twin brother who died next to me when we were 8 months old. Something that im sure haunts me but i cant make sense of, but i wont go into that as im sure knowones interested. Anyway i made freinds with this guy who wasnt in the social circle i was in and we were good mates, i think he then decided he wanted in with my other mates, i suppose youd call them the "in-crowd" and he thought the best way to do this was to ridicule me. Ridicule turned into something alot more sinister, he had found weakness and he loved it. Pretty soon everyone had noticed this weakness and they would all join in. At the time i thought i was powerless to stop it so i didnt. I did nothing at all. Just sat back and let them do whatever they liked and boy did they. EVERYDAY! Wasnt just one or two of them it was all of them. My so called freinds. I had no way to get out! mental torture is so much worse than a physical beating! I think i could of lived with that a few times a week. Its over quickly and you heal! But to be ridiculed and publicly humiliated on a daily basis almost all day long is awful. Its sole destroying. I used to go home lock myself in my room and beg my brother to help me. Obviously he couldnt but id still lay there crying and asking for help. No help ever came, same crap different day. I used to sneak vodka out of my home cupboards to try make it a little less painful. It helped a little but no where near enough. My parents had no idea of anything happening. To this day i dont know how they didnt spot it. Maybe they just thought i was a moody child i dont know. Its not their fault though they wasnt too know, i cant and i wont blame them anymore. It was my fault i should have stuck up for myself and maybe took a beating for my trouble but atleast theyd have known that if they wanted to ridicule me they have to fight me for it. But of course i didnt , i just let it continue right through school until finally we left, and i was left with the emotional scars which i had no idea about at the time but now im older the realisation is starting to creep in. Im 24 now and this article has made me realise what i went through and how it affects me just that little bit more. Im sure i need help , someone professional who can put me on the right path. I just want to make my gf happy and be happy myself.

    I have come a long way though. i was stuck in my room for almost 3 years. I didnt go out or do anything. No job nothing. Just endless days of laying in bed. Wouldnt let anyone help. When i first left school i had some good mates but to cut a long story short we went on holiday and my drinking made my emotions come pooring out and i wouldnt be spoken to like an idiot. Needless to say they disowned me and i was all alone. Locked away in my bedroom for years. Unbelieveable how time flys , ive wasted my entire youth but hey cant take it back now. Gotta try to look forward. I startd kick boxing about a month into talking to my current gf. Gave me quite a bit of confidence but the problems are still there. I cant connect with people how i want to. Im too quiet. Even at kb i dont really say much to the people around me. Im hoping this will change i really am. Im desperatly searching for new ways to change the way i think. Maybe ill go speak to someone hopefully they can help.

    Anyway thanks to anyone who reads this would be great but dont put yourselves out for me.

    good luck to everyone whos struggling in my situation.

  • Anonymous-87

    I got an e-mail from the doctor bully. I am aghast at her inadequecy. She denies her aggression and bullying me into smoking then gives me her hope that 'I only took as much as I could.' I said she seriously needs the couch to jog her memory... She really needs help! I would fear she would ruin lives further into regression rather than treat.

  • hi

    I have ben bullyed since preschool and and i'm now in year 7 and it ceaps getting wers I hate it so much it never gets better no matter what I do or how i tell i have thorts of suiside all the time i think i have anxidy (so do my friends)i also hate school and have low grades.

  • Anonymous-88

    Bullying is part of growing up seeing the demon in others but you should never suffer quietly and confused because it will effect health and social acceptance. It never ceases on a large scale it is war disfunctional states racism-and these are the realities of life. But your suffering will be turned around for you the whole world will appear fearful to you because you are not accepted by others. But then pursue have faith go on as a good person and citizan be gentle remember God gave you life to be free and happy at His Will not bullies! They want to take that precious gift away from you they are worldly wise fallen from their innocence and grace even though they are the same age as you. You will one day reap wisdom from God rise above and do better things and never need their manners or grace or gratitude ever again because they were not there in the first place! That is for God to avenge. Why? They have messed up families and can not believe why you are not the same they can not see the little light shinning in you when you show them love or why you are smarter. They only want to destroy your life and future so they can appear better than you and do better than you by making you helpless to the point of self destruction. They are downright short-sighted they can not see ending your life will destroy theirs as well. Just be good you are blameless. You will oneday transform into someone beautiful and changed and healed and will heal others.

  • Michelle

    Hi! I was bullied from grade 1st in elementary school until secondary 5 in high school . They told me that I was ugly , crazy , not brillant and anything you can imagine . I was hitted , they spited on me . In spite of that ,believe me or not but I never thought to suicide even I wanted to 100 years old and it's always the case today. The key is to think positive. I never desperate and always told me that I will have a good future and I was not wrong . Now I am 33 years old , I am self -confident , have a good profession , I am chartered accountant . I am married for 10 years now and we're expecting for november. I wanted that for 5 years . If I am writing these lines it's because I want to give hope to bullied people . I am proud of me and I want to help another in the same situation PS : I failed one year in high school and I went to university and got a bachelor degree in accounting . So , I know I am reluctant but THINK POSITIVE .

  • Anonymous-88

    Suicide is very dangerous when you do not know where you are going after death. Ofcourse I hold the keys! Remember Judas Jesus' friend? He did not know where he was going did Jesus tell him? So where did he go? Only where God put him. Do you know where? No. You still do not know. Do you really know the unknown afterlife? No. Then where are you going in your childishness? To hell. If you are going to take more drugs alcohol whatever your childish whims. Maybe even think about ending it with AIDS in a romantic rendevous go ahead it is not my business. But I am warning you one day you will be drawn to the bottle of pills and it will feel right and your mind will tell you it is good. The demon will step into your room right beside you. How will you fight then? Who will fight for you?

  • Mr. Scrot

    I would like to say thank you for taking the time to write this essay. It was very helpful. A lot of the symptoms that are a result of bullying that you included in this document I ones I can relate to very easily. Thoughts of suicide, anger, bitterness, depression, insecurity and revenge are all things I have suffered from as a result of bullying.

    Only this morning I woke up in a rage about the people who bullied me at school when I was a teenager. I think as you get older the feeling sadness and fear are replaced by bitterness and thoughts of revenge. I also find it difficult to trust anybody and I'm certainly not niave when it comes to my love life.

    As an adult I find it difficult to believe I can still become enraged by all these things that happened what seemed like so many years ago. However this just shows the lasting effect bullying.

    For anyone reading this though its usually the 'sensitive loners' who are bullied that are actually the talented intelligent people who add a great deal to society. These bullys are just thugs who become scared by what they don't understand they have a fear of intelligence and the only way they can deal with that is with physical aggression. All bullying can be summarised as is a physical manifestion of cowardice.

    As for those backwards people who do the bullying, most of them end up at the bottom of society. I've seen the people who bullied me grow up and amount to nothing. The lucky ones end up working at their rich dads company. Ask yourself how fulfilling can that be living in your dads shadow? Maybe they're too dumb to realise, so more fool them.

    As for myself I go to a top ten university and have high prospects and ambitions for the future. Good things happen to good people.

    As for thoughts for revenge thoughts I would say holding onto them will only add to your feelings of anger of bitterness and it become a vicious circle. Ignoring the issue entirely and letting it build up is also wrong. The best advice I can give is to go to a therapist who can help you deal with these issues.

    Hope this helps.

  • Anonymous-89

    Well lets look at the mysteries of God? God is a brillient shot at damnation. When I was bullied an Austrian man and woman father and daughther to this day produced 7 children. You hate arranged marriages do you? What can I say only the truth. You are Judas incarnate from hell. ....What evil suffering you inflict on yourselves. Who will look at you to save you? God? Ever more deciet from the devil? It looks like your god appears like the the devil!

  • Anonymous-90

    Jealousy of a bully encompasses all the vices of failure and falling! Judas was jealous of God. What does that make him? Where did he go?

  • Anonymous-91

    I was always a shy girl. But things were ok before the boys left the school. It was a small school, there were only 10 people in my whole year, and once the boys left the girls started to be really bit**y to me. They left me and my best friend C out and whenever we asked to play with them they said "it's a three player game". They never included us in anything, and naturally eventually we stopped trying. My friend then left, and I became friends with a girl E. E was a manipulative, spiteful bit**. She pretended to be my friend and then constantly made me feel bad and humiliated me. She showed blatantly that she preferred my little sister to her. Once at her party that she held every year and invited everyone she set her brother on me, and he lightly beat me up. I cried and her and the other girls just sat there laughing. I stopped hanging around with her and just cried every breaktime and picked at the trees. I never told anyone about this at the time. For some odd reason I thought these girls were my friends even though they kept taunting me and excluding me. I left the school when I was 9 because my parents thought it was a bad school. I might have managed ok if E hadn't told me the last time she saw me "The reason you are leaving is you don't have any friends" with a malicious smile on her face. This shattered my confidence completely because I finally realised none of these girls had been my friends. Due to the fact that I had been socially excluded for 2 years and bullied I became very withdrawn and shy. I had very low self esteem and I wanted to make friends with the popular kids, but settle for the losers because I thought they were the only people I could befriend. When I went there I acted very introverted and closed to the people who were trying to be my friends. People kept saying my eyes were "freaky" and "stary". This made me think I had something wrong with me and I started to wonder if I was an alien. I cried in the toilets at break and became a bully for a short time because I thought I could make some friends. It just made me feel terrible about myself and did not improve my popularity. I wrote in a book that "I hate myself and I have no friends". My mum found it and questioned me about it. I made friends with N, Y, S, H,B and K. But at different stages, and I broke off my friendship with B and K by saying stupid things. I was still not happy. I did not really like N and Y. I am still friends with S today, she goes to the school I go to now. After that school I went to Secondary school. I thought this was my chance finally to turn things around. N and Y went there and H and I was friends with I and Sa. But I was not happy. When I was 13 and friends with T I started to think that everyone hated me. They never talked to me much except for my friends. T would put me down and indirectly insult me whilst still being my friend. I spent my breaktimes looking at Sa's group because I wanted to be friends with them but not going near them. Over time I became more and more withdrawn and spent my breaktimes in the library. I thought everyone hated me and I hated myself. I wished I could be Eloise, a popular, funny, clever and smart girl. I cried every night and a lot in school too. T and I broke our friendship, and I stopped being friends with my other friends. I just spent my days in isoolation, dreading school. I even ate my lunch alone. I have never been so unhapy. I even sent emails to T joking about how i'd commit suicide if she wasnt my friend or something. I casually thought that if I was ever going to kill myself pills would be the best option. I never smiled anymore. I still had 5 friends out of school, but otherwise none. School was hell. T constantly commented on my bad acne, my flat chestedness ( i was a late developer), and in her words she said "You're not that pretty, but you don't have to be pretty to win the X factor, you can sing, we could split it 60/40 yes?" All the other girls constantly mocked me and jeered at me when I tried to get out of the depression and bothered to talk to them. They indirectly insulted me and slammed sarcy comments at me whenever I tried to talk to them. I was lost. I was numb. At one point I tried to keep in my feelings and was like a mannequin. But the pain always came back. Surprisingly I managed to do ok in school even though I did not try. I stayed in the top sets for French, Spanish and Science and the second set for Maths. I didn't know it at the time but now I think I had depression. I mean its not normal to cry every night is it? I probably would have killed myself if I hadn't left that school. They never stopped being horrible to me. Eloise, the only nice popular girl even told me " It's really unfair what they are doing, I know" or something like that. I was kinda friends with her but T spread rumours that I fancied her. Which was a load of rubbish. I'm not gay. I left the school at 14 and went to the school I'm at now that S went to. I was very introverted and withdrawn still. I guess I was still depressed. I found it hard making friends and shut myself out to the class, only talking to S. It was another all girls school. All girls schools are so bit**y and cliquey, trust me. I only really became friends with E, who is also friends with S. I also became friends with G, Saa, Ga and L. But I am no longer friends with L, and G. I don't like G anymore, and L and i just drifted apart. I became good friends with V for a bit. But then I guess she realised she didnt like me and blocked me on msn. I am friends with So and Sop now and kinda K and K and S. Oh yeah and F and E, Saa. I'm 15 now. Still not entirely happy. But things are better. Yes people still mock me and jeer at me and make sarky comments. But they are popular bit***. The worst thing anyone said to me was last school year, its summer right now. Sophie Weaver said "you are the ugliest person I have ever met". I replied with " you are the bi**iest person I ever met". She is actually really ugly, but unlike her I'm not a bit** so I didnt say that.After this she said " No one likes you, you have no friends". This got to me because I still didn't have many friends. She has constantly been fake nice to me and then the next day been a total bit**. Once she said " STAY AWAY, 5 metres " or something. She seems to have stopped now but who knows.

  • Anonymous-90

    Bullies want to be perfect but can not because of their family problems. They are failures at school and home. We never know how far back the problem stems. They are hopeless loosers. They are lead into a dangerous illusion about their lives to think they can be better and are better than their victims. They lie and cheat their way through life by bullying. They may go to church to improve themselves be exorcised get married baptised but they never change they are still the same person inside themselves. The victim would rather have faith in God than the faithless bully.

  • Anonymous-90

    I do not know what happened to the girl who bullied me? I did not know if she was feeling bad about her evil ways in the first place. She could have chosen euthanasia. How sad in evil terms. Otherwise she could have lead others to euthanasia. A bully is saying she is god. When I see God in other girls who are like my sisters more than friends shine like beautiful stars and have a happy contented and fullfilled life. And deserve more!

  • gilesp

    Title speaks for itself... bullying does long term damage like paedophiles do. We need to treat bullies like we treat paedophiles.

  • Lianda Ludwig, M.S.

    While never bullied, teasing and being ostracized played a significant role in my school years. I do ask others about their memories of being teased. Uniformly, long into adulthood, people remember the names of their tormentor, and the specific things that were said. Less often, people remember the compliments and acts of kindness of their school mates.

    I've found that people who teased or were bystanders or part of a group who teased others frequently have excuses for their behavior, and not too much guilt. For the victim, I am convinced that emotional scars remain throughout life although the same intensity lessens as one ages. Using EFT (meridian tapping) has helped my clients release the emotion associated with the negative memory.

    I wonder if parents who were teased as children put more attention teaching their children NOT to tease others? In NYC where I was a Guidance Counselor, the typical response of parents from the neighborhoods where I worked was: beat the **** out of them, or I'll beat you if you don't.

    It makes me wonder if there is any corresponding behavior in the rest of the animal kingdom, or if humans alone have this terrible flaw!

  • Anonymous-92

    I also saw my class bully on facebook! I recognised the evil strand of incarnation in them. And I believed!

  • Anonymous-93

    If there is no remorse on behalf of the bully then there is no forgiveness from the victim. The victim does not know whether to forgive or not. But as to helping the bully that is impossible. They have to find their own way and help themselves. The victim is too weak and suffering. After they help themselves and or find help they are 'healed of their evil' perhaps there is realisation for their wrong doing and room for remorse. Then only can they approach the victim.

  • Mickey

    Dr. D., I am hoping that I can come to this forum and discuss rather than argue some different concepts.

    This is an excellent essay and a worthy topic. It has been suggested that 95% of the workplaces in North America are abusive, authoritarian and many of the employees resort to bullying to counter the affects of the abuse and will resort to scapegoat another employee to take the focus off them. I personally believe that is the main underlying factor in bulling the bully needs to take the focus off him/her. They have such a low self concept that they can’t tolerate to have anyone see them as anything less than being perfect.

    You have as some great questions at the end of this essay and have asked that everyone bring their experience with them. You already know a lot about me and I am sure that you will not disagree that I have the experience. I believe it is my turn to try and make a positive payback for the time you have spent listening to me in a different forum. I hope I can do that here.

    In my honest opinion if anyone is interested in seeing abuse, manipulation and bullying in action and a group of people trying to address these issues without success, the best forum on here is: Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a Cult?

    I am suggesting this Dr. D. because that is exactly what I see happening in that forum. Something didn’t quite make sense in one of your comments in that forum as well, but I see it in a different light now that I have read this essay. Your comment was: The parallel between this talk and "I know you are but what am I" is eerie."

    Is it possible that your following comment here may have something to do with that eerie feeling? “I'm 40 years old now it's been something like 30 years since that sort of thing last happened. Still, the experience has not left me, it sucked so much. I don't think about it much these days, but I know that having lived through those experiences has shaped me as an adult, and not for the better.”

    I am not suggesting that you are having some transference issue that would blow things way out of proportion but rather suggesting you are having feeling of the past bullying a fleeting thought so to speak.

    I would love to hear your feedback on this. I promise I am going to discuss only this topic in any following posts and won’t try to amalgamate any other forums after this post.

    Dr. Dombeck's Note: Mickey,

    Knowing you as I do from the AA discussion you've referenced above, I welcome your voice on other parts of this website. You're a thoughtful person when you want to be and I appreciate that.

    I would disagree that bullies have a poor self-concept all the time. I've argued that bullying is a narcissistic act, and the same suggestion is frequently made about narcissists (e.g., that narcissists have low self-esteem). There is an angle in which this may be true but it is an abstract/theoretical angle and not the lived case. Bullies feel good when they bully. Bullying is reinforcing to them they feed off it, elevating as it does their feeling of dominance and importance. Their self-esteem is correspondingly high not low.

    The sense in which a narcissist/bully has low self-esteem is theoretical and ecological. One way to talk about this might be to use attachment theory concepts - secure attachment and insecure attachment. Bullies in some fashion hunger for the opportunity to assert themselves and in that sense the self-esteem boost they get from their actions is unstable and needing to be fed on a regular basis. They need an audience and they need victims and without these cast members - to whom they are dependent upon without necessarily realizing it - their high sense of self-esteem might falter or crash. Speculative, but that's the way I'd put it out there. Someone who has more of a stable self-esteem is perhaps less hungry to dominate.

    Of course I have been affected by my bullying experience, and yes it affects my thinking, very much in the manner of a transference. This is not some unique wound, however everyone has formative experiences that shape them and which change the course of how they are inclined to perceive particular types of events in the future. Transference is the normal experience not some special case.

    Becoming a mature adult does not mean that you somehow become "pure" and free of such accumulated baggage it means that you become aware of it and how it affects you and learn how to stay on top of it so that you run your life rather than your life running you.

  • E.

    At Prep i was a sensitive person and i use to throw chairs, pencils, pens etc. around the room and in kindergarten i stole things from the teachers desk because my classmates were telling me too if i wanted to sit with them, i never got to sit with them after theieving although i did have 2 best friends my second best friend who was a guy i sorta went out with him in grade 2 we broke up in grade 6 as i was leaving to a all girl boarding school hours away from home anyways eventually i got suspened in grade 2 after misbehaving I was sent to a catholic school i was teased about having buckteeth and they called me a beaver or a Rabbit I went to school each day taking in all their comments and i thought negatively about myself at this school there were three different groups 2 people who made up the outcasts me and another girl who wasn't as great looking but she was really brave and she didn't take crap from anyone although i was insecure i was kinda friends with second group the inbetweeners the kind of people who were friendly with everyone but still backstabbed this group was full of girls i thought i could trust them and yet i was wrong i had told one of them about my boyfriend, the next morning at school people sang loudly "E. and A sitting in the tree k.I.S.S.I.N.G" etc... and everyone knew i regretted telling my not so friendly group but there was a girl in that group who was really nice and she was one of my good friends now there was the nasty popular group who consisted of boys and girls both genders were nasty, from grade 2 grade 5 i had a lot of detentions but in grade 6 i only had 1 detention but during grade 6 i played netball outside of school and a new student named T. was going to come to our school we were friends and i liked her she was nice i went to her house and we were friendly but when she came to the school she dogged me for the populars and back stabbed me. and was nasty then they pretended to exclude one of there friends B. to hang with me to get all my secrets yet when b. was being too nice i was careful what i said around her because i didn't trust her but i let the friendliness wrap around me and had a new fake friend one day at her house when i was over she purposely broke her phone and accused me of breaking it i confronted her not to lie and then she dogged me to her other friends under thier "spell" I left to a boarding school and i got odd stares from some people but i hid my past behind me as much as i could and tried being myself, being funny and silly and i was accepted not into a group but with people themselves they didn't care what i looked like and i was happy although at lunch i never had a group to sit with i hid in the library or I buried myself in work another complicated friendship of mine evolved with N. we were friends for 2 terms after having an incident involving myself as to wrist cutting (which failed) she was asked to leave the school (like i said it was complicated and its a long story) anyways it been 2 years I'm 14 years old and im in grade 9 i still get odd stares in public and my teeth are slowly getting fixed, although i know they will be fixed i still feel that i can't forgive the people who bullied me, i know that some of the people who have bullied me didn't have really bad family problems because they got what they wanted from their parents. and ever since my best closest friend who understood me had no choice to leave, left me. well i keep considering new ideas of sucicde planning them in my head on how they'd go. most i get pissed off so easily i just want to hurt someone but physically i can't cause im really skinny but then i have to break something and not even that makes me better, so then i start to think of gruesome ways on hurting the people who hurt me. and im only young and it's already destroying my life most of time i think negatively i tell people not to get on my bad side in joking ways and then there are times when i say things jokingly like at least you got this.... etc etc. i just feel like the people who punished me should be severly hurt because i keep feeling anger towards them i could really just do something stupid and then regret doing that and hurt myself. (i don't have bipolar)

  • Anonymous-93

    Bullies are un-godly atheists. They can not come to terms with their feelings of hatred. From a bullies point of view we can understand the irrational feeling. The hatred must make sense to the bully as it does the victim. When they bully and go away they take the feeling of hatred with them. Then it becomes more hatred if not dealt with. There is a teaching by God even written in scripture tells you the evil of hatred when a person is de-demonised he goes away and comes back in a worse state than before. DO NOT MAKE IT COMPULSIVE OR FISHING. When it is sacred in undertanding.

  • me

    Whoever said that bullies are atheists don't know what atheist means. Atheists are simply people who think with their mind, not their heart, and let their senses, facts and logic guide them on what is and isn't instead of thousands of years of brainwashing and fairy tales.

  • Victoria Reeve

    Thank you for this, Mark. I googled this topic because I was trying to put a name to what I felt was the root cause of my social distress, anger, and low self-esteem. Reading your article helped me get my bearings a little. Bullying can unfortunately happen in the home. My mother had a very difficult personality and, though she wasn't always physically brutal, the anxieties and feelings of helplessness her behaviours brought out in me as a child have had lasting repercussions. She's now an old woman whose personality has miraculously changed for the better along with the mild memory loss she seems to have sustained with aging. My whole life has been geared towards keeping a lid on her temper, and in recent years, as she became easier to deal with, my frustrations rapidly emerged. I have made quite a few mistakes and feel considerable distress over these (I have potentially damaged my career and generally feel embarrassed about my behaviour). It helps to identify the source. I think I have also been affected by a different kind of bullying over the years from a former partner. He was kind in many ways, but excessively critical on trivial issues. In the first weeks of our marriage he had me characterised as unable to get myself ready in time for work, even though I was in a responsible position and always timely. The attitude characterised our 14 years together. Now I'm battling myself and it's terrifying. I have responsibilities toward my mother, and this is difficult because I just keep resisting these emotionally. My own financial security is in doubt and I always seem to be putting myself last. I'm going to think a little more deeply about how I can undo the damage of these forms of bullying (in contrast, my school years were happy) and get on with living a happy and successful life.

    Thank you again


  • Victoria Reeve

    Dear "Trying my best...",

    Thank you for your post. I found it really helpful because you reminded me of what I find myself doing when I get down: I undersell my achievements and I think that people can't see the good in me, only my failures. When I read your post, I understood just what you meant by wanting to mix better and be more outgoing like your girlfriend--I know how painful those feelings of social isolation are. But what came through (as though it were a different song playing underneath the hurt) were your achievements. Here's what I saw in you as you painted your picture: you have a girlfriend who loves you very much, she's cheerful and kind and wants to you to be happy you met her after taking the courageous step of chatting her up online (that sounds pretty smooth) you have a quick wit, which means you're smart you're fit, you've taken up kick-boxing, which means you're a skilled athlete you're gentle and kind-hearted (that came through in your kind wishes to anyone experiencing hurt like yours) you're resilient--whatever comes along, you face it and you get through. What you're describing when you express negative thoughts is how the bullying made you feel, and how it makes you feel about yourself. Feelings are powerful, but they move through us. They are not who we are.

    Good luck in dealing with the hurt you've suffered. It seems that the kindest and the best of humanity are easy targets for the bully: your merits, not your faults, made you their target. Those same good qualities attracted love and friendship from others like your girlfriend, so the secret to recovery would seem to be seeking out others who are kind and thoughtful and keeping clear of anyone who does not deserve your friendship. You've just reminded me how important this is. I have only a small circle of friends and feel pretty lonely at the moment, but I know that among that small group are some truly beautiful people and every now and then they show their love and their regard for me in the simplest gestures.

    Thank you for reminding me... for making me stop and think about how I see myself... and how I need to start telling myself a different story.

    My very best wishes to you...

  • Anonymous-94

    I have read most of your very articulate, insightful and intelligent essay. I am sorry I did not read it in its entirety. My levels of anxiety and depression are enveloping me in an intangible darkness. Fear of living, fear of dying, I am drowning in despair and loneliness. My repressed anger is choking and consuming my very existence. Sleep is almost non-existent. Unlike many of those who comment on these forums, I have always been single and bullied/abused in every venue I dare to step in. There is no place for me on this planet, I am convinced of this perpetual reality. I have been through years of counseling in many forms and I have tried many psychotropic medications. Nothing seems to quell or allay this reality. Humans have pecking orders, humans are very complex creatures. If one does not have a quality, such as, what others deem as "good looks", "talent", "brains" or whatever it takes to compensate or adapt, then perhaps one becomes someone like me. I have not yet seen or heard of someone who has a similar situation to my own. I have been to various support groups, group therapy etc. These groups actually become venues of pain as well, rather than venues of healing or support. The more I listen to other's stories, the more I feel isolated and alone. I continue to be my own champion to no avail because reaching out to others has been a futile endeavor. I have been losing ground and as I get older, I realize that I am losing and have lost in many ways. I am losing myself, dying an emotional and physical death. I am wallowing in the terror of this realization. I am reaching the point of no return, no consolation. Nothingness is a lack of breath away. Breathing has become one of the few things I value, yet I know that will be taken away from me as well. There is no point to any of this, just chaos and intangibles. I am caught within my very limited existence, a series of moments of suffering and stumbling. I am suspended in an emotional exile. No place to go or to be.

  • VR

    wishing you all the best--it's a small offering, but I hope it helps you in some way

  • Anonymous-95

    Great great great article! True, i've been bullied and this expresses some of what happens, it's glad to see that somebody is recognizing bullying as abuse and seeing it's long term affects as oppossed to it's "natural" and "bullying helps us grow as people" SURE it contributes to who we are as people, but definetely NOT in a good way. In fact in a negative way, and it doesn't make us "grow" it tears them/us down.

  • Mark Robinson

    At the age of 6, my parents moved the family from N.Ireland to England(1966). I remember everything before that date with fondness. My first experience of 'kids'.(bullying) was... when.. I looked over the fence of our garden into the alley where four kids were standing. I talked to them(with an Ulster accent). They burst out laughing. Couldn't understand a word. I'm 50 and remember every detail. The next 8 years were full of beatings etc all pretty much due to the fact that I was tall for my age and talked funny. I eventually fought back but I do believe I became a loner from that first day. I am a successful artist but I still remember the trauma. I avoid new social situation that demand trivial talk and drink too much. Thankyou for your article, I empathize with so much on the page. LOVE to all bullied. Mark

  • Sharon

    My bullying started in Middle School. Up until then I had friends. I think the weirdest thing for me is I can't remember, no matter how hard I try, anything really about school. About my time at school. It's just a blank - like amensia. I am 40 now. I left my country, New Zealand and literally ran away overseas. My thought was to go somewhere where no one could possibly figure out my true personality - how bad I was. So, I went to Japan.

    It was great for me. It gave me a confidence to start to believe in myself. But, unfortunately, those early days have left a deep scar. I am negative. I have been bullied since (by work colleagues). I am a loner. I really don't have any friends bar one. I put myself down publically and I have incredibly low self-confidence.

    I'd say to young people that age, that growing older does help. You do become more assertive but it takes time. As a teacher now, my advice to anyone being bullied is to change schools. Go somewhere, if you can, where people don't know you so that you can get a fresh start. I really don't know what else I can advise. If only I had had the opportunity to attend a different school, I may be a different person now.

    Just today, a staff member at my school said "sharon, slow down - you're always in a hurry". I turned to this woman and replied "no, I won't, because this is who I am, this is my personality - and I like who I am. I don't tell you to hurry up..."

    And, I thought it is the year 2010, I am a teacher at a school, where bullying is at the forefront of programs at our school and here we have staff members saying to one another that 'you should change', 'you should be more like me', 'you are different' etc etc.

    What hope does society have for addressing bullying....?

  • Anonymous-96

    Hi all. My heart goes out to you. I too have known depression and what its like to be bullied. I want you to know there is hope!! Its in knowing who you really are. You are a child of God, Christ's friend, a saint, redeemed and forgiven of all your sins........ This all comes from a book called Victory Over The Darkness by Neil T. Anderson. If you are thinking of ending it all, please don't. Hang in there! You are a much loved precious child of God!! Find a pastor or a trusted christian counselor and try again!

  • VR

    Unlike many here who have experienced bullying, I was fortunate to have positive experiences at school and, though not overly confident (my negative experiences happened elsewhere), somehow I ended up being school captain of a school of about 1800 students. One day a year 8 girl who lived in my street approached me as I was leaving for the day. She was unusually small for her age and really stood out at high school because of this. She told me that she was the victim of bullying and that she wanted my help but what she needed me to do was very simple: she just wanted to meet each day at the school gates and walk home together, that way, she said, the bullies would see that we were friends and hopefully this would send the message to them that she was not alone and helpless. I can't remember how long we walked home together, but I do remember her meeting me one day and telling me with a smile that I didn't need to wait at the gate for her anymore: the bullying had stopped.

    It would be nice to say that we struck up a friendship, but the age difference and her shyness made that difficult. I hope though that my willingness to help (I had offered a more direct approach than what she suggested) gave her some glimmer of hope that she might fall back on when times got hard. She taught me something important, which I'm really only realising just now. The trick is to ask for small things: people are willing to help, but many can feel overwhelmed by the huge emotional needs of someone who has been hurt in this way. I know when my self-esteem plummets, I feel like I'm too much, too needy, and that my problems are too big for anybody to sort out. It's when I realise that it's not that I face one giant dilemma--it's more a series of small difficulties that seem to add up to something big but which, in truth, have no connection to each other except that they happen to be my experiences. Tackling one at a time helps. And breaking everything down to an action, as opposed to an activity or a social dilemma, works too. Going for a walk, buying yourself breakfast on a Sunday morning, these are social activities, even if you do them alone.

    I'd like to suggest that we form a breakfast club: that we take time out once a week to indulge in a coffee or a meal in some nice little cafe or tea house (or whatever finances permit) and, though we might be alone (with a book or a paper, or our ipods), we are connected in wishing each other well. It's good to have rituals, they are grounding, and the ritual of taking time out to wish your peers on this blog site well would be, I think, a very positive experience.

    I'm going for breakfast now.

    Dr. Dombeck's Note: You are all welcome to use our Support Community Forums for this purpose. We have an abuse and bullying forum already set up for discussion on this topic.

  • Quandary

    I also have been bullied and harassed all of my life (I am 43 years old) and my mother has also had to deal with this all of her life as did both of her parents (her dad died when he was 64 and her mother when she was 90, imagine going through that for 90 years!) and I have done a lot of research trying to figure out what is going on. I was abused at home by family, we relocated frequently (I attended about 12 different schools between K-12 and we moved across several different states) and it was always the same. I'd keep thinking that 'this time things will be different' and yet each new neighborhood and new school was the same, I'd get bullied and abused and no help from teachers or any other adult. Always the same advice to just ignore them because they are just jealous or just trying to get a reaction out of me. Ignoring the bully doesn't help, they just keep bullying. Telling someone who actually does say something to them only got me labelled as a 'tattle-tale' or a 'snitch' and the bullying escalated. Fighting back only got me in trouble. I nearly dropped out of high school but managed to stay in school and graduate. Then I thought college would be different but it wasn't. I thought the real world would be different but every job I've had I've been mobbed and bullied in the workplace. My family also gets abused by police, doctors, nurses, dentists, cashiers, postal workers, etc. The list goes on. My brother died a few years ago and that hit me very hard. That was when I gave up and became a hermit. I cannot even sell anything online through auction sites. I feel like I have been blacklisted. The only things I've found out about during my research is stuff about organized harassment, government-sponsored harassment (such as cointelpro) and gangstalking. I'm doing my best to hang in there but some days are harder than others.

  • MaryBeth Hernandez

    I write this as a 38 year old woman who was bullied as a teenage girl by ruthless horrid group of girls who would call and hang up all hours of the day and night saying "MaryBeth is a slut, a whore", they egged my house, they spray painted in red spray paint all over the front lawn that was covered in snow - again SLUT, WHORE etc... I couldnt ride the bus because everyone would laugh, shout things, throw things at me. I was afraid to leave my house. School was awful, kids in the hallway, I dreaded lunchtime the fear and dread I woke up with every day, the tears and wishing I were dead for years!! Even several attempts to commit suicide.

    To this day... I dont trust women yet I so long for a close friendships with women. I have doubts in my relationships with men (how could they possibly love someone like me?) In social situations I panic..its awful.

    Today I found the lead bully on facebook. In spite I wanted her to look miserable, she looked wonderful, beautiful and happy. I wrote her an email telling her I want peace, its been haunting me for way too long. I told her I forgive her, that I resolved it after all these years that she must have been in some sort of pain to bring her self up by bullying me. Maybe this was stupid I dont know, I will probably never see her but I felt she needed to know what she did and the effects it caused and years of anguish and I HOPE to god if she has children she has taught them compassion.

    Anyway I know my story is one that is one of thousands if not more... but what I know is that BULLYING IS NOT A PART OF GROWING UP!!! NEVER SHOULD BE ACCEPTED OR TOLERATED!

    Everyone remember we were created out of love! Show your love and compassion and tolerance and forgiveness to others and hopefully you can lead by example!

    I wish you all peace of mind, body and spirit!

    ~MaryBeth Hernandez - Champlin MN

  • Neil

    This site has been a revelation. I am a 53-year-old man who has spent the last 40 years frequently miserable, consistently underachieving and profoundly asocial. I have tried all manner of things from dietary change, exercise, vitamins and medical consultations, to anti-depressants and new-skills challenges. A few days of respite are always followed by a slump back into the old feelings of hopelessness and pointlessness.

    I found this site after yet another evening of Googling and it was almost as if trumpets and klaxons started going off in my head. I could feel my jaw dropping. Reading all these experiences of suffering bullying as a teen, and the long-term consequences of it, are so frighteningly close to my own experiences that I now wonder if I have been looking in completely the wrong areas for cause and cure.

    My problem is that until now I never considered what I went through was bullying. Perhaps because some boys expect to be assaulted and to be out of the loop or not needed for friendship or company. That was my perspective as a child. Shrug and learn to cope. My adult perspective is that, as your own experiences show me, many of the incidents which still haunt me did, indeed, amount to bullying and could well be the root of a lifetime of unhappiness.

    I had money taken. I had stuff stolen and flushed down the toilet. I was set upon and kicked to the ground by other boys. I had boys blow their noses on my stuff in the locker room. I was always among the last to be picked for games because of my appalling lack of co-ordination. I was by no means alone in all of this (which is perhaps why I didn’t feel the treatment I got was any worse than some others’). Nobody particularly needed my company, so I became a solitary soul. That gave me a reputation for being a snob. In turn, that made me more of a target.

    I remember once deciding that it wasn’t healthy not to have friends and that since nobody was likely to approach me, I had better bite the bullet and make the approach. I spent 20 minutes screwing up my courage (don’t underestimate how much bravery that took for someone like me) and walked slowly towards a group of what I judged to be the friendlier boys in my year. I stood in front of them and said: “Hi.” They studied me for all of five seconds, until one of them said: “Why don't you just @*&^ off?” The laughter as I turned and slunk away still hurts me, all these years later. To this day, as a 50-something man, I cannot start a conversation with a stranger. I know that is ridiculous. I want to, but something just stops me cold. I dare not risk it. If I see someone in the street who might want to talk, I make a pretense of forgetting something and crossing to the other side to avoid them. I think the shock and hurt of that one exchange has followed me all this time. As I write this, I can still feel the heat of shame.

    Teachers? It would have been instant trouble to mention any of this to them. I once made the mistake of trying to talk about it to a school medic, who told me to take an aspirin and grow up. Two of the teachers seemed to sense I was an easy victim and found me good to ridicule for cheap laughs to get the rest of the class onside. Goodness, I even used to laugh with them. For protection. How sad is that?

    Home? I was raised in a very traditional family, where whining was not acceptable. My father was away a lot on business and my mother had enough to cope with raising two boys and holding down a job and keeping a household running. Besides, she was a little neurotic. She would sometimes sit and the end of my bed and tell me that she had had enough of her life and that if my brother and I didn’t behave better, she would leave for her own sanity and we would be taken into care. The irony is that we were two of the best-behaved kids in town. We were too terrified not to be. I see now that she had confidence issues herself, but it’s scary for a nine-year-old boy to believe that the next step is the orphanage, especially when he doesn’t see how he can behave any better to stop the threat being carried out.

    One school report I remember vividly said: “We cannot establish why your son did so well in elementary school, but at high school is performing well below his ability.” The reason, in hindsight, is that I figured any effort by me would be wasted effort because I clearly wasn’t worth much. So I made no effort. I didn’t study for exams. Yet despite this, amazingly enough, I still performed in the top quartile for results. I have often wondered what I would have achieved with my life if I actually had studied.

    So I cruised into medical school, but the social demands of university life were too much for me. I could not cope being in a group of people because I feared where insults and ridicule would come from this time. Actually, they never did, but the fear of the bullying starting was enough to paralyse me. Gradually, I stopped showing up to class because although I loved the course, I was terrified of people. Eventually, the college invited me to resign. I did.

    Instead, I worked my way up in media and, thanks to the patronage of a very understanding boss, eventually headed my department of 650. I could not socialise, however. Just couldn’t do it. The one time I made an effort when I was a new junior worker to attend a Christmas lunch, I was seated at a table with eight other peer colleagues and was half-way through the meal when, during a lull, one of them said in a loud voice to me: “Of course, you know we all think your work is rubbish.” And so it was all happening again. I left as soon as I could without looking childish and, as a 21-year-old man, sat in my car and sobbed.

    Eventually the manager who had nurtured my career retired and was replaced by a new, brasher type of boss. The new man decided I was not a team player and made my professional life so difficult that I was glad to resign.

    Now, I have been unemployed for seven years. I am secure financially because I invested wisely during my career, but I find my days lonely and difficult to fill. It is a terrible cruelty visited upon some of us that humans need contact with other people if they are to be able to function, but some of us have been made so terrified of people because of repeated experiences throughout our lives. The fact that I have suffered these identical patterns of mostly verbal abuse and ridicule from groups of people who do not know each other (school, family, community, profession) means that the fault must lie with me. There must be something in me that other people see and which triggers their behavior towards me, but to which I am oblivious. I sometimes wonder if I have “Kick Me” flashing above my head in neon letters.

    I am sorry if this sounds self-pitying. It isn’t meant to be. I am content and settled in my own way, but I am frustrated that I have not fulfilled my life potential in the way that others have, and it makes me sad that, increasingly, I see my teenage experience at the hands of bullies and indifferent teachers and parents as being the root cause.

    If people knew how much lifelong damage they were doing to innocent souls, common decency surely would make them think twice as teenagers or, failing that, make them feel shame and remorse as adults for the way they damaged whole lives with their behavior.

  • VR

    Acceptance. I feel a pain in my chest just mentioning it. Say 'acceptance' and a range of negatively constructed relations come to mind: self-acceptance social acceptance accepting one's lot in life...

    I say negative constructions because these forms of acceptance depend upon the assessment of others: it is as if you've put yourself out there for judgment and don't really have much of a say in things. Even questions of self-acceptance depend upon the opinions of others: we weigh up our worth according to how successful we are in a social sense, with self-acceptance being the consolation prize for our social failures because the concept entails a negative appraisal (implicit in it is the assessment 'I'm not perfect, but I accept myself warts and all even if others do not').

    I think self-acceptance is a foolish concept for this very reason. It makes no sense and even if you achieve it, it turns out to be a bitter pill. One might reflect upon one's actions, beliefs, life choices, etc., but the question of accepting oneself in the sense of whether or not these qualities are worthy is not relevant--of course you accept yourself, since you are the entity organising and directing all these qualities and behaviours: your authority in this respect is not in doubt.

    Acceptance turned inward in this way is worse than unhelpful. I think it is at the heart of all this anxiety and hurt--we have all grieved, in some form, over our failure to achieve it. Giving up on the dream of acceptance is liberating because what is left is acceptance as a way of life, acceptance as an action, as a choice that you make: I choose to focus instead on my authority to choose and to accept others.

    When you face the prospect of social failure by fronting up to a group or reaching out to an individual, and you do so with the anxiety that they may or may not accept you, you are handing your authority to choose over to another.

    Acceptance turned outward to others and to the world, on the other hand, constitutes your authority and your capacity to choose. It is not a question of accepting injustice, but a question of accepting the circumstances as they are before you so that you can decide how to respond. Acceptance turned outward empowers the individual. When I reach out to others I am making a conscious choice: I choose to accept them into my world by doing so but I also accept that they have the authority to choose whether or not to accept my gesture, and so I wait and see what their choice will be, and when it comes (be it acceptance or a denial of my offer) I accept it.

    By accepting another's refusal I put a stop to my anxiety. I can walk away, or I can accept that now is not the time. Accepting might entail reflection: perhaps my actions contributed to the refusal. But that's okay. I can take note of that. I can accept the truth of it. I can choose to act differently in future.

    I can choose who and what I accept in life. This doesn't mean I'll get everything I desire. But I accept this, and in doing so, I discover what I am able to achieve instead.

    Sometimes you just have to accept that a certain group or person doesn't want to get to get cosy with you or be your friend. By accepting this you are then able to give your attention to those others you've overlooked who would willingly be your friend/lover/companion. It's refusing to accept the choices of others (no matter how kindly or roughly these are expressed) that keeps a person in a cycle of self-loathing and hurt.

    That's just what recent events in my own life have taught me. Hope it has some relevance for others... it's left me with a quiet optimism. It will take time, but the effect of making such choices on a daily basis is the cure we're all looking for, I think.

  • VR

    I should have added that I don't mean to suggest that bullying be accepted. My comments are directed to addressing the feelings that flow from the experience of being bullied in the past.



  • Susan Marie

    I've been bullied and abused by school mates, bosses and even family members. For 27 yrs I have fought depression with meds and therapy, both of which have helped very, very little. Every day I "fight" my aggressors by affirmations of my goodness, thought stopping and looking around me for those who appear to suffer more than I. I "fight" to be grateful for what I have. I ask God/Spirits/Universe to help me forgive those who have hurt me so I can be free. I am in charge of my choices. I refuse to be a victim. It's a hell of a lot of work to do this every day, but the alternative is self defeating.

  • chrissie

    i am 25 years and when i was 12 a boy played a trick on me at school. i was embarrissed that i fell for the trick and he tormented me about it for many years useing little comments to make me feel on edge whenever he was around i so scared to death that he would tell someone and everyone would laugh at me. and not want to be my friend. i stopped going to school ,stopped eating and started to shake and sweat whenever i was anywhere that he could turn up, it got to a stage where i needed to no where he was at all times. it made me very insercure and untrusting .i felt ugly and disgusting.But most of all i was ashamed of myself for being tricked and vowed never to be sucked in again by anyone which has just ruined a relationship with the love of my life because i couldnt trust him with my feelings and got angry whenever i was worried about talking to him. he loved me and just wanted me to let him in and i couldnt and everytime i got close to telling about my childhood torture i would cause a fight so i had a excuse not to tell him. i feel that everyone around me is just looking for a excuse to laugh at me.and if i told anyone they would hold it against me and use it to torture me with, like the bully did. but i now no that i have to face up to what happend and talk about otherwise it will distroy me and then the bully wins its taken me a long time to relise this but now i have i will get the help i need. this article has help me alot to relise im not the only one that has these feeling from being bullied. thank you

  • Jim

    My name is Dimitris. I was born in Luxembourg and at the age of 3 we moved back to Greece. At the age of 4 my parents took me to a private elementary school where I would not relate to other children, I would stay inside during the breaks and play with some toys. My mother then decided I had to go to another school which it would be stricter and not so free spirited as the other.

    At the new private school when I was five, i was kicked out of the class twice, as I was talking to other kids during class. I still remember that day, like its crystal clear in my mind, I cried and cried and thought I had to get out of the school and walk home.

    From 6 to 11 I remember having difficulties in studying, I would be distracted, looking out of the window and having bad grades. My parents hated bad grades.

    From the age of 11 till 15 I remember 2 incidents where classmates or older children would comment on my sexuality, like you are sissy or are you gay? I couldn’t answer back, I didn’t have the power, I was afraid.

    I remember how much I suffered through adolescence I would go to school thinking that everybody would know I was gay. I was depressed I gained like 40 pounds in a few years. My parents broke up when I was 12 and I would sleep in my mother’s bed till 13. Now I felt Gay, Fat and a child of divorced parents. My parents did not know how I felt, she didn’t realise, I didn’t tell her or so I remember. (I told my sister I was gay when I was 14 and she was cool with it).

    At age of 15 my mom proposed me to change school but I couldn’t, I felt it would be the same story plus the weight of making new friends and knowing new people.

    At the age of 18 I left my city to go and study hospitality management in an Island called Corfu (Greece). I started relating to people and seeing that people were cool with who I am. I made friends, I had support, had fun lot of fun but still in the back of my head I had the feeling that there were some people who would not talk to me just because I was gay. Maybe it was not true but that’s how I felt... so I was depressed. However there were times when I had fun, I started going to the gym I lost sixty pounds in 2 years, I felt happy, happier, I was finally having a sexual life but still there were times I would be depressed. During the summers (2001-2002) I would go on training in some Hotels and I was not really productive, I would be late, I would not like what I did, I was feeling tired but I was only 20.

    In 2004 I went to Switzerland for my Bachelors degree. It seemed to me that it would be really hard to meet new people who already knew each other since I went there during the 5th & 6th semesters and that I would not be accepted. During the first few days I was forced once to make a team presentation by a French guy who did not speak good English so I went and presented that project in front of the whole class. I turn red but I made it, I felt really really stressed and I felt like I had the fever or something. Anyway eventually I made good friends had fun, but in the back of my head again the same thoughts & feelings, depressed, not studying hard enough, missing classes and smoking weed. I graduated with an average grade.

    I then went to work in the U.S. I got an amazing management training program for Four Seasons in Florida. I was feeling finally I did something which I had dreamed of, getting a job for one of the best hotel companes in the world.

    Great experience, but really stressful. Although I knew I would be easily accepted in such an environment, I had the same feelings for a while. I would make mistakes as I was an order taker in Room Service (with four season standards in mind and the fear of contributing to loosing a star - it was a five star hotel and mistakes could lead to being a 4 star), I got like 3 written warnings (one on Christmas day).

    I was trying hard not to make any mistakes but still I was not good and I felt rejected, really, I could see other co - workers having a nice chat or being cool with the Food & Beverage assistant manager but I felt he hated me just because I was not good enough at my job..

    So again there they were, the same feelings, depression etc. I had 0 sexual lfe, I couldn’t go out, too tired physically and emotionally. I left after a year (my program was supposed to end in 1,5 years).

    However I went to Miami several times, I met other Greeks so it was cool and had very nice moments apart from the other stressful feelings.

    I then came back to Greece had to go to the army for a year. So I decided I would take some time off and did not work from April 2006 to February 2007.

    In July 2006 I met a guy and that was my first relationship, during the army service he was really there and supported me a lot. Army was hell, I couldn’t relate to the people of my team so I ended up doing all the shit work. Before the end of the army service I got my first anxiety attack, went to the doctors and gave me two weeks off. The service itself was not hard but I was in an environment with a majority of straight guys, pretending I was str8 and that’s very very very tiring and hard - for me although I don’t look gay.

    I then broke up with that guy (i wasn’t sexually attracted to him anymore). In April 2008 I started working as real estate agent in Athens and my immediate co-worker was my cousin so the induction and adaptation process was really easy and smooth.

    Its been 2,5 years now that I have been working here, most of the co-workers are women who know about my sexuality and we are really cool with each other, I feel safe.

    Even though I knew I was gay since I was like 6, even though my parents know and are cool and have met my boyfriends, even though people at my job know about me, I still have social related issues.

    At times I feel that I m not good enough at anything, some times I have great self esteem, others I feel I m not worthy.

    I don’t make much money but I m not stressed at work.In order to make money and live by myself as I cant afford to rent a place of my own I have to change job and deal with STRESS and my sociality(?) but it seems like the hardest thing for me. Because the past “haunts" me in a way.

    It’s like I have improved but now I m stuck here because it feels Safe.

    The f*cked up thing is that I cannot even afford psychotherapy.

    However i try to have less of depressed feelings, and had my third and anxiety attack in May 2009, so I think I ve dealt with it.

    Still everyday seems hard, I am oversensitive and cynical or easily irritated, very judgemental of myself, I am more social though but still very cautious with people and not very talkative with big crowds of people I don’t know.

    There are times of course when I am having fun but when I m alone depressive feelings are there. The thing is that I believe I am very clever and have potential but I have this weight in the back of my shoulders.

    Went to a therapist on Monday, he asked me to draw a guy and a woman. I drew a 16 year old girl and a 10 year old boy. I myself feel sometimes like a child. I know life is not easy and fair but still other people who are not as sensitive are ok with "fighting" every day.

    I feel that I need to avoid any stressful situation to me cause I want to feel less stress. It’s like I ve given up, (not life itself i love life) but I m not productive and I m not on a good career path (I make half of the money I was making in the States).

    The second relationship I had lasted 1,5 years and I ended it AGAIN because I stopped being sexually attracted to the other guy even though he was a very loveable and caring person.

    I need to get over the past and move on, but who said that I m ready and how can I be ready to start my life? I ve never written before to anyone about this issues of mine, although I have spoken with friends, and worked with myself to improve, but I read your article and I have to say childhood bullying has an effect on adulthood especially if other factors are involved, I know for sure.

    I would be grateful If you had any, ANY input, suggestions to help me out. If you have any questions please feel free to ask me.

    Thank you, Dimitris

    p.s. sorry for the writing errors, i just had to get it out of me

  • justhere

    i was bullied in grade school. i don't even remember most of what was said, but i remember being jeered at by the core group of girls there and that everything i did was wrong. i had friends leave me because i had unintentionally offended one and all of our mutual friends hung out with her. i spent a lot of time alone in school. i went through a period of feeling sick in the morning and often stayed home. i'm well into adulthood, but i still feel cautious around groups. i'm extremely soft-spoken, even though i remember before this my mother would tell me to keep it down because my voice was fairly loud and would carry across large rooms. i don't know where i am with it now. i also have huge amounts of anxiety, but i've gone through other things too so it's difficult to know how much of that belongs to the bullying in my past.

  • carmel

    It was good to read your article - as I'm now realising (50+) that the bullying I was subjected to at school - exclusion/teasing/physical/long-term and persistent over many years - still affects my intimate relationships and my self-esteem - and probably is the reason for this anger which can just appear by a small trigger. I think i've done pretty well - at times i forget all about it - for long periods i have a really happy life - but when i face change in my life (marriage breakdown, living on my own) then its effects bubble up. It definitely helps to recognise the origins of this, and that it is a common experience for other victims. Someone asked me if I could speak to the bullies now, what would I say? I replied - I have nothing to say now - but if they could hug me as a 12 year old child and say sorry, then it would help. I don't bear a grudge, i just carry this bundle marked 'bullied' through my life.

  • Anonymous-97

    I understand what it is like to be bullied and constantly live in fear. It started in third grade, at first it was only a few comments here and there. I was only a little overweight at first, but then after a short haircut that I got everything went downhill from there. It started out as just one boy who bullied me psychologically by constant name calling in front of everyone, calling me fat, boy/girl, etc... I had no real friends to talk too about it and my social isolation only made more people join in the teasing. I was already a really shy sensitive girl to start out with, as well as an only child with little social skill when it came to interacting with peers. By 8th grade everyday I was terrified of getting on the bus, I hated school, and had gone from getting A's and B's to D's and F's. I always felt very loved at home, but I just felt like this problem was too embarrassing to talk about. All I did was go home and eat until it was time to go to sleep. I felt so humiliated and my self-esteem was thrashed. I was determined to try and change the way I looked in hopes that this horror would not continue the next year into high school. I did, lost weight, got rid of the glasses and braces, grew my hair out, and the bullying stopped. But it was too late, the damage had already been done, my self-esteem had taken a nose dive and I had no clue about socializing with others, let alone dating. So I started drinking and doing a lot of drugs. By the age of about 26 I was pretty much a full blown alcoholic, and it doesn't even run in my family. I'm 30 now and I quit drinking drinking 2 years ago. I never really thought about the fact that the bullying had left such a horrendous emotional scar until these last couple years. I still have a have trouble connecting with other people, especially dating. I still in the back of my mind think that people must be talking about me, even though they probably aren't. I just watched a movie "The Secret", it's all about where you are putting your energy, and it is helping me to change my attitude. I realize now that it is my negative attitude and the fact that I am not focusing my energy on positive things that is causing me to attract negative events into my life, whether they are conjured up in my head or not.

  • Louise

    I was bullied through high school, mentally, emotionally and psychologically. I have no idea why I was the 'chosen' one, I did my best to fit in and join in, but it was never good enough for my aggressors. I did not wear make up and short skirts and nor did i sleep with boys at 14 , which did seem to be a part of the problem for them. Even today, if i walk into a room and its quiet, i fell a surge of dread in my stomach, if people chat quietly near me, I assum they are talking about me.

    I have all my adult life suffered with intermittent depression, felt suicidal at times, often have low self esteem (although i am told i cover this quite well by being outspoken and quite forceful at times). I have never understood why I often feel so low and 'down' on myself, or why I am so angry at the world. I feel I am quite cynical and at times bitter about other peoples happiness and this also makes me sad because I am not a nasty person by nature. But I have always felt that I carry a constant 'sadness' with me, all the time and there seems to be nothing i can do to stop it. Having read this document, I cant help wondering if my bullying experiences have lead to long term effects in adulthood. Although this doesnt take away those feelings and the sadness, it goes someway to helping me understand myself a little better. All I need to do now is to get myself out of this spiral, but after 30 years of it, I dont see how x

  • Diane

    I was teased and ostracized from 1st grade until 4th. I went to a small country grade school, 10 kids in my class, 6 girls. I was given the label of "fatty", although I was not overweight, I was least thin girl in my class. Another girl was given the part of "skinny" and we both suffered in varying amounts. My "germs" were passed around by my classmates and I often found myself alone on the playground, not knowing what to do or where to go. When teams were picked, I was always the last chosen. I had no self confidence. The only place I was competent was in the classroom. I was well behaved and smart. I had artistic abilities and my teachers liked me. My academics were what I felt good about. I'm grateful I had that.

    One day, in 4th grade, the ring leader of the bullying, and I can remember this clearly, spoke up and told the other kids to leave me alone. Why, I have no idea. But on that day, the torture ended. I think the randomness of how it ended was as confusing as anything. Prior to that day, I'd accepted that I was fat and gross and then one day I appeared to be acceptable, but had no idea what had changed. The scars have remained.

    I should add that I didn't talk about this at home. I felt the shame and didn't feel close enough to my parents to seek solace. I just lived with it. Some, though not all, of my siblings (9 children in my family, I'm number 8) went through similar situations. I have a brother who suffered being beaten up by boys as well. In my memory, as children we did not discuss our treatment, simply treated each other, in varying degrees, as we were being treated in school. Childhood was not all that great.

    All through my adult life I've lived with a fear of people. In spite of that, and in some ways because of that, I've been successful as an adult. I'm now married with two children. I won't say my life is easy as I married an alcoholic, who I'm proud to say is 5 years sober. My husband also has bipolar disorder, as does my 16 year old son. My daughter has a social anxiety disorder, as do I.

    I've realized that in my young life, my coping mechanism was to be nice outwardly while turning all my anger towards myself. Much of my young life on in to young adulthood was marked by great self-loathing and distrust of people. I still struggle with body image. I decided at the tender age of 13 that I'd never be fat and I'd make people see me as thin and attractive. I didn't let people see the real me, just the outside.

    I've dieted and starved, whatever I needed to do to be thin. Until the age of 27 I was relatively successful with my weight. I was always on the thin side of my battle. During my first year of marriage, at age 27, I was raped by a stranger. That began a downward spiral for me and ended with a significant weight gain. I assume that subconsciously I used that layer of fat as self-protection. For the most part, I understand my issues, but often feel that I can't internalize what I can intellectualize.

    I've had years of therapy and as a 50 year old woman, I'm fairly comfortable in my life. I'm still not 100% secure in my appearance. Since age 27, the majority of the time I've been 50 or more pounds overweight. Twice I lost all of the weight but quickly gained it back. Now I'm attempting to lose it for my health and to loose it through healthy eating. This time I want to lose it for all the right reasons. Unfortunately, the small scared child in me confuses the issue.

    Currently I'm in a situation where I've been asked by a dear friend to attend a party of the women from my graduating high school class. This brings back so many bad feelings. While I was not made fun of in high school, it was a stressful time of trying to fit in while protecting myself from any situations where I might stand out or be embarrassed. I was quiet but nice, preferring to stay out of group situations.

    In my mind, the one thing I had going for me was my looks, hoping to be thin and attractive enough. I wanted to be noticed and not noticed at the same time. I know now, intellectually, that I had more going for me than my outward appearance, but I didn't know that then. Still, as an adult, just thinking of being around people from that period of my life makes my chest tighten, especially since I'm not overweight. I feel so much fear. What is my fear? That someone will go home and say "you wouldn't believe how fat [name] got". I know I shouldn't care, but the tightness in my chest tells me I do.

    I don't know if the best thing is to leave the past alone and stay in the present, as a fairly confident woman (I'm not uncomfortable about my weight in my day to day life). Or is there benefit in making myself go. Just thinking about it has made my experience of losing weight less about my health and more about "needing to lose" weight.

    I suppose I'd like to know if there's a right answer or guidelines I should use in making my decision to go to the reunion or to let the past go.

    Dr. Dombeck's Note: This is a great question, although I doubt there is a "right answer" fitting for each person. What do others think?

  • Gina

    I am getting tired of people assuming that our words do not affect others-because they certainly do.

    Our words might not directly cause someone to hurt themselves but our words direcly influence their decision.

    Great article. Thank you so much

  • steff

    As an adult, I still cope with the bullying I went through everyday. I was 12 years old when it started and continued through high school. I am now 42. I was always kind of quiet and shy and never fought back. I wish now that I would have. The damage these kids do is unbelievable. And it lasts for years. Alot of people think thatTo once you're out of school, everything gets better. But for me, it's something that I think about everyday....the fear, the upset stomach, the anxiety, the not knowing what was going to happen that day. To this day, I wonder what would happen if I ran into one of those kids. You wonder if they ever grew up and learned how to treat people. Or if their kids are bullies. I'm not that timid little girl anymore. I'm pretty outspoken and won't be backed into a corner. I guess I have them to thank for that!!! I have a job that I love and very good at, I have lots of friends who care about me, and I love my life just the way it is. So when I do think about those losers, I tell myself that I probably have a better, happier life than them! And I always kind of wondered about something....if their kids are getting bullied at school, do they tell their kids that they were once bullies themselves????

  • Anonymous-98

    I was bullied in my middle school but i don't really blame the bullies themselves.I think as a kid i was always very sensitive to things and took most of the verbal abuse in like a sponge. Since then ive been trying to hide myself from society, even resorting to staying inside for long periods of time.I always wanted to move some where far away so no one would know who i am. It was mostly verbal abuse and i took it very seriously, for example if someone was bullying me about my hair, next day it was different but it never fixed anything. I never mentioned it to my parents and just wanted to stay out of the way, it even got to a point were i believed the teachers were getting annoyed at my constant crying. Im 16 now and im getting allot better but everything has stopped at the moment. My fear of going out is still present and is getting in the way of normal teenage life, even trying to get a job seems like an impossible task. In all honesty i don't blame them bullies or my parents or even the teachers but it took me a while to realise that it was myself who was doing the most damage, as my imagination of what "could" happen if i did this or that was the real root of the problem. I have been recently been diagnose with a social disorder and severe anxiety and im glad i came across this. I wouldn't say it has turned things around completely but it has given me a push in the right direction.Bullying, no matter how big or small can still affect you years after the event.

  • Anonymous-99

    As a kid 40-45 years ago, I was mercilessly bullied. In those days, you couldn't go to anyone. You suffered in silence. I was small for my age and was constantly picked on a abused by three or four classmates--and others. Teachers either didn't see it or didn't care. My dad was a bully himself. My mom? She just tried to keep him from getting mad. I felt powerless. This probably caused my being fondled by an older classmate--sexually abused.

    As I got older, I got bigger, and the bullies backed off. I went to college and made friends. However, dating was always difficult. I felt uncomfortable and nervous--unworthy.

    Being bullied affected my grades, my self-worth, my sense of dignity, and my health. The scars are with me now. I still become anxious in social situations. I have struggled with depression, anxiety, and drug abuse. I got married, got divorced, and remarried. That marriage has lasted.

    I have wondered what became of my tormentors. I have tried to put it behind me, but I still have flashbacks of being bullied--almost a PTSD reaction. Go to a reunion? I've thought of it--but never have.

    I now am a 57-year old college professor. I have had successes but still struggle with my demons once in a while. Sometimes, I relive an incident as if if were yesterday.

    I don't know how I survived. I think it was sheer luck.

  • Tony(fake)

    I am 45 yrs old. I agree with another poster on suffering quietly. I was bullied at school, in my neighborhood and finally even my dad, he called me stupid, sawdust head pulled up on the hair on the back of my head etc. Why am I still here? I don't know I shouldn't be here at all. All of the long term effects are very very true, That is me to a tee. I still get bullied at work even now. I am a magnet for it,have been my whole life. I try to talk but instead am either laughed at or what I said is made fun of. I have worked there 19 years and there are people that I have known the whole time. They don't know how to talk to me, I feel comfort in that it's like a wall to keep everyone away. The less they know about me that less I can get picked on. Mentally, I am a mess technically I should have commited suicide long ago exept for one thing. I do not like to give up, it is the one thing I have that's good about me. Suicide is giving in, if I did not have that trait I would not be typing now, I would be a faded memory to a few that remembered me. I'm done here all I have to say.

  • Anon

    Just read the article. Thought it really had some excellent points that I could relate to well. However, one thing I would mention is about sensitivity. It is said that sensitive kids tend to be bullied more often. I think to an extent this is true, but what we often perceive as an overly sensitive person reacting to a bit of bullying is in fact a normally sensitive person (hope I'm getting the terminology right here) being pushed beyond any reasonable limit. I was often told that I needed to grow a "second skin", and that I should "learn to laugh at myself". Unfortunately, the person who told me these things was never a witness to what was going on. However, I tried to take this advice by second guessing a situation, thinking things like "I don't like this, but I'm probably being sensitive", and not reacting to it as my instincts told me to. Only later, when he actually witnessed it, did he ask me why I hadn't told him sooner. Just as a closing thought, things came full circle for me recently when I found myself the constant victim of one of my friends' rather caustic senses of humour. I asked one of my friends why I was always singled out, and he said that it was because I can take a joke so well. Conclusion: never tell a victim of bullying that they're sensitive. It can be dangerous and sometimes actually far tougher emotionally than the majority of other people.

  • joshua

    i have been bullied for a long time and it never seems to stop but inside i knw someday it can stop for all those who are reading this i feel the same way if you are getting bullied i know it hurts alot but when u see them try not to b scared and make a good a choice , i always try to do that cause its hard for me sometimes

  • joshua's mother

    i have been bullied for a long time and it never seems to stop but inside i knw someday it can stop for all those who are reading this i feel the same way if you are getting bullied i know it hurts alot but when u see them try not to b scared and make a good a choice , i always try to do that cause its hard for me sometimes

    this is the voice of my 7 yr old son who has and is being affected by bullying i keep on fightn for him with the school and y is it the school has anti bullying laws but dose nothing what ever happend to the hands off no bully and here we are talking about a catholic school, he has so many affects of being bullied and its gettin worse hes only been in school for a few years but has felt the voilence , mental n emotional n physical abuse form bullies when dose it end when will the school put their foot down n say enuff is enuff as i have said enuff is enuff time to end this and make all who are suffering from this to be able to live a happy and full life

    feed up with bullying


  • Cybros

    I'm in my twenties now, and I was severely bullied from 1st grade all throughout high school. I was only beaten up a few times, but the verbal bullying was constant throughout. For some reason I was super sensitive and took every insult personally. I still do, even when I know people are only joking. Even though the bullying stopped after high school, I still live the effects every minute.

    My reaction to bullying at the time was to run away to sci-fi books or videogames, and now whenever I'm faced with a stressful situation that's still what I do. I failed out of college. I just feel sad all the time. I simultaniously want people's company and push them away. I can't form any kind of deep relationship with anyone. And on top of all that, I have to go around all day pretending that I'm not on the verge of breaking down and crying.

    I actually have wanted to kill myself for a long time, but I'll never be able to do it. I'm not religious and I don't know what the afterlife is like, which means there is a good chance that it's much, much worse than being alive, if there is an afterlife at all. As bad as this is, I want to hold off death as long as I can.

  • Jamie

    I am a junior in a small kansas high school. I have been bullied for pretty much as long as I can remember. I was only beaten up front of a teacher and they did nothing to stop it. I have always been very academically focused and often get picked on for this reason. I also run cross country for my school and am quite successful...however this also adds fuel to the fire of getting picked on. I really don't have any true friends and am only talked to if they want help on homework. My english teacher has sort of taken me under her wing and lets me come down before school to stay in her room to avoid the other kids. the cross country team also treats me like an outsider because I am the only one who "Lives" for running....I run year-round. My coach and english teacher as well as a few other teachers are the only people I will talk to at school because no matter what I say I always end up getting made fun of for it by other students. I am socially withdrawn and a really quiet person and have anxiety issues whenever I have to talk in front of people. I just wish someone would notice that I am suffering and tell the principal...I don't know what to do because I don't want to come across as being a baby and overly sensitive. Thanks to everyone who posted comments...I now see that I'm not alone and I just need to keep fighting through

  • Anonymous-100

    Thank you to VR and Quandary for taking the time and thoughtfulness to read and respond to my comment. VR- Thank you for your kind wishes! Quandary- I am sorry for your situation and the pattern of bullying throughout your family life. I wish I had answers/solutions for this phenomenon. As you have read, I am also in a quandary regarding the bullying throughout my life. My heart goes out to you.

  • Anonymous-101

    My torture started at some point during the 6th grade. That's when I remember hearing the word that would haunt me through the rest of my school years: Heifer. It wasn't until seventh grade that things really got bad. Kids would collect pop tabs and hang them on necklaces, bracelets, shoelaces or pins. These were called heifer tabs and they were to keep heifer away. I would walk through the school halls with people shaking these things at me and calling me heifer. Day after day after day after day. Oh, sure, I was told to ignore them and they would stop. I was told to stand up to them, but that only made it worse. I was a bigger girl, not overweight, but just taller than most. But that started to change over the years. I eventually went into the high school and had some fleeting thoughts that things would change and improve, but I eventually heard that horrible word: heifer. And it wasn't just the kids in my own class calling me that, it was seniors. No one would do anything. Even my basketball coach used the word heifer. I eventually quit playing sports all together because I just didn't fit in. I would say that now I'm in my 30's. I'm married with two kids. I've been depressed and probably still am to some degree. I struggle every day with my self esteem. I'm overweight and sometimes feel that I don't deserve anything good. I still resent those kids. I can think about those years and get upset. To this day if I hear the word heifer I cringe and start to sweat. I'm glad that teasing and bullying is finally making headlines. I hope that everyone takes this as an opportunity to help those that are bullied.... to give them some type of coping skill so that they can walk away from it with little damage to their self worth.

  • Anonymous-102

    After reading this article, I felt that it has helped me understand a bit more about myself. I have been bullied in elementary school and am now in my 20's, I've become socially withdrawn and have depression, even commenting anonymously takes a lot of effort for me. I do not wish to go into the specifics of my case and I am in no position to give advice to others who were bullied but reading some of the comments I would just like to point out two things, 1. Those who were bullied and feel victimized would have a higher chance of finding this article than those who weren't. 2. The problem for society with acknowledging the problem is that it contributes to the problem by promoting the self-image of victimization for the victims, even for those of lighter severity. Name calling should not be in the same category as public humiliation, property damage, or physical abuse. The duration should also be considered. The difficulty in measuring the severity and psychological trauma caused to the victim also contributes to this problem.

  • Anonymous-103

    i feel that bullying is real a big trouble in the work area and at home to think that we think about bullying we just get to persons do are doing this

  • Trotwood Madison 08'

    Since I was in the 2nd grade I have been bullied. I was beat up, sexual harrassed, jumped, spit on, even robbed for my money in school. It even became worse when I had lost my mom from Breast Cancer at 15.

    I never really fit in. My school was filled of popular kids and gang, drug dealing members. I just really hanged out with the Gothic/ punk crowd. Me and my friends were picked on because of our ways. Most of them including me practiced self mutilation by cutting our wrist. I even tried to commit suicide twice.

    It was hard and no one understood me. They even called me the Columbine kid and Virginia Tech. I wasn't like that. I was nice but people had judged me before they got to know me. It hurt.

    Because of this I couldn't trust anyone not even my own family. They didn't understand either. They just laughed at me. "My own family". Today at 21, I suffer from social anxiety and bipolar disorder. But I am here to say that I am glad that I'm not alone. We should be proud because us geeks run the world. I would like to say Thank you.

    Since I was a kid, I would run in the woods because I felt free for the first time of my life. I will always remember this saying "Dominus Vobiscum, Run Free"

  • Anonymous-104


    is entombed a
    few feet away

    I live under
    while I am here

    the warning came
    just before
    Obsession Weekend

    on the morning train
    nausea and
    dread spreads
    like wildfire
    over my whole body

    as I climb Mt.Park St.
    I temporarily
    and pass

  • Anonymous-105

    I moved to canada when I was ten and I was met with bullies on my first day, just cause I was different. Bullying is the story of my life, and I went through at least 20 bullies from grade 6 to high school...including a girl.

    I can say for sure that the damages are deep inside of me now, my gf thinks that I am really confident but I just became good at hiding the damage. I cry when I hear about other kids being bullied. My father was a bully who never taught me how to defend myself and wouldnt allow me to defend myself so I wouldnt get into trouble. Fifteen years ago the kids in my math class used to call me venerial disease and to this day I still dont know why. I confronted one of my bullies and he apologized..but is that enough?

    I am going to work on a documentary where I confront all my bullies in person and actually beat them down...I am sick of people saying to walk away, that achieves nothing. Beat the bully so he can teach his kid not to do the same to others

  • Anonymous-106

    I was never physically harmed, just isolated, and who knows why to this day. All the way from 2nd grade to high-school. It diminished as I got older, but I also just hid myself all the time and never went out.

    Elementary was the worst. Often getting forgotten about by teachers(!), and kids always steered away from me. One of them took some money from me, casuing my mom to get upset at me because she saw it as my fault. I never gained any self-confidence. I was even bullied from my older brother at home, so no place was safe. I learned to internalize everything and forget about the troubles through video games.

    It all caught up to me now, at only 20 years old. I'm heavily depressed nearly every day, and it's significantly because of this bullying. I had it so supressed I had to dig to rediscover that -this- is what was making me depressed.

    I tried to just forget about it, but every day it haunts me. I avoid school, and even work. I thought it was just social anxiety, but now I know why.

    The worst is that, being a victim just leads to more opportunity to be degregated more. At my work, my manager pushed me around a lot too, often making me work both weekends and all week with one day off, far more than I wanted always claiming that this was the last week it'd happen, but that was always a lie.

    I don't know why they all picked on me, two different schools. I didn't look any different from anyone, I was only a year younger than most of the classmates.

    It's hard not having anyone to talk to about it, and believing that everyone will just "play it off" as though it were nothing. Apologies don't suffice, and I've had to pick myself back up regain my confidence. Releasing this pent up emotions I believe will be a significant help. Once I move past this, everything will be okay.

  • Jason

    A well written article on anti-bullying, and obviously on the rampant and terrible occurrance of bullying.

    I suggest this, and mindfully:

    If one is physically bullied they also suffer emotional damage.

    If one is emotionallly bullied they also suffer physical damage.

    Your article makes a differentuation as if one can 'climb out of the trauma of being the target of physical bullying' when fact appears to me, from much research, to show this is not true.

    Consider the bully who intimidates one by rape this is physical bullying [abuse], and a crime to boot, with so much emotional abuse as well.

    Bullies are very insecure, negative energy people, who need appropriate medical and other help to contain their damaging effects on their targets and also those who witness the bullying on other/s.

    The targets of bullying need depth os support and I suggest analysis or therapy to unravel the wounds which have been inflicted pyshologically by the bully/s.

    You perceive correctly here: Accumulative bullying of the gifted or healthily sensitive individual have and has very damaging effects, which may last a lifetime, and this is the very reason people are now looking at p.t.s.d. in association with the effects of bullying. The problem will go away, when systems and structures are non-competitive and non-gung-ho and the gifted and sensitive are taught their value as potent and needed so empathy begins to plant more seed for growth than larrikin, macho, dominator prevalence, especially in countries such as America, Australia, to name a few.

    Moral sensitivity is important.

    Who would subject another to suffering without conscience?

    The unconscionable exist, and are the nastiest bullies: It's time we did not allow them to gain further 'negative power' by showing through whatever creative means available the value of empathy and compassion, and 'don't you dare' 'containing' of any bully/s oppressive and cruel behaviours and by supporting films and theatre, arts and cultures which ememplify moral sensitivity as leadership, and role model style, rather than gung-ho, competitive, head-tread, macho passe stuff and nonsense.

    My partner does not want, nor would she tolerate a violent/bully partner as she praises my sensitivity, and I have bloomed because of this, grown to be a man with assertiveness at my helm, and her right beside me supporting my healthy sensitivity.

    Emotional abuse in form of bullying can and does create physical damage, and vice versa.

    Lastly, why not contact the media and advise them they are constantly showing all figures who are notably upheld yet are bullies, whilst sidelining the people who are with empathic minds and actions..enough of this flagrant glamourising of 'bullies they are anything but desrving of attention and loftiness. Consider the larger beasts Corporate, Organised religious and Government bullies who have done so much to cull out the empathic, and with so much decit. The time has come to say, with or without words: 'The law is here to protect all of us from all kinds of abhorrent bully behaviours, and act on this, as it is there for this very reason, our safety, security and protection of person.'

    Tim Field has passed, yet his 'Bully online' is an excellent resource, if anyone is interested.

    He was bullied and then became a very remarkable spokeperson who is often credited and raed, wide and far.

    Bo one has to accept being treated negatively and vrutally as the bully imposes/intimidates.

    Hold your head/s up high, they're the largest cowards of all. Awareness of their ploys and antics is useful as is the knowing you are all valuable and do not ever deserve to be bullied by anyone, any instition, organisation, company or other.

    'Don't you dare' the invisible words when one even senses a or many bullys in sight, and avoidance of him or her, always.

    Regards Jason

  • Anonymous-107

    Yes, I have been bullied too and I know exactly what you mean. I was bullied verbally and the incidents started in 2nd grade...I am now in 11th grade. Things like, kids telling me what to do, looking at my assignments and telling me I was doing it wrong. Asking me why I wrote a certain way, why I did things a certain way. I think 3rd grade was the worst. We had a new teacher that was in her first year of teaching, and so when they bullied me she just looked the other way...probably since she didn't want to get into something like this the first year of her career. One day, the kids in my class figured out what the word lesbian meant, and I didn't know what it meant. They asked me to say that I was a lesbian...I asked them why. They told me just to say it. My innocent self, just wanted to fit in with those kids. I wanted to please them, to be included in their group, to be friends with them. So I said it. And they laughed...and I laughed along with them. At that time, I knew that I had said something wrong, and that they were laughing at me, not with me, but it just felt good at that time, to please them and make them laugh at something I had said, to find the same thing funny as they did and laugh together. Another time I remember is when every week we would get a coupon for a meal at a restaurant for reading a certain number of books. Everyone was always excited for that. So after everybody had gotten theirs, I went to retreive mine from my "pocket" on the door. And I saw that somebody had ripped it in half. I don't think I told anyone about that...especially not my parents. They think I had a happy childhood. It got to the point where no one would talk to me or associate with me. At recess everyone played kickball while I swung on the swings, alone. When a classmate did talk to me, I felt grateful that they thought I was worthy to talk to.

    5th grade was bad too. There were a girl that would make fun of my clothes, the way I dressed, the way I acted. She would corner me and literally just spit insults out about how much she hated me and how I was a loser. She would find fault in whatever I did and tell me about it. I was glad when she moved away but then another girl replaced her, who, took it a step further when she not only insulted me but pushed me down once. Other people in my class too, questioned me about everything I did. Things like, eating candy....once, I was sucking a lollipop when someone asked me why I was eating it. Not because they were confused or anything, but in a mean way, like they thought it was weird or I didn't have any right to. I remember answering that I was eating it because "I could", and they looked at each other like, "Did she actually say that?" I think it was b/c whenver someone insulted me, I just took it. It got to a point after a while, where I was just fuming inside. I didn't know if I could take it, day after day, these insults and questions. I think they asked me questions b/c if I said anything they thought was weird, they could make fun of me. They broke me down for their own amusement and their own laughs. What do they care? They made fun of me when they needed amusement and then discarded me, never caring about what effects they had on my self-esteem. Bullies don't say, "oh, you're sensitive, we won't make fun of you." They don't care. I should state that I never did anything to provoke them. Actually, I tended to avoid them. They just picked on me probably because I was the quietest, the most timid. I didn't fight back and just let them do whatever they wanted with me, staying silent. I think I didn't say anything partly b/c I was scared and b/c, I'm an overly nice person. I thought that if I said something mean back, then that would make me a mean person. One example of this is when we had to fill out bully slips of people that were being mean to us, I started to fill out this one girl's name. She found out and begged me not to do it, told me she had problems at home and she would never bully me again. I didn't put the slip in. Another time I arranged an appointment with my counseler to talk about my problem, but chickened out and told her I wanted to meet her because I just wanted to say hi. In middle school, I was 'popular' for a short period of time b/c we had to go to a big middle school where all of the elementary schools combined. Then they thought I was 'annoying', so I became unpopular, again. I think I might have been a tad bit annoying b/c I had 'friends' then for the first time. I wanted to tell them everything....I didn't realize there was a limit on how much you could talk to a person. I remember liking them so much for talking to me 'normally', like what I said mattered. After my plummet, I slowly bounced back to my original state, b/c it was all I knew. Now that I look back on it, I think my popularity was a headache. It's easy to become popular but really really hard to maintain. You have to keep talking to people, keeping their interest. In 7th grade, I literally don't think I said a word. The only good conversation I remember having is when it was a particularily active day of gym, and I said to a girl sitting beside me that I was tired. She agreed. Then the same girl that I had refused to fill a bully slip on said, "She talks!" like she thought I had lost the ability to do so. The one time, where I decide to be brave and hold a conversation with someone, the bullies just have to enter and make it humiliating for me. It's like they want me not to be happy and remain mute and lonely so they can pick on me. I try to become my own person, and WHAM comes down the insult, like I always know it will. Even now, in high school, the hate is still there, just subtly hidden. Some kids from my elementary school don't talk to me, and pretend like the bullying never happened. Some of the more mean ones still do it, people who are in the popular group, but it's not as big as it was in elementary school where it was literally me vs. all the other classmates who used to gang up on me.

    I experience all of the short term and all of the long term effects. My teachers say I have low self confidence. I have a hard time making friends and opening myself upto people, because I was so reluctant to do it before. I think if I do, they'll find something they think's weird and pick on me. I even have trouble talking...b/c I'm used to my mouth staying shut. I've been depressed, though not told anyone about it. I'm bitter towards the bullies, and generally towards the world. I'm a loner, still don't have any friends, b/c, again, I don't talk a lot. I don't like talking to people, I am not used to it. Often times, I just don't know what to say or what to talk about. Throughout middle school, the outright bullying did subside, and it's subsided even more in high school. That's why I'm always surprised when I'll be going my own way, doing my own thing when suddenly I get question and then an insult based on what my answer was...and then all the memories and feeling of the past come rushing back and it just overwhelms me,and I think, "oh god, it's happening again. " I'm more sensitive. For a moment I forget that they are bullies, b/c I haven't been bullied in so long, and they act like my friend even though it might be years since they have talked to me. I get a momentary thrill that they are talking to me, me! even though they are more popular. After getting my answer, they tell me what I said was weird and share it with another friend and they both agree on my weirdness. At that point, I want to smack myself for not remembering that they were going to insult me and for wanting to please them. Then I tend to overthink why they said what they said, and it churns through my mind all day, even though for the bully it might be long forgotten.

    I think I'm kind of jealous of the girls who bullied me. They all knew each other since pre-school and their moms were friends with each other. They went through the tweenage age together, supporting each other through puberty and all that. They had someone to share things with, always. They started growing up together, changing their appearance together, going to the mall, having slumber parties and birthday parties. And if anyone were to say even one small thing about one girl the other girls would jump on whoever said it. Even after having this good life, when they decided they wanted some more entertainment they would pick on me and when they had a good laugh, just discard me. Did they ever think who's parties I went to? Who I told secrets to? Who was with me when I went through the most self-concious and difficult time of puberty?

    It was me. Only me who I had for support. I wasn't invited to a single party, even if the rest of the class, even the boys were. I was the only one who they didn't invite. I still wish I had a friend who would completely understand me and defend me, but I don't think they exist. I honestly know I have been sad more of my life than happy. At school, I suffered silently. At home, I pretended I was happy for the sake of my parents. And sometimes, when something related to bullying comes up, I cannot help but think about my own experience and then cry like a baby in the shower or my room.

    However, I do know now that I am happiest when I am doing things I like, alone. I would like to have one best friend, who I hope will come into my life someday. I am by no means completely healed and still have problems with everything. The bullying had completely damaged my sense of self and I am slowly building it up. I am also more wise. I just feel cheated out of my childhood, because it is supposed to be the best and most carefree time of your life, but for me it was the worst...and now I cannot go back to it. The worst part was the hurt and pain you felt after you were felt like your heart was going to be ripped apart from the amount of pain you were feeling. I can describe it but it will never be fully known just because the feeling is too intense to describe in words.

    I thank whoever wrote this article b/c I have the courage now to tell my story for the first time, nobody has known about this before except me. Even today, I am stuck between wanting to like people and have them be my friend, and hating them because I know that if my whole class in every grade hated me, then all people must be like them. I am still bitter and resentful and think there are more bad people in the world than good, and I hope that my theory will be proven wrong by future experiences, but I am not so sure.

  • Jon

    I'm 31 now but my experiences with childhood bullying scar me deeply. It was never physical, but always psychological. I was ridiculed constantly about my weight. Lasting effects I still have been unable to lose the weight because I had it drilled into my head that I'll always be the worthless "fat kid." I have severe social anxiety and depression that has kept me from finding meaningful employment despite having a master's degree. All of my bullies have moved on and started careers and families and I'm stuck with the mental trauma. People tell me to "get over it." Do they really think I WANT to live like this? It's probably too late for me, but I hope children in future generations never have to go through what I went through.

    Dr. Dombeck's Note: Jon - thank you very much for sharing. You believe that trauma suffered must be suffered forever, but this need not be the case. Please read this article on recent research on "memory reconsolidation" having to do with helping people overcome PTSD (war) trauma and new knowledge about how memory works. It *is* possible to transform the way you think about yourself. Psychotherapy could probably help, but there may be shortly medical techinques that can alter how you feel to remove the stuckness with regard to your bully experience.

  • Anonymous-108

    Were in a new century people we are in control, do what you want some of you are foolish.

  • Another Victim

    Hi I was bullied as a child and have spent many years of my life working to cope with the devasting damaged caused by it. I have found a few a truths out of my experiences.

    1. Bullies don't stop ever! They never miraculously grow a conscience.

    2. Living well does little to undo or help cope with the damages done by bullies.

    3. The only way any bully ever stops their behavior is when they are physically made to stop their behavior. Violence or intervention and incarceration away from the rest of normal society is the only thing that stops a bully.

    4. Law Enforcement is the enemy and the single largest impedance to any sort of justice for victims of bullying. Most often law enforcement supports and coddles the behavior of bullies. I think mainly because most law enforcement people went into law enforcement to have a platform to legally bully their way through the world. They understand and empathize with the bullies because they are bullies by nature.

    I am now in my 50's and living next door to a psychotic mentally ill drug addicted freak. This man points gun at my husband and myself and has several guilty convictions for crimes commited against my husband and myself. I have lived in my home since 1984 and for the last 2 years my husband and I have literally been tortured to the point of suicide while the police do nothing to stop the criminal behavior of this person.

    So far the only effect law enforcement has been able to provide is to embolden the sick criminal I live next door to. I really do feel that the only possibly way out of this situation is with violence of some sort. There is no other option that will stop this nightmare other than violence. I have been left with the choice of having to take another person's life in order to stop the violence, threats, slander, liable, intimidation, stalking, etc. being purposefully being committed against us everyday. It would seem my choice is to continue to be tortured each and every day I live or to kill this sick f**k and probably have to live the rest of my life in prison. Neither option is very appealing to me.

    I have a wonderful husband, we have a great marriage and we don't want to be apart from each other. But we don't feel we can go on much longer like we have been. We feel we are backed into a corner with no way out. And nobody is listening or trying to help.

    Bullying does profoundly effect a person's life and takes away your ability to make a living, feel safe, or enjoy much of anything in life. I am afraid to go out of my house! I don't believe this situation will get any better until I die or the freak next door dies.

    Guess this is the revenge fantasy and rage part of bullying. I know it will not stop ever!

  • Anonymous-109

    I was bullied at school, and psychologically/emotionally abused in the home. I used to be gifted (was a member of Mensa), now in my 30s I live, cowering in the spare-room of someone who hates me, unable to face standing up to them & start doing anything to get myself out, to pick myself up of the floor emotionally, any attempts at such have resulted in the greatest hostility - if she sees any light in my eyes, any humanity, then she becomes truly and visciously enraged, simple as that.

    Some background: because of my father's hostility and rejection of my very self, I was always trying to change my personality, somehow to 'fix' myself into being something different, because deep down I knew that 'I' was wrong, not valid, certainly not lovable as I was. So I tried and tried - firstly, as a young child, by overeating and doubling over so that I would stress my digestive system (I found I could put myself into a drowsy state this way) making it easier to stop showing any giftedness outwardly (although the strictness of the school, and the fear with which we were instilled if we were to achieve poorly in exams, meant that I let my intelligence out during examinations, so still came - most offen - top out of the entire year, and so there were no interventions, since exam-passing was at the time the sole purpose of being there). Later, I found that by drinking alcohol, abusing solvents and taking drugs I could kill off more and more of the person I'd been born as. Still, occasionally, the person I had once been would start to shine through, but if my father ever saw it, he would react immediately with the hostile ridicule, so pretty soon I shut myself up for good. I got myself free, for a time, when I was in my late teens, but had to move back home after a disasterous relationship broke down . . . I decided then that if I really tried, if I really put in the effort I'd be able - with the help of my mother's side of the family (my parents had divorced at this stage) - to rekindle the embers of intelligence & giftedness (my real personality) which I had sought to extinguish for so long. It was going to be a long road, but I felt in my heart of hearts that, nearing my 20s, this was a crucial stage in my development, and if I tried extremely hard I might just be able to resurrect the person I had once been, and move on to further education and making the most of those abilities - I could be myself in the world finally and make good all that early potential. My mother lost her income and we both had to move in to my grandparents house - on the day it happened, something inside her broke, she was obviously returning to a situation where she'd been trapped & stifled horrifically in childhood . . . her family insisted that she had nothing to feel agrieved about, that having her own home wasn't something she had any right to feel bad about losing. I tried to start to come out of my shell, but was met with emotional hostility, which devastated what was really a very fragile process I was attempting to go through. I couldn't bare it, I had no friends, no relationship, I couldn't show any of my authentic self because that was attacked, then my grandfather died - my mother and I were shut out of everything, treated like sub-humans . . . my grandmother destroyed me - anyway, that was over 10 years ago, I'm 32 now and haven't been able to leave the situation - I have no job, no friends, no life outside of abject, daily terror at the prospet of being subjected to more emotional abuse, it keeps me paralysed. If I could live somewhere where I could start to do something about my situation without being tortured emotionally for doing it I know I could still get myself into university, but I also know how warped these years have made me and I'll never be able to become the person I could have. I spent the whole of my 20s cowering in a room, sneaking out to get food. I don't want my 30s to be the same. I think about killing myself alot, but something in me holds myself back. You see I do actually feel there is still a light inside me, although the extremely severe & chronic stress of these years had devastated my intelligence (I can barely do simple maths problems, and when I do manage to learn something new I forget it very quickly), but I know that I can do something with my life, I just don't know how to get myself out if I can't pick myself up of the floor.

  • Anonymous-110

    can you sue in civil court your adult bully? i can't function, i am scared, i have been bullied for over 10 years. i also live with Myasthenia gravis that reacts to it, am a mess, i feel isolated. when i start to assert or gain my self again, the bully escalates again, and i get knocked back down. you are right that i want to lock myself in my room and not make a move. I am a 49 year old female and i need help. i was bullied into a divorce settlement, bullied with regard to my kids. bullied with regard to any move i make. i feel helpless, and the bully appears charming to society. i dont know how i make it through the day. in the morning i wish the night would never end, the anxiety starts at 4am, i am exhausted by 1pm. My life feels over

  • Carolyn

    I'm 46 yrs old. Bullying happened at hands of former best friend during 8th grade. She was jealous of my relationships garnered through summer swim team season (she was not sport-oriented). What started in beginning of school year as muttered name calling (no big deal to me), escalated throughout school year into her coercing other students to badger me, kick my chair, whisper "you're stupid" as I attempted to answer in class, etc. Horrible, absolutely horrible! Upshot? I am socially avoidant. I discount all friendly overtures. I only a couple friends as a result of what happened to me. I'd rather be friendless than go through that horror. Funny thing? I "friended" this woman on FB last year I have intermittent fantasies of shaming her on it!

  • Tas'Ciara

    I think that people need to help prevent bullying because alot of kids lose their lives over bullying. I don't like to see kids get's so stupid..

  • B. T.

    I would like to see the subject of family members as bullies, after all, bullying doesn't only occur within the confines of school. What are the long term effects of being continuously bullied/tormented for years, by a family member? And when the tormentor is actually supported by (or goaded on by) a parent. Not just being idly curious, here.

  • Bill

    I was seriously bullied several times during my development. Several serious incidents occurred in junior high giving me that fear I so hated. I had revenge fantasies and had good success fighting back. I also had the self confidence from being a champion swimmer and an A student so I was able to not let it effect me, or so I thought.

    My parents fighting constantly and loudly was becoming more frequent in junior high, especially 8th grade.

    I turned 13 and in the new 13-14 age group for swimming races I couldn't compete due to my late puberty. I got discouraged and quit, losing that source of confidence.

    Divorce of my parents at age 14 robbed me of the support and reassurance I needed from them. They each fell into their own lives much more than they ever had.

    My last grip of self confidence was my grades at school. Soon by age 15-16 I was losing my academic standing. My 4.0 GPA was beginning to slip. With less defenses the bullies moved in again. Me being the scrawny pre pubescent sensitive yet aggressive kid due to dissension at home made me an easy target. I would rather skip class by making up a variety of illnesses and excuses than face the fear. I kept my fears hidden and didn't tell anyone what the real reasons were out of shame.

    I started to have trouble fitting in with my group of friends. They were experiencing new things like football games and dances which I was scared to death of. Now my grades plummeted and my world turned to turmoil. I'm 16 an