This week I will be finishing up the series on bulling with this post and a guest post with Kristina Edwards from College City.
The idea for this week’s post comes from the idea about why was I and so many other seemingly normal kids were victims of bullying. I always wondered what I had ever done to be hated so much by other people. I am sure there are others out there that have had similar thoughts or experiencing them right now. Maybe your child or loved one is experiencing it.
That’s the thing there is no rhyme or reason to bullying. Sometimes it can be just being different.
There are some children that have a disability or some other thing that sets them apart. They seem to be automatically a target which is completely unfair. However being different doesn’t always have to be infirmity.
You can be highly intelligent and not think on the same plane as others, run faster, draw better, etc and be just as harassed and maltreated as the kid who is missing their leg or overweight.
No difference of any kind should be grounds for tormenting kids. Handicapped kids are actually amazing IMHO when they can do things other people can do and do outstanding things to get the job done. For instance, people with no arms can do outstanding things with their feet such as drive, draw, and write.
Other kids with they were or were more [insert talent or adjective here] so the bullying would stop. I’ll tell you one thing that being prettier or smarter or faster doesn’t save you from bullying. It can actually make it worse.
Anything that makes you different or sets you apart from the rest will make you a more likely target. Is it jealousy? Is it hate? Both? Or is it something else altogether?
There were some kids who came to me (the few kids I ever talked to) said maybe I would be more popular or accepted if I was smarter or prettier or whatever they wanted to change about themselves. All I can say is “Nope, no can do. That won’t solve the problem at all.”
Here’s why. Grown-ups have told me about how smart I was, how pretty I was, etc, etc. This was back when I was a pretty young child still (about 6-8). Well, that didn’t save me from being bullied. I think I was the most hated child in my grade by my peers. I didn’t feel so gifted or pretty; I felt the quite opposite. I’m not so special at all. Special people are supposed to be liked, right? I’m not liked, so I can’t be special. The other kids would have told you how stupid and ugly I was too. They weren’t interested in anything I had to say or anything about me, so then I became even more silent or withdrawn. Then, they would wonder why I never talked. People, make up your mind. I no longer had anything to say. Anything I said would be held against me. I would answer them with a shrug or “I just don’t have anything to say.” I got sick of trying to help them understand me just so they could pluck me into the gutter… Forget it, I’m done. I can find something else better to do than to try to make friends with people who hate me. I’ll create friends who like me. I could tell them how much Bobby was being a douche and Becky was a snob just before we went to war! That seemed to do the trick; I just had to remember that we couldn’t talk at school…
When adults would compliment me as a child I thought they were just making that up or just telling me that. I didn’t feel special at all–maybe to mom and dad, family, and other grown-ups, but they probably say that about everyone. Being different can be both a blessing and a curse at the same time. That’s what bullying can do for you; make you doubt your own self-worth or your own capabilities. Changing who you are wouldn’t make it any better. Things would be about the same or worse for the person.
Later, I had to examine myself, and think maybe what the grown-ups says is true, but I can’t share it with peers. I just had to not listen to all the bully hullabaloo and take it to heart. Now all I wanted was for them to shut up and leave me alone. Was that really so much to ask? If you don’t want to be nice to me I don’t want to be around you! What is with you people?
The main point to take from this is to not change anything about yourself just so that the bullies will go away. They won’t. They’ll just find something else to torment you about. You would still be tormented if you changed you identity!
Now, next post is the guest post by Kristina Edwards and some thoughts about what schools can do to help with bullying!