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The Damage that Bullying can do – A Victim’s Story

It is a major concern that bullying is not only happening in schools, at work as well as online more often, but it has become worse over time.  Bullying does not only happen in the places mentioned. It can happen at the mall, on the street, in the neighborhood, in a night club, anywhere. Anyone can be bullied, at any age. However, children, especially pre-teens can be at a very vulnerable stage when it comes to bullying. Bullying is not only attacking a victim physically. Harmful words such as name calling can be even more harmful as hurtful words will stick to the victim’s mind for a long time. That is a  very common form of bullying, and I would say the most destructive type. Purposely excluding others from social circles is a form of bullying as well. Both boys and girls are equally as capable of bullying.

Children who are at risk for bullying are going to likely have physical differences (such as being heavy or extremely thin, or having acne, a deformity, or even having an unusual name). Those at risk for being bullied are also likely to have some kind of special need such as having learning disabilities or autism, or may be different otherwise. They may come from an extremely wealthy or poor family. The children who are at risk for bullying can have a variety of reasons to be targets. However, whatever the reason may be, schools and parents need to take the issue more seriously as it is happening more and more especially in schools. Victims who are bullied can be emotionally and even physically scarred, not just during the time that the bullying is happening, but for life!

The effects of bullying can include heightened anxiety and living in constant fear, becoming socially withdrawn, creating low self esteem, and even suicide in extreme cases. Victims who were bullied in school, as adults many times do not get married or become low achievers because they don’t believe they are good enough or are worthy enough. Many can go into substance abuse as well, to escape from the painful memories. Fortunately, with more and more education about bullying, others are made to be aware that this is a serious issue. There are ways for bullying to be stopped.

Talking back at a bully is never a good idea as it can make the situation even worse. Ignoring the bully does not always help either. The best thing to do is to tell a trusted adult such as a teacher, guidance counselor or principal of the school the complete truth of what is going on. The child who is being bullied must tell his or her parents, as unfortunately many children do not as they believe it is shameful.  Other classmates who do not agree with the bullying needs to learn to step in and let the bully know what he or she is doing, is unacceptable. Others who may not be bullying others themselves, but are aware of a victim being bullied are just as guilty as the bully him or herself for not stopping the bully. However, telling an adult who is trusted is a must in order to help stop the bullying as he or she will step in.  The parents of the bullied victims will get involved and put a stop to it as well, before the serious damage can set in.

I am writing this article because I was bullied, pretty badly, especially in my early teen years- and I am still affected to this day, over twenty years later. I was a child with undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome at the time, had learning disabilities, acne, and was overweight. I was also obviously plagued with low self esteem due to that alone, and my social skills were very poor. However there were several bullies who did what they could to make my life horrible by making fun of me endlessly because of my deficits. They did what they could to mortify me. They succeeded. In more ways than that. Because I grew up with a food addiction to escape from the horrible emotions and memories. I never believed I was worthy of anything, achieved lowly in life and suffered from horrible depression, and overwhelming fears. I even shamefully admitted I cyber-bullied some people several years ago during some low points in my life. However, I did apologize for my actions and realized what I was doing was no different from what the bullies did to me.

I am married with two children, and one of them has autism. I do worry that he will be a target for bullying once he reaches that vulnerable stage. But thankfully I am armed with awareness and will do my part in educating others as much as I can about bullying. And even though I am still affected by what happened to me over twenty years ago, I have realized that my depression and feelings of unworthiness, and my destruction to my body was me allowing my bullies from the past to win. I cannot do that anymore, as I need to move on with my life and go after the things in life I know I deserve! I do deserve good things in life! I am not sure if I can ever truly forgive them, but I am working on moving on and not letting what they did affect me so much anymore. In a sense, I suppose that is forgiveness but, I still believe in karma and these bullies who tried making my life miserable will get theirs, if they have not already.

Fortunately I did not commit suicide, but I did have thoughts. However, the sad fact is, others who were bullied have. I want to help prevent not only another suicide due to bullying, but I don’t want to see another victim of bullying live in such sadness and despair that I have for many years because of being bullied. It needs to stop, now!

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