Bullying is a topic that has been on the news a lot recently due to recent suicides and school violence incidents. It also happens to be a subject that I feel a personal connection to. I’ve made quite a few posts on my blog about my bullied history. From elementary school all through high school, I was the target of one bully or another. In high school, I even had the “honor” of being the target of a group of bullies. They would block my entrance into classes, follow me through the halls to taunt me and generally make my life a living hell. While, I don’t think I was ever suicidal, I did have a sense that I was alone in a world that didn’t care about me. And while violence wasn’t something I regularly contemplated, there was one incident where I almost lashed out very violently.
My father once claimed that all that bullying made me stronger. I disagree. It made me weaker. I left high school paranoid and socially withdrawn. During my college years and afterwards, I worked hard to overcome these effects. Still, as far as I have come, I still feel that I am more socially withdrawn than I might have been had I not been bullied.
After health worries, my biggest worry is that my children will suffer in school like I did. Unfortunately, NHL might just be heading down this path. Recently, B witnessed a child in one of his classes telling other kids to write “NHL is a butt” on the chalkboard while the teacher was not in the classroom. NHL just sat there, apparently oblivious to the teasing. Either he just didn’t recognize what was going on or he was withdrawing within himself to ignore the cruel world around him.
Both possibilities worry me because they are things I used to do. I was, at times, clueless of the cruelty of the world around me. I let people pick on me and then, after the flimsiest of excuses, accepted the tormentor back as a friend. I was so desperate to have a friend that I completely believed him time after time after time.
Later on, I utilized the later of the possibilities. I learned that anything I said or did just gave my bullies ammunition to use against me. So I withdrew. I talked as little as possible and didn’t react even to the torment I was going through. Though I felt like my entire world was crumbling around me, I put up a facade of strength.
We have already spoken with NHL’s teachers about the situation. Still, a part of us feels helpless every day he goes to school, knowing that other kids could pick up on differences between him and other kids and use them to tease, harass and torment him. However, we have sat NHL down and let him know that, no matter what happens, he can always come to us. We will always be on his side and will do everything in our power to help solve any problems he encounters.