Unlike most people I’ve experienced both, I’ve been a bully and I have suffered from bullying, mainly social bullying. And I can tell you that it is both taunting and traumatic. I won’t go as far as mentioning when and where because the purpose is not to call people out (that would basically make me a bully too, even though that would be very Real Housewives of Atlanta lol). Now I’m sure you’re wondering how I played for both teams (being the bully and also a victim of bullying). I will never make excuses for bullying, I’ll simply say my bullying days were short lived. Most of my reasons for bullying were self defense, I had been bullied before becoming a bully and so avoiding being bullied meant being the bully which was a very flawed theory, I know!
Here’s the thing about bullying: bullies do what they do because of the lack of self-confidence and I knew that having power over someone would at least put my own insecurities at ease and this is not true. Power that has not been earned is an illusion, and I’m so grateful for having people around me who called me out on my bad behaviour. Most of it was caused by trauma and so it was easy to kick the habit. What others do to me should not change who I am, that’s the lesson I had to learn.
Being bullied still affects me because it can never be taken back or undone. I’ve always had such a loud and bubbly personality and it’s such a strange thing to have had to shrink myself to a suitable size for certain people. I now realize that there was actually nothing wrong with me (still isn’t, I’m amazing!)
Imagine being asked if you’re pregnant when it’s very clear that you’re not. Doesn’t get better than being called names and always reminded of how “fat” you are. I struggled with accounting so much in High School. I dreaded it to be honest. I mean, I remember at some point having my school bags dug into and having my marks read without my permission, and really the intention was to make fun of my marks and really just poke me where it hurt the most.
Bullies will always focus on your weaknesses and areas where you feel less confident. I once had this popular guy (he was super popular, I really didn’t get it) pour water over my school shirt for no reason. Imagine the embarrassment of having your shirt stick onto your skin and revealing your underwear. For what? I had never spoken to him before, he didn’t even go to my school – we all just sat at the same bus stop. I can name so many incidents. I once changed my drop off area because I was avoiding the girls that were at the bus stop who’d always have some sarcastic and mean to say about my hair or uniform. My parents always tried to let me fight my own battles but I never got around to it because they’d always intervene by talking to the parents of the bully or taking me out of that situation. I always felt like maybe there was something wrong with me and I just need to take the bullying and move right along if I want to have a peaceful life.
But it was never about me, it’s always been about the bully who clearly had no self-confidence and having power over mine made them feel so much more in control. Bullying in its loose definition is unwanted, aggressive behaviour caused by a power imbalance (real or perceived) and the behaviour is repeated and has serious, lasting problems. I was bullied at 2 different stages of my life and the thing with being bullied is that, the bully is purposely trying to inflict pain (whether physical, emotional etc) without a REAL reason. In the midst of being bullied you’re also trying to understand why you’re being treated the way you’re treated by a person/s you’ve done nothing to and this is where the trauma comes in. I’m constantly asking myself if people are being genuine, because at any point someone can decide to ill-treat you without being provoked.
Types of bullying:
- Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean/hurtful things (true or false), teasing, name-calling, inappropriate sexual comments, taunting, threatening to harm.
- Social bullying is sometimes referred to as relation bullying, it involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships, leaving someone out on purpose, telling other people/children not to be friends with someone directly or indirectly, spreading rumors about someone, embarrassing someone in public purposely.
- Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possession: Hitting/kicking, spitting, tripping/pushing, breaking their things, taking their things, making rude hand gestures (ya’ll know what that’s about).
- Cyber bulling using technology – internet, email, cellphone, social media, pictures to hurt someone else, sending mean text messages, posting statements online that are unkind or not true, agreeing with someone who posts something hurtful, Making negative comments
Bullying is a game of power, and you decide how much power you give to someone. I don’t want to dwell on how bullying is wrong because this goes without saying. What’s more important to me is making each of us realize the power we have to stand up against people who use their power in a way to imbalance ours.
With that being said, we are also responsible for how we treat others and we must remember that our actions have consequences. People have committed suicide because of bullying and it vital to always remember that we are different and therefore feel in different ways, however – when you say something first consider if you’d appreciate it being said to you. Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out; be in control of your physical actions and before you do anything (whether by text, etc) ask yourself if it would change the price of rice if you didn’t.
It is okay to dislike someone, or even dislike someone for no reason but it is not okay to disrespect, degrade, and humiliate that person.
KADAN – (n) “where the heart lies”, an all-purpose word for a person one cares about, including friends, family and loved ones.
Yours in ✍🏾