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From the first day that I can recall, Iíve been bullied. It began with my eldest brother who shall remain nameless in this piece of writing but Iíve outed in the recent past. He was five years older than I, bigger, stronger and had the status of being first born. I have to thank him for his countless acts of cruelty because it taught me invaluable lessons which still serve me well. In fact, he actually became one of the bullies I took on. That was seven years ago and I won handily. The target he chose, which galvanized me into action, was my parents but thatís another story. I havenít talked to him since and am unlikely to do so either.

What his home based bullying did was enable me to weather outside bully influences. That began in Grade 1 when a bully pushed me aside as I was holding the door open for the other children at the request of the teacher. I fell on the steps and, instead of surrendering to the pain and indignities, I jumped up and punched him in the nose. Hard enough for blood to begin spurting all over the place which caused a huge ruckus and I was marched off to the Principleís office and then sent home while he sniveled and wept in the nurseís care. I caught grief from my mother and learned my first lesson.

Donít beat up bullies because it turns them into a sympathy magnet. This is especially true if they bleed a lot and all youíve got is a scraped knee. Thankfully I ignored all of the advice from adults that, as a girl, I should be less assertive.

Around the same time as my Grade One episode, I noticed that while both my parents loathed bullies they didnít recognize that their son was one. They made light of his teasing which wasnít playful nor done in a loving manner. They chastised me for overreacting, by crying, and suggested that he didnít mean any harm. What a crock that was and I learned my second and third lesson.

Donít expect support from anyone when the bully is within your circle.
I should point out, however, that my other brother did punch him in the eye once, when I was being bullied, which was totally out of character for him. It wasnít a successful gesture. [Check lesson one.] However, I was grateful for his support which taught me the other part of this lesson.
Never forget when someone does support you when you are a victim.

Just a bit later I began to realize I was feeding my eldest brotherís unsavory need to be dominant and began to mask my anguish at his frequent targeting of me. He, for the most part, lost interest in me as a target and looked elsewhere. Lesson # 4.

Donít respond to bullies in a manner which satisfies and/or sustains them.

I pretty much managed nicely with my learned lessons until Grade five when I came across a new type of bully. My Science teacher, Mr. Buley, I couldnít understand why he continually picked on his daughter who was one of my class mates. The day I got a detention and forgot about it was when the truth came out. It had never occurred to me that adults could be bullies too! When Mr. Buley caught me in the school playground he didnít appreciate me pointing out that if Iíd ditched the detention on purpose I wouldnít have hung around the school. Instead of accepting my honest response he became enraged and marched me down to a secluded office which had a nasty strap hanging on the wall. I didnít display any signs of the pain and embarrassment I was experiencing and it caused him to continue laying the wide, dimpled, red rubber belt across my hands with greater force. He gave up at ten lashes and then sent me home. I believe I was the only girl in school to get strapped but I never discussed it with anyone so I canít be sure. Lesson #5

Lesson #4 doesnít apply if you are a child and the bully is an adult.
Did you notice the similarity between Buley and bully? I hadnít until I wrote this. Probably because they sound different.

My next interaction with an adult bully happened in high school. A girl with fewer social skills than me and with no friends at all became a teacherís target one day in class. The chair she was sitting on broke and she ungracefully fell to the floor. The teacher, Mr. Hubner, instead of asking if she was hurt, began to mock her unmercifully. The class, including myself, sat in stony silence until Mr. Hubner declared that heíd sat on that chair many times.... I interrupted him and said, ďWell, no wonder it broke!Ē The class erupted into laughter and I was ejected and sent to the Principleís office. When I explained the circumstances to the Principle, he said nothing and suggested I sit in the office until my next class. The next day my mother comes home, from her job as a postal wicket clerk, in a foul mood and tells me Mr. Hubner had approached her, at the counter, and told her I was a very rude girl. When I told my mom what had happened, she fell silent just like the Principle. Mr. Hubner changed his classroom behaviour into something more tolerable. This lesson took a few years to sink in. Lesson #6

Donít expect to be rewarded for taking on an adult bully when you are a child but accept positive things may be happening behind the scenes. Do expect your peers to give you a respectful but wider berth because of who youíve vanquished.

It hadnít occurred to me that I should have expected any congratulations from my class mates or thanks from the victim either. Lesson #7, #8 & #9

Donít expect to be thanked or lauded for taking on a bully.

Do recognize you probably will develop some status within your circle but donít expect it to always be a positive factor.

Do accept that your actions will likely discourage other bullies from targeting you or others in your presence. Canít think of a down side to this.

Thus ended the bully lessons of my childhood. If youíve noticed, none of the bullies Iíve mentioned are women. This isnít because girls/women donít bully but is due to them being more subtle. I didnít realize Iíd been a targeted until much later in my life. Therefore it wasnít a lesson I learned early on because I was oblivious. To this day, Iím usually unaware of female bullies but there have been times itís become an issue. More about that at a later date.

------
"Tigers bloom where there's oodles of room." Zodiac Zoo


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Comments

The following comments are for "Bully Boys & Bully Brutes"
by Pen

lessons learned
While I've never been a bully or been bullied, I can totally relate to your lessons. I actually always befriended the bullied because, to me, they were outsiders and that is what I looked for in friends. I suppose if I have to think about it, I'd say I wasn't bullied because no one knew how I'd react. Or if I'd react at all. I usually just went about my business. Alone. I needed no one and no one needed me - which some might see as a form of bullying but it was heaven for me.

You're tough, Pen. But I think we all knew that. What I like most about your essay is that we get to look behind/through the blinds a little.

Well penned, um, Pen.

( Posted by: Toscano [Member] On: February 22, 2011 )

@ Francisco
First off .. thanks for overlooking the errors in this piece. It was pretty much written off the cuff and I should have gone back over it.

I've never come across a loner bully but accept they may be out there.

As to you never have been bullied? That reminds me of something which happened later on when I was taking Union courses. I got roped into a women's weekend seminar. One of the plenaries included an exercise where women [and one earnest young man] stood on a line. We were to take one step forward for each example of injustice. Some women took many steps and I too had to take a step when it came to my unpleasant experiences. It wasn't easy to admit but I figured we were there to 'share'. What was striking however was that the young fellow was one of three left back at the starting line. He blurted out .. "I never realized how lucky I am." Charming! Yeah. The women who hadn't moved .. they sort of shuffled their feet as if to confess they'd been too 'proud' to publicly admit to being victimized. I'm sure there are women who've never been bullied but I'm equally sure they are the minority. Just the way things go.

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: February 22, 2011 )

Great article Pen!
Just think Pen...all those bullies just made you into the confident, take no nonsense, assertive, well rounded person that you are.

Somehow...I doubt that was their intention!!

As for Bro...I'm sure he'll keep his distance from you...most bullies are cowards...he's quaking in his boots at the thought of accidentally running into you! lol

By the way...is he aware of your new found success?? Hold on to the purse strings!!

Great article!

( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: February 22, 2011 )

Bea & Lucie
Bea, I've no concerns about my brother taking any action regarding my recent success. Does he know? Yes, I believe he does.

Lucie - yeah .. girls/women bully just as much. They usually do it differently but .. I see by your comment you had a similar experience.

It's all about power and control and who gets to do what .... nasty bunch .. people I mean.

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: February 23, 2011 )

No moe
Da onliest answer to get back to bully girls is just to cut 'em off. No mo nookie.

( Posted by: veebdosa [Member] On: February 23, 2011 )

of bullies and abuse
Penelope,
Indeed, it is about power, or lack thereof..

good read..

salute


( Posted by: Bobby7L [Member] On: February 23, 2011 )

@ 1 stooge
yes dear ...

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: February 23, 2011 )

@ Bobby
Just so there's no confusion .. heh heh

Power and control are human conditions that isn't just about bullies. I learned all about empowerment during my stint in the Union and how important it was to try and allow the victim to regain their self confidence and determine the satisfactory course of action. I don't always follow that road but recognize its value. When my dad had been under attack by his son for over a year I made sure that every decision was his or perhaps that he believed it was his. I never gave the lawyer [awesome lawyer!] permission to take any action without checking with my dad first.

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: February 23, 2011 )

of power and
..inadequacies

Penelope,
It's like with rape, which isn't really about sex. It's about exerting a pseudo power.

Bullies have inadequacies of personality. They often display these inadequacies well into adulthood. The subjects of their schoolyard bullying, more often than not, do just fine in adulthood.

( Posted by: Bobby7L [Member] On: February 23, 2011 )

@ Bobby
Yes, it's like rape .. I'd have to say .. to a much lesser degree though.

Adults who were victims of bullies may do well but the bully will always find a target.

Do bullies have inadequacies? Of course but it's not like I'm going to be sympathetic to a bully.

Do I know how to reform a bully? Nope. I think they lack empathy and are very self centered individuals.

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: February 24, 2011 )

Bully...
Hey Pen, I enjoyed your article. You definitely made some very good points. I can't really remember being bullied, especially since I was the "older" sibling. I mean on occasion I have been bumped in the grocery line, etc...(probably because I am short and wasn't seen) but I do remember a flip side experience.

I have never been a mean person (or I hope so at least) but on this one occasion when I was about 11 I remember this classmate that constantly made fun of other students, well on this one day everyone had pretty much had enough of her.

They gathered around her and pulled out paper from her stuffed bra. I sat there and laughed. I did nothing to help her. To this day that memory makes me feel like crap.

Her and I actually caught up with each other 20 years later and apologized to no end. It taught me a valuable lesson and one I have never forgotten. I will stand up for the victim because living with a haunting conscience is worse that the latter.

Thank you for sharing!
Nae

( Posted by: nae411 [Member] On: February 24, 2011 )

hmmmm @ Nae
Never have been a fan of swarming no matter how much it's deserved. Although .. I did a 'creative' send up of a bully boss name of Barb .. caused a big hit on the work floor too! Maybe I'll post it here at LitOrg .. yeah .. why not? Hope it's still in my files.

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: February 24, 2011 )

me either!
Me either Pen. I swear I didn't sleep for days. I felt SO ashamed of myself. It was a lesson that really hurt but boy did I learn!

I hope it is still in your files too!

Hugs...

( Posted by: nae411 [Member] On: February 24, 2011 )

@ Nae
Yup .. I found it .. Barbwired!

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: February 24, 2011 )





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