I believe the below story by Brian describes in few words what many kids go through with bullying and how we feel due to the effects of bullying. Brian asks at the end “Why Me?”, which has to be the most common question out there. The feeling that somehow as a victim we asked or set ourselves up to be bullied is such a common response and one that continues to hold long-term effects well after the bullying has ended. The self-doubt and feelings of sadness and low self-esteem are continual reminders to victims of bullying. Brian should know as we all should that he is not alone in both his feelings or what has happened to him, as this website clearly shows. Now, what can we do about helping the victims recover from the bullying years? ~Alan Eisenberg
It was within the first week of first grade when one boy held my arms behind my back while another punched me hard in the stomach. This was the start of a string of incidents that would go on well into high school. During those years, I had many different bullies. Sometimes, they were “friends” of mine; some were ex-friends; others were nothing more than kids who would beat me up for no apparent reason.
In third grade, my friend Mike called me and asked me to come over to his house. It was the middle of winter in Chicago, but I walked there, anyway (because he was my friend). He and his cousin asked me to stand on the lawn below the porch, where they surpised me by dropping huge blocks of ice on my head. When I was lying in the snow after being hit with ice, they jumped on top of me and punched me in the face several times. They laughed. My clearest memory of that night was walking across the snowy field of the junior high, bloody and crying.
In sixth grade, I was assigned a patrol post with a boy from my school who lived nearby. He and another boy would come every morning and either punch or otherwise intimidate me. The school did absolutely nothing to stop them. Encouraged by the school’s abdication of its responsibilities, their attacks grew more intense. They would follow me home and beat me up every couple weeks. One time, they brought a friend from another school, and the three of them beat me up quite badly, kicking me in the face while I laid on the ground. I remember sitting in the principal’s office the next morning with abrasions all over my face and blood in the whites of one eye, naturally assuming my assailants were in a lot of trouble. Unfortunately, the principal had decided that I did something to deserve it, and he yelled at me, quite angrily, to stop provoking them.
In junior high, those two continued bullying me, but the administration there actually made them stop. They couldn’t stop everyone, though. I’d walk down the hall and random fists would come flying through the air. A kid grabbed a handful of gravel and threw it at my head. A girl in gym class would pound me on the arm as hard as she could. Another girl dug her sharp nails into my wrist so deep I still have a scar 26 years later. My greatest dream was that we could move to another town, which we did in the final weeks of 8th grade.
I was bullied there, too. Not as many people partook as in the previous town, but there were enough. The kids at my school called me “Pisshead” and started a rumor like I let people pee on me. One boy, Mario, beat me up four times over the course of junior year. The first time, I remember walking past his girlfriend’s house when he ran outside yelling “Hey, Pisshead!” took off his shirt, and beat me up in front of a group of girls, one of which, his girlfriend, had been claiming I had called her a bitch at some point in the past (this may have been true). The last time, he recruited 5 or 6 kids I didn’t even know, and all of them beat me up together; the girlfriend came up and spit on me as I lay in the snow.
The next morning, sitting in the dean’s office, I recounted exactly what had happened. She left to get their side of the story, and I again naively thought I would get justice. About 15 minutes later, she returned, and she was angry — at me. “Well, you didn’t tell me you gave them the finger!” as if that detail, not even true, changed everything. My mom was going to press charges against Mario & Co., but the dean called and talked her out of it. The best part of the story is that I got two days of in-school suspension, Mario got one, and the rest of the kids got none. Fortunately, that was the last time I was bullied.
As an adult, I bear many scars from years of bullying, one of which is that I naturally assume people don’t like me and may wish to harm me. I have very low self-esteem, and the choices I’ve made as a result of my low self-esteem (drugs, drinking, not taking risks) have led me to a place where I feel very disappointed in myself. Sometimes, I even have suicidal thoughts.
I don’t know why I was the kid who was picked for that kind of treatment, which makes me the most sad. Why me? Remember, I wasn’t just picked to be the victim by one set of kids, but by another set 50 miles away. The only logical conclusion following from that evidence is that there’s something wrong with me. I was the common denominator. And why did these adults not even try to protect me? It hurts me so much.