I Remember Now (A Personal Story)

I believe I have emphasized how important having strong parents and a strong sense of family helps both the victims of bullying and the bullies as well. I was lucky to have two loving parents that helped me through many tough and dark times. In many cases, strong parents come from the strength they derive from their own tough times. Resiliency is something that comes from surviving and learning from those moments when life is the toughest, not the easiest. As I currently work on my book, I shared some of it with my father for feedback, but triggered in him a memory that he then shared with me so eloquently. After he read it to me, I thought it important enough to share here. I doubt that I could be any prouder than right now as I introduce you to my father, Roy Eisenberg. He also went through many dark days in his childhood and that made him the resilient and, dare I say, hero to me that he is. How many of us suffer in silence, when there is support always around you? Ladies and gentlemen, it is truly my privilege to introduce you to my father and his story of dealing with his own demons of the past. ~Alan Eisenberg


When I was six years old I was stricken with post-measles encephalitis, a life-threatening condition which burned out the right side of my motor nervous system and left my left side disabled, as if I’d had a massive stroke. I was the lucky one.

…or so I thought

Of the other two children in the hospital with me, one died and the other ended up a vegetable for the rest of his life. Within three months, I had learned to walk again, but I walked with an ever decreasing limp until I was sixteen and I was not good at sports, which also frustrated me, since my father had been a two-letter athlete in college. Eventually, I got over the emotional trauma this caused me and lived a normal everyday life with little memory of the details of what I had been through.

…or so I thought

Alan and Roy Eisenberg

A rare photo of my dad and me from many years ago.

I got married to a wonderful woman who had had trauma in her childhood as well – the loss of her father to cancer when she was seven years old. We raised two wonderful children, including our son, Alan.  When Alan was eighteen he worked one summer as counselor at a camp for disabled and terminally ill children, and we visited him there, little knowing the impact this visit would have on me later.

At the age of 69, three years ago, I was stricken with a chronic form of leukemia. I was in remission after four months of chemotherapy, and the oncology nurses nicknamed me “Superman” because they had never seen anyone who  had tolerated the chemo as well as I had. Unfortunately, Superman got hit with a dose of “Kryptonite”, a delayed life-threatening auto-immune reaction to one of the chemo drugs that occurred four months after I had completed my treatment for cancer. I was started on massive doses of steroids among other treatments, to try to suppress my immune system.  The steroids induced a bipolar condition, which caused me to alternate between Superman and the angry and frustrated little boy that I was at the age of six.  My anger issues continued even after I had weaned from the steroids over a seven month period. Then Alan started his new book, and I asked if I could read it as he wrote for accuracy, and he gladly agreed.

In Alan’s book that he is writing, he talks about a child who had a severe brain injury as the result of an auto accident, and how he took his first steps while at the camp where Alan counseled. This description brought back memories of my own childhood. I don’t remember when I took my first steps, but this passage brought back memories of my father carrying me up and down the stairs, and these memories started me crying (We lived in a second story walk-up apartment.). It was the summer (measles season), and on nice days, my father would bring me down to our backyard under the shade of a large locust tree that I climbed later on, and then he would walk to the trolley car to go to work. I would sit in a chair in the back yard all day. My mother would bring me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and my father would carry me back up the stairs for dinner when he got home from work. My first memories of recovery were being able to drag myself up the stairs with my right arm and right leg, with my left arm dangling and my left leg dragging behind me.  I couldn’t stand up to go down the stairs for fear of falling, but sat on the stairs and dragged my butt down one step at a time.  It took me three months to walk and climb stairs normally again, which is a very long time in the mind of a six-year-old. Your concept of time is related to how long you’ve lived and three months to a six-year old is like three years to a 72-year-old.

I remember now

Later on, I would often climb up as high as I could into my beloved, twisted locust tree and sit there for hours, while the other kids played below. The tree was my haven away from reality and when my mother and father would call me to come down for dinner I would stubbornly refuse. When it started to get dark, I would climb down the tree and go upstairs for dinner. My mother would reheat dinner for me, and I would eat alone.  Obviously, they realized what I was going through emotionally, and tolerated my bad behavior.  I did this often, from second through fifth grade, when we moved to Silver Spring, Maryland, away from my beloved locust tree. I had a whole new set of friends, who never knew what I’d been through, and my life was changed forever.

 …or so I thought, but I remember now

Alan and Roy Eisenberg

Dad and me in a recent Selfie

Alan – I don’t know whether to thank you or curse you for bringing back these memories. I have never shared them with anyone before. My anger issues are gone and I now know what caused them. When I was bipolar on steroids, I vacillated between feeling like Superman and that angry and frustrated little six-year-old boy again.  I retained much of that anger and frustration after my recovery, and I guess I was not fully recovered and still may not be even now. (The doctor told me that the after-effects of heavy doses of steroids can last for over a year, and I guess my anger was one of them – and I still have edema in my ankles, caused by the steroids.) I never realized that both the physical and emotional effects of the steroids can last for more than a year, and I now realize that I have been suffering from C-PTSD for many years as well.

I now feel healed

~Roy Eisenberg

Bully Incident: – The Sewer (1974)

This is the second in my repeats of stories past as I have been writing my novel. I think many kids feared sewers, particularly after Stephen King released “IT”, certainly a book that tied to the fear of sewers. Since writing this story many years ago, I realize that things like feeling trapped or claustrophobic are common place feelings for people with C-PTSD damage from bullying or abuse. It is the idea of not being able to escape. To help confront this, I would force myself to sit in the middle at movie theaters, go to the barber and try not to panic in the barber chair and go to crowded places. Even though I wanted to run away at the height of my anxiety, I forced myself to stay through the panic attack and eventually, I stopped having them. There is only one way to go with anxiety, and that is confront it head on and go through it. Just as the kids who become adults do in Stephen King’s novel, IT. ~Alan Eisenberg


I have mentioned before how our brains have a tendency to put certain memories in the far backs of our heads. They are forgotten there, until sometimes a trigger can bring them forward.

Pretty much all of my stories I have told on this blog are from my days in Lexington, MA. But, something triggered me to remember the earliest incident I can recall the other day. I’ll call this the Sewer Incident. It’s more of a minor story, but still was an early bullying in my life. I don’t know why I had forgotten it, because when I recalled it, I realized how scary it was when I was only 6 years old in 1974.

We were living in Bowie, MD at the time. I was in 1st grade and took a long bus ride to school. I recall only fleeting memories of what happened, but my older sister was with me to help me recall more.

ITThe bus stop was at a sewer. I was a pretty small kid and, of course, there were kindergarten to 6th grade kids at the bus. One of the older kids had taken the sewer cap off the sewer. Of course these were very heavy metal things.

For some reason they chose me that day. They put me down in the sewer. I can’t recall if it was a bet or just a forced concept, but they made me climb down there. Then they put the lid back on it.

It was dark. I yelled for them to let me up. Instead they sat on it and taunted me from below. I recall just crying and being quite scared. Years later, the author Stephen King made me realize I was not alone in my fears of the dark sewer in his book “IT”.

My sister was yelling for them to stop and let me up. When they didn’t, she started running home and told them she was going to get my parents to come down. Once they heard that, they changed their minds and let me out.

OK, not the worst story and probably more of a joke to them than true bullying, but still something that scared a small 6 year old. I recall years later being offered the chance to go down the sewers at my college for what was billed as a fun night of sewer running by my college friends. I respectfully declined the invitation.

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A Painful Video That Shows Bullying Damage

For some reason, I found this video very painful to watch. That said, I think it is an important video that captures just how young someone can be to be damaged by the bullying that happens to them and how they are forced to try to understand and come to terms with the cruelty.

I think the mom who shared this video on YouTube was brave to show her children in this light and expose the damage that bullying can cause to another young human being who is just trying to understand what life is. It is exactly this issue, if left unresolved, that can lead to the long-term effects that bullying can cause. That is why I think this is an important video to share with our community.

How to Deal with Bullying

I am happy to have author and speaker Stephen Scoggins, who has his own blog website, and his book called “The Journey Principles”, share his thoughts and story here as he has on his site. Certainly, his tips on ways to deal with a bully help us realize there are things we are empowered to do to deal with this form of abuse. A big thank you goes out to Stephen for this post and his efforts to help deal with our bullies. ~Alan Eisenberg


Cowering girl with bullyWhen I think of the word bully, a mean kid from my elementary school pops into my head. In my childhood memory, he stood head and shoulders above the whole class and rumor had it he’d started shaving before 5th grade. We often associate the word bully with childhood, but bullies can exist in all walks of life. Adult bullies are usually more skilled at masking their behavior, but their actions can affect both our personal and professional lives. When someone treats us poorly, it can be difficult to see things from their perspective. However, we can change our approach to dealing with bullies by understanding their motives and sometimes we can have a positive effect on their lives.

The first thing to remember about bullying is that as much as it may be directed toward you, bullying is not actually about you. At its heart, bullying is a reaction to a force. What makes bullying so confusing is that it seems unprovoked, but the force that inspired it is still there. If this force comes from inner turmoil, the bully may seek to control or dominate to feel more secure. As mentioned in my book The Journey Principles, a bully/victim relationship is inherently a Giver/Taker relationship. If you are being targeted, it’s because you have something the bully wants. It may be an inner peace or giving spirit; whatever the reason, your bully’s aggression is an attempt to self-soothe.

5 Ways to Deal with a Bully:

Identification: Try to find the root of your bully’s insecurity. Does the insecurity stem from a difficult environment or something lacking in the person’s life?

Affirmation: Remind your bully that his or her words have a unique ability to change lives for better or for worse.

Discouragement: Do not reward your bully’s actions with the behavior her or she wants from you. This will only make the problem worse.

Physical and Mental Outlet: Encourage your bully to focus on a subject/activity he or she enjoys as a way to redirect energy in a positive way.

Outside Help: Seek the advice of someone outside of the situation. This person can add valuable perspective and keep you from suffering in silence.

When you seek to understand your bully, you might see an amazing transformation. Sadly, you might also see a repeat of damaging behavior. Remember that you can’t make people change, but you can deter them from treating you poorly. When you encounter bullies in your life, try to think of the motivation behind their actions. Everyone wants to feel valued, and when you sympathize with bullies, you’re giving them that gift. Your kindness may not fix your bully, but when you put yourself in another person’s shoes, you are ensuring you don’t become a bully yourself.

“God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.”
(Matthew 5:5, NLT)

In your service,
Stephen Scoggins

Bullying Incident: The Dunes (1973)

aeisenbe:

As I work on my book and given that it has been seven+ years, since these were originally published here, I am going to republish my personal bullying stories, this time in the chronological order they happened. I hope for new readers, this will give you a glimpse of why I started this site and shared my stories. Here is my first story in 1973, when I was five years old and the first time I recall bullying intimidation. I also want to add a lesson that I have now learned. One of the important aspects that I have learned since originally sharing my stories years ago is the importance of letting go of the past and learning from it to move on.

What I learned from this incident is that, in your life, you will meet wonderful people who are the majority of us and that do care about us. But you will also meet people who will use intimidation and just plain cruelty as well. The important lesson is this:

Always keep the wonderful people as close to you in your life and learn to let go and walk away from those that don’t make you feel good. You don’t need them in your life and they will only bring you down. ~ Alan Eisenberg

Originally posted on Bullying Stories:

There was really a point where I thought that I was done telling the personal bullying stories from my youth. Memory is a very funny thing and how memories return to you that are stuck in the recesses of the brain still fascinates me.

Sometimes it makes me wonder if memories get lost over time, only to be found at a trigger moment. The other thing it makes me wonder is if these lost memories are always true memories at all. This one came back to me recently. I think it stayed back in the lost area of my mind, because it wasn’t as dramatic or have the full affect on me as the kids bullying me in school did. This was quite a different situation, where an adult was the one bullying and I was a very young child, no more than five.

The Dunes

I was living in Bowie, Maryland…

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Tried and Tested Anti-Bullying Techniques for Teachers

Bullying CloudBullying in schools can take many forms and result in physical or emotional harm. The consequences of bullying can be detrimental to the victim or victims involved, so schools take this issue very seriously. In fact, by law, it is a requirement for all schools to have measures in place to prevent and tackle all forms of bullying.
There are lots of different anti-bullying methods and procedures that a school can adopt, and each school needs to decide how best to handle different situations that affect its pupils. There is no one single anti-bullying solution that will suit all schools, so a multi-faceted approach is often taken.

A successful school that tackles bullying will have clear policies in place to deal with instances of bullying. They will also look at preventing bullying from occurring in the first place.

Bullying is a really complex issue, and the motivations behind why a child might bully another child in the first place are often wide-ranging. Sitting down with pupils and involving them in discussions about bullying can have a really positive impact. Educating children about differences between pupils and embracing those differences, whether they are based on religion, ethnicity, disability or appearance, for instance, can help to foster an inclusive environment where every child is accepted and feels safe and secure. It can be useful for a school to promote anti-bullying by getting children involved with designing posters and taking part in role plays that emphasize that the school does not tolerate behavior that is hurtful or upsetting to others.

For young children, the differences between right and wrong need to be taught, so using positive-reinforcement approaches when good behaviour has occurred is just as important as recognizing when bad behavior takes place. Positive reinforcement can take many forms, including rewards such as extra playtime or stickers. Generally, it is something that a child will find of value to him or her. Working with expert organisations such as Brainwaves, who can provide different rewards for improving children’s behavior and motivation, can be a positive step to promote anti-bullying. Making use of specialist resources or organisations that have a proven track record in tackling bullying can be hugely beneficial to a school.

Successful schools should also make it easy for pupils to feel that they can report instances when bullying has occurred without any repercussions from the perpetrator. Policies should be in place to stop the behaviour from occurring again and disciplinary sanctions implemented. Schools should also involve parents and caregivers as part of this procedure.

A school also needs to regularly update and review its anti-bullying policies to ensure that they are current and take into account developments of new forms of bullying. Cyber bullying, for instance, has grown enormously in recent years with the advent of the internet, smartphones and social media. Pupils need to be educated about bullying online and what this might constitute.

A successful school will also ensure staff are fully trained to deal with bullying issues, as well as how to engage with the wider community to tackle issues. As bullying can also take place away from the school premises, a school needs to work with organisations such as the police and children’s services to crack down on any off-site bullying offences.

~Sally

2015 – Hold On It’s Going to Be a Bumpy Ride

Hello dear reader. I am so glad that you are here. If you are a new reader, WELCOME.

If you have been following my journey of self discovery after the long-term effects of bullying for these last 8 years that my Blog/Website has existed, thank you for staying with me. I OWE YOU MUCH!

So, it is at this time of year that I always reflect back, as do many of us, on what 2014 looked like and what progress was made in the long battle with the bullying issue. I still believe we are seeing more press, more rules and laws, and less acceptance of bullying in the schools and communities.

Types of Bullying ReportedThat said, here are some sobering statistics. In 2014*:

  1. 20% of United States students in grades 9-12 have reported bullying experience.
  2. 28% of students in grade 6-12 report that they have been bullied.
  3. 70.6% of teens have seen bullying in their schools.
  4. 30% of young people admit to bullying others.
  5. 57% of bullying stops if a young person intervenes within 10 seconds.
  6. 160,000 teens skip school each day because they are bullied
  7. 1 in 10 teens drop out of school due to repeated bullying
  8. 75% of school shootings have been linked to harassment and bullying against the shooter
  9. 55.2% of students with special needs report being bullied.
  10. For youth between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death or about 4,600 lives lost each year.
  11. Kids who are bullied are more than twice as likely to consider suicide according to the American Journal of Medicine.

So, that’s a downer isn’t it. But it is the statistics of the last year and we cannot deny any longer that the effects of long-term bullying are real. I wish it wasn’t the downer it appears to be, but it is not the worst case scenario and we are doing good work to try to improve these things.

That said, 2014 was an interesting year for me. It was the year of my own journey of self discovery about my own long-term effects, anxiety, depression, and finally recovery from the bullying that happened to me. Little did I know two years ago, when my problems first appeared that this would happen to me. But I have truly let go and forgiven the past. If you read this year’s posts, I hope you would see what I mean.

It was WORK. It was a FIGHT against my own brain that wanted to tell me things that were not true. It was a journey of self discovery, from who I was, to who I am, to who I hope to be in the future. I took several friends and family members along for my ride and it wasn’t fun for them, I know.

But, I am glad that, now that I have been there, I know what it feels like and hope I can help others. On that note, this little site that could that I started 8 years ago will continue. But it will continue this year with some reposts of my stories and any stories you wish to submit. This is because I am taking a new journey this year that I hope will be something I can share. You are the first to know.

BooksI am writing a book about my experiences and sharing my journey to self-acceptance from the bullying that affected me. I am dedicating my little free time to that. In the meantime, I will repost the best posts here from the last eight years and also share any new stories you wish to send me.

I am looking forward to long-form writing and know it will be a very tough journey ahead. But I am finally in a place from both my heart and head to do this job that I have wanted to do for so long.

2014 was certainly a better year for me than 2013 and 2012 for that matter. I hope through our continued mutual efforts we can all make a difference to lower the statistical numbers for 2015, but only time will tell. Until then, I wish you happiness, health, and the ability to stay positive in the face of adversity and fight your demons head on. Be strong and I look forward to continuing to share with you in the future. I hope once my book is completed, you will continue to support me and my efforts by sharing the book with others. More to come as the year continues on. I hope this is a peaceful and good year for you.

~ Alan Eisenberg

* http://www.americanspcc.org/bullying/facts-teen-suicide/
* http://nobullying.com/bullying-statistics-2014/