Bully Incident: You Killed Jesus (1976)

This story was the first story about the bullying that happened to me as I recalled it. It certainly set the tone for the stories that were to come when I started this site in 2007. As I look back on these stories with a fresh eye, I realize that, for many stories, there was little to nothing I could do to prevent the bullying or, in the case of this story, the hurtful words of some young children. Life has that happen and certainly plenty of African-Americans, Hispanics, and many other groups also have mean and debase things said about them. Part of my learning is to be less sensitive to these comments and look at them more holistically as a bigger problem. For example, it is interesting to me that now, in the US, we have an African-American sitting President, but more racial divide between the police and African-Americans than I can recall in a long time. We can’t change these things easily, so sometimes it’s best to handle them with less emotion and more discussion. ~Alan Eisenberg


As part of my understanding the bullying that happened to me, I’ve decided to chronologically tell the incidents of my being bullied starting from my earliest memories. As an adult, I often wonder if these stories are exaggerated from the mind of the child I was. I don’t believe so, but I’m sure the perspective is different. But that’s part of the problem!

As adults, of course we can rationalize what happened when we were children and see incidents as much less impactful. But it’s not happening to us as adults, it’s happening to us as children. And wherever we are emotionally and mentally when the incident happens, that’s what sticks with us. So, the incident I’ll describe below may not be that big, but it sticks with me. I don’t know why, but as a child, it was my first real brush with hate.

For the first 7 years of my life, I don’t recall any bullying. I don’t think that is unique. I feel like bullying really starts around mid to late elementary school. We moved in 1975 from Maryland to Lexington, Massachusetts. In Maryland I had lots of friends. Lexington was different. Somewhere in the first year there, I was walking down the street in my neighborhood when two twin neighbor girls who were maybe 6 approached me. They looked me straight in the face and said “you killed Jesus” and spit on me, then ran away.

I should say now that I am Jewish, but don’t wear it on my sleeve. It seems obvious to me that they found out I was Jewish and heard that Jews killed Jesus (not that uncommon back in the mid-70s belief). I’m not even sure I had talked to these two kids before and I just remember being embarrassed about being Jewish. What did I do? Why the hatred? To this day, I still don’t know if I can answer those questions. But I know that I’m not the only one who has heard that.

That’s the first incident of bullying I recall. You may say to me that was not bullying. But to me, it is. I didn’t do anything to provoke it.

Or did I?

It’s a question I do ask myself. What do you think? I will continue to add the stories of the bullying in my young life here. This is just the beginning. The ending, unfortunately leads me to this point, 28 years later, to want to tell the story and hear your stories, so we can all learn, and hopefully help others. Thanks for reading.

Click Here To
Read More Personal Stories

Bullying Recovery – Support a Book and a Company

Bully-RecoveryRecently, I have embarked on an adventure to turn my passion into a reality to help others that suffer with the long-term effects of bullying and C-PTSD to recover and thrive. I have mentioned one of my initiatives, which is to write a book. I am happy to announce that the writing of the book currently titled “A Ladder In The Dark: A Journey from Bullying to Self-acceptance” has been completed being written and should be edited and released by this summer.

I am also happy to announce that I have formed a company around my feelings on the issues of the long-term effects of bullying called Bullying Recovery, LLC. It is with great hope that I plan to try to devote my full-time to the issue of bullying and working toward the recovery of those that suffer from its long-term effects.

It has been eight years that I have devoted much of my free time at no cost to this issue. As the issue and the demand of my time continue to increase, I would like to be able to make this side work of mine, my full work. In order to do so, I have decided that you and people you know can help me through crowdfunding the startup costs and continued rising costs of publishing the book, that I believe will help many people who are currently suffering.

I have set up a site at:

http://www.gofundme.com/bullyrecovery 

You can go there and donate as little or as much as you can to help me continue to do this very important work on the issue of bullying. Through your dollars, I will be able to publish the book and get it distributed, set up more speaking engagements, and start a company with the main focus being the psychological recovery of people who suffer with C-PTSD. I would also like to work with the schools/universities to set up better research and support for school administrators and social workers to learn how to detect and work with bullying victims and bullies.

Please consider making a donation and following me at: http://www.gofundme.com/bullyrecovery

I truly believe that, with you help, I can continue to make a difference and even bigger impact on the issue of bullying than I have over the last eight years of work that I have done pro bono. Thank you for considering to help me with the cost of book publishing and starting up my company. I will continue to keep people updated through the Bullying Recovery Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bullying-Recovery-LLC/1567410660204123 and through my twitter page @bullyinglte

Please consider liking both to receive more updates and thank you for supporting me and this cause for all these years.

The Workplace Punching Bag (A Personal Story)

I have learned through my website that bullying is not something that just ends at school age, but that bullies can grow up to be workplace bullies and victimization from bullying happens to adults as well. If that wasn’t clear before, it has become abundantly clear to me through stories like the one below. As with school administration, I wish all HR departments at companies would have a “no bullying” policy and follow it when needed. ~Alan Eisenberg


Stop Workplace BullyingI want my story to be heard as I know many others that have suffered through similar and bullying and victimization is not limited to the school grounds and early years, but is sadly alive and well in the workplace.

Last year I felt like a punch bag… it was like a vendetta was being launched and the HR Department were powerless from stopping it from happening.  It is not what you know, but who you know.

This is how it all began…

I was appointed the Head of Marketing. I embraced the challenge and was extremely upbeat and enthusiastic to begin with. I started to make various positive changes… rebranded, created a corporate brand guideline and developed social media.

I received praise from the ‘outside world’ and from most of the board members, however there was one department and one Director in particular that I was required to work with in order to succeed in the marketing in its entirety and this particular department and Director made my life a living hell for approximately 12-18 months. By the end of it, I was nothing more than a nervous, insomniac wreck of person. 60% of what I had been tasked with meant I had no choice, but to work with this particular department. I am a proactive individual so made bi-monthly standing meetings that were often cancelled and yet I soon discovered that ‘secret meetings’ pertaining to the marketing and various events had been held. I was once accused in a meeting in front of many individuals of making some terrible mistakes that had caused some embarrassment… it had to do with the proofing, the print and the delivery. They didn’t like it when I was able to back up all my documentation to show that:

  1. Deadlines had been missed by this department for final changes so late submissions caused the additional pressure on the print suppliers to deliver within an unreasonable time frame.
  2. Some of the supposed requested changes to be made could never be backed up/supported and all requested changes received were made by me.
  3. Due to the missed deadline the booklets would have to be delivered directly to the venue.

The printers were instructed accordingly, but at the last-minute a rather odd request was made to have these delivered directly to the hotel. I queried this at the time, but as the request came from someone far more important I let it be. However it was brought up in the meeting and I was accused of making a silly decision to deliver to the hotel which caused additional work and the cost of a taxi to ferry these booklets in several trips to the event. However I had the supporting emails to prove that the decision had not been made by me which I produced and this caused embarrassment to the important person concerned. I was not about to be humiliated again for a mistake I had not made! This is where I fear that the real vendetta against me and my team began.

It was indeed a very sad year as I was desperately trying to justify everything I did. The ‘bullies’ were however allowed to continue with the harsh tones, failure to respond to emails, stonewalling, secret meetings, missed deadlines and worst of all were the fabricated stories and lies and the stalking on my own personal social media sites that followed for at least 6 months. There was little I could do except do other than the best that I could and to persevere. Thankfully others supported me, but the damage of the stress had taken its toll and eventually something had to give… the marketing was yanked from under my feet through no fault of my own and the person appointed to take over the role was none other than the Directors sister-in-law and the daughter of the big boss.

I am hardworking, diligent and dedicated and usually achieve my goals. I have never cheated, lied or stolen in my life… I am as honest as they come. I am direct and truthful and I have strong morals and integrity, but what I saw and went through gave me a cruel insight to the harsh reality of the business world. I was advised that if I decided to take the matter further I would almost certainly lose as the company had endless financial and legal resources and even though this particular Director has a file a ‘mile long’ (slight exaggeration!) of complaints of bullying and various other charges against her she was untouchable and no one who came up against her ever won! If I pursued the matter I might just not have a job right now so how would I then pay my bills and mortgage? My very kind, caring and wonderful colleague who was working with me resigned out of principle to what was happening and also because with the loss of the marketing she was forced into a menial job that she did not wish to do. I felt cowardly for staying, but at that point I had lost all confidence in myself and the system that was supposed to protect the bullied victim.

I speak Afrikaans as part of my home language and I am proud to be bilingual. Hearing others speak foreign languages in and around me is refreshing… it shows we are a proud multi-cultural society. It shows I am not racist. The definition for ethnicity is: the fact or state of belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition which to me equates to an Afrikaans speaking South African and for this I was forced into writing a letter of apology for speaking a language which apparently caused a colleague some offence. This colleague never brought it to my attention, he never even politely asked that I refrain from speaking another language in front of him… he went straight to the very top with exaggerated claims, false accusations and goodness knows what else so the HR department were therefore instructed to deal with myself and another colleague and we were told under no uncertain terms that should we choose not to write an apology letter for speaking Afrikaans our jobs were under threat. Other languages openly spoken in the office have never ever been brought into question… a different rule applied to us. We were not being treated fairly. This gang of colleagues at work had rallied around to ‘get me‘ and they were to succeed. The worst was a twitter claim that could never be supported (nothing was ever captured or photographed) and it was exaggerated to all on the board. I was beyond mortified. Even my own boss never believed me. Unbeknown to me HR and the CEO had already trawled through a 1000 twitter messages on my feed and found the retweet (yes a retweet from UberFacts!) that had upset this particular Director who was out to get me to the point that I lost my marketing position, but the build-up to this had continued for months and perhaps because I did not break sooner this just had to be manipulated and twisted into something it never was. Once the truth was revealed that it was a retweet, I never received an apology for the embarrassment that I had endured and suffered from the false tweet accusation and I felt that my honour and integrity was forever ruined. I cried and vomited for most of the night and when I eventually was so shattered I fell asleep I dreamt I never woke up and for the first time in a long time I felt free.

I realized then that I needed help. So I wrote the following message on Facebook to my bullies and I have subsequently received huge support from around the world and now realise just how many others suffer daily at the hands of bullies. I am sadly not alone.

“You and your gang of friends made my life so unbearable last year with the exaggerations and lies that it made me physically ill. I lost the marketing position, I lost my colleague, I was stalked on social network sites and I suffered from an ulcer and the physical and emotional stress caused elevated Cortisol levels and as a direct result of this I have gained weight. This is bullying… IT IS victimization, but sadly you won the last round and you are likely to win again. It was never ever a fair fight to begin with. Your ties and connections protect you and your loved ones… I am not afforded the same. Karma will prevail.”

My advice to those going through a similar experience is to please not suffer in silence as I want to let you know that you are not alone. Surround yourself with family and genuine friends that care and with their help you can get through it all. The advice I received today was to ‘forgive, but never forget.’ Perhaps it is time to heed this very good advice.

 ~Anonymous

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.

Click Here To
Read More Personal Stories

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