Voice (A Personal Story)

There are times, when it is very difficult for me to receive a post. Angelica wanted to share her pain of her brother’s death here with us and I truly cannot speak any better than she has. I wish I could tell her everything is OK, but in truth a life lost to bullying is a life unrealized. I hope that some comfort comes from her sharing her story here. Please also remember that my autobiography, “A Ladder in the Dark” is now available on Amazon and at online retailers. I hope you will want to read it and learn more about how we can all try to prevent this kind of pain that long-term bullying causes. ~Alan Eisenberg


Boy with backpack sadSome moments my life feels almost normal. I’ll listen to a song and think, oh, Jonny would love this one. But that moment is soon ruined with the painful realization that he won’t. It hurts to think of how much he wasn’t able to experience. He had his life mapped out, but the burden of what was going on currently completely overshadowed it, and he could not see any way of making it that far out into the future.

Home was his only safe zone. And it pains me to know that it wasn’t enough. Our love wasn’t enough to save him. To read comments on how we should be focusing on his family and home life as the issue is just a knife to the heart. Many days, my brother would come home a little worked up and irritated, but we thought it was just normal, 16-year-old stuff. He would go to his room for about 15 minutes, and come out his normal, happy self. There were no signs of suicidal thoughts and he was not depressed. He was happy when he was with us, and always loving and caring.

The bullying he endured occurred primarily on school grounds, mainly verbally. There was some cyber bullying, but it was minimal compared to what happened at school. How are we supposed to protect my brother, when he is being taunted at school? To a group of kids chanting derogatory terms at him on a regular basis, to purposefully tampering with his shop project, glasses, and other possessions.

I suppose you’re wondering how we didn’t know. My brother saw what bullying did to my sister and I. He knew that if he told our parents, they would march into school and persistently demand that the situation be fixed. He also knew, that if they did that, it would only paint a bigger target on his back. There are serious flaws with the reporting process of the bullying policy that he saw firsthand. How was he supposed to have faith in an adult, when so few had helped us when we were being bullied?

When I moved here in 7th grade, I came to hate Edgar. My parents thought it was because of moving from a bigger to smaller school, but for me, it was because I was being bullied. I was not accepted and it was extremely difficult to make friends. For me, it was the rumors. Girls talking about how I would sleep with anyone, was on drugs, never showered, smelled bad because I defecated myself, and there was a lot of body shaming. The list goes on, and it only got worse. I reached out to a teacher, told her what was going on, and you know what she told me? Since I was new, it was EXPECTED. That I should shower and take care of myself. Another girl in my class was a victim of the same thing. This same teacher had us write on a piece of paper what we would say to her if we could go up to her in a judgement free zone. That quickly turned into writing what people hated about her anonymously and the teacher gave all the slips to her to read. That teacher is still employed, in case you were wondering.

I think it was around 8th grade when I started cutting myself. It went on for a while because I always wore baggy clothes because I had grown to be ashamed of myself and my body. It wasn’t until my little sister, Allison, told my parents did it eventually come to a stop. I took the time to figure out who I was, accept my individuality, and accept that it was okay to be different. I worked hard, to make sure others felt welcome, even though I wasn’t accepted. New students from the Catholic School weren’t always given a warm welcome. I made sure to become friends with them. When a foreign exchange student came, I made sure to become friends with her, and we still are, to this day.

My little sister, Allison, faced bullying with the edge of technology. Her situation upsets me so much, and since it was only a year ago, I’m assuming it is what discouraged Jonathan from reaching out for help. Sometime in October her Junior year, she was chosen by a group of girls. It started with things being thrown at her car at lunchtime. Then, our house getting toilet papered with some very derogatory terms written in our grass. But that wasn’t enough for these girls. Allison worked hard to not sink down to their level. They started showing up at her workplace, McDonald’s, to taunt her. One girl took it so far as to LITERALLY THROW a shamrock shake in her face, because she “made it wrong”. They started a Twitter campaign against her, in an attempt to get her fired. Around that time my parents found out how far it had gotten because she had broken down. They took screenshots of the tweets before they all got deleted, and reached out to the guidance counselor. The guidance counselor did nothing. They reached out to the principal and they had a meeting. The outcome? Allison had to WRITE an APOLOGY to HER BULLIES. My parents watched Allison for a while because they feared she would make an attempt on her life.

The flaw is, there is no report at school of any of this happening. There is no system or chain of how events get reported and resolved. When Jonny’s peers were being dumped in a dumpster, purposefully tripped in PE, or peed on in the locker room, with minimal resolve, how was he supposed to have faith in the system?  Part of the problem is the growing nepotism at the school, and it slowly trickles down to the kids. I could go on and on about the problems within that school.

It pains me, that my brother will never meet my children. I hope that I have a son, so I can name him after Jonny. As much as I want to protect my future children, they will know what happened to their Uncle, and understand the hard struggle our family has faced. I wish it didn’t have to be this way, but I will continue to be Jonny’s voice. Change NEEDS to happen.

~Angelica Wesener (read more of Angelica’s posts on her website.)

Cyberbullying Infographic Tells the Story

Jen Martinson of Secure Thoughts contacted me with this very important and interesting infographic for cyberbullying that Secure Thoughts developed. I asked her if I could share and she also shared the below message with me for you to read. Thank you to Secure Thoughts for all the important work they are doing. Check out their website. ~Alan Eisenberg


A lot of us know what bullying feels like, but in recent years, an even more prevalent trend has been the onset of cyberbullying. This means using the internet—whether it’s social media, email, or another medium—to attack a victim, making them feel harassed, embarrassed, or some other nasty combination of feelings. It’s ridiculously prevalent amongst teens, with some studies estimating that 70% of teens will experience cyberbullying at some point…and yet most adults are unaware or unworried about this phenomenon, which can cause students to miss school, use drugs or alcohol, or even have long-term health problems or self-esteem issues! You can see an informative Infographic at Secure Thoughts.

Here are some things you need to make sure you’re doing:

  • Know what your kids are doing online. Blocking sites may not always be the best route to take: your kids may be able access those sites at friends’ houses or at school anyway, so then you’ve only further limited your control over things. Instead, create an open environment for using the internet. Put the computer in a neutral area in your house and check the browser history every so often to see what your kids are spending their time doing.
  • Limit the amount of computer time your kids have. Your kids may pitch a fit, but make sure they’re doing their homework, reading books, and talking to people outside of a computer screen as well. If their whole lives aren’t on the screen, cyberbullying will generally have less of an impact.
  • Promote safe web practices. Talk to your kids about limiting the amount of information they post online, outlining specific reasons why they should. Make sure your kids have created decent passwords that can’t be cracked by just anyone. Use a strong VPN (Virtual Private Network) to get a more secure internet connection that leaves personal information less susceptible to hackers. And do whatever else you can to make sure your kids realize that using the web is not without its responsibilities—it’s a tool, just like a saw or a hammer, and it comes with rules.

But the real, number one thing you’ll want to make sure you’re doing is educating yourself—knowing what risks there are and working to prevent against them. For more information, let’s take a look at this infographic:

Cyberbullying

Changing the Bad into Good

A Ladder in the Dark bookThree years ago, I fell into a depression. This should not have surprised me, as I started a website called “The Long-term Effects of Bullying”. Unfortunately, I knew that what I wrote was true, but thought that I had been recovered. But it wasn’t so. As anxiety and then depression overwhelmed my whole being, I truly realized, even 5 years after starting this website, that I still needed help myself.

I did have choices. I could continue to do nothing and blame my low self-worth and my anger and resentment on the bullying that happened to me as a youth. I could take medicine that would mask many of the symptoms, but never fully cure me. Or I could seek true help from both books, groups who deal with the same thing, and professionals who knew ways to help people like me.

I think you know that I took the third option. It was still a long two-year climb out of depression and anxiety, but it does and for me did get better. Of course the biggest challenge was to come face to face with the bullying that I went through and accept it was in the past and could not be changed. Then, and only then, could I move forward.

Today, I am happy to say that I have and will continue to realize my true dream, which was always to help bullying survivors to overcome and thrive in life. Is it a lot of work? Yes, of course, because every day we see the results of bullying in national news where another child has taken their life, or a county is being sued, or new statistics come out.

Before I fell into depression, I had set some goals for myself. Many goals I couldn’t realize, because I didn’t have the self-confidence to move along with them.

1. Start a real company to try to help bullying survivors recover

2. Write a book of my experience with bullying

I am happy to say, that you can turn bad into good and I have now met both those goals and am moving forward on this journey that I hope you will continue with me on.

Bullying Recovery, LLCIn February, I started my company called Bullying Recovery. It will work on many ways to try to reach out and help both bullying survivors and long-term bully to find recovery and move forward to thrive in life.

I am also happy to announce that Bullying Recovery’s first product is my biography, called “A Ladder In The Dark”. It is my story of how bullying changed my life, the long-term effects (C-PTSD) that I went through, and how I found my recovery through the help of many people. My book is now available worldwide through Amazon and Smashwords.

So, I am here to tell you that dreams can come true and that you can get better and meet your goals if you let yourself find a way out of the hole. Three years ago, I thought my life and good days were over. Today, I believe that my good days are still in front of me and it feels amazing. It was very hard work (probably the hardest work in my life), but now I feel that I am truly healed of my bullying damage. There are and always will be some scars, but I hardly notice them anymore.

I also want to share another good thing that has come out of the bad of my bullying. Along the way, I have met a wonderful community of people who also share the vision to help deal with bullying issues. Recently I met Dr. Robert Wright, Jr. and Christine Wright, M.A. of the company “Stress Free Now”. They had found me through another group that liked what I was doing and interviewed me and wanted to do a Podcast with me. We talked through email the phone and realized that we enjoyed what each other was saying and doing.

They are both amazing people and I now communicate with them often and we share our visions. After we did the Podcast, they have continued to support and help me. You can listen to our Podcast called “Bullying: How to Heal the Hurt” through the following links:

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/stress-free-now/id991567073

Stitcher Radio: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/stressfreenow?refid=stpr

Podomatic: http://stressfreenow.podomatic.com/entry/2015-06-19T06_25_34-07_00

StressFreeNow: http://www.stressfreenow.info/alan-eisenberg-discusses-bullying-how-to-heal-the-hurt/

Blubrry: https://www.blubrry.com/stressfreenow/2724735/alan-eisenberg-discusses-bullying-how-to-heal-the-hurt/

I can’t even begin to explain how grateful I am to Bob and Christine and how wonderful it feels now to realize you are not alone and that a community is out there to support you or me or whoever needs the help. I am just one voice in this wonderful community of people who understand that bullying is not only wrong, but damaging and that we can make a difference.

Please consider reading my book, joining a discussion on my new business website and being a part of this community. If you are currently in pain, due to bullying, reach out and we will answer. You are never alone. I was never alone. After 8 years of sharing with you my thoughts and stories, I can finally say with all honesty that I believe it can get better if you let it and seek out the help you may need to overcome a tough mental challenge. Here’s to the future and the bright glow of a day when we can say we have made a change in the issue of bullying and the damage it does.

Bully Incident #6: The Principal (1977)

aeisenbe:

When I watched the movie “Bully” by Lee Hirsch, I saw this same scenario play out 30 years later. It really upset me that there are school administrators who still don’t understand the ramifications of the action of bullying. Maybe one day a new education program will be created to help train school administration on how to advise and handle bullying situations. ~Alan Eisenberg

Originally posted on Bullying Stories:

During the years of Bob bullying me, there were many moments where the adults let me down. Looking back, I would chalk most of that up to either a lack of understanding of the issues of bullying or just the “kids being kids” mentality that I think a lot of adults hold about issues of bullying and fighting.

One of the most crushing blows I can remember that made me realize how alone I truly was in my battle with bullies occurred after a rather brutal confrontation when I ended up with a bloody nose after Bob bashed me in the face. It’s hard for me to believe the teachers outside the school did not see that happen, but I have to admit that many of these fights probably only lasted a minute or two. Since I was not fighting back at the time, it was pretty much one punch…

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What Is “A Ladder In The Dark”?

I am happy to announce that, after eight years of blogging about the long-term effects of bullying, doing countless speeches to groups on the subject, and fighting for the issue to be recognized, that I am adding author to the mix of learning. Ironically a new study in England shows that bullying does have a correlation to adult depression. I don’t call this good news, but just news that we needed to hear. Hopefully it will lead to further change.

But first, I am getting set to release in book Paperback and eBook format my book titled “A Ladder In The Dark: My journey from bullying to self-acceptance”. For long-term readers of this website, this book is not a surprise as I mentioned it at the beginning of the year.

So what is “A Ladder In The Dark” and why did I title it that?

Good question, the ladder is symbolic for the idea of being in a very dark place, which seems to  have no escape, because it’s too dark to see. But for me, there was a ladder in this dark hole that I call anxiety and depression from youth bullying, but I couldn’t see it to escape. The book is about my journey of how I got to this hole and how I did finally find the way out. The book is a biography of what I went through and how I finally found my self-esteem years after the end of bullying, dealing with anxiety, and a dark depression.

For those interested, you can read and review the first chapter of “A Ladder In the Dark” at the Createspace site. I also have a video commercial for the book so you can learn more. I will announce here when it is released, planned for July 2015. I am very excited to share this announcement with you and look forward to your feedback:

Please share any feedback at the Createspace site or here on the blog site. Also visit my new company website at bullyingrecovery.org to learn about the other ways I am working to help change minds on the subject of the long-term effects of bullying.

~Alan Eisenberg

“Standing By” – A Free Play about Teenage Bullying

Standing ByIn 2010-2011, I ventured into my first official writing project, creating a play about High School bullying with my high school alma mater, W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, VA and the 2010-2011 Drama 4 class, taught by my good friend, Terri Hobson.

The play called “Standing By” was performed at W.T. Woodson in 2011 to an enthusiastic audience and then was quietly forgotten for a few years. Recently, as I have started my company “Bullying Recovery, LLC” and began writing again, I pulled the play from the mothballs and am now offering it to everyone for free.

It is a 30-minute one-act play that allows discussion afterward and I hope that many High School and performing groups will consider putting it on. It is totally FREE to have as another tool to help teach about bullying.

I am very proud to have collaborated with my old Drama department from years ago and the teens of today to create this piece. To download the FREE copy of the play, you can go to my website page at: http://bullyingrecovery.org/publications/free-standing-by-play-download/

You can also get ebook copies at: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/545617

I hope you will consider downloading and putting the play on or getting it to your local High School drama department for a production. It was truly a labor of love to create and the authors hope that it can change the way teens think about bullying in High Schools.

~Alan Eisenberg

Bully Incident: The Long and Winding Road

aeisenbe:

This particular story is one that always sticks in my mind. Someone said to me the other day not to look at this story about how I lost eight days of my life, but how I spent two years avoiding bullies. I’m not sure I agree that life time loss is equal to the time lost trying to avoid bullying. I do try to avoid being sad about this particular story now and see it as a sign of my creative brain trying to work out solutions as a child to complex situations. That does offer me some comfort. ~Alan Eisenberg

Originally posted on Bullying Stories:

Dirt PathSome of my past bully stories are right on the top of my head. Many others are buried deep deep down and pop out at interesting times, mainly when some smell or sight triggers them. I was walking down a dirt path in my neighborhood when this one came back to the surface of my mind. This story is less about a bully, but more about the sacrifices I made in my life to cope with the bullies.

Fear is a terrible thing. It grips you and makes you do things that are out of your character or beliefs. We see it all the time in the modern world. I recall how fear made me lose one of the most valuable things in my childhood and in life in general, TIME! We all have to live knowing that each minute of our lives is one minute closer to our deaths…

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