The Decision to Leave

I am proud to have guest blogger and author K.P. Gazelle share here writing here on the Bullying Stories site. It is always wonderful to have young adult authors share both their knowledge and wisdom through their words on this site. K.P Gazelle is the author of The Color of Happiness, a contemporary young adult novel. Gazelle has been connected with young adults in some way for as long as she can remember. She’s obsessed with coffee, books, and big dreams. Visit her online at www.kpgazelle.com. ~ Alan Eisenberg


The Decision to Leave
K.P Gazelle

Her puffy eyes and wrinkles stood out even more under the fluorescent lighting. She had to be older than my mom. How could I yell back? And what was she doing in the middle of my classroom shouting at me in front of my students, anyway?

At this workplace, not too long ago, life crept into an unbearable state of unhealthiness. Moments like these were not too uncommon, and I soon found it increasingly harder to get out of bed each morning. I would try motivating myself with pep talks and reminders of how I was touching the lives of young children. But even that can only take me so far.

Adult bullies are trained in their strategies and tactics because they most often have been bullies their entire lives. It’s a lot harder to pin point what an adult is saying or doing to qualify them as a bully, but they’re bullies just the same. And being targeted hurts.

The thing about being bullied, whether as a child or an adult, is that it makes you doubt your self-worth, plummets your self-esteem, and makes you question the reason for your existence. Sometimes, it breaks your soul.

But what’s important to remember is that the bully is the one with the problem, not you. And that your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.

I suffered for two long years, during which I exhausted every resource I had to improve matters. My complaints fell on the deaf ears of our human resource department; my director turned a blind eye.

I was alone.

I knew I had to leave, but how could I just walk away? How could I leave after giving so much of myself to the students and school over the years? How would I continue to support my family? And my identity as a teacher—what would I do with my life?

It took months and months of intense contemplation, consultation, and prayer until I finally found the strength and courage to send in my resignation letter at the end of the school year. A decision for which I can never thank myself enough.

Sometimes, removing yourself from a toxic situation is the greatest service you can do. Because, let’s face it, you are worth much more than any paycheck and above anyone’s abuse.

My Mother’s Bullying Story (A Personal Story)

Writing an autobiography is very difficult, because not only do you need to know about yourself, but it forces you to confront the people in your life that know you best. A few months ago, I shared my father’s story, which was difficult. This week, I share my mother’s story, which is equally as difficult to read for me, but important about home abuse and early childhood trauma. My mother is a strong woman with great confidence. Asking her to recall her own situation was one of the harder things I had to do for my autobiography. The book, “A Ladder In The Dark: My Journey from Bullying to Self-acceptance”, should be released in the summer and I am looking for help. If you can help, even a little, go to my link at my new business website at: http://bullyingrecovery.org/fundraising/. I am in need of any help you can offer and I hope you get some lessons from my mother’s story below. I love you, Mom. ~Alan Eisenberg


Carol Eisenberg

My mother as a young girl in days long gone by

Lately I have been thinking about bullying.  It does not have to come from other peers.  I was bullied by my mother.  Don’t get me wrong I loved my mother, but I had the feeling that she didn’t love me.  Nothing I ever did was good enough for her.  I will give you the following example:

First some background, when I was 7 years old my father died at the young age of 35 from cancer.  This was very traumatic for both my mother and for me.  She had to go to work to support my brother (who was 3 at the time) and me.  I was forced to grow up quicker than the peers around me.  I developed a shield of confidence and carefreeness while inside I was insecure and angry.  OK, now the story.  I decided to help my mother by dusting the house for her so she would be able to enjoy her weekend.  I worked as hard as I knew how to clean and polish the tables that we had.  When she came home from work I proudly announced that I had dusted the house so that she wouldn’t have to.  She looked around and pointed to a “cobweb” in the upper corner of the room and said “You missed that”.

I never dusted for her again.

It hurt badly.

I swore that I would never do that to my children and worked hard not to.

I was also bullied by my father’s mother (my paternal grandmother).  She would wait for me after school and whisper to me (at age 7) that my mother killed my father by giving him cancer.  I, of course, would go home and accuse my mother.  This resulted in my having to go to a child psychiatrist for a time.  We eventually moved away and the problem resolved itself.

I guess I have been carrying this baggage around with me for quite some time and have just recently come to terms with it thanks to my son asking me to write some of my thoughts down.

A quick story about ESP and Alan or that family psyche connection we all have.

When I went back to work in Lexington, Alan and Robyn would call me when they got home so I knew that they were safe.  One day I had this overwhelming feeling that I had to go home, something was wrong!  I told my boss that I had to leave.  When I got home I found Alan outside the house crying.  He had lost his key.  No one called me, I just knew. (Yes, this really did happen and to this day I believe that we have a much greater energy connection due to these stories. For example, have you ever picked up the phone before it rang to call someone and they are on the other end, because they called you at the exact same moment. I’m sure statistically, that is very unlikely, but it happens all the time. ~Alan).

~Carol Eisenberg

Bullies are Satanists (A Personal Story)

The fear of death from bullying is very real when you are young. As hard as it is to believe when you are older, when a young bully threatens to kill their victim, in many cases, including my own, we believe they will. I always then think about what actions can a victim take. They could ignore the threat and not believe it. They could see it as credible and then a few actions can take place. If they have a strong school system, community, and/or family, they might talk to them. But in several cases, this can lead to either bullycide (the victim committing suicide to avoid any further torture) or worse, taking a weapon to school out of fear and possibly using it. It is a very thin line for the bully victim in these cases. Rob’s story below shows how this problem can and does escalate. ~Alan Eisenberg


Boy with fists upI have had many good and bad experiences in this life, but  (never thought I’d make it this far), but the absolute worst day of my life came in my freshman year in high school.

It was 1981, spring I think, and after school I was yet again waiting for the bus when my own custom designed personal tormentor decided to amuse himself with me.

But my elementary school friend decided to intervene. He told B to stop messing with me and as M was part of a very strong gang, B quickly agreed.

“Yes sir, I won’t touch R anymore.” I was amazed and thankful. I was also foolish. When a bully is committed to acts of terror, rage and hate, a warning won’t stop them. And my own stupidity also just about killed me … buoyed by my success at getting B to stop assaulting me, on the way home, behind B, I started gently calling him names (I thought he was listening to his Walkman).

I felt uplifted, strong … powerful as I quietly called B every curse word I could call to mind. Halfway through this, B turned in his seat and slugged my arm, promising that he heard me and he would deal with me when we got off the bus.

In front of our elementary school, we came off the bus and B waited until the bus pulled away and then, another old classmate – excuse me, asshole – came over and started assaulting me. At this time, I rolled into a very tight ball on the ground and was totally terrified.

Fortunately, not much happened. Except for the emotional abuse, the 2nd bully stepped away and as I was going home in tears again, B started joking and laughing loudly at the way I was walking.

I continued going home, but after I crossed the soccer field, I was jumping up and down , crying and cursing in rage … when I got home I remembered that my dad had a rifle or something and I tried to find it. If I had, even though I didn’t really understand the concept of bullets yet, I was going to race down to B’s house, and threaten him with the rifle.

Thank God none of that happened, but, after my experience with B, I transferred out of that school into a smaller setting, where bullies were not as tolerated.

And, since that day, I have been bullied many times, but never again did I fear that I was going to die.

And, God also moved in my life – now I have hope.

~Rob

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.

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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

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

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