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: The Wicked Witch (1976)

When I first wrote this story so many years ago now, I realized that I felt resentment toward my mother and adults that couldn’t help me with the bullying I was experiencing. I now realize I have to own these stories and can’t reset the action or inaction of others, because in many cases they just didn’t know and it wasn’t their fault that the situation happened. These situations do happen and we have to accept that it is the case and take ownership of the lesson learning. Unfortunately, in this case, the lesson was to walk away and not interact with this situation. ~Alan Eisenberg


Bullying Stories

This next story I want to share took place around when I was around 7 and really was less about me being bullied then about my family. I am the youngest in the family. I have a sister two-and-a-half years older than me. When we first moved to Lexington, MA, where most of the bullying took place, we had moved from Maryland.

Lexington was vastly different. The people were different then what we were used to. I was less in the know on this, but talk to my parents frequently about our years in Lexington and the issues the whole family had.

Soon after we moved there, my mom walked my sister and me to the school playground at Franklin Elementary, where I went to elementary school and where much of my early bullying incidents took place. This would be the first incident at the school grounds, long before schools made bully…

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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

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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Bullying Incident: The Dunes (1973)

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

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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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/

Creating Hate

Creating HateI recently received the opportunity to interview the author of the new book “Creating Hate: How It Is Done. How to Destroy It. A Practical Handbook”, which takes a deep look at the root of how hate is created and perpetrated by others. Much like many things in bullying, hatred and resentment are feelings that both the victim and the bully can have. These issues can work themselves into the psyche of the person and then continue for their life. Author Nancy Omeara takes readers on a journey to the origins of hate and how we might better deal with it in the future. I learned much from my interview with her as I hope you will reading it.

Q: Why do you think there is so much apathy today in the world? Do you believe we are more apathetic today or empathetic?

Ms. Omera: It might be because today people can see bad things happening “live” from anywhere in the world, so think they can’t do anything about it themselves.  This isn’t true.  Just by looking around – including at websites like yours – one can see that individuals make a difference every day.  Even small changes, collectively, make a big difference.

Q.: Why do you think people struggle with race relations so much? What do you believe is the cause of hatred among different races?

Ms. Omera: In my experience it is mostly ignorance reinforced by lies or information that is partly true, but is slanted to lower the opinion of another race.  Truths – like the facts that DNA, blood tests, brain scans, x-rays, IQ tests, driving exams, etc. don’t show any difference in races – are not pushed. Truthfully “race” is about skin pigmentation – with northern races needing less pigment because the sun’s rays are weaker.

I once read about a white boy living in Africa whose local friends felt sorry for him because of his lack of color – thus easily sunburned skin.

Q:  You talk of the use of Generalities as a hate issue? This has been going on for centuries, whether race or religion. Why do you believe this still continues today and how can it be stopped? Even today, people use terms such as “they tried to jew me down” to talk about someone negotiating. Do you think people even know what they are saying anymore? Are they really hateful or ignorant?

Ms. Omera: People haven’t been taught that hurtful generalities can breed hate and ill-will. Words like they, them, everyone, all can be used as destructive propaganda. As can, of course, words that put a whole class of people in a negative light.

We have to look at individuals – how they behave, how they treat others, what they do in life.  Where they came from, their parentage they had no control over.

Q: Do you believe that, as in your book, leaders perpetrate lies in order to create hate? It seems true more in the 20th and 21st centuries. Why has this become part of accepted culture?

Ms. Omera: Yes, leaders of groups like the KKK, anti-gay organizations, some political group organizations, and even some religious leaders push the faults of what they oppose, rather than promoting better ideas from their own group. Maybe it’s accepted because we want to believe it.

I don’t think most people really believe everything they hear from their leaders.  Too many have been proven wrong in hindsight.   I think the average person is a lot more discerning than their leaders realize.  (Which might be why leaders change so often in so many groups.)

Q: You talk in your book about religious intolerance or religious hatred. Why do you think it is so easy to use religion as a way to create hate? How can this be stopped?

Ms. Omera: Most of us really know very little about other religions.  It is not studied in public school (separation of Church and State), nor usually in religious-based schools (like Catholic schools).  So unless we actually meet, talk to in-depth, delve, and ask deeper questions, we might know the surface differences between religions.

In fact, it doesn’t take much digging to learn that most religions (in their actual writings, maybe not some interpretations) teach about caring for one’s fellow man, respecting all people, the importance of family.  Universal similarities at the most basic level.

Q: How guilty do you believe the mainstream media is today in helping continue the spread of hate? For example, why do you think the media focuses more on negative stories than helping promote more positive items the world, to include political rhetoric?

Mainstream media has an agenda – they run stories based on harm, sex, big money, big names and controversy. A story is considered “sexy” the more of these items it contains.  You can prove this to yourself by looking up the information on who wins Nobel Prizes – for immensely important contributions to science and culture.  Nobel Prize Winners might get a 2-inch square on a front page in complete opposition to the contribution their work has for the future of mankind.

I’ve spoken to many media people and have rarely found them deeply interested in the truth.  Instead they want a “story” – with as much controversy as possible.

Q: The book talks of trying to push non-violence, a feeling I also share. How do you think the world can start to think more in that manner? Is it a matter of education or continued ignorance on the part of parts of the world?

Non-violence requires education and rational heads.  When violence breaks out everyone and anyone who can make their voice heard needs to do so.  We can’t just leave it to the police. Ministers, school principals, teachers, Scout leaders, parent groups have to take action. History is filled with the excellent results of people standing strong for peaceful, non-violent change and for redress of wrongs in a non-violent way. I don’t know that these examples are given enough importance in our study of history.

Q: Finally, my website deals with the long-term effects of bullying. How do you think bullying fits in with early learning of hatred and how can we change the thinking of that younger bully to learn to be more non-violent? On that note, do you think hate is a natural trait or a taught trait?

Children have to be taught to respect others.  It should be done by parents but we know that doesn’t always happen. So it has to be taught in school.

Children are actually greatly affected by those around them.  If children won’t let other children bully, it can be stopped. Children can be taught to stand up, not violently, but by telling a bully to stop, telling them it’s not OK.  Kids can be quite strong. They can stand up against bullying and that can stop the minority of children who do bully.

I was rarely bullied myself as I could use the threat of my two older brothers to scare off other children. So in my experience bullies are cowards.  They attack from a position of weakness. I’d like to see the “good kids” ganging up, speaking out against and stopping bullying.

One final comment is that a better measure of any person, rather than religion, race, sexual preference, is whether they are living a productive, contributive life.  I.e. Are they adding to the world – from web-designers to fireman, teachers to counselors – people whether a person is giving or taking (as in criminals, in jail, using your hard-earned money to live on) should be the measure.  Schools seem to teach facts and figures.  Parents, siblings, groups like Scouts and 4H, Church groups, these seem to teach values.  The more values and the more ability to think for oneself – the better.

You can get Nancy Omeara’s new book “Creating Hate: How It Is Done. How to Destroy It. A Practical Handbook” at bookstores and on Amazon.com to learn more about this subject and about how Ms. Omeara approaches stopping hate.


Biography
NANCY OMEARA volunteered on a national religious tolerance hotline for over five years , personally answering more than 5,000 calls and helping people resolve all kinds of situations involving deep belief differences. Nancy has lived in seven different countries, and visited a dozen others, interacting with people of diverse religions, backgrounds and values. The concepts in this book stem from her personal experiences. (Biography courtesy of Amazon.com)

Creating Hate Book Jacket