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.

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

A Look Toward The Future of Battling the Bully Problem

What new technologies are coming in the future? Well it’s certainly unpredictable. But guest blogger Paul Rothbein has some ideas and I believe he might be on to something. Below are a few of his thoughts as well as a new perspective to the age old problem of bullying. ~Alan Eisenberg


Karen Klein CheckIn 2012, 32,251 people donated over $700,000 worth of money to a charitable project within 30 days. All these individuals donated $700,000 for Karen Klein to go on vacation. Who is Karen Klein and why would anyone donate money for someone to go on vacation? Karen Klein was a 68 year old woman who was videotaped being bullied on a bus by middle-school children.

Her daughter Amanda created a crowdfunding campaign to raise $5,000 for her to experience relief after this traumatic experience. The video went viral and she received the support from as over 32,000+ donors and 14,000% more money than the original funding goal. This is the direct opposite of cyber-bullying.

Unfortunately, most of the donors if not all the donors were not middle school children but adults. Children are normally not sensitive towards bullying like adults are. Soon, there might be apps in 2016 that encourage cyber bullying. Right now Facebook and other major social networks don’t have any policies to ban cyber bullying. With obesity on the rise among young children there will probably be more students being bullied for being overweight.

What we learned from the Karen Klein story is that the internet has as great ability to counter bullying as it can to inspire bullying. The story of Karen Klein also represents the power of video. How could a low budget movie like Gasland could prevent the world’s largest industry (oil and gas) the ability to drill for natural gas in New York, in France, in South Africa, and across the world? The low budget film Blackfish has significantly hurt SeaWorld’s stock after raising concerns about how Orcas are bullied by being raised in captivity.

Will there be a movie or video released somewhere in 2015 – 2020 that will inspire the same change on the issue of bullying? It is possible. However, adults must be the ones to step up. We need something in the near future about something that does not only raise awareness on the issue of bullying. We need something that creates a sense of urgency to tackle the issue of bullying. ~Paul Rothbein


Paul Rothbein is a future enthusiast and the founder of The Perspective 2020 Directory to Everything, and the Perspective 2020 Almanac To Everything: A Decade In Review. Both are due to be released in early 2015, with a Kickstarter campaign set for December 1. More details can be found on perspectivethemag.com.

The Cyberbullying Virus

There are some amazing creative artists doing powerful messages about bullying. This is one of the more creative approaches to the cyberbullying problem, as it ties itself to cyberbullying in the same vein as the current Ebola virus issue. It is great to see all the creative ways we can try to stop bullying and send messages out to stop bullying.

I was recently interviewed by The Verbal Villain and explained that the best way to deal with cyberbullying is really to leave the cyber-network for a while, so you don’t even see or acknowledge the bully. Of course, this is hard to do for a young person that is now very tied to social media.  I think this video, though, is one is one of the more creative approaches and hope you do as well.

How Did You Recover from Bullying?

“How did you recover from the bullying you experienced as a youth?” she asked me.

What a great and difficult question this is for me to answer. I am 46 years old now. Bullying, for me, ended when I was 14. It is now 32 years later and I still am in recovery. When will I get better? That is a question that I can’t answer at this time, because the truth is, I don’t know. To understand what I mean, you have to understand that what is done cannot be undone. In fact there is a great teaching method to teach children about bullying called ‘The Crumpled Piece of Paper’ that makes this point very clear.

Bullying CloudI was bullied daily from age 7 to 13 and then just a little more when I was 14. I was lucky, because we moved when I was 13 and, for the most part, I left the bullies behind me. I could start anew. But the damage of what we call our growing years, from 5-18, was done. It would still take me a while to learn this though. By the time I was 13, bullying had made me angry, depressed, and my self-esteem was nearly gone. I hung out with the wrong crowd and am not proud of many of the things I did during this time so that this group of people would be ‘my friends’. But it wasn’t all bad in that I had a good family life and teachers that cared and mentored me.

When I finally moved away, I made a conscious decision at 14 to stay low and not make any waves at school or to ‘be myself’ with people. I was hardened by my experience. But luckily for me, I found a new teacher/mentor and group of friends in the High School Drama Department. By the time I graduated from High School, I thought that I had put those bullying years behind me. I had a great time in High School and then in College. These were great years and I had great friends and learned to be myself again.

But being myself had a price. Much like the crumpled piece of paper I mentioned earlier, there were repressed scars that were still there. The first time it manifested itself was at the end of college during one of my final exams. As I started to take it, I grew sweaty, my heart started racing, and my eyes wouldn’t focus. I was having a panic attack and I knew the feeling. It was the same feeling I had when the bullies would surround me. The fight or flight feeling that comes with feeling threatened. I didn’t know it at the time, but I ran from the room to the bathroom. It finally went away and the professor let me finish the test.

For the next several years I suffered from unexpected and unexplained panic attacks and anxiety at times of stress. I didn’t know at the time the major correlation between youth bullying and adult anxiety and depression issues like these. But I would soon learn more than I wanted to. I must admit that there was a string of very good years where my self-esteem was high and I had a wife and children to care for. During this time, I suffered little from anxiety and panic. But I did have some strange habits, like not liking crowded places, needing to sit on the aisle in theaters, and just some discomfort. I didn’t realize the claustrophobia that was closing in with depression as well. Then, seven years ago, I realized as a web writer that I wanted to make a difference and share my youth bullying stories with others on the web to try to help people realize they weren’t alone. I created a website called ‘Bullying Stories: Dealing with the Long-Term Effects of Bullying’.

I shared my stories and had other people share theirs as well. I did research and became an anti-bullying activist. I certainly don’t want to say this triggered something in me to start to relive my bullying years, but at a point in time a few years after I started the website, my panic attacks came back and my anxiety was through the roof. This put me in a tailspin that ended with me in a depression and I didn’t understand why. At the time, I didn’t understand ‘the crumpled piece of paper’ or the C-PTSD that I would soon learn can happen from childhood trauma. I was lucky, though, that I knew medical professionals from working as an anti-bullying activist. They helped me help myself. I read tons of books, articles, and learned all I could about my situation. I learned that, for me, there will be good periods of time and bad periods of time and that I could learn how to deal with the bad periods of time. I learned to change my life for the better by:

  • Eating a healthier diet that would feed both my body and brain better
  • Working out at a gym to de-stress and release energy that was building up in me
  • Journaling about my feelings and the way I was thinking to learn to turn negatives into positives
  • Talking to people about what I went through as a child and what I was going through now
  • Doing Yoga and Meditation to learn to be mindful and relax my brain
  • Reading positive affirmations to help my mind think more positively

I could go on, but we are all different and what works for one doesn’t always work for others. Some people choose medication and therapy. Some do not. It takes all my strength to motivate myself some days to keep doing the work I know helps me feel better. My new motto is to ‘never quit’ and that it does and will get better. But there will be peaks and valleys in my life and I always need to be conscious of the valleys and know I can climb back up.

I keep a reminder at my desk now to try to remember what I have learned. It is a framed saying attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt that says, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift.” I always like to add at the end that is why today is called the Present. Because it is a present given to me. You can’t change the past and can’t predict the future, so why not just live for today.

So, she asked me, “How did you recover from the bullying you experienced as a youth?”

My answer is, I’ll let you know when I figure it out myself. But for now I know that life is what you make it and I am trying to make mine the best it can be. Every day is a new day and a good day to be alive…and that is how I have learned to cope, not necessarily recover from bullying.

~Alan Eisenberg