Message to a Bully (A Personal Poem)

I remember the days when I enjoyed
my work,

Confident, with my experience,

figured yes I was earning my pay
Sometimes arriving to work early
Keen, to start my working day.
I’d think about and plan ahead
How I would accomplish important

Certain I’d be able to address the

Of people whose lives seemed in the

But then for some unknown reason
You felt you needed to take control,

Over time you made it difficult for

To achieve my working goals.

You stood over, and you yelled

And critised me too,

Your complaints, sabotage,
manipulation, jealousy and exclusion

Made me think what could I possibly
have done to you?

Nightmares and sleepless nights
Afraid to go to work,

I believed I was no longer capable

To do the job

I once loved to do.

No longer confident

Left with feelings of hopelessness,

You continued with your whispered
lies and bad behaviour

For a while my work life governed by

But today I want to tell you
I’m no longer a bumbling mental

Resilient, stronger, my confidence

I’m now back to working at my best.
So now I’m asking you stop your
subtle behaviour,

Your malicious gossip, with
destructive intent,

And leave my workmates and me

To do what we know best

~ Lilee

The Elite Cyber-bullies (A Personal Story)

Sometimes, when I read a story, it is hard for me to connect with the writer, because their world of bullying is so much different from my experiences. Such is the case with this story and the world of elite hackers cyberbullying that is going on. It is hard to distinguish the pain that comes with what people post on the computer screens of the world, as is the case here. ~Alan

CyberbullyingCyber bullying for me started a few years ago when I was a member of a forum called which now no longer exists. Yeah, this saga has lasted a while and these cyber bullies that are after me refuse to leave me alone. Back then I wanted to learn about computer security, infosec,…but I was not doing any thing bad on-line and had no bad intentions but some one got a different idea when I changed my nick to, “cy83r7r0n.”

At that point I was contacted by this low life called, “Nacky.” I guess it appeared like I was too hungry and really eager to get into black hat sort of stuff but she was wrong so when requested to crack into some ICQ e-mails I refused eventually out right and instead posted the entire conversation that took place on that forum to my site (that was hosted on a free account and removed by just one e-mail to the admin by Nacky) and later on my blog (was removed just as well with all the comments that the victim of the ICQ e-mail made) and that is where the abuse started because I refused to be silenced and continued posting that conversation and later on even the e-mails she sent to me on myspace and other bloging platforms.

Now I refer to her as a non-entity. Not just because I am pissed at her but that is how she referred to her self in one of the e-mails that she sent me over the years trying to confuse me and get me to believe that she was some outside observer and here is a typical e-mail from her,

“You may remember me, you had me confused with someone named Naky. I had contacted you some time ago trying to warn you about a Shawn person. I had gotten to the bottom of some things but not all re: elitehackers. Something about this Shawn guy and the admin there. I could resend the info I came into if you wish.”
I believe that she has mental issues as all e-mails that I have received from her show that she has an enormous problem writing any thing with a head and a tail and no clear idea is expressed and it always comes in rambling sentences with grammatical errors. Besides that I believe she is an individual who has been coerced into the abusive world of these cyber bullies who are using her as a proxy to as they are involved in various cyber crimes such as cracking into peoples e-mail accounts, harassment and they even put peoples personal information on the doxbin site that is hosted on the tor network and once there it can not be taken down (last year three Finish teens were arrested in relation to that:,…

So when the initial phase was over two hate blogs were on line and are still on line to date:, (I would like to ask for help to get these two blogs removed),, (For now they can only attack my on line personality but they are determined to figure out who I am in real life), two abuse reports were made to Google, and I received a whole bunch of e-mails full of confusion and statements that angered me. So if any one is wondering why I am writing this it has in part to do with Nacky as well who writes to me in a way that equates me with some low life and I can not accept this type of attitude.

She was trying to shut me up her self for a while but she could not get Google to delete my account but then others steeped in. Who ever was behind all this wanted to shut me up. These cyber bullies do not want to see me post on line the conversation where I was asked over and over again to crack into an account by Nakcy because that is illegal as it is a solicitation to commit a hacker crime but it goes beyond that. They do not want to hear any one talk about there techniques, e-mails,…in fact they try to censor all posts including this one. So I would ask the admin already at this point in time to take note of that as this page is going to experience a lot of heat and I do not blame any admin who feels the need to remove this post.

Nevertheless as I am going to continue my campaign to shed light on these cyber bullies in spite of being aware that they are going to try and censor me and fill my e-mail in box with abrasive messages. I believe that some one needs to do some thing as they keep a very low profile so to try and keep undetected while they are just going go around hurting people unhampered. They are an organized group who may use proxies to log in to there stolen e-mails and stay in general clear of social media sites. Such behavior is not typical of cyber bullies and they may leave me alone on twitter but Shawn would e-mail me there comments about what I wrote on line in his poisoned demeanor.

Shawn is another non-entity who after Nakcy tried to shut me up and to intimidate me even further by threatening me in an e-mail where a picture of a dead snake and a picture of who he believes is me were included. His e-mail account he was using ended in “ucide.” It was all so clear to me and in my abuse report to google regarding the threatening e-mail I wrote that he may want me to commit suicide. Google seemed to respond quickly but after he received the message directly from the abuse department he wrote from the same e-mail account again to me the following, “I am cheering for you to commit suicide.” Apparently what ever google abuse department had to say to him did stop him from continuing sending the abusive e-mails to me. That is why in part I need to take things into my own hands as this non-entity has proven beyond doubt that he is the lowest scum who has anger management issues and the only thing out of his mouth is disdain and rage.
Many times I have received e-mails from these non-entities who seem to believe that they can trick me some how to stop exposing them down to outright threatening me. All this time they acted like I was the bad party and called me every thing from spamer, trol, creep,…They even forwarded to me an e-mail with a generic answer from the police abuse department when they made a general type complaint about an abusive person because they are trying to turn the tables and make it appear that I am the offensive party when it is the exact opposite.
The attitude is really some thing from some middle schoolers and that is one of the many things that angers me. They invest enormous amount of time and energy to silence me and for the last few years I let them get away with it but now I have had it. After I received another e-mail from Nacky after half a year of complete silence I decided to take this to a new step. I want to spread the word all over the net because for one I know they are going to try and censor this stuff from all the blogs but also because I would like to get advice on how to effectively deal with this issue appart from just sitting there quiet and never mentioning any thing. I do not believe that silence helps.

P.S: I have written this to post on blogs to inform people of what has been taking place during various intervals during the past several years. I would be willing to edit this if you were willing to post this on your site.

“The apocalypse is not something which is coming. The apocalypse has arrived in major portions of the planet and it’s only because we live within a bubble of incredible privilege and social insulation that we still have the luxury of anticipating the apocalypse. If you go to Bosnia or Somalia or Peru or much of the third-world then it appears that the apocalypse has already arrived.”


The Ghosts of Bullies Past

“It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
― Charles DickensA Christmas Carol

Scrooge UnhappyI have seen and Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” in all its forms. I read the book, I saw most versions of the movie (including the musical, which is my personal favorite), and have even seen modern stage plays of it. But there was something in it, until this holiday season, I had never figured out. Maybe it is because I didn’t want to see through the obvious story to the heart of what Charles Dickens was saying, but I now realize that many of us are our own “Scrooges”.

As most of us familiar with the story “A Christmas Carol” know, at its heart is the story of a mean and crotchety old man who has no friends and no interest in family. The only thing he cares about is his accounting business and money. He has lost his soul for life’s love and feels resentment for what life handed him. He harbors old grudges and is a workaholic.

But wait…

I didn’t see it before, but Scrooge is depressed. He was mistreated in his early life. He lost the love of his life. He worked for people that bullied him and even though it is not shown, we can imagine what his parents were like and did to him. He let himself give up and hide away in his work and become a workaholic, which is a common side effect of depression. He was not treated well in his early life, so Dickens is really telling us what happens to anyone, Scrooge or another person, who is mistreated and develops a belief that life and the world is depressing.

Dickens must have known that psychologically, Scrooge is not right. That he sees everything bad and has lost the ability to see happiness and good. Again, this is a common problem in depression and bullied youth that are left untreated. Now Scrooge has grown up and he is not necessarily a bully as much as a lonely and unhappy person. It is almost as if he took his Oliver character and grew him up to be bitter like Scrooge.

It is interesting that many of the traits that Scrooge has as you read his story show this psychological issue to be there and that abuse in one form or another has molded him to be this aged man who really is just waiting to die. Dickens even shows us that as Scrooge sees both what his life is, what it was, what it can be, and finally what will happen if he doesn’t come out of his current state…a lonely death.

Then it struck me that I started this site to have my ghosts lead me down my path. I had harbored my past and let it control my future in both happiness, life satisfaction, and finally in anxiety and depression. My ghosts of my life past was my excuse for how I behaved as an adult. Because of what I went through as a child with my bullies, I was a negative adult with low self-esteem who always thought I had something to prove. Nothing was ever good enough and nothing I did, no matter if I was commended or not, met with my satisfaction. I wasn’t perfect and I wasn’t good enough. There was always an excuse to be negative.

Sound familiar?

“Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,” said Scrooge. “But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change.”
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

I was haunted by the ghosts of my bullies past and I let them be my reason for being the person I was. I didn’t let my past go and I didn’t think I could change. Now I watched “A Christmas Carol” probably more than 20 times, but I missed the real heart of the message that Dickens was telling me…telling us…it’s never too late and you are never too old to let go of the past and change. To let the windows open, the sunlight in, and be happy, as Scrooge is at the end of Dickens story.

Dickens lets us assume that the change is permanent and that he will no longer die a man alone with no family or friends. It’s never too late to let go of what you were, so that you can become what you should have been all along.

I love it! Dickens was a psychologist and I wonder if he even knew it. He shows us through ghosts of what we can and have to do to change. He allows, in this case, Christmas, to be the joy for Scrooge and the beginning of his new life. What a treat it is for me to have this realization that he is speaking to all who have been abused, neglected, and left bitter. It’s never too late to change who you are. To listen to the positive ghosts that show you what your life can be if you let go of the past and don’t allow it to haunt you any longer, just as Scrooge lets go of Jacob Marley and moves toward the positive side of what his life can be.

Scrooge HappyHow many of us hold grudges? How many of us don’t talk to our family anymore? How many of us don’t think that life has any happiness and that we just exist? Don’t just exist, but live your life, no matter your age. This may have been Scrooges last opportunity to change and when he does, so does everyone around him. Don’t you think you can do the same? I did make my change about six months ago, and I haven’t looked back since. The ghosts of my bullies past are gone. It was a long time ago and I have a right to have a happy life and not be haunted by my past. I think each of us can make that choice, the same choice that Scrooge makes.

So, at this time of year, as Dickens concludes, “God Bless us, everyone”! And for us other faiths, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanza, Happy Bodhi Day, or whatever you celebrate I wish you to be happy this year. Turn that corner and make that change. I believe we all have the power that Scrooge had, to do that and make the world a better place.

“No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused”
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

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 to learn more about this subject and about how Ms. Omeara approaches stopping hate.

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

Creating Hate Book Jacket

The Grandmother I Never Knew

Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place. ~ Daniel H. Pink

There is a story inside me that I never really thought I’d share on this site about bullying, because it’s more about my family than it is about me. But I realized the other day that the story is a part of me and a part of what makes me, well, me. The more I thought about sharing it, the more I realized that sharing it here would be yet another way to open a conversation and let the story go, so that it can be discussed in the open. So here goes…

GrandmotherI had two grandmothers growing up. My mother’s mother lost her husband, my grandfather, when my mother was seven from cancer. They  were alone and poor most of their lives. But that grandma was always with us. She never lived far from us and we would visit her often. I recall spending at least a full week with her every summer, where later I would write several plays and we would share so many laughs. I was so fond of her Eastern European cooking skills and relished my time with her. She would share her stories of her family of 10 kids and being the first generation American. We laugh as a family when we share her stories. I was lucky to have her in my life.

But that isn’t the grandma I wanted to talk about here. I wanted to share about the grandma I didn’t know. She was my dad’s mother. She also usually didn’t live far from us, but we barely saw her. When we did see her, she really didn’t want anything to do with me. She hardly talked. Her husband, my grandfather, had left her and she was alone for the most part. I don’t ever recall her cooking and couldn’t wait to leave her apartment usually. I don’t recall a time where she visited us and I don’t even recall much about hearing from her when I was a kid.

She was the grandma that we didn’t talk about much. As a child, I certainly didn’t understand why. As I matured, someone, I can’t recall who anymore, shared with me that grandmother was a Manic Depressive.

At the time, I had little to no knowledge of what that was. I do know she was heavily sedated now when I used to see her. I also know that she spent a good amount of time in a mental institution, which was common practice in those days. That is why I didn’t see her much. Once I found out this news, I admit to living in fear that this would be passed down to me or my family members and I know that I didn’t want to see her. I was judging her for her illness and not living with empathy. This, of course, is common for a young teen in many cases.

So whether my family kept me from seeing her or it was her choice, I never got to know that Grandma. During my years of growing up, she was mainly out of the institution. But later in her life, she had to return as she had fallen into a deep depression, smeared her feces on the walls, and didn’t know who she was. I don’t share this because I want to, I am sharing this because I know that many of us have that relative that we keep in the closet or have mental illness that we keep in the closet. Here’s what I didn’t know about this grandma until I asked and someone shared with me.

Sylvia Eisenberg

My Grandmother Sylvia Eisenberg

She grew up as the first generation American from parents from Czechoslovakia. She had a brother we never saw, because he was anti-social with the family. When he died, we became very close with his wife, my aunt. They did not have a great amount of money, but they sent my grandmother to college. My grandmother was a very bright young woman. In fact, she was so intelligent, that she was the first woman to go to a prestigious law school that was all men and her. She wanted to be a lawyer. But this is where her story veers off. When she got to law school, her professors were bullies to her and told her no matter what she did, they would fail her, because she was a woman and didn’t belong in law school. In those days, this kind of behavior could happen. They did and she was forced out of law school due to that bullying and the beginning of her decent into depression.

I don’t know if this is where her depression started, but she was forced out of law school and my family does not speak of another job that she had. Her dreams had been crushed and depression entered her life. She had some good years, I guess, getting married, having her first daughter and a son (my dad). By the time, though, she had her third daughter, it wasn’t but a few years later, she would be institutionalized and would live in and out of the mental institution, while doctors put her on early antidepressants and performed electric shock therapy on her that, I’m sure, made her more of a zombie, just living and thus my early years of not knowing her.

I didn’t discover all of these things until much later. I lived and still worry that her mental illness is hereditary and could be passed to me. How silly I feel to worry about this, but it is part of my reality. Would I have had empathy for her as a child, if I had known all of her illness. It’s doubtful, because I would not have had the capacity to understand as I do now. I truly don’t know what a difference it would have made, but I did resent that I didn’t know and that I didn’t know here better…the grandma I never really knew.

When she passed on several years ago, I didn’t feel the sadness I wish I had. I just never knew her. My dad speaks little of her and I wish I could have known and could have talked to her more about this. I wish I could have spent more time with her, hearing family stories and learning first hand about her life. It is true, though, that we rarely know what troubles someone is going through, unless they share it with you.

And that is why I am sharing this. We all have a relative, a friend maybe, with mental illness. It is usually kept deep in our family closets. But her illness is just that, an illness. In today’s world, I’d like to think she would have been treated differently and, due to more modern thinking and treatment, I could be writing about the grandmother I did know. Unfortunately that just wasn’t the case. The key is not to judge people, because you don’t know the pain they go through. I let go of my past as I have no way to change it. But I share here about the grandmother I never knew in the hopes that we can shine a brighter light on mental illness as part of a bigger problem. I’ll never know if my life would have been better talking more with the grandma I never knew…but I let go and find the love for her memory as best I can.

Todd Rosenthal’s Playground Playbook

Todd Rosenthal

Todd Rosenthal

I had an opportunity to interview Todd Rosenthal and review The Playground Playbook by former minor league ballplayer Todd Rosenthal. Mr. Rosenthal takes and interesting coaching approach in his book to help children who struggle with playground bullies and getting involved in the games. During his interview, Mr. Rosenthal brings up some interesting points about how to get your child involved in the playground to try to overcome bullying. ~ Alan Eisenberg

Q: Where did the inspiration for you to write The Playground Playbook come from for you. Was it your past or something you experienced or saw?

Todd Rosenthal: It was a combination of a few things. I spend a majority of my time in three ways. Playing music, working with children through sports, and for recreation by playing pick up basketball in New York City. I saw many of the same themes crossing over in all of those areas and wondered if there was a “basics” type of guide written for kids in terms of joining groups in the same impromptu playground settings.

Q: What do you think the long-term effects of children ostracize other children on the playground can cause?

Todd Rosenthal: I think for the ones ostracized, it can cause a lack of confidence that can be habit-forming which can lead to less than optimal performances in and away from sports. That self-doubt that says “they don’t like me” or “they don’t believe in me” can be harder to overcome if one is constantly being excluded at a young age.

The ones doing the excluding are not maximizing their own skills as people either because great players should strive to improve too and become leaders: those who play well yet can make others around them better and more comfortable too. Leaders are able to include and work alongside teammates with various levels of skill.

In the elementary school playgrounds, those same leaders shouldn’t always have to win by loading their team up. They can sense a newcomer or a shy kid and welcome the challenge to include him or her to the team.

Playground PlaybookQ:  In the book, you discuss the child wanting others to ask to play. How do you see this issue as part of the overall bullying problem. Such as they not only say no, but also tease the child? What do you think the child should do in those cases, such as your reference to the “you stink” issue?

Todd Rosenthal: It never a good feeling being rejected by a playing group and feels even worse if it comes with lines attached like “you stink.” The best way I have found for kids to overcome that stigma is to prove the playing group wrong. Be tough! keep asking to play each day until the group finally needs an extra body one day and go out there and make an impact in the game.

If not, you can always just showcase your skills in the neighboring field or court where the ostracize group can see you. One thing the excluded child cannot do however, is back down and quit. Never to play with anyone else at all.

Q: Do you think that “veteran” players are easily identified? If so, how do you see their role in helping a child be able to join and play as well?

Todd Rosenthal: Veterans probably seem more relaxed to the rookie than they themselves feel so, yes. Vets probably are more relaxed too, after all they have been through it before. That is the essence of a veteran. They’ve been in all sorts of games. Blowouts, close games, high scoring ones, low scoring ones. They’ve made plays and have made mistakes. They’ve been the hero and the goat. All of which combine to give them a sense of stature and calm in the games.

Veterans know not only the intricacies of a sport’s rules, they may also know how their particular playground works. How sides are chosen. Which of the groups players acts as the leaders picking the sides most often. A veteran can offer advice in many areas and can be helpful to a “rookie” in terms of knowing who to ask as far as joining the game. Rookies have to speak up and ask vets their questions though, because not all of them are thinking about how to be helpful to those less experienced.

Q: Why do you think bullying on the playground is so prevalent? Do you have any suggestions further than the ones in the book on dealing with the bully at the time they are bullying you?

Todd Rosenthal: Bullying is prevalent because it is a basic microcosm of power, it can corrupt some people who go unchallenged. In my experience as a player in street ball, the best way to deal with physical or verbal abuse is to not back down. Play well, and be ready to stand up for one’s self if it comes to that. Most of the players I’ve run into on the courts in streetball who go to excessive lengths to scare or talk smack are hiding something. Like their own inability to shoot, or dribble well. Keep that in mind the next time you are being bullied, and work hard to not let a little extra shoving or smack talk derail you from playing your game. It’s harder to bully a player who doesn’t seem affected than one who plays less aggressively as a result.

Q: What tips do you have to help children build a tougher skin when playing games on a playground? Certainly some complain, but how can children develop coping mechanisms to better deal with those situations?

Todd Rosenthal: First understand where blame from the team within comes from. Those who try to assign blame on a teammate for a previous mistake do so to build collateral against their own gaffes or seek to camouflage them by pointing the finger elsewhere, since nobody is perfect. Know that as a player. This way the “why did you do that?!!” nonsense you may get from a teammate won’t bother you as much.

As far as handling winning and losing, and the smack talk that comes from all directions, just play more. Experience it over and over. Then the whole nature of game playing becomes easier. Like riding a bike. You have to practice to take the fear of falling out.

Q: Would you like to share a bullying story here with my readers that you experienced? How did you handle your own issues with bullying in your youth?

Todd Rosenthal: I was verbally bullied pretty hard after a pickup game in a park as an adult years ago. This after the man I was guarding scored the game winning basket in a high intensity game that was tied, and the next basket was to be the winner. The loss, as it does in pickup hoops if others are waiting, forced my team off the court. It was jam-packed that day. Many other five man teams had called “next.”

I didn’t know anybody in the park at all and my reward for being the face of the defeat, was abuse for an hour from my now “ex teammates.” Things like “thanks a lot, you suck” or “how’d you let that happen? and of course “Don’t ever come back here.” Two players in particular who were furious with me, now that they had to wait until their “next” was called one plus hour from the time we lost or hope that another team would pick them up to play before.

The more I watched the rest of that day though, the more I realized that EVERYONE who lost on other teams that followed the game I was in, were blamed by their teammates that day. So it was not just me. It wasn’t necessarily personal either. My team didn’t dislike ME. They disliked losing and losing the court.

By continuing to show up at the park and not attach too much weight should any game result in a loss and or finger-pointing, I became part of that extended group of players at the park. Emotionally capable of “taking some heat” so to speak, so rewarded with the opportunity to play by being picked by others forming teams that year as the summer developed.

Q: Where can people get “The Playground Playbook“?

Todd Rosenthal: It’s available on Amazon both as a soft cover copy and as a digital download.

Music Lyrics #21 – Shine (David Gray)

Some people ask me why I have done so much with music and lyrics on a site about Bullying Stories and the Long Term Effects of Bullying. Well…studies show that music has great healing powers for mental pain and mental illness. One of the better studies is in this Psychology Today article.

I knew this even before the study and knew that, for me, music bring me memories, happiness, sadness, and even a belief in myself. I believe it can do this and great musical artists use lyrics like modern poets to help people recover (even if that was not the original intention of the artist).

One musical artist that I find to be one of the deepest lyricists today is David Gray. Most are familiar with his song, Babylon, but his first song and first hit was “Shine”. This song can mean many different thing to different people. But the heart of the song is that we all go through hard times, but in the end we can recover and SHINE. That is the heart of the lyrics of the song. I find great comfort in this belief.

David Gray has many songs to choose from and I could share them here with you, my dearest readers, but I hope you will discover some of his great songs yourself. In the meantime, here is the song and lyrics that I hope will help you out of any dark you are in so you can SHINE!


I can see it in your eyes
What I know in my heart is true
That our love it has faded
Like the summer run through
So we’ll walk down the shoreline
One last time together
Feel the wind blow our wanderin’ hearts Like a feather
But who knows what’s waiting
In the wings of time
Dry your eyes
We gotta go where we can shine

Don’t be hiding in sorrow
Or clinging to the past
With your beauty so precious
And the season so fast
No matter how cold the horizon appear
Or how far the first night
When I held you near
You gotta rise from these ashes
Like a bird of flame
Step out of the shadow
We’ve gotta go where we can shine

For all that we struggle
For all we pretend
It don’t come down to nothing
Except love in the end
And ours is a road
That is strewn with goodbyes
But as it unfolds
As it all unwinds
Remember your soul is the one thing
You just can’t compromise
Take my hand
We’re gonna go where we can shine
We’re gonna go where we can shine
We’re gonna go where we can shine

(and look, and look)
Through the windows of midnight
Moonfoam and silver