- Posted October 16, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Bullying awareness: Your story
Advice on bullies
I went to school in California in the 70’s and 80’s, long before things like Facebook and twitter were even thought of, so I don’t know what it’s like to be bullied today. But I do know what it was like to be bullied back then.
As a kid, my ears were too big for my head. Not only that, but I was scrawny, slightly mouthy, and absolutely forbidden to fight. My step dad used to tell me that if I got into a fight at school, he would kick my ass whether I started it or not. That meant I could not defend myself from physical attacks, which led to more physical attacks when I did what I was told to do in these situations, and told.
The last thing I wanted was to give my step dad yet another reason to kick my ass, so I put up with it as long as I could. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I would lash out in violent and destructive ways. So much so, that I had to receive “Counseling”.
I told my parents I was being picked on, I told the teachers I was being picked on, I told the counselors that I was being picked on, who told my parents, I even had other kids tell my parents I was being picked on. We didn’t call it bullying, but everyone knew the perpetrators were, in fact, bullies.
I was told to ignore it, tell the teacher, walk away; I was told life is not fair, deal with it. Instead, I got angrier. I was being tormented daily. When I wasn’t at school being bullied, I was at home being bullied and abused. I literally had no safe haven. Even other relatives and family members refused to help me as they never understood the situation, only that I lashed out from time to time.
In high school, the hormones kicked in and made everything a thousand times worse, or so it seemed. Finally, I got really violent, started destroying things and abusing animal, up to and including slaughtering them. When a 12 year old kid had his 19 year old brother beat me up for something I never did, I told my parents who did nothing. A few days later while walking home from the bus stop, someone was actually shooting at me with a high powered rifle. We lived way out in the desert and I could see the dirt kicking up where the bullets hit the ground around me.
That was the last straw. I went home and made a plan to start killing people. I was actually caught by my mother who was searching my room looking for a hand gun that the neighbors had claimed was stolen. My mother found a destructive device in my bedroom and had me arrested. I freely admitted that I was real tired of being beaten up constantly, explained that I had been shot at, and had devised a plan to get even.
Five years later I was released from prison. I have spent the next 25 years trying to get over it, trying to get over the rage and the depression. Trying to forgive and live and let live. But I see this stuff on the news almost every week about some kid or another that killed themselves because they were being bullied. I tried to commit suicide several times as a kid. I understand them, I shared their pain once.
So, as a former victim of bullying, I feel I have a pretty good understanding of what it is like.
I appreciate the conversation that is going on around this dilemma, and have to add my two cents.
Parents: If your child is being bullied, take them to self-defense classes. Teach them how to fight. It is true that violence begets violence, except when a weaker child is being hit by someone bigger. Had I been allowed to defend myself as a child, I feel 100 percent certain that I would not be the angry and injured man that I am today. If your child is able to defend themselves physically, they may not be physically bullied.
Administrators: Defund PE and put in its’ place something useful, like self-defense. PE was supposed to be about building teamwork, etc, but there are much better ways to teach that than through sports, which only exposes the weaknesses of the smaller, or less agile kids. If schools, or more schools, had a zero tolerance on bullying and expelled those that have a history of bullying, that would help too. To my way of thinking, if all children are taught a defensive art, bullying will decrease as bullies learn that other kids can defend themselves.
Children: Here is some advice for you. If you are GLBT, try to be a little conservative about it. When a boy wears a dress to school, he can expect to be bullied. The most important thing to remember, and this is the super hard one: This is only temporary. It won’t last forever. It may feel like it right now, but before you know it, you are going to be a grown up and have a whole different set of adult problems. When you become an adult, people start to treat you with a little more respect. Just hang in there. If you are being bullied on social media, just delete your account, block that person, or unfriend them so you don’t have to see what they write. Last, don’t be afraid to sock someone dead in the face if they put their hands on you.
To everyone else: Children are not mature enough to tolerate anything that is different, and while it is great that tolerance is being taught, not everyone is mature enough for that lesson, both some adults, and children. Teaching tolerance is a great start, but it is not the final answer.
Now, I am 45 years old, and to my credit, I recently graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in Management. I graduated with high honors and at the top of my class. I wonder what I could have done had I been allowed to concentrate and study as a child?
Even though I have forgiven those that made my life hell as a child, I will never, ever forget.
To all the trolls out here that like to post nasty comments, Screw You in advance.