Bullying: My Experience & How You Can Prevent It
Bullying. No one likes to talk about it. This blog post is going to be a bit different. It’s going to be quite personal (and very long-winded!), but I’m hoping that it can raise awareness and help people. I could’ve directed this post towards those who are being bullied, but I’m choosing not to. The reason for this is because sometimes the actions of others can help way more than any self-help methods.
So, I’m writing this to give you another perspective and to raise some awareness.
I can remember being at the back of my friendship groups since I started school.
In reception or year one, there was one girl who wanted to play with the rest of the group but not me. In year three, I mostly played with two girls – I’ll refer to them as Bethany and Emily. They didn’t leave me out, but they’d been friends for years, and Emily was very honest about how she felt much closer to Bethany. We were only little and it was harmless, but at eight, I can remember feeling frustrated that I wasn’t the ‘preferred friend’, and I really wanted to be. Around that time, Bethany and I had a little fall out and I was picked on by her older sister and her friend, which wasn’t great.
A bit later in primary school, I had one best friend but we kept falling out. For a short while (I can’t remember what year I was in – maybe year 5?) I hung out with a more popular group of girls instead. There were about eight of them, I think, but I’d never felt like I was a part of the group. I’m not sure why I ended up with them, I was shy and they were more outgoing and giggly. At the time, our deputy head teacher referred to them as the ‘gossip gang’ because they were notorious for gossiping, but they weren’t a bad bunch, really.
My experience continued
During the beginning of secondary school, I still felt as though I was at the back. My best friend was ‘Sarah’, but we hung out with another girl called ‘Lorraine.’ Lorraine always seemed like she was far more interested in talking to Sarah, which hurt. The three of us hung out in a larger group, and it felt as though everyone had their someone if that makes sense. I could be petty and list them all to ‘prove it’, but I won’t. There wasn’t much of a problem until the end of year seven. Bear in mind, there are two sides to every story. This is just my side and how I experienced it, but this is how it went for me:
One day, I was walking home from school with one of the girls. I walked ahead because this girl was talking to one of her other friends and she was walking too slowly. I think I walked ahead with another girl that I knew and spoke with; it’s possible that this girl misread the situation and took that for me leaving her behind. Although, that wasn’t what I was doing at the time.
The next day, she ignored me. As she was the leader of our group, that meant everyone else ignored me too. These girls weren’t bad people, but it still hurts to think that no one spoke up or questioned what was happening. Sarah only spoke to me while we were away from the group. Lots of other things were going on at home, too. It all added up. I was a very sad thirteen-year-old, and it still hurts. I wish I could say that the bullying ended there, but it didn’t.
The harm of bullying
People say that this is petty stuff; that bullying doesn’t impact you. This isn’t true. It can stay with you, and I’ve taken it into my adulthood – as many others have, and will. It isn’t something that should be dismissed or brushed off. I’m not perfect – never have been. I’ve done things that I regret. I didn’t stick up for people when I saw them being picked on or being left alone because it was easier for me not to say anything. Bullying can be in the home, too. I’ve been on the receiving end, but I’ve also dished out my fair share of it. These things make me ashamed and I wish that I hadn’t acted the way I had.
Ultimately, bullying can diminish self-worth and darken your perspective. It can happen anywhere, and no one should experience it.
If you want to get rid of bullying, please don’t go with the flow. A lot of the time, numbers outweigh logic, especially in a school setting. If you know someone who has been bullied, stick up for them. I know that this isn’t the easiest thing to do, and it helps if you’re not alone when taking a stand. Find people who are like-minded, and do something together. Talk to people outside of your friendship group, or year group (if you’re in school), and find people who will stick with that person. If you’re the only person who will, then please try. Don’t just do what everyone else is doing. I know I’m repeating myself.
If you’re stuck on who to go to for help, why not try to make friends with everyone in your year who is being bullied, and form your own group together?
People think that doing this will cause ‘social annihilation,’ but often, numbers can (and will) prevent this. If the bullying is physical and has really escalated, then it’s better to talk to the authorities. Remember: never put yourself in danger.
I’m worried that this will go unheard because things like this are never done, a lot of people won’t say anything when they see bullying going on. It’s so easy to let fear of judgement win in a social setting. I just hope that this can get you to understand what it’s like to be on the receiving end. It’s not pleasant, and no one wants it to happen to them.
Thank you for reading this far, and I’m sorry if you’re going through anything like this. If you are, please tell someone that you trust.
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