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Surviving Bullying

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Posted 11-28-2010 at 12:19 PM by caninemom3
Tags bullying

I haven't really talked about bullying until this blog. I have been reading about some of the very sad and tragic cases of what can happen as a consequence of bullying and I truly feel for each victim and their family.

I am a survivor of bullying. Not just as a child or adolescent but also as an adult.

I guess my first experience of real bullying came about when I was in junior high. I hated junior high with a passion. It just so happened at the time when I was in 8th grade my father's alcoholism went into full throttle. It was during that time that he decided to not put food on the table so much and also decided our family did not need the necessities such as soap, laundry soap and things of the sort to keep clean.

I was wearing my sister's clothes, I remember, and she is 11 years older than I so needless to say they did not fit. I have NEVER been a confident person and certainly was not at that stage. A group of the kids knew how to get to me. They made fun of my looks. I remember the fad at the time at the end of the school year was to pass around an autograph book. As money was so scarce I did not have an autograph book but I was somewhat resourceful and made my own.

I shrugged off all the insults I had gotten through the year and was actually feeling a little better about myself. My mother who was the age then that I am now had forced herself to get her driver's license AND get a job to support me and provide me with the necessities I so badly needed. I was the last child at home as I am the baby.

I remember the morning I took my autograph book to school. I was scared but I told myself "Oh they didn't mean it.." and passed my book to the person beside me and asked that everyone sign their autographs in it for me.

At lunch time that day my book had made its rounds and was back on my desk as I returned from lunch. Eagerly I opened it to read what people had said. I was crushed. Absolutely devastated. The book was filled with page after page after page of negative comments all about my looks. Warnings to say away from mirrors and such.

I remember I involuntarily began to cry. I tried to be quiet but the teacher who was just a new teacher came over to see what was the matter. I tried my best to reassure him that all was okay, that I just didn't feel well but he must figured out it was something to do with the autograph book. He began to read through it.

He then lectured the class about how there was no reason to treat anyone that way and that there was also no reason why I should not have a choice of anyone I wanted to choose when the day came for me to start dating. He was very nice and I did appreciate him standing up for me. Unfortunately his lecture only made things worse.

Why haven't I been able to let this go ?? This incident was well over 40 years ago. It is still just as haunting and makes me cry as much as it ever did when I think of it.

Fast forward to 1998 when I started working as a transcriptionist for the local hospital. It was for afternoon shift and I was so thrilled. At last to work for the hospital !! The group of women all seemed nice except one. Her name was Ann. She was polite but I noticed not very friendly with me when everyone else was. No matter. She was not my supervisor. I knew that I just had to do my job and everything would be okay. Besides, Ann was a day shift person anyway.

Shortly after celebrating my first year at the hospital my supervisor, Tena, quit as she was expecting her first baby and bedrest had been prescribed. Much to my apprehension, Ann was made supervisor. She worked days but always, always stayed until at leat 6 or 7 at night every night working over. She was the major income for her family as her husband was a minister.

I don't know when it started to happen. I guess it was a gradual thing. I slowly began to notice there was a kind of clique within the transcriptionists and I was definitely not part of it. I tried and tried to be but to no avail. Everyone had children, I did not. Everyone thought animals were just animals, I did not. The differences between my coworkers any myself were so many that they were innumerable.

One evening, when the 3 other women who worked afternoons went to supper at 5 Ann of course was still there. I always made the mistake of trying to be friendly. Out of nowhere she verbally attacked me. She called me everything she could think of while still not using bad language and annhilated my character as thoroughly as she could. She called me a sneak, a liar and on and on it went.

She also inferred I knew nothing about being a Christian. These attacks would be intermittent throughout the rest of my time at the hospital. They seemed to be tied to if Ann was having a bad day and needed a scapegoat. I was afraid of her and she knew it. I never knew if she was going to attack me or just work quietly or if she was going to try and be friendly with me. I began to fear when the others went to supper. It was so unpredictable. I just never knew what awaited me. Often I would cry while on the way to work. I just did not know how long I could take it but I/we needed my job and so I persevered.

I still have nightmares about Ann and her attacks and also about the bullying I had been through in junior high. That is why I guess over the years I have identified so much with Rudolph and Hermie. "Why am I such a misfit ?" .....What is it about me that brings out such tirades of bitterness against me ?? It is by the grace of God truly that I am even still here because honestly suicide often crossed my mind. But there seemed to be a voice telling me..."Don't give up on yourself........remember Christmas is about hope....." I listened to that deep down voice and I am still here. Overly timid at times but still here.

That is why when I joined MMC, I was cautious. I was so nervous when I made my very first post. Was it okay ?? Would someone hate me for it ?? Would they call me ugly ?? (not a logical thought since nobody had seen me) All fears that had cropped up during school and while working at the hospital.

I know now that nobody on this board is going to attack me or call me names. We are a family, a Christmas family and I am home here and scared no longer. I have grown a bit more confident since I have been working at home and no longer at the hospital. I do wonder if I run into Ann someday, what would I say ?? I will try to play it by ear but my guess is I would try to be pleasant. I have always heard that "you can't catch flies with vinegar but honey" or something like that. I have often heard that if someone bullies another or cannot get along with them it is because that person reminds them of some fault they themselves have they are not comfortable with. Is that why Ann attacked me so often, because I reminded her of a part of her she did not like ?? I will never know.

I often wonder if I did anything to deserve the verbal bashings she gave me and I honest to God cannot say I did not do anything. Each time she turned face and was kind to me I believed that being a minister's wife had finally worked its "magic" but I was wrong. Each time after she was nice to me the next time when she was not was even worse.

I truly feel for people who have been bullied and having been there will try to help as much as possible if my assistance is ever required.
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  1. Old Comment
    xmas365's Avatar

    I feel for you with the bullying, I moved around a lot as a kid, and was always the "new kid" the easiest to pick on. I have always felt that people feel threatened when there is an honestly nice person who actually cares about the feelings of others, they don't understand why people they don't know would care for or about them. I may not know you personally, but you are one of the nicest persons I have ever met, and you do care about everyone, and it seems everyone here is glad to "speak" with you.
    The bullying has made you a stronger person, and perhaps a person who understands the world around you better than most.
    You are a wonderful person, and by no means ugly, I am so glad to have met you and you are one of my best friends here.

    Your friend,

    Posted 11-28-2010 at 01:38 PM by xmas365 xmas365 is online now
  2. Old Comment

    It's likely you were bullied because the hazers sensed you wouldn't strike back. Unfortunately, in today's world, kindness is often mistaken for weakness. It only takes a quick chat with you to see that you're a very kind, compassionate person. For people who possess those same traits, that's a blessing. They know they have a friend in you.

    For people who are angry at life, who build their self-worth and self-esteem by verbally abusing others, well, that makes you a target.

    It's painful to be verbally abused or intentionally left out. Should that ever happen again, please keep this in mind: they weren't deserving of your friendship. Anyone who can't repay compassion in kind, isn't worth fretting over.

    The folks here hold you in high regard. By being who you are, you've earned the respect of people of quality.

    I pity the people who picked on you, Lou. They missed out on a great friend.
    Posted 11-28-2010 at 02:37 PM by jimmyolsen jimmyolsen is offline

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