This week marked Anti-Bullying Week in the UK with the slogan 'Stop and think - words can hurt' which focuses on verbal bullying. As someone who has been a victim of verbal bullying for a very long time I thought it was right to share my experience to let people know how serious of an issue bullying is.
I was bullied for over 4 years from primary school right into secondary school. It started out as 'just joking' but it was clear to many people that all the jokes and snide remarks were aimed at me even if they could be applied to anyone. While people might think this is a bit of fun, me included at the beginning, it evolved into me believing what was being said. Usually I didn't care what people thought of me but hearing not so nice comments to my face everyday started to take hold and I was letting people tell me I was worthless and there was nothing good about me. I hid it pretty well, I've always been good under stress and at faking a smile so as not to drag other people into it, but what amazed me is how none of my "friends" stood up for me or said enough when they knew it was getting out of hand. I've never been one to want to ask for help as I don't like getting other people down because of how I am feeling and I never told the people saying the comments where to go because I didn't want to hurt their feelings even though they didn't care about mine.
Then one summer I just broke down. It came as a shock to many people, including my family who didn't even know what was going on. I couldn't handle feeling like that and pretending I was ok when I wasn't. As a result I became extremely ill, having to take a year off school due to a chronic cough which was affecting me whole body. Now I get sick any time I get too stressed and the cough comes back, but thankfully it goes away again. I didn't deserve to be treated like that but what made me angry is that the school did nothing about the bully because there was "no evidence" regardless of many witnesses every day. They might as well have said I was making it up and I should have wrote it down (how you couldn't just make that up I don't know) and why would I want to replay it in my head? I just didn't want to think about it. But, because of this the bully didn't get any punishment; they get to leave school at the right time, do their important exams and live on as if they never did anything wrong while I had to go back a year, into a year without knowing anyone, having to redo coursework and learn some of the teaching myself because the syllabus had changed whilst still being ill. How that is fair I do not know.
What annoyed me the most is that school goes on about preventing bullying and say that they take it very seriously but in my case they did nothing. The only way they could have had evidence is if it was cyber bullying or did they want me to record it?!
In the past few months however I've been regaining my confidence and getting back to the old me. I've stopped letting people walk all over me. Yes we all want to be nice to other people but if it is harming your happiness then what's the point. I told some of my "friends" that also didn't treat me correctly that I didn't think we should be friends, including my "best friend" from I was 2 years old. I pity people who treat other people that they supposedly care about or are friends with in a way that they would not want to be treated themselves. Anyone who makes other people feel worthless to make themselves feel better is only pointing out what they are insecure of themselves and they should learn that it will get them nowhere in life. Just know that if you are being bullied it is the bully that has a problem not you. You are worth something if it is you they decide to verbally attack and you're better than to listen to what they have to say. Stand up for yourself but don't become a bull yourself or you're just as bad as the other person.
If you are feeling down about yourself I highly recommend you check out these 50 Life Secrets and Tips that are sure to improve your sense of self, I know they helped me! (and of course so did my discovery of paganism!)