So, this is going to be a LONG one. If you're tired from work, or just in lazy mood, scroll away. If you've been bullied yourself and are tired of hearing sh*t about it, click away. But if you want to hear my perspective of what happened to me at high school. Please stay, read, learn and if my prayers are heard. (Although I'm an atheïst) Then maybe... You come out this a little bit wiser. Maybe you will notice someone being bullied quicker. Or maybe you care more now.
Why I call what happened to me bullying and the different kinds of bullying.
According to my own lectures at the bachelor education there are different types of bullying. Most people associate bullying with the physical bullying and with verbal bullying (calling names, intimidation,...). But most people tend to forget that there is another category... Social bullying through social exclusion. This form of bullying is more used by females than males who tend to use the fist two types. And finaly we also have cyber bullying.
Although some people who were with me in my class through high school wouldn't call what happened to me bullying. I have the guts to say it was! I've come in contact with verbal bullying and cyber bullying. But the most lethal of all for me was the social bullying.
And in my eyes, if you saw that I was socially excluded and didn't act against it or refused to go along, you are as guilty as them.
I will never say I was never to blame and I did nothing wrong, but don't you dare to deny your part in this.
A few examples of bullying I've been through.
-I've been called names such as 'slut', 'nerd'
-I've been typecast as 'weird', 'problemchild', 'socialy awkward' by both my teachers as my peers
-I've had chewing gum thrown into my hair
-I've been socialy excluded out of teamworks throughout my whole school carrier
-I've been thrown dirty looks
-My neighbour refused to use my math manual because it was mine, and the teacher allowed her to go and take someone else's
-I have been sitting alone on the playground for a whole year
-I've been mocked over via msn and mail
-When I started to research my own sexuality, a conversation of me and a boy has been printed out and spread through the class.
-My teacher said to me it was my fault and that I should dress differently
-When I gave a lecture in front of my class and the boys where laughing with my posture the teacher blamed me for stopping my lecture.
-I've been physically threatened on the playground, grabbed by the throat
The way this examples made me feel
-Because of the name calling and typecasting I really felt socialy awkward and became incredibly unsure of myself when I was in my school environment.
-Because of the social exclusion I felt really, really, really lonely throughout most of my school carrier and I've always been counting down the minutes when I could leave the school and text with my friends (phones weren't allowed in school).
-Because of the focus on my social awkwardness or person, I began to place myself in the center of attention. Thinking everything and anything was about me. A laugh in the background could kill me with fear. And I had the feeling someone was always looking.
-Later on because I was always on my own and looked at, I went into my rebellion phase through which I tended to make myself stand out even more. And I tried to take pride in that.
-Because of my typecast as a slut and because of other reasons (me being forced into sex and stuff), I went into overdrive and couldn't see the destination between sex and love. Everyone I wanted sex with I immediately connected with me being in a relationship with that person. With many broken hearts and an even worse reputation... Because sex is a distraction from misery as we all know.
-It really felt it was all my fault because the teachers either didn't see what was happening, didn't care, or joined in.
-Everytime I knew I would have to answer a question in the classroom, I got sweaty palms and sweat al over the place. My heart started racing and I'd forget my answer.
How this influences who I am now
In a few months I'm turning 25. That's an age most people consider to be the 'adult'landmark. But I'm still stuck in that school. It will be 8 years since I left. But it still leaves open wounds.
I'm still nervous everytime I'm in a school environement or training and I have to speak in front of peers. I still get sweaty palms and a raised heartbeat.
I still am so afraid to be on my own, because then I get the feeling nobody likes or wants me. And then I get really nervous.
I still don't dare to put up my hand in class or in this case in the aula at my university. Even though I'm smart enough. It holds me back developing academically.
I've got atychiphobia (faalangst) because of this.
And I still have the need to prove that I'm different than everybody else and that it's ok to be so!
The influence this bullying has had isn't one to be underestimated. It has effect on how I see the world. It has had it's effect on how I think about certain things and on how I process failure or setbacks.
According to my therapist it is important to recognize this thought-process. So that I can learn to act against it if necessary.
It will be a long way to recover from this.
This has formed my personality but in all the wrong ways. I know I can recover from this stronger, but it doesn't take away all the years or the chances that were lost because of this.
Where I put the blame
Mostely I still blame myself for what happened, over the course of six years, I stood up early everyday and watched tv so I could calm my mind. Listened to upbeat music to make me ready 'for battle' saying to myself in the mirror that I would show them that I was not afraid. While on the inside I was terrified. And of course when at school, my fighting spirit shrunk and I didn't do much but sit there still in a corner.
I have sometimes started a fight and called other people names, because that was the only way to either get attention or to get in touch with my peers.
Also it is normal that if you dress gothic or gabber, you draw attention towards yourself. So yes, I'm not perfect, far from it. And I'm to blame.
My peers, some of them also wear a lot of the blame.
But who I blame mostly?
The school and teachers
Not my peers, because what did they know at that age? No, the school who said to me that I was 'the problem child' that everything was my own f*cking fault. And the teachers (not all of them!!!) who saw what was happening and didn't act. I've stood in the teachers shoes... Even if you don't know how to fix it, if the glass is broken you don't let it lie there on the f*cking floor! No you clean up the mess. And you don't blame the glass for breaking. You find the culprit and ask for an explanation.
Six years, is just too long. And knowing this is still happening to some children out there makes me furious.
In a (catholic) school that preaches equality and respect... Where every school year begins with the principals speech that preaches a 'no-bullying' policy... There is still an awful lot of bullying present. I know it is still going on there because of friends of mine who are just graduating from this school and because of some of my peers who have teached there during there internship.
This is just wrong. I've always wanted to be a teacher and I've stood in the teachers shoes. If I recognize the signals, why don't they?
I blame the system on this part also. I've been to two different colleges to become a teacher. And nowhere are our future teachers being trained in to being our ears and eyes when it comes to bullying. Everything is about the theory and all we learn is that bullying is wrong. So please, take my plea to heart. And change this. No one should go through what I've been through. Puberty is hard enough as it is and there will be friction either way. But to let this go on for years. Thats just damn wrong!
Please make this world a better place,
and start with yourselves,