Okay, this is a very personal story. It is about being bullied and I think it is an important one to share. Why? Bullying happens a lot. Not only to children but also to adults. When you are in a situation like this, it feels like you are the only one. Or that it will never end. I hope that my experience can help you get through this, show that it will end and that you are going to be okay.
My bullying started when I was 11 (almost 12). I just started high school (in Dutch it is called: de middelbare school). In the Netherlands there is a set day, before classes start, to pick up your books, and this was the day my ‘hell’ started.
I was minding my own business, when all of the sudden a girl walked towards me and started calling me names. I had no idea what was happening. She pushed me and kept screaming, so I ran to the bathrooms and locked myself in one of the stalls. Unfortunately she followed me (with her friends) and started kicking and slamming on the door, screaming that I had to come out. One of the teachers heard the noise and came into the bathroom. She took us both to the principal. There I was, not even started with school, and already in the principal’s office. He asked why we were fighting. I genuinely had no idea, so that is what I told him. My bully denied that she did anything. So we BOTH got a warning and he let us go. After we left the office, she whispered: “I will get you!”.
I cycled home and told my mom what happened. She gave me a hug and said it would be okay. I felt a lot better and went to my first school day thinking it was going to be okay. Little did I know. I will spare you the details, but it went on for 3 years!! And in that time I tried everything that I could think of to make it stop.
Trying to talk it out, befriend her (hoping that she could see that I was a nice person), hurt myself (to forget about the pain), talk with a professional, gossip back about her, fight with her (when she started hitting me), hide in classrooms (so I wouldn’t run into her in the hallway), and so on.
Nothing worked! She had it out for me, and I still didn’t know why it started in the first place. At one point I actually thought about ending my life. That is how intense it got.
In my third year I was so scared of going to school (I didn’t want to get beaten up every day) that I missed a few months. At that time I stayed at a friend’s house. Her mother understood and let me stay there. It took a few weeks before the principal called my mother. She had no idea and we had to go to the principal’s office.
He asked me why I haven’t been to school. So I explained. The funny thing is, he knew what the problems were, because I talked about it with him, but he chose not to do anything about it. But now he said he was willing to help me. I didn’t believe him. I believe his intentions were good, but I didn’t feel he really understood the severity of the situation. So on that day, I told my mom that I wanted to go to another school and live with a friend for a while. This school and neighbourhood weren’t safe for me. She knew I tried everything to make it stop and agreed.
It was the best decision ever! Since I joined my new school and lived temporarily with my friend, the bullying stopped. I was out of sight, so after a few weeks of trying to find me, she gave up.
I made a lot of new friends in this new school and loved every minute of being there.
In my adult life I found out why she started bullying me. It was because a friend of mine was insulted that I didn’t say ‘hi’ to her (I didn’t see her). So she was angry about that and approached this girl (that became my bully) and told her that I called her a (nasty word).
It sounds so childish even reading this. But it was enough to make my first 3 years in high school miserable.
But most important! I got back on my feet, had a great time at school, and made a good life for myself. I became a strong and independent woman and wouldn’t be who I am right now without this experience.
Life lessons I have learned:
- Bad moments will pass. Try to remember that these moments will help you grow into the person you want to be.
- Don’t change yourself just because someone else says you are not good enough. Be true to yourself. Trust your own judgement.
- People talk! Do not just assume something is true just because someone else said so. Go to that person and ask! You will see that most of it will be a misunderstanding or that someone else is trying to hurt you. Take control!
- You are the author of your life story! Do not let other people write it for you.
- Confronting people doesn’t always work. Sometimes it is okay to step away and let things be.