Bullied.

by Brittany on September 18, 2012

in For Serious, Love

I’ve felt off for a couple weeks now, and I just want to lay on the floor, stare at the ceiling, and tell you this while the corners of my eyes well up, so come lay down next to me and let me say it all real fast before my voice gets all hiccupy.

My kid was being bullied and I had no idea. It feels so hypocritical to write that. I was bullied. I speak out about this exact thing every day of my life.

I knew something was off, and I asked all the right questions, but nothing gave, just a refusal to go to school. A tear filled, screaming, drag them down the hall refusal to go to school. I did sticker charts and after-school rewards and this whole time, this whole fucking time, I was bribing my kid to suck it up to go to school and get picked on, and I had no idea.

And then I found out. We were eating pizza with extra sauce on the floor playing Lego Harry Potter 2 on XBox, and as casually as one would mention the weather, the words came out.

The verbal stuff.

The physical stuff.

It’s okay baby, I’ll fix this, it will stop.

No mom, it’s never going to stop.

Nope. No. Kids don’t get to have that outlook. My kids don’t get to have that outlook. Period.

Because I know that outlook. I lived that outlook, and tried to stop living that outlook more times than I want to let escape from my lips.

Now, when you find out something like this, that your kid is being targeted and hurt, you go through these, like, messed up stages. First, you just want to vomit. You want to vomit until you’re completely empty and then you want to lay on the tile until roots sprout from your skin and the earth pulls you under.

Then, you get mad as hell. Like, if you had fangs, they’d be bared and snarly, and everyone who gets in your way, be it UPS guy or grocery cashier gets the brunt of your anger, because suddenly, you feel like you are the only person in the world who is angry about this, when everyone in the world should be angry about this.

Next up is the crying. The constant crying. Because every part of it feels bad. I feel bad for my kid, I feel bad for the bullies, everything just feels so incredibly bad that I can’t even keep track which part feels the most bad of all the bads that have to do with this situation.

Lastly, all the previous stages of emotion band together, leaving me this angry, emotional mess of a mother who just wants to vomit about the whole entire thing.

I don’t want my kids to have these experiences tarnished. I don’t want them to hate school. I don’t want them to feel afraid there. I don’t want them to miss out on every opportunity of fun and magic because in their mind, staying behind is the safer option.

I have two amazing parents. They faced unimaginable struggles, and devoted so much of their lives to us, and to this day, they are, like, my best friends in the world, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit I wish they would have done more to stop what I went through in school.

There are a million legitimate reasons they didn’t. Life was different back then. We weren’t living in this everybody gets a trophy, broadcast your problems on youtube era. They were busy working and running a business. I didn’t say as much as I should have.

But still, I wish they could have somehow read my mind or have seen the subtle signs I had given them. A note home from school that I had skipped first period 27 times (they sat behind me and told me I was a fat whore). That I stopped talking for 6 months (I thought it would help me disappear). That I suddenly had no friends to visit (they said it’d be better if I’d just die). I wanted them to see what I didn’t want to say out loud, but they didn’t. And pieces of me resented them for that for a long time.

So it’s really easy for me to sit here and make this grand statement that I’m going to be an advocate for my kids, when in reality, for five weeks, I missed it. I missed the signs.

Everything that happened to me, it doesn’t feel a iota of what this feels like. My insides hurt, I haven’t exhaled for days, I can’t stop kissing my kids, and frankly, I’m starting to annoy them.

Steps have been taken, fixing is in motion, everyone is doing the right thing, the parents have been fantastic, but this feeling that I missed it… this feeling sucks, man.

And that’s what have to say today.

 

Caroline September 18, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I’m so glad you said you feel bad for the bullies…adult bullies suck…kid bullies are still kids that are growing and learning and are probably acting out because of their own problems…we need to help the bullies as much, perhaps more, than the kids being bullied…I hate that we are turning kids into villains…instead, we should be finding out a way to teach all kids empathy, understanding, and self-empowerment without having to degrade others.

Triplezmom September 18, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Oh, so many hugs for all of you. My heart breaks to hear this. I’m so sorry.

jenn September 18, 2012 at 3:46 pm

You are doing a great job. You knew, and your kid trusted you and your relationship to tell you. They just need a little time and a comfortable place that YOU provided to tell you what was going on. Keep being the mom you have always been!

Jana Frerichs September 18, 2012 at 3:57 pm

You DID catch it!!! Just because you didn’t the first day, does not mean anything!!! Please don’t beat yourself up. You have done everything right. You cannot expect perfection from yourself, that is unfair to you. You are doing all the right things and THAT is what matters.

Karen M September 18, 2012 at 7:27 pm

This is exactly what I was thinking. You caught it and you want to fix it!

Paige September 18, 2012 at 4:32 pm

I have chills reading this. This is one of my biggest fears for my boy who is small and tender and I just know at some point I’ll be facing this too. Wishing you the strength you need to help your child get through this!

Kay September 18, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Brittany you are totally doing the right thing. It shows how trusting your kid is of you that they told you. Don’t beat yourself up at all. Your kids are lucky to have you as their lifelong advocate. Many people make excuses for this bullying behavior and it’s not cute.
Kids can be so cruel. I was not aware how cruel kids can be because I was never bullied. My younger sister was bullied in third grade by seventh grade boys who called her the fat black girl and compared her to the actress Monique. My hear broke because how can older kids get off on bullying a younger kid like that? It stopped very quickly though because my two cousins who were in ninth grade picked my sister up one day and she pointed at the bullies and my cousin smiled at them and they never even looked at her again let along opened their mouth to her.
My cousin who had cancer and had an operation on her leg which makes her walk with a limp at thirteen has been bullied a ton. Kids made fun of her hair lose, her limp and call her the gimp and on facebook bullies have told her she should have died from her cancer. She hid this from everybody because she was ashamed. It is what kids do and her mom missed the signs. But when she became aware a switch of schools and a principal who has a zero tolerance policy toward bullying has made all the difference. In fact at the high school if they find out even on a social network you are a snot to someone you can get in trouble and they have workshops and seminars on bullying all the time.
I don’t want to throw blame at anyone ,but I cannot help but wonder how such small kids think this behavior is acceptable. Do they not teach the golden rule at home or at school anymore?
I always wonder whats in the mind of a bully. I don’t get why it’s fun to be mean to someone.

Nicole September 18, 2012 at 6:35 pm

I was your child, refusing to go to school, fake illnesses, tears, begging and pleading to just stay home. Even then . . . its just too hard to go back and think. I’m certain you are making it better.

Tanis the Redneck Mommy September 18, 2012 at 8:24 pm

My kids went through this. And the end results meant I almost landed in the clink (wrote about it) when dealing with my daughter’s bully and my son finally meted out his own punishment to his bully (wrote about it) but only after taking his abuse and terror for SIX freaking years.

I feel for you, and your kids. But I know it will turn out all right in the end. Because your kids have YOU as their mom. And that may seem like a lame blog comment or a stupid platitude right now, but really, it’s one of the best tools in their arsenal against bullies. Love.

Now go forth and kick some bully butt.

Andrea September 18, 2012 at 8:39 pm

So sorry that you all are going through this. I hope you aren’t blaming yourself & beating yourself up over not knowing sooner. I was bullied in school too & I don’t even know what I would do if this happens to my daughter. The bullying makes me so sick. You are doing the right thing & I am so glad that everyone seems to be cooperating but it still sucks. And hurts. Sending you hugs & strength as you all move forward.

Desera September 18, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Wow. Mean people suck. I’m so sorry for what you went through and for what your son is now going through. its just not right! I have tried to instill in my teen daughter’s mind that it is never okay to do or say mean things to people.. I hope you get the help that the school owes you for allowing this to happen. we went through a situation last year for the hole year and it was more of a stalker issue but the school didn’t want to do anything because “he” is a special needs boy and they “don’t think that he could dangerous ” I spoke to police and finally threatened with a lawyer if it wasn’t rectified this year. so far so good, keeping my fingers crossed. best of luck to you!

o you! You are a great mom!

Edmonton Baker September 18, 2012 at 10:04 pm

It hurts so much when our children are small and bullied. Older and bullied. We want to bubble wrap them from the bad out there. You will do what is needed to protect him. Go to the school and complain and then hunt the buggers down. I was bullied I school and at home. I am over 50 and still bullied but, I can handle it now. Best of luck and biggest of hugs.

Beth September 18, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Your post really touched me. I usually try to keep life all sunshine and butterflies, but it still hurts underneath. Especially when you are still being bullied as an adult. I am so sure that you will be able to help your child. You may not be able to stop the bullying completely, but I know that you will be able to make him know that he is better than they make him feel.

StrongerMe September 18, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Earlier I commented and I was all “oh yeah, we went through that last year. It sucked.” I came home to a crying 14yo. It started again. I swear they are like a pack of wolves. One sign of weakness and they are on it. And these are his “friends,” not strangers. I’m lost.

nicole September 18, 2012 at 11:01 pm

I just wanted you to know that while reading what you so bravely shared I was crying with you. Seriously wish I could send you a “stranger hug”. Hang in there…

Jayme September 19, 2012 at 12:10 am

I’m so sorry. I can only imagine your pain. I wish I could say more, but I’d totally give you a hug right now if I knew you. Or just lay on the floor with you while you cried.

Mommy September 19, 2012 at 12:29 am

You are an amazing mom. What a lucky family you have.

I’m sorry you feel shitty for not knowing. But it wasn’t your fault. Unfortunately bullies know how to manipulate and trick kids into not telling at first. :(

Also I love that you said you feel bad for the bullies. They are victims too. No one bullies for no reason. Someone is bullying them, or they are lashing out because something is out of their control. I am a teacher and a lot of our bullies’ parents are in the middle of a divorce and the kids just don’t know what to do with the sadness and anger and shock.

I am so happy the other family is being awesome. Yay for you for standing up for your kid, and yay for them for working with you to end this treatment immediately. Maybe if more parents were like you and them, the bullying could stop at a much younger age and not get to the point where kids stop talking for 6 months in order to become invisible. That broke my heart to read.

Love to you and yours, always.

Candace September 19, 2012 at 4:48 am

My son was bullied. 1st teacher told me that my son should stop being annoying to bigger kids. SHe ended up having a nervous breakdown and leaving the school 2 years later. New teacher had the bully suspended a few times. But then it seemed as if thee school got tired of it. (and it was the school that saw the bullying happen – physical – and suspended the boy, I never heard about it from my son) All of a sudden I was getting told of every bad behavior from my son (not bullying, but talking in class, being loud, not sitting still) as if to say “see, he’s not perfect either” and one administrator told me he would stop getting picked on when he figured out how to fight back. But he did. By playing alone all the time. That’s all he knew to do. He is not a fighter. I have always taught him to use nice words and be kind to everyone. Now the bullying has magically stopped according to him and the school. It seems odd to me. whenever I bring it up to my son, it’s as if he remembers NOT to say anything to me. So here’s my question. What is it that is done? No one can make these kids be nice to someone. In fact often times it makes it worse. I want to have him be able to defend himself but how. The words I can give him to use are meaningless. We go to a small school. What is it that these schools have done that has actually solved the problem?

J September 19, 2012 at 7:26 am

What can be done? Not a whole lot imo. I am homeachooling my daughter and we all love it. The whole family. Schools have too,many kids and I did no
t have enough control of the majority of my daughter’s day. I hated it and felt sick dropping her off at school.

Jennifer September 19, 2012 at 8:36 am

I cried when I read your post. I have been there – hell, I’m still there!! I was that “fat kid whose parents didn’t have a lot of money” growing up. It was hell. Then I saw it with my oldest. I have to say that you handled it better than I did. My “momma bear” emerged and I marched into that school demanding to know how they enforce their “zero tolerance bullying policy.” When she was in middle school, there was a boy in my daughters homeroom who slammed her locker shut EVERY TIME SHE OPENED IT. I tried to give her the tools to take care of it on her own. Ask for a different locker, etc. Finally, after 6 months of this, I told her to slam his shut when he opened it. She did. He pushed her over. I WAS THE PARENT THEY CALLED INTO THE OFFICE! I was outraged! I told them the ENTIRE story and, finally, he was told to leave her alone. Two weeks later, he came up behind her in a class and made a “humping” motion. I called the principal and was told that there wasn’t anything they could do because a teacher didn’t see the action. REALLY?!? My husband flipped his shit and called his policeman friend. The officer went into the school looking for him but he was absent that day – the following day (a Saturday) he went to this boy’s house at 8 in the morning and had his mother oull him out of bed. He was told that if he so much as looked at my daughter that there would be hell to pay. Thankfully, that scare tactic worked. He hasn’t bothered her since.

B – know that you DID see it. You ARE doing something. You haven’t turned a blind eye… you are handling this!

Summer September 19, 2012 at 9:53 am

Ugh. I hate this. I’m not sure if your school is doing the Stand For The Silent, but it is helping a lot with the bullying at our public school this year. Kirk Smalley has spoken at their school a couple of times. I think our school implemented this because the middle school bullying was becoming ridiculous. Kirk’s story really touches the kids in a way that really sticks with them. Anti-bullying stuff is literally crammed down the kids’ throats daily from Pre-K to High School.

It also addresses the bystanders. Although my son is not a bullied, this program has taught him to speak up for kids that are being picked on. Sticking up for someone, literally, takes a few minutes of your time and is a priceless act to someone that is being picked on. I firmly believe if we had a lot less bystanders, this shit would not be happening. Anyway, I’m sorry your family is going through this.

Judy September 19, 2012 at 10:05 am

Powerful post. Kick in the guts post. Thank you. Thank you for addressing it. ~sigh~ life….

Nikki Mohamed September 19, 2012 at 10:36 am

Due to being stuck with kitchen and homework duty, I haven’t had a chance to read thru all 80+ comments yet. I’m soooo sorry that your son had to go thru this and that you had to go thru it as a parent.

I’m the parent of 4 bullied kids and 1 bully….I’ve got struggles galore going on with this issue and you’ve given me soooo much to think about. Thank you for that. And I’m going to address it in my next blog post and link it back to you, if you don’t mind. Praying that y’all are able to work through this and that your son’s relationship with you is strengthened because of the way you handle it together. Thanks again for writing about this.

Bella September 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm

I just want to hug you. Hard. And cry with you. And eat chocolate. And hug your kids and just make it all better.

But this is real life. And this shit happens. And it sucks. But thank god your kids have you for a mom. A strong, capable, kick ass woman who will handle it, make it better, and keep it from happening again.

Forgive yourself. Move on. There’s no point torturing yourself over what ifs and such. You are a good mother.

Hugs and love.

meleahrebeccah September 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm

and my heart just broke into a million pieces.

kristin September 20, 2012 at 7:13 pm

we’re dealing with the same issues here at home with our bright-eyed kindergartener. poor girl has been getting physically and verbally bullied and getting it taken seriously has been a bit tougher than i’d imagined. at the meeting earlier this week is almost felt like they spent more time explaining what our kid could do more to protect herself from bullies- it’s like telling a girl “well, you WERE kind of asking to be raped with a dress like that…”
i feel your pain, sister. all we can do is be the best advocates for our kids and love on them (even if we are annoying them)sending you and the family lots of love and bully-repellent energy!

Sandra September 21, 2012 at 8:10 am

I don’t have kids so I have no clue how it feels to find out your child has been bullied. But, as someone who begged to be homeschooled because of how I was treated at school, I know the pain of being bullied. I’m sorry your children have gone through that, are going through it. It helps to have loving parents who want to do everythingthey can.

leanne September 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I don’t even know what to say… except that I’ve got tears welling up like crazy. I will echo what someone said up above about not beating yourself up. You’re still a good mom. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t care so much and so deeply. Thinking of you…

Rae Ann September 21, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Ok. …..I don’t know what to say. Everything sunds stupid, but…..the words let you knwo that, I, a random stranger is touched, heartbroken for you and thinks you are awesome and will see the other side. No excuse me while I run to the bathroom to sob.

Rae Ann September 21, 2012 at 3:45 pm

see…I can’t be saddened and grammatically correct at the same time.

Elizabeth September 25, 2012 at 10:26 am

It makes my stomach hurt to think of beautiful Gigi getting bullied. It makes my stomach hurt to think of beautiful YOU being bullied. I can imagine how that felt for you, realizing that she had been dealing with it for so long. Big hugs for you both! xo

Lisa September 26, 2012 at 4:11 pm

My eyes are welled up and my chest hurts. For you. Your son. The bullies. The parents of the bullies. Kids are cruel and this just sucks. xo

Carey September 26, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Thank you for putting these words out there for us. It was just posted by Huffington Post and, so tragically, it appears the same day that a young man took his life at Stillwater (Okla.) Junior High just before class and in front of his classmates. To look at Cade Poulos’ smile from the RIP Cade Poulos Facebook page, he looks glorious. Every parent’s nightmare… and you were able to take steps AND share the reality with the world. God bless you. God bless Cade. God bless the young bullies and their victims.

Bob Werner September 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Thanks for your writing about your child being bullied. As a psychologist who has treated hundreds of children and their parents, your blog, with your permission, will become required reading. You just can’t create this reality.
Thanks!

jayne September 29, 2012 at 7:08 am

you have caught it and now go forward, but ask your child what they think should be done… sometimes in our zealous need and desire to protect our young ones, we forget it is they who must face the bully/ bullies in the end, alone, without us.. and we don’t want to make matters worse for our sweethearts. often we just need to listen.

and to ‘margiemarjiebeckykristie’ pffff, I went on to be a cheerleader in college, married 36 years and counting, 3 beautiful kids, became a teacher, and had many adventures with the rich and very famous in my life. So I do feel a little sad for you mean girls. You missed out on all those early years when you could have had a fun friend like me. Your loss.
:)

melissa September 30, 2012 at 9:11 am

I am so glad that peole are doing something about the bullying! We were not so lucky. In fact the school would do nothing about it. My little girl who was seven at the time went from being a happy vibrant little girl to a withdrawn, sad child. I have had to give up my hopes of the school doing anything. I pulled her out of school at the end of the year and started homeschooling her. I can not undo the damage done by these children, but I will do my best to make sure that she has a wonderful childhood. I don’t want her to look back and not have good memories of her childhood! We only have the oppertunity to be kids and carefree once in our lives. I hope to make the most wonderful experiences for my kids.

Kumaaraguru September 30, 2012 at 9:33 am

All you have to do is to leave your child alone(atleast 1&half year) untill he realises your value.This might be difficult for you but this is the solution

Erin September 30, 2012 at 11:17 am

I’m sorry that I love this post. So, so sorry. But I do love it because everything you wrote resonates deeply with me. Thank you for your honesty and using your writing talent to say what I say to myself in my head but not so eloquently. I too have laid flat on the floor because I missed it with my kid and the urge to break every object in my house can be a bit overwhelming. Keep on keeping on, girl

Ellen September 30, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Our older, sensitive son was verbally bullied in elementary school for several years in the late ’70′s early 80′s. We despaired as our son cried and poured out his feelings of hurt on our bed at night. We suggested the usual parental advice we had grown up with, “Tell them to bug off, play with other friends, tell the teacher.” All of which were not the solution. We finally talked to the teacher, told her who the bullies were, but she did not believe it. She said she never saw it. When I volunteered in the classroom I was able to observe how the main boy doing the bullying worked, he very carefully waited until the teacher was out of sight or working with a group of readers, then he would whisper his taunts to my son. The end of this came when at a classroom pool party, my husband overheard the bully going after our son, he yelled at the kid to quit and that his father would be informed. There was an apology from the father. There were no problems during jr. high from this bully and we enrolled our son in a different high school where he started on a clean slate. Nothing is more devastating to a parent as to not being able to protect their young children from this and it must be even more devastating to have a child that bullies.

Bill September 30, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Brittany, if you are going to write for public consumption, at least use correct grammar. Your opening statement should read, ” …and I just want to LIE on the floor, stare at the ceiling, and tell you this while the corners of my eyes well up — so come LIE down next to me and…”

Inviting someone to LAY with you is a bit suggestive.

Bill

colleen September 30, 2012 at 1:42 pm

i cried when i read the article about the bullying how sad why does this continue to go on in our schools? Teachers need to be more aware thanks for sharing

LinzJupiter October 3, 2012 at 12:40 am

Sorry to hear this, Brittany. I have absolutely no practical suggestions, but wanted to commiserate.

I got it bad in school for being the chubby smart kid. The resulting eating disorders whittled me down to a size 4, which I have kept, and I thought I won… the chick who bullied me is about twice my size these days. This is a terrible admission to make, but I keep her on FB just so I can keep tabs on what she looks like. (Schadenfreude much?)

But the wounds run deep, and they keep cropping up in the oddest places, and I realize that no matter what a hot skinny bitch I am now, it will never truly heal me. And I will probably die alone because of my rampant insecurity. And so I haven’t won.

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