Bullies and bullying

From XKCD.com

I decided to write this post a couple of days ago so I was quite amused to see the offering from XKCD this morning!

A frequent topic of conversation on the internet is something along the lines of ‘What do you wish you knew as a kid’. I wish I knew that all the bullshit you put up with at school never really ends.

I remember when I was a kid, sitting in the nurse’s office and holding an ice pack to a black eye, thinking ‘One day I’ll be an adult and all of this will be in the past’. I thought that no-one would call me names or push me down any more, I thought that adults were nice to each other because bullying was childish and immature. I wish someone had told me then that some people never grow out of it.

Throughout school, college and university there was always someone who had a need to belittle me or other people. I thought that maybe these people just hadn’t matured past it yet and I grew a thicker skin. Then I entered the professional world and encountered my first bullying grandmother.

It seems there is no cut off age for bullies. Some people will just be cruel and cutting for their entire lives. Sure, the physical violence stops but, as the comic above shows, words are just as harmful.

When you look at the stories of people like Amanda Todd or the high suicide rate among LGBT youth you have to think that words often are much more harmful than physical violence.

So, in my case, why do I seem to attract harsh words and belittling rumours?

I think it’s impossible to put up with any level of personal attack without looking for fault in yourself. I know I’m not perfect, I know I have flaws and haven’t always been the best person I can be. I hope I’ve never made anyone feel as bad as people have made me feel but I do know that, in the past, I’ve been cruel to people who didn’t deserve it.

I say ‘I don’t deserve this’ or ‘I deserve better’ but now, deep down, I’m not so sure. Maybe this is what I deserve, this is my lot in life. If things haven’t got better by now, I guess they probably never will.

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