Over the past few years a lot has been said about bullies and bullying, and by now every school district in America has some sort of anti-bullying system in place; there are counselors, mediators, “Bully Free Zone” signs, and who knows what else. And while I think it’s all very well and good that there is an elevated awareness, it does not and cannot solve this age old problem.
I would imagine that most of us have heard about the sixth grader named Keaton from Tennessee who has been the subject of some serious hazing and bullying. There is a heart wrenching video seen here in which this poor kid is pouring out his feelings; and, as someone who found himself on the receiving end of some of that back in the day, I have a lot of empathy for him. I also have some strong advice for him and all the other “Keatons” out there, and their parents.
Once you become the target of bullies, and you let them get away with it, you will always be a victim of such treatment until the day you stand up and put a hurt on one or more of them. This is so because too many bullies never get put in their place and therefore never stop victimizing people; they do it differently as they get older, but they don’t stop.
They show up in the work place; they don’t humiliate you by stealing your lunch money, put chewing gum in your hair, or pour milk on you anymore. Instead, they take advantage of your perceived weakness or whatever it is that prevents a person who is bullied from standing up to them; they get you to do unsavory tasks, work lousy hours for them, drive right by you in a parking lot in inclement weather, hurl insults and innuendoes, and lots of other mean spirited stuff. It mostly stems from their own insecurity and desire for control; however, I believe it safe to say that some of them are basically just pricks.
Getting back to all the programs and such in the school districts, and the parents reaching out to the school administrators; all of that can’t solve the problem, in fact it usually makes it worse. Worse because the victims are being manipulated by the fear that the bully has instilled in them, and said bully has them believing that they will get it worse for ratting them out and turning them in, (and it often does).
In the end, every victim of this scourge needs to know that your parents, teachers, school district administrators, celebrities, and professional athletes all mean well, but they can only do so much and make you feel better temporarily. Even governments try unsuccessfully to legislate such behavior out of existence.
The fact is that only you can take control of this; you must learn to fight your own battles, and the really great news is that you don’t have to do a lot of it. Understand that the bully is actually no different than you; he/she hurts and bleeds the same way, and they do whatever they can to avoid those things. BTW, in many cases, they have very abusive parents and since they cannot do anything about that, they lash out at what they consider a weaker target.
And that is exactly where you come in. Don’t be the weaker target. Condition yourself and start going to the gym and/or take some self-defense classes, and get mentally prepared.
Give yourself that edge and keep it to yourself. Then, the next time they walk by you and shove you or knock your books out of your hands, or any other bullying activity, even if it is just verbal; overcome your fear and make your move. Don’t ask them why they did it, or engage in dialogue of any kind, or even ask them to step outside; instead walk right up to them wherever you and they happen to be and start throwing punches at them. Make their nose and/or lips bleed, but let them know you’ve had enough and hurt them. If any of their friends join in, which is unlikely, start landing punches and kicks on them wherever and however you can. The message in the photo to the left drives my point home very powerfully.
A couple of things will happen. First, you’ll notice that it really doesn’t last very long because a teacher or security officer will break it up quickly; and you’ll find that you were worrying about nothing really because it doesn’t hurt that bad anyway. You will also notice that you probably earned their respect and they will start leaving you alone; and if they don’t leave you alone, start round two. Bottom line, never give up, because they will eventually leave you alone, and no one else will ever bother you again because you will have an air about you that says “back off” from that moment forward.
I expect a lot of parents and administrators to disagree with me for a lot of different reasons, but I also believe that a lot of other parents will wholeheartedly agree with me because in the real world, that’s how it works.
Since press time, I have learned that there is a lot more to this particular story than meets the eye. Never the less, this is an issue that requires addressing.
So to all of the victims of bullying out there, heed what I say; stand up to them and strike back. You will very quickly be glad you did. For sure, you will be better off suffering a black eye now and then and making a few trips to the principal’s office for finishing a fight as a kid than putting up with a lifetime of it, which you otherwise will.