Monday, 12 December 2011

A Really Great Reason Not To Be A Bully

Let me paint a picture of me in early high school….I had glasses and red hair. My hair was not just red, but it was often cut short like a boy, or done in a very, very bad 80’s style perm.


I was often seen lugging around a saxophone case, about half my size,  to the music rooms or the library…. My favorite places. I spent all my time reading, I was a book worm, a nerd, I deliberately avoided the kids in the playground.

For anyone who has attended high school ever, anywhere, it is no surprise that I was bullied. There was nothing physical involved, just teasing, laughing, pointing….the usual high school stuff. I guess I just came to accept it as a normal, but loathed, part of life at school.

But by the time I had reached senior high school….the ugly duckling had started her transformation.  I had found a best friend and we were inseparable, we gave each other strength. I was not teased for being good at school work anymore, I was actually felt a little respected for being smart. I was chosen for principal roles in school musicals and musical performances that gave me self confidence, and that red hair, …Well, it was now long, thick and wavy, and I realised people actually admired it!

Now it was my turn… the start of year 12 I was flush with an over inflated sense of self importance. We were the leaders of the school. The bosses! We had free study periods and a special room, a different uniform, drivers licenses and a false sense of power.

There was a little girl that had just stated high school. She was small for her age. She was new to the area and she didn’t seem to have any friends. She had a brand new hessian back-pack with her name written in large letters, right on the top in permanent marker, with girly embellishments. She was the perfect target! I reenacted the same treatment that was given to me.

My best friend and I would follow her at school and comment to each other loudly all sorts of nasty things about that girls decorated  backpack.

 We thought we were so clever.

We sarcastically congratulated her for spelling her name correctly. We would ask her what her name was and laugh hysterically at her mute response. I didn’t realise at the time, but  I think we may have terrified that little girl. I don’t think it lasted long. I actually only remember doing this twice.

Although I know what I have written here makes me out to be mean and nasty, this was an isolated incident. I was actually a mostly nice, studious, mature girl at high school. We weren’t really intending to hurt this little girl, we were amusing our selves, experimenting. We soon got bored  of being bullies as we began to concentrate completely on study and boys.

You would have thought that after being bullied myself, I would have more sympathy and compassion for that little girl. I am ashamed to say that any thoughts of  an empathetic nature didn’t cross my mind. I think I felt almost entitled to act that way.

I have read several articles lately where the perpetrators of bullying contact their victims later to apologise. Well I have no need to try and contact this little girl. Yes, she did grow up herself and leave high school, go to university and get married….

…..married  to my little brother!!

Yes, you read that right. That little girl is now my sister-in-law, the aunty of my children and the mother of my niece and nephew.

Does she remember the treatment she received from me?  Hell yes! She will often bring it up when we are reminiscing about or childhoods or with new company. She says she was terrified of us, but also accepted it as a normal part of high school. Because I still feel a little guilty for the way I behaved, she has a great time making me feel bad!!

So there it is, a good reason not to bully….the little girl you bully may end up marrying your brother, and will remind you of your poor behavior for the rest of your life!

I should say that my sister in law and I are now very good friends. We had our first children only one month apart. We have been a tremendous source of support and encouragement for each other. We also have many thing in common such as a love of science, books and learning.

I do not in anyway mean to belittle the impact that bullying can have on a person. I am fully aware that it causes long lasting pain, depression and suicide. Indeed, I have since been the victim of bullying behavior as an adult.  I understand the bullying is still a prevalent issue in the workplace.

I hope that times are changing and that children are being taught more about bullying and its consequences. My children attend a program at school entitled’ bounce back’ where they learn about bullying behavior and strategies to counteract it. My children seem to have much more emotional intelligence than I did as a child.

I hope educational programs such as these will equip my children with the knowledge that bullying is wrong, and not to be tolerated……Not simply accepting of it like my sister–in-law and I did. I tell my children this story and they laugh, but they have learnt, from my example that bullying does have lasting consequences and I can only hope that through learning from my experiences they will make better choices than I did

….while they and their aunty, have a great laugh at my expense!!

Today, for the first time, I'm linking up with Jess from Diary of a SAHM for I blog on Tuesdays .....Thanks Jess, you and your new site are brilliant!


  1. Well, that definately did come and bite you in the backside...a good moral to the story. I think I was pretty fair at school and always too involved in my sport to notice bullying. It is something I worry with my girls in years to come but hope they will be resiliant to it and know how to deal with it by then!

  2. Thanks Karla, I'm glad to hear that being involved in sport was good for avoiding those bad behaviours (unlike me!!). One of my hopes is that my kids involvement in sport will have a similar effect that it had for you!! I hope they do what I say, and not do what I did!

  3. Now that's a story! Karma bites! Looks like you'll have lots of good karma coming your way now though! :)

  4. Yeah bullying isn't nice but it's so hard to realise that when you're young... I wish I could go back to my younger self and tell her not to do certain things, and to do so many other things I didn't so.

    I guess we can only guide our own kids as best we can and allow them to make their own decisions. I really hope my kids aren't bullied, or bullies...

  5. Misha, you're right! Karma bites with great big teeth!! Thanks for your comment and I'll be keeping an eye out for that good Karma.....

  6. Kate, it would be nice if we all had the benifit of hindsite wouldn't it! I guess we all have to learn the hard way...from our mistakes! Thank you for your understanding comment.

  7. Good on you to admit to being the bully. I think in reality most of us have been on both sides. I still remember some nasty things that were done to me at school and I also suffer guilt for having dished it out.

  8. I was just reading through your profile and one word stuck out so clearly - Dyspraxia. I have a son with this and it is not often I come across people who have any idea what I am talking about when i say the word.
    So nice to meet you :) xx

  9. Thanks Lee, I think that bullying behaviors were almost accepted as part of school back then. I'm so glad that for the most part this seems to be changing. Everyone is much more aware now and I hope this will mean less bullying.

  10. I too cringe at the thought of some of the things I did in my youth. Like you I wasn't a bully as such but I can recall an occasion or two when I wasn't exactly something I am now proud of

  11. Hi Sonia, Great to meet you too! I tend to use the word 'Apraxia' online because I have made some friends with other dispraxia partents...mostly American, and thats what they call it. Great to find someone who understands!....

  12. Thankyou Rhianna, I wouldn't descibe myself as a bully either, but I obviously did try it out once and I'm not very proud of it..though I thought it made a funny story and a 'dire' warning to others!