Bullying is always devastating. But, in some ways, I’m glad that I suffered the old school version.
Don’t get me wrong. It was horrible. And it screwed me up. But at least back then, it had a real time and place. In my day, there was no such thing as trolls: you had the courtesy of being insulted face-to-face. You knew who your tormentors were and usually, where they lived. There were people who could help you. And the abuse itself had verbal and physical limits. The school gates. The hallway. The front door. Somewhere to curl up and cry and regroup. A place they couldn’t get you.
That was bad enough. But what if you can’t outrun your pursuers? What if they were in your bedroom – or your pocket? Faces you can’t see. Lies you can’t stop. Each flashing light, a fist. You have another new message. You could switch it off or close your account. But then you shut out your friends too. You cut the cords that keep you connected. You lose the warnings – what to fear and what to expect. You read the messages and you want to kill yourself; but you sever the communication and you may as well be dead.
Of course, it’s nothing serious. Nothing physical – at least, till later.
Funny thing tho, words. They stick and splinter; under the skin. Years later, you’re still picking them out. You get tired of fighting – and instead of arguing back, you start to listen.
If they call you a slut, then why not behave like one?
If they say that you’re fat, then why not get thinner?
If you feel like you’re bleeding and no-one can see – then make the cuts real. Do whatever it takes to fit in. And if you fail…well.
If you can’t silence them; then silence yourself.
If this is you, then please know you’re not alone.
You’re not who the bullies say you are – and there are people who can help.
Childline: can help you work out the best way to deal with cyber bullying or just be there so you can talk things through with someone. Call free on 0800 1111 or chat to to them online.
For parents, some ideas: