Here's something I found in my archives, written shortly after my article about bullying on www.foroige.ie.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about
people who have been bullied in the past but have recovered from the
experience. These people tend to be sensitive souls. They were probably bullied
out of jealousy, because the ones I know personally are all amazingly talented
From my own experience, bullying isn’t
something that just switches off and everything’s OK. Don’t get me wrong: life
improves drastically when you face your demons and stand up for yourself, or
when you get the help you need to keep bullies at bay. However I think we’re
all aware that the effects of bullying aren’t just immediate and don’t go away
A huge thing I’ve noticed, even from people
who aren’t being bullied any more, is that they still feel they themselves are
to blame somehow. On three separate occasions, girls—beautiful girls, you’d be
jealous if you saw them—have told me something along the lines of “I was
bullied because I was fat.” I’ve seen the pictures: they weren’t. The fact is
that if you are told a certain thing enough times, you begin to believe it. If
you’re coming to school every day and being told you’re stupid, or ugly, or
useless... eventually there will be a part of you that begins to believe this,
no matter how ridiculous it may be.
Not just when I was being bullied, but also
after it had stopped, I found it really difficult to make friends. I didn’t
approach people and talk to them—why on earth would they be interested in what
I had to say? I didn’t like going out in big groups—that was for cool people. I really thought that there
was no reason why anyone would want to be around me, and that I’d be doing
everyone a favour if I just left them alone.
Even worse than my opinion of myself was my
opinion of other people. I want to tell you guys that just because a handful of
people are nasty to you, this does not mean
the whole world is like that. Bullies are the exception, not the rule, and I’d bet you any money that for every nasty person
there are a thousand willing to be nice if you give them the chance. I didn’t
make friends easily because I thought they’d just end up picking on me. I’d
crawl into my shell if someone approached me because I thought they were about
to do something mean.
Right now, I have the loveliest group of
friends a girl could ask for. They’d do absolutely anything to make me smile.
Sometimes when they say something nice, I wonder if there’s an ulterior motive.
Sometimes when we’re all hanging out together, I wonder if they want me there
at all. Then I remember that they’re not bullies: they’re friends. They want to
spend time with me. They like who I
am. These are genuine, nice people, ladies and gentlemen, and if I can meet
them, so can you. Just make sure you look around. Don’t be afraid to strike up
a conversation with someone new—they could be your new partner in crime!
(Neither Catherine Ann Minnock nor Foróige
endorse crime in any way. Thank you.)