I Hate Bullies

by Lori Dwyer on January 31, 2012 · 21 comments

in Uncategorized

I hate bullies.

I hate people who take advantage of their own confidence, their own lack of empathy; and force, with words or action, or the unspoken threat of words or action, their will on others.

But that’s far too clinical, saying it that way. I hate people who throw their weight around. I hate people who pick up on the fear of others, or desperation of others, and use it to support their believes, or their wants, or their opinions. It never seems to matter, to someone with that domineering streak, whether a person’s loyalty or opinion as it’s stated is an honest reflection of the other person’s feelings. It doesn’t matter– it’s the verbal agreement, the social and physical submission– that’s where that ugly, mean power comes from.

I was bullied at school, can you tell? I was unpopular little geek in the final years of primary school; in high school I was downgraded to total nerd worthy of having her schoolbag spat on and put in a garbage can, and teased mercilessly when I begun my period. (Tanya and Emma. Hi.)

Moving schools didn’t help much. My second year of high school meant starting somewhere new where no one knew me. Bullies, they found me anyway. I don’t think it was as psychical the second time around– it was more of that soul crushing ostracism that only teenage girls are capable of. It was rumors and names and something less tangible– again, that push and shove, that abuse of power that bullies thrive on.

When I was about fourteen years old I was so insecure I remember feeling as if I was curved in the middle, like a banana or the letter C– something I’d done to myself. Because if I curled up into myself then no one would notice me and that constant gangly ugliness wouldn’t be so magnified. I remember a boy in my year, for no other reason than to be just… nasty, asking our entire music class if “anyone actually liked Lori?” and no one– not even those who I did consider friends– speaking up to say they did.

As is said… I hate bullies.

One particular chick who bullied me in my middle–ish years of high school– hi, again- what is it with Emma’s?– has turned out to be, sadly, in the percentage of people that never grow out of being bullies, that for some reason still need the satisfaction of making other people feel small to make themselves feel normal. I ran into her about eighteen months ago– in the final few months of the Purple Before– and she went out of her way to draw attention to and make snarky comment about the brand of jeans I was wearing.

I found myself staring at her, wide eyed, head cocked to one side, in silence, for just a beat too long– enough to break the rhythm of the conversation, to make a few people uncomfortable as they witnessed a standoff of sorts.

Fifteen years ago, in high school, I would have dropped my gaze, my face burning, willing my eyes not to fill with tears, that sick heavy shame of just being me sitting in my guts.

Fuck that. I’m not in high school anymore. And I don’t do bullies, not anymore. I still get scared– there is one person in my life who is a blatant, compassionate–less intimidator who literally makes my insides turn to a shaking, unstable liquid. I am scared of her, and she knows it, and she takes full advantage of it.

I try not to let her. Especially now, in the After. I have simply faced too much, to be afraid of her, afraid of that.

I don’t know what it is about me– but I attract bullies, as if there’s some scent that comes off me, some indicator of weakness. Maybe there is– I’m naturally passive, I don’t like confrontation, I’m a ’yes’ person and a pleaser. It makes me an easy target and sometimes I can feel that painted all over my face.

Sometimes I wonder why, if someone had to be blamed… blame the weakest. There’s nothing noble or pleasant about that. But when it comes right own to it, people are just animals, and it’s an evolutionary given– survival of the fittest.

It’s one of those unfair truths of life that some people just never grow out of having that oppressive personality streak. I recognize it more in women than men, but that’s probably just the world colored with how things have been in the past. I hate that some people are just like that. I hate that it still makes me feel vulnerable and unworthy and fourteen years old all over again.

As I said, some people, they never grow out of it. But I’m too old for that shit now, and I know myself too well.

Finally, at thirty years of age… I don’t do bullies anymore.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous April 7, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I guess I never let my bullies go cause it still hurts at 44 I was a large boy and the fat jokes flew well it wasnt all they did things to me that I will never forget and I never will that stuff never leaves you because its made immortal by them I just hope that they all remember me and think of all the things they have done to make me this way just want to be normal but cant its too hard.

Ms K @ Mummybrain February 3, 2012 at 10:56 am

Oh yes, been there and felt the pain, http://blog.mummybrain.com/2011/11/the-girl-with-the-book.html it's such a shocking thing. I pray that my kids will never experience it.

Library girl February 3, 2012 at 9:18 am

I'm currently going through the official processes involved in workplace bullying – the most horrendous of all – a mature woman who has ceaselessly ostracised and intimidated a 16 year old trainee! She's so good at the art of manipulation that I think she really believes that she hasn't done anything wrong. I want to resort to physical violence with her – how could she do that to a kid? She's supposed to be her mentor!! Deranged, I tell you. I sincerely hope the official processes don't let me down and she is removed from the workplace. No-one deserves to be made to feel they are 'less than'.

Nicky February 2, 2012 at 6:02 am

I know a woman online who is a strong advocate of bullying as one of her children is bullied at school, yet she is the WORST bully I have ever come across to other women in business! I find it incredibly strange that she can be so outspoken about it on one level but the worst kind of offender on another.

valmack February 1, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Girls can be so tough and I will never get it. I wasn't really a bullier or bullied…I waded through those years friendly with most and close to few.

But I feel like I suffered at the hands of mean girls.

I lost a bunch of friends, a few of my closest, because I did call another girl who I wasn't really friends with a slut.I never expected a) for my friend to rat me out, but she was in a contest to be popular and was willing to throw me and our years of friendship under the bus to help secure her a spot with a "cooler" crowd. Not so surprised …and back then it wasn't usually a first step with a guy to give bj's. I was just upset because that guy THAT Girl gave a bj,too, was someone I really liked and we were on the brinks of going out when she trumped me the night before the big party…and they actually dated for a few years 8th grade thru part of high school. Yes, 8th grade and I did not even understand what the hell a bj was. REALLY!

I am sorry this happened to you, but I am glad you are YOU and you are sweet.

BTW, I am Facebook friends with the girl who threw me under the bus and she posts all the time about bullying and the importance it is to be nice to others.(because what she did to me was mean and puropseful.I was really hurt by losing some of my closest friends. So, maybe we have both grown.I try not to be judgemental or speaketh everything I thinketh! Looking back, she probably had people being mean to her because she had one of the biggest noses you've ever seen especially on someone petite…

I shouldn't have called that girl a slut. Better her than me!

Anonymous February 1, 2012 at 5:16 pm

I wasn't bullied at high school, lucky me, but have been bullied by an ex-neighbour from hell (we finally moved). I ended up in therapy and taking anti-depressants, in a very low place indeed.
My question is, what advice would you give your children if THEY are bullied, having been through it yourself? Is there any cure for it or is it just a pack-animal mentality that will never go away? I say bullies are always insecure and vapid sociopaths, although it's hard to feel that when you are the victim. Not one of the bullies at my school did anything of note and the nerds are the successful ones these days.

Suzi February 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm

School bullies did their best to destroy me too. Sigh… Slowly getting over it. I also had an 'Emma' problem…

Kelloggsville February 1, 2012 at 9:25 am

I can't imagine you being bullied, I thought you would have all the Australian forthrightness that leaves me in nervous tatters every time I go there! I remember one girl at school saying in front of the whole class if I washed occasionally I wouldn't have spots. Of course it wasn't true, I tried so hard not to have spots, butas you say too, nobody stood with me or helped me defend myself. I was pushed out of class rooms, actively ignored etc etc. I try to pretend now I don't do bullies but an unanswered tweet or unacknowledged wave still pulls the raw nerves of yesteryear. Stinky isn't it.

Madmother February 1, 2012 at 8:55 am

I was bullied in school too. I was bullied when my sister died (what sort of person does THAT to someone?), and now I am being bullied another way. By being accused of being a bully.

It is the perfect tactic by my former irl friend now toxic. Because I am loud, outspoken and seemingly confident many believed her tears, shaking, cries of "foul". But then she did it to another bff, then another. In three years there are now nearly a dozen who have been labelled as bullying her. And yet in reality she is the bully.

And in this world today it is becoming an over-used and abused term.
And things like what you and I experienced are lobbed in with far more trivial incidents wrongly labelled.

Great post Lori.

Cassondra February 1, 2012 at 7:43 am

I was bullied in middle school too, by several people, and pretty much invisible in high school. I keep in touch with exactly two friends (class of over 400) from my high school years, and only went to the 10 year reunion knowing that I could hang out with one of them, and even then I didn't stay long.

I think maybe bullying is something guys grow out of. Eventually they begin to recognize that the geek who made straight A's is the one who went on to be VP by age 25 or invented that thing that made him a millionaire by the age of 30. Guys grow out of it (mostly) but women don't. They can be catty at any age as evidenced by all these Housewives reality shows.

Amy xxoo February 1, 2012 at 7:35 am

Two things:
1) Brava to you for standing your ground and deciding not put up with bullies anymore and
2) Fuck you to the bullies. Thats right, a big middle finger to all those people who feel they have the right to be horrid and nasty and downright rude to their fellow human beings. May you all choke on a pickle!

Melissa January 31, 2012 at 10:43 pm

I hate bullies, too. I think everyone hates bullies and bullying – but yet it continues. Frustrating. Perhaps if we're all honest and brave as you have been with this post – we can stop it – one bully at a time.

Christine January 31, 2012 at 7:02 pm

You're so good at expressing things. I am inspired by your strength, your honesty and you're just an all around top girl. Thanks for writing this…I am in my late 30's and I don't do bullies either. :)


Miss Pink January 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I am a tough as guts kind of chick.
Year 9 I decided I wasn't playing the popularity game anymore. I wasn't going to fight to be "cool" because the "cool" high was always short lived. It brought A LOT of bullying. A lot. The bag spat on and hidden in some bin, sometimes pissed on. Being referred to by the name of a pest, which, well if you ask me in person I may reveal, but it pains me to hear it. It literally makes my skin burn and I have to excuse myself.
I didn't care about being popular, I worked on making real friendships, being friendly to everyone, but it didn't stop those popular kids trying to turn my friends against me. I had 2 of my very best friends, people I worshipped the ground they walked on, turn on me. I remember bursting into tears in the middle of a spots class, half the year was there because of one of those friends. It still hurts me to this day.

Now I just don't do it. I don't let myself have many people I care about. It's too hard. Too much to lose when they decide they don't like me anymore. Am I lonely? Fuck yes! But that is somehow easier than the pain of caring and then losing someone.

I am glad you have found your feet, that you won't let people make you feel bad about yourself. You are an amazing person Lori, and I am sure those people who are trying to hurt you are because they are jealous, and want to hurt you. How sad for them that they can't be happy for you.

Adorabibble January 31, 2012 at 10:35 am

You are beautiful!

Aadoria January 31, 2012 at 10:32 am

I was bullied a lot in school, also being a little nerd. (I am proud to be a nerd now!) However, the bullies I have known as an adult are way worse. There must be something about 30, because that's when I decided I don't do bullies anymore either!

CourtneyB January 31, 2012 at 10:23 am

Man I would be afraid of you, Your little but you are fierce! Try not to doubt yourself so much, when i look at you i see strength, resilience, and a sense of self.
Bullies are everywhere, but insecurity is everywhere too, it doesn't give a person the right to be out & out mean (dissed your jeans? WTF? Was probably jealous that their ass couldn't look as good in the ones they had on!)
Your Smart, Funny, Tough as Nails, lovely, and cute. Take it from someone who has nothing to gain from blowing sunshine up your ass! x o x o from your mate Courtney.

Donna January 31, 2012 at 10:22 am

Brilliant Lori – never give them any power over you ever again or they have won. And dont forget that tattoo "though she be small she be fierce" each time you need a reminder of how kick ass you really are :)

Marita January 31, 2012 at 10:20 am

Sending strength and applause your way.

As Kelly said, people bully because they are weak and insecure. But even knowing that it doesn't make being the target of their attacks any more fun.

Kelly Exeter January 31, 2012 at 9:18 am

Nicely said Lori but you got one thing wrong. Bullies aren't confident – they're massively insecure, that's why they are bullies. The only way they can feel good about themselves is to pull other people down and throw their weight around.

Meanwhile, I love the mental image of you standing there with your former bully, head cocked to one side and thinking "Did she just say that?"

Jenny Craig AusNZ January 31, 2012 at 8:39 am

Such strength! Bullying is such a big issue and has such a profound effect on so many people. It is great to read that, despite your experiences, you are looking the issues (and the people it seems) straight in the eye and saying 'no'. Thanks Lori

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