In this post I tried to share a parent’s exhilaration and gratitude at the sound of a toilet being flushed! I fully understand if you are confused and I invite you to step into my shoes by reading along…ACCEPTANCE!
Have you or your children struggled with the impact of school bullying? How did it impact your/their/your families life/lives? Can you recall the first sign of recovery and how it made you feel?
bravely said “I was bullied for being fat and nerdy and bad at sports. Thank God I could get away from the kids outside of school and escape into books and tv shows. I also found my own hobbies, such as needlepoint. But today, with social media, there’s no escape. That’s the worst ~ I can’t imagine the horror of never escaping the peer group.”
responded with empathy saying…
“I’m so glad for you Paula. It can be so frustrating to live the pains of bullying always, never being able to escape. And isn’t it a silent killer”.
My thanks to both Paula and Parikhit for prompting this post.
I can, from experience, confirm that bullying via social media is as noxious as poison gas, it is a silent killer!
One Christmas while we were enjoying a family gathering our daughter was suffering in silence in the midst of us, as bullies targeted her with vile and upsetting messages on social media. We were oblivious to this happening until our daughter could no longer contain her distress and broke down telling us. Even after the girls in question were reprimanded and made close their social media accounts, the bullying continued because they were able to create new accounts using fake identification.
Social media enables bullies to infiltrate the victim’s home; often the only safe space victims have. Online bullying is omnipresent, affecting children, adults and even Politicians, as we’ve seen during the United Kingdom’s Brexit attempts.
When bullying is frequent and continues over a protracted period it can cripple the victim leaving them distressed and confused. The implications can be life long, leaving them with low confidence and self-esteem, and can cause them intense dislike of themselves for being too fat, too thin, nerdy, shy or a miriad of other perfectly normal human characteristics just because a bully decided these traits were “unacceptable”.
Other sign of distress can include mood swings, anxiety, depression, insomnia, panic attacks, eating disorders, OCD, and finally but not exhaustively, self-harm until another innocent, tormented life could be lost to bullying.
Having witnessed the effect of online bullying I’d like to highlight to parents the distress children feel at, the horror of never escaping from this silent killer.” I’d also like to stress the lasting impact of bullying and encourage parents, adults & society to be vigilant.
Have you or your children been bullied? Did you/they experience “the horror of never escaping the peer group” because of the pervasiveness of social media? Did you watch this silent killer in action?
While searching for support, I was told, by an adult in a position of responsibility that our son… “needed to be more resilient.”
I found their statement to be judgemental. Being judged by an adult and found lacking is not what any child needs when they are suffering because of bullying.
It’s true, being more resilient makes life easier.
It’s also true that children can be over sensitive and they need to be able to identify the difference between occasional teasing, and the type of verbal or physical abuse which deliberately sets out to do harm.
When behaviour has the goal or intention to deliberately hurt, and happens on an regular basis, it wears down a child’s resilience.
Children who are being bullied need empathy. They need their issues to be acknowledged and they need to be affirmed by a statement that says “You are very resilient to have coped with bullying for so long.”
The victim needs to be reassured that the problem lies with the bully, and not with them.
They also need to be informed of what action will be taken and a review date needs to be set. Sticking to the review date is vitally important as the victim has been rendered voiceless by constant bullying and will have lost trust in those around them. We can gain their trust when we live up to our word and prove that we are trust worthy.
It is vitally important that a pro-active approach to bullying is fostered in every school to ensure that every victim of bullying is guaranteed the respect they deserve in a bully free zone.
Have you or your children experienced bullying? Was your child’s resilience worn down? Did anybody have empathy for them and did it make a difference?
As hard as I’ve tried, I can’t paint the pain of bullying experienced by our son because the canvas is blank and will remain blank as our son, kept almost all of the painful details to himself.
What I can paint is what we as parents noticed at home, which included, his frustration shown through nasty comments and angry outbursts. His loss of interest in his hobbies. His withdrawal into himself. His sleep pattern changed dramatically, unable to get to sleep resulting in him sleeping longer into the morning and soon he developed insomnia. He was awake at night and asleep during the day. We slowly noticed a real change in his pleasant and warm personality. All these changes led to self-isolation and school refusal.
We stood by helplessly, watching our warm, outgoing, resilient child slowly disengage from all aspects of his normal functioning life.
This did not happen over-night. Being bullied was something that chipped away at his resilience and eventually over years, wore him down.
Every child, no matter their age, sex, nationality, colour or faith is entitled to attend school, to feel happy and included. They deserve to achieve, to the best of their ability, without the fear of bullying and its devastating effects.
The pain of his upset is still visceral as I recall and share these memories. It hurts because I realise, yet again, that the sheer frustration and powerlessness we felt came from feeling unheard in a broken system. This feeling of isolation compounded the impact bullying was having on our family.
Thankfully we have, as a family and individually, empowered ourselves to move forward whilst not diminishing the pain of the past. But instead wanting to put our learning to the service of others. You might like to read our son’s attitude, Bullying…”I am grateful for it all”…
Have you or your children experienced bullying? Did it wear down your child’s resilience? Did it render you silent and make you feel powerless?
I would love to hear your experience so that together we can let other families know that they are not alone.
Trigger Warning – Bullying, upsetting read, almost 1.3k word count and only a synopsis.
I would really appreciate if you would consider sharing this…
If I could paint a picture of the pain of bullying I would because a picture can say much more than any amount of words. But I hope my words can help you instead, paint your own picture of young lives tainted, damaged and almost destroyed by bullying.
Begin by taking a nice relaxing breath and feel the peace and contentment of a happy life…Just breath.
Now add two children to the picture and see the eldest overcome some challenges, such as being shy and changing school after one year. See the youngest child beginning life weighing 2lb 9oz and being the best Christmas present we brought home that Christmas, three months after he was born. Now laugh and imagine the relief of a diagnosis of full health at the age of one. No heart murmur. No lung deficiency. No eye sight problems. See him run into school without a backward glance, loving all the new activity and company.
Take another relaxing breath and practice gratitude for two happy, healthy children aged five and seven. Follow your heart, values and beliefs and raise them to be loving and kind; to watch out for the welfare of others and to go out of your way to be inclusive and help others feel they belong.
Now picture a knot in your stomach as you notice things begin to change… upset going to school, lunch not eaten. Hear her tell stories of constant name calling, jibing and mocking. Feel her pain as they make fun of her prominent teeth and her love of galloping around the playground instead of running because of her infatuation with horses. Approach the teacher. Confront a young boy’s carer for his bullying of her on the school bus.
Notice the tears, bitter tears of being excluded by one or two girls. Soon more of her circle follow their lead and she’s left feeling frustrated and lonely. Watch as school anxiety develops, tears and tummy aches rack her body and people comment how thin she is. See her push her food around her plate…and then around some more. Observe family trips to cafes or restaurants become a nightmare.
Soon separation anxiety develops and you carry her into school and peel her off you as you try to reassure her that today will be better; the children will be lovely and friendly. Add in lots of GP visits, referrals to counsellors, psychotherapy and meetings with teachers. Watch homework suffering and educational milestones not being achieved. Listen as you are advised to have an educational assessment done but in the same breath advised that you’ll have to arrange it privately and pay about 400 euro as the government only fund two per year and more disadvantaged children need it. See some school supports come onboard, extra learning support, confidence building and be advised a follow-up 400 euro report is needed before she enters secondary school, needed they say to access extra support there. Watch her relatively happy during 1st year with no supports offered or thankfully needed.
Feel the kick in your gut as a happy 1st year turns into an upset 2nd year and more of the same, more tears, more anxiety, more loneliness and exclusion. Send her to pottery classes and see her flourish and then watch as even in the privacy of her own home she is a victim, as we laugh and enjoy the company of relatives over Christmas, she is hounded. Witness her stress as two girls send texts with nasty, abusive messages. Contact the Gardaì and find there’s not much you can do, change her phone sim.
Advise the school in case she should be targeted by these girls in person. Hear that the two girls are reprimanded. Listen in shock when you’re summoned to the school to collect your emotionally upset child having been physically attacked, dragged to the floor by her hair and kicked and punched by one of the girls. See the nasty black and blue bruise leave its mark on her skin, knowing full well the ongoing abuse is leaving its nasty tentacles entwined even deeper within. Read nasty lies posted about her on a social media site to slander and ridicule. Approach the parents. Be kind, ask for respect, say you won’t involve the law.
In the meantime watch her at home, refusing school for weeks and support her decision to change school.
Breath another reaxing breath as she flourishes, feeling accepted, part of the group. See her take on new experiences and even a school adventure trip for five days away from home.
Gag and dry-retch, choke and sufficate, imagining how she felt when they poured water down her throat while she slept; minding her own business, doing no harm to anyone! See her retreat into herself, go to school and get phone calls to bring her home sick, refuse school. More GP visits, psychological appointments and point blank school refusal. Mountains of paperwork to obtain home school hours and achieve her Leaving Certificate despite all the torment and abuse.
Years later get messages from the bully who physically asaulted her, telling of her regret, her distress, her depression, anxiety and attempted suicide because of what she did. Feel a horrific and tangible need to rip her apart but instead hear our amazing daughter say how she has forgiven her…breath deeply and learn a lesson in compassion and tell the girl it’s ok, don’t worry, access supports, do well in college.
And later still witness the distress, the panic attacks, the anxiety, the new courses; some completed some not. See her clothes become two sizes too big as the anxiety grips her throat and messes with her appetite. See her busy herself baking and sculpting, creating things of beauty and remind yourself that you don’t care about an unfinished course or a career or thoughtless people who don’t ask how she is doing but instead ask “what’s she doing with herself” and proceed to recount how their daughter, her peers, achieved their third level qualifications. See her reach out and be told it’s five weeks to see a new counsellor – pathetic Irish healthcare. Marvel as she learns Dutch with her phone app. Admire how she lobbies every politician for a service dog, unheard of in Ireland but which might just enable her complete her course by helping her ward off panic attacks on the train. Encourage her as she appeals to the welfare system for a companion pass so somebody could travel with her on the train. Practice and encourage patience as she waits patiently for a human being to pass her application. But most of all we just love her and admire her amazing resilience because any of those bullies would have crumbled under the strain years ago and that’s the politest sentence I can pen about them.
Oh and by the way, that’s just what was going on for our daughter. We have a son who was bullied too… but he hid it for a long time, to save us the pain. I’ll try to paint that picture in part two.
If you think this could help anyone who was or is a victim know that they are not alone, please feel free to share. If you or anyone you know was a bully or you have been told by your school that your child is a bully, please consider the pain you or they have or are causing. I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!
I’m angry, and it’s not often I’m angry! I’m also amazed…amazed at how a word can evoke such angry emotion. This word ‘Acquiesce,’ gives me such an uneasy feeling because for too long, I remained silent in a system that was disjointed and had no cohesive plan in place. Slowly, I knocked on every door. I struggled to be heard. I contacted every service. Finally, I discovered the flimsy support that was available. I wasn’t told this support existed. I uncovered it, step by painful step. It did not solve the issue but it went some way towards helping me realise that I was not alone, that we were not alone and that there was another way! And now I refuse to ‘acquiesce.’ I won’t, under any circumstances, accept, agree or allow something to happen by staying silent or by not arguing. I won’t acquiesce until I do my bit, no matter how small that may be. I want to ensure victims, bullies, passive bullies (those who stand by gutless, watching and let the victims suffer), teachers, principals, parents, the community, society, and every nationality have a conversation. I want them to see the damage school bullying causes. I want to paint a picture of the pain it inflicts – a picture that leave you in no doubt of the long term effects of school bullying. Please help me break the silence and as we do this, together, please 1.Take Heart!
Today I would like to share T.S’s very emotive, true story from his blog “Crazywriterof6.” As I read T.S’s distressing reality, I felt my body became anxious. I felt his apprehension and fear. His sense of loneliness and isolation is palpable. He says… “Maybe some of you can relate and see that even then, you weren’t alone”. No child should be in dread every day, isolated and living with the fear of bullying!
In my last post I wrote about the difficulty I had in supporting my children, both victims of bullying, because of the pressure on victims to remain silent. You might like to read it… Big Boys…Don’t Cry!
We now hear in T.S’s own words, his deeply ingrained and debilitating belief as to why he was bullied… “The torture continued. Many moments before this event, many after. I have written some of them out, just to get them out. All this because I was different than the “normal people”, different from what society says I should be. Different because I was overweight”. I believe he was not different… everybody is different and everybody has the right to be respected for who and how they are.
Please enhance your understanding by reading his story…
…Only 15 hurricanes have passed within 200 nautical miles of the Azores since scientific monitoring began in 1851.
“This one [Hurricane Ophelia] is very unusual in that it has come just slightly westwards but it has taken a direct tack northwards,” Met Éireann forecaster Evelyn Cusack said.
Making its way from the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean, the (previously) category three storm is the most powerful hurricane this far east of the United States on record. Parts of Ireland and the UK are due to experience the tail end of the hurricane on Monday.
Met Éireann meteorologist Deirdre Lowe said the hurricane was unusual “in that it has developed so far east”.
it is unheard of for a hurricane to form this far east in the Atlantic and then take a south-to-north track directly across Ireland