Cathy over at The Crazy Bookworm is an honorable supporter of the book, Dear Bully. She has been kind enough to share her story on her experience with bullying here. She also interviewed me over on her blog, you can click here to read it.
Here is my interview with her:
How would you define a bully?
I would define a bully as weak. A person that has their own insecurities but feels the need to outcast others to make themselves feel better.
How old were you when the bully started?
I was in grade 1. Maybe 7 years old.
What did their bullying consist of?
A lot of taunting and "Hey, look at her!" moments. At the elementary school I went to, the school doors didn't open until 9:15 so once 9:00 rolled around all the students line up to wait for school. Once I would make it in line, a group of 4 specific boys would turn around and start taunting me for the clothes I was wearing or for being chubby. They would laugh and point their fingers at me while cracking jokes.
What were some people or things that got you through it?
My friends and my dog. My dog had an incredible knack for cheering me up. Although I never really told anyone what was going on because I was to embarrassed, my dog knew everything. He was who I talked to, who I vented to. My friends got me through it because I knew they were there. The bullies could say whatever they wanted. I knew I had a group of people that loved me no matter what clothes I wore or how I looked.
When did the bullying finally end? How did it feel when you noticed you weren't bullied anymore?
It stopped at the end of junior high although it wasn't as intense during that time. I just had to deal with comments here and there which I did my best to ignore. When I entered high school and had the same boys that teased me trying to talk to me and be friends I asked myself why. I was confused with their change of attitude and was curious of what made them stop. But most of all I was relieved!
What is the most effective way to deal with a bully?
Ask them why? What is going on in their life that makes them take it out onto someone else. It is perfectly fine to stand up for yourself(without physical or verbal attacks). If that doesn't work then ignore them the best you can. They will give up eventually. Also, don't be afraid to reach out, let someone be aware of the situation.
What does being bullied teach the people who have experienced it?
I think for most people it teaches us to admire and appreciate the love we have around us from family and friends. It teaches us to take those unfortunate situations and apply them to make us the best people we can be. To strive and work hard for our dreams so we can show those bullies that we won at their game.
Do you see yourself as a "victim"? Why?
When I look back on it now...No I don't think of myself as a victim. I think of myself as a target. Another person's verbal punching bag. The bully's "go to" person when he needed to blow off some steam.
What do you think someone should do if they are being bullied?
Talk to someone: Parents, teachers, friends, pets, counsellors, even a stranger(kids help phone) Don't let someone who barely knows you convince you that your aren't worth anything.
What will Dear Bully bring for those who have been bullied or were a bully themselves?
Hope and relief. It will let bullied kids and teens know that they are not or were not alone. And that they can overcome this phase of their life, even though that may seem hard to believe at that time. For bully themselves it will show them that nothing good for them comes from their bullying actions. What they are doing is completely unnecessary and potentially very harmful to others. And that in the long run they only hurt themselves.
What would you say to the people who have bullied you if you had the chance?
Why? What about me made you say "She looks weak. I'll pick on her". How could you sleep at night knowing the hurt you were causing another person. What was going on in your life that made you act out that way? Do you know how many times you made me cry and question myself.
But I'd also say thank you, because if it wasn't for you I wouldn't be the person I am now. It was your voice I heard when I was working hard, it was the names you called me that repeated over and over in my head when I needed that extra push. Thank you for being my motivation. Because of you, I walk with my head held high.
Is there anything you want to say to who are being bullied?
Please don't let this person or persons make you question your self worth. Don't let what they are doing make you bitter at yourself, other people or the world. These are not people that you have to deal with forever. Know that once you get through it, there will be better people waiting for you. This will make you strong and you will be happy. Take those harsh words and let them be your motivation to succeed. I promise you with all my heart that it does get better!
Thank you so much, Cathy, for sharing your story with us! Please visit Cathy's blog and follow her on Twitter.
Cathy wants you to share your stories, thoughts, or experiences on bullying, send them to her here. (You can stay anonymous.)