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How I survived childhood bullying

Childhood Bullying - Parents Canada

Kid lying on grass - how i survived childhood bullyingFrom grades two until seven, I can’t
remember a year where I wasn’t bullied.
Individually, the kids who were mean to me
were my friends, but together they were cruel.
The ringleader was one of my best friends.
But when other kids came around, he would
forget that we were friends or that I had just
helped him with his spelling. Being one of the
chubbier kids I guess I was an easy target.

By Grade 6 it had escalated to full-scale
warfare. Around Christmas they took
popular holiday songs and cleverly changed
the arrangement to include hurtful things
about me. In the spring, it was literally
sticks and stones thrown at me at recess. I’m
not proud of this, but one of my favourite
moments of that year was the one time I
fought back and pegged one of my bullies in
the side of the head with a rock.

As hard as the bullying was on me, I think
it was harder on my parents. They were also
bullied as kids. My dad would tell me that in
life there are leaders and followers. He said I
was a leader and that part of the reason there
was a group of kids instead of one bully was
that they were all followers.

My mom tried to defend me. One day when
she saw the bullies in action while waiting
to pick me up from school, she got out of the
car, told them to stop and even called one kid
“Cupcake Boy”. This ended up making things
worse for a couple of weeks. When I would
come home crying and wanting to switch
schools, she would tell me to stick it out and
that the other kids were jealous because I
was one of the smarter kids in class.

In Grade 8 the bullying stopped, but I
also stopped eating, or at least stopped
eating enough calories for a healthy 13-yearold.
Suddenly there was no more teasing,
boys liked me and I was popular. By the end
of the year, the ringleader apologized in my
yearbook for all of the years he had been
mean to me. But the scars from the years
before were too deep to heal so easily. The
taunts about my weight weren’t easy to forget.

With every pound I lost, the teasing faded
and my friends became true friends – ones I
could have in and out of school. It was great to
fi nally feel accepted, but I’ll never know if the
teasing stopped because they grew out of it or
because I was slimmer. In some ways I think
it validated every hurtful whisper, rock and
cruel holiday song my bullies threw at me.

My story didn’t end in tragedy or make the
evening news, but neither do most. If I could
talk to my 12-year-old self I would tell me that
it will get better. I would make sure that I
understood that I was fi ne the way I was.

At 26, I am confi dent, happy and disorderfree.
My experience with bullying made me
a stronger person. The funny thing about
bullies is that they are usually the most
insecure of everyone. It just took me 15 years
and a great support system to realize it.

Amanda Bloye is ParentsCanada’s assistant editor and
associate web editor

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, August/September 2012.

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