Bullying – At School

And so the A-Z memoirs continue! A few weeks ago I wrote about how, as children, we try to figure out what is sociably acceptable and how to fit in with our peers. Bullying at school is one of the biggest issues we face today as a society, and with the growing number of methods such as social media used to target youngsters, it is more difficult than ever to find a place to feel safe and protected.

I did not fit in at school (who did right?). But while most non-popular kids blended into the background as part of a defence tactic, I somehow managed to make myself an easy target.

I may have been ridiculously shy, awkward, insecure and anxious, but I was argumentative and stubborn in my beliefs to go with it. Answering back to those who I felt were treating others unfairly, be it to me or someone else, was not ok for someone on my (un)popularity scale. If I heard or saw something I didn’t agree with, I would speak up.

But I had none of the vocabulary to do so eloquently, or even convincingly, and often I wished I had just kept my mouth shut, as I eventually got cut down to size and bullied into submission by those more assured than myself.

Sticking up for yourself and others is a wonderful quality to have if you’re a confident, popular school girl who knew what to wear or who the latest pop stars are. It is even powerful if you have a posse of people looking at you as the be all and end all of ultimate ‘cool’.

But that wasn’t me. I listened to country music, Celine Dion and The Beatles, wore clothes that were practical instead of ‘in’ and never knew the right thing to say. The friends I did have would often desert me in favour of the popular kids if they had the chance. It was hurtful, but I understood. Who wouldn’t prefer to hang out with them instead of me?

I also had a temper. Through the violence I witnessed because of the alcohol abuse at home, I started to act out aggressively.

An aggressive, shy, little blonde German; I definitely made myself an easy target, especially when I would eventually back down and start crying. Sensitive and antagonistic is not a good combination! The problem was, and is I’m sure for many, that I didn’t know who I was, so I couldn’t be myself with any certainty. I would read books and try to identify with the women in the stories. I’d think ‘I’ll be like her’. Desperate to figure out my place in the world and to be liked for who I was, who ever that was, was a struggle and a huge weight on my young anxious mind.

As the years went on, my anxiety worsened. I felt more like a freak as I assumed my unpopularity was down to me being unlikable. I didn’t blame anyone for not wanting to be around me. I started to get stomach aches from excess acid created from my anxiety. These were treated with milk of magnesium tablets. Like a plaster put over a reoccurring wound, the cause wasn’t deemed as important.

I was a child and this was just part of growing up. I’d get over it like all other children do.

Of course my mother and family did all they could to help boost my confidence, but those voices in your head only get louder the more they are reaffirmed by the actions and words of your peers.

Me on my first day of school. In Germany you get a cone called a Schultüte - a big cardboard cone, prettily decorated and filled with toys, chocolate, candies, school stuff.

Me on my first day of school. In Germany you get a cone called a Schultüte – a big cardboard cone, prettily decorated and filled with toys, chocolate, candies, school stuff.

School was always an issue for me. I never fit in, and it took me early 30 years to figure out that this was a blessing, not a curse. But while there were times and events happening at school that made my life difficult, it was nothing compared to Pony Club (yes, I went to Pony Club!)

To find out what happened and why during times that should have been the making of my career as a horse-woman, were some of the worst of my life, check in for my next post.

6 thoughts on “Bullying – At School

  1. Pingback: The A-Z Of My Life Experiences | The Unmarked Road

  2. Hi Dani, what’s Pony Club lol? Anyways, yea I can relate a lot to what you wrote here, I got bullied around a lot, from elementary to high school, in 3-4 different schools I went to. I think that it may have something to do with the fact that people feel threatened by you, maybe they feel insecure/inferior somehow and so they act out by bullying to feel better about themselves. Maybe there are other reasons as well, anyways I just felt like sharing/writing something here. Hope you’re doing well, later 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting you say that as that’s exactly what my next post on bullying will be about. Lol Pony Club is something in the UK, like an organisation for you and your horse – I was part of the Wiltshire Pony Club for example. You compete against other clubs in gymkhanas etc. Best years of my life! Such fun 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I never fitted in at any school I went to: the only German girl in an African and then an American school in Kenya, later the girl in a German school who had been brought up in Africa and everyone knew we still swung from tree branches like monkeys, of course (why I ever thought I would be popular having had such a wonderful childhood I will never know), and I was always different. I loved horses not clothes, the boy I liked never made a move (he told me 12 years later he’d been in love with me only too shy to say so, but by then the damage had been done, I was sure that I was ugly and unattractive to boys), and like Dani, I was stubborn and not afraid to speak my mind. I was taller and stronger, though, and had an unbelievably massive amount of anger inside me due to the physical (my mother) and mental (my father) abuse I suffered from the age of 6 months old. This anger helped me fight anyone who tried to bully me, and I mean real physical fights – I have never figured out why I was not thrown out of at least half a dozen schools – and through that I gained respect and even a kind of grudging friendship in my class (at least before we went into the course system of the German equivalent of A-levels and my class mates who had become my family were scattered in different class rooms all over the school). So I was never seriously bullied – no, the correct way to say this is: I was never bullied, any attempts on that score ended in tears, just not in mine! I already knew I was a person who was bad (if you get thrashed for no reasons at all from a very early age, because your parents are taking their frustrations at each other out on a defenseless child, you grow up thinking that you must be bad by nature), so I didn’t expect friendship but I wasn’t going to let anyone make me even more miserable than I already was.

    After I read Dani’s post today, even now I would have liked to go to each of her tormentors, all po-faced grown-ups now who think they are innocent and wonderful people, and a beat the living daylights out of each and every one of them for causing that loving, beautiful and talented girl so much pain. We did not know and I was in hospital when the worst happened, the schools didn’t care and blamed Dani, and when we DID get her out of a potentially bad situation (school, etc) the damage had already been done. Even the most loving and sensitive, caring parents in the world are helpless in the face of so much jealousy, hatred and love of hurting others. The bullies were damaged as well, I agree, only weak people who themselves have been hurt take out their pain in others, but that they did it to my daughter makes me want to go out there and wreak vengeance. Not a good idea, and I won’t do it, but it hurts me to the quick just to imagine how my kind, unselfish and bright daughter was punished for just those caring characteristics she has. And I was not there to help her. We think we can do better with our own children than our parents do with us but at the end of the day there are so many ways to crush a person that we fail in the same way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I only had 1 friend and I was fine with that. She never dumped me for popular kids.
    Seriously, I don’t know why some kids bully and some others don’t but it shows everyone is different and handles things differently. Still wish people would stop being so douchy though. -_-

    Liked by 1 person

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