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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 July, 2004, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
A bullying victim speaks
More than half of school children say bullying is a problem. The government has promised to set up a network of experts across England to deal with it.

Here, a 50-year-old woman who was bullied throughout her school days talks about the effect she believes it has had on her life.

I hated school from the moment I set foot into it to the day I left. I was a bag of nerves, I think.

The primary/junior school I attended was rife with petty snobbery and my family didn't measure up socially. My parents were also older, which marked me out for bullying, both physical and verbal.

I was often absent with tummy bugs (genuine vomiting etc) but now I attribute many of those attacks to sheer nerves. It didn't help when teachers, too, bullied pupils.

I wasn't bright but neither was I stupid. My parents had no idea what was going on, really. They were of that generation that left school at the age of 13 or 14 and you learned what you could.

Unable to trust people

I failed my 11-plus exam and ended up at a "bog standard" secondary modern which took children from the poorer districts. Because I was "posh" I went through the mill, mainly verbal abuse this time.

I did try to discuss it with my mother but she always seemed to want to blame me for provoking it - had I done or said something untoward? I was desperately unhappy and can say that I had no friends whatsoever during that time and I have made no real friends since because I can't trust people.

I have never discussed this with anyone because I have never known anyone I could trust who wouldn't 'tell on me'

Things eased towards the end of my schooling because I suppose we just grew up and the real bullies all left school as soon as they could. The rest of us were too busy studying for exams to bully.

As a consequence of this, I have become very hard-hearted and cold towards people.

I am also very independent and rarely if ever ask anyone for help with anything and, possibly, I am even a little paranoid.

Depression

My self-esteem and confidence are very low, although I've never had real problems finding employment.

I've never had children because I felt I wouldn't be able to look after them properly and I am a "depressed" person. Nothing really matters any more.

I have never discussed this with anyone because I have never known anyone I could trust who wouldn't "tell on me", so to speak. Isn't that awful?

I have encountered bullying in the workplace, in various forms, but somehow I have managed to cope with it. As I have grown older, I have found it easier to deal with the morons who try and wreck others' lives.

I believe bullying is based partly on jealousy, partly on brazenness (the bully is the one who lacks true confidence), bravado before peers, fear of someone who is a bit different from the norm, copying adult behaviour at home, but it doesn't make it right.

The bully is often not the one who is top of the class; often it's the opposite. Those who are bright and confident, I have found, don't need to bully.

I bullied people, too, at times. There was always someone worse off than you. Perhaps I was taking my anger out on them. I never hit or punched anyone but there were times when I did my share of name calling but it wasn't very often.

The odd things about bullying between children is that is often seems to start within the group itself, one friend sides with another, one gets singled out, they all fall out with each other and then take sides (is this the pack animal within all our selves?).

In which case, is bullying normal, part of growing up, part of working out who is going to lead and who is going to do the washing up?


SEE ALSO:
National network to fight bullies
15 Jul 04  |  Education
All schools 'need a counsellor'
01 Dec 03  |  Education
Can bullying be beaten?
06 Jun 03  |  Education


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