It’s an age old problem…the strong picking on the weak. It’s called bullying and it results in wounded spirits. We all agree it’s wrong to heckle, harass, torment, mock, hit, punch, name call…bully another human being. We make commercials about bullying, we write books about bullying, and we even seek Dr. Phil’s advice on how to stop bullying, yet it continues. It happens in all circles, none are exempt.
One of the following names: persecutor, tormentor, hector, browbeater, antagonizer, or intimidator might be a more appropriate name for a bully, after all, these are the very things bullies do–persecute, torment, heckle, browbeat, antagonize, and intimidate. They wound the souls of their victims. According to http://www.dictionary.com a victim is a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency.
Bullying is not fun and games, even if the one who does the bullying thinks it is. Bullying results in suffering caused by another’s destructive, injurious actions.
Pain inflicted over and over, with no end in sight, produces a wounded spirit and this is exactly what happens when someone is being bullied.
As a young girl I was bullied, although I realize this doesn’t make me an expect on the subject; I do believe I can shed some light on how it feels to be bullied. I was a very shy, bashful child and I found it difficult to speak up for myself. Therefore, my only defense was to try and stay away from bullies which was nearly impossible to do.
My brother and I were the last two children to be picked up on our bus route before being dropped off at school–the bus was always packed. There was never an empty seat and the other children wouldn’t let us sit with them. When we would sit down in someone’s seat they would use their feet to kick us out onto the floor. The bus driver would get mad if we were standing up when the bus was moving, therefore we were forced to sit on the very edge of the seat almost standing up in order to keep both parties happy. They weren’t satisfied to just push us into the bus floor they also enjoyed calling us names. My mother would call the school and complain about how we were treated on the bus, but neither the bus driver or the school would do anything to address the problem.
The school bus wasn’t the only place I experienced bullying. I had difficulty learning to read and had to repeat the third grade–you can read more about this here. This brought on a whole new group of teasing and taunting children. I remember one boy who would wait outside at recess and punch me when I came out to play–I never understood why he felt the need to hit me other than he just didn’t like me.
Children do not have the resources to stop bullying on their own–they need the help of adults. When you send children to school and they experience bullying and no one does anything to stop it they feel helpless and their spirits become wounded. They have to go to school, therefore they have to endure bullying. When school officials know that bullying is going on and choose to do nothing they are part of the problem–they are guilty of allowing the behavior to continue. Parents need to help their children with bullying. Telling them to ignore the behavior or say something like, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me,” doesn’t help! Name calling does hurt. Parents need to speak up for their children, be proactive, and do whatever it takes to get their child away from bullying.
I’m not writing this post because of what happened to me; I’m writing this post for all those who are still being bullied. I’m writing this post because the cycle is continuous and it needs to stop. I’m writing this post because my children have been affected by bullying.
One of my children had a best friend for years (they even got each other best friend’s forever necklaces). They became friends when they were about six or seven year’s old. They have spent countless hours together–at church, at each others home, sleep-overs, birthday parties, etc. At about the age of eleven things started to change–their friend began ignoring them. The ignoring continued and progressed to point of not even acknowledging my child’s existence–refusing to even say hello. We all attend the same church which complicates things even more.
I’ve witnessed my child’s heart broken into many pieces over the last several years. It hurts to be rejected. It breaks a mother’s heart to see her child in pain. I’ve counseled my child–trying to explain that its not their fault, that people just grow apart, and that sometimes people choose to be unkind. How does anyone explain why someone chooses to hurt another person? We’ve done what we can to help this child to not be hurt further.
My two girls had three parakeets. My youngest had a little yellow parakeet named Tweety. It was mild mannered, would sit on your finger, and was just an all around good bird. The other two birds were constantly picking on this little bird. One morning we found the yellow bird in the bottom of the cage not looking well at all–we found feathers stuck to cage, evidence that the other birds had been up to no good. We tried to nurse the little bird back to health. Unfortunately there was nothing we could do to help–the bird died. When you hear your youngest wail, “He’s Dead!” Followed by uncontrollable heartbreaking sobs it breaks a mothers heart. I’m convinced that the other bird’s bullying killed that bird.
Bullying results in wounded spirits. Sometimes when someones spirit is wounded they do things that they normally wouldn’t do–like hurt themselves or someone else. I’m not saying they should, but when someone feels beaten down, trapped, and unable to stop torment we just don’t know what they might do.
We need to stop bullying and those who bully need to take responsibility for their part in creating wounded spirits.