House of A Writer

Welcome to my blog where I share my special needs parenting journey with my heart, truth, and love, one story at a time. ❤️

#1000Speak-Building from  Bullying 

on 21 March 2015

I’ve been through a lot in my life but you wouldn’t know it unless you read my blog, or I decided to share with you. I’ve lived my life to be a kind, honest, and caring person. I was taught to be loving and patient even when others were not. I was taught to protect the weak and vulnerable, and cheer for the underdog. I’ve learned to turn the other cheek, and push through the pain and turn it into power. 

When I became a victim of bullying it turned my world upside down. I lived in a very small community so if anyone found out you were doing things outside of this bubble you became local gossip fodder. It wasn’t like I was doing anything wrong I was hanging out with my cousin in a bigger town, going to hockey games, and dating a hockey player. When the kids in my school heard about these things it became a mission to tear me down for having a life outside of my country existence. I can’t even begin to describe what I went through day in and day out with the taunting, teasing, and bullying.

I was only thirteen and the things I had to hear, defend, and ignore about myself were devastating. There was a group of boys and they had a ring leader and he made it his mission to make my life miserable. I wasn’t ugly, mean, ignorant, or self righteous but he was. He had everyone convinced that I was gutter trash and wasn’t worth the kindness of a smile, pat on the back, or acknowledgement for any talent. I was a volleyball player and I was good at my sport. I had all these girls from my grade and one above as my team mates. But no one spoke to me except my coach and my assistant.

If my lead bully saw anyone talking to me then they would suffer his wrath as well. So no one dared incur that, and it was easier to make rude comments or ignore me completely. I still continued to play volleyball and I had a couple friends that would talk to me and be seen in public with me, that were in a grade below me. This disgusting, defeating, behaviour only occurred in my classroom. In between classes I could mix in with the swarm of other kids filling up the hallway to get to their next classes. I enjoyed that anonymity even with however brief it was.  There was this time I went to my locker before gym and had noticed that it  had been tampered with.

Someone had splashed something on it and smeared across the door was the words bitch slut! I was born and raised Catholic so I was the furthest from those derogatory terms. I opened up my locker and saw my binders had all been opened up and papers were everywhere, and my wallet was also missing. I was pissed off and I felt the hot, salty, tears run down my face. My teacher came up behind me and told me to go to the office to report it, so I did. Then I walked out to gym class and in between there and the school was a corridor and I sat there on the steps, trying to process my anger. I had my head in my hands wondering what I was going to do I was ready to cry again, when I felt I was being watched. I looked up and this girl who was a fair weather friend came up to me. She leaned over and said “I saw your locker and it’s too bad that you didn’t get your wallet back, I guess you won’t need this anymore!”

It suddenly clicked in my head that she was responsible as she was holding a picture of my boyfriend in his hockey gear. I flew across the stairs and grabbed her and started punching her in the face. I then grabbed and pushed her into a wall and started banging her face off it. She was frantically trying to fight back but I was possessed with a rage of a thousand moments of being bullied. Classes were ending and people started coming through the corridor. I was still punching and kicking and she began crying and screaming for someone to help her.

Suddenly the principal was there and he was pulling me off of her. He was shocked as well as the school secretary, who always knew me as being kind. This wasn’t the same girl who walked into the school and said good morning to all the staff. In the office, passing them in the hallway, and each of their classrooms. I had attended this school system since Kindergarten so I knew everyone very well. I had to sit in detention with the bitch/thief and she sat there with an ice pack over her eye and glared at me, as we faced each other across the room.

I still wanted to bash her face in as she looked at me smugly as our parents were called to come pick us up. My Dad was working and my Mom didn’t drive, and I refused to go anywhere with my Step Mom so I sat in the office the rest of the day. I had to write out an apology letter to my victim and I was still very angry so I remember wording it as I’m sorry you couldn’t defend yourself after you broke into my locker. I’m sorry that you were such a bitch and I had to kick your ass and I got caught. I was suspended for five days and my Mom sent me to my Grandparents so I could have a break from our community gossip circle jerk.

I welcomed it, attended church, looked after the garden, and helped my Gram with meals. She knew I wasn’t a bad kid I was just tired of being bullied. I just wanted to live my life and not hurt anyone. Enjoy seeing my boyfriend play hockey games, go to his house for homemade Italian meals while his Grandma said “mange, mange your’e too skinny.” While I was at my Grandparents I saw a lot of him. He lived not too far away and he’d walk up and meet me after school. I also went to church and asked God to forgive me for my sins, anger, and bad temper. I was taught by my parents that I didn’t start a fight, but I sure finished one if it was brought to my side of the equation. I didn’t get punished from them as I think they were surprised that their sweet, smiling, studious, daughter finally snapped. The victim that had taken the ignorance, defamation, and horrendous behaviour for a year became the bully.

This is not something I’m proud of but I’m neither ashamed. I feel compassion for that confused, hurt, pissed off, teenager I was. I learned my lesson and today I’m a stronger, capable, and confident adult. I don’t let anyone step on my feelings or crush my spirit. I know when situations and people aren’t good for me as I trust my intuition a lot more. Now knowing my own child had to experience being teased, hit, and bullied, has ignited the fire of that child I was. I’ve advocated with the office administration, his teacher, and have even reprimanded his bully. I will not let the sins of the Mother, visit the son.

I teach both of my son’s to stand up for themselves, don’t instigate the fight, but definitely protect themselves. Now in the school system students use the W.I.T.S. program. The acronym stands for walk away, ignore, talk to someone, seek help. Since my son has been playing hockey he’s more confident in himself. And no one gets away with hitting him, teasing him, or bullying him. I will be that parent on the playground watching and waiting and he knows that I have his back always. My cup of compassion runs over with my children, and I am that Mama bear protecting my cubs. But my patience bucket is empty when it comes to bullies, their lack of intelligence, their own self hatred, and fear of not measuring up in society. So I pass down the golden wisdom to my kids that my beloved Mama would always say to me, “love many, trust few, and always paddle your own canoe.” I’m spending more of my time doing this. It’s so easy to get wrapped up into who we were in the past. The true courage is surviving that, and thriving with that knowledge in the present. ❤️

26 Responses to “#1000Speak-Building from  Bullying ”

  1. 80smetalman says:

    Excellent post Jeanine! I had similar experiences and am totally able to sympathize with you. It wasn’t surprising that you were only retaliating and got caught. That used to happen to me and it led to me being the one getting in trouble, especially when my tormentor’s co-conspirators twisted things around to say that I had started it all. It’s also great to see how well you came through it and had such support mechanisms.

    • jsackmom says:

      Oh Mike thank you so much for reading!!! I really, really, struggled with writing this one!!! I went back there in my head and it’s still painful after all these years. Even if those words exist only in my memories. It scares me how much I enjoyed that fight in high school. I pray that I will start to heal from the bondage of pain from my past, with each story I write. I’m so sorry that you had to incur this type of wrath as well. You and I dear friend, are kindred souls. ❤️

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this. I know it couldn’t have been easy to revisit a time that was so horrible for you. I feel sad for you that you had to go through that but part of me feels even more sad for the people who did that to you. Because either they changed and came around and have to live with that guilt for the rest of their lives, or they didn’t change and that means they have to live their life as a horrible person.

    You are a wonderful person and I’m glad that going through this didn’t change you and harden you. Your boys are lucky to have you. xo

    • jsackmom says:

      Oh Tracy thank you for your beautiful compliment. I haven’t seen any of those people from my past in a very long time. I really have tried to learn from this experience to empower and make me stronger. I thank you so much for reading and commenting. I think you rock Tracy on the rocks. ❤️

  3. I don’t fit into to today’s standards when it comes to this subject but make no apologies. I hated the era of “everyone is a winner’ where everyone got a trophie, winners and losers. I believe one team wins and should be taught to win with pride and dignity. One team loses and they lose with dignity and respect for the winner. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and children need to be taught how to do both gracefully. Only one team wins! When it came to bullying, I was bullied but so painfully introverted just took it. There was no awareness of it then, it was part of growing up. When it came time for my kids, two boys and a stepdaughter, I told them to try and sluff it off but if it continued to kick some serious ass. This happens in all of nature, it is survival of the fittest and although it is on a different scale, I believe strongly you have got to stand up foryourself at some point as you did and I wouldn’t feel guilty or ask forgiveness for it for a second. My kids learned to fend for themselves without running to adults for help but again, this was before Internet bullying and cell phones, Youtube and all the other things that exaerbate and fuel these situations. If I were raising kids today, I would tell them the same thing. Try your best to walk away, if they follow and taunt, kick their ignorannt ass so maybe they will stop! Great post and I for one am glad you kicked some ass!! <3

    • jsackmom says:

      Awe thank you Lassie I agree with your view points on everyone being a winner. I think valuing the work ethic to get the ribbon or trophies was what made it worth it. Now kids get a green ribbon just for showing up and participating! I took as much as I could handle in high school and then I lost it. All rational thought, remorse, guilt, and public decorum. It scared me how much I liked that power, yet at the same time I knew it’s what I had to do. My Dad was proud I didn’t take anymore crap from anyone. I think it’s harder today because of the social media and Internet stalking with cyber bullying. Even when kids want down time and zone out on Facebook they can’t if they’re bullied. I advocate very strongly and I know my son would never hit anyone, but I told him if someone is in your space and face push them out of it. Sometimes all it takes is for that one instance to stand up in your own power, and take it back to make all the difference. I’m glad I did it, and I would still make that choice again if pushed to it. ?

  4. Nyree says:

    This is such a emotional story. You reached deep and I appreciate the fact that you told the truth. I know you and I know you would never hurt anyone intentionally. I also can’t believe someone would ever bully you. One of the kindest most gentle people I have ever known. Hugs

    • jsackmom says:

      Oh Nyree you’re so wonderful to me!!! It was a traumatic time in my life and I just snapped. That’s not me anymore, I have outlets that help, and I don’t have to raise my hand to defend myself. Knowledge is power and maturity is a gift. Love you my darling. ?

  5. Diane Cherney says:

    OMG. Jeanine I’ve known you for 25 yrs. I’ve only known you to be a kind, loving compassionate, funny, caring woman. I can only imagine what kind of bullying you received from those bullies at school. For you to become that person with so much anger and hate. I am so happy for you to be able to put that part of your life behind you and move on to live a life full of love with your beautiful family. I am also happy that it did not change who you really are deep within. Love xoxo.

    • jsackmom says:

      Oh Diane, thank you so much that’s who I’ve always tried to be; someone my parents could be proud of. I’ve made mistakes and that was a very dark time in my life. It was the worst experience a child could ever go through. And honestly I didn’t even write about all of it. The best thing I did was leave the school and start a new life and become a stronger, new me. Thank you for reading and for always loving and supporting me for who I am. ?

  6. Jeanine, this broke my heart reading it. Usually, I don’t condone any type of violence but… I completely understand where you were and why you lost it on that girl. What happened to you was plain wrong and a person can only take so much before breaking. No one should have to go to school and face that kind of meanness, and cruelty… and basic jealousy. You wrote this wonderfully. And I wish all schools would implement this W.I.T.S. program you have written about. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    • jsackmom says:

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting Rachel!!! I hit my breaking point and was so tired of the constant bullying and intimidation. I only had two teachers that would support me and one let me skip her class and do my homework in the library. It explains to this day why libraries are my comfort zones. I can always be friends with my books. ?❤️?

      • I swear we are soul sisters somehow. Books and libraries have always been more of a home to me. And you are so welcome. This was truly powerful.

        • jsackmom says:

          Yes we are, it’s not easy to find people to be part of your tribe. Here we are connecting through our love of books and libraries. Thank you so much for your kindness. ?

  7. I’m so glad you spoke your mind about this. It’s such a huge problem nowadays, especially with the rise of social media, and it honestly scares me to death thinking about my children dealing with it someday. I’m also glad you said your piece about your kids standing up for themselves; it seems it’s often en vogue now to just waffle in the face of a bully instead of defending yourself (or the ones you care about.) I will also teach my boys to stand up to bullies and, if they inherit my husband’s sharp tongue and quick wit, hopefully they’ll be able to outwit a bully before they have to resort to physical violence. I’m sorry you went through this, but it seems like you are a much stronger woman because of it and can help your kids if they should ever need your wisdom on this subject. xoxo

  8. Oh how I was cheering you on while reading how you beat up that wretched, wicked, evil bitch. I was bullied too and I had a lot of pent up rage during those years. I used to defend myself and fight back verbally which only made my bullies laugh harder at me. I remember one of them threw chocolate milk in my hair in 7th grade. I chased her all over the playground, trying to throw my milk at her. As the bell rang, I got her slightly in the back, but not like she had gotten me. Yet, she went and told on me and I was the one who got in trouble! UGH! I was at catholic school and I was the biggest goody-two-shoes in the whole grade! I went to the bathroom and cried my eyes out, as I tried to wash the sticky, chocolate milk out of my hair. During my Senior year of HS, I went to a public school for the first time and there was this weasel of a guy who for some reason had it out for me. One day, I got so fed up with his trash-talking that I pushed him up against the lockers, held him by the collar and threatened to kick his ass the next time he bothered me. (he was a very small guy. haha!) Anyway, he left me alone after that. I’m like you – extra protective of my kids for fear they might be bullied. Thanks so much for your raw, honest, story. I love this: “I’ve learned to turn the other cheek, and push through the pain and turn it into power.” It makes me feel like I’ve found my kindred spirit. 🙂

  9. […] ran here, Jeanine’s piece is a powerful story of her standing up for herself as a child. The […]

  10. So often I think we see people who are bullied take and take and take the abuse until one day they just snap, like you describe here. And then everyone is surprised. The problem, is, if the bullied don’t speak out (which is SO very hard) how would anyone know? The WITS approach you talked about is very smart and I want to hang onto that for future reference. Probably a good approach to many things in life!

    • jsackmom says:

      Thank you so much for reading Lisa. Yes that’s exactly what happened. I had teachers that witnessed it and either turned a blind eye or death ear. I did hear “well that’s enough” and I also heard cruel laughter from a teacher as well. As I became the butt of everyone’s joke. That only spurred my bully onto his grandiose hierarchy over my classroom. The W.I.T.S. Program works when everyone is involved. The student, the bully, the teachers, and support staff. When it’s used as a tool to help the victim it’s a beacon of light. If bullies aren’t reprimanded, disciplined appropriately for their age and behavior, and deprogrammed from inflicting their hate; they just become better bullies who grow up to be adults who bully in their work and home life. I advocate very strongly for my son so he doesn’t have to feel victimized like I did. ❤️

      • You’re doing it right! So much truth in what you say here. Bullies end up everywhere.

        • jsackmom says:

          Thank you Lisa, they sure do. Even in medical professions where I stood toe to toe with one yesterday and said “no, you will not talk to me like I’m unintelligent and beneath you!” She quickly realized I’m not a woman that gets intimidated by anyone in a white Dr’s coat. ?

  11. Joe Feldman says:

    Bullying survey invitation: This year’s presidential primaries have subjected us to unprecedented incivility as well as behavior widely described as bullying. Please weigh in on the broader implications of this high-profile bullying on adults, teens and children.

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