My experience of bullying
I’m Kate and I volunteer for The Mix. What follows is my story of being bullied and my advice for you, which I hope it is helpful for anyone reading.
Bullying at school
My experience of bullying started when I was young in school, I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t being bullied. I think it started because I was different and other children could tell. It got a lot worse when a new boy joined in Year 1. A boy identified me as his target and bullied other children unless they bullied me meaning most people bullied me.
Bullying at primary school
At this stage it was mainly physical, I was punched, hit, kicked or had fingers stuck in my ribs from behind. I remember being covered in bruises and needing to get used to the pain they caused me. I didn’t hide this, everyone could see the bruises and I tried getting help from teachers for it but without success. This didn’t bother me, I enjoyed the attention I was getting from others and it filled up the long break times. I don’t remember any negative feelings at this stage, only being positive and able to deal with it.
Despite this, the issue went to the head teacher, who said they’d get parents involved, yet nothing changed. When I was leaving the school I found out the teachers were scared of the boy who started it and therefore told me they were doing things but never did. This lie made me so angry but all I could do was try and move on, I can’t change the past.
Bullying at secondary school
When I moved to secondary school I got some support from the Anti Bullying Coordinators (ABC’s) and the boy who started it went to different school so I hoped that would make the bullying end. But it didn’t. By then there were too many other people bullying me who also got more and more people to do it. Having more people involved also made it more severe and instead of only physical it became verbal and emotional too.
I don’t want to list the things they said to me, but it wasn’t just saying things, it was actions too like taking my clothing from the changing room while I was in PE. I worked with the ABC’s and kept diaries of everything said or done which helped me communicate it and got me support to talk about it. But the diaries also showed there were too many people involved for things to be done.
I was advised to go to the library at breaks as there are staff in there, however there are also tall shelves so hidden behind those I was still bullied physically. I think I could have moved schools but that felt like running away and that they would ‘win’ if I did so I stayed. I liked collecting positive quotes and found they helped me a lot.
Later I found out I was being cyber bullied too. I didn’t know for a long time there was an online group set up where people posted what they did to me; it was like a competition of who could do the worst thing to me. The bullies also found some family photos on a website my dad created and had edited many of them to use in their ‘bullying competition group’. This made me search for help online and in 2010 I joined a website that at that time was called CyberMentors.
Support for cyber bullying
The support I got on there was amazing and after a while I became trained to help other young people coming to the site like I did. Unfortunately it closed in 2014, but through the time it was open I had some unforgettable opportunities. It made me feel good to be able to use my experience to help others, which made the bullying a good thing. I did all these things the bullies never did, and all because they bullied me.
Action against bullies
At the second college I went to they supported me more and took action against the bullies as I was self-harming a lot by then. The bullying there was on the college bus and they stopped the bullies using the bus service next year, even when I left that year. That felt amazing because finally someone did something and I could go to university with some confidence in who I am.
The long-term impact of bullying
Uni was difficult for other reasons too but, I found the bullying affecting me more than it ever did. I’m scared of libraries and won’t go in alone, I can only sit in front of a wall where I know no-one can get behind me, I avoid social media and miss out and I hear the voices of the bullies which has resulted in me struggling to eat. It’s far too late for me to be able to change all the bullying that happened to me, and I’m still trying to deal with the long term effects of it.
I don’t blame those who bullied me, or myself and those who didn’t help for how I am now because it’s much more complex than that. But I know I am the way I am now because of it and I don’t want that to change, so I keep remembering the good experiences and I’ve still got and my positive quotes.
I think my biggest message to anyone being bullied is it’s not you who has the problem but the bullies, so don’t do what they want. After that, the first step is do everything you can to stop it quickly, because if you can stop it then it shouldn’t become as bad as it did for me. Although, if you can’t stop it, don’t give up. I would say you can get through it, if I can get through everything I did then so can you; know it won’t last forever. Finally, remember that you are not alone; it may feel like you’re the only person going through it and that no-one can help, but even just telling someone and talking about it can help more than you may realise.
Get support for bullying
If you’re experiencing bullying, or you think you might be taking part in bullying behaviour, know that we’re here to support you. You can find lots of tips and information on bullying here. You can also get in touch with our support team who are there to listen and to talk about any issue.
Read our guide on how to get support for bullying at school.
- BullyingUK offers advice and support to victims of bullying. Call on 0808 800 2222.
- If you're under 25 and would like free confidential telephone counselling from The Mix to help you figure things out complete this form and we'll call you to arrange your first session.
- Our Crisis Messenger provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK. If you’re aged 25 or under, you can text THEMIX to 85258
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By Holly Turner
Updated on 29-Jan-2021
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