Why Do Some Get Bullied and Others Don’t

Question on humanWhy does it seem that the majority of those abused at home as children are abused and bullied outside the  home too? I’m not talking about later in life when we’re drawn to those who abuse us or some who were abused as kids become abusers themselves. I’m talking about when we’re still kids being beaten up in every way imaginable made to feel like we don’t matter because we’re dismissed, at home, only to go out into the world and be bullied by others.

I remember being called a cry baby by a few other kids when I’d cry in kindergarten . These were probably the kids eating paste, but they weren’t crying and they were laughing at those who were, so they must be cool. I was 4 when I started kindergarten.

Later, I remember being made fun of because I wasn’t good at kick ball in gym class. I was among the last picked for teams and never chosen as a team captain. In elementary school and middle school age, I was a blundering idiot AT school, because I was always nervous about getting the wrong answer, not doing well at whatever it was. My self confidence was really shaky.  The boys had a nickname for me that depicted stupid-ness. (I know ‘stupid-ness isn’t a word.) So every time they called me the name it was the same as calling me stupid. The boys thought it was hilarious. No one stood up for me. Not even teachers.

In my school (a Catholic school) it was ‘cool’ to be smart. It was not cool to be one of the kids called on and not be paying attention.

It was not cool to be getting  Ds.

In the public school system that didn’t matter all that much in the realm of bullying. If you were too “brainy” you’d get made fun of. But it didn’t work that way on the opposite end of the spectrum.

I don’t know every detail of the dynamic is public elementary school or even junior high because I went to Catholic school until the end of 9th grade. But I knew public school kids and most of my friends were public school kids from my neighborhood.

The only good thing about Catholic school was all the days off we had. I did have a couple friends in school. But one of those ‘friends’ actually bullied me a few times. Her name was Donna.

I used to walk to school in first grade and Donna’s house was on the way so I’d stop and knock on her door for someone to walk with. Many times, she and her older brother would have left already. I found out many years later, by Donna herself, that they used to try to get out of the house before I showed up.  And when they were there, her brother Steve would bring scary masks to school and put them on to scare me. Then they’d both run ahead of me and laugh. I don’t know or remember if I was scared of the masks. I was a huge fan of Halloween. But I would cry. And I think it had more to do with the girl I wanted to like me, running away, laughing and making fun of me.

But I kept going back for more.

The nun I had in first grade was physically abusive so I was terrified of her. I was paralyzed really. If I did my homework I was afraid she’d find something wrong with it. If I didn’t, I was guaranteed a hair or an ear pull.

I was bullied in the neighborhood I lived in, particularly early on after moving there. Two girls, one of which I had taken to and thought of as a friend, rode their bikes up past my house one day while I was out front of my house. I was actually pulling weeds for my mother. I remember feeling like I’d offered myself up on a platter. I mean, how much better (or worse for me) could that timing be. And what were the odds really of them being around to do such a thing.

When I was 12, I became friends with a girl named Lisa, who’d moved recently a couple blocks over from me. She’d already lived in my town before that, went to the public school and had been friends with someone in my neighborhood. And that’s how I met her.

After we’d been friends for a while, I introduced her to Donna…yes I stayed friends with one of my bullies.

{In fact one of the girls on her bike I wrote about above is on my friend list on FB. It’s twisted. This topic is a post or three all on their own. “What bullies and abusers of mine I stayed friends with just to be liked.” Ugh…it makes me sick.}

After Lisa and Donna met each other, they apparently became closer behind the scenes and likely talked shit about me behind my back. I was later bullied by the two of them, basically just for fun. That’s a story on it’s own with some telling detail about my mother too, so that’s another post. In fact I wrote about it before so I’ll have to find it.

Rewind back to being younger and playing with the kids in the neighborhood. Despite the bullies on their bikes, that shit calmed down. In fact after that incident they left me alone. In fact they told me in the midst of calling me nasty names that one of the girls, Annie, wanted me to leave her alone.

I was like, “Done!” Just leave me the fuck alone.

As time went on, I met other kids. And there was a long common driveway for the houses that some of those kids lived in, including one of the bullies on the bike, named Ginny. I even became friends with the other three kids in her family. Ha!

I am using ‘friend’ quite loosely here because in actuality these people would not qualify for the meaning of friend now that I know better. But at least they weren’t beating me up or calling me nasty names.

In the summer time and when the weather and sun permitted after school, we’d play kick ball or four square in that long driveway, otherwise known as the alley on 6th street. We had to distinguish it because there was an ‘alley’ behind the houses we lived in too.

As opposed to how I felt and behaved in gym class in school though,  I kicked ass in kickball and four square in the neighborhood. I was so good that people did want me on their team.

Basketball was a different story though. There were two nets in the neighborhood and it was an unspoken thing that even though they belonged to other families, anyone could use them.

I sucked at B-ball no matter where I played it. But I tried anyway, and was even on the team for my school for like a year, maybe two.  For some reason I enjoyed it. But in the neighborhood, I put up with the bullying from the boys who played regularly.  They really made fun of me.

There was a net at the end of our alley and a net at the end of the alley on 6th. The one in our alley was easier because it was shorter. The other one was not much fun because of how tall it was. Plus the part of the alley it was in, behind this guy’s house, was all jagged so the ball would bounce all wonky much more than when playing at the other net.

Thing was, though, the taller net was usually free of bullying…most of the time.

So back to my question…what is it about those abused at home that also get abused out among their activities in life?

Do these other kids sense that we can easily be bullied? Do they see a sign on our foreheads that says, “Bully me, I won’t defend myself? And then I’ll still want you to be my friend anyway.”

Besides most of the kids doing the bullying don’t care if we try to defend ourselves anyway, because even if we were to defend ourselves, the kids doing the bullying are generally a whole lot bigger. But they don’t pick on every single child who’s smaller than them, just a select few. And there is no way every single bully can know first hand the kids’ lives at home whom they are bullying.

Do bullies… even the ones who don’t know us, see an aura when they see us, even if all we’re doing is walking down the street, weeding the front lawn for our mom or sitting in an ice cream shop, eating an ice cream cone?

What the fuck is the damn deal?


Drumming In The Mean

Mean Boyfriend“These aren’t your people you know. I’ve known Steve since high school.”

Said by Tim, a guy I called boyfriend at certain times in my life. He made this proclamation many years ago while at a house party of a couple who were specifically my friends.

Scotty, the male part of the couple hosting of the party had been a year ahead of me in high school and we’d spent time together, platonically, doing things outside of school. Lisa, the female part of the couple, and I were in the same graduating class together but didn’t know each too well then. I had gotten to know her quite well and really like her, in the last couple years prior to this party.

I’m sure this statement of my boyfriend’s came from jealousy. Not exactly sure why he’d be jealous, since he had his own close knit set of friends who actually loved him very much. Obviously he didn’t like seeing me so happy, so comfortable, so content.

I remember how much of a shock it felt like when he’d said it, but like most other things he said, that were equally as abusive, I let it go…at least outwardly toward him. Obviously I didn’t truly let it go, given that I’m writing about it now.

I stayed friends with the lot of the folks who’d been at that party for a long time, including the guy my boyfriend so arrogantly announced knowing since high school. Tim had also made a point to let me know that he and I didn’t “travel in the same circles” right after telling me about knowing Steve from school.

The attitude it was said with was that of self-importance and as though he was better than me and his circles were better to travel in than mine were. I was left feeling like I was missing something every time he’d say it.

Well, given the fun I had, despite much of it being through the fog of marijuana and alcohol, I enjoyed my circles.  At the time I thought I wanted him to be a part of those circles, but I think I had more fun with my circles of friends in part because probably he wasn’t there when I was with them most of the time.

And Steve? The man whom my boyfriend made a point to let me know wasn’t “my people?”

Well he and I had many mutual friends and I made even more friends through him. A whole bunch of people I knew camped twice a year at a festival that was by invitation only. Steve was always there. One of the fun things people there did, was have drum circles around fire pits when the amplified music/bands were done playing for the night.

Steve had a djembe that I loved and would borrow for drum circles when he wasn’t using it. I’d call him ‘one of my people’ considering he trusted me enough with a prized and expensive possession of his.


So Tim…you were saying?