October 13, 2010

more thoughts on bullying ...

Earlier this year, I was inspired by an encounter with a "mean girls clique" on my kids' schoolyard (adults! not kids!) to blog about the lingering affects of being bullied as a child.  In this modern-day event I managed to sidestep the worst of it and, by not asking others to take sides, I think I came away looking pretty classy and very strong.  What a difference from my former life as a victim ...

Since that time, the woman who bullied me when we were children read and commented on my blog.  For a long time, I don't think Christine was aware of my existence in the blogosphere (or on FB) as I use my married name exclusively.  Funny, though, of everybody from my younger life, Christine is the one person who had the exact right links with a mutual friends that led her to my musings.  What are the chances?

Although I didn't identify her by name, Christine recognised herself immediately and the post blew her away.  According to a(nother) mutual friend -- the one mentioned in the post -- she had no idea my experience had been as horrible as it had been.

You know, in retrospect my post seems mean.  When I found out that she'd read it (her comment was awaiting moderation), I immediately re-read my own muttering from a new perspective.  In the few months since I first blogged about her, I came to the conclusion that I was over her, and done with being bullied altogether. 

Now I feel embarrassed by my own lack of charity, by how judgmental I remain.  As an "evolved" adult, I get that we all come into our own by way of our experiences and our actions to heal our wounds.  I don't think that people who have rich sex lives are less moral than I, given my traditional choices.  I even envy people that seem more open to life's experiences.  And yet, for the purpose of a writing exercise, I went for the cheap kill.

Really, how is that kind of writing anything but bullying?  I regularly, daily even, question my own real life behaviours that look like bullying exactly because of my past.  The last thing I want to do to my children (or anyone) is to visit upon them the sins of others in my past.

And yet, in that simple post, I insulted the childhood of another.  Regardless of how I felt when she was bullying me, I always knew that Christine was as much if not more miserable than I.

I'm not sure where I am going with this, but I know it requires further action and discussion.  Stay tuned.


  1. Interesting post!
    I don't see blog post like that as bullying - naming names on FB is another matter but you didn't do that.
    It is great that you have been able to forgive now - I have sone that I can and some that I can't forgive, regardless of circumstances.
    Looking forward to more!

  2. **this comment from JC at chicagochronicles.blogspot.com/**

    The hardest thing about bully children is that they often have no capacity to understand the extent of the power they have to leave lingering damage. I was not horribly bullied as a child (unlike my sister, whose developmental issues made her a larger target of cruelty), but I was regularly bullied by a couple of boys and one girl who insisted she wanted to beat me up. I've thought about them over the years, and I wish I could meet them all today, not to ask for an apology or to have my day in court now that I'm no longer a cripplingly self-conscious child; rather, I want to meet them to see how our adulthood might let us be friends, to have an older, less pleasant memory of them be replaced by a kinder, gentler new one. To allow them to be something more complex and layered than just mean kids. As with your Christine, I'm sure that the girl who wanted to beat me up did not come from a Disneyland home. Curiously, I want to know that she made it OK.

  3. I don't think you were particularly unfair to Christine. It seems like, if anything, she has learned to turn anger that she used to lash out at others inward. Not a good thing for her. But not your fault. You spoke the truth, and you accepted the apology. Perhaps that is enough for you both to heal.