I realised I left out a very important part of year 6. Our classes week long trip to an adventure park. I was shaking at the thought of going away from home. Away from Mum and Dad, stuck with her for a whole week.
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that she made my life a living hell for a week. She would argue with everybody in our dorm and expect me to back her up even when she was blatantly wrong. So I pretended to be asleep every night when she had her arguments.
I was a scared, shy little girl so if there was something I didn’t want to do, the instructors couldn’t make me. They were always so lovely about it. She on the other hand, would mock me, call me a scaredy cat and a goody two shoes and a wimp. If I did something right, she’d call me a show off. It might seem harmless but if you’ve been asked to stop being called names like that, it cuts deep.
Sticks and stones is hard to apply when you aren’t thinking rationally.
Then I moved on to secondary school.
How my school works is in years 7, 8 and 9 your year is split in half. So if you weren’t in the same half as your friends… good luck.
Not only was I separated from every girl in my primary school except my bully in my form, I was also separated by half as well.
When meeting my new form group, I took a shining to one of the girls (who is still one of my tops gals today) and I started to talk to her everyday. This made my bully absolutely furious. So while she was off making new friends, who I wasn’t allowed to interact with, I was supposed to wait alone for her and if I didn’t I’d get berated.
This was an everyday cycle.
And led to probably one of the weirdest things to ever come out of my mouth even to this day. On a school trip I was sat next to the girl I’d made real friends with because my bully was off with her new friends. So I turned to this friend and whispered,
Don’t tell anyone, but you’re my best friend.
I would have been slightly insulted if I were that girl. ‘Oh yeah don’t tell anyone that you’re my friend.’ That sounds like the most shameful and pretentious thing ever. Luckily for me, she understood that I was petrified of my bully finding out. She’s been an absolute gem on this most treacherous journey. So, if you are reading this the biggest of thank you’s to you!
So year 7 went on for me being completely isolated and having a secret friendship with this girl. Then the summer holidays came which meant 6 weeks away from my bully but there was still dread pulling down on my heart about anything she’d invite me to during the holidays. Fortunately she was busy with her new friends and completely forgot me for 6 weeks. Which I was hoping to be a regular thing.
No. It’s almost laughable about how untrue that was.
Year 8 began and so did probably one of the worst school years I’ve ever experienced. I was 13 years old which meant puberty hit for everyone that year. So that was fun.
I remember one incident where I’d been talking to one of my bullies friends, who was friendly with me, about growing up. Yes, we were discussing periods. It was all new to us, we were young and unsure. We seemed to get from the conversation that we had both recently started having them. Which she proceeded to tell the bully. She came marching up to me before our art lesson where my anxiety levels were pretty off chart. As I’ve mentioned I am a stickler for rules and I was scared of authority if I broke those rules. We had a sub teacher who had told us to sketch in silence.
My bully whispered threats in my ear the whole art lesson. As the substitute teacher was screaming at us to be silent that hour it didn’t help that she was saying things like;
I don’t care if you walk away, I will find you.
You shouldn’t have done that.
You’re an embarrassment.
You’re not allowed to talk about that to anyone ever again.
and probably the most chilling…
I’ll deal with you at break.
I did manage to get away from her, again, by going to sick bay.
As you can imagine, I met a lot of new people at this school. But I did manage to stay/make friends with some of the girls who went to my primary school. Especially the one that got away (album title of the year, am I right?). We’d meet up outside of school and hang out. One occasion where I’d invited her for a sleepover, my bully was fuming.
She slapped me.
The funny thing is, that sleepover never happened because I was ill. Or she was ill. One of us was ill.
But the same day she slapped me she was very quiet at lunch. Which put me on edge because that meant I had messed up. So I asked her if she was ok. To which she said You’re being a bitch. For not inviting her to my house. Even though we had regular hang outs. In fact most Fridays of year 8 I would be at her house.
I decided to take action on that particular occasion because she’d physically abused me. So I wrote my mum a letter the next morning before heading to school so I would be forced to talk to her about it. My mother rang up the bullies mum before proceeding to shout at both the mum and the bully. I did get a very meek sorry but it meant nothing to me as she’d been forced to apologise and it didn’t effect her behaviour towards me whatsoever.
The same isolating behaviour and fear would be a cycle, every single day. My secret best friend was also affected by the bullies behaviour. She’d shout and snap at her and took me away from her to hang out with her friends which made me so unbelievably uncomfortable. I can still feel the complete state of panic I was in one specific lunch time where I looked at the floor for the whole 45 minutes, pressing my nails into the back of my hands. A direct quote from my bully that really made her seem like a monster:
That was the best lunch time! Scratching, chasing, fighting, kicking and screaming.
This sort of thing would happen on the regular.
Until I snapped.
I marched, well I say marched, it was most likely a timid shuffle, up to the bully one morning and said straight out
I don’t want to be your best friend anymore
To which she cried and I got shunned to the back of the line because:
‘oh she made her cry, she’s mean’
But, I had freedom and could outwardly say to my secret friend
‘YOU’RE MY BEST FRIEND THANK GOD WE’RE BOTH ALIVE’
And for a while the Bully left me alone.
About a month.
Then she changed her tactics. She started acting all nice to me so I let my guard down and let her back in and I had fallen for her trap again.
As year 8 and year 9 went on she’d be more subtle and manipulative about how she reigned me in. She’d openly say nice things about me but I had to tread very carefully around her because otherwise she’d cry and I would feel this immense guilt.
This is when a friend told me
‘You are being bullied’
After 6 years, someone finally told me the one thing I didn’t realise.
I was being bullied.
Year 8 was particularly hard for me because there was a sense of hope and freedom that I could be happy and normal, just to fall right back into the her hands again.
She repeatedly told me time and time again that I couldn’t tell on her because she’d tell on me (if I had rationally thought that threat out I would have realised there was nothing she could tell me on). She would cleverly use my phobia (I am not exaggerating here) of being told off as leverage so she wouldn’t get in anymore trouble.
I’d found myself caught in another cycle of fear and emotional tourment.
Which kept getting subtler and more manipulative until she’d managed to flip the entire situation onto me.
Making herself the victim, and me the bully.
That was a bit more hard hitting than I thought. I had to take a break from writing that as it did get a little bit too much for me. Sorry to anyone who was affected by this whatsoever.
I’m serious when I say; if anything I’ve written down you’ve experienced, please, I beg you to tell someone. I know it’s hard, I know its mind numbingly petrifying. But it is always worth it. I never got my justice or resolution, you can.
The last part will be up tomorrow.
Thank you folks
If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone about bullying, mental health or other such matters here are few places you can turn to.
Samaritans phone: 116 123 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Family lives phone: 0808 800 2222
Mind call: 0300 123 3393 text: 86463
Papyrus call: 0800 068 41 41 text:07786 209697 email: email@example.com
Childline call: 0800 1111
24/7 bullying and crisis hotline for youth up to age 18
National Suicide Prevention Hotline
24/7 crisis hotline
Trevor Project Lifeline
24/7 crisis hotline for LGBTQ youth
Find international kids helplines here