The Bully - 30 years on

30 years ago when I was at college I was the victim of some rather unpleasant bullying. The lad involved, B, was rusticated for a year (banned from university premises) - he was friend and business partner to a lad in my college A who was one of the few people in the college that I didn't really have anything to do with - because our paths never crossed. Anyway they were business partners and a few days ago there was an article (as happens from time to time) in the press about A's businesses ... and I thought back to what had happened and couldn't recall the name of his friend B and then yesterday there was an article about B and his businesses. I'm not reliving any of what happened - but I do feel quite affected - can feel the tears at the back of the eyes and the tightness of breath.

Sort of hope that may be the incident at college was something they both learnt from and made them better people to work with and neither of them are bullies now.

Think I'm just going to have to take it easy for a while until all the emotional memories die back down again - have a couple of meditations to help.

Read recently that depressed people tend to have very generalised memories - really don't recall the incident(s) - do recall one just after B's rustication had finished ... and everyone around him trying to rein him back but even that memory is very vague.

Don't think it helps that my boyfriend is away next week and yesterday was the last time I'm going to see him until he gets back.

Never mind - have a Beethoven symphony playing in the background and that is quite beautiful.

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20 Replies

  • You have my sympathy. I was bullied at high school and my life was miserbale. My daughter was very badly bullied at school and this has had an ongoing affect on her life... she has never really got over and I don't think she will ever be able to forgive those people who hurt her so much. As a mother, it was heartbreaking to see her go through such pain as she set off to school.Her way of beating them was to do her very best at school where she was top pupil in her 7th form. She is very succesful in her work now and has been to Uni but still has low self esteem and confidence in many areas, She is now happily married but I really don't think will ever get over that awful time in her life. My thoughts are with you as you work your way through this. xx

  • Really sorry to hear that you were bullied at school. Really sorry to hear about your daughter as well. I hope she does manage to find some peace and let go of things. doesn't mean you don't remember it or even that you are going to be best buddies with the people that hurt you but just not letting them continue to worry you and make their problem your problem ... not sure that is going to make any sense.

    Glad that she managed to find a positive way of dealing with it and hope that she manages to realise just how capable she is as a person.

  • How terrible that must have been for you. I think with any bad experience, you never rally forget or get over it. It just hides away in there somewhere and pops up when things trigger it. Were you we'll supported at the time of he bullying? X

  • I had lots of support at the time - fact that the bullying got dealt with by the university authorities is proof of that - to be honest I can't really remember much of what happened at all - just the feelings I had when I saw B and they aren't something I have to focus on so I don't. It was a long time ago and I guess it was just a bit of a shock - think it was being reminded of the name. It takes me a long time to calm down after a shock but think I'm getting a bit better at it :)

  • My sympathies to you., I understand whole heartedly what it was like to be bullied. I too was bullied right through out my school years, starting from the age of about 5 up until I was about 14 when after so much torment and losing my mother who died when she was just 33 years old, I finally flipped and lost total control and beat up (severely) the biggest of the bullies in my school at that time. I am not proud of what I did but I was just dying inside with pain and he got the brunt of that pain, needless to say my bullying thankfully did die down tremendously. I now no longer feel that anguish as I have fortunately learned to deal with that and move on leaving the painful past behind. I do hope you will find the same strength that I did so you can get closure. Good luck xx

  • Thanks for sharing this. Glad that you have managed to put it all behind you - its amazing what human's can manage to live through and come out the other side without becoming monsters themselves.

    Feeling much better now - just taking a while to get over the shock. Funny but I really can't remember the details of the bullying - though I can remember the way I would feel when I saw B.

  • Bully's are cowards and usually weak people. They pick on someone who they think is weaker than them, to avoid

    them becoming the victim of bullying themselves. They have no idea what effect their behaviour has on people's lives, and I doubt they even cared if they did..

    I'll never forget about a girl in my class at school that was being bullied by a group of girls, it was mean and downright nasty stuff, I'll not describe what they did to her one day but it was horrible, and I bet the poor lassie is still traumatised by it today.

    We didn't actively take part in the bullying, but the whole class was there when they humiliated her, so in a way we were just as guilty and to this day I still feel bad about it and I can never forget the expression of shame and terror on her face, awful...

    We helped her as much as we could afterwards, but it was too late, the damage had already been done and to my shame I did nothing to stop it. None of us did.

    I can't remember her name ,but I'll never forget what she looked like, and I wish there was a way I could apologise to her, or undo what happened that day, but all I can hope for is that she's a happy, confident woman with a happy and fulfilled life now.

    For everybody's that been bullied, I hope you can move on and don't let low-life's like that take away your happiness for the rest of your lives.. Good luck.

    Love,Holly xx

  • Thanks for sharing.

    You might find it interesting to look up 'The Lucifer Effect' - work by a Psychologist called Philip Zimbardo who has done a lot of work on looking at how people in groups behave in ways that they wouldn't normally behave - which is sort of the situation you are describing. The book is quite accademic but there are some video clips out there of talks.

    is a relatively short talk - based on Abu Graib (Iraq about 10 years ago) - it has some pretty graphic exposure of what happened there so you might want to skip over some bits.

    Think it was just a bit of a shock to be reminded of the name that I'd forgotten and it just takes me a while to get over shocks like that. Feeling much less haunted by it all now.

  • Thanks,I will definitely look that book up. I remember Abu Graib, no I'm lying, I vaguely remember it, was it not about torture, and eventhough some of em weren't taking part they didn't want to go against the grain or be seen as traitors in a way, so they did nothing, which really made them just as guilty? Am I thinking of the right thing? Like sheep really, or as if by acting they'd be scared they were gonna get bullied themselves..

    Very similar to the situation I was in.. I'm ashamed of not acting sooner to this day, as i'm not a bully and I've never bullied anyone in my life, apart from that one day, when I was just as guilty for not acting.. And its stayed with me my whole life, and that was in primary school.

    I've been fortunate enough to never have been bullied myself, but I've seen people being bullied, and after that incident I've never NOT acted again.

    I know it can stay and affect people for the rest of their adult lives, affects their self-esteem and a lot of other area's in their lives, so maybe I had to see that that day to make me behave different in the future..

    Still doesn't make it right though..

    Holly xx

  • You can't change the past - only learn from it which you definitely seem to have done so you should focus on that not the fact that you made one mistake. Philip Zimbardo found himself in the same position when he conducted the 'Stanford Prison Experiment' back in the 1960s, and he has been working ever since to understand and promote understanding of what happens in situations like the one you are in - which is generally more on the institutional level rather than the personal level. It is sad that there seems to be so much bullying going on in school and that schools themselves aren't doing more to tackle it - Zimbardo has a group of things that people can do to make it less likely - such as not depersonalising people and turning them into subhumans which seems to be a large part of what happens.

    The worst examples are actually the genocides that happen - and there it is whole societies that get involved - Nazi Germany, Rwanda, Cambodia, Kurds in Iraq, Bosnia ...

    There was also a very interesting section in a BBC programme - Ultimate Swarms - quite recently where they were talking about the way people behave in large groups and that quite often people will start behaving out of character.

    Take Care

  • Oh yeah, I've definitely learned from it, I still remember that feeling, standing there with the rest of them (I don't wanna go into too much details, but we were all hiding behind bushes until we all jumped out, she didn't even know we were all there which must've added even more to her shock when she realised), thinking; 'this is wrong, this shouldn't be happening, I should do something to stop it' But I couldn't, not soon enough anyway.

    And I suppose it was because it was a group-situation, I'm pretty sure if i'd been myself I would've intervened pretty much straight away.

    I've always been quite interested in the way people behave in groups, what's the name for it again, sociology or something?? I might be way of there, and it doesn't really matter, but it is very interesting and strange how people can behave so differently when they're in groups, or like you said when whole societies get involved!

    I'll definitely read up about some of that stuff, as I said it's something I find quite fascinating, how one 'leader' can brainwash in some cases a whole country!

    It must've been horrible for you to get so unexpectedly reminded of what happened to you when you seen that article!

    I hope the shock has passed a bit and you're feeling better about it again, but it brought something back for me as well I hadn't thought about in years, which is a good thing coz it made me once again aware how destroying and devastating bullying can be!

    Take care Gambit, and thanks for making me aware again of what goes on as

    far as bullying's concerned!!

    Love, Holly x

  • Thanks Holly - think I'm over the shock now.

    Take care of yourself.

  • Aw good, I'm glad to hear it :)

    You take care too,speak soon,

    Love, Holly x

  • Holly, Just to let you know about a reply from Hypercat below that you might find interesting

  • Hi Gambit, I'd already read it, in fact I've read the whole thread, coz I've seen bullying going on in lots of situations (not just that time when I was a child), and I've often wondered what makes someone a bully and why and how they pick their victims..

    I still think it's coz they're very insecure themselves, and feel the need to pick on someone they think is weaker than them to give them a sense of control, or power..

    I might be totally wrong but..

    Thanks Gambit, hope you've had a good day Xx

  • It was mixed but I'm okay. Hope you have a good evening and sleep well

  • Yeah it seems to have been a bit of a weird day for a lot of people.. Myself included..

    Aw well, tomorrow's a new one, and hopefully a good one for you.

    N.nite, Holly x

  • Hey Gambit. Sorry to hear you were bullied, I have a manager who bullies his staff so get what it must have been like. I sometimes wonder if memories of bad experiences are more difficult than the experiences themselves, because with retrospect can come thoughts of what we should or shouldn't have done, and sometimes time can be a reminder that life isn't fair.

    How are you feeling today?

  • Feeling a lot better - think it was just a sort of shock hitting me and wouldn't like to say that I've managed to get over it completely (stupid little things like turning the wrong way that show that there is a bit of me running on autopilot that shouldn't be :)).

    Sorry to hear about your manager - had one like that when I was working for a charity that was up against it financially - went to the wall about a year after I left ... don't think he meant to be a bully or even really realised what was going on just that he was out of control because the situation was out of control. Was very stressful and I was glad to get out though.

    How are you feeling now after the weekend. Do you think that the down could have been a sort of mourning - the change cycle of denial, depression, acceptance and then enthusiasm for the next thing - but just kicking in more than it normally would because of where you are? Sometimes I think depression is like a transition state between one thing and the next ... just a bit of a bummer when you get stuck in it.

  • There is a very famous true story about people not wanting to become involved. It happened in the USA in 1963/64. There was a very large block of flats in New York lots of folk living there heard screaming and looked out of their windows. There was a woman being attacked by a man with a knife. No one did anything or went to her aid. No one wanted to be involved. The woman died. Psychologists called it the block mentality. Everyone is waiting for someone else to stop it but because of that no one did. Horrendous isn't it? I hope all the victims of bullying manage to overcome this a lead nornal lives specially that poor girl at school. Try not to feel guilty over it though.

    Bev x