Bullying Redux

I was going to write about an interesting topic from Dave’s wall tonight. But this came up:

Remember my post about bullying? Two girls

Last night I received this message from an old classmate:

Hi Todd, I’m sure you remember me? Bumped into your name here and kinda flashed back a bit. I was a real shit head to you when we were kids, I think I was ok in High school, but you stick out as a someone I didn’t treat very well for a period of time… Anyhow sorry about that… Not sure that’s necessary, but felt compelled. I was an angry kid at the time, was never about you. Sorry if this seems strange.

Hope you’re well 😊

Which shows I was picked on as a kid a bit.

This came out of nowhere. I haven’t had any contact with this person in decades. It is weird and cool that he feels guilty now.

While this person’s teasing surely counts as bullying, I didn’t feel bullied. The bad behaviour was mostly making fun of my name – “Hey Dick!” followed by a nasty laugh. Or maybe some teasing about being a nerd. I don’t remember any violence or even the threat of violence. I also don’t remember it being an ongoing assault. Just the occasional taunt in the hall when he was feeling mean.

I have a funny last name. I am a nerd. A Utopia where no teasing ever happens is not something I envision. But people should feel safe and valued and loved. Which I always did. Not really due to this fellow, but due to my own friends and family.

This is what I wrote back:

Hi xxxxx Of course I remember you. Thanks for the apology, I appreciate it.

But don’t worry about it. While I remember you being an occasional jerk, I don’t remember you being like that all the time. Nor do I remember you picking on me in particular.

I certainly don’t have any scars from it.

I hope you are well too. Take care.

Stay good people.

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4 thoughts on “Bullying Redux

  1. Suellen says:

    You’re a good man, Todd Dyck.

  2. boethius61 says:

    “While this person’s teasing surely counts as bullying” Are you kidding me? This is the problem with the modern bullying obsession. EVERYTHING is bullying. Maybe there was more to it than you described, but seriously, what you did describe is NOT bullying. Jerkish, yes. Mean, sure. Needing national strategies to counter . . .c’mon. You say you didn’t fell bullied. You didn’t feel bullied because you weren’t. Trust me, as someone who was bullied, I can guarantee that if you were bullied you would know it.

    • I think it does. It was repeated verbal abuse. Aimed at me for the purposes of making me feel bad. It targeted the ways I differed from the norm.

      But, I never said this instance required a national response. It was very mild. I was a target of convenience rather than someone sought out. There was no violence or the threat of violence (unless I talked back). And while the words hurt at the time, it wasn’t anything I ‘took home with me’.

      But it was certainly abusive behaviour.

      I’m very fortunate. I still am.

  3. boethius61 says:

    You are affirming the antecident!

    Just because bullying includes verbal abuse doesn’t mean all verbal abuse is bullying any more than all cats being mammals makes all mammals cats. Bullying makes people feel bad, but that doesn’t mean everything that makes you feel bad is bullying.

    I agree 100% that it was abusive behavior. But, just because bullying is abusive behavior doesn’t make all abusive behavior bullying. I do not deny the guy was a jerk. He was a mean twit. Doesn’t make it bullying.

    “It was very mild.” – Bullying isn’t mild.
    “I was a target of convenience rather than someone sought out” – Bullyies seek out their targets.
    “And while the words hurt at the time, it wasn’t anything I ‘took home with me’” – You can’t help but take home bullying.
    “Just the occasional taunt in the hall when he was feeling mean.” – Bullying isn’t occasional.
    “I also don’t remember it being an ongoing assault.” – Bullying is an ongoing assault.
    “people should feel safe and valued and loved. Which I always did.” – Bullying makes this impossible.
    “I certainly don’t have any scars from it.” – BULLYING LEAVES SCARS.

    There is a threshhold that needs to be met here. A threshhold in severity, a threshhold in frequency, a threshhold in intent, a threshhold in focus, a threshhold in pain and suffereing (physical or emotional).

    I’ll give you an example. It will include physical violence just because that was my experience; I don’t think that bullying has to include violence. It just happened to in this case.

    Tyrone (last name withheld) tormented me for years. He made my life miserable. Anywhere I went, if Tyrone was there, he was on me. He stole my stuff, he hid my things, he wrecked my posessions, he forced me out of activities, he prevented me from going to recess, he pushed me, shoved me, punched me, kicked me, tripped me, and my personal favorite, he jumped on my belly. I couldn’t do anything when he was around. He shut down my life. I lived in fear of him constantly. I went home and shivered (and probably cried) at the thought of going to school the next day, just becasue he was there.

    I wasn’t a particularily popular kid. Dozens of people have made fun of me. They have verbally abused me; they have made me feel bad. They have picked on me; they have targeted my differnces. They have taunted, jeered, and laughed at me. They excluded me and they ignored me. It sucked. BUT, only Tyrone bullied me. These other people were jerks, sure, but they Were. Not. Bullies.

    I have experienced both and there is a world of difference between them. To call these little things bullying is to belittle and undermine the experience of those who suffer or have suffered from legitimate bullying.

    *end rant.

    [Oh, and as a side note. Tyrone and I . . . well . . .we grew up. We ran into each other quite a bit for a few years and it was all water under the bridge.]

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