We are launching our own campaign against bullying using the hashtag #Bullieswontwin after experiencing a large amount of bullying ourselves. Annabelles story in particular touched a few peoples hearts and I wanted to make people see that there is hope and a light at the end of a very sad and lonely tunnel and asked a few of my amazing blogging friends if they had any stories to share. Please remember you are free to use the picture from Annabelles story to help us raise awareness using the hashtag #Bullieswontwin. I really appreciate your support.
Throughout this series we will hear different peoples stories and how it made them feel. This story is written by Renee From Close Enough To Kiss.
Thank you Renee for sharing your amazing story with us!
Please could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am Renee, a mum of 5 kids ranging from 19 to 1, I am a passionate babywearer, living in Norfolk heading into her last year of her 30’s. I started my parenting journey at the tender age of 19. Although very different from my peers by the time I had turned 19 I had my own place, car and long-term boyfriend. Having a family was very important to me as I had not had the best start myself and craved to give a child what I never had.
Can you remember when the bullying started for you? Where were you? What happened?
Whilst I was bullied at school, my story is about my daughter, who was just 7-years-old when the bullying started, whilst at junior school by a young male student in her class.
Can you remember how it made you feel at the time?
At first my daughter didn’t tell me what was going on. It was the deterioration in both her behaviour and happiness that alerted me to what was happening. At first I was confused, I had no clue what was going on, I assumed my daughter was perhaps feeling left out as being the middle child she was often overlooked as she always seemed happy and contented. She had a younger brother who had just been born. I was just getting over Post-Natal Depression and overall the older kids had been somewhat neglected by me whilst I looked after my own mental health and got better. When I realised I assumed that what my daughter was saying was little more than an exaggeration and she would be friends with the bully a few days later, this would turn out not to be the case.
How has bullying affected you in your life and how you are as a person?
My daughters change was subtle at first, it was only after over a year of bullying that I reflected how much she had changed. Gone was my happy, confident little daughter and in her place, was an angry, recluse who wouldn’t talk to me, even sadder than that was she was only just 9-years-old. Gone had all her confidence that once shone from her face, she struggled with friendships and just to get her to school was a daily battle. My relationship with the school was rapidly descending into one of complete no faith, as I was repeatedly told there was no bullying or that my daughter was exaggerating or even worse, causing the bullying. She was being repeatedly mocked by the bully, he had turned her friends against her and even on occasions assaulted her. The school did nothing. I took my daughter out of school in Easter 2012 and embarked on home education. The change in my daughter within weeks was extreme. She started to smile again, talk, laugh and play. It was like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders and she was free to be a child again. Taking her out of school was the best decision I ever made and one I wish I had done sooner. The long-term ramifications of bullying have left their scars. She still struggles with her peers, fights and falling out are frequent, usually through fear that the falling out will spiral into bullying. She doesn’t like people a whole lot, being in large crowds sends her anxiety off the scale, as does parties or loud noises, days out even holidays are sources of extreme fear for her. What I would like to say is the bully has apologised to my daughter, many years after the bullying occurred he approached her asking why she left school and why she didn’t go to the local senior school. My daughter was honest and the boy was very sad he had caused her so much hurt. I think he genuinely had no idea that his behaviours had caused such long-reaching effects. Mostly because it was never dealt with effectively by the school. Perhaps it could have been avoided if the school had been honest and worked with us on the matter? We will never know.
If you could change anything about your experience what would it be? What would you do differently?
If I could change the past i wouldn’t have left it up to the school, I would have approached the parents myself and sorted the issues. I would have let the bully know it wasn’t ok and I would have listened to her sooner. Hindsight is a great thing, it means at least I can spot bullying easier with my other children and I can start from a young age with methods to ensure unshakable self-esteem is built.
If you could give one piece of advice to somebody who is going through bullying now what would it be?
Don’t allow anyone to suggest that the bullying isn’t ‘as bad’ as it seems. Anything that diminishes self-esteem should be challenged. Bullying has long reaching ramifications for those on the receiving end and both the bully and the child should have their issues dealt with swiftly. If you are being bullied, remember, it’s NOT YOUR FAULT, and to some extent it’s not the bullies either. They have issues that need to be resolved within themselves and that should be pitied. They should be pitied as they are weak. It’s you that is strong.
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