I was bullied in fifth grade.
Every day for most of the school year, this group of 5 girls would surround me during recess and punch me, pull my hair, pinch me, and tell me what a horrible person I was. I was new to the school, so I felt alone, vulnerable, and afraid.
Finally, in tears, I gathered my courage and told my mom about it. I remember feeling embarrassed, thinking I must have done something horrible to bring this on myself.
My mother was great! She explained to me that I was not to blame, that the bullies were the ones in the wrong.
She told me to look in the mirror, and that what I saw there was a wonderful person who was strong. She said that the girls who were picking on me probably saw that strength and were intimidated, that that was why they were being bullies. They were afraid of me!
She then went on to say that those horrible girls, the ones who tortured me on a daily basis, probably really wanted to be my friends, but didn’t know how.
That was a long time ago. I cannot remember exactly what I said, or what I did. What I do know is that my view of the girls changed and my attitude toward them changed right along with it. They lost their power over me.
Since I no longer reacted like a victim they gradually lost interest in me and began to leave me alone. So my mom was right, I was a strong girl who could handle it. But she was wrong, the girls never became my friends.
Or so I thought until a couple of years later. We had a large group of new students move into our school, and for whatever reason several of them decided I was the perfect person to bully.
Before I had a chance to react to these new attacks I found myself surrounded by the very same girls who had once been my tormentors.
Only this time, they were there to protect me.