10 Struggles Only People Who Were Bullied In School Will Understand

Photo: weheartit

You can be f*cked up for decades afterward.

Bullying is one of those issues that most people don’t fully understand until they’ve experienced it. For most of us, including myself, the first time we really understand bullying is in school.

Bullying changes people. And it changes you in more ways than one. Here are some things people don't understand in college unless they were bullied in school, as said by someone who has experienced the effects of bullying.

1. Words can hurt more than weapons.


That stupid “sticks and stones” rhyme parents tell kids is bullsh*t. Hearing bullies taunt my friend in middle school caused her to commit suicide by high school. Words can and do work.

2. Authority figures will not give a sh*t unless you give them a reason to give a sh*t.

I can't name how many times the high school principal dismissed my rage and hurt as “stirring up drama.” Looking back, I probably should have called a lawyer, even though my parents were terrified of making waves. No one should have had to go to the lengths I did to get bullies to lay off of me, and the school system definitely should have been sued.

3. You can be punished for self-defense.


In this way, school life mimics real life. Every other day, a new case of a woman killing her abuser makes headlines. And she's often jailed for it. In high school, you'll see bullying victims snap and break a bully's nose. Guess who gets in trouble? The victim! This is why Zero Tolerance doesn't work: it allows bullies to play the victim. And, bullies know it and exploit it.

4. You can be f*cked up for decades afterward.

The bullying I experienced in school led me to a long list of bad decisions and bad relationships. I still have a tendency to think people hate me off the bat. It even made me refuse to attend my high school reunion.

5. Being bullied makes you distrustful of others.


This is why I can't stand preppy-looking people. Those clothes styles have been burned into my mind as “bully wear” from a young age. I find it easier to just avoid people than talk to them.

6. Authority figures can be bullies, too.

I had one dance teacher in particular who hated my guts and made a point of making my life hell. She's the reason I dropped out of college, and honestly, I don't regret my decision. That school made me develop serious problems and no one but me seemed to care until I walked out and refused to go back.

7. In a weird way, you often get a kinship with other people who were bullied.


They just understand you, you know? It's a lot like how war vets hang out together because they went through the same experience.

8. Bullying experiences often make you more creative.

Most artists I met were bullied. Coincidence? I think not.

9. There are reasons why you may end up as a bully target.


I learned this the hard way, long after the fact. I observed that people bully others to control them, to take what they have, to avoid getting bullied themselves, because the target is doing something that’s socially reprehensible, or because bullies don’t know how to cope with things. Is it fair? No, but that’s just the way things are and, at times, it can help learning what makes people bully you.

10. It takes a lot of courage to stand up to bullies and be yourself.

And I think we’ve all learned that the hard way growing up.