Bullying Never Goes Away

Adults deal with bullying in different ways

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Madison Feltman, Editor-in-Chief

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The word ‘bullying’ is a word that a vast majority of people are familiar with and would be able to give you a quick, loose definition. Bullying is something that several people and especially youth have been educated on, due to the consequences of the behavior. Bullying is a topic that is never irrelevant as new intervention and anti-bullying programs are continually being created in the wake of tragedies such as school shootings and the mental health crisis. 

 

Many people advocate for anti-bullying programs and call for the end of bullying, but have any of them actually experienced bullying or been in close contact with a situation where bullying is present? If we all know how to prevent bullying than why is it continuing to happen in today’s society? 

 

When I was younger, of course I had to go through anti-bullying programs, I had to watch and make cheesy videos of someone making fun of another as statistics were rambled in the background. Although I went through several team building exercises and had guidance classes, throughout my years of primary education, I never experienced bullying or was never in a situation where bullying was present. I always attributed this to the fact that I attended private schooling all through my youth. I always knew in the back of my mind that bullying was a real problem and that it does happen, I just figured I was lucky enough to never experience it. 

 

When it came time to transition into college life, the thought never crossed my mind that I could come into contact with bullying. I had just thought that as an 18 year old, people were mature enough to move past petty drama and had grown up. Little did I know that as a matter of fact after all those years of anti-bullying trainings that I would be the one to fall victim of bullying as an adult. 

 

Now when I was young and forced to fill out worksheets and taking an anti-bullying pledge, I was never equipped with how to handle bullying as an adult. In fact according to stopbullying.gov, bullying is defined as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.” Why is it that the behavior is localized to “school aged children?” Does bullying just not exist within adults or is it just classified as rude and disrespectful behavior? 

 

As a 21 year old college student, I am here to tell you that the crisis of bullying is a real epidemic and it does not have an expiration date. No matter your age, status in school or employment, bullying does not discriminate. When I was a freshman, unfortunately I found myself in the middle of a situation that sent my self-confidence and mental health plummeting. 

 

As most freshman, I had a random roommate that I had met on Facebook, we exchanged contact information, had conversations and slowly built a digital relationship prior to meeting each other. Due to a housing shortage, we were placed in four person, open concept suite, so I went from having one roommate to having three. The first few weeks of school went well as we lived the “freshman experience” together, bonded like most do, and became friends. 

 

One thing I never took the time to realize was that even though I felt I knew the majority of my so called “new friends,” is that were not close as I had once thought. As things quickly escalated these roommates of mine no longer cared about me. I never understood that people were capable of saying such poisonous things and doing such horrible things. I had never experienced this feeling of worthlessness before, and I most definitely never thought that the people I once called my friends would treat me as a punching bag.

 As many times as the people who truly cared for me would say “you are better than them” or “don’t let them control you,” it became impossible to fight back and all I could do was sit back and wait for the next attack. My mind was soon engulfed by paralyzing anxiety that took any control over my thoughts that I had away from me. I was back at square one, the walls I spent so long trying to tear down erected themselves in my mind once again. I no longer spent time focusing on my studies, I no longer was the outgoing bubbly person that I know myself to be, I let them win. It was not long until I recognized that I was suffering at the hands of bullies. I allowed myself to believe that I was the one who needed to change, I was the one who caused all of the conflicts, I was the one who was not good enough. 

It was not until I was figuratively backed into a corner and was suffering through paralyzing anxiety, that I realized that I need to make a change. I gathered my things and not even more than two months into college I moved home until the university could find me a new place to live. 

Although this experience is a part of my past, it is something that impacts me still to this day. I often find myself second guessing the things I say, the way I act, or how I carry myself. I catch myself trying to agree with people and follow along with the group so I am not as seen. As I let this experience continually rule my life, I understand the true epidemic that surrounds bullying and I stand firm in that it needs to be stopped across all age groups.

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