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#391959 - 04/02/12 09:22 PM facing the demons
traveler Online   confused
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3401
Loc: somewhere in Africa
my T is away for a month starting today.

i have a HUGE project going that is WAY overdue.

there is a teachers meeting today about bullying at our school. "Ah - that's the rub!" as Hamlet said. i started this post with the title "lots going on" because i thought i was super stressed because of *everything* - but now that i'm writing - this is the BIG ONE that is getting under my skin.

i will attend that meeting even though it is for elementary and middle school teachers and i am a hi school teacher. i will tell the counsellor running the meeting that as a survivor of bullying i want to say something. and i do not know what i will say. and i am scared shitless!!!

i feel right now like i did when i had to go to school every day in 6th-8th grades and face the mob and the boss. i know that these teachers are not the enemy and they do care about the kids. but many of them do not take the bullying seriously. when i was there - the teachers turned a blind eye - even though i know that several of them were aware of it. i feel like they are just as guilty as the bullies themselves and i feel the hurt and anger now that i was not able to feel back then. then there was only fear and gut-level determination to get thorough the next minute, next class period, next between classes gauntle, next break, next PE class/locker room torture chamber. another day past and survived was a huge battle won.

So i'm gearing up for another battle. and i hope i can say something coherent without blubbering and breaking down like an idiot!

Lee


Edited by traveler (04/02/12 09:26 PM)
Edit Reason: clarity
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#391961 - 04/02/12 09:43 PM Re: facing the demons [Re: traveler]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3609
Loc: South-East Europe
Hi Lee, great to see you!
It is too late here for me to answer on your both posts in this late hour (have to go to bed immediately) and both are very good, so I've chose this one smile !
Please consider to tell at that meeting that you have had personal experience with bulling and that is very important issue for you. You can prepare two or three lines saying that and also you could read them (maybe that could be easier to do).
Your message obviously should be about:
fact that many teachers do not take the bullying seriously
sharing guilt/responsibilities for teachers with bullies
importance of work on teacher's awareness (equally important as work with kids)...
Maybe to say shortly something like that with some politically correctness inside!
And there is no real reason for you to be scared. Please be calm, and try to stay grounded smile!
You can do it Lee.
We all need you to say something like that.
Those bullied kids need you to say something like that!
We all love you Lee!!!
Pero

xoxo



_________________________
My story

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#391976 - 04/02/12 11:47 PM Re: facing the demons [Re: peroperic2009]
traveler Online   confused
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3401
Loc: somewhere in Africa
thanks, pero - good idea to write and then read it - will keep me focused and prevent hysterical rambling! also keep me from getting lost in the memories and emotions. i'm working on it now...

lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


Top
#391980 - 04/03/12 12:02 AM * [Re: traveler]
Smalltown80sBoy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 2217
*


Edited by Smalltown80sBoy (04/28/13 05:01 PM)

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#392010 - 04/03/12 05:26 AM Re: facing the demons [Re: Smalltown80sBoy]
traveler Online   confused
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3401
Loc: somewhere in Africa
thank you for the links, Gary.

but i really needed to let them know how it feels - they've already heard statistics and we had the school counselor there to provide the psych point of view and give suggestions for prevention and dealing with the aftermath. so i wanted to tell my story. i spent an hour or so during the morning writing my statement and then ran it by the counsellor, the principal and the elementary teacher who had pushed for this meeting. I also shared it with my wife. All of them were very supportive - so i felt like i went in with good backup. that was really important. didn't get much else accomplished all day. i was nervous and couldn't concentrate.

i was somewhat selective in what i told - i didn't go into the sexual harassment/abuse part of the bullying. two reasons - 1 - that hasn't been an element of the problem here and - 2 - i knew i couldn't go through with it if i had to talk about that in that kind of group.

Here is what i read:

"I am very intensely interested and passionate about the subject of bullying because I am a survivor of more than two years of systematic and continuous bullying during middle school. It made my life a living hell at that time and it has left life-long scars. By the end of 7th grade I was considering how to commit suicide. Only the fact that my family moved away from that town at that time saved my life. I consider that the job re-assignment that my step-father accepted then was divine intervention.

Thinking about it now and trying to “man up” to talk about it in front of you, I feel right now like I did when I had to go to school every day in 6th-7th grades and face the “mob” and the “boss.” I know that you teachers are not the enemy and that you do care about the kids. But I also know that many people do not take the issue of bullying seriously. Many do not even see it as a problem – unless they or their kids are the one on the receiving end. When I was in middle school the teachers turned a blind eye - even though I know that several of them were aware of it. I know that because they were present and saw and heard some of the abusive words and physical acts that were directed at me. I feel like those teachers were just as guilty as the bullies themselves and I feel the pain and anger now that I was not able to feel back then. At the time it was happening, all I was feeling was fear and gut-level determination to get thorough the next minute, the next class period, the next between classes gauntlet run through the halls, the next recess or lunch break, the next PE class/locker room torture chamber. Another day past and survived was a huge battle won.

Maybe you think I was a wimp. Maybe you think that I was over-reacting. Maybe you think that it was all just normal adolescent teasing and one-upmanship and posturing. That’s probably what the bullies would have said if they were ever confronted about it. But only the victim should be permitted to define whether it was “all in fun” or deadly serious. Perhaps the individual words and acts were not that bad if taken one-by-one. But they had a cumulative effect. I believe that the atmosphere of danger that was created early on became so toxic and I became so hyper-sensitized and lived in such anticipation of the next taunt, the next blow, that little things that would not have normally bothered another kid became unbearable until I was close to the straw that would have broken my back. My case may sound extreme but it didn’t start that way.

From the first time – when I was thrown up against a wall and a boy got in my face and started spewing hate at me, a crowd gathered, a mob mentality formed, and I was instantly branded as the school scapegoat. From then on, I was fair game for 400 other kids – with no adult intervention. It escalated from there. I won’t go into details, but I was given a nickname that I hated so that even my identity was redefined by the bullies. I tried to avoid crowded hallways, deserted rest rooms, being out of sight of a teacher, and any place on the school yard that was more than a few yards from a door into the school. Despite my precautions, I was not successful in keeping myself safe.

I am pleading with you:

Be aware of what is going on and how the kids that are being picked on feel about it.

Make the students aware that they can tell their stories, that you will really listen and that they will be taken seriously.

There must be consequences for those who offend – and they must be serious enough that the perpetrators think twice about repeat offences.

It is essential to help parents understand and support the school’s stand on no bullying.

Help make our school a safe place for everyone.

Thank you for caring enough to effect change."

I think they listened. i think they understood. when i finished, there was a lengthy silence before anyone spoke. We talked about what we can do to make it better...

i only broke down once - When i got to "I am pleading with you." at that point i was identifying with the kids that are going tthrough this NOW and i had to take a few seconds to calm myself and finish.

i feel good about it. now to wait and see what happens....
Lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


Top
#392012 - 04/03/12 06:49 AM Re: facing the demons [Re: traveler]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3609
Loc: South-East Europe
This is so wonderful and powerful message Lee, you write it so well.
This should be posted somewhere else beside this portal!
I'm so proud of you, here is your standing ovation: http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=392013&#Post392013


:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

(((((Lee))))) smile !

Pero

_________________________
My story

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#392014 - 04/03/12 07:01 AM Re: facing the demons [Re: traveler]
dancr6 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/07
Posts: 383
Loc: georgia
Lee, I can't imagine sitting through that and not feeling empathy for everyone who has been and is being bullied. Your words were succinct and eloquent. I am sure that there will be teachers who will never give up the idea that is just normal adolescent behavior but I am also sure that you made an impact on more of them than not. Good job!! you do us all proud.

I agree with the applause just given above and would have given a standing ovation.


_________________________
I'm a freeman now, his authority's dead
no pain monger lies in my comfortable bed!

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#392033 - 04/03/12 09:46 AM Re: facing the demons [Re: dancr6]
traveler Online   confused
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3401
Loc: somewhere in Africa
I knew all of you had my back! i could not have put it into words 6 months ago - or read it out loud 3 months ago. To be a little corny, all of you guys are "the wind beneath my wings"!
Thanks,
lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


Top
#392057 - 04/03/12 12:46 PM Re: facing the demons [Re: traveler]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1653
Lee

You have been here for so many--and we are here for you. We all have dark days, feel lonely or just not there. This healing process is definitely a journey--ups and downs. I must admit, it has opened my eyes to what I have been through, and each day I am learning what CSA did to me, more importantly I see what others did to me-not only the CSA but the other hurts and pains--I became a master at burying those hurts and feelings. I realize I was there for many when in trouble or needed help, a ride, assistance with projects, getting people to matches, games, and so on--never did I speak of it. Just did it blindly. I bailed out a child when in difficulties with credit cards and rent and now I remember the hurt when I said things were tough and we cannot always bail you out--response was "mom said we never did anything so we should have the money" (which was far from the truth)not a word I am sorry for this but just pure expectation- it made me realize guilt was the weapon in the family--I know where it began and continued to go. And when the rent bail out was there I asked the mother for some help and the response was I am not standing on my feet to help her--right in the bank these words were uttered. It was taken care of and I was the bad guy--I realize CSA did not allow me to stand up for myself--now I can and I am not letting the dark days take over nor being the doormat--you told me as I battled the guilt over my brother to be easy on myself--I have been and to you--please don't be too hard on yourself--you are a good person, kind and caring and always offering encouragement to everyone here.

I tell you my mind is remembering so many things I seemed to have buried that effected my life--I can hear the words and I now know I buried all the hurtful comments and just went on helping them out and being there until there was nothing of me to give. yes I made mistakes and these mistakes hurt others. Where are these people today? I will always love them, but now it is their time to come forward,I have given all I can and will be focusing on healing and surrounding myself with people who are truly their for me--sharing, caring and showing each other compassion as we laugh, joke and cry.

Avery--you will do it--I admire all you have accomplished. Stay strong

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#392093 - 04/03/12 08:51 PM Re: facing the demons [Re: KMCINVA]
traveler Online   confused
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3401
Loc: somewhere in Africa
the morning after...

didn't think it would be so hard to return to school after yesterday. it is nearly 2 hours since i should have left home and i still can't make myself go back and face them. feeling like a hero in one way, but also like a small pathetic loser at the same time. how does that work?

i wish someone had said something to me afterwards. only one person did - "thanks for sharing. that must have been hard." oh - and during the meeting the principal thanked me officially. and of course, my wife told me i did a great job.

i just need to "get back on the horse" and "face the music"! cliches are so comforting! if i did it as a kid - faced the bullies for 2+ f-ing years - without even the support of parents - i can do it now! (BTW - i was so thankful no one asked why i didn't tell my parents - that would have opened another cliche - "Pandora's box!")

Thank you, KMC, for your encouragement - that's what i'm talkin about!!!
lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


Top


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