I don’t know what you were expecting but this isn’t my A to Z recap post. Or my afterthoughts or whatever. I’ll write that later. Or I won’t.
Please note: This is a long post. I always feel like I have to post a warning when that happens. So grab your coffee and sit back. I promise it will eventually be over.
I was super down on myself when I was younger. And when I was older. And still today.
I have tried to recall when it began, but I cannot. I have only a few specific memories of other people putting me down, but I remember it happening. What I remember clearly, though, was believing those put-downs. And I remember the fear—the constant fear—that someone would see something ‘bad‘ about me and say it out loud for everyone to hear.
I had to stop them. I could only think of one way, so I did that.
I became my own bully.
I thought if I beat everyone to the put-down—if I did it myself—I wouldn’t hear it from anyone else. Or at least it wouldn’t hurt as much because it was already out there. Better from myself than from anyone else, right? Wrong. As was inevitable, I began to assume pretty much everything about me was worthy of a put-down. And I assumed literally everyone thought these negative things about me. I was so sure. It became second nature for me to put myself down. And I still do it.
My self-confidence and my self-esteem suffered. I tore them down. And they never recovered. They are, in fact, still being torn down.
Now I fear this is happening to my daughter.
Actually, I know that at least some of it is happening to her.
Aside: The rest of this reads like a soap opera. I am aware of this, but I feel that the full story is helpful. Plus, if I’m able to write anything at all, I figured I might as well do it.
My once confident girl (11 years old) has taken a hit. I recently wrote about her during the A to Z challenge. Confident, stands up for herself…
It started with a mean girl. Shocker.
They have attended the same school for six years (k – 5). In the beginning, they weren’t friends. Neutral. About a year ago, they suddenly became best friends. One day, boom… always together. During spring break last year, my daughter spent more time with this girl than she did with me.
Fast forward about six weeks. This girl ‘dumped‘ my kid. No warning, no reason, nothing. She latched on to another girl to replace my daughter. What kills me is that the mean girl and her replacement have stayed best pals ever since… so, like, a year. But the mean one ditched my daughter after six weeks for no apparent reason. [Granted, the mean girl and the replacement have had some fights but they always end up together again.]
During the past year, the mean one started talking shit about my kid to other girls. She wants to turn everyone against her. Everything always gets back to my daughter. She has friends who tell her things. Or she sees things on social media (the ruin of childhood). The truly fucked up thing is that after the mean stuff, this little shit apologizes to my daughter and wants to be friends again. Until the next time she goes off. Then another apology… then more mean shit… apology… mean shit. You get the idea.
Other kids… my daughter’s friends… know about all of this. They have been victims of it, too. All of them, I think. But not as bad as my daughter. It pains me, though, that they always go back to being friends with the bitch. Why the fuck don’t they care that it hurts my daughter? They know it does. Why don’t they stick up for her? If they bother giving any explanation at all, it’s that the bitch has a trampoline, she invites people over, her mom takes them to do fun stuff. So basically, they are using her.
I’m not sure how many of these girls genuinely like this bitch. Yet no matter what she does to my kid, the other girls still hang out with her. They sometimes try to hide it [so I think they do care that it hurts my kid… just not enough to stop], but my daughter always knows because the bitch is constantly posting pictures on social media of every damn thing she does and who’s with her.
Fast forward to two weeks ago. Mean girl had been being nice to my daughter. So much so that she invited her for a sleepover! My daughter went. [I wasn’t thrilled about it, but I have a problem saying no to my kids.] Everything was fine. But… a few days later, my girl admitted to me that while she was there, the little bitch said mean things to her face. Who the fuck invites someone over and then does that?? I told my daughter she should have told the kid’s mother then called me immediately to pick her up. But she was afraid that would make the whole situation worse.
Fast forward to now. The little bitch still makes fun of my daughter, calls her names, and just generally torments her. Behind her back and to her face. My daughter knows to act like it doesn’t bother her and to walk away, but that doesn’t work because bitchface follows her around.
It has gotten worse over the past week or two. My daughter comes home from school unusually sad. Sad enough that it worries me. In the morning, she tells me she doesn’t want to go to school. Sometimes, she says things like ‘I’m ugly‘ or ‘I’m fat‘ or ‘I have no friends‘ or ‘I hate my life‘. This morning, she said, ‘From now on, I’m only going to eat salad.‘ [She is not stick-thin but she is not all that big either. And none of that should matter anyway, for fuck’s sake.]
My mind immediately goes to every news story I’ve ever heard about a kid who has been bullied so much and is so desperately sad that they take their own life. I’m scared as hell.
I contacted the school last week. I did so to help my daughter, not necessarily to punish the bitch because, let’s face it, that little shit won’t change even if she’s disciplined. I called the school nurse. [With my son’s and my daughter’s years at this school, I’ve known her for nine years.] The nurse felt terrible for my daughter and connected me to the school’s counselor.
My daughter is now seeing the school counselor because of that little bitch. Don’t get me wrong—I think seeing the counselor is a great thing. It should be required for all kids! But it pisses me the fuck off that my kid was driven to it by that little bitch.
She’s not shy, my kid. Her friends know she’s seeing the counselor and they know why. Yet no one ditches the bitch. See above.
I hope the counselor can help my daughter learn how to deal with this in a way that preserves (or redevelops) her self-esteem. I’m scared as hell, though, that it’s already too late. My daughter has already slipped into the same trap I’m in… she’s down on herself.
p.s.— My girl’s best friend is having a birthday party in a few weeks at an indoor water park. She wants to go but she is worried about how she looks in a swimsuit. Fuck, she is only 11. And she’s also afraid to go. Guess why? Yeah. The bitch will be there. Again, why the fuck can’t my daughter’s friends stick up for her and stop including this bitch? My girl may not even end up going. That pisses me off.
p.s. 2—Next year my daughter starts middle school. This is both good and bad. I know middle school is said to be the worst, but, more kids means more chances to make new friends who aren’t bitches. Her small elementary school (less than 40 kids per grade) makes it hard to separate from anyone. Oh, and more kids also means more chances that kids will not put up with that little bitch and she’ll finally get hers. I can dream, right?
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