The Overcoming: "They Pretended to be My Friends"

 
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This week, we feature an anonymous and powerful story of bullying and triumph, featured from Pacer Teens Against Bullying.

The most shocking thing about my experience is that we were only ten years old. Ten years old and the amount of manipulation and planning that this girl possessed was abnormal. I’ll refer to them as S and J. These two girls were always together, and I was the third wheel of the group. I was the most picked on kid in class, maybe even the whole year. I was very quiet and shy, chubby, with a serious case of ugly duckling syndrome – the stereotypical bullying vicitm. At first these two girls were kind and acted like they were my friends. I was relieved to finally have friends, and maybe this was what caused my denial that they were actually bullying me. J wasn’t too bad on her own. On the days S wasn’t there she was actually nice to me. But when S was there, these two became my bullies. The twisted part was that they were intentionally separating me from the few other friends I had. They would literally drag me away from a game with the nicer girls simply to isolate me from the other kids. S was the leader. She was the one who started the bullying, and J would join in on the ‘fun’. S would call me fat and stupid, because I was a little overweight and had poor maths skills, while she was far better at maths. S would sit me down and give me challenging maths problems and when I failed, she would insult me and call me dumb and hopeless. S was always criticizing my appearance and how overweight I was. This ten year old even even put me me on a fitness regime. This regime consisted of forcing me to do humiliating things and running up and down the playground until I was gasping and hurting. S would tell me she was doing it to help me, and as the gullible pushover I was, I complied, believing this was friendship. During this time, my p.e kit kept disappearing, and an arts and crafts project I made was being repeatedly sabotaged and damaged. It was only after I’d left that school that I realized S and J were probably responsible, as I once heard them giggling as I became distressed over my vandalized art project. It became physical towards the end of the year. S would hit and kick me. Thank God they didn’t go to my high school. For years after year 6 ended, I remained extremely shy and awkward. I struggled to make friends and other bullies made my life so hard. I started starving myself, telling myself I wasn’t good enough because I was fat. I had anger issues which I still have today, I made mean and self depreciating jokes because I was brainwashed to believe that it was normal and what friends did. It was only when I turned 17 that I gained my confidence back. I gained more friends, started taking pride in my appearance.

I have changed so much after I told myself so wasn’t going to be effected by S and J anymore. Manipulation can be done at any age, bullying can be mental and physical. People will pretend to be your friends so they can isolate you from your real ones, so they can ruin your confidence and your life for fun. I heard through a friend on facebook who attended the same school as S and J did how they got on. Apparently they were very quiet girls and didn’t talk to anyone throughout the whole time they were there. I think they had underlying self confidence issues, but that did not justify what they did to me. They ruined my life and confidence for years, they achieved what they wanted, but thankfully I managed to tell myself that I deserved better, and that I was going to be the person I was meant to be without their toxic influence. I only recently realized that my years of anxiety and anger problems has come from them. This is a little long so I’ll get to the messsage. Those people aren’t your friends. Nobody who insults you, hurts you, isolates you, is a friend. Please tell a family member and a teacher, and don’t stop until the bullying does. Don’t hurt or starve yourself like I did to try and earn the approval of your bullies, you have nothing to prove to them and you were perfect the way you are. Your family won’t be angry, they’ll be kind and supportive and understanding of why you didn’t speak up sooner. You deserve so much better and nobody should suffer as I have. Thank you for reading my story.

(Source: https://www.pacerteensagainstbullying.org/pacer-story/they-pretended-to-be-my-friends/)

We are grateful for girls like this who are able to overcome their adversity and also share their story! However, the reality is that most girls are not able to reconcile or cope on their own, causing these issues to spiral into worse situations. Bloom Foundation aims to be the answer to these kinds of issues by providing a safe place for girls to be taught how to process and cope through their bullying experiences. Learn more about Bloom Foundation, get involved, or make a donation today to help our mission.

 
Kenni Roberson