Childhood Bullying


I don’t recall any bullying before I started Primary School but almost immediately was aware of the potential from the High School right next to ours. Ours was Catholic and the other was not. This was leading up to the height of the IRA conflict in the ’70s. From age 5 to 12, I was occasionally bullied by children of another faith on my way home. It would have been more sensible to have walked with a friend but sometimes I wanted to walk on my own and had to face the consequences. They threatened violence but didn’t follow through with me.

I looked very different to the children at my primary school and that made me feel alienated. There was some mean girl behavior but most of that is normal for our species. When I look at our cats, I see bullying and Alpha behavior all the time. When I was about 10, a new girl who went to the other school, moved into the house two doors away from me. I had to pass her garden to come home and she started bullying me. She was a big girl and would threaten to beat me up if I passed her house. She terrorized me and I sobbed to my mother at home. Rightly or wrongly, my mum said that it was time I stood up for myself and didn’t speak to the girl’s mother. I just went home by a different, longer route to avoid this girl.

When I was 11 and just about to leave primary school I was sexually molested by a slightly older boy at school. That was frightening in a whole other way. I have no happy memories of primary school whatsoever and had many days when I sobbed, asking to stay at home. Finally it was time to go to high school. We were annexed into girls and boys. Our classes were streamed for both IQ and test results. For once I was with like minds in Class A1 although there were still bullies… How do they know how to find the weak? I guess it is the same in every herd. One girl liked to stab safety pins into your behind or wherever she could reach. Another was verbally abusive. Other like-minded girls and the drama group was my savior. We clung to each other for safety and most of us are still friends. Later, a suitor commented that I looked unapproachable but I was just intensely shy and concerned about people looking at me. I had no idea I was prettier than average and was very aware of my faded poor clothing.

In five years I didn’t use a bathroom at school because I was scared of the mean girls who patrolled them – I had to run home to go to the bathroom after classes finished. I had a light bulb moment when I knew I was applauded for a speech that I read and my confidence was boosted exponentially. This is the link to the post. The day I knew I could write Our school decided we would all be safer if both boys and girls had self-defense classes because of the regular bomb threats and the ongoing hostilities between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland and parts of Scotland. That was what provoked me to make my comment on Kate’s blog aroused  That led to this series on bullying. It dramatically improved my fear of the world and the techniques are still with me to this day. This confidence regarding violence allows me to travel to unusual places without any consequence, so far… I use common sense as well.

Even then, there was one final bullying episode before I left school. My speech which criticized the Catholic Church had so incensed one of the senior principals that she refused to give me a reference for college and used a small infraction as her excuse. This time I refused to give in to her threats and got a reference from the bank manager. That wouldn’t have been sufficient for some colleges but it was fine for me.

Next post is bullying in sexual relationships

35 thoughts on “Childhood Bullying

  1. It seems bullying has always been around, but today is talked about more and has become a social issue. I can remember other boys pushing me around and I finally had to stand up to them and then they stopped. Thanks Kerry for a good post. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. We certainly had that Catholic/Protestant agro in my suburban neighbourhood in Sydney … so sad! Having worked in child safety for years I’d like to think some people have their first sexual encounter by mutual consent with someone their own age – haven’t met any yet.
    Warning as a senior citizen you are an even bigger target for grouse behaviour … some arrogant woman tried to run two over in the Bunnings carpark this week, for no reason, she was just tired of seeing aged people around. All caught on CCTV but she knows they wont take it any further.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Only humankind can take a natural pecking order that spans across the animal kingdom and corrupt it into a depraved behavior.. The human ego is fragile as an egg and stubborn as a mule.. There’s a sic joy/ego stroking addiction in bullys that keeps them driven to torment the ones they select.. A bully that is stood up to may stop victimizing that person but rarely is cured, they just find other targets..

    Liked by 5 people

  4. that sounds quite nasty, Kerry. I can’t believe you didn’t dare to go to use the toilets for 5!! years. There was not just something seriously wrong with these girls (and everyone else who bullied and molested you) but also with the school itself and place itself. Don’t tell me the teachers didn’t know about it. It’s their responsibility to stop any form of bullying and abuse once it’s been brought to their attention.
    Sadly, children will always act out what they experience at home, whether bullying (which is a form of verbal and physical and emotional abuse) or sexual abuse. I’m sorry you had to experience this.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. It’s repulsive how school could be. Again, i can rekate, i told a teacher and they called me a filthy lier. Even today more people disbelieve than believe, i can atest after working with abused kids.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The capacity of children to bully one another is quite dreadful. I am still a little odd about visiting toilets in strange places on account of various horrible encounters with the alpha girls at school who always seemed drawn to the lavvies. My eldest daughter was terribly bullied at primary school and I eventually contronted the head teacher who told me there was no bullying in her school. I told her she was a misguided old goat (that is a direct quote) and removed my daughter that day … why do the bad things seem to endure?

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Another gorgeous black and white picture! You have quite a collection! And a great post. Sadly, I think that bullying will always exist. Starts at a very young age, and some subjects never learn and remain bullies all their life, sad really …


  8. Hi there, thanks for liking my poem. There will be more from me at some point. I liked your article about childhood bullying and some of it resonated with me. I was educated at an Anglican girls school and believe me in those places it was rife. From top to bottom sets and no-one escaped unscathed. It was also the 90’s (early) and my solace was volunteering in Chapel (Holy Communion and School Eucharist usually prayers and readings.) and also in the school choir where mornings in rehearsal for Christmas and Prize Giving were well earned time off. I will not say where I am from but remember none of us were immune. God bless and keep up the good work xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for the comment. It seems to be a very common experience for vulnerable kids and those who haven’t been affected just don’t understand. I suspect it is even more common in a cloistered environment. K x
      PS I can kind of guess where you are from by your moniker. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Good article Kerry and I could relate to just about everything you said. It’s funny, I look at my 3 year old grandson and I both hope he won’t become a bully or be bullied (I think I’d lose my mind if he were bullied). When he was here the other day I wondered, as I have on several occasions, how bullies come about being that we all arrive here so pure and innocent (at least I think we do). I’m sure it has something to do with family background, negative influences, etc. but I still can’t understand why they are so hateful. I spent the greater part of my pre-high school years living in fear until the one day when I just snapped – that was the day the bullying stopped.

    Liked by 1 person

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