Bullying can happen to anyone and it’s one of the most terrible things to go through. When bullied at a young age, it can affect the victim’s mental and physical health for years afterwards.
As hard as it may seem, bullying can be stopped and those feelings can be overcome. In this article, victims of junior high and high school bullying share what made them the target and how they dealt with it.
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
I was a nerd. They all knew I would not fight back, even though I was big and looked intimidating. I switched schools partway through the school year. I ended up not being bullied at the new school, because I did what no one else had the guts to do. Apparently all eyes were on me at lunch, I really didn’t care what others thought of me. I had been bullied way too much for that. I told myself that I would sit with the first person who asked at lunch. I walk in and the very first table asked me, so I sat down. The teachers and all of the kids in that room apparently stared in disbelief. It was the special ed. students. It made a positive name for me among both students and teachers and made those students’ week. They had asked a lot of people in the past, but I was the only one who actually ate with them.
I was a nerd in middle school. The high water jeans, long curly hair, glasses, the works. It was my first day of 7th grade, and I greeted every person with a handshake and was way too nice. People bullied me for that or took advantage of it, and it made me not want to go to school. Being trapped in a bathroom and punched, or always tripped in the hallways, it never ended.
Freshman year of high school, I was a new person. I dropped all the old stuff and basically confirmed into a person that wouldnt stand out, and someone that wouldnt draw attention to themselves. After 3 years of that, I realized I wasnt happy, and I was trying to be someone I knew I wasnt. So I started being myself, and I started doing things that made me happy. After that, I found a great group of friends that accept who I am, and enjoy the real me. Now Im the happiest yet, and still have a lot to go.
I was a target because of my hyperactive personality. I started taking pills for it but the ridicule wouldn’t stop. The pills gave me serious depression issues and one day I attempted to kill myself.
Word got around the school when I came back and people treated me pretty nicely after that. Over the years I got off the pills and now I’m pretty solid.
My voice was really high pitched until I was 15, so that made me a target for all the older kids in my German class. After telling multiple teachers and school officials about the taunting and physical abuse I was experience, the bullying finally ended after I retaliated physically against my bullies.
I have alopecia areata. It’s an autoimmune disease that causes you to lose hair. Being that I’m a girl, and I got it at age 10, my entire life kids made fun of me for being bald. They’d pull off my hats. So eventually I got a wig. But still got bullied.
The way I got over it, is since I was told so many times no one would ever love me or find me pretty, I decided I’d do anything I could to make people laugh and not feel worthless.
I got over it by being there and standing up for others who were as timid as I was.
But now I’m 20, in a 5 year relationship, and having a baby within 2 weeks. Thanks to pregnancy, all my hair is back. And all the kids who bullied me ended up losing their hair because they’d dye it so much.
So karma worked its magic.
I had (still have) a big nose. I dont think that that was the cause though, more of a point to pick on once they realised that I had very little confidence. Once they realise youre quiet and not confident, theyll be on you. Kids are like that. It genuinely only stopped when I went to 6th form (aged 16 if youre not from the UK) where I found loads of new mates. Never been an issue since. My stomach still churns if I hear anyone suggest I have a big nose though – confidence is there now so they dont mention it again. Bugs me that its still an issue for me though.
When I was my junior high years, I had no sense of fashion or style. I had long, wild hair, wore no makeup, wore ugly, out of style clothes that were too big, and generally was just incredibly awkward, yet I tried very hard to be included with the “cool girls” because we all played hockey together. I never fought back against their bullying and instead, to my bullies’ delight, would simply try harder to be included whenever I was picked on. If they made fun of my clothes, the next day I’d wear something completely different. If they made fun of the way I talked, I’d talk differently. I’m sure it was an endless source of delight for them to see what they could make me do next in my desperate attempt to be included. My desperation and general weirdness made me a very easy, fun target.
My parents ended that particular hell for me by pulling me off the team after I returned from a tournament and burst into tears when they asked me how it was. I moved shortly after to a different school.
I was a target for a pretty simple reason: breasts. They arrived quickly and well ahead of schedule. The hate was real. It went on like that for a while. It stopped for an equally simple reason: breasts. Once the guys my age started noticing why the other girls hated me it turned into “girl with breasts vs. mean other girls.” Took a few years to cool down the hatred, but it eventually went from constant everyday torment and constant threats to just ignoring my existence, which was fine with me. The cold shoulder routine went on all through high school.
I was dirt poor, and socially awkward.
I had been picked on even in elementary school. And it gave me a lot of issues that I carry to this day. Mainly, I get into a panic once people start messing with me. Making whatever response I try to provide always a massive failure. Creating a feedback loop. I’ve basically been wholly unable to fight back or defend myself verbally my entire life… with rare exceptions. And people hated me out of the sport of it. Because it was an easy way to make themselves look better.
I ended it by not going to school. I had a pretty good home life. Lots of friends, partied constantly. My issues were purely in school. And, so, I just didn’t go. Went to a BD school in 8th grade, and was expelled 4 times in high school (once on purpose) and got my GED…
I didn’t go with the fads. I didn’t wear makeup. And I was a late bloomer who didn’t stop blooming- so quickly went from an A to DD. Was ridiculed mercilessly, threatened to be beaten up/attacked in the hallways. It was really hard. I suffered severe depression and contemplated suicide a lot since I was 12. I thought things would be better in college and they were marginally. Instead of thinking I was stuffing my bra people accused me of getting implants. People can be extremely mean. I just suffered through it, I wasn’t able to get it to stop.
I was always quiet and shy growing up. People saw that as a weakness. To add, I wore a hat everyday to school. Literally everyday from 3rd grade to 12th grade, there was NOT a day I didn’t wear a baseball cap backwards, or forwards. I was insecure of my forehead and receding hairline. So a few kids would joke and take my hat. Weird thing was, these were my so called friends. Once I got to 10th grade, they took my hat once, and yea… um. I grabbed guy by his shirt and asked, “I don’t have a problem with you, why do you have a problem with me? What did I do to you?”
Ended right there from that group. Should have stood up for myself years ago.
I was bullied all the way to high school. I’m not sure what made me a target to begin with, honestly. I just got that short straw. Kids made up terrible stories about me to pick on me with all the time. I’d randomly get beat up.
The summer before high school, I decided that if they’re going to bully me, it’s going to be on my terms. I purposefully wore the weirdest outfits to school everyday all throughout high school. I was that Goth girl. Kids asked if I worshipped the devil. I’d say yes in a serious tone, and that kept some people away. Others would make fun of my clothes all the time.
Didn’t bother me, though. That was the point. Eventually I stopped caring about what anyone thought. By my junior year, a bunch of the popular kids even accepted me and everyone just kind of left me alone.
I never really expected it to work so well.
Target because: I was tall. But I was also shy and not social. Apparently that made me a target, “Hey look how awesome I am, I can annoy and socially outcast this tall guy relentlessly and I come out on top! I must be SO STRONG.”
Ended it by, well, waiting. Bullied in gradeschool and middle school, but High School was better, and college was almost completely devoid of bullying of any kind, great and refreshing.
I still feel a bit bitter that the whole “bullying is bad and there needs to be a national outcry and serious movement against it” didn’t happen back when so many kids where being bullied all throughout the 90’s.
But, reducing bullying by any amount is good, and I’ll take what I can get for the benefit of those bullied.
I was picked on relentlessly by one guy, beginning in the 6th grade. He enlisted others (including people who had been my good friends before) and it continued through middle school and into high school. I was chubby (“husky” according to my clothing sizes) and shy, and nerdy (into sci-fi and Star Trek), and I was an easy target.
There was never any threat of physical violence, it was all psychological warfare. But it was effective. And it sucked.
Basically, I dealt with it by graduating high school and going to college.
I was scrawny, nerdy, had severe acne, little to no social awareness, was always the first person to finish a test (I would sit near the front and try to finish before the teacher was done handing out the test to the rest of the class) and the list goes on.
It ended when I went to a “gifted” high school and then I was more or less like everyone else. we didn’t have a lot of bullying because we were all smart, many of us awkward and all of us too busy with our college level workload.
I entered the school half way through grade 8. A few of the girls liked me and after 2 weeks, the school moved me to the enrichment class. Stereotypically, I wasn’t really into sports so I was a classic target.
“Solved” by sending cops to their home telling them we were ready to press charges. And when the school year finished, after the summer I went to the high school where district boundary stopped 3 blocks from me rather than go to the school where everyone from that grade 8 class was going.
I ratted them out for cheating on a test. He later punched me in the stomach. Next day, I landed two of the hardest punches my twelve year old fists have ever thrown onto his mouth and nose. Knocked out two teeth and gave him a bloody nose. Never messed with me again. The way to gain a bully’s respect is to fight them back twice as hard.
I was picked on for basically being poor. I was doing a co-op program to earn college credits and still go to high school. This one kid would always say mean things to me for wearing the same clothes two days in a row and having terrible shoes.
I could take the verbal stuff, but one day he shoved me into the locker and I busted my face on it, and I knew I needed to stop it now because it was just getting worse. He was walking to bathroom, and I grabbed the biggest text book I could find in my locker which was my college anatomy book for my nursing.
I walked in, found him washing his hands, and just hit him as hard as I could with it. He fell to the floor and I got on top of him and just started punching him. Something about that moment made me the ugliest person I’ve ever been. All the pent up anger towards my drug addicted parents and my anger I had towards me depression just went all towards him. A teacher then pulled me off of him. After that day, he was a lot nicer to me.
A combination for being weird for liking to read science books and something in how I came over made me look feminine? Got bullied with girl names in primary school and just teased and tormented a lot. Early highschool I had people accuse me of wearing a bra; wearing my mom’s clothes, would get pads shoved down my backpack. I didn’t really do anything to end it, just became more reclusive and well, it did blow over mostly after the first year or two.
Guess they were onto something though cause I turned out to be a trans woman. So in a weird way despite the pain it was also sort of affirming in retrospect, I guess.
Just a normal kid in high school, played sports, did drama as well, I went to a small school ( graduated in a class of 22) I was simply not in the in crowd so I got picked on a ton from grade school all the way until I was a sophomore, I avoided fighting mostly because I didnt want to hurt anyone, one day a senior thought it would be funny to give me a wedgie outside during lunch break, he failed his first attempt and I told him that if he touches me he will be picking up his teeth, everyone who heard was like “Uh-oh!” He tried to give me a wedgie again and I punched him in the face dropping him to the ground, and then once again while he was on the ground, the bell rang and I walked to class like nothing had happened. I was totally expecting to be called to the office but nothing happened, apparently he told the teacher in his next class that he slipped on the ice and went to the hospital. He has 3 dental implants from me keeping my promise, I wasnt really ever picked on again and was invited to parties and such but didnt really want to participate.
A few years ago I was in my home town for my 10 year reunion and saw him at the bar, I bought him a beer and talked with him and apologized for what happened years ago and he told me it wasnt necessary, he said When I was young, I was a jerk, I deserved that, thanks for setting me straight,” We had another beer and some light conversation and now its all actually a fine memory.
I was the gay kid who hated sports, loved teachers, into theater, and had/still kind of do a higher pitched voice. Everyone bullied me, called me names, forgot me.
My second semester of freshmen year I was tired of not having friends that I finally buckled up and made my own. I invited myself to sit at this guys table for lunch because I was lonely and wanted a new table. They said yes and became my friends. One year later, I met a guy and came out. After that, I was completely out to everyone and because I was completely open and owned my gayness everyone just kind of shut up, went away, and I made a whole new group of friends. Im still good friend with one of the guys to this day.
Got bullied through middle school, tried handling it myself by talking to the bullies. But alas middle schoolers aren’t the most reasonable people, the bullying actually got worse. I wasn’t proud of it at the time, but my parents got involved and the bullying stopped. Now I look back and I’m VERY glad my parents got involved. I’m pretty sure I was depressed and if the bullying had continued, it could have caused serious issues.
The bullies actually grew up over the next few years and a few of us ended up being friends. The majority of them turned out to be pretty decent people.
Growing up in Detroit I had a lazy eye (strabismus) as a kid. Eye patches, glasses and weird stuff that never worked. Got teased, bullied, beat up. Even grown ups tended to treat me like I was stupid. It was ruthless and endless.
Last day in the neighborhood, literally moving out of state that afternoon, I went up to the bully down the street and hit him in the face with a textbook. The blood and look of fear on his face changed me in an instant.
Switched from using my middle name to my first name to the surprise of my family. Joined football team in new high school. From day one I was aggressive, rude, crude and almost violent in practice and games. I took all my rage and put it into the game.
Off the field I was known for being kind and compassionate and always sticking up for the underdogs. And when my teammates were the ones being bullies I shamed them into being nicer. The only reason this worked was because my teammates saw me as this violent monster.
I’m a weird, artsy person, never really wore what was trendy, don’t wear make-up, I like stuff that wasn’t considered normal/popular, listened to weird music, read weird books, watched weird movies, etc. On top of that I can be quiet sometimes – not due to shyness, just introversion.
I’ve been in therapy since I was a kid, so that definitely helped, but to put it simply I just learned how to stop caring. One time another girl made fun of me for having skinny legs and I said “You’re just jealous,” and she responded “Yeah, actually, I am,” and never made fun of me again. I realized that my peers were only picking on me because they felt bad about themselves, and that their words actually had nothing to do with me, it was deflecting how they felt about themselves.
So when people started calling me names I started taking it as a compliment instead of the insult they intended for it to be (“Thanks! I’d rather be ugly and weird than pretty and boring.”) I’m lucky that no one ever got physical with me, and I don’t know what I would have done if they had, but once they realized their words had no power over me they stopped and moved on.
I was systematically bullied in middle school. I was the “new girl” the entire year and half I was there. I was also a know it all. I came from an elementary school where I earned high grades throughout and was transferred to a larger middle school halfway through the year so I could prepare for an academic program I was intended to go into.
Kids would crawl under the bathroom stalls while I was in there just to harass me. I had my head slammed with locker doors god knows how many times. Often, an entire class would gang up and taunt me during instruction. I was eventually removed from classes (it’s much easier to control one student than an entire grade level). I was shoved off of lunch room benches and assaulted while walking out to my bus. Kids would grab my notebooks and shred them right in front of me. I never told my parents and neither did the school administrators until one day I came in and threatened suicide. My parents were notified, with no back story, and I was put into therapy. I went from a gifted and stellar student to completely failing every class in a matter of months. My parents had me move school districts the next year and I lost the opportunity for my academics program. After I moved, the bullying pretty much stopped. I was still considered weird and a know it all at my new school, but basically no one cared. By high school pretty much no one made fun of me.
One of my parents was a county prosecutor and helped convict a criminal. His kids and wife werent real happy about it. The wife encouraged the kids to target me and make me pay for what my parent had done. I was terrorized by them for a couple of years until one of the girls went to juvenile detention center and the other just got tired of messing with me. I think she eventually realized that it made her look bad to her friends bc she couldnt really tell them why she hated me. It was easier to leave me alone so she could keep quiet about her dad.
I let it go at that. She and I were never friends but had some friends in common in high school. We just treated each other cautiously casual… like an unspoken lets just not go there.
I can understand that she was in 6th grade, pressured by her mother and older sister, and didnt want to acknowledge what her dad had done. I just wanted the bullying to stop and it did. I dont need an apology.
I had enough other bullies for being big and weird. I was just glad to have one less target on me.
I was a tomboy. I was bullied pretty much exclusively by girls. Through both, I was told I would never be loved, I would be alone forever, I was ugly and horrible, etc. Every day. In high school, there was a club of girls that was dedicated to wanting me dead, hoping I would kill myself, harassing me at school and online, stealing and hiding my stuff. It could have been a lot worse, but it didn’t feel great.
I tried to report it in middle school, but the principal’s reaction was to tell me I was pretty and not to worry about it. So… truth be told, I just waited. In high school, eventually the girls got bored, I guess.
Definitely had a fair share of bullies in Junior High. I wasn’t the weird kid, but I was definitely odd. Still by all accounts probably a little odd (for instance: my boss last week looked at me and called me a weird guy out of the blue.)
How I solved it? I’m not saying this is the right way, but on our jungle gym we had this metal frame house looking thing. Large enough for people to fight in and everyone else could climb on it to block the view of the inside. Needless to say, a fight club got started and I was a very active participant. I didn’t always win, but was always down to participate. Said bullies stopped coming after me once they realized I had no issue with fighting. Was fun until we all got in quite a bit of trouble for it.
I had a skin condition on my scalp that made my hair fall out, I ended up getting a pixie cut in 8th grade to even everything out. I was bullied and called ‘lesbian’ endlessly for the rest of the year, and strangely enough it was the group of Goth and Emo kids that bullied me the most; I was shoved into a locker and pushed down the stairs on the same day. I ended it by switching school districts for high school.