Ways to deal with Bullying as a “former” victim and bully too

I was bullied for various reasons growing-up while attending Battle Creek Middle School from 6th to 8th grade.
It wasn’t such a big topic in the media back then, so I never thought of it much. I thought it was just part of life and didn’t see it as a social epidemic as it is covered in the media now. As I hear stories of bullying, I feel like what I went through was really nothing compared to the serious violence and abuse (both mental and physical) victims goes through nowadays.

Here are some “lite” stories of bullying I went through:

When I used to deliver newspapers for the local paper in St. Paul (Pioneer Press Dispatch), I hated going through certain parts of my neighborhood after school. Living by the middle school, kids would be coming out of school in groups and would walk by my route. I would find a particular “safer” route as I did it more, but when I first started, I ran into some really obnoxious peers at the time. For example, one time when I was delivering newspapers (PM edition), some group of kids started yelling “gook” or “chink” at me. They then would do the infamous popular “kung-fu”/”karate” moves at me. Being a “smaller” boy at the time and being one individual, I didn’t have a chance to fight them back. At the time, I reflected on some friends/neighbors (Vietnamese-Another neighbor and I loved watching Bruce Lee movies growing-up!) that offered my dad to have my siblings and I to learn Karate from them. During this and other times of being bullied, I wished my dad took the offer as I would’ve used karate on them! I just continued walking away and ignored them. I look back and wondered if I did know karate, what would’ve I’ve done. I had a lot of anger issues (due to family up-bringing and all the social pressures during that stage of my life) and probably would’ve got myself more in trouble!

Deep Thought:

However, I can’t imagine if I was the opposite-taller and built. They probably would’ve not even said anything like this and would be intimidated or just ignored me. What causes a group of people to team against or oppress an individual the deemed as “weaker” or “lesser”? Doesn’t this occur even amongst adults? (e.g. politically, religiously, economically, racially/ethnically, etc…) Sorry, getting too deep here, but what motivates one(s) want to “pick-on” another/other individual(s)? You hear it’s because a “bully” got “abused” (physically/mentally) by someone older (e.g. parent). Does this give them the reason to do this?

Is this the reason why movie goers are very fascinated with movie characters (e.g. Harry Potter, Marvel Comic Heroes, etc..) with special “powers”. I’ve heard from younger folks that they wished they had “special” powers and they would’ve used it on their “bullies”.

Another story was in the classroom at the school. I remember it vividly as it’s been a scar or was a traumatic experience at the time. I was sitting in a science class (Physics) and the teacher was gone. Several known “bullies” of mine started “gleaking” (lightly spitting) at me. Being a “passive-shy-weakling” at the time, I pretended to ignore them and just took it. What could’ve I done, stand-up and fight the taller-bigger guys than me? I was outnumbered!

Being “Asian”, I was stereotyped as a “bookworm” and I was a studious guy (ey, I got to college on a full-ride scholarship, so it paid off ;)) A friend (taller than me) and I were heading out after school ended. While I was heading to my locker, this “bigger-taller” boy closed my locker and told me to do his homework. I had some “boldness” (learned from watching t.v., like “Saved by the Bell“-I didn’t want to be like Screech-lol!) in me, so I told this guy “no”. He probably wasn’t expecting this, so he actually pushed me against the lockers and demanded that I do this. Fortunately, my “taller” friend stood-up for me and told this “bully” to leave me alone. Unfortunately, this “bully” was bigger than my friend, so this “bully” pushed him too against the lockers. I was very thankful for my friend and was more focused with gratefulness of my friend doing this for me than the “terror” of this bully. We were both shoved to the lockers so loudly that one of my teachers came out of his classroom wondering what all this noise was about. Fortunately, we were both “saved” by this “bully’s” rapture as we both walked out of school “safely” that day.

Due to my “multicultural” looks, I would be teased with various racist remarks. During the Persian Gulf War, a “friend” would tease me that I “looked like the enemy” (Arabic). This would go on even through college and beyond, which I grew to have a very lose self-esteem and was self-conscious about my “physical features” in various places. Due to this remark “way back then”, it effected me when 9-11 happened after my college years. I haven’t shared this with many people, but when 9-11 happened and watching on the news of “Arabs” or “Muslims” that “look-like” the enemy were targeted in America. I got scared and hid for a season. I was afraid to go out of my house during these tense times as I was afraid of getting “attacked” in retaliation of 9-11 (would find out later about the “truth” behind the attacks, which can be another story ;)).

A “Bully” Myself Once

I have to be fair and honest too in this blog post that I wasn’t always “bullied”, but I was also in the “dark” side too-“bully” himself! 😦 I’m not proud of this either, but I look back and probably was a “bully” in some instances because I was “bullied” myself. I felt like I had a position of power in some scenarios and abused them. For instance, I remember fighting this younger-smaller guy in elementary school. I still can’t remember why I did this. I pushed him around and nothing too violent, so I wasn’t too rough on him. 😉 Another instance, this individual in high school was so annoying and I had to “act” tough. I told him that we should fight after school, which he accepted. During class, I then began thinking that this individual will probably bring his “hommies” or “gang” friends and “jump” on me. I then told him “cowardly-humbly” that I decided I don’t want to fight, which he agreed..lol! I also had some instances where I teased people because they “look” poor or whatever, but I regret this because I too was in their shoes and don’t understand why I did this.

My parents immigrated here (St. Paul) from the Philippines in the early 70’s and we didn’t have much like many other immigrants residing in a “new” land. I remember one Christmas, we couldn’t afford a Christmas tree like many other “Americans”. We found a tree branch in our neighborhood while walking in one cold winter day, so we decided to take this tree branch inside and make it our “1st” family Christmas tree. We even decorated it and put ornaments that we just creatively made. My parents couldn’t afford the current trending shoes (e.g. Nike) those days, so I wore “Pro-Wings” from Payless Shoes Store (I’ve bought shoes still from this place as they have some good deals, but honestly-not very quality). Growing-up at that time (still I heard), students in school would just ridicule you with the brand or type of clothing-shoes you wore. I just got teased “left and right” back in elementary school for wearing these “cheap” shoes. Another similar instance was when I was wearing some “old-school” pj’s underneath my jeans with a hole. It was winter time and these “pj’s” were like my thermal underwear to keep me “extra” warm. I guess I would tease someone with this type of dress code. I felt like I was “worthless” at the time and it got worse growing-up through high school.

I actually feared going to high school after watching t.v. shows or movies on how “nerds” or “losers” (like me) were treated. Fortunately, folks in high school were a little more mature and it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I got teased a little (e.g. looks-physical characteristics) once in awhile, but I just had a very low self-esteem (due to factors in and out of school). I had some “suicidal tendencies” due to depression caused by many factors that I can share for another blog, but this is one of the effects people still face due to bullying.

I finally started going up-hill during my college years, which here is my story.

“Power of non-violence (e.g. Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, etc..) instead of retaliating with violence”

Stop Bullying Today (Christian Themed)

Matthew 5-7New International Version (NIV)-
Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount
https://www.facebook.com/SalPhotoVideography/photos /a.1134525149895689.1073742035.443035202378024/1825428997471964/?type=3&theater
“…The Beatitudes

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you…”

In conclusion, I believe social support and communication or dialogue is very important to stop bullying! I really didn’t get this growing-up. I grew up in a very quiet-passive (Asian culture) family, which I never shared this with my dad, mom, and even my siblings (I shared one of my stories with one of my siblings the past year or two and they replied-“How come you never told us?”) . I just kept it inside of me like a volcano that was waiting to interrupt. My personal tip now is parents need to have an honest one to one dialogue with their child/children. This can happen over a meal time at the dinner table (get your kids to put their smart phones away, shut the television, etc..). If you read my story above, building self-esteem is very important to help “victims” of bullying overcome this stage or season in their life. As a former “victim of bullying” and “a bully” too, I want to help those in this category through social networking (e.g. Good News Sociology, Youth, etc…). How can we “work-together” in helping those out there?

Follow us at #goodnewseverybodycom

Would love any feedback (e.g. personal stories, advice to help others, other resources, etc..) more….. http://issues.goodnewseverybody.com/bullying.html

Good News Abused


Ever felt you were a dissappointment?

“Son, I’m very disappointed with you!” Ever heard this before or something similar? ..from your parents, authoritative adults figure, etc… A father has a right to be disappointed with you if you did something wrong (e.g. getting spanked for disrespecting my dad in front of my friends as I kid) in his eyes, but does that mean he still loves you? Most “good” fathers will say-“yes, of course”, but there are some or many out there that doesn’t communicate that love. For example, I’ve had friends that were “physically” abused. When I hear stories like this, I get more grateful of my “imperfect” loving father. My father really didn’t tell me he loved me, but he “manly” showed it by his actions (e.g. made me breakfast in the morning before going to school, give me fatherly advice on life, etc..).

What about you? How did your father show his “manly” love to you? What was or has been your favorite father-son time?

They may not be really mad as you think, but they just don’t show that kind of love your looking for. Thus, one might “hide in the cave” thinking their father is still mad at them. Some might stay disappointed with you for the wrong reason, which is where you need to know where your Heavenly Father stands. How would you know where your Heavenly Father think about you? Well, I recommend seeking His answer through His Word. It’s hard to please your father or just anybody because no one is perfect. We all have high expectations from each other. For example, when I graduated from college, my mother shared my father’s disappointment where I was going with my college education. Fortunately, I paid my own way through college, so my father didn’t get too mad. I just shook my head without no sadness and just lifted my head up knowing that my Heavenly Father isn’t. Why, it’s because I remember His Word..

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. …15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me…-Galatians 1

You see when I became a Christian my first year in college, I became a follower of Christ and not “man”. My mom was “disappointed” when I got water baptized my 3rd year in college because of our “religious” Catholic up-bringing. It’s over 10+ years later that my parents are no longer “disappointed” with my choices I made during college. They learned to accept it as I’m still their son in their flesh. They have seen how I’ve grown “positively” too as I credit my Christian walk. I”m not saying, I do everything “good”, but I’m doing a lot “better” then I was before I became a Christian (see on-going testimony).

However, it wasn’t like this growing-up. When I didn’t know the Lord (I did know “of” Him, but didn’t have that personal Heavenly Father to Son relationship). When a “close one” (older adult) was very critical of things (e.g. my way of dressing ) I did growing-up, I would grow to have a lower self-esteem. However, this “criticism” actually made me “work harder” in things I did. As similar to my dad, this particular “older adult” showed love in a different (e.g. “treated” me out many times) way. I was very quiet and shy most of my years growing-up. I think it was mostly because of my “negative” experience at home, school, workplace, etc.. Each has some long stories, which I can do another blog post for another time. Overall, I didn’t get much affirmation or positive remarks on what I did. I probably got more encouragement from my workplace and playing sports (I had my share of “negativity” too) then at home. My family was great, but it’s a different culture than America. Thus, my expectations through my comparing or envying others made it difficult. We are all blessed in different ways. That is why I’ve learned to list things I’m thankful each night before going to bed. It helps me not focus on my challenges of disappointments in any given day in life as I give it up in prayer. How have you dealt or deal with the “negativity” spoken or acted upon you? Just ignore it (see Chihuahua Puppy Barking Like a Wolf )

GoodnewsEverybody.com Man, Men, dad, father, “Heavenly Father”, etc….

Worst Years Growing-Up: Junior High-Middle School?

I got picked on, beat-up, identity issues, etc… Some of the challenges many of us faced growing-up. How did you deal with it? Fortunately, I just got picked on, spat-on, teased because I looked “different” (e.g. thus suffered with my identity), but not “beat-up”. I was very much small in height compared with my peers at my school (Battle Creek) , so I never even tried to “fight-back” with the peers that picked on me. Why did I get picked on? Not sure most of the time, but some were because I was a very studious “nerdy” looking Asian geek. They knew I did my homework, so one of them asked me to do his homework. I said “no” because I didn’t want to be used, so he pushed me against the lockers. Fortunately, one of my tall friends stuck-up for me, but he ended up getting pushed too. During this time, one of the teachers that happened to witness this intervened. This doesn’t always happen to many! Maybe God was watching me already..

Chet McDoniel Tells a Story About a Bully Who Wanted to Fight

What about peer pressure? Ever got pressured to smoke or do drugs? I was fortunate to be strong-willed enough to say “no” to drugs or smoking. I guess I remember there was a speaker that came to our classroom with a hole in his throat, which freaked-scared me growing-up. Thus, I never ever smoked and will never even try it in the future!

.Anyways, some friends and I were talking about these “traumatic years” during this past weekend Men’s Retreat as the “worst years”. How about for you? Worst or Glory years? How can we (e.g. adults, parents, mentors, etc..) help those in junior high-middle school learn from our experience to get through these years?



Getting out of self-focus

I have been pondering about this topic lately on “getting rid of self-focus” (e.g. self-pity). When we tend to focus on ourselves (e.g. pondering about our past: mistakes, hurts, etc..), we forget about whose (e.g. God, family, friends, etc..) around us. Do you ever get this? Do you feel this can be a distraction (e.g. staring down or hitting more obstacles that can be avoided in life) to “moving-on” or “moving ahead” in (a fulfilling) life?

Distractions In Life – Everything

“This is a slideshow I made being deeply moved by the Lifehouse Skits’ posted here, on Godtube and many other video-hosting sites. Sometimes, when we fail, we ignore God’s helping hand and instead seek these things, unknown to the fact that they bring us down even lower. We fall to them, we get attached to them and ultimately, get destroyed by them. Only God’s unfailing love can wash us from these sins and inspire us to move on. Only in God’s presence can we find true joy, peace and everlasting love.”

What are some ways to re-direct this “focus”?