Open Letter to an Adult Bully

I didn’t have anything to write about this week, so I decided to write an open letter to an adult who scarred me when I was a child. You can stop reading if you want to. After all, you might be thinking, “I didn’t come here for this shit.” I totally understand. Happy trails.

To Mr. X:

I spent a good part of my childhood being bullied by other children. I was a little on the chunky side. Not obese, just a little meatier than some of the other girls my age. So, the bullies would use that as one of their weapons. They targeted my weight.

Adults were never particularly kind to me, but I didn’t expect bullying behavior from them. Until that day. I had come across the street to hang out with my friend, who you lived next door to. Your baby was maybe about two at the time, and I was playing with her as you did stuff in the backyard. In the vein of “I got your nose,” I said things like “I’m gonna eat you up,” which was the wrong thing to do. Your child apparently didn’t find this funny at all and began to cry. I brought her to you and explained what had happened. You were annoyed that the baby was crying. You looked at me and said, “Don’t you get enough to eat?”

I immediately turned and ran back home. The humiliation I felt was worse than anything I’d experienced at the hands of other kids. I remember it now like it happened yesterday.

I knew you weren’t the kindest of men. There was talk among the neighbors that your smacked your wife around. But I’d never seen you be mean to any of us kids. And so it took me by surprise when you lashed out at me.

See, you were an adult, and I never expected an adult to do to me what other kids did. I had always thought that adults were beyond that sort of thing, that they refrained from engaging in belittling behavior. At least where children were concerned.

If nothing else, you taught me a lesson. You taught me that adults can’t be trusted. That adults are no more or less capable of compassion toward children than other children. That they’re just as willing to hurt a child out of frustration and resentment as any angry, spoiled, or bitter kid.

I will not say thank you for that, because the scar I carry is an ugly one, and it itches far more than it should all these years later. But I will say that learning this lesson probably kept me from being hurt more, because I never trusted anyone ever again until they proved that they were trustworthy. And that is a code I live by to this day.

Maybe one day, compassion and kindness will be the codes we all live by. Maybe.

 

8 comments

  1. Sad but true that bullies come in all ages…I was publicly mocked by a Theater teacher for my stuttering problem…Still to this day when I get very nervous I have to employ the tactic of slowing way down to avoid stuttering (not always effective). God bless my mother who ripped that teacher apart for what she did. I never tried out for another play again, even though it was one way to help with my stuttering. We must do everything we can as adults to step in when we see bullying from anyone. What we permit, we promote.

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  2. Two memories of being bullied by two different teachers during my high school years motivated me to be the kindest teacher possible. While my former students have no doubt forgotten much of the French or Spanish vocabulary they learned in my classroom, I hope they remember that I tried my best to create an atmosphere in which they’d feel safe, comfortable, and unafraid to make mistakes.

    We always remember how a bully made us feel, but we have the power to turn those negative memories into powerful moments for ourselves and for others.

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  3. I’m so sorry that happened to you!

    I was also bullied about my weight – a lot and just like you said – meatier no obese… LOL great term. Of course by the kids but unfortunately, the adults bullying me were my own family and they thought it was cute to call me “Baby Huey” and “Little Lotta” for those of you who don’t know – they were very chubby cartoon characters.

    When I confronted my Mom years later – she blew it off saying – “Oh, it was fun, lighten up.”

    Just sharing and nodding in agreement with your feelings. I was a dumbass and still trusted – BUT I never forgot and tried really hard to never make fun of or hurt others in the same way.

    Have a good day RJ
    PS I would have NEVER known you went through the “meaty” phase. ❤

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  4. Unfortunately bullying is a learned behavior. Children are taught to be unkind, or at the very least their behavior is uncorrected and allows to happen under the guise of “just being kids.” At any age it is inappropriate and not ok. I’m sorry you experiances this at such a young age. You know that people can be assholes. I always have said people who are intentionally mean to others have something wrong with them. Of course this is not something I truely understood and accepted until I was an adult. Thank you for your post.

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