Bullying, Cyberbullying, and Cruelty to Others – Veronica’s Experience

Some brush it off as, “Bullying is part of life.  We all go through it.”  Unfortunately, that is true, but it’s still no excuse.  Bullying has pushed its way into social media, magnifying the range of devastation to its victims.  It has ruined people’s lives, reputations, and it is pushing kids to the point of suicide.  In my niece’s small Ohio town, seven children, ranging from 13 to 19, have committed suicide in the last few years.  I’m veering from my usual RVing posts to address and share my niece’s experience growing up in this small town.

Here are Veronica’s words:

“Before I start, I want to put a disclaimer down.  I don’t want people to feel bad for me.  I’ve come to live with it.  I am also not looking for attention.  I am here to help.  I want others to see things really do look up when you think there is nothing else to look forward to. 

Bullying is a real thing.  It actually started in grade school.  I would rather be talking about horses and playing football with the guys.  I have actually got kicked to the ground by a group of girls in sixth grade.  I was the odd ball.  Tallest in my grade and looked overpowering.  That’s when my mom invited me to basketball.  It seemed like the coaches only cared because of my height. 

Then middle school.  My darkest days.  Never in my life have I been so close to calling it quits.  I was depressed.  I was cutting, wearing baggy clothes all the time.  I always worried about my weight.  Mom guess what!!  I lost a belt size!!  Best day ever!!  My grades dropped.  Sleeping all day.  My parents thought that pills would be the answer.  Pills always work right!?!  No, bullying was so bad for me the guys had a code name for me named Tim.  Tim is fat.  Tim is ugly.   I can tell you that I felt bad for Tim because they were tearing him to shreds.  Someone told me one day that Tim was a code name for me.  I went home that day and took four pill bottles into one and just stared at them.  I said this is it.  I’m done.  Done fighting.  The thing that made me not do it was my siblings.  What a great big sister.  Dead.  Because I wasn’t strong enough.  My only outlet was basketball, and that was only in the winter.  I had no friends.  My friends at the time would call me just to say they were at a party and I wasn’t.  But I ALWAYS had a smile on my face.  NEVER showed how weak I was. 

High school was also just as rough.  But it started getting better.  On my sixteenth birthday party, I invited everyone!!  Can’t wait!!  But the night of the party nobody showed.  Hit me hard.  It wasn’t as bad as when a guy put gum in my hair and nobody told me about it till I was on the bus ride home.  Yet again, had a smile on my face.  Then I didn’t get into basketball and I started eating.  I was not caring about what I look like or who I had to impress, because I couldn’t please anyone.  I had a breakdown for the first time and got help from Parkview Behavior Health in Fort Wayne. There I found out I wasn’t alone.

Graduating.  Best word in the English dictionary when you’re 18.  I started off doing great!!  Then, at my job, I had a couple friends that would pretend they were my friends and would stab me in the back.  It was to the point I was on I75 headed to work and I unbuckled my seat belt and was headed towards a gasoline semi.  Hoping, praying that someone would see. 

Then I got away from that job!  My life did a complete 360°.  My job took off like a rocket!  I also work at a haunted prison giving tours.  ME!  Talking to the public.  WHAT!!  I got friends that would cross four oceans for me.  I have never had anyone do that for me.  I feel so much happier about myself.  I love that! 

I want to say thank you for all those people that made my life a living hell.  I wouldn’t be who I am today.  Helping out so many people who are going through tough times.  I hope this helps someone out and to show that you can fight this.  It will get better when life seems at a standstill.”

Written by Veronica Vulgamott

Veronica is my sweet niece–the one who always thinks of others first, is the family peacemaker, and the one who would rather die than hurt someone’s feelings.  She’s tenderhearted, sensitive, and loving.  Why kids have a hard time with children like Veronica is beyond me.  Growing up, she was seen as an easy target.  Their words hurt.  Their actions pierced her heart.  The more they saw her misery, the more they fed on it and became predators mercilessly eating their prey and, for the most part, she was silent about the pain.  As an aunt who sees how precious Veronica’s gifts are, it is heartbreaking to hear how they tried to trample her spirit, pick on her to the point where she wears a poker face on the outside but is crushed on the inside, and made her doubt her value as a beautiful human being.  I’m so thankful she sought help from her parents and they lovingly provided whatever she needed.  I’m proud of her strength to persevere.

After a 13-year-old recently took his life in the same hometown, she decided to share her story.  This is a brave and courageous thing for her to do.  She still walks among people in her small town where everyone knows everybody else and all of their relatives.  They know the family sins of the past and never let anyone live them down. That same tiny town where the bullies are adults who procreate to raise bullies just like them–simply because someone doesn’t fit in their ‘box’ of ‘normal’ or right or wrong.  The cycle continues, and Veronica’s wish is to stop at least one child from doing the unthinkable.

I’m sharing Veronica’s story because she wanted me to.  She wants to help anyone she can.  These kids live with the hurt–they don’t talk about how parts of them die slowly each day.  She’s not the only one.  There are millions of kids out there who are victims of various forms of bullying.  Not all kids are born with the ‘fight back’ instinct, and even if they were, they are overpowered or rendered emotionally paralyzed.  They need someone to fight for them before they lose all hope and decide to end their lives.

Parents:  Be aware.  Look for signs of despondency and self-doubt.  Also know that children aren’t perfect little angels.  Don’t allow them to bully or be mean to others.  There has to be consequences to actions.  Do something about it.  “Kids will be kids,” is a weak and lame cop out.

The world’s gotta change.  It starts with us.

I’m proud of you, Veronica.

Please leave Veronica a comment of encouragement if this has touched you in any way.

 

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55 comments

  1. It is terrible that kids are so mean to each other and I fully agree they learn it from their parents. I didn’t find out until my daughter was in high school that she was shaving her arms because kids in junior high called her “Chewbaca” because she had hair on her forearms. I never noticed any hair, but one day I saw that she had shaved and she said that people were teasing her. Glad your niece could rise above. She is a cutie. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Veronica, you are already a much stronger woman than many. It takes a brave person to share what you did and to put up with what you did which you certainly did not deserve. I am sorry for what you went through, but so happy that you found your happiness in life. I wish you only the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. She is so strong and brave! Tell her to keep holding her head high and be proud of herself. The bullies treat others badly to compensate for their own insecurities. I know because I was a bully. I hated myself and took it out on others. I’m ashamed of it now, but I admit it because I want younger versions of me to realize the harm they are causing. I have contacted and begged for forgiveness from the girl who bore the brunt of my malcontent. I didn’t deserve it, but she gave me her forgiveness. She told me she’d been using me as an example to her youth group for years. I had no parental supervision when I was a depressed and angry teen, but after therapy I was able to be a better parent to my boys and break that cycle. I can never take back the pain I caused, but I have at least made amends. Hopefully your nieces’ tormentors will learn from her story and do the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing that, Julie. I think we often don’t realize how our behavior affects others until we’ve gained the wisdom and life experiences to bring it to light. We’ve all done and said things we deeply regret, but the fact that you went back to the girl that was mistreated says so much about character and empathy, and I can’t imagine the healing it had for her (and you, too). I hope Veronica gets an apology someday for the things done to her, but I think her way of healing is trying to help someone going through the same. Thank you so much for reading and sharing your experience. It means so much!

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  4. What a courageous young woman to come forward and talk about this…. Good for her. If I had one piece of advice for kids going through this it would be “Just give it time. It does get better. Some day, you’ll get out of that school, and maybe you’ll even get out of that town, and you’ll leave all of that, and all of them, behind.” I couldn’t get out of my home town fast enough. Once I broke free, I left and never went back. And while being a real adult certainly isn’t always easy, there’s just a lot less of that kind of crap to deal with. While there are still jerks everywhere, you find your own voice, you figure out who you really are, and you realize that those people don’t have to matter to you at all. I joke about how it sucks to get old, but honestly, I’ll take being 20 or 30, or 40 over being 14 any day of the week. Being that age is tough. But once you get through it, things really do get so much better. Veronica seems like a wise young lady. I think she’ll be just fine and I’m impressed by her efforts to help other kids.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I was the same–couldn’t wait to get out of hometown and I truly dislike going back to visit. I also would prefer my years of wisdom to being a teenager again–and the things they deal with nowadays is nothing like it was when I was navigating those years. I think Veronica sharing her story is just the beginning for the things she’s going to do to help others–and heal in the process. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  5. Dearest Veronica,

    Thank you for using your strong strong voice to share your incredible story. I am so sorry you had to endure this endless and torturous bullying. This has to stop. And you are taking a first brave step in your community by creating awareness in a deeply personal way.

    I hope and pray that educators, healthcare workers, faith leaders and others in your small Ohio town read your story and realize they need to do something, that “kids will be kids” is an unacceptable attitude.

    I am all too familiar with bullying– of myself while in junior high decades ago and of two of my three children. I empathize, understanding your hurt and pain.

    That you are now speaking out on the topic shows me the depth of your compassion, the strength of your resolve, the fearlessness of your courage. I admire you, Veronica. You are one compassionate, strong and powerful young woman.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Why kids have a hard time with children like Veronica is beyond me…” I’ve come to the conclusion that we are never taught we all have a dark side and what we should and shouldn’t do with it. Does that sound weird? We look at the kids DOING the bullying and wonder how those sweet little 16’s can POSSIBLY be so cruel — which I’m guessing is why a lot of kids who are being bullied don’t tell anyone. Just a theory of mine. Our dark sides can lead us into all kinds of stupid things.

    Veronica, you preach it, girl! MORE folks like you need to step up and tell their stories. I believe it’s the only way we’ll ever understand and things will change. Thanks for sharing this Dawn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re right. We all do have that dark side–I know I’ve said and done things for which I’m not proud. I also think the adults around kids (parents, teachers, pastors, doctors) are also distracted and don’t pickup on the hints our kids give us–both from the bullied and the bullier (I’m sure that’s not a word!). You brought up a very good point. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I want to say thank you for everyone that has read this and made beautiful comments. It was very hard to put down on a piece of paper let alone put it out to the public eye. I didn’t notice how many people cared about me in this kind of subject! I just hope one day that someone asks me for guidance and I will tell them that you can overcome depression. There is a light that is so bright that there is no stopping it once it is found. Ever since I put it out to the public I have had so many of my arch enemies in life contact me and apologized. I couldn’t be more happier! That’s all I needed was an a apology. But now all I want is to help people as much as I can. I am sick of seeing people calling it quits so early I can’t deal with that kind of pain. I want to thank my aunt Dawn for making a blog for me. I don’t know what I could do without her!

    Liked by 4 people

  8. You guys don’t understand what this means to me! How much love this i! It shows that love is oitbeated by hatred in a landslide to me! Every single one of you.. I wish I can personally give y’all hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Veronica,
    Thank heavens you didn’t follow through and kept going through your incredibly tough times. It’s hard to believe that humans can be so cruel and I’m so sad you experienced that ugly side of life. How wonderful that you understand that you’re a better person today which shows me that you have a true purpose to be here. I wish you nothing but love and positive energy from now on. You have a wonderful family and you must take after your aunt in your writing! No doubt you will touch many many lives with your courage to speak out. May blessings pour down upon you. Peace & Love, Joy

    Liked by 1 person

  10. We are one earth, one humanity. It is incredibly sad for me that instead of embracing the infinite variety in humans, some feel compelled to belittle and bully others. The only reason (which is not a reason) is that these bullies are incredible insecure and want to bring everybody else to their level. Veronica, kindness will win., but it takes time and patience. I’m so happy you made it through your childhood and gained strength from your misery. That shows how incredible strong you’re and a blessing to all women.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Veronica those that bullied you were just jealous of you. I want you to know that when I was a child and teen if I saw someone bullying another kid I would go over and bully the bully and warn them to never bully anyone again and I would be watching them. I then made friends with the person being bullied. I took them home and introduced them to my sisters and brother and made them laugh and join in the fun. I have my parents to thank for that because I had to protect my sisters and brother we were all close in age and all went to the same school. There are others out there like me that would be happy to be your friend because you would be a wonderful friend to have. Hold your head up high and know how valuable you are. I am adding you to my list of friends, Hugs. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Way to go, Veronica! This is a powerful story. I teach preschool, and I work on anti bullying every single day. I catch the little moments, good and bad, and bring attention to that. Plus, I have “Gloria”, the best “person” (puppet) in my class. She is old, not pretty, always wears black, needs help, etc. she is so well loved that children have taken her trick-or-treating, to high school graduations, on vacation, sledding… you name it. So, for all you teachers reading Veronica’s story, you can make a difference. Get a Gloria, bring in seniors to read or play with the kids. When there was a center in town that took care of children with severe disabilities, we “adopted” a child to come and play each week. That was powerful. You’ll know what will work for your class. Again, three cheers for Veronica!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you so much for sharing. I know how difficult it is as I went through many years in school of being bullied too. And people think it ends there when you leave but then you realise you have certain scars from it. Though it should never happen the one good thing that comes out of it is that it tends to make us more compassionate, caring and stronger. And the bullies are the ones who have to live with what they done, not us. So thank you to both of you for sharing this. It’s a very important issue which deserves all the awareness it gets to help many people going through it every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It takes such courage to open up like this. And I hope Veronica has the happy and fulfilling life she so deserves. The above comments show that there are so many kind people in this world. I hope their compassion reaches out and shames the bullies. All the best to you and your (obviously) loving family, Veronica. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you for sharing Veronica’s story and thank Veronica for sharing her story. She’s absolutely right without those folks she wouldn’t be the person she is today. I, too, was bullied in school and at a couple of jobs, but with each bully I learned a little something. And the one thing all bullies share is they insecure and have low self-esteem, so they have to make people feel as bad as they do on the inside. It’s a vicious cycle and we have to learn how to raise secure children. As you said children are not perfect. And instead of berating them we need to congratulate them for giving their all and encourage them when they fail.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading Veronica’s story. I’m sorry that you also were bullied.
      I’m inspired by your positive outlook and compassion. I think without our tribulations and negative experiences, we can’t grow as human beings. Our pain makes us more intuitive to others, and I think you’ve nailed it with the insecurities of those that inflict pain. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Dawn

      Like

  16. I love every single one of your comments! It took a few months to write believe it or not! I am just tired of seeing people lose their life just for feeling alone. Thanks everyone! I really do appreciate this!

    Liked by 1 person

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