I participate in a twitter chat every Tuesday night at 9 pm. It is about mental health and social media (#mhsm). Every week they have an interesting topic such as getting enough sleep, caring for your loved ones with mental illness and bullying. This week was bullying.
When I read the first question: "Have you or your child been the target of bullies? Bullied others?" I thought that I wouldn't have anything to relate to. I was thinking about high school and elementary school and I wasn't really bullied. Teased, sure, but not bullied. And neither has Ryder. So, I just read on.
Then people started discussing being bullied outside of school. For instance, apparently there is a lot of bullying in nursing. Then I started thinking about outside of school, which I had not before. My ex-husband was very verbally abusive. I asked "Do you think verbal abuse is bullying?" I got a bunch of affirmatives. @AspieSide said "yes I think verbal abuse is bullying. Words hurt and lower a person's self worth." This blew my mind a little bit.
I never thought I could relate to being bullied when I lived years and years with a bully. He used to call me names, tell me I am worthless and lazy, make me feel like I deserved everything he did. He was, thankfully, never physically abusive, so I really did not think that I was being abused. Now I see that I was. It took years, but I can see that now.
Honestly, and we are being honest here, I sometimes wished he was physically abusive. Then I would have had a good reason to leave. I felt like the verbal abuse was not a good enough reason. Physical abuse is something tangible. Something that leaves marks and scars. Something that I can point to and say "That is wrong."
After this small revelation, staying involved in the chat was difficult. It made me very sad. I was sad for all the people being bullied, all the bullies, and me. Why can't we just treat everyone else with respect?