Thursday, October 23, 2008

mean real life

Today I'm talking about mean girls. The kind who made your life a living hell when you were a teen. Remember them? They enjoyed talking about you behind your back, making up rumors and watching you squirm as you attempted to put your reputation back together. We've all had to deal with at least one 'mean girl' in our life. Whether in high school, college, or even at your current job.

Well I had one. Her name was Amy. Amy was a year younger than me, but she was big for her age, and cunning. We were in like fourth and fifth grade at the time. She always found interesting ways to torture me. Sometimes it was running me down on the sidewalk as she rode her bike. Other times it was spraying me with the hose as I walked past her house to get home from school. Amy taunted me all the time. Until one day she pushed too far. Literally. I was walking with a friend and Amy came up behind me and pushed me in the back. I stumbled and fell. I didn't confront her, just acted like it didn't bother me and went home. However, my brothers saw what Amy had done. They, being the rowdy bunch they were, told me to get back out there and teach Amy a lesson. I was scared. One, I wasn't the confrontational type. Two, Amy was a mean little bitch. I didn't think I could beat her. My brothers felt differently. They knew I could take her. Still, I pleaded my case. What would mom do if she finds out I've been fighting. One of my brother's piped up and said, I'll handle that, you just go out there and show Amy what happens when she pushes a person too far. I took a deep breath and went outside. Amy stood in the neighbor's yard, taunting me more. Yelling at me, calling me a chicken. The neighbor lady was frowning at me. Basically calling me a bully, because poor little Amy is just misuderstood. Yeah, don't get me started on that one. All the adults thought Amy was a sweet little girl who wouldn't hurt a fly. *snort*

I didn't go to Amy, that would have put me in the old hag's yard, instead I stood in my driveway and waited. My brothers were on the front porch, watching. I shook I was so scared. Finally, as predicted, Amy came to me. No way could she pass up a chance to torture me some more. First let me explain something, before I tell you what happened. I'm the youngest with three older brothers. I learned early on how to defend myself, even if I didn't quite realize it at the time, I did actually know how to fight. So, Amy, being the idiot she was, came at me. First she tried a punch, which I evaded. Come on, seriously? Do you even know how many punches I've evaded over the years?! Hello! Brothers here! Then she tried a kick. I grabbed her leg and shoved it upwards. Amy fell on her ass. It was a concrete driveway, I knew that hurt. She jumped up and gave me this look then ran over to old lady Hall's house. I waited. Amy never came back out. Amy learned a lesson that day. If you push someone far enough, they WILL fight back, even if it's not in their nature to do so.

So, as you can imagine my brothers cheered, 'way to go, sis!' They were so proud. LOL Mom never found out, surprisingly. Though I knew Billy would keep his word. No matter what, I knew he would have gone to bat for me.

Why do I bring up this little episode. Things have come back around. Now my daughter is being picked on. Not physically, but verbally. A friend at school takes great pleasure in calling her names. Prostitute, slut, pocket whore (because Kati is short). The list goes on. Kati is like me, she rolls her eyes and moves on, she's not confrontational. She's not a slut and she doesn't see the point in defending herself. Everyone else at school knows Kati isn't those things. She has a lot of friends, the girl who talks shit, talks shit about everyone. She enjoys the backstabbing, spreading nasty rumors, calling people names. She just simply finds joy in it. The thing is, I know this girl. I know she doesn't come from a bad home. There's no abuse or secret reason why she's this way. Truly, some girls just enjoy being mean. There, I said it. I refuse to make excuses for her. She was not raised to do these things. Her siblings are not this way, at all. So what's the answer? As a mother I want to call this girl's parents and tell them what their daughter is doing. I've told Kati that. She cringes when I say that because clearly I may as well slice her throat. Having mommy come to her rescue is about as embarrassing as it gets. If the taunting is bad now, you can imagine how much worse it would get, right? So, I told Kati the other day that I know she doesn't like to confront this girl. It's not in her to do that. But at some point she's going to have to face her fears and stand her ground. I don't think that day is too far off. And I think that when it happens, she'll be stricking a blow for just about every girl up at the school, because they've all come under this bitch's verbal attacks at some point. Is telling Kati to get in this girl's face the right thing to do? Yes. Why? Because sometimes it's important to stand up for yourself. It's just that simple.

So, have you been bullied? What was the solution, if any?


Regina Carlysle said...

I am sooo with you on this, Anne. What's up with these girls??? It seems every day there is a new video on YouTube of girls FIGHTING. I think we've all come up against this stuff. It happened to me many times. Remember in high school, I got a new car. Nothing fancy, just a cute little used car and I was really proud of it. Came to the parking lot after school and a group of girls had managed to put it in neutral and roll it into the middle of a muddy field. I got tripped on my way to a teacher's desk. Had "stories" made up about me before I was even allowed to DATE. Lots of things like that. Unfortunately, I didn't have an older brother and like, you I was non-confrontational. I smiled through it all and pretended it didn't hurt. High School is a wicked place where jealousy and immaturity can batter a kid but we somehow manage to get through it.

Honestly though, the bad stuff stopped once I got out of high school. When these sorts of things started happening to my daughter, I thought...oh, nooooo, here we go again but she is different than I was. She HAS an older brother and she's just not natured to take it lying down like I did. YAY!!!!! She is mentally tough and doesn't take it from anyone. No physical fights but she has this icy-blue stare that can be really scary! LOL.

Kati needs to take care of this girl. She will feel better when she does and will be surprised at how many others will "have her back". Doesn't have to be physical either but she DOES need to confront this girl.

Have to say though, BOYS ARE EASIER.

Kelley Nyrae said...

Girls can be so terrible, can't they. It's so sad the way girls/women pull each other down some times. I dont understand it. Jealousy? Low self esteem? I think its a little bit of both. I dread the days my girls with be old enough to go to high school and deal with this crap.

Sophia Danu said...

Hi Anne! What an awful experience to deal with (being bullied). Oddly enough I never had this experience in school, but I know others who did and they just took it. It makes me sad to think about some of the things I saw happen, but I never did anything to help those people who were being bullied. You are kind of glad it's not you when it happens so you don't get involved, but maybe others should get involved when they see this happening to someone.

Anyway, my daughter said that someone at school was making fun of her saying "girly, girly" which is silly but she's six and for some reason, that hurt her feelings. I just told her that anytime someone else makes fun of her (1) they are either jealous, or (2) they have an awful life at home and parents who don't love them. (haha -- maybe that's not true) but I didn't want her to think it was her fault. Plus, my daughter has my sarcastic (sometimes acidic) mouth and while she's a sweetie, she knows how to push buttons and I can totally see her replying with that little mouth and turning it back around.

She said when that girl said that to her, she said back "meany, meany, meany". hehe Still yet, she's six and it's already started. She has a good group of friends though so I told her just to hang with them and ignore anyone who bothers her.

We watched a movie once where a boy was being bullied. The bully took the boy's backpack and books and threw them and then started pushing the boy. I told Katie if she ever gets in that situation and there is no teacher or adult to help, then she needs to let that kid have it. I told her to hit them and do whatever she had to do to make them stop. Maybe not the most diplomatic response a mom should give, but I am also not going to indicate that she should take a beating. I'm not a mom that wants to interfere...but seriously if someone hurts my kids, I'll probably go ballistic!!

I agree also, girls are awful! Boys might fight but they move on. Girls are hateful and cruel and like you say Anne, very cunning. I haven't raised my girls to be this way. They are kind and respectful and proper, but I will make sure they know not to take it lying down.

AE Rought said...

Sandy Paquin. Perfectly coiffed, color coordinated, cut throat Sandy Paquin. She tormented me through one full semester of Art in middle school, and I will NEVER forget it.

Not with fists, not even with name calling. She was too squeaky clean for that. No. Sandy came at me sideways.

I was never thin. (Well, maybe for about five minutes after high school.) But, in middle school I was flat out chubby--boobs, belly, butt were all about even. In Art class, I sat on my chair, diligently worked at the task set before us, but when I stood everything fell apart.

Sandy found a scrap of paper on my chair. She wailed and bemoaned the scrap of paper's death, squashed beneath Ann's butt. "Oh, poor Billy Bob, we hardly knew him."

I was crushed. If I could have melted through the floor, I would've. Hell, I was doing good not to cry when the majority of the class laughed at my expense.

The teasing continued. For a week, every day there was a new scrap of paper mysteriously murdered by my ass. Then, on Friday, she and her high-society priss queen lacekys held a funeral for the Billy Bob family.

I didn't fight back. My mousey squeaks of "that's not funny" did little.

The lesson here?

For those oppressed, please fight back. Don't drag the hurt around like me. It shapes you in ways that are hard to change. And no one should be given that much power over anyone else.

Anonymous said...

Girls aren't the only ones. Guys can be pathetic as well.

Starting in the fifth grade through to my junior year of high school, a clown named Steve delighted in tormenting and picking fights with me. It took till our junior year for me to actually be pushed too far.

While out under a tree studying for a big exam, he and two of his stoner buddies walk up and kick my books and notes all over the place. As he walks by I grabbed his leg and tripped him.

I had learned a few very nasty tricks from my step father, former para-rescue in the Air Force. I rolled up Steve's back, pulled his hair back with my left hand and wrapped the fingers of my right around his wind pipe. A little squeeze and he stopped struggling completely.

"You ever both me again, and I'll close my fingers. Got it?"

Steve nodded, I let him up and from that day forward, never had a lick of trouble with him.

Sometimes, you have to push back, really hard just to get through to them.

Lisa Hendrix said...

I wasn't bullied, but my son was. Finally, he turned around on the tormenters and started saying stuff like, "Aw, come on. Even my little sister throws better insults than that." or "And your point is?" or "Nice try, but I've heard better." -- all said without any indication at all it bothered him. It put the onus back on the bullies, people laughed at *them* and it ended very quickly.

Hope your daughter can get on top of this little witch before it gets worse.

Regina Carlysle said...

Lordy. So many stories. My daughter was always one of the "popular" girls. Her freshman year in high school, she sat at a big table full of the GOOD crowd in the lunchroom. Early in the school year a boy who had cerebral palsey carried his tray past this table and several of the girls followed him around mocking him. Everyone else laughed. My daughter, whom I admire more than anyone in the world, got up, told them they were bitches and that was it. She never associated with them again and was never "popular" again. Those girls HATE HER NOW but she has moved on. She will graduate from high school in a couple of months. I see good things in her future.

Bullying is bad everywhere and, as a parent, I really wish there was more happening on the educational front to address this. Recall hearing a story several years ago about a little girl in England who committed suicide because she was teased at school because of her weight. She was 8 years old.

D. Musgrave said...

Being bullied is an all too familiar thing for most people growing up. Even some bullies were bullied themselves, so they think it's okay to "return the favor".

As for handling your daughter's situations? Tell her your story.
If nothing else, it will let her know you've been there and understand.


Genella deGrey said...

I'm with ya - both me and later my children were bullied.

Along with a car seat, the hospitals should send parents home with "The Golden Rule" emblazoned across the top of the birth certificates. If the idea of being kind and respectful to others isn't taught at home, where else are these bullies going to learn it?

I do have a story where Karma caught up with one of my nemeses. I had just had a baby and was looking none too slim at my twenty-year HS reunion. Toward the end of the evening, I was sitting at a table for eight with a few seats empty, with other guests engaged in conversation around me (my other half had gone to the bar or was speaking to someone, I can't remember.) Three women, who hadn't been sitting at my table before, decided to take a seat.

My nemesis (one of them, anyway) turns to me and said, slurred and haggard as she was, "And you are?"

I looked at her for a moment. After the years of being put down by her, she didn't even remember the name of the tortured.

I gave her my name and she said, "Yes, I remember you. You look the same, except more . . . womanly."

Had she not been across the table, I would have been tempted to slug her one. Then she asked me if I was attending with a guy that we all had gone to school with. I told her no, it was someone else, and she told me how much she thought he looked like the guy from our HS - which he didn't. Her buddies chimed in at this point and agreed with her (as they always did.)

I go, "Really? I think my date looks like Colin Firth."

They shut up. In fact, they left the table and didn't attempt to communicate with me for the rest of the night. Thank God.

Later I found out that the lead nemesis that her marriage had just broken up and she was really down.

I don't remember feeling sorry for her at the time, but now I realize just how pathetic she and all her kind turn out to be.

One thing I've always said about romance authors, they are the kindest sort of people because they know villains and would not strive to become one. I can honestly say that I have not met a romance author yet who was vindictive or just plain mean. We are very lucky to have each other, IMHO.


Anne Rainey said...

Regina, I'm so glad your daughter sticks up for herself! I really wish Kati would.

Kelley, other than that one girl, Kati is pretty happy with school. She tries to avoid her whenever she can, and I think that helps. Not all girls go through this really. I think your girls will do fine!

Anne Rainey said...

Dr. Karl, I agree, sometimes you do have to push back really hard. Congrats for standing up to this jerk!

Lisa, tell your son WAY TO GO! That's the way to handle these things. YAY!!

Anne Rainey said...

AE--I'm so sorry. This just breaks my heart. Some kids need smacked, really. Kati has a friend, Cassie, she's really sweet, but she's overweight. The girl who picks on Kati calls Cassie 'nasty cassie' behind her back. Kati sticks up for her whenever she can, which makes me proud. But this girl really needs to learn some damned manners. ugh!

Anne Rainey said...

Derek--I've told both the girls that story about Amy and they just love it. LOL Mom kicked ass back in the day. LOL Silly kids!

BrennaLyons said...

I had a couple of people TRY to bully me, but it didn't work well. I had a mouth and vocabulary that made the come-back scorching, and if you DARED lay a hand on me... I didn't start fights but I sure finished them, when I cared enough about the situation to fight, which wasn't often.

The worst part for me was taking punishments for defending myself. I had one pseudo-bully...talked a good game, liked to hit when you weren't looking... She got the surprise of her life, when she pushed me into a thorn bush, and I vaulted back out and started swinging. I got detention for it, though she started it. The reason? She was a year younger, and I did more damage to her than she did to me. Rolling eyes. Maybe she should learn not to push someone into a thorn bush... Oh, wait, she did!

Another time I got punished, a girl grabbed me by the arm on the playground at school, with the thought of tossing me into the gravel pit. I grew up in a rough neighborhood; we ALL came from bad homes, most of them broken homes. I planted my feet and told her to let me go, and when she refused, I laid my fingernails into her hand to force her to let go. Again, I took the punishment for it. Apparently, the bruises on my arm weren't reason enough for me to lay claws to the little witch.


Anne Rainey said...

Brenna--One thing we told the girls is that if they ever get into trouble for defending themselves, the school will hear from us. We told them do NOT worry about that part, if you have to fight back, then fight back. We'll take care of the rest!

Good for you!!

BrennaLyons said...

My daughter (the older one) was being bullied by a guy much bigger than her in grade school. I had her go into the office and tell them that her mother told her to come in and tell them, if the playground moderators didn't do their jobs and stop him. That worked wonders.

After three detentions, he threatened my daughter and her best friend with a knife (said he had one, but he didn't have one that they ever found). They went to the office, and he was suspended for a week on a weapons offense and harassment.

At about that time, I taught her the three best ways to incapacitate a boy. Her father winced then told her to use them as a last resort, but use them, if you have to.

One of my younger sisters got suspended for three days. The story goes that the boy was beating up on my cousin Tasha.

Now, Tasha is (as an adult) shy of 5 feet tall and all of 100 pounds, so you can imagine how small she was in middle school! She looked like a third-grader in sixth. And this guy who was three times her size had her arm twisted behind her in the hall. He could have snapped the bone easily.

Maryann (my sister) came out of class and saw it. She gave him one warning to let go, then (like big sister, like little) she whalloped him with her purse. One minor, little, almost insignificant problem? She had a master lock in her purse, and he needed three stitches. Whoops.

Of course, they said she should have gotten a teacher, but by that time, Tash would have had a broken arm.


BrennaLyons said...

Nodding to Anne. I told my kids the same thing.

My son got a disciplinary note (not a detention but a note home) for kicking another student. Now, that doesn't sound like my son, so I asked what the deal was.

As he tells it (and the school doesn't argue it), the other boy got in my son's face and was verbally abusive. At that point, he pushed Robbie twice, the second one knocking my son to the ground. While Robbie was down, the other boy pulled his fist back to punch him. At that point, Robbie kicked him in the knee, knocking him down then got up and headed for the adults.

My answer to the school was that my son WOULD defend himself. If no adults are reining in the aggressor, my son has my blessing to defend himself (my ORDERS to), and that the little beast involved should learn not to hurt other people.

They didn't argue it, though the disciplinary is on both their records.


Anne Rainey said...

Once two fifth graders were picking on my youngest, she was in pre-kindergarten at the time. I called both parents, neither argued with me, one even said her daughter knew better because her son (the girl's brother) had been bullied. The mother was pissed. I knew the situation would be handled. The was the day I started dropping my kids off at school and picking them up, as this was happening on the bus. If Kati hadn't been there to help Alisha, and later tell me what was going on, I shudder to think what would have happened.

flchen1 said...

I don't remember being bullied, but just wanted to say hooray for you for teaching your kids to stand up for themselves and to stand up for those who can't. There are always mean people, and thankfully there are also those who AREN'T! So sorry that you've all had to endure not only bullying but punishment for protecting yourself. For shame!

Molly Daniels said...

Brenna, we have the same philosophy. We've told our kids not to start a fight, but to finish them.

My son stood up for one of his friends and 'finished' the fight, knocking the bully down. They both were sent to the principal's office, but enough kids had witnessed what was happening and mine got the proverbial slap on the wrist. The other one got an ISS (in-school suspension).

And when the school got a new principal and it was MY son on the receiving end, it was clear when I went in to conference with her she was not going to do anything, so I took my son aside and reminded him that bullies are actually cowardly, and that his two years of tackle football gave him an edge over his bullies. One incident, and it was all over.

So far, my daughter's been slightly teased, but nothing serious. I've talked with her and she's confident enough to handle it. When it does get to her, she comes to me and we try to find a solution. Usually, she just needs to verbalize her frustrations.

And so far, no problems with the toddler, thank god!

Jen said...

I was never bullied when I was in school. I think I was just too laid back to worry about stuff like that. Besides, if someone did pick on me, I'd probably just laughed at them. ; -)

A couple of real good friends of mine were on the cheer leading squad so I was never picked on by the mean cheerleaders because I was friends with Robin & Nita. But there was this one snobby little chick who transferred to our school in the 10th grade. She was forever looking down her nose at people she felt was beneath her. When I was in school, you sat in alphabetical order in most of your classes so this chick was always sitting in front of me.

So let's fast forward to my 20 year high school reunion. My date and I had gone up to get something to drink and there stood Candi. So I thought I'd be nice and say hey. She turned and looked at me and did that up and down look and basically said "I'm sorry, I don't remember who you are". Now we had on name tags with our senior year picture on it. The school was small. She knew who I was. That whole "I'm better that you" attitude just doesn't wash with me any more. So she was looking down her nose at me and said "I don't believe we were in the same classes together". Without missing a beat I said "probably not, I was in all of the advanced classes". I got my drink and turned around and walked off. My date was right behind me and he was dying laughing and said, "meow little girl....". lol

Anne Rainey said...

flchen1--Well, yesterday this girl played a nast prank on Kati. I can't say what happened, I wouldn't want Kati embarrassed because I told folks online. But, this time Kati spoke up. She got right up in her face and called her out on it. I'm proud of Kati, and I think it's just the beginning.

Sarah said...

I loved your post. It was so cool and I am glad you stood up to that dreadful girl!

I think if you don't stand up to them they'll just carry on - but what an incredibly difficult thing to do. It takes courage and a sense of confidence in yourself and who you are.

PS I LOVE your banner, it is gorgeous! Who was the artist?

Anne Rainey said...

Hi Sarah, thanks for the compliments on the post and the banner. The talented Scott Carpenter designed it and the icons Regina, Kelley and I use. :)