Being Bullied

Bullying can happen to anyone. Maybe you were constantly being hit by a big, mean kid or discovered someone you called ‘friend’ gossiping behind your back. Either way, the hurt, betrayal and confusion felt from being bullied probably left wounds which cut deep.

However, you don’t have to suffer in silence and you’re not alone. Talking about what happened is one way you can start healing from the unpleasant episode. Heeding this piece of advice, these 8 Singaporean Millennials share with us their experience of being bullied and revealed how they dealt with it.

*Names were changed to protect identities

1. “My pants and underwear were pulled down in front of the entire cohort”

During the flag raising ceremony before my PSLE exam, someone pulled my pants down, underwear and all. Everyone in the immediate vicinity pointed and laughed, nudging their friends to look.

Quickly, I pulled my pants up, laughing along because I didn’t know how else to react.

For some reason, the kid who picked on me enjoyed my ‘sportsmanship’ and apologised to me after. We made peace and became friends, and remain friends to this day.

From this incident, I’ve grown to be more relaxed when in awkward or embarrassing situations. Being able to laugh at yourself is one of the bravest things you can do.

Since then, I’ve used humour to deal with tough experiences and find a bit of laughter makes life much easier.
Darrel, 23

2. “I was pushed and tripped during the entire school camp”

When I was in Primary 5, there was a group of popular girls who constantly picked on me during the school’s annual Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) camp. They saw me as an easy target because I had no friends, was quiet and awkward.

The leader of the group had a mum who was a teacher in the school. They thought a teacher’s favouritism and authority combined with their popularity gave them a free pass on bad behaviour. They’d try to trip me during meal times and push me to the end of queues during activities for a laugh.

They’d try to trip me during meal times and push me to the end of queues during activities for a laugh.

Secretly, I tipped off my form teacher about the group’s antics. She pulled the ‘mean girls’ to the side and scolded them so harshly they never bothered me again.

Later, my form teacher came up to me and said, “It’s good you didn’t keep silent. If you refuse to help yourself, no one else is going to help you.”
Hyemin, 20

3. “I was discriminated at work because of my skin colour”

At my new job, there was a co-worker who was particularly unpleasant. She was a prejudiced auntie who’d make racist Malay jokes and claim she was “just joking”. When I was around, she’d only speak in Chinese, refusing to include me in the conversation.

While the HR did step in to mediate the situation, she felt no need to change her behaviour as she didn’t think she was being racist.

Though belittled and hurt by her comments, I decided to work harder to prove minority races aren’t ‘inferior’.

The day I was promoted over her was one of the most satisfying moments of my career. She finally shut up when she realised I was her new boss.
Afiqah, 26

4. “I had a hate club on Facebook”

In JC, I dated a popular basketball player who was half the school’s eye-candy. Many girls were jealous and mad at me for ‘stealing their man’. Someone created a Facebook page called “I Hate Melody” where people could leave mean comments about me on the wall.

Pictures were taken from my Instagram and photoshopped to look ugly and distorted before being posted up on the account.

Unable to confront my anonymous tormentors, I could only wait for the bully to stop, developing mild social anxiety in the process.

Despite what has happened, I refuse to let myself be defined as a victim of bullying. Every day I remind myself to think positive thoughts, to count my blessings and be grateful—I won’t let this bring me down.
Melody, 26

5. “I had to do all the household chores”

During Uni, a ‘friend’ asked me to room with her. After she moved in, she took advantage of my friendship and pushed all the chores on me.

Essentially, I was her maid—I bought the groceries, topped up the air-con, kept the room clean and even did her laundry. She’d constantly use the excuse she was “too busy and broke” and would guilt trip me by saying if I didn’t “help her out” I was a “bad friend”.

Fed up, I repeatedly tried to bring up the subject. But every time, she’d start crying and say “I’m trying so hard to be a better person and you make me feel like a bad guy.” I’d end up having to apologise and comfort her instead.

I bore with her till the end of the school year and cut her out of my life when I moved out.

Rooming with such a toxic, selfish person made me realise while it’s good to be nice, don’t be a pushover and let others take advantage of your kindness.
Charlene, 23

6. “I was ignored as it was a game to them”

When I was in Primary school, no one wanted to let me join their clique because I was ‘too talkative’ and didn’t fit in. It was considered ‘cool’ to ignore me, so I was cut off from the rest of the class.

Alone and upset, I didn’t know what I did to deserve this. Rather than sitting alone in the canteen during recess, I’d go to the library to read instead.

Books provided me with an escape and influenced my love for reading and writing. Having a hobby I enjoyed helped me gradually rebuild my self-confidence and I went on to make many friends in the Singaporean Literature community.

At the end of the day, being bullied made me realise you don’t have to go around chasing people to make friends—just do your own thing and the right people will find you.
Rina, 24.

7. “I got called fat and had my uniform drawn on”

In Secondary school, I was picked on because I was fat. The other kids called me names like “piggy”, “fat boy” and “titties”.

Though I was hurt, I laughed the names off. I tried to convince myself they only made fun of me because they were insecure themselves. However, the bitterness from being tormented grew into an intense hatred.

One day, a classmate snuck up on me and used a permanent marker to write the word “fat” on the back of my uniform. I snapped. I picked up my chair and threw it at him.

From then on, I channelled all my anger into working out—I didn’t want to lose control like that again.

Exercising not only made me physically fitter and make peace with myself but also served as a positive outlet to release my pent up frustrations.
Thomas, 23

8. “I was threatened to have my naked pics leaked”

When I was in Uni, a guy I was seeing at the time pressured me into having sex with him. Unknowingly, he had recorded the entire act on a hidden camera.

Fast forward a few months, the relationship had turned sour and I wanted to break up with him. Pulling out his phone, he showed me the recorded footage and threatened to release it to my classmates.

Horrified, I lived in constant fear. I wanted to escape the shame and stress his blackmail caused and considered ending my life.

One day, I broke down and confessed to a friend. She called the cops and the school counsellor who managed to confront him and delete all evidence of our tryst.

Keeping quiet about a bad situation doesn’t make it better. It’s not your fault if someone blackmails you so speak up and get help.
Paula, 24

Dealing With Bullies

Everyone deals with being bullied differently. No matter your coping mechanisms, it’s important to understand if you’re bullied, it’s not your fault.

As much as possible, forgive your bullies. It’s not just about being gracious, but also about allowing yourself closure to heal and to move on.

 

Cover image: source