Open Discussion: Child Abuse. Abused Child Becomes the Bully

How many times have we heard of kids standing up to a bully only to be suspended themselves after the bully cries from retaliation? How many times have we heard the bully say, “I’m the one being picked on” and actually believe and mean it?

If you answered too many then you and I are on the same page.

Quick Quick Story

Bully: Christina

Victim: Amy

Christina has been bullying Amy in school for over 2 years. Amy has told her parents, the teachers, and the principal. Christina is spoken to about it but it goes in one ear and out the other. Finally, Amy has had enough and decks Christina in the nose, eye and mouth. Christina runs to the school office in blood and tears. Amy gets suspended. Christina cries her way back to class.

We all know this is not fair to Amy. We’re on Amy’s side and we sympathize with Amy. However. What’s going on with Christina?

Why is Christina being overly aggressive? Why has Amy been targeted? Why has Christina not heeded all warning from parents, teachers and the principal? Why is she keeping it up?

Important note: In no way am I trying to justify the bully’s actions or make excuses for the bully. Bullies are narrowed down to a few reasons why they bully. #1. Spoiled brats #2. Mental problems #3. Abuse in the home and #4. Influenced by someone emotionally stronger.

In Christina’s case she is being abused at home. Let’s look at her day.

Christina lives with her Mother and Uncle. When she comes home from school her Uncle abuses her inappropriately. Her mother has never listened in the past when Christina complained so she just lets him do it. She’s carrying this dark shameful secret with her every minute of her life. In the morning before Christina goes to school her Uncle abuses her again. When he’s finished he threatens her and tells her she’s worth nothing. Christina is an angry girl who, in addition to being a teenager, has this extra factor happening to her.

Christina goes to school and sees Amy. She thinks Amy is prettier, Amy makes straight A’s, and Amy’s parents probably love her and Amy shows no signs of being abused. She also sees Amy as being too happy, therefore, Amy is a target.

Amy has no way of knowing that Christina is living in any kind of daily hell. All she knows is that Christina is extremly mean to her, seeks out to terrorize Amy every day and makes it a point to drive Amy to tears. If Amy is not in tears to Christina’s liking, then Christina becomes physical with Amy. Amy gets tired of it and fights back.

When we think of Christina’s situation we can certainly understand her anger towards the world. When we look at Amy’s perception we understand her anger at Christina.  Christina is keeping this awful secret with her Uncle whose threatened her. Her mother doesn’t believe her so why would she think anyone else would?

How can this situation be resolved?

The only way it can be resolved is when Christina tells the right people. Until she finds trust in someone to tell and make it stop Christina is stuck in this situation and seeking out targets. When Amy is no longer a valid target, Christina will move on to someone else. It’s really not about Amy. It’s about releasing her own hurt that she cannot manage.

Additional Reading.

I went to high school with a girl who was incredibly mean to me. Several actually. But this one was extra horrible and we got into 3 fist fights that I can remember. She seemed to get her rocks off each time I decked her on the school bus. It’s like it gave her extra energy and fueled the fire to continue bothering me. I could not figure out what the hell her problem was.

When we became seniors in high school she disappeared. I hadn’t really noticed because I didn’t really care. One of my friends told me she had to move to Detroit. I said why? She told me this girl was being sexually abused by her father and beat up on a daily basis. She was removed from the home and taken to a foster family out-of-state so her father couldn’t find her. Her brothers had joined in on her too.

I stood and cried in that school hallway. I forgave every unkind word she said to me. I forgave every punch I took. I forgave all the dirty looks and I forgave her based on that whole situation. The wild thing about this whole story is. She never knew that I was being abused too. I saw her one time after that in college. She was a totally different person. She spotted me on campus and came over and apologized for how she treated me in high school. I told it was fine. We were still kids. I have not seen her since then. I did hear she was speaking out on child abuse and she was into social service work.

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