Abby was alone in her room and heard her brother angrily yelling for Abby to get downstairs. He promised he wouldn’t hurt her and wouldn’t body slam her or suffocate her. Abby being only being 7, trusted her older brother. She shouldn’t have.
Abby was asked to stand still in the middle of the living room. Her brother proceeded to “teach himself karate” by kicking Abby repeatedly in the face and her torso. With all of his strength he punched her in the stomach. Every kick was a shock to her system. Every time Abby dropped, he yelled at her to get back up and stand still. She continued to listen to him. He, who was 12 years old, continued to kick and punch her with all of his might. Every punch, every kick, deepened the pain she felt until her entire body seemed to hum. She seemed to be going def because everything she heard seemed muffled. She could hear this one soft voice in her head though. The voice whispered softly and calmly,
“he’s going to kill you. Run.”
The voice became a bit louder, “..run…run…run…now…” but it was still too low. Abby continued to stand in the middle of the room. She continued to take every kick and every punch, thinking it would be over soon. Finally, this strong and absolutely confident voice shouted,
“He’s KILLING you. RUUUUN!”
And something finally snapped. Abby finally ran. She ran to the bathroom, hugged the toilet, and in tears , she started convulsing. This never happened before. Abby believed the voice. She thought she was finally dying. She was shaking, cold and scared. Abby could barely see. Her brother ran to her, yelling, he tried to pull her, drag her back to the living room. Abby held on to the toilet with all her might and uttered the words, “Stop. I don’t feel good. I think I’m going to die.” Sobbing, she dared not look at him. She didn’t have the strength to look up at him even if she wanted to. Abby no longer had control of her body. Her brother’s response to Abby announcing that she was going to die? “Good. I want you to die.” He was very clear and confident. That was the best thing he could have said to her. It was official, if Abby didn’t die on that day, he would be sure to kill her on another day.
After that day, Abby finally told her mother everything and her mother made sure that the house was safe while she was at work. Abby’s grandmother was at the home waiting for Abby and her brother every day after school for years after that day, to ensure Abby was safe.
Why did I tell you this story? Because Abby was 7 years old and she was a bully. Abby hurt another little girl despite knowing full well what it felt like to be hurt. So if she knew, why did she do it? Because Abby didn’t really know. How can any 7-year old really know how to make sense of that abuse? Abby never intentionally hurt anyone else after that one day but she easily could have, couldn’t she? Had that voice not whispered to her to run, giving her some sort of power in the knowledge that making another choice can change her life for the better instead of for worse, Abby would probably have continued to have been abused and possibly continued to abuse anyone who was different from her. Abby might have actually died eventually. She could have died physically or spiritually if she continued to be abused by her brother.
Bullies. They are a tangled mess of fear and anger. Bullies have no safe place. Bullies have those whispers drowned out by the fear and anger and have no outlet for all of that negative energy. Bullies have no one they feel they can turn to for support, understanding and protection. So our 7-year old bullies grow up, never finding the power that comes from making better choices. I believe that we have all been there, even if for a split second. Even if we spewed that negative energy against ourselves in private versus projecting it outside to innocent people. We are all or have all been bullies at one point in our lives. Do not hate a bully. The bully is already filled with nothing but hate and anger and fear. Feel pity, but don’t just stop there. Try to find a connection and be the light that bully needs. Abby was a bully in the traditional sense of the word, even if only for those 2 minutes that one day in second grade. She was a bully. I, I was a bully. And that is something I apologize for every night and that I will regret my entire life. Do not turn your back on a bully. Help her. She is lost and drowning in anger and fear. And she hasn’t yet realized that she can trust that inner voice and that there is great power to be found in making a different choice.