Straight Talk Advice

Aug 10, 2011

Boy has murderous thoughts toward bully

DEAR STRAIGHT TALK: I moved here as a freshman. I’m heading into junior year and never made it into the popular crowd. In fact, I’m completely shunned because last year, a completely random rumor was started that I’m gay — what? because I do band and not sports? I’m not gay, and even if I was, is that worth torturing someone over? No wonder gays keep it secret. There is a ringleader that started this rumor and I seriously want to kill him. I fantasize about it all the time. Now I understand what drives kids to do school shootings. Not that I’m going to do that, but how do I get over these feelings? Help! — Please, No Name, No Town

Justin 24, Redding, Calif. Ask me a question

I too had feelings of violence for some kids in high school. I was never popular, athletic, artistic, or funny. I had one “friend” at lunch who basically kept me around to belittle me so he could feel better. I hated my life and thought of suicide on a regular basis. It was only after high school that I found out how wrong I had the whole picture! The kid who made fun of me thought I was super cool the whole time. The preppy girls, who I avoided out of fear, knew me by name several years later. And the biggest, manliest football star turned out to be gay! High school is a weird place where kids do stupid things. Don’t be one of them! Violence just makes problems worse.

Christina 19, Marysville, Calif. Ask me a question

In sixth grade, a girl wrote on the bathroom stall that I was a lesbian. I was shocked. I brought “white-out” to school the next day and it was gone. Bullying isn’t right, but killing won’t make it better. It helps to realize that these people have been damaged and don’t know how to be nice. Make friends outside of school.

Nate 17, Toledo, Ohio Ask me a question

I have also felt alone at times, and sometimes I want to lash out. But violence just causes more separation and pain. Try getting to know the guy. Maybe a teacher or counselor can facilitate it. Whatever you do, don’t act out in violence, it never works.

Geoff 25, Redding, Calif. Ask me a question

These bullies don’t end up very well off in life — or if they do, it’s because they change. There may be nothing you can do to make real change now. The secret is realizing that after high school, things get better. See http://www.itgetsbetter.org/.

Sarah 19, Redding, Calif. Ask me a question

If transferring schools isn’t an option, see your school counselor for help with the bullies — and your thoughts. You’ll meet horrible people in your lifetime, but it’s worth sticking it out for the good ones that will come along.

Matt 17, Villa Park, Calif. Ask me a question

Believe me, these individuals are the most messed up people around. I sense that your emotions are in check. To make sure, confide in an adult. Also take a stand with the school and discourage the bullying legitimately. Silence is condoning.

DEAR NO NAME: Please talk to a professional counselor immediately. Almost everyone wronged or frustrated has entertained murderous thoughts at one time or another, but it is extremely unhealthy to dwell or act upon them. A licensed counselor will help you resolve these obsessive feelings without “stuffing” them. An additional way to end your brooding is to take legitimate steps to right this wrong. Inform parents, school, and police that you are being bullied. Let the ringleader take heat from them. Also, please encourage your school to start the Safe School Ambassador Program (http://community-matters.org) so others don’t suffer as you did.

Editor’s Note: My heart goes out to young people who are bullied. It also goes out to the bullies who are obviously damaged emotionally and are supported in bullying by the sick and dysfunctional social system found in our public schools. Every public school is a candidate for the Safe School Ambassador Program (http://community-matters.org), which was inspired by the Colombine school shootings. In this program, the ringleader mentioned above would end up being selected for the ambassador training because he carries the kind of social capital that makes others follow his lead. The program works! Young people really do want functional, supportive social systems, and by getting popular kids enlightened and acknowledged as leaders, they start using their influence to help others instead of breaking them down. We did a column on this program (APR 27, 2011) and heard from some former bullies who turned themselves around after their school adopted the program.

Anyone else have bullying stories? Send us your essays on this and other topics for the upcoming TNT book. The submission guidelines can be read on our website at http://straighttalkTNT.com/. You do not need to be a “good” writer to apply. Your stories are what is important. —Lauren

  1. By Gail, age , from Santa Rosa, CA on 08/10/2011

    My little sister who is just in middle school is being bullied by some mean spirited girls just because she is a little bit awkward and different.  She is also being accused of being gay because she’s shy and not very attractive and has no boyfriends.  One of the bullies had gym class with her and says that my sister “checks out” the other girls when they’re changing and in the showers which my sister says is a total lie, and I know her well enough to know that she’s straight, but the “gay thing” is a very popular thing for bullies as I see it at my high school as well.  However, sadly, rather than standing up for herself and wanting to take action against the bullies, she just gets very depressed over it.  Since she’s my little sister and I love her, I’m the one who has feelings of wanting to kill these horrible bullies who are doing this to her.  Since we share a room, I can see how this is tearing her apart and she cries herself to sleep every night.  Last week, she had been in the bathroom a very long time and I heard strange sounds, so I went in as I thought something was wrong and found her on the toilet crying her eyes out, because she said she was ashamed of crying so much in front of me all the time.

    Our mom wanted to go to the school last year and see if anything could be done, but my sister wouldn’t let her because she knows another girl whose parents did this and it caused the bullying to even get worse.  I have also seen this happen to girls at my school who tried to take action against the bullies.  I cannot comprehend what the bullies gain from the torment they inflict on others, but I just wish someone could find a solution to help my sister and others like her. 

    Gail

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  2. By Steve, age , from Auburn, CA on 08/10/2011

    Me and my brother have also been labeled gay by the bullies just because were smaller than average and are terrible at athletics.  Any guy who isn’t macho and an athlete at our school is vulnerable to this.  And one time (just ONE TIME!) I happened to get a boner when I was taking a shower after gym class.  One of the macho guys who already had decided that I was gay happened to see it and told the world about it which was incredibly embarrassing.  I mean I get boners all the time and so do most guys and its uncontrollable, so I doesn’t make me gay just because ONE TIME it happened in the showers. 

    Anyway, me and my brother also have feelings of violence toward the bullies.  What we did was have pictures from the yearbook of the worst ones blown up and made them into a dart board which we put up in our room.  Throwing darts at them is a great feeling and helps take out our feelings of hatred without having to do anything violent.  It obviously isn’t a total solution, but it helps.

    Steve

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  3. By Debbie, age , from Lodi, CA on 08/13/2011

    How would you like to have to live in the same room with your bully?  That is the way it was for me.  My sister who is 2 years older than I am bullied me terribly the whole time we were growing up and there was no escape since we had to share a room.  I grew up with no self esteem due to the constant teasing and put downs.  She was more attractive and always had more friends and boyfriends, and boy did she rub it in!  I would try to tell our mom and she would just say that all sisters tease each other and to just ignore it, but she didn’t understand how bad it was and the terrible effect it was having on me, so I just had to live with it.  When I reached puberty she teased me so bad about the imperfections in my body, even when I was naked, that I could no longer undress in front of her, my own sister and was compelled to change in the bathroom.  She would then put me down about this in front of her friends and tell them that I was so stupid and my body was so bad that I couldn’t even undress in front of my own sister and they would also laugh at me.  She would also go out of her way to be nude in front of me in our room to show off how much “better” her body was. I grew up with intense hatred for her.  She’s now 18 and about to go off to college.  The beginning of this summer she told me that she was feeling sad that she was about to leave and that we had never been as close as sisters should be.  She said that she’s “sorry”  for the way she “would sometimes tease me” and would now like to be close.  However, no way was she taking responsibility for the extreme cruelty she put me through.  I still hate her and have no desire to suddenly be close.  You can’t just waive a magic wand and cancel out the years of torment she put me through.  I wish I could forgive her, more for myself than for her so that I could get rid of the hatred that eats me inside, but I can’t bring myself to do so.

    Can’t Forgive Her

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  4. By Lauren Forcella, age , from Fair Oaks on 08/14/2011

    Dear Gail, Steve and Debbie,

    My heart goes out to you, Steve and Debbie, and to your sister, Gail—and to the thousands and thousands of others who are bullied in our middle and high schools. There is a solution. It works from the inside out to make schools functional social places, and that’s the Safe Schools Ambassador program. Read our column on it from April 27.

    I really encourage each of you to suggest it to your school administration. For a senior project, you could even run a parent assembly where someone from Community Matters comes and gives a talk on it. This could be followed with fundraising from the parent community to fund the program. It’s an ambitious project, but it could be done, and the amazing people at Community Matters will help you each step of the way. I really hope you do it! Find a partner if that helps. The accomplishment will not only turn your school around, but will follow you everywhere on college resumes and work applications. Please contact Community Matters at http://community-matters.org or call 707-823-6159.

    LOVE,
    Lauren

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  5. By Lauren Forcella, age , from Fair Oaks on 08/14/2011

    I also encourage each of you, and anyone else, to submit an essay about the bullying you’ve live through for our TNT book. The essay submission guidelines can be read by clicking the “TNT book” icon on the home page. You don’t need to be a “great” or even a “good” writer. Your stories are what is important. The minimum essay is only 600 words, basically just a page! I hope you’ll each submit something! Bullying is a huge problem and I’d like to make more people aware of it.

    Thanks for writing,
    LOVE,
    Lauren

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  6. By Aurelia, age , from Vacaville, CA,US on 08/21/2011

    My brother is mentally handicapped. When we first moved to Vacaville we were treated as the ‘new kids’. Because of my brother’s condition, he received special attention. Thankfully, my brother’s condition made him very resilient to bullying. He was even part of the football team all four years of high school. My parents were very proactive when the school started reporting behavior issues with him. They coached him on how to deal with these children and in the end he was the most loved and popular special education student the school has had.

    Now myself on the other hand is another story. Because the ‘mean popular kids’ weren’t able to get their fix from him their attention turned to me. I’ve always been the more indignant type and will never let anyone know when an event or something someone has said mothered me. (Its just a defense mechanism I had to learn from a very young age.) To drive the point that I know who I am and am completely comfortable about myself and family I acted out towards them in a very unconventional way. When the mood struck, I donned a cat costume. My favorite play is the Broadway production of CATS and I created a costume to fit into the cast.

    I would receive the cats calls and silly things like that but I never received the comments about my brother anymore because of my distraction. It was also easier to laugh at the cat jokes than it was to laugh at the brother jokes. It was also easier to stay cool when I was joked about in my cats suit than when I was with my brother.

    You don’t have to go to the extremes that I did to keep the hurtful things people say or do to you from being hurtful. Get an official/ guardian/ parent involved to help you figure out how to deal with the people who are giving you grief. Do not just take it and internalize the issue. Bring attention to it. Make it uncomfortable for those who are bothering you or find a way to show your self-assurance. They pick on you because they see a weakness that isn’t really there. If you show them (not with violence mind you) that you are not bothered by them they will stop bothering you. They will lose interest or grow up.

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  7. By Susan Courrejou, age , from California, USA on 08/21/2011

    Dear Ms. Forcella,

    I’m writing about the student in the Aug.16 column who was worried because he was imagining murder because of being bullied about supposedly being gay.

    California Teachers Association published a very good issue of California Educator a couple of months ago, which made me look on their website for this.  Also, I’m sending you a couple of web sites from ACLU about it.  Both CTA and ACLU had a lot more web sites concerning both bullying and gay rights.  I hope you will let your readers know about these resources, both to relieve them of the pain they are suffering and to give them a sense of control over their lives.

    http://www.cta.org/Professional-Development/Publications/Educator-Mar-11/CTA-workshops-and-resources-can-help.aspx

    http://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights_hiv-aids/library

    http://www.aclu-nj.org/downloads/bullying.pdf


    Another thing I think I should mention is that, although I was enthusiastic when I was trained at my school to participate in the Safe School Ambassador Program, my school discontinued it the very next year because they said it was very expensive.  In this time of tight budgets, perhaps that program will be impossible for many schools.  That’s another reason I highly recommend investigating the programs, advice and resources of CTA and ACLU.  Also, if the school is willing to put the time into changing the atmosphere of each class and the school, I also recommend Origins, which has Responsive Classroom for grades K-6, and Developmental Designs, for grades 5-9.  Both will send FREE newsletters four & three times a year, respectively, to anyone who asks for it.  They also publish many good books, and conduct trainings about creating a caring classroom/school, and classroom/school management, etc.

    http://www.originsonline.org/
    http://www.originsonline.org/news_signup.php

    http://www.responsiveclassroom.org/form/responsive-classroom-newsletter-signup
    http://www.responsiveclassroom.org/resources-educators


    It’s difficult to get schools to take on this kind of rethinking. It’s hard, long work for the staff, and the No Child Left Behind mentality makes it very difficult to include anything that doesn’t prepare for the state tests. SO, that’s why ACLU needs to be brought in, to push the school to do something.  And the CTA resources can help interested teachers at least be there for the students to talk to,  let students know that there IS a safe place to go to talk, and to help all students understand what’s right about tolerance and gay issues.

    I hope you can use all this information.  I greatly appreciate the work you do with your column, and read it frequently.  It not only helps the youth, it also helps people like me know and understand more about what they are dealing with.

    Thank you,
    Susan Courrejou

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  8. By Tylasia, age , from new jersey on 12/04/2012

    Im sorry that this has happened to you. you have to continue to be strong. Don’t let the negative comment’s get to you. you have to let someone know if you feel like your at a breaking point. never think hurting the person that has bullied you is okay. everthing will get better.

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  9. By Ryan Thompson, age , from charlotte north carolina on 12/04/2012

    I have never really been bullied in school but i have seen alot.  I am in 8th grade and i know some people that are bullied.  The bullies seem to mainly just call them names, the only time that you really get hurt is if you try to do the same.  Just stay confient and ask other people if they have been bullied and make friends with them.  Also alot of times bullying starts from the wrong people that you stay around.  If you want to succeed in life just dont let anyone bring you down and you will go far.

    Ryan, From Southwest Middle School

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  10. By -IDEK, age , from USA on 01/07/2014

    Dear no name,
    I completely understand how angering it is to be bullied or even see bullying happen, and knowing rumors or lies people have told about you are not certain to ever completely diminish. Perhaps your brain is creating a manifesto of your anger towards this person, in a form of murderous desires. When I was younger, instead of talking out my anger, I would have the same thoughts as you. Try blowing it off, cracking jokes more, just act like there isn’t a thing in the world wrong. You should also consider telling a counselor or parent if this persists and you consider murder repeatedly. I personally went to therapy for some problems I was going through, and talking it out with someone who can understand you gives a great sense of relief, and may help you stop these feelings once and for all. Don’t let them win, and just think, maybe HE is gay and is taking his sexuality problems out on you instead of dealing with them. Isn’t that a comforting thought?
    Best of luck,
    IDEK.

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