Stories are hitting the news circuit these days about school bullying. Most of those stories are focused on the bullying of gays, but we all know that bullying happens to everyone, but especially to anyone who appears different.
There is a discussion group dedicated to people with Aspergers. People with Aspergers get bullied a lot, more often than other kids do. On the discussion board people are currently sharing their stories about being bullied. This is my contribution to that discussion.
When I was about 20 years old I told the secretary of the church I attended something to the effect that I though the first years of life was a waste. I was really only reflecting on my own childhood, I was hoping everyone else was as miserable. I received my share of bullying, but moreover I was constantly teased, degraded, emotionally abused. When it dawned on me that I was getting worse treatment from the other kids than was usually dished out, I asked one of them why. I can still hear his reply as if it was just now spoken. He said, “Because you’re stupid.” The few times I mentioned the abuse I received at school to my mother, her only replay was, “if you can’t get along with the other kids, then just stay away from them.” I feel as though I suffered a double whammy in that my parents did not know how to be good parents. They had some severe issues of their own which only made mine worse.
The kids in elementary school knew that they could get away with doing just about anything to me, even the smaller kids took jabs. I do remember once incident that changed things. It was the last day of sixth grade. The next year we would be in a whole new school, Junior High. One of the smaller kids decided to practice his boxing skills, so he danced around me taking pot shots. He wasn’t landing them, but was more just being the constant irritant he’d always been, like all the other kids had been. I don’t know what inspired me, but I finally had enough. I caught his last swing. My hand was tightly rapped around his fist. Rage built up in side me. I’m sure I turned red with anger, my whole body tensed up. The look on his face was priceless. It was the first time I’d ever made a move to defend myself. Slowly, with teeth clinched, I said, “leave me the fuck alone.” I let go of his hand and he ran off.
When we got to Junior High, the overt teasing and taunting stopped, it still happened from time to time, but other issues came on. I started becoming depressed. School work was becoming much more difficult. I started have thoughts of suicide. I never achieved good grades in school, but in junior high something new came to light. There was a state proficiency test everyone in the school had to take. When the results came in i was called to my counselors office. He wanted to know what my problem was. Although my grades were so bad, on the proficiency test I had scored in the top ten percent of the state. I shrugged my shoulders at him, I didn’t know what to say. Then he said, I think I do know what your problem is. At that i started feeling relief. This guy obviously understood me, and was going to help me get better. Or so I thought. He then said my problem was a basic one, one that could be defined with just one four letter word. Then he took out a piece of paper and a pencil and began to write. We were on opposite sides of his desk so he spelled it so that the letters appeared upright to me, upside down to him. And slowly he spelled out, L – A – Z – Y. My heart sank. He didn’t understand a thing. Then he told me to put that piece of paper in my pocket and think on it some. Life went on. I continued to barely pass my classes. I became more and more a social outcast, and more and more depressed.
I got in some trouble at my first high school and was expelled, the details are not important. I was sent to another school to finish out my education.. There, the people did not know me so intimately, didn’t know they could get away with tormenting me, so all that pretty much stopped. But I was still unable to socialize and so I was even lonelier. I know it’s weird, but when you’re being picked on at least people are recognizing your existence. This school was located on the edge of a poorer neighborhood known for criminal behavior. As long as students did not cause trouble, they were given passing grades, regardless of actually learning anything. I quickly figured this out and coasted the rest of the way through academics. In 12th grade I got my first car, and I was befriended by the Stoners, since I could drive them to the liquor store and the drug dealers house. Smoking pot and drinking beer became the rule of the day. At least with this group, people were accepting me into a group, a group of mostly outcasts. Although for the most part I was only allowed into the fringe of this group, I finally felt like I belonged somewhere. When graduation came, I was actually 2 credits short. But they let me graduate anyway. They had to keep shuffling kids through the system. When I was done with school, those few relationships I had quickly dissipated.