I am really worried about going back to school
I am really worried about going back to fifth year. There is constantly someone always having a go at me at school for no reason. If I say something I am wrong, if I speak normally I am told will you just stop talking about yourself all the time for once, your not the only one that’s here and the list goes on that’s just one example. Everyone looks at me then to see if I say anything back and I feel pure stupid for just not saying anything, I just can’t back up for myself when there is a big group there as it makes me too anxious to do it. There would be a lot of us in the group i am in cause we all hang around together, its 6 people out of everyone in the group that are doing this to me. I don’t say anything back cause people love seeing people shout at eachother in my school and would find that amusing if I was to be smart back. It’s a group of girls in particular, there is 6 of them out of everyone in the group, it’s mainly them, never did anything wrong to them? which Is why I don’t understand their problem with me? They are blackening my name and going around making up rumors about me. One day I had to get a friend to let them know that I am not able for all these rumors it’s upsetting me a lot and they denied the whole thing and said it wasn’t them. Another day they said I desperately wanted a guy in a relationship to be with me and said to him to dump his gf and spread this about me too. This is another lie! The 6 who made it up said people didn’t believe that anyway it was only a mess. That was the only time they admitted one of the rumors. They are ruining my reputation and everyone is starting to think differently of me, I am being called names and they said to me do you know that people think your a wh*re because your seeing two people at once. I have two close friends that are boys and the last rumor going around about me now is that I am seeing the two of them at the same time and i wont even say the rest about what was said. They are my friends and there is nothing going on with me and them honestly! They are not even in my school to back me up and say we are just friends to them in person. I am telling the truth, they don’t believe the messages when I show them that we are just friends and say they are only sending that to pretend ye are friends. how do I make things normal for me again and who wouldnt mind explaining to everyone that all this being said about me isn’t true, as I am not believed? I feel like it’s bullying, what would reporting it involve? Would other people have to say they know what’s going on? or is there a way I can do it without involving others without saying they were there when things were said to me.
Hi there and thanks for contacting Ask Alex!
You mentioned that you are worried about returning to 5th year as there seems to be people in your year who have been affecting your school year and your relationship with yourself. Likewise, it seems to be a case where these girls are your friends, but they are making you feel bad by ganging up on you 6:1. It sounds like what you are describing, is a form of bullying called ‘silent harassment’ but not covert bullying.
This type of bullying can include being kind to you but at the same time wanting to make you feel bad. It is mainly focused on socially ostracizing you and this means it focuses on excluding you but in more subtle ways. There is an article which speaks on the different signs of bullying in one’s life and how to spot it www.tusla.ie/parenting-24-seven/12-years/name-it-and-tame-it/bullying/ . It includes the complexity of bullying when it occurs in groups and the silence from bystanders as you said earlier instead of stepping out to help, they would rather not get involve yet they may enjoy hearing you speak out like you said, everyone looks at you are waiting for you to speak out. Please don’t feel stupid or be hard on yourself when you don’t speak out, as it takes time for many to be able to confront those who are putting them down.
It also seems that you are looking for ways to defend yourself and back yourself up when these bullies are around. This takes time and permission that you give yourself, but most importantly it takes you from a place of self-preservation to a fight mode where you put the boundaries in and dictate how you should be treated instead of letting people treat you anyway they want. Do you know what boundaries are and why they are important in any relationship? Here is an article that discusses this jigsaw.ie/school/boundaries/. You have already noticed that a lot of what they do to you is unprovoked and leads to blackening your name and false rumors spread about you. This behavior is not right but how you deal with it and what you do from here on out is more important. You have some weeks until school begins, how do you think you could prepare? Likewise, since this happens in a group setting, alerting your school or making new friends are also options. You seem to have already alerted your friends on their behavior to you, but they deny it. This then can cause you to question yourself and that is called ‘gaslighting’ (here is an article that explains it more www.childline.ie/what-is-gaslighting/. Once recognized, it can be dealt with accordingly.
To answer your question, how do you make things normal for you again. If you have read the above articles, there are many tips that you could undertake and the first would be alerting an adult you trust, a counsellor or even a parent at home. Being in 5th year doesn’t stop people from bullying so if a parent or guardian needs to be involved, that is perfectly acceptable. However, if that is not what you would like to do, limiting your contact with this group of girls is of utmost importance. If they continue their behavior towards you, then it will look like they are chasing you around and people would start to notice that something is going wrong here.
Reporting the bullying involves many avenues and it could include the Gardaí, or your school or your parents/guardians or their parents/guardians. Eye-witness accounts can help a lot to add weight to your testimonies of bullying and many people can speak up for you anonymously as well. In this way, their name is not directly involved but they have helped you. It would ultimately raise awareness of what is going on and will help to reassure that people have their eye on the situation. Sometimes monitoring a situation is all it takes for improvement to be noticed. There may be trauma that you have experienced from this situation, if so, please do not hesitate to contact a guidance counsellor or Childline for support.
Finally, if you contact Childline, we can go through all the possible steps and work out possible scenarios that could come up when you are reporting. There is a team here at Childline who are prepared to listen to you. We will not judge you or tell you what to do, we will go through options which are available to you. Whenever you are ready to express your ideas and feelings, we are there for you. We are accessible every day of the week, round-the-clock. You can reach us over the phone at 1800 66 66 66 or online at www.childline.ie/ (just click the orange Live Chat tab to start a chat)
Thanks again for reaching out and remember, we are always here to listen.