Confessions of an ex-bully

As a mother, one of my biggest fears is that my son might be bullied. The more I hear about bullying incidents the more I get anxious. I really ask myself why kids can’t just enjoy themselves and be happy.

But then again this kind of takes me back to my school days. There were girls who would take our lunch boxes or forcibly copy our homework, or you would have some big girl roughing you up because she can.

My friend admits that at school she was bully. She is well aware that other kids hated her because of her actions. When she signed up for a Facebook account she used a false name, knowing very well that had she used her real name none of the ex-school mates would have accepted her friend requests.

She is now a mother and I had some questions for her, to try to understand what prompted this behaviour.

What made you bully other children?

I had problems at home and did not know how to deal with them. I tried to get other people to feel bad like me.

What sort of things did you do to other kids?

I was at a boarding school and would sit in such a way that if you jump over me I would hit you. I would switch off the lights while other students were studying. Other students would not dare report me because they were terrified of me so I got away with my behaviour.

What was the worst thing you did?

I hit a friend of mine and injured her eye; she still has a mark above her eye from that. I now realise that I was bad. I try to communicate with her but I am not sure if she has forgiven me. I did ask for forgiveness back then and am not too sure whether to ask for her forgiveness again. I really regret my actions.

What sort of kids did you target?

I targeted everyone, but those who thought they were all that were my victims - those I knew were scared of me or sometimes those who intimidated me. I wanted to be in control all the time. If I felt they had power over me I tried to take it away by bullying them.

How will you advise your daughter to deal with bullying?

This is from my upbringing and I am raising my child in such a way that she does not go through what I went through. If she were to be bullied I would approach the parents of the child bullying her and discuss the matter.

I would also be open to the parents that I was also a bully and perhaps they should look into it. The parents might try to protect their child but perhaps if I open up about this they can see the light as well.

Do you regret what you did to other kids?

I regret my actions because I am constantly trying to prove that I have changed. I went for counselling as well so that I could deal with my pain. I talk to some of my school mates and they do understand that we were kids back then but I still feel guilty. I can see that some of them are shocked at the ‘new’ me.

Were you a bully? How would you answer these questions? What would you like to ask a bully?

Read more by Masanda Peter

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24