I am 15 years old and feel like I can't go on any longer. Everywhere I go I seem to attract the wrong type of people. I am always being bullied and beaten up! I am not a loud girl. In fact I am quite the opposite. Why am I attracting such bad attention? I know everybody hates me! Nicola
Thank you for your letter. Being bullied is horrible, isn't it? It always seems like you're the only one so you feel isolated and rejected, and like others in your situaiton you probably feel powerless to change it and believe that there must be something wrong with you.
There isn't. There's nothing wrong with you. You're fine as you are, although you may consider doing something different to put a stop to it. Nobody likes a bully, and half the time people who are doing the bullying would be horrified if they realised how nastily they come across. Not every adult realises what a battlefield school can be.
So what can you do differently? Firstly I invite you to realise that you don't have to accept the opinions of nasty people. Beating yourself up mentally is just joining in their nasty game. There are plenty of books around about building up self-confidence and working through one or two might help you update your image of yourself and give you the strength to be assertive. It's not that people really hate you though they may say they do to upset you. Bullies often go for people who act quietly because they think that they'll just put up with it. You've discovered that trying to be invisible isn't working so when you're ready to start speaking up for yourself you'll feel better and start to get different results.
You may find it useful to go to the page about dealing with bullying at www.parentsonline.gov.uk . They have practical suggestions, and if you show this page to your parents you'll be in a better position to ask for their help. You can also talk to your Head of Year about what's going on. Teachers often arrange things so that the bullies don't come out of school at the same time you do. You can also ask the member of staff or prefect on duty if you can stay near them. Hanging around with other quieter kids can also mean you have mutual protection.
It could be useful as well as fun to join a martial arts class. This develops physical and emotional confidence and it's a good place to make new friends too. Drama groups could also be useful. Nobody deserves to be bullied. There are nice people out there who will value you, particularly when you begin to value yourself.
Things won't always be this way. You will learn to like yourself and you will find kinder, more understanding people in the world. When you get to college or work you'll find it's a lot nicer than school so hang on in there. My heart goes out to you, Nicola. I wish you confidence and a rewarding social life. Back to Ask Anne