Friday, March 30, 2012

Bullies

The film Bully opens today in some movie theaters across the country. I probably won't see it because it will bring to mind all the bullying I endured growing up. And the sad thing about most all the bullying I had to put up with is that it was done in the place that was supposed to have been a safe haven for me, my home.

When my mom died my two brothers, sister, and I got packed off to live with my Aunt Gerrie. Gerrie loved having a bunch of kids around, not because she loved kids necessarily, in fact I'm pretty sure she didn't like kids at all, what she liked was controlling and ordering people, especially those she thought who were weaker than her, kids and in her later life, elderly people, around. I saw immediately that me and my siblings were second class citizens in our new home. Gerrie, who I am convinced now was bi polar, treated us as if we were servants to her and her kids. Together with her husband John, she not only bullied me and my siblings, she taught her kids to do it as well.

She didn't always use physical violence against us, although she did use it at times, I remember being slapped, hit with belts, having pots and pans thrown at me and I saw her do it to my brothers and sister as well. She also bullied us with her words and actions. If one of us got praise for being smart, she's loudly proclaim that her kids had more common sense, which was far more important than the book learning me and my siblings might have. When my sister was voted homecoming queen, Gerrie would tell everyone that her daughter was prettier and more out going than my sister. In other words, nothing we could or would do was ever going to be better than what one of her kids did, and if we reminded her of that fact, then she find some excuse to either hit us or bully us into shutting our mouths.

Her husband John picked up on her ways very quickly and he chimed in with his own brand of bullying. He always made sure he was the alpha male in his house and his sons deferred to him in all things. However, for some reason he thought my eldest brother Charlie was a threat to his status so he took every chance he could to belittle and bully my brother. Charlie put up with his bullshit because he knew that once he graduated high school he'd leave and never go back, and that's pretty much what he did. First he went to college, then the navy, and then he settled in Oakland, CA so that he wouldn't have to be around my aunt and her nutty family.

My brother Karl escaped years of bullying when he ran away the night before we were all to move south to Jonesville, VA. He stayed at times with various members of my mother's family in and around the Detroit area, sometimes I think he was the smartest one of all of us kids because he decided that he'd had enough of the shit my aunt put the rest of us through. Karl never had a problem with telling others the kinds of stuff we had to put up with, the second class treatment, the violence, the insults, and my aunt never forgave him for it. She carried a grudge against him for the rest of her life. He ruined the image she tried so hard to project.

Gerrie bullied my sister Sandy because she looked at Sandy as a threat to her and to her daughter. Sandy, before schizophrenia and depression robbed of her who she really was, was a beautiful girl who was popular and well liked. People flocked to her and she was the toast of Jonesville for a time, which isn't saying much because that town is so little, but when your home life stinks, it's something to hold onto during the rough times. My uncle John also saw Sandy as a threat to his daughter, so between him and his wife they belittled, mocked, insulted, and tried to make Sandy less popular but they simply couldn't do it. However when her mental illness took over her life, Sandy fell back into letting them, especially Gerrie bully and control her once again.

Since the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, Gerrie's kids, as I said before, took to bullying us too. Her eldest son felt free to insult and demean anything we ever did. His brother Matthew took a different tack in his bullying, he thought me weak, so he loved to use physical violence against me, to cast aspersions on my sexuality, and since I wasn't a macho asshole who loved hunting and date raping, then in his mind I was a queer who needed to not only be beat up and abused by him, but by all his buddies too, which is why he encouraged others to treat me the same way he did. He loved to tell girls in our small high school that he'd seen my dick and it was tiny, although when you think about it, how sick is it that he'd go around telling women that he was actively looking at my dick. His sister wasn't much better. She had a huge sense of entitlement over us and me in particular. One day during a church youth meeting they asked all to make a new year's resolution, mine was to try not to break my glasses in that upcoming year. When Bess heard me say that, she cackled and said, "He's so clumsy. He breaks his glasses all the time and then mom and dad have to waste money buying him new ones." She got part of that right, I was clumsy but the rest of her comment was bullshit.

The one thing they all loved to do, and they'd encourage my siblings to join in with them, was to make me eat food that made me vomit. The texture and taste of cooked carrots makes me sick. It makes me gag and puke, which of course my aunt took as an affront to her cooking so she'd try and force me to eat those vile things most every Sunday growing up. She'd encourage her kids to make sure they kept an eye on my and that they rat me out if I didn't do as she demanded and eat the carrots that made me sick. They all took delight in watching me squirm and suffer at her hands. They'd cackle and whoop it up with unbridled glee if and when it came down to crazy Gerrie getting out the belt and giving me a whipping if I didn't eat those fucking carrots. Eventually she stopped trying to make me eat them by force but then the so called carrot 'jokes' started. These jokes were not jokes at all, they were just more bullying by my aunt and her kids, their idea of a carrot 'joke' was to remind me of times when I got whipped for not eating carrots. Constantly bringing up times when I got traumatized for not letting that bitch control me or force me to eat something that made me ill was not my idea of a joke. The sad thing is, none of those bullies learned that, some of the last things they ever said to me after my heart attack was did my cardiologist recommend I eat more carrots.

The last time I saw my cousins Bess and Matt they did mumble some half assed apologies for treating me so lousy during our teenage years but my crazy aunt went to her death under the impression that she treated us all equally. Her oldest son John also holds that view, which of course they would because rarely do bullies ever acknowledge their bullying or apologize for it. When my cardiologist told me after my heart attack and subsequent bypass surgery that I needed to cut as much stress out of my life as I could, I decided to cut my aunt her her children out of my life. Only my idiot cousin John tries to contact me from time to time, even after I told him to leave me alone. He's tried to comment here on my blog and he's called my home, even after I told him that the only way he was to ever contact me was through email so I could have a written record of what he had to say. But his sense of entitlement runs too deep and too strong to do what I ask, or perhaps he thinks he can still bully me, either way, I won't have anything to do with him or his siblings. His mother died, so she won't be able to bully anyone ever again, and I don't know if his father is still alive or not and I really don't care.

If there is any lesson to be learned from what I had to deal with it's this: sometimes bullies are where we least suspect they'd be but they don't have control over us forever. It's best to put them out of your life as soon as possible but if you can't, sometimes time has a way of removing them for you. If you're being bullied by anyone, especially if it's a family member, then I feel sorry for you and I wish I could do more than just tell you that it will get better. And I do know it will get better for you, it did for me.

6 comments:

PENolan said...

I'm glad they're dead, Doctor Monkey. And I hope John chokes to death on a carrot. I may be a cranky bitch sometimes, but I love you through and through. That's easy to say since we've never met in real life and don't have to tolerate each other's idiosyncrasies and bullshit, but it's true for what it's worth.

Caffeinated Joe said...

Sad post, but good to show the experience and that, eventually, things do change. Just have to have the strength to hold on.

I wouldn't go back to my middle/high school years for anything.

Margaret Benbow said...

Doctor Monkey, congrats for exposing those cruel Neanderthals for what they were. It's pretty clear they were desperately jealous of you and your sibs--for being smarter, kinder, and probably better looking! As for your aunt, she's dead and you're not. Enjoy!

kirby said...

That's a horrible situation to be in, when the very people that are supposed to protect you from the world's bullshit are the cause of it.

Mnmom said...

How anyone could be cruel to children is beyond me. And to treat a group of siblings like this after they've lost their parents is truly evil. I just don't understand what gets into some folks' hearts. There was something rotten and stinking inside all of them.

Life As I Know It Now said...

I am very sad to read about this time in your life. No one deserves to be treated poorly or forced to do things they do not want to do. You did well to get yourself away from those toxic people.