Facing the bully 

Street Smarts

An experience with bullying can leave its mark on a life. We asked a few people in our community about their experiences with bullying and how they got through it.

click to enlarge Heather Nall
  • Heather Nall

Heather Nall of Patty Jewett is a barista.

Do you have any experiences with bullying? More so in my adult life, in the workplace. As an adult I have more control over the situation, but it definitely has knocked me back a little bit, especially in work and career. It is a hard thing to feel stifled and that you can't reach your full potential, that there is nobody for you. It has made me more tenacious, and I don't give up on things easily.

What do you use to get through tough times? A lot of friends, being able to process through it. I have some incredible people in my life who are encouraging and will stand with me.

How do you think people learn to express themselves in thoughtful and appropriate ways? A lot of it is the example that you have in your life. I grew up in a big family, there were six of us, and it was never OK to bully. We had to talk through it and express ourselves no matter what came up. You had to be thoughtful and understand why you were reacting and responding the way you were. We have all screwed up and had bad days and good days. Humanity in general needs an understanding of each other.

What do you think is an appropriate way to interact with a bully? Before I approach the situation, I examine myself and make sure I am not out of line, that I am coming from a good and healthy place. I make sure I can express myself well, and then I go to the person and try and have a conversation. A lot of it is being open to a conversation and letting them know what they are doing to you.

click to enlarge Jason Crampton
  • Jason Crampton

Jason Crampton of Roswell is a barber.

Do you have any experience with bullying? I think we all do. It is different this day and age. I got through it and was fine, became tougher and got more tenacity out of it. I feel it is not OK, but I see that bullying in my past and getting through it taught me some toughness and I think that is what we are missing in this world.

How do you think people learn to express themselves in ways that are thoughtful and appropriate? I think it is through talking to people and being in a positive environment. We call our shop our little clubhouse, and guys can come in and vent a little and relate to other guys and realize we are all going through it together ... makes you feel like you are not alone.

What do you do when you are in a situation where you feel like someone is being aggressive or inappropriate? In my childhood I tried to shrug it off and love myself through it. My parents told me that stuff was going to happen and that it was our job to get through it. It is usually the person bullying that is the weaker human and I learned that at a young age. It would hurt my feelings and I might go home and cry, but I would realize it had nothing to do with me.

click to enlarge Trish Doyle-Stahl
  • Trish Doyle-Stahl

Trish Doyle-Stahl of the Old North End is a Pilates studio owner and instructor.

Why do you think bullying happens? I think it is insecurity. I think ego comes with insecurity, too. Insecurity can bring jealousy and ignorance. Someone who doesn't know anything about you can decide they want to bully you for something. It can come in the form of meanness, it can be verbal, it doesn't have to be physical.

How do you keep yourself safe from bullying? What I did was absorb myself in every sport I could take at school. I went to an all-girls Catholic high school in Ireland and most of the girls didn't want to play sports. I played a lot of field hockey and I found it was my way of keeping myself away from people who were getting up to no good. I could see the writing on the wall — either play sports or get caught up in something. I think you have to operate on the defensive, actually, and I hate to say it, but you have to be a bit guarded.

How do you think people learn to express themselves in appropriate and thoughtful ways? Honesty. Being real and being true to yourself. If a bully could just express himself or herself and be real, they could communicate why they want to bully.

What is an appropriate way to interact with someone who is bullying them? If at the time they can deflect it in an honest way and ask them why they are doing what they are doing, that would help. I have had some verbal experiences where I feel like someone is digging under my skin and I said nothing. Then after, I realize that I should have said something. If you can have the wits about you to ask, 'Hey, what's up?' and try talking about it. If it is physical, I really don't know. As an adult, I think you pull the elephant into the room and try and figure out what is happening.


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