by Miles Bumgardner
As you know, life is not always a Care Bear world. With each life a little rain must fall, so they say. And there are people who seem to take great delight in being the dark cloud in a sunny sky. As children you really have no warning, and when they come you find out that growing up is not as fun as you thought it would be. You know who these people are, don’t you?
Bullies. The “necessary evil” we all know growing up. You can’t avoid them, even after you do everything in your power to keep them at bay. But still they come. Like sharks attracted to a bleeding swimmer. Everyone has them, and anybody can be one. But Aspies, and anyone else deemed weird for that matter aka “the outsider”, suffer them more. Like a deer amongst a pack of wolves. And that, boys and girls, is a bad benefit of being different.
I’ve had plenty of my share of bullies in my time, believe me. But as I got older, my vocabulary became broader (or more decrepit depending on what some think), I substituted the word “bully” with the word “asshole”. Seems to fit every kind of bully under one umbrella. But call them as you want, they are still the individuals who make our stomachs turn and our fear take flight. With uncalled for beatings and venomous tongues, they are the shadows we spend our whole lives trying to forget.
But why do children, especially those on the autism spectrum, find themselves the easy target for abuse? Because just that: they/we are the easiest targets! We like living in our own worlds. We are the freaks and geeks. The least resistant to fight back, and when we do we find ourselves on the banks of the deep end with no where to go but in. Self esteems are destroyed, bruises are formed, tears are shed, and in some of the most extreme situations suicide is committed. A once innocent world is made a whole lot darker.
Fear is by far the easiest and cruelest way to control a situation and individuals. Aspies are very prone to fear. In the ‘fight of flight’ situation we always desire to run than stay and fight. Sure we can fight back verbally, that’s no problem. But the second the fists go up the is nothing we’d rather do than cash in our chips and run. To be like Elvis and leave the building!
The biggest question: what do you do? As a youngster the safest way is to get an adult figure (teacher, parent etc.) involved. But with age those resources become increasingly few. Mommy can’t always be there for you and you’ll find yourself alone with these obstacles. The way I survived the onslaught where my friends! The kids like me who when the going got tough always suck together. A lot of the time it worked. One bully can’t intimidate a whole bunch of us now can he?
My friends have saved my skin more than once. By simply grabbing me and pulling me away or standing by me for support. That is why, my fellow aspies, that we are encouraged to be social and meet new people. They could end up being very close friends and helping out in difficult situations. Its not easy being a loner, and it may be weird being around a group of people, but there are those who can and will stand by you! Because you are one of them! The freaks and geeks! Brothers and sisters in all things different! And there is no bully who can try to tear that apart!
October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Learn more about bullying, and how you can end it, HERE.
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