Bully Incident #7: The Friend and The Counselor (1978)

If  Bob was the first person to directly bully me, the next one I can remember is Luke. Luke was my friend for two years in school. I went to his house or he came to my house to play. Now, I know it is not untypical to have friends stop being friends for a period of time, but if memory serves me correctly, this happened on a dime.

Boy's FightingI’m not sure what I did or what triggered it, other than my belief that, when your friend realizes you are very unpopular, they can quickly think they can be popular by picking on you too. Luke. turned on me quickly and started the tripping in the halls, punching in the gut type bullying on me. I recall not seeing that one coming. I liked Luke and often questioned why this was happening.

At about this time, good ole’ Franklin Elementary decided ‘I’ needed to see the school counselor twice a week. Never mind the kids that were picking on me, I must have the problem. At least that’s the way I felt. I will give the school credit for trying at least. But, I don’t recall them thinking in a very solutions oriented way. These sessions were very generic and aimed at asking me “what’s wrong” and “why do you feel sad”.

Of course the last thing I wanted to do was rat on the kids, because at this point I wasn’t very trusting of adults. After a fairly brutal experience with Luke. I recall returning to class covered in dirt and crying. I was immediately sent to the counselor’s office. Of course the counselor started questioning me what happened. I didn’t want to tell him. He pushed and pushed and so I told him what happened, but not who. He more or less insisted that I give him a name. I made him promise not to tell Luke about it, but gave him Luke’s name. Now, I was more scared then ever.

Sure enough, he sent me back to class and a little later I was told to go back in to his office. I remember knocking and opening the door and there sat Luke. My heart was racing. He and the counselor looked at me and smiled. I will never forget that. Of course they had talked and the counselor confronted Luke. Based on the comments from the counselor, Luke explained that we were friends, but that we had a fight about something. It was all a misunderstanding. Of course the school saw us as friends. Just the other week we were friends…but that was the other week. This week, all that had changed.

I sat and they talked. They talked about how it was all water under the bridge. How Luke and I could be friends again. Luke said that he wanted to be. Of course, he would say anything to get off the hook. The counselor was right there with him. We did the typical shake hands and make up. The counselor said goodbye, I’m sure feeling like he had done a great job. Then he made the biggest mistake of all. He sent us away at the same time. I knew what was going to happen.

Luke and I left side by side, he was acting like my buddy. We rounded a corner and then that was it. Some punches in my gut and I was on the floor. Class was in session so no one saw. He said some nasty comments to me and walked away, while I tried to catch my breath. Was there ever any doubt that that was the outcome. That was the last time the counselor heard from me. If he asked me about Luke, it was all fine. I didn’t need that again.

Even at 10 years old, I wasn’t dumb. Kids are not dumb. I keep thinking it’s the adults who need the education on these things, not the kids. And how we as adults handle these situations matters. We always have to be aware of the fears that children have and respect those fears. I understand that sometimes it’s hard as adults to recall how it was to be a child. If we work in the field of child psychology, though, we must try to understand this better. That’s all I have to say on that.

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About Alan Eisenberg

Alan Eisenberg is a Certified Life Coach, Bullying Recovery activist and author of "A Ladder In The Dark: My journey from bullying to self-acceptance" and "Crossing the Line". He has been writing and speaking to various audiences about the issue of C-PTSD and Bullying Recovery. Mr. Eisenberg has been featured on several print, radio shows and podcasts on this issue, including NPR and in the Boston Globe. He is currently working toward his Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling.
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  1. Very well said. Adults can be so ignorant.

  2. adults can be too believing too. i see all the time at my school the kids that just make a fool of anyone and not get caught because they can make people believe their lies. and the really sad thing is that the lies arent even that good.

    i really liked the part because of its truth whenever you said “I sat and they talked. They talked about how it was all water under the bridge. How Luke and I could be friends again. Luke said that he wanted to be. Of course, he would say anything to get off the hook. The counselor was right there with him.”

  3. Reblogged this on Bullying Stories and commented:

    A few years ago, when the movie “Bully” came out, I saw a scene almost exactly like this story. That certainly alarmed me, because now I knew that 30+ years later, little had changed. In the movie, the administrator thinks that just having the two boys shake hands would solve the issue. It was obvious that the bullying victim did not want to, but the administrator forced them to. It was a scary moment to me in the film and I still think about that as I share this story with you again. ~Alan Eisenberg

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