Jul 242014

 Part 2: Ways to Write about Bullies

Write about bullies and feelings

 We do remember what they did. Write about bullies  and how they made you feel

Tuesday’s post addressed the different types of bullies looming around in your past. Today’s post will address some strategies to help you write about bullies and other encounters with rudeness.


Sometimes you just have to get the toxins out of your system. At first, it might seem like you’re just vomiting emotions on the page. That’s okay. With a little editing, chances are that a coherent story will emerge. If not, you’ve had a good purge. The exercise may put you in a better position to write from a different perspective.

How You Wish You Had Handled It

Many times, it’s not what happened that sticks in our craw, but rather our response, or lack thereof. We ruminate over how we could have handled it better. What we wish we’d said—what we’d say now.

You can have your do-over, as you write about bullies, mean girls, or even the mispronounced witch that reigns supreme over the office.

Write a ‘Dear Bully’ letter. Say what you wish you’d said. Tell them of the hurt they caused. Alternatively, if you’re really gutsy (a different word came to mind here) and you’re still in contact with your past bully, you can call them out. My writing buddy J.P. Ribner did this in A Bully’s Memory. As you read it, notice how revealing the comments are. When you write about bullies, you do start dialogues.

Just Tell the Story

Write about bullies and your feelings

Have your do-over as you write about bullies.

Sometimes simply narrating the story can lend perspective. Was it a confrontation between rivals or a bully and a victim? Were you a targeted victim or the nearest punching bag?

Try thinking about yourself and your nemesis in literary terms. You’re clearly the protagonist. Can you develop the antagonist’s personality a little? Do you know his or her back-story? Likewise, was there something in your back-story that made you a target?

Most good stories have a resolution (or serial), which brings me to the next point…

What You Learned

Did your encounters with others teach you something about yourself? About other people?

I can remember the first time I stood my ground with a workplace bully. Dealing with her in German didn’t help—being assertive is harder when you’re grappling for vocabulary. Luckily (in hindsight), she caught me on a bad day. As she started haranguing, I calmly told her to call me back when she could be civil and hung up.

After that, we were golden. Apparently, bullies respect some backbone. That lesson has stuck with me, as did the realization that I should have stood my ground from the first.

Understanding what motivated the other person is an important part of processing your hurt or offense. Were you ever able to get to that point? How did that change things for you?

Letting Go

Understanding what motivated the other person is an important part of processing your hurt or offense. Were you ever able to get to that point? How did that change things for you?

After J.P. wrote his calling-out post, I wondered what causes us to accept Facebook and other friend requests from our former bullies. Is it actual maturation or forgiveness? Or is it that we refuse to acknowledge that they are important enough to shun?

As you write, let your readers know how you feel about those individuals now. Does the resentment you feel keep you up at night, or have you long since ceased to care? Has life evened out the differences? Have you received an apology? Do you still crave one?

A Parent’s Perspective

Many times, watching our kids go through situations causes us to see our own childhood in a new light. Write about how your outlook has changed. Were you sometimes the bully? Did you understand what you were doing?

Your Turn:

Put your past to paper (or web)—write about bullies in your past. I’d love to read your story.


  4 Responses to “Write about Bullies: 6 Ideas for Telling Your Story”

  1. Hi Laura,

    I have written a post about some of my childhood bullies. There are several other stories floating around in my head about other bullies, but I’m trying to figure out the best way to approach those stories. Here is the link to my post about my most traumatic bully episode:

    Thank you for your great site and encouragement to write about even the bad moments. Have a blessed night!

    Your sis in Christ,

  2. Suz,
    Can I just say “Wow!”? What an amazing, gripping story! Thanks for the link. Do you think there’s any chance your former bully will actually read it?

  3. Hi my name is Harley David Shafer and i am 19 teen years old and i been bullied when i was in kinder Garden and High school i was pick on and called punch of names i been called a hoe,bitch,fucker,faget, and the one word i do not and they still call me it and it is gay and i am not like the others so i am different but it does not to give them right to bully me so i had a enough of this people and i am not going to let them ruin my life

    • Harley, you’re right. They have no right to bully you. I wish that could make it stop. It sounds like you’ve got the right attitude in resolving not to let them ruin your life. Hopefully, as you move beyond high school, you’ll be able to choose the people with whom you work and spend time. Bullying is always hurtful–even in retrospect. Thanks for sharing your story.

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