Moving beyond the taunts and pain inflicted by bullies Print
Youth Column
Written by Erick Rommel, Catholic News Service   
Thursday, Jul. 02, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

We all have at least one person who understands us but not in a good way. You know the person. No matter how much you keep your distance, they seek you out with words that make you feel six inches tall.

Eventually, you realize their actions are intentional. They find glory in moments that cause you pain. These people are bullies.

At some point, we've all faced one. No one is immune. They're obstacles in our path regardless of wealth or race or nationality. No one is immune from a bully's taunts. They are one of life's universal challenges.

We all have weaknesses and there's always someone looking to exploit those weaknesses.

Recently, I read about a few cases involving bullying and teens. The first case involved a 15-year-old British girl who was overweight. Her classmates called her "Blubber." She was mentally and physically abused and said she was locked in a cupboard.

In the United States, life was no easier for another 15-year-old who suffered from attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity. He was an easy target for bullies. His physical appearance didn't help. He wore hats to hide his large ears. The taunts were so bad, he was once suspended for punching one of his abusers.

We can see ourselves in each of these people. We know what it's like to not feel part of a group. We relate to not feeling comfortable in our bodies. We've felt the desire to lash out at someone causing us pain.

We should find strength in the knowledge that we are capable of growing beyond these frustrations and anxieties, even though they will never truly go away.

The 15-year-old boy I mentioned grew up to become Michael Phelps, one of the most successful athletes in Olympic history. So far, he has won 22 Olympic medals, and he may earn more next year. Once he found success, his tormentors tried to become friends, but he refused to have anything to do with them.

You also know the 15-year-old girl. She became an actress and starred in Titanic, one of the most popular movies of all time. She received an Academy Award. Despite her success, bullies still target Kate Winslet, making comments about her weight.

The next time you're bullied and feel alone, think of them. We all know someone who can push our buttons and cause pain. But they're proof that we all face the similar challenges but we're not as alone as we think we are. The pain others inflict can make us stronger. Our challenge is to learn how to overcome the pain.

Erick Rommel is head staff writer for The Catholic Spirit in the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J. His column is syndicated through Catholic News Service.


Youth Calendar:

There are no upcoming events currently scheduled.
- View full calendar
Please support our advertisers:
About the Youth Page

How do kids your age live out their Catholic faith?

Check out this new Catholic Herald Youth Online Web page to find out!

This Web page is a place for youth in the Diocese of Madison and beyond to learn about their faith, see how others are living out their faith, and voice their own thoughts on Catholic issues.

You, too, can be a part of this Web page. Just submit articles and photos to: Catholic Herald Youth Online, 702 S. High Point Rd., Suite 121, Madison, WI 53719. If you send articles or photos via e-mail, put "Online Youth" in the subject line and send it to: info@madison   Digital photos must be in TIFF or JPEG format and at least 150 dpi.

We look forward to hearing from you!