Bullying affects families not just the child who experiences it. This is why I am continuing Mia’s story from the point of view of her brother, Cal. Those of you just beginning to follow my blog might not know who Cal is. You can click on the menu to Cal’s Story Begins to find out. You may need to click pages from the menu to reach it depending on your reader source.
I ask those of you who know my family to realize that both stories are works of fiction despite being based on my daughter’s experience with bullying. Still, I want to be clear here. Bullying really did affect our entire family much more than her diagnosis did. Damage done by any type of abuse cannot be undone, but it can get better and it can help others to avoid pitfalls.
We are all mending and just the other day my son touched my heart when he told me that his sister’s experience taught him to be tough. He has learned good comebacks to use when kids try to bully him because of this. He said my work and his sister’s experience have taught him the value of being kind to others. I am so proud of him.
I started posting outlines last January and a friend suggested I was trying to put too much in the first chapter. She was right. I do not plan to post the complete story here, but I want to share the beginning with you and get your input.
Wow! Mia is practically glowing. I guess I would be too if I were her. How many people get to hear their high school orchestra play their composition at their own graduation? It’s amazing how far she’s come in the last seven years. I still remember the horror our family went through ….
Mia, what is wrong with you? Mom did you see that? She tried to hit me with her bag. Aren’t you going to do something?
Mom asked me to please be quiet until we got home. Then she just talked to Mia instead of punishing her. Mom’s raised eyebrows and piercing green eyes greeted me in the rearview mirror, when I started to say more. She actually made me feel bad for upsetting Mia instead of defending me like I thought she would.
She did try to explain after we got home, “I’m sorry this isn’t fair to you, but for now, I have to cut her some slack. She is going through a very rough time right now, and she didn’t actually hit you. I promise I will make it up to you later, and I certainly won’t allow her to harm you. For now, it’s probably best if you try to avoid her when she is upset.”
Yes, I knew all about Mia’s former friends and how they bullied her, but Mom’s explanation was more about Mia than I liked. What about me? Does Mom really think Mia’s problem isn’t affecting me?
This isn’t the first time I’ve tried talking to Mom about Mia. Just two weeks ago, Mia punched me in the arm on the way home from school. Mom’s response then was to pull the car over and refuse to drive until we both apologized. It was so unfair! Mia started it, and I was the one who was hurt just like today. I tried talking to Dad about it, but he sided with Mom.
I have to come up with a plan to get Mom and Dad to understand that Mia’s behavior is scary, and she is destroying my social life too. I can’t even have my friends over right now because we can’t upset Mia. What is that about? I live here too!
I retreated to my room and locked the door to avoid more of Mia’s abuse. Then it hit me! I learned arbitration skills at school. I needed to apply them at home. I unzipped my black backpack, pulled out my pen and paper, and sat at my desk as I thought of what to say.
1. I need love and support just like Mia.
2. I need to be able to have my friends over.
3. I need Mia to stop abusing me.
4. I need someone to really listen and to really hear how Mia treats me.
5. I need help with my life sometimes too. After all I’m still a kid.
6. I miss our old family, the one where we ate meals together and discussed our day and where we actually went out to dinner sometimes.
1. I know you have to give Mia extra time. I get it I really do, but I need at least one of you to be there for me too.
2. I realize Mia is fragile, but how am I supposed to maintain my friendships if I can never have anyone over?
3. This should really be number one! I never bullied Mia. She has to stop bullying me and she has to have real consequences when she does.
4. Do either of you realize the awful things she says to me or really see the hate in her eyes when she looks at me? I need you to pay attention. You have to start seeing and hearing.
5. I need to be able to come to you when I have a problem too. I still need help with homework sometimes, and I still need to talk about my day. This has to be okay. You have to make time for me too.
6. Why can’t we still go around the table and talk about how our day went instead of just talking about how Mia’s day went? I understand Mia does not want to go out, but can’t the three of us still go out? Can’t Ah Ma and Ah Gung come over and stay with Mia?
I feel better. I have a plan. Now all I have to do is wait for Dad to come home and find a time to talk to Mom and Dad.