A Northfield mum has written a poignant open letter to her daughter’s bullies, in the hope that it will help others who need support and make those hurting others step back and rethink.
Katie wrote the letter and shared it on social media as she wanted to make a difference after her 14 year old daughter suffered years of emotional bullying by other girls, eventually ending up in hospital in mental health crisis.
Her daughter is now receiving support from Forward Thinking, Birmingham’s mental health support service for children and young people up to the age of 25. She has moved schools and her school is supportive, but the scars left from previous bullying have left her anxious and lacking in self-confidence.
Katie said: “I’ve been holding this back for a while but I’m ready to share and so is my daughter. If just one parent will read it and speak deeply with their child. Or one child will read this and change the way they behave. We will be happy.
“We now have amazing support from Forward Thinking. Open Doors were great for short term counselling and the crisis team runs a 24/7 line for those who need emergency mental health help.”
Katie said she wants people to be open and talk about the issues around bullying. She said: “I just want young people to start talking to their parents about what’s happening to them or their friends and parents to be able to speak to their children.”
Katie shared her letter on Facebook, adding: “A small change is still a change. Be you – Be brave – Be heard.”
A letter to my daughter’s bullies
Today was a bad day……
Today, I said to myself: ‘I wish you could hurt how you hurt her.
‘I wish you could feel the pain that you so easily inflict on her already wounded soul.
‘I wished that your mothers could feel the utter desperation and loss of being unable to kiss these wounds better.’
Then I remember that I’m not that person – I’m not going to allow you to change me too.
She used to be so full: full of life, laughter, full of wonder.
Now she is full of fear: fearful of you, your stares, your comments and the fear of never being good enough.
She hit rock bottom before, and as I sat there by her side for 3 days in that hospital, in her darkness, I have never felt so broken.
I love her, we love her, she is wonderful, caring, loyal, smart and she forgives easily.
She forgave you, she got strong again, came back to school and forgave.
She tried to move forward, pretended that all the little digs that had started to reappear didn’t chip away at her.
It seems the more she forgave you, the more you took advantage.
You knew the lengths she would go to to escape these anxieties and yet you push and push and push.
You have used the platform of being a social media ‘comedian’ to embarrass and humiliate her, leaving her to believe that even people she has never met think she has no value.
You threw food at her today. You have beaten her down for so long, she couldn’t even gain enough courage to walk out of the lesson.
You encouraged others to join in your campaign of hate. You have tried to sway others’ opinions to isolate her and make her feel worthless.
You intimidate her and watch as the panic and fear cripple her.
Today you pushed too far, today she called me – 15 missed calls.
Today when I got there, she looked deep in my eyes and said: “Mom, I can’t do this anymore, I can’t take anymore, please, HELP”.
The school try and teach you girls about the effect your words and actions have on others, but can they teach people to be nice, to be empathetic?
Are you girls just born like that?
Can girls your age really be taught to be civil?
Is it because you have hurt in your lives?
Do your parents care or even know that their child does this to other humans?
Do your moms cry at night, knowing their daughters are bullies?
I dont know the answer to these questions. I can’t spend too long thinking about them either – my mind is occupied trying to save my daughter from the darkness you have clouded her mind in.
I spend my days trying to show her the love that she can find in family, friends and strangers.
I try and keep her time full so she cannot dwell on those negative self hate whispers you have implanted in her brain.
Right now, we are inches from rock bottom again, but she will be strong again, she will be successful and she will live a beautiful life.
Today I will pray for you. I will pray that your children never suffer the same fate as mine. I will pray that you will find your way and be in a place where you can mature and reflect on your actions and when that day finally comes you will see the damage and devastation that you have caused our family.
That will be your rock bottom and, on that day, I pray that you have a family like ours to pick you back up.
If you are affected by bullying – or you think a friend may be – please speak to a parent, carer or adult you trust. People care about you and are there to help. If you feel you need help and can’t speak to anyone close to you, please call the Forward Thinking helpline 0300 300 0099, Samaritans 116 123 or Childline 0800 1111 any time of night or day.
If you’re a parent, speak to your children about the effects of bullying. If you are worried your child is being bullied, please seek support from their school, your GP or social services. If you believe your child is in need of support with their mental health, you can refer them to Forward Thinking yourself – please speak to your son or daughter about this first.