When the bullying includes the whole family
Almost 3 years ago my family and I moved countries. It wasn’t my first big move, but it was the first as a family. I love moving, learning new things, that feeling of a fresh start, I have always loved that.
Just a PS before I continue. I’m an introvert, I’m not shy, but I’m really ok being alone. Ironically, since having children, the lack of alone time made me crave having friends and meeting new people. It’s hard raising children lonely, and I found that for me, it was almost impossible and very depressing.
Getting back to the move. So, there we were, in a new country: my husband looking for work, my older son starting a new nursery and I stayed with my youngest son. The beginning was quite exciting, busy and like I was used to. Things only felt different when my husband got a job in a different city and I was all alone with our children. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as good as a move had always been for me. I felt lonely.
Therefore, you can imagine the joy we all felt when a new family moved into the same building as us. We were all so delighted! We had this whole new scenario in our minds where our children would be best friends, I would finally have some company and everything would be great. Looking back now, that’s just bond to a disaster. When your expectations are so high without even knowing what you are dealing with, things will definitely go wrong. I was blind at the time, even with all the signs there, I just ignored them all. The child that was the same age as my son (which I will call him here Spencer), was a mean boy to his brother, I could see it from the first day. Except I chose to ignore it. The parents seemed a bit clueless and not really paying attention to raising their children. Except I chose to ignore it. Also, between adults it’s inevitably easy, we can all make an effort to be nice, polite and friendly when we want to. We are civilised humans.
In the course of the next 8 months the signs kept showing up and I, as usual, chose to ignore them. I met new people, but the proximity of our living situations just made it so easy to be close to them. I have always been a bit of a worried helicopter parent, so when I noticed that Spencer was starting to bully my son, I kept telling myself that it was only me being me, worrying too much and I chose to ignore it.
(It’s funny how looking at a situation from the outside things can be so clear, but how we can blind ourselves completely when we want to.)
Anyway, I only “woke up” when my son came home one day from school and told me that Spencer and another boy had hit him on the head. I felt so mad at the boy, at me, at his parents, at my family, because I knew this was going to happen and I was just sitting down waiting for it. I had never been through any type of bullying situation before, so I started to talk to my son and the next day at school I spoke to his teacher. I won’t go into details now, but basically the school just ignored the problem, the 2 boys denied everything and my son was in a sad situation. As a last resource I decided to try and speak to Spencer’s mum, we were friends after all, and I’m not sure you can predict what happened next, but things went crazy. Basically, the only way I can describe it is that she became a monster. Funnily, because someone who didn’t seem so bothered to educate a child was so defensive when the child is just showing signs of it. So, on the next few days, all the friends my family and I had were suddenly gone. I can’t even say we were back to the previous situation, because we weren’t, we were hurt and had to see the people who hurt us every single day. A few days after, the mum came knocking at my door saying we should talk because “that situation wasn’t healthy”. I, at the time, felt such a regret from talking to her in the first place about the bullying, that I basically just nodded and smiled. I didn’t want to be friends with her again and certainly didn’t want my son to be friends with Spencer again, so I didn’t want to waste my time talking about it again.
Nearly 2 years have passed since that happened. We have moved houses, my son has made new friends, I have made new friends. My son still goes to the same school as Spencer and has had problems with him again. The school hasn’t done much to help but we have done as much as we could to help our son. I must say that, the other family just seems crazier as time passes. The mum keeps coming after my new friends and so does Spencer with my son. I know this is just a silly story with a first world problem but this whole situation has affected me, my son and our family so deeply that I still suffer because of it. Specially because it looks like the mum has some sort of problem with us. I still cry because of it, I still blame myself for it, I still feel horrible about it.
I wanted to write here because I feel like I have no one to talk to about it, because this was a particular situation that very few people understand me and because I still suffer from it. Please do consider that I am still crying while I write this, that english is not my first language and, if you have anything to say to help me, be kind when writing it.