Health and weight (young people)
Bullying and weight
"They never saw me cry, but quite a lot of the time I would go away and cry. It just made me feel like, why have they chosen me? I must be a bad person, I must be really useless."
All but one of the young people we interviewed had been bullied about their weight. Most said that bullying ‘got to them’ even if they tried to not let it bother them, and it was very hard to bear. Some had to change schools to avoid the bullying. Bullying usually started with verbal abuse but some people had also been physically assaulted.
Sami was bullied verbally by boys at her primary school then physically by girls at her secondary...
Gemma became a target for bullies and had to be home-schooled.
Why were you being bullied?
How did that used to make you feel?
I just wanted to go. I did, I didn’t want to live anymore, but, I really did come close to it, but then when my nephew were born I had to make that change, and think of him and then that’s when I told everybody. But if it weren’t for him I don’t know what I’d have done really. But now it’s still hard because like you’ve got the scars, because like they say it can’t hurt you for long, but if they haven’t really experienced it they don’t know what it’s like, so it is really hard.
Becca was very badly bullied at school because she looked different and she still feels a bit of an outcast.
Reactions to bullying
Some people tried to avoid getting bullied by keeping a low profile and/or trying not to react. A few reacted by fighting back but were then seen as being aggressive.
Naz and Anaan hit back at bullies.
Huw ignored verbal abuse until it got so bad he challenged the bully.
Because the person’s like, “Oh you told Miss.” And I was just like, “Mm.” And so you kind of… it reinforces that you shouldn’t tell anyone, which is obviously what you’re not supposed to do. But then again, compared to some people my bullying hhasn’t been serious. I mean some people you hear about being beaten up quite regularly, and the really vicious verbal abuse, ‘cos mine’s never been really vicious, and so it’s just a different situation really, ‘cos I know ‘cos I I feel that I’ve learnt that you can’t really complain about everything that someone says, you just need to grow a rather thick skin and once, when someone says something vindictive enough to get through that thick skin, that’s when you tell someone. And plus that’s, as well I’ve got all my friends, ‘cos I mean if someone says something to me which I found really, really offensive, and doesn’t take it back, I’ll talk to my friends, and then they’ll talk to him, so, I always use my friends as like a teacher because, teachers have enough going on and although bullying’s hard by the age of, by year 13 you’re just like, “Just grow up.”
Gemma 'felt a lot better' for telling her parents about the bullying but not all parents were helpful. Some were very upset or got angry with the teachers. Telling teachers about bullying helped some people but could also make things worse.
Alex enjoys going to school because people always side with the person being bullied. (Animated...
Bella was bullied in year 8. She told her teacher who helped stop it.
Olivia started self-harming in year 8. She was being of bullied at school and had problems at home.
Bella used to comfort-eat when she was being bullied. She feels happier now she's interested in drama.
Being able to talk about bullying with a teacher or team leader at school worked for some people but only when that person actually did something to help. Having some really good friends at school was the most helpful thing.
Watch It! (a community programme for young people) helped one girl. Others found SHINE (Self-Help, Independence, Nutrition and Exercise) helpful. The school nurse helped one girl.
Looking back on their schooldays some older people said that being bullied and excluded from friendship groups had been horrible but had meant they'd worked harder and done well in exams.
See also Low moods & depression
Last reviewed July 2017.