Professional Poet, Life Coach, Educator, Artist – Runs Workshops, Gives Reiki & Wellbeing Training

When Will Bullies Get The Message? – by Patricia Foster McKenley

Photo: Patricia Foster Photo: © Patricia Foster McKenley

As individuals, we are ALL created uniquely beautiful. Some of us have gentle dispositions and are therefore misunderstood. Some of us are extremely sensitively wired and are therefore misunderstood. Some of us will NEVER fit into the mould of acceptable looks, or acceptable past times. It’s about having patience with and being accepting of others, instead of demonising them…because they are not like you!

Some of us may not have explored communication tools that can best express our thoughts or feelings, so may have difficulty in responding to harsh words or criticism, or are unable to articulate the inner pain connected to these harsh words. Speaking out against harsh, critical words may therefore be a huge challenge.
Some of us may feel unsupported, because we are unable to find the right person to express our innermost thoughts and feelings to, without the fear of our expressed feelings being thrown back in our faces.

There is a saying “hurt people hurt people”. Research has shown that those who are unhappy within, or are in pain themselves lash out or bully others, therefore hurting their intended target too.

I performed poetry at a recent ‘Loose Muse’ women’s writing event and a courageous young lady shared her own, deeply personal experiences of being bullied and subsequently wanting to take her own life. She mentioned also that in the area of south London where she resides, suicides among teenagers, in particular GCSE and A Level students were at a ridiculously high number. This was not just due to the pressures of life, but also about how some are made to feel by harsh comments and treatments by others.

Today, I read a Facebook post, which outlined the last Tweet posted by a young man, tormented over the years about his sexuality. He was commonly referred to as “a loser, freak and fag” and used this to describe himself in his last Twitter message. He felt he had done the world an injustice and therefore took his life.

Without the right support and understanding from others, when will people cease to remove their inner pain, torment and feelings of being misunderstood by taking their own lives?

Some of us will never be accepted, because we are moulded and act differently.

How can those of us who are emotionally stronger step in to help prevent bullying and help support and encourage those who are being bullied or misunderstood?

In my workshops and through my writing I have focussed on this, as I have also been bullied and victimised by others. I therefore choose to use my art and holistic and well-being tools to help stand up to this. Writing and coaching can be useful ways to express pain, as well as feel accepted and valued within.

© Patricia Foster McKenley 2013


  1. gatito2

    I was bullied from before I went to school to the day I graduated. I think that it was the root for the depression I developed. I never told anyone. I was ashamed.

    • patriciafostertrainer

      You are brave to share this now and should never feel ashamed. Unfortunately, bullying is still so rife, in so many aspects of our society; in so many guises. I felt so compelled to write this, as it is more common than we think.

      Thanks so much for sharing your story and for reading my article.

      • gatito2

        You are welcome. I found your site by searching suicide. My daughter committed suicide 4-11-13 and my blog is devoted to the memory of her, my grief journey, and the stigma that is in our society on mental health problems.

        • patriciafostertrainer

          Oh, please, please accept my sincerest condolences for your loss. I am so sorry!

  2. gwilsonfans

    Sorry for your loss.


    Such a truism that ‘hurt people hurt people.’ Facades are worn by the hurters and their victims. Adult family members, teaching staff, etc. should check in with young people regularly to find out how they feel about their life. Everyone needs compassion and the support of someone who takes the time to see through the facade, validate their feelings and provide uplifting messages that feed their esteem. If parenting classes were ever made mandatory in the UK, I’d advocate that awareness of esteem needs be a pillar of the training.

    • patriciafostertrainer

      Your words are so true and so eloquently put . Thank you! It is probably a good idea for the parents and carers of those who hurt others to seek guidance on how to effectively listen and nurture their children. This may go some way to dissolving the own hurts and pains carried around by those who do ‘lash out’ and feel their only option is to inflict hurt and pain on others. There is definitely scope for this to happen in the UK.

  4. leah

    Your words resonated with me, I felt crippled by the bullying and victimisation that I experienced when I was younger, and healing myself was part of my life long journey. I focus on healing and wellbeing through my work as a coach and counsellor and I part of the process is honouring our difference, the unique point of view that we all bring as spiritual beings.

    • patriciafostertrainer

      Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, Leah. I appreciate that my post resonated with you. It is inspirational to hear how you were able to turn this challenging experience around, to find your path of healing. Now, you have also allowed this path of transformation and healing to inform your coaching work. May you continue your great work!