Do Not Abuse Me!

Former student reveals bullying


Morgan (Lou) Nations and Emilee Gurrola, Reporter

   “I was rotting, being eaten alive by the feeling of hatred, she said.” “I hated the way I couldn’t recognize myself. I hated being powerless, but most of all, I hated them for taking so much of my life from me.”

   It wasn’t just the name calling in middle school that scarred former student Carla Greenwood. It was verbal abuse in junior high, physical harassment in high school and complete dehumanizing abuse in her first marriage. There are millions of people just like her that  believe they deserve the worst because that is all that they have ever been given. Some seek out mental health treatment while others suffer in silence, unable to afford help. Greenwood was robbed of her happiness, confidence, and self security. Every time she tried to come up for air and rebuild her life, the abuse of others pushed her back under the waves.   

   Forty year old Greenwood has gone through plenty of ups and downs to get to this point in her life. She was bullied in her childhood which led her to enter an abusive marriage, and divorce years later. She now lives a stable life, but the wound of cruelty she received from others has left her  aching for over thirty years.    

   “It was like I was lying to everyone around me,” Greenwood said. “On the outside I was a bubbly, joyful person, but inside I was begging for someone to relieve my pain.”

    Bullying is by definition the repetitive act of verbal, physical, or cyber harassment. These acts can be done by close friends, peers, family members, and even significant others. Verbal, physical, and mental abuse is so common that many overlook the fact that disorders such as paranoia, depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia and eating disorders can develop and create problems late into life. We are taught to be kind for the simple fact that it is wrong to hurt others. While this is a good sentiment, many gloss over this and continue their actions. Maybe people would be nicer to others if they realized that every harsh word costs thousands of dollars.  

   Greenwood went to school in a very small town where everyone knew everyone else.

   “My graduating class was 27 people,” Mrs. Greenwood said. “We all went to the same church, same school, same post office and we only had one grocery store.”

     Greenwood began to be bullied seriously in middle school. It was very confusing to her why the other children wanted to hurt her feelings and why no one would believe her. 

   “Those kids were hateful just to be hateful,” Greenwood said. “There was no sense to it. I was shamed for my beliefs by the preacher’s son to the cheerleader. I never felt heard or safe. A parent wouldn’t have believed that their perfect daughter told me to kill myself.”

   The abuse continued into high school, but worsened tremendously. She felt that she deserved this form of treatment.

    “In high school they switched to more physical acts,” Greenwood said. “I had food trays slapped out of my hands and was told to eat it off of the floor like the fat pig I was. I was pushed to the ground and threatened to be beaten. Then I met John, my first ever boyfriend, who treated me the same way, but I had been treated like this for so long that I didn’t care.”

   John would go on to destroy her self esteem. Each and every day he would berate her, but she didn’t want to be alone again.

“We got married in July of 1999, I was 19,” Greenwood said. “I was so dumb and afraid to be alone. I knew I was worthless, fat, ugly, and stupid, but maybe I deserved to be happy.”

   Through her two pregnancies, the abuse continued, not just from her husband, but from her peers as well. 

  “I still lived in my hometown, so I worked with my high school bullies,” Greenwood said. “Just like in school, they would make fun of my weight and my face, and they would tell me that if my husband was hitting me, then I must have been in the wrong.”

Greenwood and John divorced in August of 2004, and even after remarrying and moving out of her hometown, she still carried fear and paranoia that John would return.

   “I remember vividly many nights a week waking up at every little bump in the night,” Greenwood said. “John continued to make threats to break into my house and steal my babies. I gripped my daughters so tightly, that I left nail marks on them. I counted the number of breaths they took, hoping it would ease my fear, all I could see behind my eyelids was John’s fist raised to my face.”

   Pete made Greenwood feel loved and heard, but due to her trauma, it wasn’t until a decade into their marriage that she finally began to feel safe and was able to look herself in the mirror.”

   “It was around our twelfth wedding anniversary before I realized that I wasn’t as pathetic, disgusting, stupid, fat and ugly as I had always been told,” Greenwood said. “I started losing weight, wearing what I wanted to wear and being myself. I knew I would never get back those years that were robbed from me, but now when I look in the mirror I recognize who is looking back at me.”

(Names have been changed to protect the innocent.)

(This is the first article in an In-Depth Feature series. Read the second article in the series called “Words DO Hurt” “Sophomore opens up about bullying experiences.” Lastly, read the third article called  “Real Price of Bullying” “Victims pay the tab.”)

Words DO Hurt

The Real Price of Bullying