Former bully making up for a violent past
DANIEL wants to apologise and make amends for the trauma and distress he has inflicted on others.
The self-confessed former school thug contacted The Northern Star after reading stories in our campaign to stamp out bullying.
Daniel doesn't want to be identified for fear of causing further pain for his mother and other family members.
By telling his story publicly he hopes people will understand where bullies come from.
“I don't want to hurt people any more, I want to help,” he said.
Daniel's story is one shared by many bullies, claim psychologists.
He lost his father when he was three and was a regular kid until his mum started living with a new partner when he was eight.
“He was a violent alcoholic and because I started getting bashed at home, I started bullying kids at school,” he said.
“I had to let it out somehow and I didn't know any other way.
“I was living in violence, so that's the way I reacted.”
Daniel said he spoke to police about the abuse, but his complaints were dismissed, sowing the seeds for his contempt for authorities until he found God a few years back.
At the age of 12, when other kids are interested in sport and girls, Daniel had turned to marijuana and some heavier drugs 'in an attempt to take the pain away'.
“It just made things worse and later in life I got to the stage where if I was on dope I would get angry, but if I wasn't I would get even angrier and it just became a violent drug life.”
Daniel said he got to the stage where he got pleasure out of picking on others.
“In my early 20s I was angry at the world. I ended up in jail for assault. I thought it was fun to hurt people because that's what I learnt from my stepfather, who used to laugh when he hit me with a closed fist.”
Daniel is now studying for the priesthood and holds regular workshops discussing bullying.
POST comments about bullying here. Click on the link at the bottom of the story and then add your thoughts in the comment section below the story.
WE are calling on young people to design a Stop Bullying poster. A selection of these will be published in The Northern Star during the next three weeks.
We are seeking colourful poster designs of A4 size that will inspire our community to support our campaign to stop bullying anywhere in the community. The best poster created will win a $50 book voucher from The Book Warehouse.
Send your posters, saved as PDF or jpg files, to email@example.com or post to Bully Poster, PO Box 423, Lismore, 2480.
Your school counsellor: www.bullyingnoway.com.au; Kids Help Line: 1800 55 1800
For employees: http://www.reachout.com.au;
For employers: http://www.mentalhealth.asn.au/resources/work- place_bullying
Bullying within the family or between partners:
Interrelate Family Centres: 6621 4970; Family Relationship Centre: 6622 7003.
Bullying on the sports field: www.ausport.gov.au (Follow the links to bullying)