Bullying has no shame. It shows no prejudice. Bullying affects anyone of any size, age, and ethnicity.聽 It affects all of us. When I watch grown people intentionally hurt each other with words and actions, it always surprises me.

One day I asked a young lady why she was making fun of her coworker. She simply replied, 鈥淢y mom always makes fun of people.鈥 So, maybe it鈥檚 taught. Maybe it鈥檚 just what people do when they aren鈥檛 happy with themselves. Trying to understand why people hurt each other is not something I can even begin to understand.

My son, Michael, has severe hemophilia B. He is now 27 years old. I remember vividly the first time I knew he was bullied. My husband and I got a call from the principal of the parochial school Michael attended. He was in middle school. He was being expelled for a day from school for hitting someone.

I thought to myself that can鈥檛 be possible. When Michael鈥檚 dad and I asked him what happened, we realized he was being bullied. He told this little boy not to call him 鈥淢r. Wheelchair鈥 in front of the class any more. This child did it anyway and Michael punched him. We had the talk about the right thing to do when this happens, but honestly, we didn鈥檛 blame him or punish him. He had been through a complicated knee surgery and then fractured his tibia and fibula. That was enough punishment. After that, Michael figured out on his own how to deal with bullies. Whether it was right or wrong, he learned to survive.

When someone would ask him why he was on crutches or in a wheelchair, he would make up some exotic story. He would tell them he jumped from the roof of his house into the hot tub or that he saved a little guy from a dangerous situation, like falling into the tiger pit at the zoo or some other heroic event that made him look like a hero. The stories helped him survive middle school.

Then high school came. That was a different story. Michael went to a very large pubic high school. He was blessed with a very good childhood friend who was very large and strong. He looked after Michael at school and stood by his side when the questions were asked. 鈥淲hy do you walk funny? Why are you on crutches one day and the next day you aren鈥檛?鈥 He made it through the first two years of high school with his friend by his side.

When the large school became too much for Michael to handle physically, he did his last two years of high school at home. Home schooling is not something we were in favor of, but it worked. He excelled in his classes. I would recommend this avenue of learning only if the child has a strong resource of friends.聽 Isolation from school has its disadvantages. When Michael entered college, it was difficult for him socially. He was not used to being in a classroom full of students. He worked though it and excelled in college. I鈥檓 sure it wasn鈥檛 always easy.

I guess the easiest way to survive being bullied is to be strong. Maybe it鈥檚 making believe that you are a super hero. Life is full of bullies. None of it is fair and you hurt when your child hurts.聽 Love them and make them believe in themselves.


Karen and her adult son, Michael, live in Ohio.

*Note: 鈥淚nfusing Love: A Mom鈥檚 View,鈥 is a blog collection of personal opinions and a representation of individuals experiences. While extensive efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of the content, the blog entries do not represent HFA or its Board of Directors. The blog is also not intended to be construed as medical advice or the official opinion/position of HFA, its staff, or its Board of Directors. Readers are strongly encouraged to discuss their own medical treatment with their healthcare provider.

Sign up for E-mails, Dateline Magazine, and other ways to stay connected.