Photo of Tim & his wife provided by Tim Hutchinson
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Tim Hutchinson continued the interview by describing the bullying he endured.
In his words, “The bullying began in middle school and carried over well into high school. For so long I'd wanted to fit in and be a part of the in-crowd. But my clothes weren't nice enough, I wasn't an athlete and I certainly didn't come from the right neighborhood. To make matters worse, I was short and rather skinny. That made me an easy target for bullies who preyed on me like vultures do on an easy meal in the desert. None of the on-lookers came to my rescue and I felt totally alone and completely worthless, daily. Every act of meanness by the bullies took its toll. Each hit, slap, kick, being shoved in lockers down the stairs reinforced my belief that I was literally trapped in a school where it was my role to be humiliated for the enjoyment of others. The inner turmoil was also a regular battle within myself; their insistence that I was worthless conflicted with my belief that I was something better than a punching bag. When my belief became strong enough, I felt the only choice available to me to escape the strong hold the bullies had on my life was to attack. To ensure there were be no retaliation on their part meant I would have to use deadly force.”
I asked, “Did you go to anyone for help before you took matters into your own hands?”
Tim responded, “I never felt as though anyone really cared enough about me that I could confide something so personal and hurtful to them. I was abused and unloved at home, and bullied at school. I truly felt trapped, alone, and scared.”
Tim talked about the impact, “Many times students who have been bullied believe they must simply survive high school, after which time the pain will just go away. I'm living proof that's not so, the pain continues after graduation (or in my case; dropping out) and permeates through every area of life. After spending more than a decade running from the experience of being bullied, I finally saw that it was like a contest of sorts, like hide-n-seek, that I would ultimately lose at every time. Finally, I faced the reality of what happened and accepted that no matter if I was bullied or not, it does not have to determine my true worth as a person. I began focusing on the good things I'd done with my life and the positive impact I could have on others. Through that the negative impact of being both abused and bullied slowly eroded away and was replaced by a sense of wellbeing, happiness and belonging.”
His advice for someone being bullied, “As a speaker at school across the U.S. on preventing bullying, I am often asked what students can do to stop the bullying. There are actually a lot of things students are able to do, and the number one action step is to report the bullying to a trusted adult. Nearly 85% of the time someone is bullied, it goes unreported. When the bullies get away with bullying others they are more likely to continue. Coming in a close second is for bystanders to get involved. I teach students exactly what to do when confronted by a bully or see bullying happen. I've written all that advice in a free report titled Bully Proof which readers can download from my website, www.TheBullyDoctor.org. It details all the techniques schools pay me thousands of dollars a day to teach their students. Did I mention it's free? For real.”
He attributes his life triumph to his mentor.
Tim shared, “When my mentor first offered to help me I have to admit that there was a certain amount of skepticism. But in time he showed me his sincerity and as I relaxed and accepted his help, my life started to make more sense and ultimately improved. At the same time, I met my future wife, and she saw the good in me when I didn't see it myself. For that I am eternally grateful to her. I only wish every troubled young person could have a mentor in their lives, and learn the same valuable lessons I did.”
His spirit shifted, “Being loved, accepted, and mentored helped me go from Tornado Tim (as I was once called because everywhere I went I left behind a trail of destruction) to a law-abiding family man who cherishes his wife and kids more than any cheap thrill out on the street. Having options in my life that I've never had before really make me appreciate my life now. No longer do I live in fear of being bullied, put-down, or being harassed; nor do I have to hide my emotions. I can laugh, sing, dance, work, experience love, happiness, peace, contentment and be proud of my accomplishments - all without concern of others judging me. Sometimes I look back on my earlier life and ask myself, ‘Who was that guy? I am so glad he's gone!’
I once thought that attacking my high school would have been the greatest day in my life. I was wrong. It would have only destroyed many lives and prevented me from realizing a truly wonderful life; one filled with real hope, peace and joy that I now share with others. My goal is to reach out and send a positive message and real hope to those who experience bullying in their lives, and especially anyone considering another shooting like Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora theater, or Sandy Hook.”
His closing words, “Somewhere along the way we've told ourselves that bullies are just bad people who should be looked down upon, scolded or punished. My dealings with them have shown that by approaching them as a person with a curable illness we can reach them more effectively. In order to change them we must first reach them, right where they are currently, with compassion, understanding and a true desire to be helpful. Only then can we lead them to wherever their potential is, which certainly lies beyond the realm of bullying.”
Email him, “I welcome all questions / comments, and can be reached through my website TheBullyDoctor.org, and / or by emailing BullyHelp@TheBullyDoctor.org.”