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Bullied Kid Commits Suicide in NYC – and It Could Have Been Avoided

I get so angry and upset when I hear stories like the one about Joel Morales, a 12 year old boy from East Harlem, New York who hanged himself in his bathroom.

A described, "happy kid", he was reportedly bullied since age 4. At school, he was picked on for his height, intelligence and even the death of his father, who also committed suicide, when Joel was only four months old. What makes me upset is that this incident was avoidable.

Sadly, this story has many components to it that we have all heard before in other tragic stories regarding bullying. There were simple, innocent mistakes that were made in trying to help the boy deal with bullies - not from a lack of caring or wanting to do the right thing for a child – but from just not knowing any better. It was reported that the boy was bullied from age 4 and his mother went so far as moving from one city and school to another, hoping the bullying would stop. The mother filed a police report for harassment when four boys threw pipes and a stick at Joel. After this incident, the principle of the school they all attended tried a bullying intervention.

Eventually, Joel thought that reporting the bullying to the adults was actually making the bullying worse, so he stopped reporting it. According to a  friend who was an eyewitness to one of the bullying attacks, "Joel would turn red and angry. He would start crying."

To me, what is so enraging about this is that it sounds like Joel's mother did everything she knew how to do. While I don't know if she tried to talk with Joel about how to deal with bullies, I do know that she reported problems to the police, reported problems to the principle and even moved into a new school district, all in an attempt to help her son and get the bullying to stop.

I can't speak intelligently about what else she may or may not have done or said to her child; I don't know what Joel's beliefs or techniques were for dealing with being bullied. I don't know if there was any mental illness or history of mental illness; all I do know is that he felt so hopeless, weak and powerless that he decided to take his own life.

I think that Joel's problem is that like many others, he felt as if he was doing everything right, but the bullying wasn't stopping. He was telling who he was supposed to tell, probably trying to "walk away" and "be the better man" and who knows what else, all to no avail.  Think about it: how do you feel when you are in a situation where you feel as if you are doing everything right, everything you are supposed to do, but it STILL isn't working? Isn't that frustrating? Doesn't it make you start to doubt yourself? If the situation persists, don't you start to feel powerless to change things?

The one glaring thing I see – and again, I do not know if Joel was taught this or not, if his Mom believed in this or not, so this is my point of view – that was missing for Joel was this:

It sounds to me that Joel didn't feel as if he had permission to, or was strong enough, to stand up for himself.

When you don't feel as if you have permission to stand up for yourself – mentally, physically or emotionally – or don't think you are strong enough, or worth standing up for, it is devastating.

I know; I have been there, in "That Place". It is a place where depression, anxiety, desperation for acceptance, love or connection, bad choices and more all congregate together. If you find yourself in that spot and you do not have the contacts, tools, knowledge or environment where you can get yourself OUT of that place, it is a bad, bad thing.

It's one of the reasons I wrote the book, "Bullies Suck" and created the Ultimate Bullying Solution Society membership site and newsletter. There is so much misinformation out there about how to deal with bullying and more importantly, so many adults or parents of children that think they are doing everything they can – because they are following the "conventional wisdom" about bullying – and they don't realize that what they are doing does not work and there is better, more powerful ways to take back our power from bullies.

I hope that more people like you discover this site, the book and the newsletter; hopefully, one person at a time, we can start to reduce the number of stories like Joel's – God rest his soul.

Best,

Sensei

P.S. – If you don't have the book yet, you can CLICK HERE to get your copy today, along with a bunch of bonuses, including a Free 30 Day Test Drive to the Ultimate Bullying Solution Society Newsletter, where you get behind-the-velvet-rope access to my huge library of audio, video and other courses, interviews with experts and more.

 

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