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Gone on too long...


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So here’s the situation. When I was 5 years old, (1969) my parents bought a

house in a rural area of northern Wisconsin- I started kindergarten and

everything was going well until I was transferred to a country school for

first grade. That’s right a two room country school with a single teacher

and multiple grades in the same room. I was immediately set upon by one kid

in particular, as well as his younger brother. They lived about a mile away

from me. I was an only child, and didn’t know anyone so this was pretty

tough. Most of the teasing surrounded the rather unfortunate spelling of my

last name-“Zass” , pronounced with a long “a” sound, like “far”, but this

distinction was lost on these kids, and even some adults would purposely

mispronounce it. The harassment got to the point that my parents formally

and legally had the spelling of our last name changed to “Zahs”, but that

was a bell that could not be unrung. The harassment escalated to the point

where I couldn’t ride the bus- they would throw dead animals into our

driveway , vandalize our mailbox, all kinds of things. We lived on a lake,

and in the winter we couldn’t even ice fish because they would run over our

tipups with their snowmobiles. The family that was responsible for all this

was backward by most definitions- they had no running water, lived in a

run-down house out in the woods and basically lived like it was 1875- I’m

not even sure if the parents were literate. The mother would scream out the

car window if she happened to drive by us if we were walking on the road-

itjust didn’t end.

There was a hiatus when I went away to school, but every time I was home I

would see one of these people and they always gave me the finger, said

something vulgar- some sort of negative reaction. One of them, the middle

brother(I’ll call him Steve), was particularly bad .

After college my husband and I bought a house a few miles north of

where I grew up, and guess what- the whole deal started up again- the

screaming, the finger flipping- swerving at your vehicle, swerving at you

if you were walking on the road. I’m a dog sled racer, so I would train my

dogs with a cart on the local backroads and he would speed by us as fast as

he could go, spraying gravel, or blowing his horn. Every time he (or his

mom)meets me on the road I get the finger- every time.

I guess at this point I’ve just had enough- every time one of these

incidents happens I’m instantly 8 years old again, at least so far as my

reaction to it goes. This has colored my entire life- I’ve struggled for

years with depression and confidence issues , a lot of which I’m convinced

are the direct result of this bullying. The odd thing is, I’ve done nothing

to these people- I’ve never reacted, or returned any of the abuse, and why

would they carry a grudge for some other unknown slight for 40 years?!

I don’t know what to do- you can’t talk with or reason with these

people- at this point it is just “Steve” (he’s now in his late thirties)

living at home with his mom, who is just as unbalanced as he is. He’d been

in trouble for stalking a neighbor girl a number of years ago, and his mom

had a running feud with her parents, often involving the police.

I’m scared to talk to the sheriff for fear of reprisal- it’s hard to

say what they would do, burn my house down while I’m at work? I’ve just had

enough. I’m sick to death of something that should have ended years ago.

Any thoughts?

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Musherpumpkin,

What a terrible and frustrating situation.

Your posting is very troubling, not because of you, but, because of what keeps on happening to you. I agree, these people are, to say the least, mentally ill because they keep on with this bullying long after childhood. I also agree that there is no good that could come from bullying them back. So, what can you do?

I am always in favor of doing things to make life more pleasant and relaxed, even if I have to go through some temporary inconvenienc. So, here is what I am leading up to:

Wisconsin is a big state with lots of room. Why not sell the house you have now and move elsewhere? You will never change these people and they remain stuck with their infantile behaviors. In the meantime you continue to suffer and it may be that you can change that.

So, do you have to stay where you are or can you and your husband move?


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Thanks for your reply Allan.

We have considered the idea, but at this point, I'm 10 years from retirement, my husband is 4 years from retirement our home is paid for, and I doubt we could find something similar. Other than this situation, our lives are comfortable and rewarding. After we retire, I would definitely plan on moving. Am I being too proud in thinking that moving away would be giving in, saying in effect "OK, you win, I'm running away?"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh wow, sounds like the farel phucks I grew up with.

I think kids were more likely to exhibit obsessive behaviors because they're parents were alcoholics and self medicating themselves far too much. People just seemed more angry to me then, even the kids they spawned.....it was spawned too.

If you want to get an idea of the mentality of people then, just watch those mean spirited sitcoms with that kiss my grits - up your nose with a rubber hose behavior going on....it was just one put down after another, and some how we got it in our heads that was normal?

I think people in the 60's were angry, and they made angry children.

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Guest GingerSnap

I had problems being teased when growing up and moved far, far away. Best decision I ever made. Ten years is a long time to have, what seems to be, no quality of life. Some of the things they are doing are very dangerous and, you might not have 10 years left! Also, with time, mental health issues not addressed seem to grow in strength, can you handle that? I don't think you will be letting them "win" by moving and my happiness and safety come before thinking about "will I be considered the winner". How could being away from the behavior ever be considered losing? I am wishing you a lot of luck.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Musherpumpkin,

No, I do not think that you are being too proud by not moving. But, by moving, I also do not believe you are sending any type of message. It's just that life is short and why put up with a type of thing that can be remedied by moving. Ten years is a long time. With home prices so far down today are you sure you could not get something even better?

The reason I am pressing this idea is that I do have a concern that I want to share with you and everyone and it is this: We can get very accostomed to the misery we experience, so much so, that we do not want to give it up. That my sound surprising but it is true. This misery has gone on for years. This is only a question: Is it hard to think of giving up this misery? Believe me, it is a very common human reaction and does not mean that anyone is "sick or wierd." In fact, that is why I bring it up. A friend of mine once told me that he would rather serve in hell than reigin in heaven????? Interesting.


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I think moving away first actually put a stop to the mental abuse you've been going through. I know it sounds difficult to believe, and Allan did raise an interesting note about it as well. Maybe it's possible for the victim of abuse to feel "I'm used to this" and afraid of change in some way.

I gave you a personal example:

I have to share a room last term with a roommate who bullied me. Classic story of my life, it seems that bullying is a repeated incident in my life wherever I go.

Anyway, I should have moved away form that room. As soon as possible.

But I didn't. Until the end of the term.


Because I didn't want to feel like I'm losing the battle then. My friends all said I better move out to another room, but I rejected the option of moving...I'm too ashamed of moving my things to another room in the same dorm. My imagination run wild with people from several foreign countries (my school is international one) all curious about why this lone-girl move out of her room, whatever happened to her old room, yadda yadda...I couldn't stomach the idea of having to put losing-face and take the first step to move. I thought I'd be like this kicked-puppy with tail between her feet walking away....if you catch my meaning. So I decided to stick with the misery. I thought the misery is bearable compared to the embarassment I'd have to stomach if I move away.

I know, sounds stupid.

But the end of the term comes, and the girl still stay in our room up until my last day in the dorm. Then the moment of closing the door finally comes.......and that's the moment when I hillariously chide myself, why I didn't do this sooner???

I should've done it before. Thank God I still have the chance to do so!

So, with all of my might, I slam the door. Hard. Loud.

Just like she did the whole term, while I cowardly close the door softly(she always punch the wall too whenever I dare to make even the tiniest noise).

Doesn't matter she's still inside, sleeping.

Oh, it feels so good to finally able to do that.

It's freeing me, and I hope it's changing my perspective too.

I wouldn't be afraid of moving out again after this, because moving out is like walking to freedom. Feel so good to be the one who has the last word.

-Autumn Rain.

Edited by Autumn Rain
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