The Danger of Being a Follower
Follower When I was Just eleven years old, my life was changed by something that seemed very innocent, a clique. In Patricia and Peter Alder’s Peer Power they explain what a clique Is, the different types, how they operate, and Influence people. In Peer Power, there Is a chapter called “Clique Dynamics and School Children”, and It explains the many different areas how a clique can be psychologically damaging to a person. My own story is extremely similar to the examples used in explaining “subjugation” in Adler and Idler’s “Clique Dynamics and School Children.When I entered middle school in Boise, Idaho I was so nervous.
I met a lot of people, but one of them stood out to me, Tannins. She quickly became my best friend. We had the same style, and same taste in music. Both of us came from bad homes, so that was something to bond over too. Her situation was a lot worse than mine because both of her parents had been in and out of prison since she was three. Her grandma was well off, so things were not too bad. We became each other’s support system, and we were partners In crime.
The whole school year was filled with many sleepovers and vacations.We would share clothes, go shopping, get our hall done together, and go see movies. Our days were also filled with trips to the spa, running around neighborhoods, and going to parties. We were best friends. The year came to a close and the seventh grade was quickly approaching. Her grandma had won a lot of money gambling, and so she offered to take Tannins and I on a cruise. My mom was very excited for me, but when my dad heard, he was less than thrilled about it, so I wasn’t able to go.
Tannins and I were both very upset that I couldn’t go on the cruise with her, but we made the best of the summer we had left together.When Tannins got back from the cruise, school had been in session for two weeks. I was so excited to see her, so I ran up to her and gave her a hug. She then looked at me with disgust and told me that she had new and better friends so she did not want me to talk to her again. She also said that she could not explain anything else because If they saw her with me, they would kick her out of the group. I had no Idea what I did wrong, but I was very upset. I tried to talk to her later In the day, but her new friends kept making fun of me.
They would call me names and go out of their way to harass me in he hallways and at lunch.They would call me a loser and accuse me of stalking Tannins. The dynamic of picking on others outside of the group is similar to what Adler and Adler define as “subjugation. ” In Alders Peer Power, they explain the different tactics of out-group subjugation. “They like to pick on people of lower status, it tends to excite them” (Adler and Adler 179). Adler and Adler explain, “One of the main things is to keep picking on unpopular kids because it’s fun to dc’ (Quoted in Adler and Adler 180). The worst part was that Tannins went along with all of it.
I was o upset that my once best friend thought that I was annoying.The bullying got a lot worse, and so did my home life. I would come home from school every day, and beg my mom to let me move to my dad’s house In La Grandee, Oregon. She was not very willing to let me move to a different state. Tanning’s new friends decided that they would play a prank on me, so they asked Tannins who I had a crush on. She play a trick on me. The group had him ask me out as a Joke, then break up with me and call me names.
So he did. My experience is very similar to an observation in Adler and Idler’s Peer Power. There were children quoted in Peer Power that showed the same behavior that Tanning’s friends did. We knew what bugged them, so we could use it against them. And we Just did it to pester ‘me, aggravate ‘me, make us feel better about ourselves” (Adler and Adler, 183). Tanning’s new friends were making my life miserable. I had never been a part of the popular clique, but they were still bullying me and targeting me to make me miserable.
I quickly became more depressed. Everyday they would tell me that I was worthless and that I should kill myself. They would call me fat, ugly, and a ghost because of how pale I was. I started acting out more at home.I would steal prescription pain meds from my friend’s moms, steal money, and go tanning often. I started wearing a lot more make-up, and I was drinking alcohol every night. By age twelve, I became an addict and developed an eating disorder.
I began cutting not far into the year. My friends were very concerned about me during the whole process. I refused to tell anyone about the bullying because I didn’t want to make it worse. I was afraid that they would resort to violence, very similar to Adler and Idler’s study. Adler and Adler interviewed a young person hat explained how they bullied others, and they used similar tactics to my bullies. They know if they tell on you, then you’ll ‘beat them up’, and so they won’t tell on you, they Just kind of take it in, walk away’ (Adler and Adler, 181). Yet everyday, a different member of the popular crowd would slip notes into my locker saying things like muff should Just kill yourself because you are a worthless piece of sit,” “Die you dumb count,” and “No one really loves you anyway, the world would be a better place without you in it.
” After months of all of the notes and public humiliation, I started to believe very one of the degrading comments, and I tried to take my own life.I was, obviously, unsuccessful in this horrific act. I came back to school after a couple weeks and, of course, everyone had heard what I tried to do. The day I came back was when the harassment stopped, at least from the popular clique. But the rumors were worse than ever that day from everyone but my biggest enemies and everyone wanted to talk to me–even Tannins. She came up to me after school. I had to stay late to get the extra homework I had missed, so she waited.
I was getting books out of my locker and she came to my side. I remember I was looking at the floor, and the first thing I saw was her shoes.I had given them to her. The last thing I wanted to do was look up at her, but I did anyway. To my surprise, her eyes were filled with tears, and it looked as though she had been crying the whole day. She started hysterically sobbing in her hands while she stood there for a couple minutes. I hated the monster she had become, but I took her in my arms and let her cry on me.
Tannins calmed down after I gave her a little time to cry. She told me how sorry she was for everything and how much she hated herself for becoming a part of their group and being so mean.I Just stood there, unsure of what to say. She continued saying that one of the popular girls, Kelsey, was on the same cruise she was, and Kelsey had convinced her to Join the popular group. Tannins said that Kelsey was so nice at first, and very sweet. But things changed over the month-long cruise, and the leader of “the popular” had become anything but sweet. Tannins could not escape.
She too, was a victim of their talk to Cheyenne again; because if you do we won’t talk to you anymore. ” and muff should feel lucky that we accepted someone so ugly and poor into our friend group”.Tannins felt obligated to go along with everything because “the popular” were the only friends she had. As soon as she started being mean to me, all of our other friends started rejecting her. The other followers in the popular’ group felt bad for her, she had gotten herself into a difficult spot but there was nothing they could do. In Adler and Alders study, clique members had similar feelings about other clique members, as they felt for Tannins. “Clique members thus went along with picking on their friends, even though they knew it hurt, because they were afraid” (CTD.
N Adler ND Adler 184). “They became accustomed to living within a social world where the power dynamics could be hurtful, and accepted it” (Adler and Adler, 183). It was very strange to hear Tannins apologize after such a long time. The experience was terribly awkward for me, but I stood there and listened to her tell me how sorry she was. When she was finished, she asked me to say something. All that I could do was look at her and tell her that, in time, I would forgive her. But we would never be good friends again.
She was very grateful for my response, asked if she could hug me, and feet.Tannins was no longer friends with “the popular” after what had happened. She always blamed herself for everything, but even she was a victim in the end. The clique members bullied her from them inside of the group, not Just people outside of the group. I felt bad for the way Tanning’s new friends treated her. After my seventh grade year was over, my mom was not able to handle all of the chaos I had created around me. She had a baby in the house, and did not want him to be around the new lifestyle I had made for myself.
She let me move to my dad’s in La Grandee, Oregon ND that is one decision I am extremely grateful for.