Michelle Foreman's Bullying Story

Michelle Foreman is an integral part of Fremantle Global Entertainment, one of the industry's leading producers in the firms of entertainment. Working her way up through the ranks of LWT Michelle spent many years producing a number of hit entertainment shows in the UK, Australia and USA, Michelle then returned to the UK to finish her producing career with both seasons 6 and 7 of XF UK. Michelle joined the FM Global Entertainment team in 2011. In her current role Michelle has helped such formats as XF, Idols and Got Talent become the number one entertainment shows in territories all over the world. 

When people ask me if I enjoyed school, I do reply honestly- yes I did. I met some great friends there and inspiring people. I was voted by my peers to be the head of my house, Whitby. I was in my school netball team and always took part in any drama plays performed. So yes I did enjoy school. However what I rarely tell those who ask is that during my second year seniors I had a moment when I considered taking my own life. It was a fleeting and dark moment but the culmination of weeks and months of bullying that had torn at my soul. It was hitting this very low moment, one that had seen many tears shed beforehand, that propelled me to understand life should not be this awful or upsetting for anyone. 

My bullying was a mental roller coaster. Someone who I had called a friend decided one day (it seems) that I should no longer be spoken to. She had done this to other members of our group before. She didn't like how I would not get involved with her bullying. So one day I came in to school and it was obvious that it was my turn. Being ignored by your "friends", having your books moved from your original desk and told where to sit (alone) in a class was humiliating and hurtful, but I just got on with it, hoping this time would pass. 

I'm not sure if it was my refusal to react that spurred her on, but the name calling became worse. Then the phone calls to my house with either silence or laughing at the end of the phone. Looking back, she put in a LOT of effort to make my life hell. I started getting followed home. Thankfully never touched physically but mentally it was hell. Seeing her Father one night was too much and it was that evening as I sat shaking worrying what to say to my Mum to stop her answering the phone, that I thought it might be better to if I wasn't alive to face whatever was coming next in her hate campaign. 

That evening, looking at my parents rationalisation hit. My parents were (are) amazing, why should they suffer? So I finally confided in my Dad about what was going on. I had no proof, no bruises to show, no way I could show him the effects of my bullying but he, of course, did not need anything other than knowing how it was making me feel. Instantly I was not alone. I had the best support I ever needed. I can honestly say that the bullying stopped right there. The next day just by telling my bully that my parents knew and were taking the matter further if anymore bullying happened stopped her in her tracks. That day was the first day of my being left alone. I realised then and there how weak my bully actually was. Nothing (except a foul comment every now and then) ever happened again between us. 

What did happen instead is that those who had been in my friends circle - whom she picked on before me, saw me standing up to her and we all became friends again. The other groups in our year also saw how pathetic she actually was and started to disengage from her bullying ways. No longer joining in with her name calling. She and her nastiness was simply ignored. 

Once bullying became my past I decided to start an anti bullying group in my school to help those who were suffering. The response was amazing and I am proud to say the group helped stop bullying in our school - the main goal was to show those going through it that they were not alone and help was at hand. In essence the group provided those being bullied someone to talk to. A caring group that broke down the bullies and ensured people who were bullying realised their "victims" were not alone, were prepared to stand up to them and stop the bullying completely. 

I have had to see my bully in recent years, over 20 years since we all left school. She has apologised to one of my friends she bullied before me, but with me all she could say was that she couldn't believe I had made my dreams from back then into reality and even tried to take some credit in making me the person I am today!! I corrected her, she had simply underestimated me. I'm so grateful that I chose to speak to my Dad that evening and listen more to his supporting comments than listen to her bullying ways. It's by reaching out to my Dad and having his support that made me the person I am today. Therefore I encourage anyone who is being bullied to not listen to the negative comments but speak to someone who knows what you're worth. Let them remind you that you are amazing and do not have to tolerate such people and help you stand up to them. No one should ever have to live with bullying. And there are many people, organisations etc out there dedicated to helping you. Together we can stop bullying.