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'The Little Couple's' Bill Klein: Size does matter

By Bill Klein, Special to CNN
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CNN Red Chair: 'The Little Couple'
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bullying causes both bruises and intimidation, "The Little Couple's" Bill Klein says
  • Not everyone who is bullied is fortunate enough to have the support of family, Klein says
  • He says he hopes people will learn to discard the negativity and labels imposed on them
RELATED TOPICS
  • Bullying

Editor's note: Bill Klein stars in the TLC reality series "The Little Couple." He and his wife and co-star, Jen Arnold, are both under 4 feet tall.

(CNN) -- Being an adult who barely makes it to 4 feet tall is difficult at times. Size apparently does matter to many people. One of my personal objectives in life is to fight the bully. Metaphorically or in a more direct manner, bringing the fight to the bully is, in my humble opinion, the best way to thwart this adversary.

Since I was a child, I've been one of the bullied. I've been made fun of, picked on, beat up and threatened too many times. Intimidation was expressed and harm was implied. As an adult, it continued with exclusion and continued "talking behind my back."

The effect bullying has on the bullied is easy to see -- bruises and intimidation. The consequences of being bullied are much more subtle and destructive. The lack of self-worth, the encumbrance of making a living or achieving career goals, socializing and feeling like you just don't belong.

As I reach the most successful period of my life, I have found there is much to be thankful for and much still to do. My family and friends have helped make me who I am today.

The environment I grew up in helped me to manage through tough times without succumbing to the will of a bully. That said, not every person who has been bullied or is being bullied today recognizes or is fortunate enough to have the support of his or her family. And relying on oneself, while fantastic if effective, can make the challenge of ignoring the ignorant difficult.

I hope that as time goes on, and if so fortunate to continue to have my voice heard, I will be able to help people recognize their own strength and find the courage to seek help from those who love them most.

I hope people will learn to discard the negativity and labels imposed on them and stick up for themselves. And for bullies who listen to the message, realize the impact you have might be more far-reaching than what you intended ... and stop bullying.

The CNN Red Chair Interview is a weekly feature that looks at people's pasts and greatest pivotal and "aha" moments, to discover what made them who they are today. Next week in CNN's Red Chair: Brig. Gen. Marcia Anderson, the first African-American female to be nominated to the position of major general.

 
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