Bullying leaves lasting marks.
I’ve wanted to share my bullying story for a long time on this blog. It is a post I’ve put off and off thinking no one would care, now I’ve realized that I want to do this more for me. If it helps you on the way that is a bonus!
So why make a series?
Firstly I think it’s important to share, like anything, once a conversation is started we all start to make a change whether it is small or big. It allows us to know we aren’t alone. Once I found out I wasn’t the only one being attacked by others and that people were there for me a weight was lifted off my shoulder.
I hope this does the same for you.
Also my blog has sort of become a diary so to say and a place to get things off my chest. It is my type of therapy so discussing it with you all is just the start.
What will the mini series involve?
Part One | This post as you may have gathered from the title is about my story with bullying. How it has affected me over the years and how I’ve been bullied from childhood to adulthood.
Part Two | How I have handled bullying and how I think we should handle it. Both offline and online as the online world has such an impact on us now. I will also be trying to find helplines and sites to help you if you are currently being bullied.
Part Three | Change and happiness. How best to overcome it, how to move forward and create a more positive life with out bullies effecting us.
I am going to spread this out into three categories just to lay it out better than having a rambling mess which would be hard to read.
Primary School |
Children are harsh. So that’s when the bullying started. I have one vivid memory of a girl 2 years younger than me, she would’ve been about 7, coming up to me in the playground, calling me duck tooth and running away laughing at me with her friend. That was the first time I looked at myself in a reflection of a mirror, analyzed what I looked like and hated what I saw. I’ve hated my teeth ever since, they are one of my least favourite features.
As I was a quiet kid, I was an easy target. I was teased a lot, I remember crying a lot. Don’t get me wrong my year group was quite lovely and I do have fond memories however they are tainted with the little girls and boys who told me I was ugly nearly everyday.
High School |
High school is a whole new ball park. I was worried of course about making friends. One time I asked a couple girls if I could sit next to them on the bus. In my head I thought this was great, they’re in my year we can get to know each other and BAM friends! They told me there was plenty of other seats and laughed at me. I stuck with who I knew and didn’t bother reaching out after that. The next two years were awful. I was stuck with girls who I did not fit in with. They would make sly remarks, making me the butt of the joke nearly everyday.
When bullying is involved it doesn’t matter how big or small you think it is. If it puts someone down, makes them feel sad, unwanted and unworthy, it counts. For example one of the girls sat down and something in her bag squeaked, she instantly told everyone I had farted, as I was minding my own business I was very confused but the more I said I hadn’t the more they laughed. It was a small joke to them but humiliating to myself. Plus as you can tell I‘ve never forgotten because it hurt me so much at the time. Bullying has a lasting effect.
There was one girl who was known to bully. She targeted me out and made it her mission in life to scare and taunt me. Luckily I had built thicker skin and it soon stopped but when I saw her I did get a mini rush of fear wondering if she would push me or trip me over.
A ‘friend’ known for putting those down to push herself up decided my nose was way too big. I hate my nose because she made hints about it over and over again. I hate my side profile, I wish my nose was smaller, this has been engraved in me since I was 14.
I don’t have many core memories of these times apart from the above, thankfully my brain was able to shut it all out. Unfortunately for my mum she still remembers me coming home day after day crying.
Crying and wishing I never had to go to school again.
Adult Life |
Adults are no better than school kids it turns out. Plus they are a lot more harsh. I’ve been lucky enough to not experience too much drama in my 5 years of being an adult, until last year at least.
I have two main cases of people who have tried to manipulate me and put me down with their power. One is my age another is a mother. Yes an adult bullied me, at work no less and has given me anxiety which I never asked for.
Now I thought I would leave 15 year old drama behind in high school however that is not the case. Some people are just wired to want power over others and show you that they can beat you in social situations. This girl decided she would cause drama over a guy, turn it around so she was the victim and even after it had been a year and I hadn’t worried about it for months, decided to still try and talk to friends behind my back and make it look like I was evil for disliking her and not becoming her friend. As soon as the first power play happened I remembered the same happening to me in highschool and got out of it fast.
Sometimes bullying looks like friendship, they will tell you its the best for you when really they are only looking out for themselves. Know that you are allowed these feelings of wanting something without having to ask for peoples opinions. Don’t let them dictate what is right for you, they don’t own you. You own yourself, fight for yourself and don’t let anyone destroy your will power.
Work should be a safe place. I’ve discovered bullies are very clever at looking like they care and are your best friend. The relationship I had with this woman felt safe. Then little things like ‘favourites’ started appearing. She would make it feel like it was a competition between my other colleagues on who would make her the happiest. A lot of other bad stuff happened. I’m not going into it because it is her personal issue and works personal issues. But it got to a boiling point where she ended up yelling and attacking myself and another and I had my first panic attack.
I did not feel safe coming into work. I felt alone. Lost and scared.
She still hasn’t been fired for her behavior. I still can‘t work the same days as her which you think would be good, but it means that I have been so marked by this moment that I get panic attacks if I see or hear the woman. I hope I get stronger.
Bullying does have lasting marks. They might not physical. But they are there. They are there in the way I look at myself in the mirror. How I interact with new people. How my chest constricts with panic in certain situations.
So that is just a glimpse into how bullies have been apart of my life. I wouldn’t wish bulling upon anyone, even those who did it to me.
Physical and emotional abuse hurt and have a lasting damage. I hope the next two parts of this series show how I got out of these situations, how we can look to happiness and how we can make sure we create a positive future for ourselves and those around us.
If you want to share anything or would like something talked about in the next two posts let me know in the comments.