As I recently read an article about bullying and its effects, https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/how-therapy-helps-heal-scars-of-childhood-bullying-1012164 I remembered that I had written a post about my experiences with bullies, http://www.buchanan1.net/blog-10AU16.html My post was more about the facts of what happened, the article I just read discussed the long-lasting effects of having been bullied. So, what were the long-lasting effects for me? I’d break that down into two categories, the effects it has had on my behavior, and the effects that it has had on my self-image.
When bullied, I learned to keep it to myself and take care of the problem myself, due to almost certain repercussions from the bullies. One other problem was that I’d find myself blamed for the bullying. Both of these led to a lack of faith in authority figures (some might argue that that is a good thing), and an urge to avoid positions that might lead me to seek help from others, especially strangers. These problems haunt me to this day. Much of my bullying revolved around my lack of athletic ability. This led to such mocking that I avoid sports as either a participant or spectator as much as possible. As much fun as people have with sports, I feel that I might be missing out on something, but I just can’t bring myself to be involved. For years after high school, I found public restrooms to be scary. I’d been attacked in the restrooms at school and the mall so many times that I had become hyper-vigilant when using one. I’d avoid public restrooms if at all possible, and if I absolutely had to go, I was a nervous wreck. Fortunately, that aspect of my behavior faded in my 30s, about 20 years ago.
When I was in my teens, I started gaining weight. I was made fun of and insulted for this constantly. I still find myself calling myself “Fat and Worthless” I know as well as you do that that is not true, but it’s an automatic thought I just can’t seem to get rid of, even all these years later. When I’d try to put forth an opinion at school, or got involved in a disagreement, it always seemed to end in me being hurt, usually emotionally. I also found my thoughts and feelings to be invalidated when putting forth an opinion. To this day I’d say that this has led me to be submissive (working on that!) and to avoid conflict. I’m sure I’ll always shy away from conflict, it’s been so ingrained. While in school, I once referred to myself as a “man” I don’t remember the context, but I do remember the mockery and insults that followed. This was pretty early in my experience in being bullied, it had a profound effect on my self-image that persists to this day.
Bullying is a horrible thing that leads to life-long problems for the victim. Most of us as adults (but sadly not all) recognize this as a truth and feel that it should be stopped. But nothing that we seem to have tried has stopped it. Some kids can be cruel and totally uncaring when hurting others. It even gives them a sensation of power and control. Sadly, this has led to many adults living the rest of their lives in some way limited by their treatment in the past.
What are your thoughts on this? Let us all know in the comments!