Being bullied and when it all started
As a kid, I loved getting to know everyone around me and forming amazing friendships with them. However, all of that changed suddenly when I was 12.
People started to pick on me, call me nasty names, and laugh at me. The tip of the iceberg, though, was when some classmates of mine started to send me death threats. These messages told me to “kill myself” and “no one would care if I died”. To some extent, I guess I also spurred them on by becoming more defensive and angry. I mean, I felt that after what I’ve suffered through, it’s justified. At the same time, it definitely didn’t help the situation.
I Tried Telling Someone
My bullies always knew that I wasn’t a fighter. I just couldn’t fight. Yes, I would get angry, but I would never fight back.
I’ve always kept quiet and hoped that it would go away. No one taught me how to deal with any of this. When my parents asked if everything was okay at school, I just nodded and prayed that they don’t ask further.
Once, I mustered up my courage and tried to tell a teacher what was happening, but I was given the advice to “ignore them”. Ignore them? How could I ignore them while they vandalise my personal belongings, put dirt all over my bag, and throw my books in the trash?
It Still Affects Me
These events were traumatic, and I have always blamed them for the person I have become today.
I am insecure, defensive, a people pleaser, and anxious. It was so traumatic that my brain coped with it by trying to forget it. When my ex-classmates bring up the past, they never believe me when I talk about how I was bullied. People would call me a liar since I can’t remember the specifics, like how they sent the death threats or where certain confrontations took place.
To make sure I please everyone around me, I worked myself to the bone just to get some form of approval or recognition from my colleagues and bosses. Even in my personal relationships, I would suffer in silence as long as my partners were happy.
I was miserable and begging for the approval of everyone around me.
Right Place. Right Time.
I was overwhelmed with these negative experiences and feelings. When I felt like I was just about to hit my breaking point, I met who I would say, saved my life.
Let’s call her ‘Alice’. Alice showed me how to love myself and supported me in seeking professional help. She also taught me about childhood trauma and how it could very possibly impact a child’s behaviour outside of the home. Through these conversations, I realised that I may have brought the anger I had at home to my friends in school. I started to acknowledge that I may have subconsciously enabled the bullying that carried on.
Bullying is always wrong, and we should never blame the victims. However, I realised that I cannot control how others treat me, but I could have learnt how to control my actions. I could have learnt to protect myself better. I could have learnt who to speak to. I could have learnt to stand my ground.
If I had learnt these lessons earlier, I probably wouldn’t have had to suffer throughout my teenage years.
Are My Parents Free From Fault?
When I shared my own reflections with Alice, she told me sternly that it isn’t my fault. The next question that came to mind was, “Was it my parents’ fault?”.
To put it simply, they were narcissistic.
I always had to be super sensitive towards their feelings and needs, while my feelings and needs got neglected. If they showed me unconditional love, support, patience and acknowledgement, would I have felt safer to confide in them? If they compared me less, would I have been less insecure? Would I be less anxious if I had not been screamed at for every little thing I did wrong?
Alice told me that it wasn’t their fault even though my parents had displayed bad parenting behaviours. She explained that they probably didn’t even realise they were piling trauma on me on top of what I was facing at school.
It might have been the way that they were raised by their own parents, of which they adopted as the only way they knew to raise their own child – me. Maybe they didn’t know that all of these behaviours caused me trauma. But I now know. The only thing I can control now is my behaviour; and I’ve decided to take the step forth to break out of this generational trauma.
Bullies Are Victims Too
This healing journey also made me realise that bullies fall victim to their environments. No one should ever resort to bullying others. However, I think I understand them a bit better now.
They were probably raised in a similar environment, and maybe a “bully” was their role model at home. It was probably the only way they knew to draw attention to themselves and gain approval from others. Whatever it is, I guess everyone has their way of dealing with trauma.
I Was Bullied. But I’m Finally Moving On
After much reflection with myself and A, I have come to terms with what has happened to me, and I am starting to learn acceptance. By accepting my past, I can finally work towards my future.
This journey probably won’t be an easy one, but it’s one that I’m looking forward to; finally moving on.
Have you ever been bullied? How did you get through it?