I am a firm believer that most people are, by heart, good. Yes, sometimes they do things they might not be proud of. Things that hurt others around them, things they want to shove under a rug and forget, and things that can burn holes in their persona too. In brief, this post is about the reasons for bullying and the effects of bullying on the victim. These effects are still felt. Almost 15 years later in my life.
As much as I have analyzed the topic in my head… I can’t speak for everyone and I am not with a psychology degree. Therefore I rely on my own experiences. Please read, if you are mentally in a good place and feel strong enough. Because this post can be triggering. But it is… a part of my life.
Playing as I edit: Gojira – Magma (whole album)
Reasons for Bullying
They can range from the personality or the manners of the victim and the bully, to the clothes worn. The cheering of peers is also a factor. School is a constant battleground of showing who is the coolest and funniest. This need and struggle of a human striving for success and power are present in kids. They don’t know any better. They are still learning how to be decent human beings and remain successful. And find where they fit in the big puzzle of life.
Sometimes. I believe that oftentimes… the bully is not a bad person by heart. They might have some unresolved issues at home or school that they need an outlet for. Often it is someone at school who is unable to defend themselves… or is sprinkled with the dust of weirdness. It makes them feel in control and stronger than that in front of their parents or teachers. For that… I don’t judge people. Or the people that bullied me. It is not my job. Because you never know what goes on behind closed curtains. And you can never know the reasons they do what they do.
Sometimes they can be an angel at home, and their surroundings loving… Sometimes it is peer pressure. I have had friends that wouldn’t speak to me in school despite telling me they loved me. That was because they were afraid. What if… they will be the next subject of bullying? Nobody wants to be the next victim. It is understandable too. These things happen in adult life too.
Brotherhood is a strong feeling of belonging somewhere. Just as much as grownups want to belong somewhere, so do kids. You want to be with the “cool crowd” and not the one bullied. School is not just the pressure to study well… it is the pressure to be accepted and not bullied. Not only by the teachers or the parents but by other kids too. Only a handful of them manage to steer clear of both extremes and remain neutral. I always wished to be that someone, but life had other plans for me.
Why Do I Believe It Was Me
In the very beginning. I was a shy little girl that enjoyed reading a little too much and I excelled at it when others still learned the letters. I was also into the arts, music, and theatrics. Anything not of this world. Anything that had little to do with reality. And I was the kid that cried a little too easily. That might have been my demise. I believe the biggest of them.
Instead of playing on the playground, I hid in the library. I kept reading or talking out loud about the fairytales in my head, and I did talk to myself while playing. And I had a very active imagination. Because of the mixture of it all, I was an outcast. I am an emotional being. I don’t know any life without feeling the extremes. It is a blessing and a curse. With the same ferocity, you feel the light of life with, you feel the dark.
The innocent teasing of my peers in kindergarten (before first grade, same people) and first grade made it worse. I would slowly start to withdraw from other kids and learn to be on my own. I always have been one that felt great love for her solitude. But I don’t like feeling lonely. There is a big difference you see. Solitude, for me, is something I choose… being lonely is something I felt was pushed upon me. Since I was a little cub I have felt very different from the crowd. So much so, that I never really felt I belonged anywhere.
I won’t go into all the ways I was ridiculed. For they are something I still keep inside of me. And letting them out… it is like dragging a knife across my soul. I will talk about some of my experiences. And as I have noted. Please read if you feel emotionally strong enough. I don’t want to hurt you and make you sad. These things can be hard to handle if you have ever been or are in the same boat, or your child is.
It Festered Inside of Me
The bullying got worse in school. And I was too scared to tell anyone. Snitches get stitches… right?! In sixth or fifth grade, a schoolmate broke my arm while beating me up. The reason? Well… like in those TV shows I had a crush on the cool kid, and well… I was weird. But instead of telling, I lied to my mother that I fell down the stairs. Back then I kept it all inside of me. I couldn’t see the reason why everyone was being so cruel. And I couldn’t open my mouth.
the Bullying and the Immediate Effects
Every morning when I turned up to school. My peers ran from me. Laughing and hollering… they barricaded themselves into the classroom. Holding the door and telling me to leave. To off myself because nobody needs me. That I don’t belong there. It resulted in me running away and trying to hang myself. Or skipping school. I didn’t want to go and I would throw tantrums at home. Or just pretend that I was sick.
They spat on me from above as I was on the stairs. Or stole my things and broke them. This made me steal their sticker albums in return because mine was taken (one that my friend had gifted me). When I was gifted a new one it was ruined again. In their defense, they said they did it because of me. Ripped it from my hands and tore it into pieces in front of me. It was funny because I dropped to the floor crying. I was in second grade.
They followed me and threw rocks at me. Yelling nicknames… and in return, I lost it emotionally and started crying. While yelling at them to stop. That naturally made them laugh. It was funny to see me in despair. To teachers, they painted a picture that I did it out of nowhere. They said I have schizophrenia. My parents were called in regarding my mental health. Not once.
And as I was in eighth class those outbursts were caught on camera and shown around the school. It tore me apart emotionally, my will to live was robbed. Nobody believed me anyway, why should I talk? Every time I tried I was told it was my fault, that I am not normal. That I, don’t account for anything.
It Destroyed Me
I was a husk. A frail, shaking leaf in the wind. I have spent more than half of my life depressed and stressed out. My only wish is that people talk to their kids about these things. That someone else, someone elses’ child… will not go through these things. No one should feel that they are not worthy of being alive. Breathing the same air as others around them. No matter how sick or different they are. It is unfair, I still feel that way. And I still host the rage towards the Gods that allowed this to happen.
I Felt as If I Was Driven Insane
The bullying. It was one of the reasons for the many years of my struggles. With my mental health and finding my place. Also, the fact that I didn’t speak. I kept it all locked up inside of me. Made it worse… Naturally, I was too small and broke under the pressure. So, in this desolate state, I began searching for a way to be noticed… any way to feel as if they were not laughing at me but with me.
My loneliness was driving me to the brink of insanity. I was surrounded by people but so alone that I didn’t want to live at the age of 12. I would smoke and drink at the early age of 10. Talk back to teachers and do anything in my power to be seen. But it all backfired. And every desperate action to be seen made the bullying worse. It ended up with me skipping school and getting in trouble at home. How can a parent understand if the child is silent?
It all overflowed in me. Like a forgotten tap I would spill. The reason for the scars on my body is that the emotions felt too big to handle. When I was home, I would just sit on my bedroom floor and listen to music while crying. Scream in my sleep and my room every time I didn’t get things right. I would look behind me every time I was in school. Paranoid and stressed out. So I would withdraw and hibernate in my bed.
I Had No Desire of Studying Or Going To School.
But my parents didn’t know why. To this day I beg that others in this position would speak up. If you don’t it will leave you dead and battered. The fact I was groomed and raped by a 32-year-old when I was 12/13 made it worse. I blamed myself. For the bullying and the fact I had let this imbecile into my life. I didn’t know how to deal with it all. So I lived my life with headphones on from then. Ignored the world around me. The world… it shunned me out, so I was better off without it. I ask again, please talk, find someone you can trust. An adult, even if it is hard.
Some of the bands I listen to since I was 11-16/17 (around 15 years and more of almost monthly listening): Rotting Christ, My Dying Bride, Dir en Grey, Lifelover, Katatonia, Opeth, Emilie Autumn, Chopin.
I don’t know how… I was able to graduate this, and two schools after. All I can say is that it was hard. I cried at home in my bed just like when I was bullied. And I was petrified to go to school. What if it happens again? Even if I made many friends in the new one. I got along with everyone… Teachers liked me. I couldn’t shake off the fear.
I wanted to be liked and I thrived for perfection. Would lash out at myself if I didn’t get it. Because of my skipping it was very hard for me in high school. I did well in languages and arts… Mathematics made me cry. And I had serious anger issues when trying to study at home. I would yell the very-same obscene words at myself that were yelled at me before. Now that I have been diagnosed and on medication for 8 years. It saddens me how I treated myself.
It is not as easy… that you switch schools and everything disappears. I had serious post-traumatic stress. And I was ashamed of asking for help. For anyone reading this… These things are not meant to be carried alone. Life is too short and too vast to experience such sadness and despair for the majority of it as did I. And my only advice is to get professional help post-trauma, there is nothing to be ashamed about needing it. Clinical psychologists know these things. And in my early thirties/late twenties… I found them to be tremendously helpful. If only I went earlier, willingly.
the Effects of Bullying 15 Years Later
I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder with Mixed Episodes when I was 23. Looking back, I can tell now. That I showed signs of it very early in my life. Perhaps it made me the weird kid. But I can say it is more complex than that now. After going through everything I am barely breathing on some days. Even if am physically in a very loving and calm environment. It is not always so in my head. And I still haven’t learned to talk to those around me. These things hurt… and I want to keep them safe from the darkness inside of me.
Therefore I write them into the void of a message never to be read. Write and delete so that I could move on… I need a way to get it out. The trick itself I got from my shrink. Some thoughts you may not be proud of and want to keep to yourself. It is essentially the same thing I advised my mother, to write letters and burn them. It is like a ritual. You write it out, all caps if you need to scream. And you kill it with fire. It makes it easier to keep a cool head.
I am still here
I am, as if, a ferocious lion defending her pup. The kid still exists in me and I love her. It took years to make peace with her. These things take time and it is okay. I might still have the same manners of acting badly with myself or the objects around me when under enormous stress. It takes time to relearn and abandon habits you have had since you were a kid. I feel bad after and beg for my forgiveness.
The worst part that stayed is the anxiety and insecurity. Throughout the years this has been the most destroying part for me. I would want something so badly (a new school, singing in front of people, writing) but be crippled by my fear and not do them. In my head, this little girl still believes the things that were shouted at her. And she has a rage that could break her and those around her.
Fear and anxiety are a natural part of a human. It is flight and saves yourself. The purpose of it is to keep us safe, both physically and mentally. But when it becomes a disorder, it can keep you from living your life to the fullest. My demise is that I understand why and what it is, yet I can not turn it off. In time you just learn to live with it.
For staying so long and making it to the end… Must have been a wild ride. And please…. take care of yourselves and those around you. Life is hard as it is… so let’s not make it harder for others or ourselves. I am still trying to respect myself more. Sometimes, it proves to be a hard task. It is not simple to untie the knot that ties us to out learned actions of protection, no matter how harmful.
Human brain is like a separate mythical entity. Constantly generating ways to heal and protect itself. Like forgetting traumatic-experiences, rocking yourself in a chair. Speaking to yourself and yes… even self-harm. Physical pain is easier to endure, this is why it is so addicting. To hurt yourself.
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