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Posts Tagged ‘bullying’

I was reading some Twelve Step literature yesterday and related to a member’s share about wishing themselves away to another place or wishing they’d never wake up.

I remembered when I was young and had returned home from staying at my grandparents or my aunt’s house that I’d try and wish myself back to where I’d been. I’d dream of being in the room where I slept or being around the people I’d been with. I’d want to be anywhere but at home with my parents.

As an adult I did that too. I often dreamed/fantasized I was in a sanitarium taking a break from all the pain in my life or in hospital where I could just forget what was going on at home and take a break.

My memory made me wonder why as a child I would want to wish myself away from home so often. I must have hated it there so much and that troubles me as an adult today.

You see, I am like many other adult children, I can see some of my past but I can’t feel it. The memories are like a moving picture in my head with no emotion attached. Lack of feeling I believe is why many adult children say their childhood “wasn’t that bad”. They can’t remember the pain, they learned to stuff their feelings down inside themselves to cope, they minimised, denied or dissociated from their feelings/their reality.

There must have been a trigger in my readings last night for after I had finished sharing on Step 1 my partner and I went off to a new hotel that had just opened in our area. We did a little tour of the venue and as I walked into the pokie room I felt immediate anxiety. It was out of the blue, I am certain I was cool, calm and collected prior to entry for I would never had agreed to go out had I felt anxious.

My eyes averted from everyone in the room, my head went down, I felt a fear that someone would recognise me in that room but I had nothing to fear for if anyone did recognise me they would most certainly not be from my childhood nor a threat to me for I was on the opposite side of the city from where I grew up and it was now 26 years later!

The pokie room connected to the sports bar – uh oh! I could see all the men sitting at the table watching the various gambling results on TV, I could smell the beer in the air and I was terrified one of the men would gaze at me. Next stop was the bar – I couldn’t get away, I had to keep walking forward to get out as the hotel was circular.  The smell of beer was revolting and the eyes that looked my way drew a lump to my throat.

I drew a breath of air when we hit the bistro area and decided to sit down and have a cuppa. I was tense but I tried my best to hide it. A woman kept looking at me – did I know her? What was she gawking at! A man with his pants hanging down showing his crack walked past – a reminder of my father’s drunken days. I wanted to yell at him to sober up and pull his finger out!

My Bach Flower Remedy wasn’t working too well and I couldn’t get out of that place fast enough.

I tried to think of other things when I got home that night to calm my anxiety.

I cannot pinpoint the exact problem behind my reaction in the hotel however it is possible it was something to do with when I was bullied as a child. I have determined this because when I walked into the pokie room it was the females I was fearful of being known to, not the males. It was a small group of females who bullied me at school when I was a young teenager and who also lived a few streets from my childhood home. I felt I could not even go out to the shops around the corner from my home because I would be spotted and taunted or beaten up. The fear of being seen by my bullies haunted me for years and still can from time to time. As an adult I looked over my shoulder  for years and even now I still don’t feel safe around the places where I grew up. I can drive through them but hell would freeze over before I got out of the car!

I am now living in the opposite side of the city from my old home.  I feel safe here and I feel safe in the fact that 26 or so years later my face and the faces of my bullies have changed and are most likely not recognisable.

Bullying not only cripples the child but goes on to affect them in adulthood too. I understand there is minimal research into this claim however when I was facilitating an adult mental health support group, a good portion of members had been bullied as children.

Schools have a lot to answer for however I do believe our coping mechanisms begin at home.

Thanks for reading 🙂 

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So confirms my belief, researchers have found evidence that schoolyard bullying in adolescence contributes to anxiety and depression in early adulthood.

I was bullied at high school, year 9 infact. A good friend shall we call her Nicole had asked if she could hang out with me and my friend as her usual friend was away ill. I said “No”. It was a joke but she took it seriously and it was to be my downfall for many months thereafter. Those months felt like years to me.

Nicole’s friend, shall we call her Jenny, started out by pushing me around the schoolyard and calling me names. The bullying developed into ostracising me from other friends, trying to pick a fight with me, trying to steal my boyfriend, hunting me down after school and following me all the way home.

My grades plummeted and I started skipping school and going to the local park. I didn’t go to school for two weeks and the school rang my parents and that’s how they found out. My parents had no option but to move me to another school as I wasn’t going back to my old school again.

My old school didn’t intervene to try to stop the bullying at any time. Times were different then and they never had bullying policies and education about bullies in place at schools like they do now.

Jenny followed me to my new school by paying me visits in the school yard with Nicole and waiting for me at the bus stop in the mornings. I couldn’t get rid of her. I wasn’t safe anywhere.

I found out later that she was having problems at home with her father beating her and she lost most of her friends at high school after she stole Nicole’s boyfriend right from under her nose.

That was 20 years ago and still I won’t frequent my old haunts now even though she doesn’t live nearby anymore. I wont even live over the side of the city where I went to school. it affects me to this day and I rarely talk about it. It was so damaging to my self esteem and personality and i’d be struck down with utter fear if I ever met Jenny on the streets now.

My school time best friend was bullied most of her school life and ended up having a mental breakdown after it which of course still affects her to this day.

If a child tries to punch someone or kick someone there’s evidence of them doing it but when it comes to teasing and ridiculing its a lot harder to prove.

Bullies are strong psychologically and get a great deal of peer support, victims suffer from symptoms of psychological distress that are not necessarily observable. Victims have feelings of depression and social anxiety and loneliness, quiet signs of distress.

Research suggests that bullies have the lowest levels of depression, social anxiety, and loneliness. They also have a high “social standing.” But even though they appear to be “popular” with their fellow students, this popularity is actually a manifestation of fear in which children feel that they have no choice but to treat the bullies respectfully.

Many people believe bullying as a normal part of childhood but it’s certainly not acceptable. This isn’t a normal experience and we need to do something about it to stop our youngsters experiencing depression and anxiety in their early adult years from being bullied in the school yard.

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