This is the tenth part in my 12-part series The Inner World Of Bullying.
There Is No Right Or Wrong Way To Feel
When I had my three experiences of bullying, I questioned my reaction to the bullying. The thing is in the first situation I reacted totally differently in how I felt about it in many ways than the other two. I guess what I am saying is that no matter how you feel, you may question it and there is no right or wrong way. The first time I had moments where things hurt me or I found things awkward or embarrassing but mostly I didn’t take much in. Thinking about why that might be could be that I was a lot younger and I was so used to it from a very young age. It was a bad part of my life but it was a part of my life I was used to at that time. Then I left school and I was in places with people who were nice, were ok and I got used to that. Then I found it harder when I found myself back in a situation where I was being bullied again. And by the time I found myself in the third situation I still felt the same as the second situation. I felt in both of the latter situations like I had lost the strength against bullying that I had the first time around. But weirdly at the same time I knew I could get through these situations because of the first situation. I worried in one situation that I was responding too well and that can’t be normal because that isn’t generally how I hear people speak about their situations of bullying. I don’t mean I liked it by any means but it didn’t get to me the same way. In the other two situations I felt like in order to get through I needed to be more like the first situation because it was getting me down more. How would I cope with all that was to come if it was getting to me quite a lot? You have enough to think about when you are facing bullying so let go of these worries. There is no right or wrong way to feel. You are not the problem. Let your feelings be authentic.
You Have The Strength
I had this feeling of not being sure I had the strength for all this in the first situation but not much. My feelings of not thinking I had the strength to get through this and sort this come mainly from the second two situations. I felt very burned out in these situations and I didn’t really know what to do. I was more emotional in these two situations and fearful of how they would end. When push came to shove there was a strength in me and there is a strength within you too. When you need to defend yourself you will and you are already displaying that strength in your coping with this strange situation did by strange people. In one of these situations, I had to make a very big decision for my mental health and for myself going forward. I left the situation and I didn’t really leave it graciously shall we say. I left it with no rudeness or grudges but not letting it go by any means. I told the whole story to someone who could help me and they did help me. It was a risk because I wasn’t sure I would be believed. That was where my mindset was but I was believed and supported. It took a lot out of me to take that risk but I knew I had to. Within you is the strength to tackle any situation. Always remember that even when you see so many obstacles in your way.
Despite my feelings in certain ways where I feel burned out, emotional, awkward, embarrassed or hurt, the most prominent thing I have in these situations but in general is a sense of being what I call ‘robotic’. I am very strong and I battle through. The robotic feeling is that things don’t get to me and even when I feel burned out or whatever, it isn’t because I believe what they say. It’s the stress of the situation and not knowing what to do about it. I did face gaslighting in my life too so that is probably why I don’t take in what bullies say. I have been told by loved ones that I probably irritate bullies because their words don’t hurt me and I don’t really lose my head with them. I laugh about my ‘robotic’ ways. My walls of robot can come down with nice people but those walls protect me with bullies.
The Stereotype About How Someone Who Is Bullied Feels
In society, we paint a person who is being bullied as sitting in a corner, head in hands and crying. That is how some people feel and like every way of feeling, that is a very valid way to feel. However we need to open the idea of what someone feels like when they are bullied quite a lot. Some people are robotic. Some people are angry. Some people laugh at their bullies. Often people’s journeys are a combination of many or all of these things, stereotype included or excluded. People’s emotions and reactions are more complex and varied. The stereotype is more complex than the story it portrays too. We need to get beyond simplifying the emotions someone faces or is supposed to face when they are being bullied. It is the reason why when someone stands up to bullying, many say they aren’t being bullied. It is the reason when someone who is being bullied shows anger about their bully, many say they aren’t bullied. There is three takeaways here. The stereotype is not to be run down because that is some people’s experience but it is more complex than the stereotype. Also the stereotype doesn’t fit everyone some, much of or all of the time and that doesn’t mean they aren’t being bullied. We need to judge bullying by the ugliness of what it is and not on the basis of whether the person reacts how we think they should. No two people react completely the same. And no one who is bullied is weak. Also finally, the blame for the stereotype is not on people who fit the stereotype. Too often in this situation or lots of different situations, those in a group of people sometimes blame people who are like the stereotype because they think they are the reason they are painted with that stereotype or are giving into the stereotype in some way. It is never the person who fits the stereotype’s issue. It is the issue of society and people who believe that stereotype. Blame the right people please.
‘You Are Strong So I Am Sure You Will Be Fine’
This is a comment I have heard people say to people who are being bullied. Everyone who is being bullied is strong regardless of how they react. This comment is said however more to people who don’t fit society’s idea of how a person who is being bullied should react. It is often said in a belittling, dismissive type of way and with the idea that because you are deemed strong by them that you aren’t really being bullied. The false idea that people who are truly bullied are not strong. It is an unhealthy phrase. I am not talking about people who encourage you that you are strong enough to get through this and support you but about people who belittle your experience because you don’t fit their idea of someone who is being bullied. These people are judging the person who is being bullied and it’s a hard enough situation without that.