This is the eleventh part in my 12-part series The Inner World Of Bullying.
We are coming to the end of this series and I have loved putting this series together. It is a topic which is very important to me. Firstly I want to concentrate on the aftermath of being bullied and things which can help someone who has went through such a traumatic experience. Bullying is traumatic and that is often something which is said but not taken seriously sometimes in practice. I don’t think many people come out of a bullying experience without scars. And sometimes people play down those scars because they want to appear ‘strong’ and while I haven’t personally done it too often, I have occasionally did that and it can work to an extent with people who don’t know much about what it’s like to be bullied, it also can diminish how traumatic such an experience is. You don’t have to live in the past but you don’t need to feel a certain way about it either. Bullying is not a ‘rite of passage’ to experience. It’s something a huge number of people go through but it’s not something everyone goes through. If you look at almost any group of people where bullying is going on, it is usually one person or a small number of that group who are being bullied. It is not normal which goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway. It’s not just something which happens and that’s life sort of thing. It’s a terrible thing to happen. Some of the things which help me are affirmations, meditation, ASMR, visualisation and breathing exercises. They help me with a lot of things but the scars of bullying is one of the things they help with. You might find other things help you and lean into them. You don’t need to feel pressure to be ‘strong’. You already are.
Bullying is not the only reason I feel like setting boundaries is a struggle but it is certainly one of the reasons. I think when you face a lot of negativity for being who you are in so many different ways a feeling of self-doubt lodges in you even if you are a very confident person. When you have faced a lot of negativity and people overstepping your boundaries so often, you forget how to set them and you feel a fear about setting them. For a long time you might even feel like you have no right to. It’s issues with your self-esteem brought on by traumatic events so setting boundaries can become difficult. Ironically though when you do set a rare boundary, even in the middle of struggling to do so, you set it very strongly and very firmly because there is a debate going on with you. One side of you is protecting yourself but the other side of you is very push me and you’ll know about it. In a way they are both protective ways in different ways though the second one is a more healthy way of doing it.
So when you do set boundaries, what do you often face? You face people who call you a bully or guilt trip you in some way. These people are not stupid so they know what they are doing. They don’t want you to set boundaries because they want to bully you without you standing up for yourself. They want it all their own way and because of that will even go as far as to make out you are bullying them. It is a way of getting you to give into their whims and love of power and you don’t need to do that to yourself. You are and have always been as good as they are. The mind games are hard to work with mainly because of the unpredictability of what’s coming next. Your angle is always going to be the same because it’s truthful but their angle always changes. For example they will say things like they are been brought down and bullied but if you talk about your emotions in regards to the situation they will say you are too sensitive and playing the victim. If you are opinionated about the situation or are standing up for yourself on the other hand they say you are a bully and if they feel like you are being cruel to them by doing so, they will never say they are being too sensitive or playing the victim. They simply want to be right all the time. You are talking about the bullying situation but for them the situation is secondary to being right and being powerful. Well I’m being generous there really. It’s not secondary really, it’s simply a situation to use to be right and powerful. And when you are an honest person who is passionately against bullying you come at it from an honest and fair angle so it can become frustrating when you realise this isn’t even about this thing that you are passionate about but rather about their own self-gain.
Being open becomes difficult when you have faced bullying. You grow so used to protecting yourself when you are being bullied and it can be difficult to get out of that even when you meet the kindest of people. Protecting yourself and keeping yourself safe is not always in and of itself bad and there is many situations where it is great or indeed necessary. But it is when it becomes so widespread in your life that it affects all different areas of your life that it becomes a problem. Being vulnerable is to be strong but it’s a very hard quality to have for many people who have being bullied. When they were first bullied, they probably went in trusting possibly and that trust was trampled on so it’s no wonder trust is often difficult for someone who has faced bullying. And it takes time to build up that strength to be vulnerable and let your guard down again.
I am the most impatient person you will ever meet! 🙂 But you can’t get a successful outcome from being too impatient in these matters. Healing takes time and first of all you would be better not to put pressure on yourself to heal quickly. And to accept that there is an emotional impact and certain little scars will probably always be there. But don’t worry, they aren’t going to destroy your life. They might make you sad or sometimes insecure in certain situations but not getting rid of them is not a failure and even with these scars your life will still be amazing. Nearly everyone has baggage of some sort. You need to make it right but not perfect is what I am trying to say. There will also be pressure from outside. Things like ‘it’s been 10 years now, it’s about time you got over it’. It’s up to you when you get over it. You experienced it. While of course it would be better if you healed sooner rather than later, it is better to heal authentically and without stress to do so whether it is sooner or later. You get stronger from your healing so let the process do it’s thing. I’m not saying sit back and not work on it but do it at your own pace. It isn’t a race and for the most part you can still live a sensational life while healing. Everyone, whether they have being bullied or not, have their sadness and any sadness including yours don’t have to hold you back or be rushed. Putting pressure and stress into the mix can actually make your healing longer. In short, no pressure.