To be bullied

Bully Free ZoneI thought it was time to write a bit about my childhood. And then especially about the way I went through my early school years. I have never been “like the rest of them”. For some reason, I never really fitted in. I had one or two close friends and that’s it. Some kids were nice to me but most of the time I was being bullied. Someone at school even tripped me once while we were playing outside and it cost me a part of one of my front teeth. I have been beaten up several times, even by kids I didn’t even know, just for the fun of it. Once it was so bad that my mum even called the cops about it. I have been pulled on my hair, kicked, singled out… This started early in primary school (I guess I was about 7) and it lasted all the way till I was 15 (yes even in the secondary school it happened).

People would steal from me, bully me into helping them with their homework, grab personal items to give them back exactly NOT the way they took it. Anyway, it wasn’t a whole lot of fun for me. I wanted to trust people, other kids, I wanted to believe not all were bad. And many times I have been used because of that faith I had. I thought I meant something to someone. And I did…until they got what they came for and bullied me again.It isn’t really my intention to whine about it all. But now-a-days, bullying is being more open for discussion at school. When I told a teacher, it would always turn out bad for me in the end. I got beaten again because I “complained” about the people who bullied me. These days it still happens, but teachers are more capable to deal with it. There are materials now, available to schools, that show the kids the effects of bullying. The teachers and principals can do more against the ones who bully than they could (or would) do 25 years ago. So some things do change in a good way. But it’s sad that it took them so long to take counter measures. If only they had begun doing that back in the 80’s and 90’s. Maybe, just maybe, it would have saved me from some fights. And I should mention these were always unfair. Because when I am scared and/or angry, I can be really strong. So strong that I could beat up boys of my own age (though I never started the fights). So when I hit one of those bullying guys once, he came back with friends… I never wanted to give in, I never wanted to lose the fight. But when it’s 3 or 4 against one, one could never really win without the knowledge of martial arts or something like that.

I guess one of the reasons I have been bullied is because of my hair. I have very curly hair and when I had to cut it… I looked like many of their grandmothers did. It’s really hard to be bullied about such a thing because even if you would want to adapt, you can never change your hair… Believe me, many times I wished I had straight hair. And at times I even wanted to pull all those damned curls out of my scull…
When I was about 10/11, it became more popular to wear expensive bands (Levi’s, Nike and so on). My parents always took good care for me, but these clothing items were too expensive… So well, then they started to play games in which only kids were allowed to play who wore Levi’s and/or Nike’s and all… Every time I got a step closer to reach their set goals and be able to participate, the rules changed and I was singled out again.

It would be nice to raise the awareness that people who have been in similar situations like I have can still suffer from that today. We’ve built ourselves a nice defensive mechanism. And even if it’s not necessary anymore, we still have it and we’re used to use it all the time. So this could become an issue because often, it’s hard to trust people.

I have been researching a bit on the WWW about the after effects. This is one site that I found very interesting: MentalHelp.net.
I will use some quotations from this text for informative purposes only. Please use the link to read the whole article.

The following list, culled from my reading on this subject, summarizes some of the effects bullying victims may experience:

In the short term:

  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Anxious avoidance of settings in which bullying may occur.
  • Greater incidence of illness
  • Lower grades than non-bullied peers
  • Suicidal thoughts and feelings (In one British retrospective bullying experiences survey I came across (of unknown scientific value), 20% of the sample attempted suicide secondary to having been bullied, whereas only 3% of participants who were not bullied attempted suicide).

In the long term:

  • Reduced occupational opportunities
  • Lingering feelings of anger and bitterness, desire for revenge.
  • Difficulty trusting people
  • Interpersonal difficulties, including fear and avoidance of new social situations
  • Increased tendency to be a loner
  • Perception of self as easy to victimize, overly sensitive, and thin-skinned
  • Self-esteem problems (don’t think well of self)
  • Increased incidence of continued bullying and victimization

Here you can see that being a victim of bullying isn’t “just” there and then. It can haunt you with severe consequences. The whole article is very informative so please, if you’re interested, click the link.
On bullyonline.org they have a “similar” list of symptoms but a bit more extended.

Symptoms

The symptoms of stress seem to cover more pages of every book published on the subject.
Stress caused by bullying results in these symptoms (and more):

  • main symptoms – stress, anxiety, sleeplessness, fatigue (including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – see below), trauma
  • physical symptoms – reduced immunity to infection leading to frequent colds, coughs, flu, glandular fever, etc (especially on days off, eg weekends and holidays), aches & pains (with no clear cause – this lack of attributability suggests stress as the cause – sometimes diagnosed as fibromyalgia), back pain, chest pains and angina, high blood pressure, headaches and migraines, sweating, palpitations, trembling, hormonal problems (disturbed menstrual cycle, dysmenorrhoea, loss of libido, impotence), physical numbness (especially in toes, fingers, and lips), emotional numbness (including anhedonia, an inability to feel joy and love), irritable bowel syndrome or IBS, paruresis (shy bladder syndrome), thyroid problems, petit mal seizures, skin irritations and skin disorders (eg athlete’s foot, eczema, psoriasis, shingles, internal and external ulcers, urticaria), loss of appetite (although a few people react by overeating), excessive or abnormal thirst, waking up more tired than when you went to bed, etc
  • psychological symptoms – panic attacks, reactive depression (which some people describe as Adjustment Disorder with depressed mood), thoughts of suicide, stress breakdown (this is a psychiatric injury, not a mental illness), forgetfulness, impoverished or intermittently functioning memory, poor concentration, flashbacks and replays, excessive guilt, disbelief and confusion and bewilderment (“why me?” – click here for the answer), an unusual degree of fear, sense of isolation, insecurity, desperation, etc; one experiences acute anxiety at the prospect of meeting the bully or visiting the location where the bullying took place, or at the thought of touching the paperwork associated with the case; one is unable to attend disciplinary meetings and may vomit before, during or after the meeting, sometimes at the thought of the meeting or on receiving a threatening letter insisting one attends (these are PTSD diagnostic criteria B4 and B5)
  • behavioural symptoms – tearfulness, irritability, angry outbursts, obsessiveness (the experience takes over your life), hypervigilance (feels like but is not paranoia), hypersensitivity (almost every remark or action is perceived as critical even when it is not), sullenness (a sign the inner psyche has been damaged), mood swings, withdrawal, indecision, loss of humour, hyperawareness (acute awareness of time, seasons, distance traveled), excessive biting, teeth grinding, picking, scratching or tics, increased reliance on drugs (tannin, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, sleeping tablets, tranquillisers, antidepressants, other substances), comfort spending (and consequent financial problems), phobias (especially agoraphobia), etc
  • effects on personality – shattered self-confidence and self-esteem, low self-image, loss of self-worth and self-love

Other symptoms and disorders reported include sleep disorder, bipolar disorder, mood disorder, eating disorder, anxiety disorder, panic disorder, skin disorder.

So when you have been bullied a lot and on a regular base for quite a while, when they bullying stops, it isn’t over for you yet…

Here is a video I saw on YouTube.

And here is an example of material they can use in schools to educate about and prevent bullying.

I am just thinking that all the “experience” I have in being bullied might have helped me to be more affected by my depression(s).  Seeing several websites with information about the after effects of years of frequent bullying write that it may result in being more susceptible to depressions…

Next Wednesday I will visit my shrink’s assistant again, this time there will be someone else present as well. (S)he will have a talk with my mum, who of course also will be present, for a so called heteroanamnesis. So I am kinda curious to what that will turn out to be. Never had any experience with something like this before so…

I think I will leave my post for what it is. I hope I have given you some extra information about the subject of “Bullying”. And believe me, if you are really interested in this subject, a Google search will really help you to find tons of information. Thanks for checking in and please feel free to comment (spam won’t be allowed so don’t bother).

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~ by Lonely Wallflower on May 10, 2010.

11 Responses to “To be bullied”

  1. To be bullied « Lonely Wallflower's Blog…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  2. I don’t think things have really changed that much – or at least in my son’s small-town school. He has been bullied for years, when he tells on someone, he gets in trouble for being a tattle-tale. When I intervene, all the kids get lectured, then they become even harder on him because they got in trouble. All I can do it try to provide him with as much love and support at home as I can and hope that he becomes stronger for it like I did – I became stronger, but never, ever forgot the pain of being bullied and still resent the people who did it.

    • I guess it does depend on where you are, what kind of community there is.
      But indeed, in a way I also became stronger. But I think the positives don’t really sum up as well like all the negative stuff I am currently still dealing with. Too bad that, how much we try to evolve and all, the bullying never seems to fade into something that used to be…
      Good luck with your son, I hope he will get through this without too much harm done in the end *hugs*.

  3. Social Anxiety of any kind (including paruresis) can make us vulnerable (even attractive) to bullies. They can sense the anxiety and in they come. I found that I had to heal the anxiety problem in order to reduce being bullied. Social Anxiety Anonymous helped me a lot with this. They have lots of really good support groups and articles that help one with paruresis / social anxiety.

    • Thanks, I am currently seeing a shrink/social helper to work on my past and present issues and depressions. Thank you for responding and caring.

      • You’re welcome! Therapy can definitely help and has helped friends of mine.

        I’m always amazed at how awesome people with SA are, smart, creative people!

        Best, Zander

  4. To be bullied…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  5. […] at 5:59 pm (Other) Tags: bullying, mental health WallFlower recently posted on her blog about bullying from the side of someone who has been bullied as a child.  I also came across this article on the […]

  6. […] can help. But all these years I have been feeling left out, different… I have been teased and bullied, just because I was different. In the beginning I told my teachers and my mum. But it only made […]

  7. […] as you have been able to read in previous posts, I have been bullied a lot. I now know that it was partly my own “fault” without knowing it. I […]

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