After you’ve been a target of bullying for any length of time, the world becomes a terrifying place. You begin avoiding people and social situations like the plague because you’ve become afraid of people- all people. In short, you’ve lost all faith in humanity.
Everything becomes threatening. You’re stuck in defense mode and constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.
The ability to think becomes blurry. You drown in self-doubt and lose the ability to distinguish fact from opinion and truth from lies. You also lose the ability to make smart decisions. You’re always on guard and trust no one. Again, everyone becomes a threat. Even total strangers become threatening.
You can’t give anyone a chance because you’ve become so afraid of being hurt again. And why not? Your classmates or coworkers have done extensive and deliberate harm for so many months or even years. So, who’s to say that others won’t do the same.
Knowing that anyone could bully you at any time, you must always watch your back and cover your behind. You must continually look over your shoulder and observe those around you for signs of hostility.
You come to believe you have a mark on you that everyone but you can see, and it’s why others always seem to come after you. As much as you want to get rid of that mark, you’re not sure how to do it.
You don’t think you’ll ever stop being a target. You feel there’s no possibility of ever overcoming it. Other victims might rise above it, but you never will because you think that love, success, and anything good is for anyone who isn’t you.
You’ll never be the same person you were before bullies began targeting you. When you’ve been a target of bullying and continue to be, jokes stop being funny because you automatically feel they are somehow aimed at you. Bullying makes a person paranoid. And with good reason.
You lose all confidence, and your self-esteem hits rock bottom. You begin to believe you can never do anything right. You see yourself as a failure. You think that anything you touch, you’ll only screw up.
You expect to fail in social situations and that everyone will see all your flaws, real or perceived. You start having unexpected and uncontrollable emotional meltdowns and outbursts. You’re in constant fight or flight mode. Your mind is in overdrive, and you’re hypervigilant. Your physical body suffers splitting headaches and violent bouts of nausea.
You don’t know who you are anymore. You’ve become a stranger to yourself- this person you don’t even recognize.
You’re shakey inside. You feel tired and run down all the time now. You pass out from panic attacks, and you can no longer sleep at night. Your weight drops and your hair falls out due to the overwhelming stress. You feel as if people are torturing you.
In essence, you turn against yourself because you feel the entire world has turned against you.
I was there at one point. Then, I got mad! I didn’t only get angry at them for driving me into that dark pit of hopelessness, but I got mad at myself for allowing it! And when I got mad at myself and started working on changing my self-perception, that’s when things began to change!
The good thing is that I wasn’t down for long. Therefore, if you’re a target of bullying, and this describes how you feel now, I want to give you a big hug.
I also want to tell you that regardless of how things are looking now, there’s hope. You will see the sun again.
‘You see? It’s one thing to have people look down on you, but it’s another when you allow them to cause you to look down on yourself. If nothing else, hang on to your self-love and your strong sense of self. Please don’t allow your bullies to force you to see yourself through their eyes. Believe in yourself, even when no one else does. Never ever give up.
Know that no matter what, you’re worth it! And you deserve friendship, love, and happiness just as much as anyone else!