I Made the Mistake of Turning to Romance to Compensate: Don’t Make the Same Mistake

Females are hardwired to nurture, maintain, and enjoy relationships, whether they be friendships, family, or romantic relationships. With teenagers, although family relationships are still meaningful, it is mostly about having close relationships with friends and romantic relationships.

Therefore, if a young girl is not getting those wants and needs met through her peers at school or family at home, she may try a different route to meet her needs.

Sadly, some girls, particularly those who are targets of bullies, think that having a dating partner makes up for the lack of friends and positive relationships at school. I say this because, unfortunately, I was one of those girls with the same mindset. I leaned on dating and romance for comfort.

At the time, being in a romantic relationship felt like such a welcome change, like a soft pillow to land on during a fall. It seemed to buffer my self-esteem from the attacks and take the sting out of the torment I endured.

Having dating partners and suitors gave me a much-needed rebuttal to the daily degradation and humiliation brought on by classmates and a few sadistic teachers. It assured me that I was a great person and worthy of being loved. Male attention was a testament to my beauty and confirmation of my value as a young woman.

I looked to these guys to rescue me. They were my refuge from a cold, cruel world that hated me. Looking back now, I realize how needy I was back then. Around young guys who didn’t know me from school, I acted like a totally different person. I smiled, batted my eyelashes, and flirted my behind off to get their attention.

During school, because I had no real friends, I turned to grown men of late teens and early twenties to get the acceptance I wasn’t getting at school, from people my age. Although I was a gorgeous girl to look upon, bullies and their followers had destroyed my once-good name and with it, any prospects for dating and love among peers my age.

But by dating guys who were already out of high school, I was able to get around my trashed reputation and have opportunities for romance. These college-aged men had never met me, nor were they aware of the falsehoods and labels tied to my name.

I’m ashamed to say that, back then, I felt that my good looks and feminine wiles were the only things I had going for me, and often used them to get what I wanted. I thought I had to use trickery and charm to attain what most others seemed to come by easily and effortlessly. And thirty years ago, underage dating was more accepted than it is today.

I want you to understand that when a person is beaten down for so long, they grow afraid to ask for or pursue their wants and needs the right way. As a result, manipulation and deceit become a way of survival. Realize that this is a person who doesn’t need judgment; they get enough of that already. What they need is help.

For bullied victims, partners are a proverbial band-aid to their feelings of hurt and inadequacy that come with the onslaught of bullies. Sexual partners and activity are a means to feel loved, wanted, sexy, and beautiful. And it works, if only temporarily.

However, this is dangerous because it can easily lead to co-dependency. Relying on a dating partner for confirmation of worth is never good because the person eventually comes to believe that if he/she is not half of a couple, they are nothing and this kind of thinking is wrong.

encouragement

This mindset only sprouts desperation, and there is no dignity in being desperate for a partner. No one should ever see a romantic relationship as the end all be all. They should never look outside of themselves for happiness. Men and women come and go, and if the person continues to depend solely on them for their fulfillment, they’ll be in for a huge disappointment.

When someone looks solely to a partner to validate them, it’s a sign that the person doesn’t know their worth as a young lady or young man. Potential dates can sense this, and are either repelled or see them as someone they can use and degrade.

The person risks attracting a predatory partner of low integrity, one who will hang around as long as it takes to get what they want before dumping them and leaving them devastated. Also, people of quality and integrity do not want a partner they have to fix or rescue, and if they sniff out the slightest bit of neediness, they will disappear, and fast!

If you are a bullied girl or boy, I can’t stress enough how important it is to fall in love with yourself and with life before you fall in love with anyone else. Love should come from within and never from the outside. A relationship doesn’t complete you, and just because a person has sex with you doesn’t mean that they love you.

You are just as beautiful and whole without a partner as you are with one. Just because you’re dateless doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. Single doesn’t mean defective.

In the meantime, do plenty of deep soul searching and make positive affirmations daily. Count all your good qualities, talents, and gifts. Continuously remind yourself that you have value, and soon, you’ll start to believe it with your whole heart.

Be patient. Know that the right person will come into your life when you least expect it, and you aren’t looking for them. And when they do, they’ll be well worth the wait.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

What It Feels Like to Be a Target of Bullying- What I Did to Compensate

the sad girl has problems with mockery and bullying at school.

Being a target can be a lonely and terrifying existence. Because of the intense hatred people spew daily, you walk on eggshells because you don’t know what the bullies and their minions will do next. They could physically hurt you, or worse. You also feel desperate to correct what is wrong, but you have no clue what it is.

So many targets today can easily relate to my story. With that said, I want to tell you that if you are or have been a target of school bullies, you are not alone, and you will eventually overcome your tormentors just like I did.

I was one of those targets who rebelled against the bullies and fought back. To keep my self-esteem from completely tanking, I dressed my absolute best, but still, it was not good enough for me. I wanted to dress like a million bucks for school. Clothes from Walmart just were not good enough. I had to go to the mall, Cato, Tempo, Maurice’s, or Hollywood’s, before I was satisfied. I was not happy unless I was dressed to the nines at school.

I had to be very well dressed because I was still quite a bit insecure inside. I didn’t feel like I was worth anything unless I was dressed to impress. One of the thoughts which consumed me all during high school was how to dress like a fashionista.

It had a lot to do with how poorly I was being treated, and I continued to believe that the better I dressed, the better I would be treated although, the exact opposite would occur, arousing even further hatred and contempt.

Nevertheless, I absolutely had to be dressed in the hottest fashions, or I just did not feel adequate. The more they put me down, the more I would dress up. I felt that my attire was providing me a sense of not only style but control.

Some mornings, I would dress up, look at myself in the mirror and think,

“So they think I am trash? They must be blind. Does this look like trash? I think not! I know I’m hot, and they are not going to convince me otherwise!”

Does this sound arrogant? Conceited? Maybe. Does this sound downright narcissistic? Perhaps. Was it the right attitude to have? Both yes and no. My defense was to act conceited like I didn’t need any of them.

This holier-than-thou attitude, however unattractive it might have been, helped me preserve what little self-esteem and dignity I had. It helped me to keep going when things were at their worst. It helped me to keep from being totally brainwashed and reprogrammed by my evil classmates, unlike a good majority of other bullied targets, who, sadly, wasn’t that fortunate!

I walked around with my nose in the air and refused to speak to any of them. I had a sassy and smart alicky attitude. I was extremely sarcastic and had a snotty disposition. I even laughed at and bullied others to grab back some power. My attitude stunk – period.

Sure. This same attitude could have also very easily gotten me hurt or worse had my bullies known for certain about it. Many of those girls carried knives, especially those from families of criminals and ex-cons, families who were dirt poor, or just plain loco. Sadly, that was over half of the student body.

I have no doubt that they would not have thought twice about whipping a blade out and slicing my face with it if they could have gotten me in the right place, and I would have had to wear it for life.

However, this arrogance I often displayed was the only way I knew to stay strong and maintain a little bit of poise. I was only a teenager and had not yet fully developed the concrete thinking skills or processing ability to handle my situation more objectively. Back then, I was a slave to my emotions, and I let them guide me in handling people and situations.

Also, I was under a tremendous amount of stress and had been for the last three years. And when anyone, even the most logical and rational person, is under a large amount of stress that lasts over a long period of time, memory, emotional regulation, and ability to maintain positive relationships are negatively affected. Therefore, neurologically, I had two strikes against me- a double-whammy.

From the sixth grade up until I left Oakley, I was constantly in survival mode due to being bullied and had to be to protect my personal well-being. To even make it to graduation, I had to be hyper-vigilant to be safe. You must understand that when you are a target of vicious bullies, it is as if you constantly have a target on your back. You are a marked person, and you learn very quickly to grow eyes in the back of your head.

And it’s no way to live. Please feel free to comment on your experiences and what you did to cope.