As a survivor of bullying, people often ask me, “What’s the worst thing about being bullied?” Here are my answers:
It’s the pinned up fear and rage you feel but don’t dare show. It’s the paralyzing social fear that sets in. It shuts you down and leaves you withdrawn from the rest of the world. Once people have bullied you for so long, you become intensely paranoid and suspicious of every person you meet. Any laughter you hear, you automatically think, is directed at you.
It’s the confusion. You know that you should take a stand against the bullies. You know that you should speak out about it, only you don’t know how to do it, and you’re terrified that it will only make things worse.
It’s the unanswered questions that play in your mind a thousand times a day. “Why me?” “What have I done to these people” “How do I fix this?” are the questions you have in your head every time bullies surround you and harass you. You know what you want to say to the bullies. “Look! Leave me the &%$# alone!” you scream inside your head but don’t’ dare say it because you know what’s likely to come next.
It’s the feeling of loneliness and isolation. When we suffer bullying, not only do bullies smear us to keep us isolated and from making any new friends, but we- WE automatically put up walls of protection to keep other people out, which only reinforces the separation from others.
It’s the loss of your entire personhood. You forget how to smile, laugh, and have a good time and how to connect with and interact with others. You’re no longer that vibrant, happy, and healthy person you once were. And each insult, each back-biting rumor, each physical attack, each joke, and each prank cuts a little deeper, chips away at your self-esteem, and brings you lower. You feel trapped. You feel as if your bullies are holding you hostage!
Bullies can ruin a target’s life! And they can alter your entire life if you don’t make the changes needed to take your life back.
I won’t kid you. To get out of the hole that your bullies have forced you into, you will have to work hard.
You’ll first need to get out of that environment (if possible), then focus on healing, and lastly, change your entire mindset, which means altering your thought patterns, your attitude, and your whole demeanor. And this change won’t happen overnight but may take years.
However, you must be patient and put in the work and time to take back your confidence and happiness. But I promise you, it will be worth it in the long run, and you’ll be so glad you put in the time and effort!
With knowledge comes empowerment.