A Long Recovery from Bullying (Part 2- Graduation and Beyond)

Graduation was bittersweet. Although I was happy to graduate high school, I was sad because I would miss my classmates and teachers from Roseburg High. I felt that it ended too soon.

My first five years post-graduation was full of ups and downs. I struggled with bouts of depression and didn’t know why. I was on the rollercoaster again and desperately wanted to get off but didn’t know how. Having babies and being a post-partum new mother only doubled the depression that was already there.

I lived, and I worked. I was a mother of two small children but only going through the motions and surviving- existing. It felt as if I was living on autopilot. But then, something amazing happened!

In 1995, I came across a magazine article while on my lunch break at work. The article was about a kid severely bullied at school. Like me, his bullies had tormented him so horrifically that he thought about suicide and eventually transferred to another school. Also, like me, his life changed for the better. He, too, had made a complete turnaround and finally gotten the chance to experience the friends, fun, and excitement that high school was supposed to be.

Reading this article was a turning point for me, and finding it was one of the best things that happened. This piece in the magazine answered so many questions and confirmed that none of the abuse I’d suffered at my classmates’ hands was my fault. The article was also validation that there was never anything wrong with me. It only cemented the truth I’d always known deep down inside- I wasn’t to blame for their abuse.

They were the perpetrators.

They had the issues.

I was being held responsible for problems that were theirs, not mine.

With this confirmation came my empowerment!

During those years, many people, including a few well-meaning family members, had often told me that the bullying I suffered was all in my imagination or wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be. Many more had said to me that I brought it all on myself. Deep down, I knew better.

blame accuse pointing finger

In my heart, I had known the truth years before I found this article and held on to it. Maybe this personal knowledge was why I resisted my bullies and fought back, even if it meant getting hurt. And perhaps it was why I suffered so many physical assaults. Nevertheless, I needed confirmation- a second opinion of sorts, and the article was exactly what I needed.

At that moment, everything fit together like a perfect puzzle! I cannot express the relief I felt. It was as if the article had lifted an enormous weight off my shoulders. My heart began to soar!

For the first time, I was able to see the bullying for what it was- abuse!

I began to thirst for even more knowledge of bullying and the human predator/prey dynamic. From then on, I read everything I could get my hands on- magazine articles, essays, books, online articles, everything that pertained to bullying and peer abuse.

There were so many unanswered questions:

“What was it about me that made me a target?”

“How had my bullies been allowed to get away with their brutality?”

“What was it about my bullies that made them so charming and good to everyone else?”

The word Answer on a puzzle piece to symbolize the quest for understanding in answering questions and concerns

“What were the ingredients to their charm and allure?”

“Where had their intense hate, mean-spiritedness, and sadistic natures come from? What had precipitated it?”

“Had they too been abused, or were they just spoiled, coddled narcissists infected with schadenfreude?”

So many questions haunted me and increased my curiosity. So, I continued digging for information, like a police detective eager to solve a case.

During the late nineties, I came across Tim Field’s BullyOnline.org and hungrily read every one of his articles. The website was massive, and it took a while to read. I went through it with a fine-toothed comb. If I had questions, I emailed Tim, and he would always reply in a timely and courteous manner.

Sadly, Mr. Field is no longer with us. He passed away from cancer years ago.

It’s been 25 years since I found the article that changed my life, and I cannot tell you how many sources of information I’ve poured through. I can’t measure the truckloads of knowledge attained and how much just the knowing has empowered me.

Between experience and two and a half decades of reading, research, and study, I’ve gained insights that have empowered me even more. That article back in 1995 set me on a path to greater knowledge and a passion for helping other bullying targets through writing and advocacy.

I’ve found what I love to do, and it is so rewarding!

I thank God for placing that article in front of me that day at work. Otherwise, I might still be wandering in the dark and trying to find my way.

That magazine article truly changed my outlook on the bullying I suffered. I no longer see it as something that ruined my life. No.

I see the bullying as an event that gave me a fiery passion for speaking out about my own experiences and sharing the knowledge I’ve gained to help people who endure bullying today. It showed me my life’s work and, through that, gave me eventual confidence and happiness.

I do not need to hate my bullies, nor to take revenge. Turning abuse around to the benefit of others is how I turn victimization into power! And that, my friends, is the best revenge a person can ever take!

If you’re a target of bullying, know this:

What’s happening to you is wrong and it isn’t your fault. You never asked to be brutalized, you do matter, and you are enough!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

A Long Recovery from Bullying

PTSD

First and foremost, I’d like to thank Amber, a friend and fellow blogger who inspired me to write this post.

The healing certainly didn’t happen overnight. My trial by fire ended during my senior year when I finally managed to escape my Oakley High School bullies through a school transfer. My new school, Roseberg High, felt like a paradise! Everyone there accepted me as I was, and I made so many new friends. I felt safe again and was finally able to relax and be myself.

I felt as if my life was finally beginning, and I could finally put Oakley High School behind me and move on. But it didn’t come without a few hang-ups. The last several months at Roseburg were the best of all four years of high school, but I didn’t realize that I was still carrying a lot of leftover baggage from the severe abuse I suffered at the old school.

Although I was in a much safer learning environment, there were afternoons during my first month at Roseburg when I’d have a long cry after I got home from school. Being four months pregnant at the time, I mistook the tears for the raging hormones of pregnancy.

Though I loved my new school and all the people there, I regretted that I couldn’t have transferred schools earlier than I had. I was grieving the loss of so many years- years that I could never get back.

My then-husband worked a twelve-hour graveyard shift, and I spent most nights at home alone. In the afternoons, he would be asleep when I’d come in from school. So, I had plenty of time to grieve.

During those times, I also suffered flashbacks of the bullying, and they would come automatically and without warning- flashbacks of being shoved to the floor, brutally beaten, cursed out, and yelled at. At night I’d have nightmares.

In these nightmares, I’d be swimming in a lake and enjoying the water. Suddenly I’d stop and look around to see that my classmates from Oakley High were in the water as well, and they surrounded me. One of them would push my head underwater, and I’d fight like crazy to come back up for air.

But as soon as I’d get my head above water and gasp for breath, they’d shove me back under again. Once more, I’d have to hold my breath and fight with my arms flailing in the water, trying to come up and get away from them.

Finally, I couldn’t hold my breath any longer and had no other choice but to give up the fight to live. Just as I inhaled and felt the searing burn of water fill my lungs, I’d wake up with a jolt. I also had another dream that one of my old bullies hunted me down and shot me. I’d wake up in the middle of the night, so frightened I couldn’t move a muscle. I’d only lay there, trembling in the darkness.

During my first month out, I also dealt with a lot of sadness and anger that didn’t show. Roseburg High was my happy place, and while I was there during the day, I didn’t have those emotions, nor did I have the flashbacks. The sadness, anger, flashbacks, and dreams only happened when I was home alone or sleeping, and I wanted so badly to forget about Oakley and live in the present.

During that month, I also felt a degree of shame- shame that I now realize wasn’t mine to bear. In my mind, I’d ask myself,

“What’s wrong with me? I’m out of that hellhole now! I should be happy about that! And I am, but why do I keep having these episodes of crying and feeling angry any time I’m alone?”

When I felt angry, I wasn’t as mad at my former classmates but myself for allowing them to tear me down and bring me so low.

I felt like a battered wife who’d just left her abusive husband!

I was fortunate, though. It didn’t take long for the raw emotions, the flashbacks, and the nightmares to go away, and I begin to focus on making great memories with my Roseburg friends and classmates. During that month, I had allowed myself to feel and to cry. I talked to a few of my most trusted family and friends.

I realized that I wasn’t wrong to have those emotions as they were signs that something was terribly wrong in my previous environment. I also began to understand that I wasn’t what was wrong. I’m thankful that I didn’t bury those emotions like so many survivors of bullying do. I’ve since concluded that what I experienced was the release of feelings that had, for a long time, been suppressed.

They were emotions that I wasn’t allowed to have in the old environment and was afraid to feel and show because I knew they’d punish me for it with more bullying. The only alternative had been to keep those feelings buried deep. And although my parents were well-meaning, there were times that neither of them could accept the emotions I felt.

Only after I got out of there did they begin to pour forth.

After a month of riding that roller coaster, I can tell you that everything finally subsided, and I felt like a new person! I didn’t get any therapy, although I should have. I was young, newly married, and expecting my first child, and everything was changing so fast I could barely keep up. So, I worked through it on my own.

Beautiful cloudscape over the sea, sunrise shot

And with the help of a new and nourishing environment, a few trusted people in my life, and new friends, I was able to get through the horrible after-effects of bullying and peer abuse. I began to set goals to learn about computers and make Honor Roll at my new school. As my grades skyrocketed and I achieved those goals, so did my confidence!

Sadly, most survivors of bullying aren’t as lucky as I was. Many take years to even get through the grief.

(Continued in Part 2)

Your Key to Happiness

To me, the key to happiness is finding purpose- a purpose that’s so much bigger than yourself, and contributing to it. Happiness comes when you answer a calling and make it your passion, purpose, and life’s work. Becoming an advocate for the bullied and tackling things about bullying that few people think about is where I get my happiness.

That purpose is informing others aspects of bullying that no one talks about and in that, helping targets reclaim their personal power. This is so much bigger than me. And it’s why it feels so rewarding!

Contributing to helping others more successfully battle bullying isn’t for material gain, fame, or fortune. It’s for my spiritual fulfillment. It’s the inner rewards I get. Rewards of the heart- knowing that this is making a difference and making the world a better place- even if just a little bit.

There’s no reward that matches that! I want to be the person I needed when I was targeted years ago.

Sure. Material rewards are nice, don’t get me wrong. And I certainly won’t turn them down if I’m ever blessed with them. I would love to make a good living doing what I love. After all, I’m human too.

But at the end of the day, the inner rewards- the rewards to the heart and spirit are more satisfying than I ever thought they would be.

It’s what keeps me going and it’s where my fulfillment comes from.

5 Things That Happen to Survivors Who Never Heal from Bullying and Abuse

I don’t want to imagine where I’d be if I never healed from the bullying I suffered in the past. It’s not something l like to think about and it isn’t something I enjoy bringing up. However, I feel I’d be doing you a huge disservice if I didn’t.

If you were bullied at some point and you did the inner work and healed from it, you are one of the lucky blessed and I extend my congratulations to you.

But sadly, many survivors of bullying never heal, and I can only feel terrible for them. Because these people go their entire lives, dragging so much pinned up anger, resentment, sadness, and depression with them. Those emotions tend to fester into powerlessness- they simply don’t know what to do to make their lives better and achieve happiness and prosperity. Others only let it make them unfeeling and uncaring- and this second set of survivors often find prosperity and success, but they don’t find happiness.

So, what do these unhealed survivors do end up doing and where do they end up?

1. They join gangs. Many times, when a person has been bullied and hasn’t healed, they often join to get the sense of friendship, unity, belonging, and empowerment they were for so long denied. In a gang, these survivors are ensured protection from further bullying. And they use fear to get that protection.

2. They join extremist groups. Because these survivors were bullied terribly and never healed from it, they often feel a sense of unfairness and injustice. So, they take up a cause. Don’t get me wrong. Taking up a cause can be a wonderful and constructive way to deal with pain and trauma. But extremist groups are never good because they have a tendency for violence.  In joining extremist groups, survivors also get the friendship, support, alliance, and power they couldn’t get before.

Interior of cell block in abandoned State Correctional Institution, or jail., common room with jail cel

3. They end up in jail. Remember a few posts back, when I mentioned that anyone who is consistently told they’re bad, crazy, or evil will begin to exhibit behavior which matches the labels? When people are made to feel that they’re horrible people, they may go out and commit crimes either to get attention or because they feel they’re owed for all the bullying they suffered.

4. They become workaholics. In the past, they were bullied and made to feel powerless. So, they work like dogs to make lots of money because they feel that having lots of money gives them enormous power. We all need to work, but to work all the time and not have time to rest or for play isn’t healthy.

5. They get into drug abuse. Many become drug addicts and alcoholics to quell the PTSD, trauma, sadness, and depression that is brought about by bullying. Instead of seeking the right kind of help, they self-medicate.

Understand that healing from bullying is a must if you want to go on to a happy and peaceful life and that sometimes, healing means seeking therapy. Healing and getting closure take a lot of work. But I promise that if you get the help and put in the inner work needed, it’ll be so worth it in the end!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

The Bullying Survivor

The survivor of bullying who escapes the abuse first comes out with shock, anger, and sadness. But once the healing is underway, they’re filled with renewed hope.

When school or workplace bullying experiences have exposed you to the darkest sides of human nature, you have a stronger sense of your own endurance and capability. This is all because of what you have endured and were able to overcome.

You never know your own strength until you’ve overcome bullying, especially severe and chronic bullying.

Another takeaway is that the survivor has a stronger sense of people. She can smell fakery and BS from a mile away and can spot bullies before even talking to them. The survivor pays closer attention to how people carry themselves, body language, and the vibes and energy others put out.

survivors x-ray eyes

He is better able to avoid people who might want to harm him because he’s learned, the hard way, the importance of listening to his gut instinct and heeding it anytime something is even the slightest bit “off” about a person. In short, the survivor of bullying has learned that it’s okay, even paramount, that he trusts himself, and in that, his feelings and judgement.

On the other side of bullying, a survivor learns and develops the determination never to conform to the standards and criteria of others, but to live life on her terms because she knows what it’s like to be a slave to the approval of others. She knows what it’s like to be a prisoner to outside influences. She knows the powerlessness of having one’s pleasure depend of the permission of others. She knows what it’s like to be forced to apologize for simply being who she is and she’s not having any of it!

Overcoming past abuse gives the survivor a restored and refined sense of his worth and knowledge of the immense value he brings to this world. He awakens to his goodness and realizes that yes! He is worthy of love, friendship, affection, and of all the best things in life. He also realizes that he is loved and always was no matter what all those vile people told him!

The survivor of bullying ends up with a much clearer vision of what she will not tolerate nor settle for. She is unmovable in her refusal to kiss arse or bow down to anyone no matter what the cost may be. She’s spent enough years living on her knees and if she’s going to be punished for her unwillingness to kowtow, she’ll suffer those consequences standing up.

The survivor of bullying is also a fierce warrior for other victims. If he sees another person being bullied, he’s will stand up for that person and go toe to toe with the bullies to protect the target.

The survivor who has overcome bullying isn’t afraid to say no, nor to walk away from any relationship that doesn’t fulfill and nourish him. He refuses to be stuck in any environment that doesn’t allow him to grow and flourish.

The survivor is more aware than ever of what she deserves and goes after it with resilience and tenacity. Life’s given her enough of what she doesn’t want and now it’s time for her to go get what she knows is due her.

The survivor realizes, probably more than anyone, that life is short, and you only get one shot in this world. And she works diligently to create the life she knows she deserves, and she does it without guilt. She knows that she’s not entitled nor privileged. She realizes that the big bad world owes her nothing. And that’s okay.

The survivor realizes that there’s no such thing as a free ride because, heck, no one ever gave him anything but hell. What he understands more than anything as that all you have is you and the only person you can depend on is you. So, he knows that reaching his goals and dreams is up to him and him alone. And he works toward what he wants with a fervor.

The survivor of bullying makes it a point never to take anyone for granted but lets her family and friends know that she loves and values them. Why? Because she knows what is like to be alone, unwanted, and abused and she would never want anyone- especially the people she cares about feel that way or endure it.

The survivor of bullying savors every wonderful moment, every positive encounter, and every happy event because he has seen enough negativity.

What the survivor enjoys more than anything else is wonderful relationships and happy moments, and most of all, she’s grateful for them. She also enjoys helping others who go through what she once endured. And she uses her experiences to encourage them and give them hope.

Sometimes, you must be torn down to be built up again. Sometimes you must first be dejected and left lonely before you can truly appreciate the family and friendships you have later. And sometimes, it takes being forced into the chains of others’ approval and validation before you can enjoy the freedom of self-love and the indifference to the opinions of those who don’t matter and, perhaps, never should have mattered.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Living in The Past Is a Hallmark of Victim-Mentality

A while back, a fellow blogger inspired this post with a comment, and she was spot on with it. For the life of me, I cannot remember who the blogger was, but I’d like to thank her in advance.

Sadly, too many survivors of bullying still render themselves, victims by living in the past. They constantly ruminate over the bullying they endured, wondering if they could have done anything differently and wishing they had.

They look back with remorse, shame, guilt, and regret. Now, it’s normal to do right after you’ve gotten out of the toxic environment that encouraged the bullying. I completely understand because I did it too. However, when this goes on for years and years, you only hold yourself back. Unnecessary baggage only keeps you down.

Many survivors trap themselves in an endless cycle of what-ifs. They keep themselves stuck and forgo opportunities to learn from and grow from their experiences. Some seek revenge. Others only bury it, live in denial, and try to rewrite history.

Understand that this is a waste of your time.

On the other hand, some survivors become conquerors. They acknowledge that, yes, the bullying happened, and, yes, it was painful, then aspire to learn and grow from it.

I realize that, once you’re out of an extremely toxic environment, there will be a period of grief. Again, completely understandable. It’s okay to mourn the loss of time bullying caused. It’s okay, even recommended, to feel angry and hurt for a while. In no way should you ever trivialize this period of mourning because it’s real, and it happens to survivors when they’re fresh out of an abusive situation.

And different people have different periods of grief.

My crying stage lasted a month; yours may be a lot longer or shorter. It depends on the person. Some may choose to get therapy, and others won’t. But there comes the point when you must move on and not allow it to take over your life. Don’t let your bullies live in your mind rent-free for too many years. They’ve already taken away enough of your life. Don’t you think?

You owe it to yourself to heal and begin to accept what happened, then learn and grow from it. Only then can you reach empowerment and find happiness.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Recovery from Bullying: How I Healed

PTSD

First and foremost, I’d like to thank Amber, a friend and fellow blogger who inspired me to write this post.

The healing certainly didn’t happen overnight. My trial by fire ended during my senior year when I finally managed to escape my Oakley High School bullies through a school transfer. My new school, Roseberg High, felt like a paradise! Everyone there accepted me as I was, and I made so many new friends. I felt safe again and was finally able to relax and be myself.

I felt as if my life was finally beginning, and I could finally put Oakley High School behind me and move on. But it didn’t come without a few hang-ups. The last several months at Roseburg were the best of all four years of high school, but I didn’t realize that I was still carrying a lot of leftover baggage from the severe abuse I suffered at the old school.

Although I was in a much safer learning environment, there were afternoons during my first month at Roseburg when I’d have a long cry after I got home from school. Being four months pregnant at the time, I mistook the tears for the raging hormones of pregnancy.

Though I loved my new school and all the people there, I regretted that I couldn’t have transferred schools earlier than I had. I was grieving the loss of so many years- years that I could never get back.

My then-husband worked a twelve-hour graveyard shift, and I spent most nights at home alone. In the afternoons, he would be asleep when I’d come in from school. So, I had plenty of time to grieve.

During those times, I also suffered flashbacks of the bullying, and they would come automatically and without warning- flashbacks of being shoved to the floor, brutally beaten, cursed out, and yelled at. At night I’d have nightmares.

In these nightmares, I’d be swimming in a lake and enjoying the water. Suddenly I’d stop and look around to see that my classmates from Oakley High were in the water as well, and they surrounded me. One of them would push my head underwater, and I’d fight like crazy to come back up for air.

But as soon as I’d get my head above water and gasp for breath, they’d shove me back under again. Once more, I’d have to hold my breath and fight with my arms flailing in the water, trying to come up and get away from them.

Finally, I couldn’t hold my breath any longer and had no other choice but to give up the fight to live. Just as I inhaled and felt the searing burn of water fill my lungs, I’d wake up with a jolt. I also had another dream that one of my old bullies hunted me down and shot me. I’d wake up in the middle of the night, so frightened I couldn’t move a muscle. I’d only lay there, trembling in the darkness.

During my first month out, I also dealt with a lot of sadness and anger that didn’t show. Roseburg High was my happy place, and while I was there during the day, I didn’t have those emotions, nor did I have the flashbacks. The sadness, anger, flashbacks, and dreams only happened when I was home alone or sleeping, and I wanted so badly to forget about Oakley and live in the present.

During that month, I also felt a degree of shame- shame that I now realize wasn’t mine to bear. In my mind, I’d ask myself,

“What’s wrong with me? I’m out of that hellhole now! I should be happy about that! And I am, but why do I keep having these episodes of crying and feeling angry any time I’m alone?”

When I felt angry, I wasn’t as mad at my former classmates but myself for allowing them to tear me down and bring me so low.

I felt like a battered wife who’d just left her abusive husband!

I was fortunate, though. It didn’t take long for the raw emotions, the flashbacks, and the nightmares to go away, and I begin to focus on making great memories with my Roseburg friends and classmates. During that month, I had allowed myself to feel and to cry. I talked to a few of my most trusted family and friends.

I realized that I wasn’t wrong to have those emotions as they were signs that something was terribly wrong in my previous environment. I also began to understand that I wasn’t what was wrong. I’m thankful that I didn’t bury those emotions like so many survivors of bullying do. I’ve since concluded that what I experienced was the release of feelings that had, for a long time, been suppressed.

They were emotions that I wasn’t allowed to have in the old environment and was afraid to feel and show because I knew they’d punish me for it with more bullying. The only alternative had been to keep those feelings buried deep. And although my parents were well-meaning, there were times that neither of them could accept the emotions I felt.

Only after I got out of there did they begin to pour forth.

After a month of riding that roller coaster, I can tell you that everything finally subsided, and I felt like a new person! I didn’t get any therapy, although I should have. I was young, newly married, and expecting my first child, and everything was changing so fast I could barely keep up. So, I worked through it on my own.

Beautiful cloudscape over the sea, sunrise shot

And with the help of a new and nourishing environment, a few trusted people in my life, and new friends, I was able to get through the horrible after-effects of bullying and peer abuse. I began to set goals to learn about computers and make Honor Roll at my new school. As my grades skyrocketed and I achieved those goals, so did my confidence!

Sadly, most survivors of bullying aren’t as lucky as I was. Many take years to even get through the grief.

(Continued in Part 2)

What is The Key to Happiness?

To me, the key to happiness is finding purpose- a purpose that’s so much bigger than yourself, and contributing to it. Happiness comes when you answer a calling and make it your passion, purpose, and life’s work. Becoming an advocate for the bullied and tackling things about bullying that few people think about is where I get my happiness.

That purpose is informing others aspects of bullying that no one talks about and in that, helping targets reclaim their personal power. This is so much bigger than me. And it’s why it feels so rewarding!

Contributing to helping others more successfully battle bullying isn’t for material gain, fame, or fortune. It’s for my spiritual fulfillment. It’s the inner rewards I get. Rewards of the heart- knowing that this is making a difference and making the world a better place- even if just a little bit.

There’s no reward that matches that! I want to be the person I needed when I was targeted years ago.

Sure. Material rewards are nice, don’t get me wrong. And I certainly won’t turn them down if I’m ever blessed with them. I would love to make a good living doing what I love. After all, I’m human too.

But at the end of the day, the inner rewards- the rewards to the heart and spirit are more satisfying than I ever thought they would be.

It’s what keeps me going and it’s where my fulfillment comes from.

Feeding Frenzy

About 200 beasts hungrily stood in line to get their pound of flesh.
The first time they saw me they envisioned meat so succulent and fresh.

As they rooted and feasted on my frail body they locked their jaws so rough.
The bloody, meaty pieces were so addictive they couldn’t get enough.

With bottomless pits, they came back for more, more, and more still.
No matter how much flesh they took, they could never get their fill.

As they looked at me from their desks with fire and brimstine in their eyes.
They salivated, smacking their lips and licking their chops and they did rise.

To the occasion.
In anticipation.

Their eyes narrowed into little slits as they bore their stained-pink teeth at me.
But although they’d sink them deeper into my jugular, my death wasn’t to be.

They smelled the fear and lusted after my blood as they anticipated.
This wolf pack stayed ravenous and were never close to satiated.

The brutal kill and resulting feast they desired but could never quite attain.
Because they could never be satisfied with even the maximum amount of pain.

These vampires, they desired to suck the lifeblood from my body until there was no more left.
Only of my life-giving blood, they could never quite leave me bereft.

So they couldn’t resist nor get enough of it’s sweet but metallic taste.
They couldn’t rip and tear severely enough, so their energy they’d only waste.

They couldn’t get enough of the deliciousness of the raw meat of power.
So in their discontent they’d sit and in bitterness they would glower.

While grinding their boot heels into the back of my neck.
In their evil favor, they had to work feverishly to stack the deck.

But surprise, I survived and my body’s gaping wounds did close and heal.
My precious life’s blood those vampires could never completely steal.

I finally escaped my evil predators and began to grow stronger.
Under their dirty, nasty, grubby paws I remained trapped no longer.

The near-fatal, bleeding wounds they inflicted soon turned to scars.
But you see? The scars bullies inflict can help you reach the stars.

5 Things That Happen to Survivors of Bullying Who Never Heal from Bullying and Abuse

I don’t want to imagine where I’d be if I never healed from the bullying I suffered in the past. It’s not something l like to think about and it isn’t something I enjoy bringing up. However, I feel I’d be doing you a huge disservice if I didn’t.

If you were bullied at some point and you did the inner work and healed from it, you are one of the lucky blessed and I extend my congratulations to you.

But sadly, many survivors of bullying never heal, and I can only feel terrible for them. Because these people go their entire lives, dragging so much pinned up anger, resentment, sadness, and depression with them. Those emotions tend to fester into powerlessness- they simply don’t know what to do to make their lives better and achieve happiness and prosperity. Others only let it make them unfeeling and uncaring- and this second set of survivors often find prosperity and success, but they don’t find happiness.

So, what do these unhealed survivors do end up doing and where do they end up?

1. They join gangs. Many times, when a person has been bullied and hasn’t healed, they often join to get the sense of friendship, unity, belonging, and empowerment they were for so long denied. In a gang, these survivors are ensured protection from further bullying. And they use fear to get that protection.

2. They join extremist groups. Because these survivors were bullied terribly and never healed from it, they often feel a sense of unfairness and injustice. So, they take up a cause. Don’t get me wrong. Taking up a cause can be a wonderful and constructive way to deal with pain and trauma. But extremist groups are never good because they have a tendency for violence.  In joining extremist groups, survivors also get the friendship, support, alliance, and power they couldn’t get before.

Interior of cell block in abandoned State Correctional Institution, or jail., common room with jail cel

3. They end up in jail. Remember a few posts back, when I mentioned that anyone who is consistently told they’re bad, crazy, or evil will begin to exhibit behavior which matches the labels? When people are made to feel that they’re horrible people, they may go out and commit crimes either to get attention or because they feel they’re owed for all the bullying they suffered.

4. They become workaholics. In the past, they were bullied and made to feel powerless. So, they work like dogs to make lots of money because they feel that having lots of money gives them enormous power.

5. They get into drug abuse. Many become drug addicts and alcoholics to quell the PTSD, trauma, sadness, and depression that is brought about by bullying. Instead of seeking the right kind of help, they self-medicate.

Understand that healing from bullying is a must if you want to go on to a happy and peaceful life and that sometimes, healing means seeking therapy. Healing and getting closure take a lot of work. But I promise that if you get the help and put in the inner work needed, it’ll be so worth it in the end!

With knowledge comes empowerment!