Though I was rarely ever bullied physically, I have been bullied through words and intimidation.
A bully doesn't have to shove, hit or physically touch a person to make them feel afraid and like crap. There are many bullies who know how to cut with words and actions. Too many.
I remember in school, the teasing and segregation by others hurt me deep in my heart. There were those kids you just knew would have no problem pounding on you. Often they would just flex a fist or move quickly toward you and you would flinch. This seemed to give them great pleasure and validate their own self image.
Then there were those who really did want to attack me physically. I was lucky because I had a brother who had no problem standing up for me and getting in many fights. In fact, that is how he often made friends. I tried not to rely on his protection, preferring to avoid these bullies by staying indoors or hanging around a teacher. I think I spent more time in school bathrooms than I did on the playgrounds.
Unfortunately, the bullying in my life did not stop with school. I had a "boyfriend" who was constantly backing me into corners, threatening me and eventually even lifted me off my feet and pinned me to a wall. I was only 13 or 14 at the time. I put up with it until the incident with the wall. Then it was over.
There were always others around who could threaten me or make me flinch. I felt like I had a sign on my forehead that said "victim -easy target".
Then I got marred at 19. My husband was a wonderful person who accepted me as I was. That lasted until I had my first child. From then on he became a different person when no one else was around. He would put me down about everything all day long and still expect me to have sex with him at night. He would back me into corners when angry and even pushed me and picked me up and threw me a few times. I put up with all of it, even his infidelity did not make me want to end things. The first time I left him was because he left no money in the account, no food in the house and no bills paid - at the time I had 3 baby girls and another on the way. Unfortunately, I let him back into our lives. The "abuse" continued and gradually got more frequent and more frightening for me. It was only when he started constantly yelling at the children and pushing them, that I started to consider leaving. The final straw was one of my daughters starting to show signs of sexual abuse and a camping trip that was a nightmare of verbal abuse for my daughters and me.
After my marriage ended I sought therapy in many forms.Groups, individual counseling, places where there were other women like me. I thought that the bullying was done in my life, that I would never put up with someone putting me down or attacking me verbally again. Boy was I wrong.
Many times I have had others gossip about me, call me names and try to segregate me. Every time this has happened I have allowed it to affect my self esteem. I have wound up depressed, feeling alone and feeling like a POS. I know that is what the people who use bullying want but I find it hard not to let these things get to me. It is always harder when I am fighting a particularly bad episode of depression.
Those of you who read this and know about what happened to me on a certain social network may understand that I am still struggling with some of it. Still hurting. But I am no longer depressed - got my medication adjusted and feel somewhat better about life. That doesn't make anything easier to accept but it does keep me from completely shutting down.
I guess there will always be those who will feel better about themselves by putting others down. There will always be bullies. I just need to develop a thicker skin and learn that I am worth more than those type of people will ever know. That God has a purpose for bullies even if I don't understand it or recognize it all the time.
It's a good thing I am a believer and know that God loves me and thinks I'm worth it even if no one else ever does. Leaves me wondering how a non-believer can take all the crap in this world?
I accept others for who they are and try my hardest not to run them down. However, I have been guilty recently of being just like those people I consider "bullies", I have been nasty. I do regret it and have confessed it. Time to keep moving on.