The Past Lasts A Long Time

This post was submitted anonymously.

I’ve been bullied in school, for several years. Not just by people I knew – some of the bullies recruited others to call me names and act as if I were ridden with some disgusting, contagious disease. There were times when I was hardly able to open up to anyone, as I could not feel safe any longer; everybody could be on their side now.

I was singled out for being a little poorer, a little weirder, a little geekier, a little less pretty, a little more religious. People said I was from Alpha Centauri (which, by the way, is a sun, not a planet). In class people threw more than just words at me – pieces of chestnut, broken ball-point pens, and once, a little rock.

They constantly let me feel I wasn’t worth as much as them, that I didn’t have the right to be wherever I wanted to be. This still haunts me. It took me many years to feel somewhat comfortable walking across an open place, and to this day I struggle with running criss-cross through gym halls. I’m closer to thirty than to twenty and somewhere in the back of my brain subconscious lessons still haunt me.

Back then I felt so helpless I resorted to aggression, trying to hit and kick people. I still have to deal with the residue of this aggression. Fallout lasts a long time.

The fact that I didn’t have a lot of support from family and church “friends” didn’t help. On the contrary, even in youth group I had to deal with people of my age who acted like friends and after two years, suddenly told me how annoying I was. I was told by one person not to talk to them, not to reply to their nasty message. I experienced something neither me nor the other person involved would have labeled abuse back then, but now I do. They held emotional power over me, giving me comfort one day and withdrawing it at will. Combine this with a subtext of gender stereotypes and you end up with a messed up sense of self.

All of these events robbed me of my self-esteem and parts of my future. I’ve made it through, I’ve moved away and will receive the final result of my master’s degree in a few short weeks, but I can’t forget. Sometimes I feel better, thinking I’ve escaped, but then I relapse.

I don’t think I’ll go to our class reunion when our 10th anniversary of finishing school will come up. I didn’t even comfortable congratulating one of the nicer girls via Facebook when she got married, as she married one of my bullies. They had already been together back then, but even though she’s always been kind I just can’t tell her I’m happy she got to marry him. I’m sorry.

Even at university I experienced superficial people. Once I was told to buy myself a less ugly winter anorak. This may seem like a little thing, but to me it was a continuation of the pattern I experienced in school. Luckily things changed when I graduated from the bachelor’s programme and entered a master’s programme. I was surrounded by people who were more like me, who were okay with my geekiness and not fitting in.

At church in this place things are a little better, I even found a few people who really care about me. Some can relate to my troubled mind because their pasts weren’t that glorious and full of happy teenage memories as well. I found a loving husband who doesn’t care I’m a little odd and supports me in my decision to skip make-up and all these things I used to be told I needed to make myself prettier. He is strong enough to deal with my fits of anger.

But what truly is healing me, little by little, is the loving acceptance I experience in capoeira. Instead of belittling me for getting things wrong or breaking down and crying they teach me to become stronger – some gently, some in a well-meaning “get your shit together” attitude. No “girls can’t / aren’t supposed to this or that,” just “what are you waiting for, do it, try harder.” Being with them helped me to improve my usage and reading of body language. Once three of us stood at a train station at night while we waited for the guy in our group to finish smoking his cigarette, and they listened to my rambling. In the last few months, people I got to know in class started to tell me I was a really outgoing person. Yes, I am now, at least when I am in a place where I feel comfortable. But inside I still feel anxious about whether people really like me or whether they pretend and everything will come crashing down someday.

I’m becoming stronger. I’m trying to become kinder as well. Some days I fail, but I won’t give up now that I’ve made it so far.


16 thoughts on “The Past Lasts A Long Time

  1. I too am glad that you finally have the suppport. Good luck with your results for your Masters degree and for whatever you want to do next.

    The world is changing and it is now less of a bad thing to be nerdy and geeky, but I think it’s still only if you’re nerdy and geeky in a particular way. It’s way more important to be ourselves.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I’m glad you are healing bit by bit. You’ve done all the hard work yourself & that takes discipline. It’s gives hope that we can possibly recover from our past wounds.

    Thank you for sharing your story. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Bullies are victims demanding for attention and compassion. Forgive your tormentors and move on. Believe a new reality that this actually never happened. The more you making this thought powerful, the more your mind will be at rest.

    Love and blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Ashualec,

      Your words and intent are compassionate. Possibly, a strategy of rewriting past bullies as if best buddies can be healing for some. It would SEEM to make sense.

      But: My own healing from decades of abuse did not begin until I recognized and named it and healing has grown each time I’ve realized each person and incident as abusive. Fifteen years away from the last bully, I occasionally STILL have a head-slapping moment: “Hey! What s/he did there was WRONG!”

      This is because some people lowered on bullying (not raised on it!) may not develop the normal unbullied person’s reactions to others, or their abilities to judge behavior–their own or others. We can be plagued, more than others, by self-doubt, passive-aggressiveness, submissiveness, or eager beaverism: “No, didn’t bother me to do all the clean-up after the party. What? Drive Mitch home? Uh…it’s 2:00am…okay, sure, I’ll take him.” That desire to be liked.

      My recognitions and memories give me important benchmarks against which to measure my own interactions with new people and relationships–and their behaviors toward me. They also give me tremendous pride: That I was able to carry on, somehow, and come out the other side a kind, sane person.

      (Sometimes depressed, sometimes snappish and over-reactive…but I am kind and sane even toward myself, and so blame these lapses on those bad, bad bullies!)

      Liked by 1 person

    • (Because that last encyclopedia of words just wasn’t enough)
      Ithink writing a list of the bad events of the past would be helpful. Even more would be a letter to your bullies, including some of what they did and how it made you feel. You can send it, or anonymize their names and blog post it, or just keep it for you.

      Then, I do agree that focusing more on all positive memories of both past and present is wise. I suggest gathering all the positive childhood memories, no matter how few (I had…six?…in my first effort) and writing them down in a little book titled “My Rewritten Childhood”. This was extremely helpful to me. I used to re-read it each night like a happy bedtime story.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I owe a small apology: I inadvertently switched grammatical person (to 2nd person–“you”) without alerting that I was directing that portion of my reply to the original poster–the one who had been bullied. Sorry if I caused confusion. I frequently do!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m happy happy you are healing. My trustometer was broken at age 9. I have recently had an acquaintance who called me friend, insult me VIA his work email. He asked that I not respond, but I did! I may have a proper response here. Thank you for your post.


  5. I’m so glad you’ve found support. I only hope that you are able to let go of to horrible things said and done to you. Best of luck in all else you do!


  6. Dear Success Story,

    I’m so sorry for the hell you went through. You didn’t deserve it. You deserved to be loved and cherished, to feel SAFE and free from worry and threat, and to have a fair chance to be liked and develop friends who liked you for your true interesting and fun self.

    Congratulations on achieving your new life!

    –O. Babe


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