When you are bullied as a child, it is a shattering experience, to say the least. Your pride along with your confidence falls flat on the ground. All you can do is to collect as many pieces as you can, to build yourself up. Unfortunately, with every crushing incident of bullying, more and more pieces tend to get lost in the ruins of your dignity. It feels like getting deformed all over again.
How did I react to the episodes of bullying?
Mine was a classic case of conditioning: interactions with my peers mostly lead to the feeling of shame and embarrassment due to bullying. Thus, I formed an invincible bond between the two and in my pursuit of happiness, I stopped interacting with people and emoting my feelings.
Funny, isn’t it? I stopped doing those two things to gain happiness that provides gratification and happiness to others!
It didn’t take me long to realize that this isn’t the right way to go about it. I started to develop a stutter (involuntary repetition of words). It wasn’t very prominent but it always popped up during social gatherings and public speaking. Every time I initiated a conversation, the episodes of bullying played in my brain on a loop.
How did I deal with the stuttering caused by it?
Realizing the impact of my past on my speech helped me a great deal. Although when I am extremely emotional and vulnerable my stutter drops me a visit. But these visits have become extremely short-lived with practice and persistence. The important steps to recovery are:-
- Knowing the bully: Your bully might appear to be invisible and unfazed. But, most bullies function from a place of insecurity. This can be done to gain some control or to hide their weaknesses.
- Dealing with self-esteem issues: Your shortcomings are being highlighted and mocked upon for very long. Consequently, your self-esteem takes a lot of beating for that. Understanding of self and making peace with one’s past are difficult tasks but can be very effective tools to overcome self-esteem issues.
- Turning the judgment around: Many times, bullied kids start viewing themselves from the eyes of their bully. Breaking this pattern and realizing that they are more than their bully’s understanding of them can help.
- Seek public speaking opportunities: Start with interacting with a small group with familiar faces. Then, slowly progress to a slightly bigger group of strangers. You may then look for small public speaking opportunities. Taking small but consistent steps can help a great deal.
- Sharing your past with your immediate circle: It can help in developing varied perspectives and enable you to resolve your past issues and make peace with them.
My struggles were real but I managed to overcome them and I believe so can you. You might feel trapped right now. It must also be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Nevertheless, start to discover your inner strength and step out of such vicious surroundings. You will then start to heal in parts you thought you never will. Till then, just keep reminding yourself that “this doesn’t define me”.
Being the victim of bullying is an extremely painful experience. Thus, taking the help of a counselor to deal with it would be of great help. Connect a victim of bullying with a counselor from Mind Solace, and help them stand up to their bullies while they also deal with their prior experience in a more productive manner.