I was bullied from when I was 6 until I was 13, and it only stopped because we were put in different classes so they didn’t have as much access to me anymore.
It was mainly psychological, and occasionally physical - the physical pain was always secondary to the humiliation. Example: at 10, they grabbed me from the shower and dragged me by my hands and feet and threw me into the boys’ locker room. Their psychological abuse also had real world ramifications, and wasn’t limited to name calling. Example: at 11, they made me ask out a boy. He became my “boyfriend” for two weeks until they marched him down to the arts and crafts room to dump me, again with them as witnesses. They then stole my diary where I described this event and broke the lock and wrote supportive notes in the margins about how I shouldn’t feel bad about myself. When I got angry they told me I should have gotten a stronger lock. They also came to my house, and when I behind a sofa to avoid having to let them in, they walked around my house to a window where they could see me hiding. They knocked on the window until I had to let them in, after which they destroyed a lot of my belongings and stole my underwear and showed it to people. I tried to kill myself for the first time that year.
When the bullying finally ended, I became extremely aggressive and defensive. A year after it had stopped, a boy in my class touched my labia in the middle of Religious Studies (obvs the teacher did nothing). I waited until woodworking class and pinched him in the balls with a giant set of metal tongs so hard that he cried. He never touched me again. I got into a fistfight with a grown man. I was all rage.
As an adult I internalised the anger and developed severe mental health problems.
The most significant way that this affects me is that everything is very black and white to me when I feel threatened. I also constantly assume people have bad intentions, and find it hard to understand that other people don’t see it. Being bullied really opens your eyes to how creatively cruel people can be to you for no reason, but also normalises cruelty.
When people encourage me not to take things personally and see my paranoia about people’s intentions towards me as unrealistic, I feel like they’re being incredibly naive. Just because someone is your friend doesn’t mean they won’t hold you down while a dog humps you to completion all over your clothes and tell everyone you’re a disgusting dog fucker. I’ve experienced that people can be incredibly cruel for no reason, and that something about me attracts this kind of behaviour. You can’t just tell me people aren’t like that, I know for a fact that they are.
So while I’m very quick to interpret relatively harmless behaviour such as people ignoring me, gossiping about me, rolling their eyes at me, rejecting me in various ways as them trying to actively hurt me, and often respond aggressively, I also think “why wouldn’t they”. Of course they’re trying to hurt me, I can’t see any other explanation. And then I feel vindicated. HAHA! You DO hate me and want to hurt me! I knew it all along.
I’m aware that this is very self-centred. I think it makes me a difficult person to be around, and increases the probability of me being abusive to other people. A huge effect bullying has had on me is that I don’t think other people have feelings, or rather that I have the power to hurt anyone’s feelings. I tried to defend myself with everything I had, and they didn’t give a shit what I said, and neither did anyone else, so at some point I concluded that I could say whatever the fuck I wanted because nothing that came out of my mouth had any effect on anyone.
I forgive nothing or no one. I pre-emptively collect shit on everyone I know, just in case. If you fuck with me, you better believe that I already have a mental five page word document detailing your flaws. This makes it hard to see myself or other people as good people. Everyone is a potential threat, and I’m always looking for weaknesses to attack in case I am attacked.
When people say “all the cool people were bullied” and “this kind of thing makes you stronger” I want to punch them in the face to see if that makes them stronger or just angry. It’s a huge contributing factor to why I suffer from anxiety and depression. I internalised them telling me I was worthless. I feel like I’ve been in a cult where the religion was hating me, and I can’t un-brainwash myself.
I tried to make this into a coherent piece of writing but it’s just rage and sadness. I’m trying to combat the effects of this with being very vulnerable and being nicer to myself. I feel vulnerable sharing this. Well done me.