Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bullying Study - American Journal of Psychiatry

There's a new study out about the effects of bullying on individuals in the long run, which you can find here:

Adult Health Outcomes of Childhood Bullying Victimization: Evidence From a Five-Decade
Longitudinal British Birth Cohort

Basically, their study shows that childhood bullying continues to have an effect on individuals through their middle age years. I wanted to address this topic because I was a victim of bullying growing up. Yes, it definitely had an impact on my life, but not necessarily in the same ways presented in their study. We were poor. I wore clothes that were far too large for my tiny frame. My shack of a home, had holes in the walls and a tin roof. They had plenty of ammunition and spite to be hateful towards me. I felt like they really hated/disliked me. I was always the oddball out. It tapered off when I was in 9th grade.

Of course, this wasn't the only time I experienced bullying. I experienced it again later in life, but I was able to deal with it more proactively than I could as a child. I don't allow others to push me around anymore. I'm more forthcoming whereas in the past, I would slink away. That was a result of the programming by my biological mother. I was always afraid of what would happen if I got into trouble at school.

I never really thought about it until later in life, but she was the biggest bully. Those kids in school weren't the worst. It was her. Yes, they made me feel bad. She made me feel worthless. It's truly unbelievable how your own parent can make you feel that way. Then, I wasn't so bright and married someone who was also a bully. It dawned on me later in the marriage and I got out, but not before more damage had been done to my emotional/mental being. It took several years to break free of the psychological harm done to me by both of them and the others. It took years, but being free of it now is amazing.

The biggest effect bullying has had on me was NOT a negative one. I treat others as they should be treated. We are all human beings. As such, every one of us has feelings. I am at peace with my past because sometimes life is out of your control, especially when you are a child. You know, I do not believe that children should have to go through what I have been through to become strong. However, I must admit, I am a strong-minded individual. This is in spite of what I have been through. I have fought through a lot in life. I have always been a survivor.

The reason I am able to be at peace with my past is because I learned something from it and let it go. People have a tendency to not let go of things, then it weighs them down for the remainder of their lives. You have to let go of the way people treated you in the past. I'm not telling you to forget it, but let it go. You'll never heal otherwise. Do you want to dwell on the past? It's exhausting to live in the past and wallow in self-pity. Please note, I will never forget my past. I know how I wish/deserve to be treated. It also allows me to put things into perspective on how to treat others. How can someone preach on things if they do not follow the same philosophy?

I try to be kind, polite and helpful to everyone I come across. I also try to do the right thing. Compassion, not hatred, should be spread throughout the world. THIS is how it affected me. THIS is how I CHOOSE to spend my life. I fight for the good of the people. I am against bullying and hatred. I am strong. So are every single one of you! The statistics in this study should not dictate your life. Let me remind you that you are human - flesh and blood - not a number. Forget the numbers!

One of the first steps to getting over the past is to let go of it. It can't be changed, but you can learn from it. Think about what is important to you. I can remember how some of the children from my past treated me. I remember most of it like it was yesterday. I worked really hard to let go of it and adjusted my attitude. I realized that the way they behaved towards me, really wasn't about me. I recall having a conversation a couple of years ago with someone who used to bully me from time to time while we were growing up. It turns out that her life was a lot worse than mine. Apparently, I was her victim of choice. She had to take her frustrations out on someone, right? I chose to let it go a long time ago. I'm not bothered by anything from my past anymore.

Any pain you feel, especially from the past, let it go. Sometimes we feel as though we deserved what we went though. You are not to blame for the painful bullying you went though. Throw that guilt away! Accept what you have been through. Realize that there is no changing the past. You can always change your future though. It's a choice, not a given. You are in control. You can choose to be unhappy or you can change your attitude and be happy.

You know, it's hard to let go of something that either made you so happy at one point or was incredibly painful. I know it's difficult. I've been there. I won't deny that it took a lot of work to get to where I am today. I am a sensitive person. I'm empathetic on all accounts. Anyone who knows me, understands that when someone hurts, I feel it deep into my core. I don't even have to know you and I can still literally feel your pain. So, letting go of my painful past was an arduous endeavor. I achieved it though. It is probably one of my favorite accomplishments. It makes me feel so wonderful inside.

Don't fall through the cracks and become one of these statistics. I will go over some other things you can do to take control of your life in another post. I hope you were able to take something away from this post. The effects of bullying are real, but you don't have to continue feeling them for the remainder of your life. Take it one step at a time. Remember, every failure is one step closer to success. If you fail, then you already know what doesn't work. Try it differently until you succeed. It's your life. Own it. Control it. It's a choice. What do you choose?

Thanks for reading! Questions? Comments? Leave them below!

Many blessings!

~ Crystal ~

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