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To think I should be over school bullying by now?

(59 Posts)
PinkHamster Wed 11-Jun-14 11:34:25

I'm 23 and I left school seven years ago so you would think that would be plenty of time to get over anything that happened in school.

I was badly bullied pretty much all throughout secondary school. It actually started in the last two years of primary school but it was pretty mild at that point - just name calling by one or two people. However when I started secondary school it pretty much all took off. It wasn't one or two people any more, it was pretty much a good portion of the year group who bullied me every day and those who didn't were too afraid to be friends with me in case they were next.

I won't go into too much detail but the bullying continued all the way from Year 7 to year 11 and it's embarrassing to say this but it still effects me today even though I know it was just silly school kid stuff and I should be over it by now.

It's not even necessarily big stuff, it's more subtle. For instance I'm always highly suspicious of anyone who wants to be friends with me because I have no self esteem and I always wonder why they would want to be friends with me. I think it's because I spent so long being hated by so many people. It's the same with relationships - I'm always suspicious of any man who shows an interest in me. At school boys would always ask me out as a joke whilst everyone would be standing around laughing. Then the boys would always laugh too and say things like "only joking, hamster, no one in their right mind would ever go out with you, you're too ugly!" which would cue more laughter. When I did start going out with someone for real everyone found this hilarious and I spent the whole time with people coming up to me asking if my boyfriend was blind, on happy pills, needed glasses or was just insane. So now whenever anybody appears interested in me I always think it's all part of some big joke and wonder how anyone could be attracted to me. This stems from being asked out as a joke so many times for so long and being told how ugly I was and how nobody could be attracted to me.

I can still remember every single nasty name they called me and everything that was said about me. I still live in the same town as some of them and see them sometimes and I'm always terrified that they're going to start hurling abuse at me just like they used to.

I did try telling the teachers several times but I don't think they cared because they never actually did anything. Once in PE a girl hit me hard with a rounders bat right in front of the teacher but the teacher didn't do anything about it. Another time a boy decided he didn't want me sitting in front of him so he picked up his chair and hit with me with it. He kept doing that until I moved. Again this was in front of the teacher and when I told him he just said "well you've moved now, so it doesn't matter does it?"

I've tried so hard to think of a reason why they hated me so much but I just can't come up with an answer. Obviously there must have been something I'd done to make them hate me so much and want to hurt me, I just can't figure out what it is.

I'm job hunting right now and not having much luck. If I go to interviews and get turned down the logical part of me thinks that the economy is shit for everyone right now and lots of people are finding it hard to get a job. Then there's a tiny part of me that thinks that of course I wouldn't get hired, why would they want me? I was always told at school that I wouldn't amount to anything and they were right - if I was hated so much at school then of course other people would still hate me now and not want me near them even if I am older.

I left school with my self esteem and confidence shattered but I was determined that the bullies wouldn't stop me and I'd rebuild my confidence. I've never been able to rebuild it though.

And yes I know I'm being pathetic and that school was a long time ago and that I should just get over it. I just don't know how.

CoffeeTea103 Wed 11-Jun-14 11:47:53

Yanbu to feel this way, sorry you had such horrible experiences. Have you had Any counseling because the bullying did leave deep scars for you, which affects your daily life.

toolonglurking Wed 11-Jun-14 11:48:57

You aren't being pathetic. Your years at school are the years you begin to cement who you are, and how you interact with other people around you. If you become the punching bag for all those other kids, then of course you are going to come out of it bruised and vulnerable.
I had similar experiences at school, spent most of my 20's paranoid, untrusting and with horrible self esteem.

I got some help, saw a great counsellor, and am now much happier and can even bump into those old bullies and rather than reacting to them, I simply 'nothing' them now.

They are empty and meaningless, and most importantly have no power over me anymore, and I am much happier for it smile

I know counselling doesn't work for everyone, and it is a long-term investment (years, not weeks or months) but it was the best money I ever spent and has changed my life.

I wish you all the very best with your job hunt, and I am sure you will find something soon, but self-esteem and self-worth come from within, no external input will have a lasting effect on who you are.

onetiredmummy Wed 11-Jun-14 11:51:21

Its no longer a case of 'just getting over it', it sounds as though you need some intervention to help you deal with it.

Go to your GP, tell them how you feel & see what there is available to you. Bullying should not be underestimated, good luck brew

HayDayQueen Wed 11-Jun-14 11:56:28

Oh my goodness! You are NOT being silly in the slightest. They put you through absolute torment you poor thing.

I really think you would benefit from moving away from your area. Because you will never be able to trust people there until your confidence is rebuilt, and you wont' be able to rebuild your confidence where you are because you can't trust the people around you because you can never be sure if they aren't connected in some way to the people who hurt you so badly.

I will be 50 this year, and I am still struggling to overcome the depression that is the legacy of being bullied for all five years at senior school (it stopped when we moved up to sixth form college, but by then, it was too late). I was suicidal at age 14.

Firstly, there is NOTHING wrong with you. Nothing at all. It is the bullies who have something wrong with them. How they behaved is their fault, it's not anything you did or didn't do. And you are NOT being pathetic - not at all!

Secondly, I know so well what it feels like to have zero self confidence, not to trust that other people will want to know me. I have struggled with that my whole life. Even when my friends say lovely things to me and about me, my inner voice still says they don't mean it.

I am having cognitive behavioural therapy at the moment, to help me retrain myself, to silence the critical inner voice that destroys me and keeps me down in the pit of depression. Could you consider finding something similar? From my own experience, I would say that it is better to deal with these issues sooner rather than later - I didn't recognise that I was depressed for years - finally, when I had had PND after each of my three dses were born, and had been on antidepressants for years, I saw a psychotherapist who told me that it was not normal to have suicidal thoughts at age 14, and that I had been depressed all that time ago, and had probably been depressed off and on ever since. I wish I had known sooner and had not let it go on so long - I am trying to deal with the ingrained habit of years of self criticism - it's almost like I do the bullies' job for them now and have been doing so for years. Maybe if I had known sooner thand had got therapy then, it wouldn't have been such a struggle.

Bottom line is that it is not your fault, and it is a really hard thing to get over - especially if you are trying to do it alone, as it seems youare. Please stop being so self-critical - don't listen to that inner harsh voice that says it was all your fault that you were bullied, and that you haven't 'got over it' yet - that voice is LYING to you, I promise. Practice telling yourself that it was NOT your fault, and that you are not some sort of failure for not getting over it yet. It takes time to heal from this sort of damage - time and compassion.


PinkHamster Wed 11-Jun-14 12:01:11

I have had counseling in the past however it was on the NHS so only has six sessions. It was for an unrelated reason and even know I wanted to bring up the bullying I didn't have the guts to bring it up until the last session. The counselor was actually very dismissive of this and just said "well everyone gets bullied at some point" so I just felt silly.

NatashaBee Wed 11-Jun-14 12:09:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

juliascurr Wed 11-Jun-14 12:10:09


I was nearly crying reading your post there

what those mean little gits did to you was awful.


get some counselling, phone Samaritans if nothing else or ask at colleges if they take clients for student counsellors

I had a crap one like yours
find another one


toolonglurking Wed 11-Jun-14 12:10:46

Unless it is an emergency and someone is a danger to themselves or others I don't know why the NHS even bother to offer counselling when it is only for 6 sessions - it took YEARS for the bullying and abuse to drive you down and they think all your problems are going to be solved in 6 sessions? Argh!!

If you can find one locally, there are a number of (non NHS) counselling organisations that charge according to what you can pay, perhaps they might be able to help you get back on your feet and once you've found a job you can reassess payment and continue to get help?

Minnieisthedevilmouse Wed 11-Jun-14 12:11:03

Well that is true they do. I did. I'd guess every person on mn has to. It matters less as you get to grips with who you will become. I've met people now who I was at school with. They are small insignificant with little lives. Just average joes. Not big scary monsters anymore. It gets easier. Other worries take over!

I rarely get this angry but OH MY GOD WHAT A FUCKING USELESS COUNSELLOR!!! How dare they minimise what happened to you like that!

Minnie - I think you are trying to minimise it too, and please, please stop. Look at what the OP describes in her post. Look at the fact (FACT) that I was suicidal at 14, due to the bullying I was suffering, and ask yourself if your comment is helpful to someone for whom the bullying has been so damaging.

mistlethrush Wed 11-Jun-14 12:15:40

Its not surprising you're still suffering with it. Its made me a different person - I gave up on trying to have friends at school by about year 9, decided I could cope on my own two feet and did my own thing - for me that improved matters as most of the problems came about from being excluded - all the physical stuff was left behind at primary school for me. Being a loner is going to live with me for the rest of my life.

bloominbumpy Wed 11-Jun-14 13:07:38

Could you speak to a doctor about what help they may be able to give?

When I went to the doctors with anxiety and low mood I found it incredibly difficult to talk about so I wrote it all down and gave it to the doctor to read.

I felt much less nervous and embarrassed about revealing my issues when I didn't have to physically saythem out loud.

At least that way a counsellor can get a better insight into the depth of your "issues" as I know myself that once I get to the point of talking I think im being silly etc
And end up keeping lots to myself.

Hope something works out for you, and although it is hard remember its not your fault you were bullied!! And the only thing that you could ever have done or do now is find a way to get your confidence back it will probably be very hard but in the long run it will give you back a life you deserve xxxx

CrohnicallyHungry Wed 11-Jun-14 13:09:42

Go back to the GP and see if you can get CBT. I am having CBT at the moment, and have had counselling in the past, and I found the CBT so much better.

Like you, I am going for a reason seemingly unrelated to the bullying, but when the therapist did some 'digging' we found low self esteem to be a big part of it, and of course bullying has contributed to that.

londonrach Wed 11-Jun-14 13:17:31

Yanbu I'm older than you and the memories are still there but hidden. One of the nastiest bully tried to friend me on fb and I had great pleasure in blocking her after I'd quickly checked her life out....several children different men, same town I lived in etc.... I went to uni, have my own business and gave travelled and see things that when I was 14 i couldn't imagine. I smiled and blocked her but at age 23 the memories would gave been awful. It was the hairspray down the thoat that hurt the most and left me with a fear of hairspray and the smell. Please ask gp for some help but you best thing you can do is just go on with your life. It's your past and you will achieve a lot more than you can imagine. Hugs x

LemonSquares Wed 11-Jun-14 13:18:41

I had similar. I did have friends in primary - though was bullied was told by teachers and my own parents I was too sensitive - ie all my fault.

Secondary was much worse as I was separated from friends I did have from primary. School and home both said I was bad with people ie my fault but I did have friends people who sought out my company they just weren’t in most of my classes (thanks to primary school bullies who were in my classes ) – and I think I did have trouble believing that they liked me.

It was often in front of teachers - and PE teacher actually joined in - it did turn physical as well. I was punched in the face during a history lesson with a supply teacher in charge. I didn't date till uni - was kissed in chemistry lesson as a dare. Only time I complained the head of year said it was home upsetting me – and it was my fault for being so quiet.

I got through by keeping my head down, being a loner, being very aware of my surrounding and being very independent and determined and focused on my goals. This is still with me.

Had limited social life as a teenager – our rural location and parents insisting we found our own way about– I was always pathetically grateful to be included. I spent most of my teenage years mildly depressed and escaping into books.

I thought it would all magically improve at Uni – but my shyness was dreadful I and I was not very street wise so had a really rocky start.

I did meet DH – who was very persistent, though probably took more shit from him than was smart in early days. I really fell for him. We’ve been happy together but he was the first guy to come along which I could put down to me being very lucky.

I got bullied in first job - but I moved and got more money and as my confidence in my skill set grew I have been more able to stand up for myself.

I do agree with Minnie to an extent. As soon as I became pg with first DC- people could treat me right or take a hike.

Stood up to IL and my own family who can be very bullying and I've made friends and while I'm very grateful for them I won't let them take advantage of me and if I don't have them then I'm still fine.

I've also tried very hard to let the DC know it's not OK for people to treat them like crap. Which does means I have been up to their school to insist low level stuff is dealt with - but it's a fine line as they do have to learn to deal with other people.

So YANBU - to still be affected.

YouTheCat Wed 11-Jun-14 13:19:58

How absolutely bloody awful for you.

I suffered some bullying at school but was quite volatile so just used to thump people when it got too much and it stopped eventually. So I was lucky.

OP, go back to the GP. If you think you will struggle to get the words out, write it all down as you have so eloquently in your post.

SallyMcgally Wed 11-Jun-14 15:09:21

You're absolutely are not pathetic. You sound really brave, and you deserve to feel happier. Please find someone to talk to about this. The Samaritans can be fantastic. There are also anti- bullying associations you can phone, and I'm sure they'd advise over who you could speak to. You've done so well to manage as well as you have, but you need some help. The help they didn't give you as a child. My DS is being bullied atm in much the way you describe,. He's lovely. Nothing wrong with him except that he's gentle and kind and that makes him a target. He's also dyspraxic, so crap at sport and clumsy. But the world would be a much better place if more people were like him. I really admire him. I bet the same is true of you. After all, how can you trust the judgement of those little shits who get their jollies from treating someone like that. Thinking of you. thanks

Virgolia Wed 11-Jun-14 15:44:02

Aw OP. Sometimes you can't just 'get over it' It can haunt you.

I got severely bullied, to the point where my mum would cry when sending me in school. I got hit, punched, smacked, spat on, food spat in, books and clothes ripped. All sorts.

I don't remember much of this, my brain has blocked most of it out I think.

When we got to highschool I snapped, and I'm ashamed to say I physically hurt every single one of the bullies. They never touched me again and I got a name for myself which I am not proud of, but no-one picked on me again.

It changed me as a person, my mum says she wish she could see the woman I'd be now if I hadn't been bullied - but its the only way I had to survive.

Have you got access to any sort of help like counselling or CBT?

PixieofCatan Wed 11-Jun-14 15:59:51


I'm 25. I could have written your post, I was also bullied at school (from ages 5 to college) and I'm still not over it. I ran away from it all at 18, started working away from the area in live-in jobs as I couldn't cope being in the same county, let alone the town. Even now when I visit the two friends I have or if we go to see DPs Mum I start feeling all pathetic and child-like when we have to leave the house, especially if we bump into people from school.

I had the same from teachers, my Mum knew it was happening and her response was to stick her head in the sand. I've never forgiven her for it.

Can you afford counselling? I live in a city and there is 'affordable' counselling available with counselling students, that might be worth checking out. I haven't done it myself yet but it was about £10-15 a session.

I remember what really pissed me off was that I was in two "no tolerance" high schools, when that was all the rage. It wasn't no tolerance, they just didn't care.

I have no advice tbh, just knowing the feeling. You can't just "get over it". I am lucky, I have managed to settle in one county after moving every 6-9 months between 18 and 22 and am in a position to start getting my confidence up and working on caring about myself, but I don't think I'll ever be entirely comfortable tbh. Getting away was the best thing I did though, and staying away.

kentishgirl Wed 11-Jun-14 17:08:27


It's not your fault you were bullied and it's not your fault you are still feeling the effects now as an adult.

Try and get some effective help with this.

I still feel some of the effects even though I'm nearly 50 and have finally got the confidence to just not give a fuck what other people think about me any more.

But the result of bullying socially and professionally crippled me in my 20s and 30s.

springydaffs Wed 11-Jun-14 18:24:11

You're minimising the bullying if you say you are being 'pathetic', it suggests that the bullying was pathetic (inconsequential) and that you shouldn't get upset about it. As others are saying, bullying goes very deep, leaves deep scars. You were a child forging your identity and those vile, vile kids ganged up on you, through NO FAULT of your own.

ime I had a bullying family and that set me up for future bullying. None of it was my fault, or is your fault; there is nothing about either of us that 'deserved' it. The problem is with the bullies: weak, ineffectual sorts who need to hurt someone and put them down to feel good about themselves.

Please get this addressed professionally. That terrible counsellor should be reported for saying something so dismissive about something so serious (but then, it was nhs 6-week rubbish, so I'm not surprised). As others are saying you need to work on this for the long haul, not the derisory 6 weeks.

You are not pathetic, it is the bullies who were pathetic, not you. xxxx

EvenBetter Wed 11-Jun-14 18:36:15

You're not pathetic. Abuse deeply affects you.
Abuse in your developing, formative years will of course affect you, the stress hormones in your developing brain, anxiety, shame, nervousness, rage, horror and dread that make up the parcel of emotions that abusers inflict on us leave deep scars.
I'm 29 now, and more successful than the filth I went to school with, but I'm still very angry at them, and while I do t think about them very often, when I do, I hate them.

Minnieisthedevilmouse Wed 11-Jun-14 19:31:02

It is not minimising to point out that an awful lot of people go through this. We do. Might have been in the way that counsellor put it. Perhaps if you had bothered to read rather than just be in an hysterical spitting fit you might have bothered to read that I wrote I had to. So odfod with your own self importance to make it a trumping competition as plainly you're more damaged as tried suicide. Are you suggesting the op is less hurt because she hadn't bothered with that? If it comes to minimising a person frankly you take the fucking biscuit.

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