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To ask how you feel now if you were bullied at school? (Potentially sensitive)

(108 Posts)
moutonfou Thu 18-May-17 22:49:30

I was picked on for being quiet and clever, which only made me quieter. By end of school I was shy to mute depending on situation, with extreme social anxiety and general lack of any confidence/resilience.

Although I have now put a lot of hard work into becoming a functioning adult with a good job, able to talk to different people, pretty calm and resilient, I still think I have an underlying expectation of rejection that will never go away. I automatically think anybody new I meet is cooler/better/has it more together than me and don't really expect them to like me. I think that comes across to people as a lack of warmth, simply because I'm still quite guarded.

Just curious to hear others' stories - how does it affect you years or decades later?

user1495106123 Thu 18-May-17 23:01:39

I suffered with being bullied by sexual harassment and constant groping no never meant no I still have flashbacks but I'm overprotective of my baby now and I'm strict when it comes to saying no that it means just that

PoochiePie Thu 18-May-17 23:09:06

I'm in a similar boat to you. I had a bit of an unloving upbringing, and there was a lot of rejection and generally awful parenting towards me. I was then bullied by my 'best friend' in high school, which usually meant if she was having a bad day she would completely blank me and instruct others to do the same.
Eventually I actually got depression, and had a rough time with that for a number of years, on and off including at uni.
Crucially, if I'm critical, since this best friend, if you exclude my parents, I've had quite positive relationships - formed good friends and boyfriends etc, and haven't been bullied since. However 12 years on, and I, just as you described it feel quite a crippling anxiety about social situations.
I often feel like people don't care what I have to say/think I must be annoying or boring, which usually results in me panicking when I'm talking about probably making people think I'm strange, or struggling to make conversation at all with people I don't already know well.
I find once I'm over that barrier, and feel like I know someone well enough to be accepted for myself then im fine - but meeting new people and getting to that point is quite difficult. I also tend to dwell on conversations or interactions I've had with people that have been awkward or not gone great - which doesn't really help the whole situation.

PurpleAlerts Fri 19-May-17 00:18:16

I still think I have an underlying expectation of rejection that will never go away. I automatically think anybody new I meet is cooler/better/has it more together than me and don't really expect them to like me

This.
Is.
Me.

I was bullied at school. I was one of the kids who wanted to work hard and be successful in a school where this wasn't "cool". I still remember the ruler poked in my back every time I put my hand up.

I did well and went to uni and have further qualifications which have led to a very fulfilling career. (and I am of an age where it wasn't quite so common to go to uni.)

I advise teachers and parents on my field of expertise in which I now have over 20 years of experience with. I am still totally amazed that people appreciate and value my advice. If you met me you would be astounded that I feel this way. I come over as very confident and strong.

But I'm not.

I have very few friends because I expect people to let me down. What is the point in spending time developing relationships when ultimately people just let you down?

I see posts on Facebook with people who seem to have strong friendships- going out, having fun, living their lives but I don't have that. I am afraid to strengthen friendships because I know I will be let down.

I had a really good friend (or so I thought) from my antenatal group. Our kids grew up together, I supported her through a messy divorce and she told people that I was a true friend who never judged but for some reason after 14 years she dropped me and I still don't know why. I just avoid friendships now- there is no point.

I am 52 and still feel like a failure.

This is what bullying did to me.

DeleteOrDecay Fri 19-May-17 00:55:26

I still think I have an underlying expectation of rejection that will never go away. I automatically think anybody new I meet is cooler/better/has it more together than me and don't really expect them to like me

This is me to a tee. It takes me a while to accept that someone does genuinely like me and only then do I start to relax around them. Makes making and keeping friends difficult.

I was first bullied in infant school by this one particular girl. For being 'fat' although looking back, I wasn't actually fat at all really. I was never slim but more of an average build. The same girl went to the same primary school and so it carried on for a while there too. I had zero friends in infant school and only a couple of friends in primary.

I am 100% convinced that this is the root cause of why I have such a fucked up body image and low opinion of myself. From that point on I spent my entire childhood and teenage years having no self esteem and being utterly convinced that I was fat. My friends would tell me I wasn't but I was convinced they were just being nice, I mean they're hardly going to turn around and say "actually, you are fat" are they?

Now I am actually overweight and I look back on old photos and I can't believe I ever thought I was fat. It makes me angry that the actions of one nasty girl (and a handful of others but she was the main culprit) in primary school led me to believe things about myself which weren't true. It just shows how bullying can have such a lasting effect on a person, even from a young age. I sometimes wonder how I would have turned out if I had not been bullied. Maybe I'd be more confident and less critical of myself, obviously I can't say for sure either way.

I get so upset about my weight still. Even now Dp tells me I'm not as big as I think I am (3st overweight and short which I feel makes me look bigger) Maybe I have some sort of body dysmorphia? Who knows.

Secondary school wasn't a walk in the park either and I still got grief from a few kids, but I did make friends and was much less of an outcast than I was in primary school.

Kids can be so cruel. My dc getting bullied is one of my biggest fears for them. I wouldn't wish the effect it has on me on anyone.

Sorry for rambling on, it's so cathartic.

RhodaBorrocks Fri 19-May-17 02:02:32

I still think I have an underlying expectation of rejection that will never go away. I automatically think anybody new I meet is cooler/better/has it more together than me and don't really expect them to like me

Oh God, so much this! I have been left with lasting anxiety and depression, I'm convinced people always think the worst of me and that I'm an awful person

I have to use affirmations to remind myself I'm a good person, I've never intentionally hurt someone's feelings and every experience I have had (good or bad) has shaped the good person I am today.

I have some friends, but I hold them at arms length for fear that if I let them in they'll judge me or laugh at me.

SallyMcgally Fri 19-May-17 03:30:01

Slightly different, but we've been living now with the effects of DS1 being bullied for three years. we had to take him out of school and home-ed. He's very shy now, though does at least have a couple of friends, though he's still vulnerable to spiteful 16 year olds. He's year 11. It's shaped him in good and bad ways. He's very very sensitive and kind to those in a similar predicament. He's also desperately anxious, fearful and terrified of being rejected.
I have been treated for anxiety and depression over this. I feel as if I've lost some kind of outer protection from the rough and tumble of the world. Everything now feels hurtful, and I know I over-react. So god know how it feels to him.
I really really want to know how bullies feel in later life - because I'm afraid I'd love to think that his bullies - especially his former best friend - will be consumed by guilt. They deserve to be.
And I'm so sorry for the terrible experiences already described on this thread.

Kursk Fri 19-May-17 03:37:26

I was bullied for being bright. My biggest regret was not standing up for myself and punching the other kid.

I have looked them up on Facebook and they both have crap lives

WesternMeadowlark Fri 19-May-17 03:40:19

I was bullied for being traumatised due to abuse at home. It made me despise most people, because even if you need to bully anyone, who'd sink so low as to pick on someone who is already going through hell?

I recovered well when I left, partly by making all the usual "they were kids", "they probably had their own problems they were trying to deal with" excuses for them.

But then I gradually came to face the fact that I was an adult in a society where the majority of people either support things like cutting mental health care and leaving disabled people - including those with mental/physical health problems resulting from abuse - to die (for spurious reasons, too; it would cost the economy less to support people properly, afaik), or don't think those cuts are wrong enough to at least get out and vote against them.

And it's made me think: what's the point in recovering from bullying past the point where you've got your self-esteem and self-confidence back? Because real life is barely better than school, really. It's still mostly about kicking people when they're down. And people could choose to be better. Most people could be amazing. They have that potential. But they don't, they choose to throw away their capacity for empathy and integrity.

So I don't like most people very much. I give everyone a chance, I don't assume any one person is that bad, and I do everything I can to make positive social change (in a fairly emotionally-detached way), but viewed as a population, I just don't believe the majority of people deserve any respect.

Bullying teaches you negativity. It's better if it's turned towards people who deserve it rather than towards yourself, but it still makes life more difficult. I suppose I'm more of a realist because of it, and use that in a positive, constructive way, but I'm not exactly happy, because I'm so dissatisfied with the world I have to live in. Whether school bullying or the bullying culture of this country as a whole that's done that... I don't know, I suppose they're both the same thing, really. School bullying is probably still so common because treating innocent people like crap, to the point where there's a good chance they'll end up dead because of it, is still seen as a virtue, especially if it's dressed up as being somehow for their good or the common good.

imjessie Fri 19-May-17 03:47:20

It made me really really strong ! I have good self esteem and I'm very amiable . I'll never let those feckers ruin my life !

WesternMeadowlark Fri 19-May-17 03:47:48

PS. I think what I'm talking about there is what's known as "revictimisation". It basically refers to the fact that the way you're treated for having been abused can be as bad, or worse, than the initial abuse. And it compounds it and compounds its effects.

And I think victims, for all the talk that goes on in the media about how terrible abuse/bullying is, get treated appallingly after the event.

PPS. Since I mentioned the economy, there's some interesting stuff out there about the economic cost of abuse; anyone interested can google around whichever kinds they'd like to focus on.

fiftyplustwo Fri 19-May-17 05:52:29

I agree with "don't really expect them to like me". I specifically recall starting a new job when I was around 35 it was an odd and new feeling to realise that people thought of me as just one on their team. I don't remember any rulers being poked, but thumb tacks being placed on my chair (with the pin sticking up) and also my clothes up in a tree (far from reach) and on many occasions the other children declaring they didn't want me on their team at sports, making sounds as if someone is just throwing up. Or in the school yard, you couldn't join in. Also, in the school canteen, people getting up and moving away if you sit down next to them, or simply telling you to make yourself scarce and go sit somewhere else.

I'm also 52 by the way, as currently apparent from my Mumsnet nickname.

Spadequeen Fri 19-May-17 06:03:03

Most of the time I'm fine but every now and then I'm convinced that people are only friends with me because of dh, why on earth would they be friends with someone like me. Luckily I'm usually able to snap out of it fairly quickly but there's always that seed of doubt and fear of rejection.

I'm terrified that it will happen to my gorgeous, confident, outgoing dd's. Im so desperate for them to not live life feeling as I do, so far so good. If I ever heard that one of them was a bully, I'd be devastated and try to bring them up to not take shit from anyone but also don't dish it out, think ignoring how your actions and word can affect others. So far so good.

I'd love to think that my bullies are consumed by guilt but they probably don't even remember me.

ChishandFips33 Fri 19-May-17 06:32:12

Exactly the same thoughts and feelings as you OP

Same reasons for the bullying so it actually stopped me from progressing to uni

on the positive side, as an adult it's made me fight for the underdog

AGrinWithoutACat Fri 19-May-17 06:39:52

Yep - social exclusion led to decisions I made as a teen that I regret just to try and have someone, anyone who liked me

Now I have a acquaintances but I form no friendships as I don't have the skills or ability to fully trust other women, am always looking for the time they will either be mean or just let me down and I know it's me

I don't think I will ever have friends or a friendship group - but I read, I have DH and the DCs and a loving family (and will prob get a dog once the DCs are older and I have more time to look after one as animals never let you down)

wrinkleseverywhere Fri 19-May-17 06:40:13

I'm one of the ones who came out of it fairly positively. It was utterly miserable & very confusing at the time but I was lucky as the teachers always liked me (which led to more bullying) and I began to realise at quite a young age that I valued their judgment of me more than that of my peers. Another thing I learned at a young age was how differently people can behave in 1:1 situations as opposed to when they are following the herd and I had a couple of solid friendships outside of school with people who were too nervous of their position in the herd to really interact (or even acknowledge me sometimes) at school. I learned independence & confidence, or possibly it just reinforced that side of my nature and, whilst it can be tedious whilst it lasts, I don't mind being in a new social group (NCT, work environment) and it taking a while for people to warm to me as I acknowledge that I am not going to be everyone's cup of tea. I know that eventually some people will really like me.
It has also made me stand up more for people if they are being made to feel awkward. In the first year of secondary school, I was walking to the local shop one weekend, happened to walk past a girl who was two years above me who just started hitting me, mainly in my newly budding chest. I will never forget the shock, outrage & pain. By chance, a girl two years above her walked past & immediately intervened. I'm not sure what would have happened if she hadn't. By taking me to the shop (just around the corner), getting them to ring my parents (1.5 miles away) and then, bizarrely, the school librarian coming into the shop, it all became public. The name calling, being picked on, tripped up etc but I was never physically assaulted again.
Negatives - I hate having to walk past a row of people as I expect to be pushed or tripped up; I can never go back to any school reunions as one my main bullies organised all alumni events & I never want to see her again.

Iris65 Fri 19-May-17 06:43:43

^I still think I have an underlying expectation of rejection that will never go away. I automatically think anybody new I meet is cooler/better/has it more together than me and don't really expect them to like me.^ I was bullied at school. ...............I did well and went to uni and have further qualifications which have led to a very fulfilling career. (and I am of an age where it wasn't quite so common to go to uni.) I advise teachers and parents on my field of expertise in which I now have over 20 years of experience with. I am still totally amazed that people appreciate and value my advice. If you met me you would be astounded that I feel this way. I come over as very confident and strong.But I'm not.I have very few friends because I expect people to let me down. What is the point in spending time developing relationships when ultimately people just let you down? I see posts on Facebook with people who seem to have strong friendships- going out, having fun, living their lives but I don't have that. I am afraid to strengthen friendships because I know I will be let down. I had a really good friend (or so I thought) from my antenatal group. Our kids grew up together, I supported her through a messy divorce and she told people that I was a true friend who never judged but for some reason after 14 years she dropped me and I still don't know why. I just avoid friendships now- there is no point. I am 52 and still feel like a failure.This is what bullying did to me.

This describes my experience too. Although I was bullied for other reasons and was bullied by my 'best friend' at secondary school. I was also bullied at home by my father, as well as physically abused by my parents and by my first husband. So the reasons for my feelings are a little more complex.
But this thread reminds me that I am not alone.

Iris65 Fri 19-May-17 06:46:56

Do you know what? We could have survivors of childhood bullying thread like the one for dysfunctional families. That one's called 'But we took you to stately homes'.
What do you think?

Scribblegirl Fri 19-May-17 06:49:37

I still think I have an underlying expectation of rejection that will never go away. I automatically think anybody new I meet is cooler/better/has it more together than me and don't really expect them to like me.

Also echoing this!

I worry that it hasn't made me a very nice person myself. Upon meeting someone I make a snap judgment about where they are on the 'ladder' to me - above or below me. If they're above me I feel shy, nervous, I try too hard and make a dick of myself. If they're 'below' me I don't really want to know them because I don't want to be associated with them.

I do actively try and not do this but ffs, I'm nearly 30 and I'm still obsessed with trying to be in the cool kids gang. Someone once told me that as you get older you start to care less about what other people think of you. I'm still waiting...

ButDoYouAvocado Fri 19-May-17 06:50:40

I was bright, fat, posh, wore glasses and had buck teeth. I may as well have gone around with a target on my back. It started in primary and went right through secondary. Not physical violence but verbal. I would often walk I to class and find not a single person would talk to me.

It was horrendous and has left me with low self esteem I've never really been able to overcome. On paper in successful, I'm happily married, got a successful business and a nice house BUT...im always waiting for someone to complain about the quality of my work (EVEN THOUGH THEY DON'T!!), and if someone is coming to visit I take a whole day off work to clean my house inside out in case they judge me.

I worry about my dog barking too loudly and upsetting the neighbours even though there are dogs everywhere where I live. I worry about taking things back to the shop, about complaining, about whether I'm a good driver and panick about parking when I'm on my way.

I know I need counselling but I've just kind of learnt to live with it.

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Fri 19-May-17 06:54:59

I was bullied for being bright and for being "uncool" - a heinous crime in the 80s. I came from a large family and we were broke so I never had any nice clothes or things. My parents were firmly of the belief that all you had to do was ignore it, and weren't remotely sympathetic. I remember many lonely break and lunch times.

The longterm effect on me is that I have zero self-esteem. I vividly remember the first time I was asked out by a bloke at uni, and I looked round for his mates, thinking that he had been dared to ask out the ugly uncool girl and they would all be pissing themselves somewhere. But he genuinely wanted to go out with me hmm

I am also certain that if something goes wrong it is my fault and if I had tried harder, I could have solved it or prevented it going wrong in some way. So for example, if I told someone what they needed to do and work, and it was done wrongly, I would automatically assume that I had somehow told them in a bad or unhelpful way - not that they screwed up.

picklemepopcorn Fri 19-May-17 06:55:06

Exactly the same as everyone else. I feel rubbish at friendships, I don't think I learned how to do them at the right age. I'm surprised at anyone wanting to be friends with me. I feel most people don't.

But, I am strong and independent, I have huge amounts of empathy and compassion and work hard in my community to make things better for people. I know I am respected for the work I do.

I choose to act as though I am secure and confident and outgoing. My church community knows how hard it is, sometimes.

orangeflower11 Fri 19-May-17 06:56:31

It doesn't bother me, to be honest. I was very odd at school, and I understand why I was bullied! Now I'm a different person.

Mummyoflittledragon Fri 19-May-17 06:58:47

I was already damaged before I went to school so I was a very easy target. I had no ability to interact with others of my age and by aged 5, I considered myself fat and stupid. For many many years, I, too believed I was a fraud and friends didn't really like me. This was reinforced as I moved around as an adult and people made no effort to stay in touch.

I'm having ongoing counselling and it's helped a lot. I've have a few people, who I thought were friends reject me. It stung. But I've now realised there are different levels of friendships and some just come and go because they weren't designed to last and were there just for a specific purpose or because I've now grown out of the friendship, which will happen with a lot of life changing therapy.

I was bullied pretty nastily on and off for much of my childhood both at school and at home. These feelings don't have to stay with you forever. It is a hard slog to change.

MaidenMotherCrone Fri 19-May-17 07:00:11

I was bullied by two evil girls throughout primary school. Mentally and physically. Until the day I took the pair of them on aged 11.

I knocked 7 shades out of them. It was liberating! Neither they nor anyone else ever bothered me again.

Two of my children were bullied until they were pushed to the point of standing up for themselves, They were never bothered again during the rest of school or as adults.

If I had a child now who was being bullied I would tell them to do exactly the same.

I don't have low self esteem and neither do any of my children.

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