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  • Jagruthi Maddela

What I learnt after getting bullied for years

Updated: Feb 17, 2020

This post was a rather emotional one for me to write, considering I kept the events that happened a secret for over fifteen years. Let’s start with my first interaction with whom I now call a “bully”. Most people’s childhoods are filled with amazing memories of them going to school for the first time, their first teacher, their first friend, their first classroom. My Kindergarten started with an interaction with my first bully. A girl who was in second grade, who, I have no clue to this day, why she hated me. From taunting me about my hair, to making fun of whatever I said, she had it in for me. I particularly remember one evening, when she tied me up to a pole and hit me with school belts along with her friends. The one friend I had, ran from the sight in fear of getting beaten up as well.

This was my daily routine on a regular school day – go to classes and get beaten up after. After a week, I did what you would expect any sane five -year old to do – I told my Dad about it. He came to school the next day, found my bullies, spoke to them about everything under the sun super sweetly. He never addressed the fact that they were mean to me. So, the bullying continued for another academic year. Now, my night time routine included crying myself to sleep on most nights, completely dreading school the next day. I figured – if my dad didn’t do anything about it, no one else would. It made sense at the time to not tell anyone about what I was going through – including my Mom. I was told, later, that Bully #1 transferred to another school.

Why did I just tell you something really disturbing that happened to me after not speaking about it to anyone? Literally nobody on this planet knew about this incident except for two people, My Dad and my best friend at the time. I chose to write about it because of who I have become, as a product of such incidents.

You see, when you’re the victim, it’s never about the physical pain. It’s that feeling you have when you’re the only one against a group of people. That feeling of loneliness, when everyone around you is completely indifferent to how you’re feeling. It’s very easy to become a shy, self-doubting individual with low self-esteem when you’re made to feel like a victim, repeatedly. Two years of bullying made me a meek and lonely child. It was hard for me to make friends. To this day, I consider only two people to be my best friends, after fifteen years of school.

Being bullied messes you up in more ways than one. It made me doubt my abilities a lot. Every time I would think about getting out of my comfort zone and trying something new, I could see that one hater rolling their eyes at my actions. It makes you feel unworthy of any praise you receive, and your brain just brushes off any compliment as someone just being polite. “If I was so good, why did that one person treat me like trash?” this thought goes on like a loop every time someone says something positive about you.

Now, for the interesting part. It’s easy. It’s easy to doubt people around you, have trust issues, have your brain messed up, push people away and conveniently blame your past for it. I did it for as long as I can remember. Can you really do anything about it? No, right? Let’s be this messed up for the rest of our lives! Yay! Except, there is no fun in doubting every single move you make. There is no fun in being your own spiteful critic instead of being your own best friend. There is certainly no fun in not being confident about whatever you set out to do.

If you’re a person who is getting bullied currently, I won’t give you cheesy textbook advice like “stand up against them!” etc. However, what you can do is distance yourself from whatever/whoever steals your peace. Easier said than done? I know. Let me illustrate.

Now, bullies can come in different forms. Someone I considered a best friend told me “I looked like a witch” when I wore black on my birthday. I repeat, it was my birthday. I made a conscious decision to never celebrate my subsequent birthdays with her. Your bully could be someone you completely trust and confide in. Does it mean you can do away with being treated any less of a person than you are? Does it mean you can compromise on your self-respect when you’re around certain people? This is what I mean when I say, “distance yourself” no matter who your bully is. It’s for your own well-being.

We humans, in general, have a tough time loving ourselves, with all the comparisons we make, not to real people, but, to the “highlight reel” of someone else’s life. When you’ve gone through bullying, your journey to self-love can be an even longer one. What helped me was to actively ignore anybody or anything that caused me anxiety. I hope this helps you too.

Good vibes always,

Jag.


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