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Healing from Being Bullied

The Billboard Project has been amazing to watch: 1010 donors and $21,721.20. People came out of the woodwork to donate. Many of them commented that they didn’t want today’s children to know the pain that they knew growing up. I understand this well. Watching this happen, I’ve been remembering a lot of the bullying and attacks I experienced as a child. Let me state from the beginning – this is a good thing!!

Last week, I wrote about feeling excluded. For me, those feelings came to a head because of the Billboard Project bringing up old memories. When I became aware of those feelings, I was able to heal some old stuff from the past. And, apparently, I’m not done. Now it is time for me to face some old anger and hurt from being bullied.

I’ve worked on healing some this stuff before when I decided to get over some old resentments, namely towards my parents. However, I don’t think I have ever really faced the bullying as a whole. Since I’ve worked through such things before, though, I do have a process that works.

  1. Name it. I kept trying to forgive my parents and could not get there until I named my experience as child abuse (in the guise as punishment. My parents believed the Biblical line, “spare the rod, and spoil the child”). We call our childhood experiences bullying but the reality is I experienced VIOLENCE in the form of physical and emotional attack. I was hit, touched inappropriately, teased mercilessly, and humiliated. And not just from my fellow children – I had a number of teachers, namely coaches, who made fun of me in front of the class. One coach in elementary school would terrorize me during gym class, setting me up for painful and humiliating jokes.
  2. Get mad about it. When I first dealt with my parental issues, I tried to skip the anger part and go straight to forgiveness. It didn’t work. I had to get really, really mad and work through that anger. Anger can be scary. Many of us have been taught not to be the angry fat person. Many of us have so much anger within us that we are scared that anger will rip us apart. I was scared of my own anger – what was I capable of in a rage? But I had to face that anger and work through it.
  3. I have found that I need to move anger through my body; physical activity helps me work through anger better than any other process. I’ve beat pillows; I’ve gone on a power hike, stomping with every step; I’ve danced it out. Sometimes, I have to do it regularly for a time. To work through my anger at my parents, it took six months of concentrated effort. This leftover bullying stuff seems to have taken about ten days.

  4. Forgive them. I fought forgiveness because I thought forgiving them said what they did was ok and that I deserved it. I’ve learned that forgiveness doesn’t mean it is alright. It doesn’t mean they should not experience the consequences of their actions. It does not mean I will put myself in that person’s power again. It means that I am choosing to set myself free from that anger and pain. It means that I am not willing to put any more time and effort towards those negative feelings. Now, I found forgiving my mom easy; she really did try and be the best parent she could be (she didn’t exactly have good role models). My dad, though, was a bully and a jerk. I had a lot harder time forgiving him. Along the same lines, I can pretty easily forgive the children who bullied me. Many of them were in abusive situations themselves. I have a harder time forgiving the adults; they should have known better.

    Yet, I don’t want that ick inside me any longer, so I choose to forgive. I have found that forgiveness is a choice, one I can make at any time. When I choose to forgive, eventually, I will feel forgiving. I’ve made the choice to forgive those adults, though I don’t find it easy. I don’t have that forgiving feeling yet, but I know it will come in time.

  5. Help someone else. I have found that sharing my healing stories can be of benefit to others and make me feel better about my past. Though I hate that I went through such things, I’m glad if my experience helps you. When I offer my experience, strength and hope, I am offering another person a possible way out. You may find this process works for you as is or with a little adjustment, or you may find it completely doesn’t work for you. Whatever the answer, you may have found out a little more about yourself in the process, and, for that, I am grateful.

When I first started dealing with my childhood issues, I could not do it alone – I had too much anger inside me, overwhelming me. I needed a good therapist who understood how to work through such issues. Today, I have the tools to do it on my own.

I have heard of many ways to work through anger and heal from the past. This is the one that worked for me. Have you worked through it in another way?

The whacked narcissism of self hatred | Warning: A new twist on fen-phen being prescribed as diet cocktail drug despite FDA concerns

worrier February 16th, 2012 | Link | "When I first dealt with my

"When I first dealt with my parental issues, I tried to skip the anger part and go straight to forgiveness. It didn’t work."

Totally agree with this. I have found feeling angry at the right person, for the right reasons, very theraputic. It helps me to not carry "baggage" that doesn't belong to me, and helps push away depression, which is something I have to work on. This doesn't necessary mean going around shouting at people. I find just feeling the anger, without expressing it outloud, is theraputic. Would like more therapy too, but money, money, money.

Also agree with everything else you said in the post. Acknowledging what happened is extremely important in my view. Everyone I ever talked to about the bullying (teasing as it was known as back then) dismissed it as nothing "just ignore it, just don't let it bother you". When I say everyone, I mean absolutely everyone, until I first went to a psychologist in the early nineties. I've found that there is a lot of pressure from people to dismiss the things that are said and done in childhood bullying, and said and done to fat adults by other adults. I think it's very important to resist this pressure and both acknowledge to oneself the importance of this bad treatment and to state to others that it matters when people are treated badly.

I don't think I've got to the forgiveness stage yet. Still in the angry stage, but I find the angry stage useful, so that's ok by me.

loniemc February 17th, 2012 | Link | worrier, when we have been

worrier, when we have been denied anger for so very long (because, you know, it's either all in our imaginations or it isn't really THAT bad), we sometimes have to sit with it for awhile. I think it is an incredibly important part of healing.

loniemc February 17th, 2012 | Link | Emerald, I think healing

Emerald, I think healing parental stuff can sometimes be the hardest. I like your use of creativity to heal. I think any form of creativity -- I use writing -- can be instrumental in healing.

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