It’s been a while since I’ve posted about bullying. Time to bring it up again, methinks.
This post from May, 2014 describes a study that shows the impact of bullying can last a lifetime.
To me, the results of the study are obvious. I would have been surprised if they had been different. But I’ve heard the opposite account:
I was bullied as a child. It made me stronger and better able to stand up for myself.
And I say (under my breath): well done. I’m happy for you. But don’t ever make me think I’m to blame because that wasn’t my experience.
Probably when people have said this, they didn’t intend to apportion blame to others. Probably it was simply the way I viewed it for a long time. Fortunately, I have learned to change that view. The way I coped with the bullying then was what caused it to influence my adult life. But I couldn’t possibly have known then what effects my coping method would cause.
I have read two excellent Crooked Cat novels that feature bullying: Myopia by Jeff Gardiner and Once Removed by KB Walker.
In the first, the victim is unlikely to have lasting effects, as the experience is short-lived and he is a popular child. In the second, I think effects could continue. It depends how her life spans out.
Are there any novels that continue past the childhood experience? I haven’t read any. But one of the novels I’ve been working on of late attempts to do just that. I hope it sees the light of day soon.
By the way, the post mentions three signs that show that something is wrong: children not wanting to go to school, failing grades, crying. While these are common, they’re not universal. None of them applied to me.
2 replies on “About Bullying”
I don’t quite agree that bullying made me stronger, but rather, it has had lasting effects that have evolved over time. In the beginning, I was quicker to build defenses and learned to focus my energies on my strengths. Over time, I’ve given myself permission to be okay with the things I was bullied about because I started understanding I wasn’t the problem in the bully situation. But this took time and introspection to get to.
I think I’ve done that, too, over the years. What I haven’t been able to change are the behaviours that bullying caused. I haven’t learned to do the things I missed out on because of it.