Nov 19, 2010

It DOES get better. Bullying and the effect on confidence.

Bullying is a topic that is near and dear to my heart because I had been the one bullied for years.  I was an adopted, geeky, slightly chubby, glasses & braces wearing child.  Now, you may think that adopted doesn't quite fit in with the other normal reasons to be bullied, but in my case it does.  You will never know what it feels like to be told by classmates that your mother didn't want you, that you were thrown in the trash, that you were unloved.  Of course, I know none of that is true, but that's now.  When I was a child facing these horrible things that I was told, I believed it.  I started to believe that maybe I wasn't wanted and maybe my [adoptive] mother didn't even want me.  When you feel unloved, out casted and unwanted, there is little that matters in life.  I had a taste of depression and anxiety at an early age because of the cruel children that decided to put me down and even worse, kick me while I was down. (Figuratively, of course...with words...)

When I was in fifth grade I faced bullying from a teacher. Yes, I said a teacher.  The main reason for her bullying was because I was adopted.  I don't remember exactly what she would say because I have pushed it out of my mind, but they were cruel things.  It wasn't only me that was being bullied, there was another adopted kid in the class who she picked on as well.  My "teacher"'s bulllying got so bad one day, I asked to go to the bathroom and just left completely.  I left my backpack there and just left.  I couldn't handle it anymore and cried.  That night, I had a nervous breakdown and refused to ever go back to that school again.  My mother transferred me to a public school.  

I continued to be bullied until I graduated HIGH SCHOOL.  The bullying even got so bad that I would get physically hurt and humiliated.  There was one time that I was walking to the front of the room for a presentation and someone actually tripped me purposely.  Things were thrown at me and (yes this happens in real life) kick me signs were put on my back.  In High School I would get actual death threats and threats to my well being because of dating guys or just walking past someone.  No one would help with the threats.  My school had just told me it was "childish behavior" that will go away.  They may have been able to write it off, but I had my mother pick me up from school every single day and drive me home, even though I lived right around the corner.  My fears and anxiety got even worse because of those who threatened me.  I would fear going to school or walking through the halls.    

Bullying and being degraded in such a way really takes a toll on your self confidence and the way you carry yourself.  For the longest time I hated myself.  I wasn't sure of my purpose here, just as the others do.  However, I never had suicidal thoughts because I knew that my family meant the world to me, even if people had been bullying me.  I was very depressed and never wanted to do anything because I was afraid that I would constantly get made fun of.  Even now, my confidence is still fairly low.  It has been built up a slight bit since I was younger, but it is still deeply impacted by my past.

Now, I teach my children to be respectful of others.  I teach them that they cannot make fun of someone because of their differences.  Everyone is special in their own way and no one deserves to be degraded or made fun of.  My girls understand and they are very respectful and polite little girls. (Well, when they want to be.)  Bullying is still a topic that is very important to me.  Maybe my story can help someone else who is going through the same thing.  There was much more that went on in the way of bullying besides what I wrote about up there.  Though, if I had gone through everything, we would be here for days...

(Inspired by Mama Kat's prompt: In what way were you labeled as a child and how did it affect you?)