Overcoming the Lasting Effects of Bullying.

I’ve been doing some research on the long-term effects of bullying. This is a subject the I have obsessed about for years. You see, I was the subject of bullying for years. As long as I can remember, I’ve lived with the fear of being singled out and persecuted for reasons I had no control over. I was an early “bloomer”. I started developing in the fourth grade. Add in blonde hair, blue eyes, and a shy demeanor, you have a girl walking around with a big bullseye on her back. It was toward the end of sixth grade when I started noticing boys “noticing” me. Asking me to dance at the school dance was the extent of it, but that’s when the rumors started. This shy girl who felt like Cinderella at the ball when a popular guy asked her to dance had no idea what was about to happen. That the next three years would be a living nightmare. For whatever reason, I was labeled a slut and a tease. Really? I was extremely immature sexually at that time. Basically had NO idea what was going on with myself let alone anyone else, and to be labeled like that was heartbreaking. I was threatened on a daily basis. Riding the bus was a nightmare. One instance that I can remember, I was sitting in the front of the bus and three or four girls were behind me. The insults ranged from my shaggy hair, my old clothes, to my perfume. I just kept my head down, each word a dagger in my heart when a crumple piece of paper fell into my lap. It was a photo I’d given to a relative. They had drawn and wrote derogatory comments all over it. As they got off the bus laughing one turned and said “Just wait until you get into High School. We’ll be waiting for you.” I would walk down the grocery store aisle, they would follow whispering all the things that they were going to do. I only had one friend this entire time and even she chose to cave into the bullying and betray me. See, it was easier to do that than be bullied herself. By the end of the eighth grade, I was petrified. I made myself sick trying to figure out what to do. I finally convinced my mother to let me change schools. It was the only solution I could come up with. Since the school was just in the next town, I still had to deal with some “stuff” but it was minimal. But the damage was done. I never really had a best friend again. I kept to myself and tried to blend into the crowd as much as I could. I never wanted to speak up in class and became frozen in fear if called on. When  I started hearing about all the focus that bullying was getting, I began to wonder what the long-term effects would be. I found several wonderful articles that help explain the repercussion of BEING bullied.

“Defining Bullying Down” is a NYTimes article written by Emil Bazelon. In it she states “Bullying is a particular form of harmful aggression, linked to real psychological damage, both short and long-term.” She also states in it that adults need to become more educated in the different types of bullying so they can be supportive.

“10 Indications That Your Child is Being Bullied” by Anna Fleet is an eye-opening look at what bullying really looks like. ( I had 5 of the 10)

Bullying Statistics.org has various articles on different types of bullying and the lasting effects. I particularly liked the one on female bullying.

The Huffington Post article “Long-term effects of Bullying Pain Lasts into Adulthood.” by Stephanie Pappas

One of the most informative articles I found was at the American Academy of Traumatic Stress. “Long-term Effects of Bullying.” by Mark Domburg Ph.D. Dr. Domburg states that “Bullying is an attempt to instill fear and self loathing. Being the repetitive target of bullying damages your ability to view yourself as a desirable, capable, effective individual.” He also states that ” Identity is a social process. Other people contribute to it.”

Wow.. I never realized the things that I am experiencing now could have stemmed from hurtful events so long ago. Funny thing is, there are still certain people from my past who still hold grudges. They still say hurtful things if I am mentioned in conversation, even 30+ years later!! Funny, I wonder if they even remember why they started hating me so much? Maybe they can enlighten me since I never knew why in the first place.

A Final Beginning??

How many beginnings can a person have? When we “find” ourselves is that the end? I know our lives are ever changing, but should we look to do this, or just allow it to unfold? I personally feel like I’m treading water. My legs are going 100 miles an hour, but I’m not getting anywhere. Our girls have finally left the house, so maybe this is “empty nest” syndrome. While I miss them desperately, I find myself at a standstill. I feel that my life was so wrapped up in my children that, through no fault of their own, I am now at a complete loss as to what to do. I know I have many contributions that would benefit the right situation. I know I’d be a good worker,a good friend. I am just at a loss how to achieve this. So, I have decided to pursue to only untried course left. I am looking into re entry courses to go back to school. I figure that this is something that I can control. I can attend school at my own pace and get my degree. It seems very daunting. Wish me luck…

Do you have “real” friends?

What constitutes a real friend? What I mean is, does anyone know what the word friend means anymore? Wikipedia says this:

 

“Friendship is a form of interpersonal relationship generally considered to be closer than association, although there is a range of degrees of intimacy in both friendships and associations. Friendship and association are often thought of as spanning across the same continuum. The study of friendship is included in the fields of sociologysocial psychologyanthropologyphilosophy, and zoology. Various academic theories of friendship have been proposed, among which are social exchange theoryequity theory, relationaldialectics, and attachment styles.

Value that is found in friendships is often the result of a friend demonstrating the following on a consistent basis:

  • The tendency to desire what is best for the other
  • Sympathy and empathy
  • Honesty, perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth, especially in terms of pointing out the perceived faults of one’s counterpart
  • Mutual understanding and compassion; ability to go to each other for emotional support
  • Enjoyment of each other’s company
  • Trust in one another
  • Positive reciprocity — a relationship is based on equal give and take between the two parties.
  • The ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings and make mistakes without fear of judgement.
  • It is very important to have honesty, trust, sympathy, respect and helpfulness in friendship.”

You can find various forms of friendship across most species. But I truly believe that in todays society, “friendship” is something that is lacking. Now, I am not talking about the Mommie and Me group meeting friends that you see once a week, or the Spin class girls that are great fun to talk to, but a true friend. One that hits the bullet points above without breaking a sweat.
1. The tendency to desire what is best for the other.. 
In other words, a friend does not feel jealous or competitive but is really happy for the achievements that others have done. They want what’s best for you, even if you may not see it at the moment. They will take the time to try and get you to understand their point of view without pressure.
2.Sympathy and empathy
A lot of people are misunderstand these traits. Illness and death are super hard to talk about and consoling someone experiencing these things is next to impossible. But we need to try! Bringing your friend food and then leaving, may not be what they need. They may need a person willing to just sit and LISTEN. We don’t need to say anything, just listen. Or maybe they won’t want to talk at all…. they may just want you there for comfort. Friends should know each other well enough to gauge this in the other.
3.Honesty, perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth
Being brutally honest is one thing, but having the courage to hold your friend accountable is a good thing.
4.Mutual understanding and compassion; ability to go to each other for emotional support..
I hit on this in number two. Women especially need to have someone that they trust will understand with compassion.
5.Trust in one another…& Positive reciprocity — a relationship is based on equal give and take between the two parties.
HUGE, HUGE,HUGE!!!!!! I believe that many people take others trust too lightly. Things that are told in passing or in confidence should never be offered as conversation to others.
6.The ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings and make mistakes without fear of judgement…
To be able to speak to someone (other than your spouse) without fear of judgement…what an amazing concept!

As I write this, I look at my life at this moment and realize that I do not have many that I would consider a true friend. I have MANY wonderful acquaintances, but not true friends. My Grandparents would get together with friend a couple nights a week. They would play, dominoes or cards, laughing and joking well into the night. They’d go on vacations with their friends. They’d have BBQ’s with their friends. They’d drop everything to rush to a friend who needed them. They made it a priority to have friendships. What happened??? Have we become so self absorbed that we feel we don’t need this anymore? I watched my children, now fully grown, struggle all through school AND beyond with friendships. When they were little, they’d look up at me and ask “Why can’t I find a friend who likes ME?”  Talk about a heart breaker! I’d sit there hugging and crying with them, assuring them that it would change. But will it? Does anyone know how to be a friend anymore? Is anyone willing to take the time and EFFORT it will take to build a relationship like that? I hope so…

Choices

We are faced with thousands of choices. From the time we wake up, to the time we go to sleep, we are bombarded with them. Everyone from movie stars to infomercials know what we need better than we do. And if you through the word “Diet” into the mix….. look out!!!!  You’ve got green bean, cabbage, soybean, tofu, green tea, low carb, no carb, all protein, no meat, no food choices….it’s enough to make you hide in the closet whimpering! And believe me, I’ve tried most of them. The first time I decided to nip this weight gain in the bud, I joined Weight Watchers. This was roughly 12 years ago. I loved the group support but the weight loss was slllooowwwww. I was a little impatient back then. Then they closed our area meeting place so on to the next. I can’t even THINK about a certain no carb all protein diet that was extremely popular a few years ago, without gagging. The first couple of days, I was in heaven! All the meat and cheese I could eat??? By about the third day, meat had lost it’s appeal and I had extreme weakness and headaches. After some research, I concluded I was going through severe carb withdrawal. I didn’t even know you could do that!! So on to the next diet, touting a low carb plan with no withdrawals. Named after a popular beach on the east coast, it was the next new craze. Problem was, I still had the withdrawal (though not as bad as before), the recipes weren’t the best, and now my cravings were out of control. Cravings are my downfall… Carbs, chocolate, caramel, Starbucks salted caramel bites!!!!!YUMMMMMMM!!!! Sorry, I’m back, anywho, I can now say I have found something that is finally starting to work for me and my freak metabolism. I have been trying a system based on the book The 17 Day Diet. It very informative and easy to follow. The 17 day part does NOT mean you will lose the desired weight in that time, rather that each cycle in the program is 17 days long. This intrigued me. 17 days, that’s not too long, if a cycle seems more difficult. Ok, next is Dr. Moreno’s theory that you hit certain plateaus because your body grows used to a way of eating. BRILLIANT!! So that’s why diets haven’t worked for me in the past…(head slap) So to combat this, in his second phase(which I’m am now starting) he has you very your eating. While you are allowed more foods in this phase, you alternate with one meal from the first phase every other day, thus keeping your metabolism on it’s toes. I am close to day 22 and …drum roll…..10 lbs gone!! While this is not as fast as stated in the book, I’m ok with that. I don’t have the blood sugar dips I used to have. And my cravings…GONE!!!!!! WHOOHOO …shout it from the rooftops!! I am so relieved about that one. So I will trudge on, slowly adding the foods I love back into my diet, hoping that I can continue to make better choices. Will update soon……until then,   BON APPETIT !! 😀

 

P.S. I am not affiliated with The 17 Day Diet in anyway. These are my opinions and have not received any payment for my support.  Thanks!!

Phase 3 ~The New Health Regime~

I have decided to blog about something deeply private to me. My weight. I have always battled to be the size “required” by society. I guess you’d classify me as rubenesque. Funny how something that was so beautiful that masters sought to capture images of larger women  for centuries, has become a shameful condition. It saddens me that we have been lumped together with health issues. Now I’m not saying that I am a healthy weight by any means. Goodness know I need to lose some weight. But it is doubtful that I, being 44, will ever get to the Dr.’s goal weight of 135 lbs. Pulease!!! I will settle for feeling healthy, no more pain in my joints, and possibly buying clothes that fit nicely and are comfortable. *sigh* So onward I go, hoping to start and end this journey the same, with the proper mind set to get healthy and stay that way. This is no minor feat. Coming from a long line of couch potatoes, I know I have the deck stacked against me.  Wish me luck and please feel free to hold me accountable. I will be posting about my journey in future posts.

Fun-Sized!!

So we were able to spend a couple days with our youngest daughter last weekend. She is a kick to be around. Very spontaneous and extremely funny, there is never a dull moment when she’s there. That being said… she decided that I am now to be known as fun-sized. Fun-sized??? How can I be fun-sized? I am 5’6″ and weigh…well, never mind. ANYWAY, there are many wonderful things that are fun-sized..

Maggie, our Yorkie, is fun-sized.

Snickers…DEFINANTLY fun-sized

Awwwwww….. but not…

Me…yeah, I know.

Is 20 too old to ground??  :-/

 

 

Chances are….

I consider myself a fairly spontaneous person. I can change on a whim. Do something different. Try something new, all without relative harm to my mental state. The thing I am really bad about is taking chances. Now-a-days, it is very hard for me to do something that, I feel, is a risk. Most of it is physical risk. It terrifies me to think of flying to another country without a hardcore plan in mind. It always has. My sisters are more of the adventurous sorts. They have done things like that and more. I am envious of the adventures they have had, but shiver to think of doing them myself. I always start playing the “what if..” game. What if I lose my way in a strange city?…What if the boat leaves without me?…What if my husband or I get thrown in jail for some ignorance on our part and sit in a cell to rot??? OK, I know that’s a little extreme, but you get the idea. I have come to realize that for me to truly enjoy things like big vacations, I need to spend the extra money and hire a travel agent to make sure that all my fears are addresses. So vacations are handled, but what about the rest? Our family have been on a veritable roller coaster since about September. I won’t bore you with the details, but needless to say, it was hard to focus on all the wonders of the holidays this year.  :0(  And now, we are headed for the next great adventure in our lives. In two weeks time, my hubby and I will be relocating. We will be moving about 3 hrs away from our current home to San Luis Obispo. This has been a dream of ours for many years. (Though I did think our children would be moving with us….) So this is where that crazy fear comes in. What if we don’t like it like we “think” we will?…What if my husbands job fizzles out?…What if…. See, what I mean? Changes are good. They keep you alert and on your “A” game.I am really excited about it… really!

Wow… 2 1/2 months…

since my last post, that is. Talk about a whirlwind!!!! The house is up for sale (Anyone interested??? Anyone???), Rob has already been working in San Luis Obispo for 3 months, and our oldest is getting MARRIED next month!!!! Yikes!! Ok…breathe…  It’s actually going really well. She knows what she wants and we are making it happen. It going to be beautiful!! And then,(fingers crossed) we’ll be in SLO by Nov. I’ll try to be better about blogging our progress…