Funny that this topics pops up in my head. Maybe it has something to do with the confrontation I witnessed the other day between two professionals and my part in that interaction. It brought up many feelings for me. Up until a few years ago, even as an adult, I was unable to recognize that I was being bullied, much less stand up for myself. So, I just wanted to find out if there were more people like me out there. The old adage about judging a book by it’s cover? Well, I am the perfect example. I am not the “average girl!” I am big built, big voice, big persona! I can’t tell you how many times I have been told “You don’t seem like the kind” when I share my experiences. I discovered that there is no ‘kind‘. We all have weaknesses and they get exploited, mostly unintentionally. Through the journey of self-awareness, I discovered that each person has their individual struggles (even the bullies) and how we can get past them.
When I started to think about this topic, my mind was flooded. Tsunami is more like it! Memories, (mostly unpleasant) old and new rushed in all too quickly. I understood that I couldn’t do that over-dosing to my readership. So, I decided to write the blog in parts. I urge you to stay with me through this. It is really hard as I relive moments while I write about them. PART-I is about Childhood.
I was bullied as a child. By older siblings, cousins and seniors in school. They would tease me just to watch how easily I cried. I was younger, alone and helpless. I was a sensitive kid who wanted to be seen and liked. Birth order of being 3rd out of four daughters put me in an pre-determined slot to be an approval seeker and people pleaser. (This need to be acknowledged may have turned me into an ambitious over achiever.) I was taller than kids my age and they were easily intimidated by me. I was always slotted with the older ones because of that. (I was once assigned a senior dorm in my boarding school where I was the only 6th grader.) I tried really hard to fit in and be accepted in all situations and groups at home and outside. I now know that this coping mechanism made me anxious and conflict averse. I was could not recognize problematic situations and address them leaving me vulnerable and paralyzed. I was powerless and unable to call out the bully. On the one hand I was this smart, popular, funny, sports captain and on the other, I was the girl who was scared of upsetting people and being left out.
I thought everything will be better when I grew up. I could not wait for adulthood. Well, guess what? Bullying can happen to grown-ups too. Read what I discovered in PART-II Adulthood! next week.
By the way, my sister is now my friend and plays an important part in my life. However, those tough memories remain within me. I recognize the impact of childhood interactions on our future selves. Hence, I am very mindful about creating this awareness in my children and do my best to let them know that they are never helpless or unseen.
Until next time..@thethinkingcaptain