BEATING THE FINAL BULLY

As promised earlier today here is my friend Lizzi with her bully post.  Her story serves as a reminder of how important our jobs are as guardians and the village as a whole.  We can’t protect our children from all the bad things that can and will happen but we can do our best to build self confidence and at the VERY least we can be their safe place to turn.

Please welcome Lizzi!

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BEATING THE FINAL BULLY by Lizzi (Considerer)

In a reality where I was part of a repressed man’s effort to appear ‘normal’ by having a family and living up to the expectations placed upon him, I was very much starting from minus numbers when it came to social interaction. His behaviour was such that people didn’t want to visit our house, or if they did, the atmosphere rapidly grew thick with discomfort, and there was always the undercurrent of worry that he might start acting out.

I responded with a thick shell of oblivion; astonished, and on edge when visiting friend’s houses (well, my mum’s friends really – I didn’t have any of my own until later), that the Daddy was nice to everyone, and that they didn’t seem wary of him. Warm expressions of love towards the Mummy or the children were just alien, or so it seemed to me. I don’t remember equating that with my own existence at all.

So I was unsocialised and utterly ‘outsidered’. Awkward. Ungainly and ugly, without anyone to keep me on trend or in the loop. I vividly remember the time when a gang of kids on the school bus picked on one of their favourite scratching-posts – a blond, pudgy boy with earnest teeth and weak, blue eyes – and afterwards I went to offer him some words of comfort (knowing how he must be feeling), but even he spurned me. Then I knew I truly was at the bottom of the pecking order.

There were a few children who bore my presence – other losers, sometimes kids from church (though there, it was alright because of proximity, and we went to different schools, so they never had to acknowledge me outside of that context), there was one friend I made in girl guides who was stalwart, who seemed to really like me, until my oblivion-induced lack of empathy wore her down, and she could no longer stand me. Even my own sister hated me most of the time, but it was okay, because I hated her back, and if I’m honest, I hated me, too.

Who in the world would want to be friends with someone so repulsive? I wouldn’t…an attitude which has come to cause lasting damage.

And so it was that I ended up the obvious victim. Bullied and torn down at home, bullied and torn down at school, and at church (once families with kids my age had moved on), isolated through lack of anyone left in my proximity. Too young and uninteresting for the adults. Too old and too much of a laughing-stock for the kids.

I blundered on, growing angry. Not because I felt that life should be different – I didn’t have the imagination to conceive that it could be. But hatred festered; some turned inwards, and some towards the unfairness of why people didn’t like me. Not once did I take responsibility or consider my part in it. Even once I realised the ground-shifting horror that the pedestal I’d placed my parents on as a child (because that’s what you do) was a total sham, I was unable to process the idea that all I had picked up about my worth as a human being was likewise a sham.

I was a victim, both obvious and absolute. I passively accepted that I was largely unlovable, and destined to be an outcast. I remember ONE non-familial adult taking an interest – a babysitter who grew to be a family friend. She was isolated, too, and thinking back, perhaps she saw a kindred spirit in me. We became firm friends, though we’ve lost touch at the moment. She was my lifeline, even though she got on with my father and sometimes took his side – I did at least feel increasingly equal with her as friends, rather than humoured, as with the adult:child relationships of the rest of my life.

It wasn’t until the summer after school ended for good that I decided to take charge. It wasn’t even that I decided – I just knew I could not and would not continue life as that awful, bullied person. And it worked. I made friends. I met my Soulie, who has been the making of me, and who has known me half my life, at this point. I discovered that I could make people laugh. I slowly learned that I could make them like me, nay – I could be likeable.

Slowly, gradually, I realised the part I had to play in changing the way I had become. I began to face up to the attitudes and mannerisms I had picked up, and took responsibility for changing my behaviour from ‘victim’ to something intentionally, purposefully, positively engaging. I learned how to empathise. I have developed the ability to befriend others, using my former victim status to try to understand where they’re coming from. I have learned in the best of ways how truly, deeply wonderful it is to have friends, and to re-forge strong, warm familial bonds. I have discovered the power of forgiveness. I can be nice, and I know that I’m good in relationships with other people.

Most of my childhood and teen years were a daily hell and nothing would induce me to go back, yet more recently I’ve felt peace about those situations. They were all explainable (if not excusable). There I was; a ready-made scratching post for those insecure enough in the complex, hormone-fuelled hierarchy of the playground, to need it. How could I gripe? I had nothing better to contribute. In the end, their actions speak more of their characters than they ever did of mine, likewise the situation at home.

But in spite of the ready explanations I have to let my bullies off the hook, I still point the finger of blame at her – at the child I once was. I hold her responsible for being unappealing and unlikeable. She makes me shudder. Yet she is part of me, and that makes me feel worse. The impact of unfriending myself, all those years ago – the pitiful breaking apart of that relationship with the child-me – is where I need to take charge now:

I was told for too long that my opinions didn’t count, so why would I take time to form a positive opinion about myself? Just adopt the negatives others are so willing to bestow.

I am told not to form a sense of self based on the opinions of others, so where does that leave me? Surely they are more discerning than I am?

You see the catch-22.

I have washed up, adrift, on the shores of my own mind, and discovered that I’m stranded in a no-man’s land, where others think me a reasonably good and engaging person, and enjoy my friendship, whilst I quiver in terror at the thought that one day they’ll discover that I really am the awful girl I was back then. I haven’t yet found a way to forgive her for the hideous person she was, nor what being her has put me through.

It sounds terribly selfish and a bit surreal, but I feel as though if I could jettison her, I would be happier; if only I could start again, things would be better. It’s just not possible, and I’ve a feeling that what I need to do is make my peace with the spectre of my own history.

Because I can’t stand her. I can’t stand the way her existence haunts me and taints me with shame and clouds my view. But as an adult, I feel I must take responsibility for trying to broker peace with the vile thing I once was. I must hold up my hands to a complete lack of compassion for that child, and find a way to send some in her direction, for it seems that the final bully she has to deal with…is me!

It’s important to me to achieve this somehow, because as adults, it is vital for us to show children that we are serious about holding an anti-bullying stance, or they will grow up insecure and untrusting. It is fundamental that we protect the younger generations from abusive relationships, whether these be with peers or with adults; it is our role and responsibility to them. It is imperative that we show even the most unappealing children that they are worthwhile, because otherwise they might grow up believing they are worthless.

We have a responsibility to demonstrate compassion and care for everyone. Perhaps we need to focus most on the kids who are already at a disadvantage – the losers; the socially ugly; the victims; the self-obsessed, pompous, lonely ones. Perhaps our input can help them. Perhaps their lives will get back on track sooner.

Perhaps they won’t turn out as messy as we did.


lizziLizzi is a Deep Thinker, Truth-Teller and seeker of Good Things. She’s also silly, irreverent and tries to write as beautifully as possible. She sends glitterbombs and gathers people around her – building community wherever she can.

She’s living Life in Silver Linings and *twinklysparklygoodness* because two miscarriages and a subsequent diagnosis of spousal infertility will rather upset anyone’s applecart. She borrows other people’s children to love while she learns to accept a future she never expected.
Lizzi is a founder member of Sisterwives and #1000Speak, and hosts the Ten Things of Thankful bloghop each weekend.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Considerings
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LRConsiderer
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LizziR/posts
Pintrest: http://www.pinterest.com/LizziConsiderer/

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62 thoughts on “BEATING THE FINAL BULLY

  1. (if so, it’s only proper/if not, then I will not take it to heart)… Lizzi I know where you’re writing from and agree, you are one of the exception(s) that others (like you/like me) can draw strength from/identify with… and that is what I get from your post/insight…. to find yourself in a place where you are not irreconcilably the Outsider, but the tiniest of connections is enough to build (yourself) on
    …I’ll come back later when I can be more coherent and direct, but, for now, I enjoy this Post (and didn’t want to claim Frist without content)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so glad you told your story, Lizzi. I am working on mine right now. You are so right. It begins in the home and building self love and confidence in children is where it shall prosper. Not the kind of confidence that builds one up to put another down, but the kind of confidence to accept differences with compassion. To show love to everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would like to say that I no longer blame the child — I have committed my share of sins and wrongs as an adult, and I look at that and say to myself “See, you were always no good…. here’s the proof.” I have no benchmark for what is acceptable human weakness, and what is worthy of shame. Because I spent most of my days feeling shame as a default.
    I relate so well to this. I’m so sick of people saying things like “Well, maybe the reason you went through this was to give others strength…” I am not someone’s object lesson, nor are you, Lizzi. You are not your rotten childhood. You are whatever you’ve made yourself and THAT — that is what inspires people. WHO YOU ARE. The rest is just back story. The Secret Origin of Lizzi Rogers.

    Liked by 5 people

    • That is a lovely, kind, and accepting comment. Thank you so much. I know I need to stop blaming that child and somehow make peace with her. To accept her as my history, and draw a line under her existence and move on from where and who I am NOW.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I kept saying to myself, Yep, yep, yes. Hell Yes! as I was reading your story. I have so much else to add to this…I should actually get my own post finished and turned into Hasty…You are a wonderful human, LIzzi. I am glad that you are who you are.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I suspect that if you were to meet a child who was just like you were, you would be kind. Why should you hold your interaction with your past self any differently? You grew out of the victim mentality, but in reality, you were a victim, and your past behavior is understandable. Words are easier than actions, but I do hope you will learn to embrace and forgive little-girl you. You (past and present) deserve it–and yes, I know that is a hard word to hear. I’m cheering for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m glad you want to separate yourself from your unhappy childhood. As Helena said, you are not that.

    But this part – “I hold her responsible for being unappealing and unlikeable.” NO. I don’t buy it. Because children weren’t open to accepting someone different, and bullies needed a scapegoat?

    You don’t see yourself the way you are now. I’m willing to bet you have a distorted view of yourself as a child. Even if you were different, even if you actually were somewhat disagreeable (I doubt this!) all of us deserve love, by virtue of the fact that we are human.

    You could have gone the other way, and grown into an adult bully. Thank you for being you, for being in my life, and for making a difference in this world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t. I am trying to escape from the person I think I see myself as now. I want to be the furthest thing from the unlovable being I was then. I’m just not secure enough to FEEL as though I’ve left her behind. She trails me. THAT is what I need to somehow fix.

      I’m glad I made the decision to learn to be nice, because I could SO easily have gone the other way. There is a lot of power in bullying and it’s sometimes an attractive prospect, to so easily relieve your anger and upset by venting it on another person. And to get laughs and admiration from other powerful (insecure) people by tearing others down and belittling them for laughs. I’ve done it. It’s the dark side and it has an allure. But in the end, it’s lonelier and just HORRIBLY toxic. SO no. I don’t want to take that path ever again.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh Lizzi – my heart aches for the little-girl-you. Write her a letter. Send her love. Talk to her as though she is not you, but rather another lost, small child you love and adore. It wasn’t her fault. She was just a little girl doing the best she could given the circumstances. I didn’t know her, but I know I would have been her friend because I was teased and bullied too and I gravitated to those who were rejected like me. Also, as for the the pudgy kid on the bus…That one pissed me off even more than the other bullies. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve seen these done. I can’t do it. Or I won’t. I’m not ready to accept her as not a mess and not a failure. I don’t like her. I don’t like anything which reminds me of her. I baulk when I see other similar kids because it reminds me of me. And I recoil. I don’t like when people remind me of how I am, and I recoil. It’s true that they say that the things which you react most strongly to in others are the things you hate in yourself.

      You are a kinder person than I am, Jackie.

      Like

  8. OH this is just so hard to read, and yet I understand the depths of your childhood despair still tormenting you today. It’s a constant battle to let go of who we once were… I get that. I have a thousand pounds of shame from my past. Maybe more. I too hate the person I was, making all the wrong decisions for the sake of my insecurity and fragile existence in the desperate place I once lived.

    I wish so badly for you to break free. I wonder if Beth Moore’s book “Breaking free” would be a good read for you… I’ve not read it, but oh the experiences I have heard from people who have? *Life-changing*

    Do you know that everyone has a past full of mistakes, horrid memories, shameful decisions, pain, and failures? They do. What I find to be true is that those are the very people who inspire me most. They seem to always have more of a passionate purpose, and those are the ones how makes the most difference for good int his world.

    I believe that is where you are headed. I really truly do. I have a suspicion you are there, in many ways- although you still attach yourself to your past- you ARE using it for good. Perhaps that’s the purpose of holding on to it. Maybe that is what ignites you to reach, to connect, to pour your heart into your words and your message. There is power in that. And it is my prayer, that as the power of GOOD comes through from the bad… the power of the bad will lessen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We shall see. If I can use it for good and to somehow support others then it at least becomes slightly redeemed. Otherwise it’s just something which makes me more empathic and to be honest I’d gladly go without it.

      I know I need to accept her because I CAN’T leave her. Sadly. She is me. And I hate that so much.

      Like

  9. I’ve told you this before, I relate to the feelings you express, but for different reasons. And the lens with which we view our younger selves is so harsh. We expect more and judge more and condemn more when we look back. The responsibility you place on that little girl is so huge. I don’t know how to go about seeing your younger self for what she really was. A sweet, innocent child who did nothing to deserve loneliness and harsh treatment. I wish I knew the answer. But what I do know is that you have turned it around when others maybe would have stayed there. You built a beautiful life with amazing connections and substance where it would have been easy to wallow. You should be proud. You deserve to be happy. Yes, I said the “d” word. You deserve it. And Helena said it best (of course), you ARE what you’ve made yourself and you ARE an inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Fabulous post. I identify more with this than is wholly comfortable for me to admit. I was also a friendless, unsocial child. Constantly misunderstanding the social rules and alienating others but never fully understanding why. I had friends via proximity but no one who was a true soulmate until I was much older. I do not think I have even come to terms with this as well as I should because I feel so repulsed by who I once was. Your post is very much a gift.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve found I can love others SO much more easily than myself, but I do them discredit when they love ME, and I continue to insist I am unlovable.

      *sigh*

      I hope you beat that sense of worthlessness.

      Like

      • Oh, poppycock. You are very lovable.

        The love we get may be flawed, but it’s there to be reciprocated. Appreciate it, as you would give it to others.

        And the “worthlessness” is not quite the right word, as by the senses. I’m not sure if there is even an actual sense of worthlessness, rather a lack of importance. My life is very empty, and that’s after the fact, but I intend to fill it…even though I am in bad health, and it’s probably too late.

        Have a good one! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Nah I think you can have a life which doesn’t have much going on in it, and still feel worthwhile. 🙂 Worthlessness happens when you feel you lack any kind of positive value, even in face of evidence to the contrary.

          And yes, logic brain tells me I can be lovable. Empirical evidence tells me people love me. My mindset tells me otherwise. It’s mind-bending stuff, and vastly unpleasant. But I do my best to love others, in spite of everything.

          Like

            • You have an online village of people to talk to and join in with. There are times when the emotional landscape can be SO much bigger than the physical one.

              I work with people who have diabetes. I actually screen their eyes for a living, to detect retinopathy. I’d recommend getting your blood tested for sugar levels – blindness NEVER has to be an inevitable result of diabetes 🙂

              Like

              • Yay, I was kind of right on something! I think I’ll have a cookie. Or the remainder of them. And continue to stay up, from 7 p.m. last night. Sleep deprivation is so awesomely bad.

                …No, I think this village idiot who can’t get anyone to guest post on his blog will go to sleep right about now.

                Liked by 1 person

  11. Lizzi, I love your post and I want to respond privately, because I want to link to something that I feel is one of the most important things I’ve ever written, but I don’t want it to seem like I’m doing so to push my links. I hope it’s okay then that I can contact you less publicly. Until then, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wouldn’t go back to ANY of it, that’s forsure. *hugs* Your post on your childhood, and how you’re using it to influence your parenting for GOOD, is inspiring and wonderful.

      Like

  12. Lizzi – my heart broke for the kid you were and I’m sad to read that it is still such a struggle to figure out how to fit your feelings about her into how you see yourself now – or I guess how to come to terms with who you were, or how you saw yourself then. Your situation then – and that of many bullied – is first done TO you, not by you. Sure – after a while acceptance of a situation contributes to it continuing, but the strength required to change that by yourself as a child without anyone to help or step in? It’s asking a lot of a kid. I hope you find peace with “Little You” soon.

    And I loved this line: “It is vital for us to show children that we are serious about holding an anti-bullying stance, or they will grow up insecure and untrusting. It is fundamental that we protect the younger generations from abusive relationships, whether these be with peers or with adults; it is our role and responsibility to them.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I believe that line with all my heart. We are all responsible for ensuring that the next generation are robust, capable individuals. It’s what parenting and being The Village is all about.

      I hope I find peace with little-girl me. It feels as though it’s becoming more and more important and I’m very resistant to it. You’re right about me needing to stop contributing to the ongoing situation though. I need to learn some compassion for that child, definitely.

      Like

  13. That was beautiful and heart breaking…..I could relate to much of what you wrote and you did it far better than my skill set allows. However, I must call bull shit on throwing too much responsibility on the child version of yourself. When we are young we believe our parents are perfect. They set the tone for expectation of ourselves and others. You had bad examples, I did too. Forgiveness of self is the best gift you can give to that kid.

    Like

  14. I read this yesterday, and didn’t get round to commenting. This morning I woke up thinking about it!
    You feel anger towards the child you were, and you maybe feel guilty about that, as well as resistant. If we think we should do something, then we resist. Here’s what came to me, so I hope it’s of some use to you Lizzi – you feel anger towards that little girl, so let yourself feel it. Let the feelings be there, and feel them in your body. So many times I’ve thought I should love someone or should let go of resentment, and I’ve just felt stuck. Then I let myself feel how I was truly feeling, let the anger or resentment be there – and it just pops. Don’t do this to try to trick yourself into making it go, but if you feel self-hatred (or younger-self) hatred, then that’s where you are at just now, and just allowing that brings relief.

    Like

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