Were you bullied as a child? Then you must remember that feeling of being insecure, helpless, unsafe and alone. If the bullying you experienced in your childhood was very traumatic, it is possible that it still has some impact on you until today.
Some of the signs that you are still struggling with the childhood bullying experience to date include; lack of quality friendship, doubting yourself and having trouble trusting others. If these things are still affecting your current life, then it is possible that they were never addressed or resolved them at a young age. Therefore, you lacked closure and as a result, you did not heal from those traumatic experiences.
Consequently, you have issues with your self-esteem. Childhood bullying effects do not vanish as you grow up. As a matter of fact, studies show that adults who experienced childhood bullying have a high risk of having suicidal thoughts, and suffering from depression and anxiety disorders. Nonetheless, you are not hopeless because you can recover from the effects of childhood or teenage bullying. To facilitate your recovery process, here are 7 things you need to do.
- Acknowledge that the bullying happened
Adults who were bullied as children can actually dismiss the experience, pretend it never happened or minimize its impacts. Additionally, victims of bullying can succumb to self-blame, believing they did not do enough to stop the situation, or even deal feel guilty. In order for you to start healing, you must recognize that you were bullied and that it was not your fault.
- Reclaim control
One of the impacts of being bullied as a child is feeling helpless and powerless. In most cases, when this is not addressed it is carried over to adulthood. When this happens, you face the risk of being a perpetual victim for life. To ensure that you do not run this risk, it is critical to acknowledge that you cannot change what happened but, you have power over your reaction to it.
Your recovery process will, therefore, start when you take control of your actions, thoughts and emotions and make healthier choices. Additionally, it is critical to own your reactions and recognize that you have the power to make different and healthy choices. This means that you have the power to choose the life you live.
- Know your value and worth
Most often than not, bullying makes people lose self-esteem and confidence. This mainly happens because the experience is usually packed with lies regarding your value and worth. In order for you to fully recover from the impact of childhood bullying, it is advisable that you reject the lies uttered by the bully and replace those lies with the truth of who you actually are.
You should also have your focus on being you again. In order to start learning who you are again, list down your positive characteristics. You will get these characteristics by asking yourself questions like; What are your strengths? What do you like about yourself? What are you good at? What do people like about you? When answering these questions, focus on the positives and this will help you reject the lies of the bullies. 5 Tips To Help You Boost Your Self Confidence
- Seek support
There are times when dealing with childhood traumas like bullying require support and help from a professional. Talking to a counsellor whose area of specialization is healing childhood traumas can be of great help. The professional will assist you in processing things that happened in the past. Moreover, a professional will also be of great help in pointing out any unhealthy coping tactics that you are using.
- Focus on personal growth
Recognize areas that you need to work on in order to heal and grow. For example, you can choose to work on being more assertive or work on your self-esteem depending on which of the two requires your attention. Additionally, there are lots of benefits associated with setting boundaries, joining a health club or taking self-defence classes.
List the areas where change or improvement is required. In order for this to be effective, you need to make the list yourself as opposed to getting other peoples’ opinions about the areas you need to change or improve. As a result, you will be in a position to own the changes that you intend to make. It is only if you are experiencing trouble identifying your weak points that you can ask a trusted friend or family member for suggestions.
- Find closure
In order to fully recover from childhood bullying, you need to see and move beyond the traumatic bullying experience. Of course, you will be required to acknowledge the effects of the experience but you also need to find ways to detach from the experience at some point.
Do not allow the bullying incident to define you forever. Rediscover yourself and make the past the past. To some people, writing a letter to the bullies (with no intention of mailing it) can help find closure. Doing this allows you to communicate all the anger and the pain that you were unable to express in the past.
- Practice patience
Recovering from childhood bullying is not a quick process because the experience leaves you with deep scars. This mainly happens in case the bullying incident was never handled immediately it occurred. Therefore, you should give yourself the time that you need to break a number of bad habits and wrong perceptions that you have had over time.
You should also celebrate your progress regardless of how small the progress is. The changes you make may be slow and small, but they are changes all the same. With time, you will notice that you are a whole different person from when you started the recovery process. Sometimes the bullying was done by family members, here are 5 Signs That You Need To Walk Away From Toxic Family Relationships
To protect your child from childhood bullying effects in their adulthood, here is how parents can identify that their child is being bullied & take action