adult bullying happened to me

It turns out that bullying doesn’t really take into account your age, how well you’re doing in life, your confidence levels or your general esteem for yourself. Adult bullying happens. Being bullied is something most of us will experience at one time or another. At school, in a peer group or the workplace.

I’ve told the stories about me growing up, the rush to be a grown up and then dissatisfaction with the life I had being that very serious grown up. I was in a rush to get somewhere, to be someone and to leave behind the playground politics, the drama and the bullying. Having been on both sides of the fence and being equally ashamed to be in both camps, I wanted to be different. I wanted out.

Maybe you might be a 29-year-old woman, with a husband and family you love, a moderately successful blog and a job, friends and hobbies you hand-picked and planted into your life. You might even take photos of yourself and plaster them all over the internet and write a post series about being a more confident you!

It could be me.

It is me.

Adult bullying happened to me.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been the victim of a bully. I really do mean that I have been their victim. I have been at their mercy, their hands, I lost myself to them for a while. A bully who has a small pack. Of course. A real life, won’t look me in the eye bully. I was so used to the behind the computer screen type that I almost forgot that they exist outside too. It was a shock, really. The sneaky and insidious ways that they got to me.

I came to realise I was being bullied when I found myself questioning everything about me. I questioned what I wore, how hard I worked, the skills I have and my ability to communicate effectively with people. I was under attack.

My body was first to register the attack, as it always is. My skin broke out, my stomach clenched and tightened. I was physically sick on more than one occasion. Your body knows an attack when it see’s one. Whether the person means it or not. Attack is attack. Fight or flight is a response as natural to a body as breathing.

I stood my ground and found myself pushing back. Calling them out. Asking what the heck!? Others stood by and watched it happen. Curious, and a little bit shocked. I don’t know much about bullies but I know they love a passive audience. Passive being the key word.

I am writing this, not for sympathy but to say it happens.

And does. It can.

To anyone.

I think it’s important not to assume that victims of bullying are weak and unable to stand up for themselves. And sometimes they are. But too often people assume that someone who can command a room of people and has some mad skills {see, no self-esteem issues here} won’t be bullied. It’s harder to ask for help when people assume you’re ok. Assume you’ll manage. Assume you’ll hang tough. Sometimes you just can’t hang anymore.

Even now as I make moves to remove myself entirely from the situation, I wonder what the heck I did. What caused this to happen to me and where this shit storm came from. Like there has to be a reason. There HAS to be, right? As the dark of night comes and I go to bed wired and worried I know there has to be something. Too bold, too loud, too bossy, too opinionated… I curl into Hubby’s arms and try to even out my breathing. To stem the panic. I try not to think about it, but then I wonder. Why.

I know ALL the evidence says that it was not something I did. All the evidence says that this bully, my bully, is a jerk. And that’s the trap, right there. I don’t know the official line behind it. I’m not a learned expert. But I believe  that’s how victims are born. Over time, a short time for me, what I thought I knew about myself was being broken down. Sure I was fighting it but I was losing in so many ways. The belief that I had done something to deserve being treated so badly was the big fat red flag. The BELIEF I deserved it in some way. Ugh. I believed it.

There is something there for parents, for role models and for others going through the same thing. Watch what you start to believe. Sure you may be doing ok and making your way clear of what is happening to you, but when you start to believe you DID SOMETHING worthy of bad treatment, if you believe you DESERVE it in some way, then you’re not coping. It’s not ok.

That’s the part that needs to change.

That’s the part that really, REALLY sucks.

The rest kinda of goes away, fades to a feeling or an experience.

But that lingers and becomes the issue.

Because no one deserves to be treated badly, spoken to or about in a horrible, mean-spirited way. No one deserves to be intimidated and threatened. No one. And don’t ever, EVER, let them tell you any different.

Or they win.

{I am ok, really. I am well supported. This post was born out a desire to make my situation count for something. To make what I’ve taken away from it worth something. I am doing well. Much better. If you aren’t in the same position, please contact Lifeline or similar services and have a good chat. Do it for me. If you would. Pleeeeeease.}