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Forums / PTSD & Trauma / I want to stop being angry at the bullies

Topic: I want to stop being angry at the bullies

15 posts, 0 answered
  1. JJ456
    JJ456 avatar
    4 posts
    11 October 2021

    Hi all, I'm new here... I'm JJ, 36yo queer man. I need to get something off my chest and just maybe see if any of you nice people can help me with a fresh perspective.

    I was bullied as a child. A lot. From preschool to the end of high school. And more at university. Sometimes physically, and constantly emotionally and socially. I was ridiculed for my accent, for the way I spoke, for being bad at sports, for being intelligent and bookish, for being sensitive, for being gay (even though there's no way I was coming out while I was there. I didn't come out until well after moving away from home, I was so scared of the bullies having anything else to through at me). I would be set up to fail to provide entertainment for the group. For a long time I was the guy even the other unpopular kids would have a go at. Things slowly got better, but the damage was done. My ability to read social cues - especially around sex and relationships - was stunted and that led to a lot of anguish continuing, on and off, until now. I made some spectacularly bad relationship choices in my early 20s including a fling with a closeted man who ended up assaulting me.

    I have generalized anxiety disorder, depression and have worked through a lot of issues in counselling and through medication. But I still feel socially awkward and have low self esteem a lot of the time.

    I've learnt to accept that this is a result of the terrible way I experienced social interactions when I was just learning. I know that this isn't my fault. But it makes me angry still. I feel that I was treated so badly for so long by so many of my peers that I'm permanently damaged. And I hate that these bullies and the things they said and did still have so much power over me.

    I believe that through forgiveness, empathy and understanding I can move on and let go of the anger. I was even able to do this with the boyfriend who assaulted me, eventually, when he gave me a heartfelt apology. But I can't seem to do this with the high school bullies. They picked on me as a weak target, never showed remorse.

    They also aren't a part of my life any more, I moved to Australia from the UK after uni, my life is totally different now. But I still hate that what they did to me then still has so much power to make me feel so bad.

    What do you think, patient people? Can I find a way to forgive so I can try to stop living with this hanging over me? Or must we always have to carry the weight ofmour trauma?

    Thanks for reading 🙂


  2. white knight
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    white knight avatar
    9377 posts
    11 October 2021 in reply to JJ456

    Hi JJ, Welcome to the forum

    I too was bullied but in a far less manner but I did hold resentment and at 65yo still recall it. To forgive them is not realistic imo. To feel sorry for them and pigeon hole them is realistic and beneficial.

    At 31yo i began therapy for this but more so for a childhood trauma. Therapy gets things into best perspective. E.g. we can live a happier life if we discount non like minded people around us until they've proven they are not bullies or homophobic or racist etc. After all birds of a feather flock together right?

    The other step to take is convincing yourself you are correct. That you are kind, lovable, fair and a good person. Helping others like I'm doing here is one way of helping yourself. I'm sure there is an organization that could do with your experience to help a bullied teenager. The extreme of that is arrogance which is too far beyond what I'm suggesting.

    Life isn't easy. I'm sure some of those bullies now, if confronted would regret their comments. Not only that, some when questioned further might breakdown and admit they were bullied themselves or abused.

    Here is a couple of threads I've written to help you. You only need to read the first post of each.

    Use Google.

    Beyondblue topic the best praise you'll ever get

    Beyondblue topic not conventional? You are still a jigsaw piece

    Beyondblue topic worry worry worry

    Beyondblue topic anxiety, how I eliminated it

    I hope they help. Repost anytime


    1 person found this helpful
  3. therising
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    therising avatar
    2308 posts
    11 October 2021 in reply to JJ456

    Hi JJ

    Finding the courage to make your way through each torturous day of your life, having the courage to acknowledge and embrace who you naturally are and having the courage to move to a different country to live speaks volumes regarding your true nature. In my mind, you are undeniably inspirational.

    While I pretty much flew under the radar throughout my schooling, my 16yo son was not so fortunate. He was often a target for bullies up until last year. While his father's a 'Just hit 'em' kind of guy, I knew this was not in my son's nature. Forcing myself to think outside the square as how to manage such people, my son and I reached a conclusion. Unfortunately, it wasn't until recently yet it has managed to help him change his perspective of himself and those kids. Much of it comes down to 'What does it mean to be sensitive (as opposed to insensitive)?'

    • To sense cruelty in others, is to sense their depressing nature. What leads a person to be so intentionally depressing? What leads to their incredibly serious dysfunction?
    • To sense you're one of a kind, is to sense you don't fit into the kinds of groups that are a dime a dozen, where the girls gossip and can be bi*ches and the boys mimic their dads with their blokey bloke ways (swearing, degradation of girls etc). My son spent the 1st 4 years of primary school sitting on his own at lunch time, rather than lose his sense of self by joining people he couldn't stand. It's rare to witness such commitment, such courage in one so young
    • To sense your own thoughtfulness, while questioning so much ('What's wrong with me, where do I fit in, why are people so lacking in compassion?' etc) offers the ability to sense how little others think
    • To sense the need to evolve beyond what holds you back is what pushes you faster and harder than those who maintain their illusion of self

    The ability to sense this much and more comes with challenges. The most sensitive people can feel the challenges deeply, in mind, in body (physical sensations - anxiety, heartbreak, the rise to courage) and in a soulful way. The insensitive are not 'tuned in' to feeling so easily.

    Every truly brilliant guy I've met throughout my life is sensitive. One of those guys once said to me 'It's like moths to a flame. Like moths, bullies cannot help themselves. Your son is a light. They just don't understand his brilliance'.

    JJ, you've remained brilliant after all you've been through and this, amongst other things, is what makes you truly outstanding :)

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Pumpkinella
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    Pumpkinella avatar
    98 posts
    11 October 2021 in reply to JJ456

    Thanks so much for sharing this, I agree with the other responses, you are clearly incredibly resilient and a very wise person. When someone suffers with the self-awareness and resilience you have it normally results in wisdom. Which I think is what has happened here because you are considering forgiveness as a way to help move on.

    Forgiveness is a very personal act. I do not think it’s an impossible feat by any means nor do I think everyone must do it in order to move on. I think forgiveness is also an outcome of understanding. It is not something that can be forced or demanded, normally it will arise naturally, once some kind of insight has been reached -normally about why people acted certain ways.

    One way to start thinking about forgiveness and what it means in this context is to ask yourself why you think your bullies acted the way they did? I am wondering what explanations have been circling in your mind…

    Feel free to share if you like I’m here to listen 😊

  5. Guest_7403
    Guest_7403 avatar
    391 posts
    11 October 2021 in reply to JJ456

    How very sad for you my friend....bullying is terrible and I also experienced it during my school years and upbringing.

    I was weak, fat and picked on relentlessly also.

    One day I grew a back bone, got fit, got strong and I became the bully.

    But it does not and never has relieved my pain and feelings inside.

    I think the path you are on is the right one, being vengeful did not help me. Only forgiveness and acceptance of who you are can give you that freedom to move forward with peace.

    Something I have never achieved, good luck to you friend all the best

  6. Ggrand
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    9351 posts
    11 October 2021 in reply to JJ456

    Hello Dear JJ456,

    I can feel your pain through your words..and I am so sorry that your school and University years were filled with bullying..

    I was also the subject of bullying through my school years and it hurt a lot back then...and it also effected my life as I think bullying while in school can bring our self esteem down to near zero..

    The school I went to has a Facebook I decided to join and I did ask a few of the members their why they bullied me...Some didn’t even remember that they bullied me....and apologised to me....the others that did remember bullying me also apologised....When I asked them why..they said it was more peer pressure, they were young and didn’t know the impact that bullying anyone can have on their life......Definitely more education is needed in that sector.....

    Today those bullys are different people...and are definitely sorry....maybe if your old school or/and university has a fb page for the years you attended...

    I have forgiven them all....but it’s hard to forget what we went through isn’t it?..Please try hard to forgive them and not let the bullying, many years ago take away any beauty in your life today...We can’t change the past, but we can grow from it...find nice friends who appreciate who you are, love you for who you are and walk along side you with their kindness and care...

    Those bullies from years ago...are not entitled to live in your heart, soul or mind anymore...Forgive them...let them go...and fill your heart, soul and mind with the friends you have today, that care for you....If you have the hate of those bullies still living in your mind...It can fester and it takes away a lot of space within yourself, that can be exchanged for care, love, kindness that you could give to yourself and your friends in your life today...

    You are a beautiful survivor of those school years...and you deserve only the good things in life...and friends that care about you...

    My kindest thoughts with my care dear JJ...


  7. JJ456
    JJ456 avatar
    4 posts
    11 October 2021

    Your quote goes here
    Thank you all for your kind responses.

    - white knight - cheers, I will check out those threads.

    -therising - You are very kind and I think your son is so lucky to have you to help him (my Mum and sister were the home support I needed to stop from absolutely giving up when I was in school. Being safe at home is the most important thing).

    -Pumpkinella -

    One way to start thinking about forgiveness and what it
    means in this context is to ask yourself why you think your bullies acted the
    way they did? I am wondering what explanations have been circling in your mind…
    - For a long time I was viewing it as being my fault - clearly I did something to deserve being treated like that. I felt like I must have some massive problem which everyone else could see. Now I know intellectually that I served a purpose: people needed to attack someone because they didn't know how else to cope with whatever other crap they were going through, and I was the easiest target.

    -Guest_7403 - I'm so sorry you've had to go through something similar. I was often told to toughen up, fight back, throw a punch and they'll never bother you again. I never had the physical or mental ability to do either - I would freeze and run away, never fighting. I hate violence, and am so glad I never reduced myself to their level. But I still wish I'd been able to stand up for myself. Stay strong and keep working through your pain - we're all evidence that it takes time to heal.

    -Ggrand - Getting an acknowledgement of what people did can help. A few of those I suffered from did make a point of trying to make amends, or at least saying sorry. As I said, I moved far far away, and so it has been easy to cut all contact, and I'm not looking for apologies from everyone - I need to be ok whether or not they apologise. Plus facebook makes me anxious at the best of times. But very well done for confronting your abusers - it can't have been easy to send those messages!

    Once I started to realise that it wasn't about me, its about them, well, that's where a lot of my anger sits now. It wasn't my fault, I was the chosen scapegoat for my peers because I was an easy target and they couldn't understand the damage it would cause me (or didn't care). But it still happened to me. I get stuck in a thought process of "its not fair, I did nothing to deserve it, these people were just cruel. WHY ME??"

  8. JJ456
    JJ456 avatar
    4 posts
    11 October 2021

    My last message posted before I was finished...

    I want to say that I want to stop feeling like a powerless victim. I know that I am a blameless victim and that my past has forged this person typing now. But it all still feels so unfair, and I really struggle to move past the injustice of it. My anger isn't serving any purpose, it never will, and now, as I type this with tears dripping down my cheeks, I feel so sad about it all. I don't want to be angry and upset about things which happened decades ago. I want to, need to, move past this.

    And thank you again to all of you. One of the reasons I chose to write about this here was that when I was in my final couple of years of school I became an active participant in an online backpackers/travelers forum. I made more, better and longer-lasting friends there than at school. Chatting online with strangers was still somewhat taboo back then, but it helped to have a separate place to communicate, meet more like-minded people and to find kindness in the world. Most of the internet isn't so kind these days, but these forums are. And we are lucky to have them and all of you looking to help, support and care for total strangers.

    Stay safe and happy everyone :)


  9. Petal22
    Community Champion
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    1543 posts
    12 October 2021 in reply to JJ456

    Hi JJ456,

    Im so sorry that this happened to you…..

    Please try to forgive the bullies….. by doing this it will create a space inside you to let it go……..

    You aren’t excusing the bullies behaviour by doing this, you are choosing to forgive for YOU!

    Forgivness will set you free and letting go will help you to grow…

    JJ456 you are a beautiful human being and you always have been even in your younger years….. and now….. be YOU!

    It doesn’t matter what others think…. That’s their perception…. What matters is what you think of yourself build yourself up!

    If you could go back to the time that you were bullied when you were younger what would you say to yourself?

    You can go back to that time in your mind and maybe say sorry to that version of your self for not giving yourself that self love….. (this will release the energy that’s held in this moment…….) some times it’s helpful to do this in meditation…

    Take a stand and choose not to allow the past to define your future…. You can choose to let this go and move forward……

    Then move forward and start loving you for YOU from now on! You deserve it ❤️

  10. Pumpkinella
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    98 posts
    12 October 2021 in reply to JJ456

    Hi JJ456

    Good morning :)

    Your insight that people attack others because they don't understand how to deal with their pain. I completely agree.

    What else do you think of people like that? What happens when you step into the mind of someone who lives like this?

    It can really be hard to deal with the fact that it happened to you. My father and brother were abusive. I too sometimes feel like 'why me'. I realised that it was because I was sick of dealing with the pain it brought. I was also baffled as to why cruelty like this exists in the world. I'm curious, is that why you get those feelings of 'why me' too? or is it something else?

    I agree its so nice connecting on these forums! Shame its harder to connect like this in the "real world" but lucky we have some great people here :)

  11. therising
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    2308 posts
    12 October 2021 in reply to JJ456

    HI JJ

    I can understand your anger and resentment. You never asked for any of that yet people gave themselves the freedom to choose that life for you. I would be angry too. Sometimes, I feel angry for my son as well. I think while bullies believe they're giving something to you (a living hell), what they don't realise is how much they're actually taking away. I sit here with tears in my eyes as I wish I could give the kid in you the most massive hug. I wish I had the chance to tell him how truly beautiful and brave he is. I wish I had the chance to tell him he is far from weak. In fact he is one of the strongest of all in the schools he found himself in because he faced the kinds of challenges that even some adults would find it impossible to get through.

    I find perspective to be a trippy thing at times. When I think of the dysfunction in my family in the earlier part of my life, it makes more sense why I struggled through depression in my 20s through to mid 30s. At 51, it only hit just a couple of months ago, how unloved I was/felt when I was young. While my relationship with my mum, dad, brother and sister is fantastic at this point in life, I feel so angry on behalf of that young girl/young woman in me. The dynamics of my family determined her path to a degree. Why could people not see what they were doing to my younger self? At some point, I realised I was incredibly angry and resentful at their younger selves. As I say, perspective can be trippy - While I'm not angry with my family members now, I was angry with the younger versions of them. How strange is that?! You could say those people (who they were) don't exist anymore. There have been other people in my earlier years who had also messed with my mind and they too, I imagine, don't exist anymore (those versions of them).

    Forgiveness can be undeniably hard at times. In defining 'forgiving', for me it's partly about moving forward through giving myself release of some kind. Perhaps moving forward beyond anger and resentment involves giving our self permission to release the ghosts of the past (the versions of people that no longer exist). From then on it's about loving that kid in us back to life, in all the ways they deserve. What rewards would you give to the kid in you for his bravery, his endurance and all the challenges he rose to amidst his suffering? What would you gift to him? I've found, while the kid in me may be craving my love and attention, at times I can distracted by my anger.

  12. gucia6
    gucia6 avatar
    84 posts
    12 October 2021 in reply to JJ456

    Hi JJ

    I am sorry to see how much you went through.

    I was bullied at high school too. Unfortunately back then bullying was just a part of the overall situation, adding to emotional and verbal abuse at home, physical and sexual abuse at my boyfriends hands. For me all this cluster is a huge trauma, deep black hole that I do not wish to face. And when I think about it, I am so angry, that it is choking me. I feel horrible shame and guilt that I allowed people treat me like that.

    And you know what? I am unable to forgive them yet. I know they don't care, they even don't know, I cut them out of my life, and hope never see them again. And I know this is a poison to myself, but I also know they don't deserve my forgiveness. Not yet. First I have to come in terms with the pain, the scars, the triggers and flashbacks. First I have to reach the point I can forgive myself for my helplessness, ignorance and stupidity back then.

    But I am also fine with those feelings and emotions. They are strong and painful, but they are valid. I let this anger and resentfulness be there, because they are valid. Maybe this is my way of grieving for all the emotions that were restrained back then, feelings that I was not allowed to express freely.

    Maybe there will be a day, that I forgive them in my heart. Or maybe not. I don't care.

    What I care is to gain my internal peace about the past, so I can give my strength and wisdom to the people I care about. To be able to say "yeah, s**t happens, but it is all past now, and I have my strength to face what's ahead"

    On another note. I am just asking out of curiosity. Have you been assessed on autism by any chance? Sorry if it is too personal.

  13. JJ456
    JJ456 avatar
    4 posts
    12 October 2021

    Thanks again. On reflection, my anger is as much about what I see as having been taken from me (a chance at a social/sexual development not hampered by crushingly low self-esteem and terrible social skills) as what was done to me. Thanks, therising for putting it so well. I also loved

    In defining 'forgiving', for me it's partly about moving forward through giving myself release of some kind.

    It's very easy to get stuck in thinking of myself as a victim. And, while I can merrily live my (really quite nice) life for most of the time, this rears its ugly head now and then. Luckily not quite as often as in the past. In fact I deal with these issues much better than I used to... Which is great, I just wish I didn't have to deal with them at all any more!

    Take care all :)

    1 person found this helpful
  14. therising
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    2308 posts
    13 October 2021 in reply to JJ456

    Hi JJ

    I read a brilliant book by a guy named Jamie Catto - 'Insanely Gifted - Turn your demons into creative rocket fuel'. He's a guy who, as a teenager, experienced both anxiety and severe depression.

    He speaks of the many different aspects of self, 'The Victim' included. I'd never considered his take on things before I read his book. He mentions that although we may not like certain aspects of our self, all aspects offer different abilities. 'The Victim' will come into being through acts of victimisation. We gain the experience of feeling what victimisation feels like. It becomes a reference. So, whenever we're being victimised even in the slightest of ways, we'll feel it or sense it easily. The more sensitive you become to it, the easier it is to pick up on. 'The Victim' is the one you can rely on to let you know when someone's being a degrading a-hole.

    I hope I get a bit of a laugh out of you when I tell you that the victim in me comes with a protective companion known as 'The Super Bi*ch'. If I don't keep a tight reign on her, she can easily go to town on someone. Only a small handful of people have met with her. They're the kind of people who are incredibly thoughtless, self-righteous and even brutally cruel at times. So, she doesn't verbally attack just any old person :)

    If there's one significant thing I've come to learn over time, there are many aspects of self waiting patiently to come out, aspects we've been conditioned to suppress:

    • We're introduced to 'The People Pleaser' typically at a young age. We're kinda conditioned to please everyone, from our parents through to our teachers, no matter how horrible they are. The people pleaser suppresses 'The Challenger' in us. The Challenger may challenge through expressing 'Why should I respect you when you make no effort in earning my respect?'
    • We're gradually conditioned to not question or wonder so much, which can bring 'The Oppressor' in us to life. The oppressor may dictate 'Question no one!' Problem is this can lead you to question no one but your self, creating poor self-esteem. The Wonderer, The Questioner, The Liberator are so important

    There are so many more aspects of who we are, beyond just these.

    Sounds kinda crazy but I think sometimes it becomes a matter of 'Who/what aspect of self do I need to channel in this situation?'. Once the channel's open, bamm, you can be amazed by a sense or aspect of self who's been patiently waiting for the opportunity to come to life.


    1 person found this helpful
  15. Stui
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    13 October 2021 in reply to JJ456

    Hi JJ,

    Really pleased your talking about this and find this medium helpful. Many things crossed my mind when I read your post. I too am from the UK and know what schools there were like and to give you an idea what it was like on my first day as we were in the playground I witnessed one of the children, a year older, kicking his mother to get her handbag. I was defiantly not used to seeing that sort of behaviour. Like you I was bullied on occasion although it sounds as if your situation was worse.

    I was very sorry to read your story but I can say I no longer feel the trauma or anger about it, I did at first. I am older than you as well maybe that's part of it, II lived through a lot of unpleasant things. All I suggest to help is to try and avoid thinking about the situations. If you feel you need to or it becomes distracting find a good counsellor or if you have one stick with them.

    It is perfectly normal to feel anger at the people who treated you this way but they are most likely very different people now and would feel guilt about their behaviour I know I feel guilty about the wrong I have committed against others from my childhood on.

    Keep chatting on here as well it may help get it out of your system.

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