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 🙂