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An all too common problem, easier to bear when shared


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Abuse is a popular and highly commented on topic on the Mental Help Net website. Multiple people have discussed their abuse stories in comments to articles such as Why Do People Abuse?, and Why Do Adults Stay In Abusive Relationships?. Many perspectives are represented, but primarily, it has been women writing in to talk about abuse at the hands of their husbands. Some women are just now realizing that they are in an abusive relationship. Others are well aware of that fact and are sharing their stories. Still others have managed to exit an abusive relationship. Many people want to know they are not alone, and not crazy themselves, as their abusers suggest they are. Many want to offer comfort to other women being abused.

Bullying is a type of abuse too, and many people have written to share their bullying stories in response to my essay The Long Term Effects of Bullying. I wrote that essay after realizing how profoundly and negatively my own experience of being bullied as a child had affected me. I knew I was not alone, and the many commenters who have contributed to that essay have proven me right.

Please use this space to tell your stories of being abused. Unlike the article comment system, other people will actually be able to write back to you and a dialog with many participants can occur to the benefit of all. By sharing your stories in this public space (anonymously if you'd like), you are helping other people in similar situations to know that they are not alone.

What has your abuse or bullying experience been like?

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Recently I was emotionally manipulated and black mailed by an art instructor that at first ridiculed what I was taught, then praised it, then became extremely agitated when I disagreed with some of the instructor's conclusions....and now I'm banished emotionally by the instructor. A scowling look now pervades towards me by the teacher.

I started looking into the instructors past mentors and college:

The above link is one of the instructors my teacher had, and praises.

And I was told several other instructors use to behave in a similar fashion.

I don't disagree with what that instructor says in the video, if you get past the swearing and put downs......and flashing, but is that necessary? Isn't that bullying? I think people have been exposed to that behavior so much that they think it's normal.

My experiences are abusive behavior often cascades. It's like the food chain, one nibbles at the lessor due to being nibbled earlier by the greater.

I find this kind of behavior makes me frantic, and not healthy emotionally.

Recently, I also did some work for a woman who is hiding from her ex husband because she was beaten by him......her husband is a police officer. A paradox in behavior.

I have been told that the scared straight mentality is not successful...and is abuse. Yet it seems pervasive in our society?

http://youtube.com/watch?v=S_Fw2y2S6Ew

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I haven't watched the video yet, so I'm working off what you wrote Someguy. This sounds like initiation rites to me. Which is, at worst, a way to make an elite group membership seem more important than it really is. We want what we can't easily have, right? But it does sound like bullying to me, as it is more about making the instructor feel better than than about actually teaching.

There is often a "I had to go through it so you will too" mentality as well. Like in my graduate school program, some parts of it were stupid, but we had to suffer through it because that is what has always been. Maybe not such a good example, becuase much of school is about stuff you really do have to know in order to become competent later on. Where it becomes abusive is when it is delivered in an unnecessarily cruel manner.

Let's not forget also that people who are really into themselves in a narcissistic way often manipulate themselves into positions of power where they can lord over others. it serves them because they need to have an audience they feel superior to.

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I was the dumb, ugly skinny kid who was labeled in Kindergarten and stuck with it till 8th grade. Getting shunned and laughed at on a regular basis, I totally took it all in. I came from a supportive home, with loving parents. Inspite of that, the bullying had a significant impact on my life.

I was beat up several times after school when walking home. The worst experience was when I was pinned down while three other guys peed all over me, including my face.

At age 55, no matter the wonderful success I've had in life, I've never been able to shake the doubt in my self-worth. I finally accepted that this scar is just what it is. . . a scar; something that will ALWAYS be with me. Please... I really don't want to hear about my self-worth or that I can get over this. It's not going to happen, but I have learned to live with it, and understand it when it overwhelms me.

I've devoted a lot of time researching the other half of the story. . . that which creates a bully. I'm glad our school system in the USA is trying to do something about this. . . but the focus is on how to stop bullies. I've concluded the focus should be on how to help bullies.

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school and domestic bullying was the reason i devoted my life to nothing but study... regret it now... so many things teenagers learn i denied myself of and have to crash learn them in the recent years... further abuse took study away from me too :rolleyes: so have been struggling real hard... recently moved away parents to live with my sis... in the recent years I've felt much is hopeless and all is in vain.. .. hopefully this new living environment will help me regain confidence.. in myself and society lol

speaking of bullying and abuse... i read something on a recent issue of Australian Reader's Digest.. something on "Cyber bullying" .... talks of things like posting embarrassing photos of people... or sending threatening emails and message etc.. how perpetrators tend to be a lot crueler because they tend to do things they normally would refrain from doing in the physical world... how victims suffer when often they have no idea who the perpetrator is... thought it was interesting and worth reading.. especially parents who want to protect their children.

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Guest ASchwartz

Yes, there appears to be some cyber bullying that is happening and, from what I have seen, heard and read, it is Middle School and High School age kids who are doing it. The impact has been hard for the youngsters victimized by the rumor-mongering and hostile students who do not care harming other youngsters. Some of the worst cases have been in the newspapers.

Please, everyone, be assured that we here at Mental Help Net will not allow that type of thing to happen to the people who are members of this Online community.

Yes, those who were bullied during their childhood and teen years have suffered long range consequences.

You know, we in psychology spent so many years looking at dysfunctional family relationships that we inadvertantly ignored the impact of friends, school mates and neighborhood youngsters on those who were bullied.

I am 65 years old and I still remember of group of us in Junior High School telling our teacher about another kid who was bullying everyone. The response that we got from the teacher was, "Oh, we all go through that during childhood." A lot of good that did any of us!!

Dr. Schwartz

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You talked of bullying in schools. As a teacher, I have seen faculty and administration essentially bully students in the name of discipline. Yelling at students in front of the teacher and fellow students does nothing but shame them. Letting a student's past influence the way staff interacts and the expectations they then have for the students can be self-fulling.

When Administration and faculty do not take issues like gay bashing, name calling, and bullying as serious an offense as fighting and insubordination, how can they expect students to learn to handle their emotions maturely, respect the dignity of the individual and create a climate for learning that is safe, respectful, tolerant. A place where all students are valued and school, parents, and community are committed to doing "what ever it takes" to ensure our children succeed not only academically but also interpersonally. Grades don't matter if you cannot interact and "work and play well with others."

I had the privilege of taking workshops on collaborative learning, working with angry, resistant, unmotivated students, low-income, bullying prevention, and creating classroom communities through win-win learning strategies. Dr. Robert Brooks, the psycho/educational principal at McLean hospital wrote a book that, along with his workshop, changed my approach to interacting with my students and learning how to help them know they are valued members of my classroom.

No name-calling is allowed, even when I am "just a sub" and students are held to high expectations so each can reach their individual potential. I was amazed at the difference in my students. The relief that they would be safe in my classroom changed the behavior and academic success of many of my students. They also knew that if they disrespected or bullied another student or myself, they had an immediate referral to the office. It took took time with some kids, but it works.

It is time for administration and faculty to treat students with the same dignity and respect they want students to treat them with. That alone will begin to change the cycle of bullying. You have to start at the top.

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Society seems to cater towards adrenaline junkies and bullies.

I believe our overly competitive society is making us sick.

It's the might makes right mentality, and I for one am tired of it.

For some reason, society makes us believe that you must push to the extreme.

Why?

I don't believe it's about being the 'best'. I believe it's about pursuing.

It's about keeping on.

We treat people like our dogs.......we breed them to be extreme in looks and behavior.

I for one do not want to be a pedigree.

Maybe it's not the rat race...but the dog race?

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Guest ASchwartz

Oh, I agree that there are some teachers and administrators in our schools who take an extremely bullying attitude towards youngsters and I have seen it myself.

What I want to stress is that I do not believe that most teachers and administrators are bullies. In fact, I know that most school personnel are warm and caring people. But, as in every profession, there are those who seem to believe in using "strong arm" methods with kids.

I have seen some of the strong arm types yell at and even "man handle" kids and, by the way, it is not only male but female teachers and administrators who do this kind of thing. They seem to have no concept of the idea that humiliation is damaging.

Much of the time the excuse given for being tough on these youngsters is that the teacher or administrator is attempting to "keep control." Is bullying the proper way for these negative (and few) types of teachers to exercise control and build respect so that children and teenagers can learn?

Allan

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  • 1 month later...

These teachers you speak of reminds me of my grade 1 teacher. He once asked a classmate to hold a wooden board in front of his face. When the boy was in position, the teacher then broke the board with his fist, sending wood dust into the boy's eyes. While the boy cried out in surprise and from the dust in his eyes, the teacher explained to the class how bullying was wrong. Of course, the class was too young and inexperienced to appreciate the irony of the scene, but I recall a strong collective sense of shock from watching an adult display such an act of violence.

I can't really say the class learned much of anything from the man. The class began to watch out for itself and classmates warned each other to conform or face the wrath of the teacher. To answer your question though, my answer is no. By default, students are educated over the years to place teachers in a position of respect before these teachers have proved themselves worthy. It's cowardly and shameful when this so called small minority of teachers overstep their bounds with bullying and manhandling while their parents are not present to respond.

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  • 4 months later...

Bullying is without a doubt a form of abuse. Its called Peer Abuse and there are many Adult Survivors of Peer Abuse out there suffering and dealing with clinical issues such as PTSD, social anxiety and clinical depression.

Feel free to email me at elizabethbennett@peerabuse.info if you are interested in learning more. I am doing what I can to educate people on this fact. They still want to call it "bullying" and even though that is what it is, the term alone is not reaching people in the direction it needs to go in.

We see abuse survivors like child, rape, domestic, elder and others out there who are getting clinical help. Bullying is getting there but not fast enough. We need to start to see this for what it really is......abuse.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Kaudio,

This discussion has aroused some of my early memories. I remember a time in grade school when some of us were being bullied by some boy. When we reported it to the teacher, the teacher responded "Oh, we all go through this growing up, it's nothing." All of us were left feeling totally abandoned and not taken seriously. I do not remember what happened after that except that it did not continue to be a problem but I cannot remember why.

Peer abuse is a serious problem to be taken seriously by teachers and parents. My sense is that it is much worse today than ever before. Somehow, kids have become more violent. What does everyone else think and what are your memories?

Allan

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  • 3 months later...

I have been abused in many different ways in my 27 years on this earth. When I was a small child, I watched my father physically abuse my mother on a daily basis. I'm sure that left some type of lasting effect on me. My grandmother took me in so that my mother could take some time and get away from my father. During that time, my grandmothers husband was molesting me. He molested me from the age of 8 to 11. When I was 11 other people moved into my grandmother's house and he just didn't have a chance to get me along. (Thank God)

When I was 12 I moved back in with my mother. She was a hard woman back then and didn't really know how to nurture. Many of the female members of my family would always comment on how ridiculously skinny I was, or how ugly I was, or call me stupid. I was actually a pretty smart and cute kid, but I didn't realize that until much later in life. I spent a lot of time wearing really baggy clothes so nobody could see how skinny I was.

When I was 16 I met Eddie (my soon to be ex husband). He spent a lot of time telling me how beautiful I was and really helped build up my confidence. We had a very rocky relationship these past ten years, and about a year ago he started to complain about absolutely everything. Nothing was ever good enough for him. I would constantly feel like I was walking on eggshells because everything I said to him was met with sarcasm. I was afraid to talk to him because I knew he didn't care about hurting my feelings. I would break up with him and he would come back and say he was sorry and would try to change, and then he would go right back to the same thing. These last three months he has been terrible. I've been called fat and lazy, he destroys the house after I clean it up and then gets mad when I don't pick up his mess, he has discouraged me from writing (which is a passion of mine), he never calls me pretty or tells me he loves me, when I do something good or nice for him he tells me it should've been done long ago or it's not good enough, he is terribly critical of me. I am now trying to put the pieces of myself back together and deal with the fact that he's not the person I thought he was. I was under the impression that I wouldn't ever be able to find someone else that wanted to be with me, I thought I was all the names that he called me. I'm not even sure how to move on at this point, but I'm ready to try.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi ladykera and welcome to our community,

Like so many people who have been physically, verbally and sexually abused, you get into relationships, as an adult, that repeat the process.

I want to urge you to enter psychotherapy so that you can learn to break that terrible cycle and find ways to be with people that are not based on abuse.

What do you and others think?

Allan

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