Trauma of Bullying Goes
I am a divorced man in my 40ís who was bullied constantly
for three years, grades 7 through 9. I lived in horror of gym days, which
were three days a week. I slept with my bare feet outside of the covers
in the winter to make myself sick. I ran the thermometer under warm water.
I went to the bathroom (at home) and took the toilet bowl scrubber and
stirred up my waste. Then I called my Mom in and said, "Look Mom. I can't
go to school today because I have diarrhea." I always have been creative.
I have been treated for and/or am on medication for major
depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety, general anxiety,
and post-traumatic stress. Sometimes death seems to be the only answer.
I have an obsessive thought, "I was raped as a child and nobody came to
my funeral." Meaning it killed me and nobody cared. Also high on
the list of recurring thoughts are, "What's wrong with me?" and "Why
don't people like me?"
I am on four drugs for depression and anxiety. The doctors
want to keep me sedated so I won't kill myself, which would make them look
bad, although they won't admit it. None of my psychiatrists or psychologists
has dealt with my abuse as a child because it is easier for them to say
everything is the depression, write a prescription, and show me to the
door. My next plan is to get into group therapy or some kind of support
But pills will never stop the depression until the abuse
issues have healed more. The pills are not helping me to function. Here
it is 30 years since we moved away from the bully and he still controls
my life. I want my life back. I am tired of being a freak.
Over the years, I have had a series of bizarre health
problem. Wonder why. Sometimes I don't eat. The food doesn't look right
or it is too much effort to eat. I have almost no social life because I
don't go anywhere to make friends. My attendance at church has been sporadic
through the years. I would go for a few years, then experience some crisis
or stress in my life and quit. Then I would go back in a few years. It
would take me that long to get my courage up to walk into a group of unfamiliar
faces. If I donít see someone regularly, they become a stranger to me and
I have to get used to them all over again, like I have to reevaluate whether
they are safe or not.
I thought people stared at me when I walked down the street.
When I am walking with people, like down a hall or down the street, I walk
a step or two behind them. This is in case they don't want to be seen with
People talk over me in conversations. I will be halfway
through a sentence and they will cut me off and go on with their own dialogue.
I am invisible. (I actually have tried to be invisible -- unnoticeable
-- at times so that if someone wanted to bother me, I would not stand out
as a target.)
When I ask myself, ďAm I a Survivor?Ē I also have to
pose the following question. ďJust what is it I am trying to survive or
overcome? What the bully actually DID to me. Or what the bully TOOK AWAY
I never got to be a kid.
I was never allowed to like myself, so how could anyone
else like me?
I must keep myself hidden away so I cause no one any embarrassment
I want to spend time with people. But, especially with
men, I am terribly uncomfortable and suspicious, actually quite afraid.
My parents are good people. But Dad was away a lot for
work. I have two sisters. I am the middle child. Just before first grade,
we moved to a small town. The school said I had to go to first grade and
could NOT go to kindergarten because my birthday was past the cutoff date.
So I went to first grade and almost flunked it. I didn't know anything
that was expected of me. I thought I was stupid. After this, the school
said I could have gone to kindergarten if we had just asked. My parents
HAD asked and were refused.
Mom also asked the school what the policy was on stuffed
animals, security blankets, etc. They said to feel free to bring anything
I wanted. When I walked into the classroom, the teacher quickly tore my
teddy bear from my arms and said school was no place to bring it. (I was
taunted about my teddy bear for years.)
I was a full year younger than the other kids and could
never keep up with them at recess, etc. Being a small town, you could call
it a closed community. If you weren't born there, you didn't belong there.
I was always the outsider.
The Bully Ė What He Did
This bully at school bothered me for three years in gym
class, grades 7 through 9. He made up rules for me to follow. Then he would
change the rules and yell at me for not following them, even though he
never told me the new rules yet. He said he knew I was all screwed up,
but if I listen to him and take his advice, he will straighten me out.
Like he was my mentor. And I was his protégé.
If a ball were coming to me, he would try to make me nervous
and would yell that I was going to miss it. Then I would miss it and he
would yell at me for missing it when it came right to me. The gym instructor
encouraged some of this.
Quick note about a secondary bully. There was also another
bully who bothered me a lot. But it wasn't anything to the magnitude of
aforementioned primary bully. The secondary bully would just do things
like making me get on my hands and knees so he could sit on my back like
a bench. Or tripping me and making me stay on the ground.
It seems that once you have been a victim, you somehow
stand out like a sore thumb to a predator looking for his next target or
victim. As though the predator can smell the blood from your old wounds
and is drawn to that blood like a shark is to an injured fish. So history
keeps repeating itself. You are powerless to break the cycle. You even
unknowingly do things to perpetuate the cycle.
Back to the primary bully. He dominated me with threats,
intimidation, and mind control. One time when I was at his house, he said
they keep their dead uncle in a closet there. If I weren't good, he would
lock me in the closet with him.
I dreaded going to school and having to endure his fits
of rage. He took every opportunity he could to touch me. He could even
pick me up, flip me, and carry me on his hip. In the locker room, he would
block my passage with his body or lift me and move me to where he wanted
me to be.
Showers were particularly scary because there was just
a stall a little bigger than a home shower stall, but still with only one
showerhead. So we were always short of time and had to cram more than one
person in the shower at a time. I dreaded being in the shower with him.
It killed me when we were both naked and he touched me. He lifted me to
move me in the shower, if I were in his way. And I worried where the soap
might end up.
He talked about wanting to have sex with my sister, who
was in his class. He talked about wanting to have sex with my mother. I
really don't think I needed to hear that. He chose women by name and described
what he wanted to do to them. He took advertising jingles and changed a
few words to make them tell a sexual story. Then he would grab himself
as he sang his version of his little ditty. But he never touched my genitals
or vice versa.
He told me his behavior was entirely my fault. He said
he did not want to do these things to me. But I made him. The bully would
do the Vulcan mind probe on me. He would wrap his hands around my head
as though he was doing the mind meld and we could read each other's minds.
He would ask me things like what was wrong with ME, as if I were going
to give him an answer.
The Bully Ė His Grand Finale
He took my clothes off on the stage at the end of the
gym. I had to run naked to the locker room. Anyone could have walked through
the area, but fortunately no one did, except for the other boys. My religious
beliefs told me that no form of public nudity was permissible. Private
nudity was acceptable with only your spouse and doctor.
Modesty should not allow guys to strut their stuff around
a locker room; they certainly should not see each other touching their
(own) genitals in the locker room. So to me, the ultimate humiliation I
could face from a man was for him to strip me of my clothing. (Sorry if
I sound like a stuffy old prude.)
Then on another occasion, when we were in the locker room
after gym and had our street clothes on, he stripped me naked again. But
this time he was unable to hold me down at the same time he was trying
to get my clothes off. (Street clothes are harder to pull off than a T-shirt
and gym shorts, etc.) So he made some of the other boys sit on me while
he stripped me. (It was an intensely physical scene, although no injuries
resulted.) Sometimes it hurt me more that the boys helped him than what
he did. I knew they didn't want to. But they did outnumber the bully. Attacked
Then he dragged me through the locker room. Then down
the first hall out. Then he said he was going to drag me up and down the
main halls where everyone was so they could see me naked. And I believed
he was going to do it because this was not my first public run.
After what seemed like an eternity, he laughed and told
me to go get my clothes on. Everyone there was sure he was going to follow
through with his threat. Within two hours, everyone in the school new.
This is how he got "caught" so to speak.
My parents knew nothing of the bully harassing me before
this. A psychologist later told me that sometimes children do not tell
their parents things because they think their parents are all powerful
and already know everything going on.
My parents went to the minister for guidance. It was a
small town and the church was the unofficial governing body. And my family
and the bullyís family both went to the same church. My parents were told
to look the other way because the bullyís mother had health problems. This
news would be too hard on her. (Mom later told me she thought it was really
because the bullyís father was popular in town.)
From this, I learned that everyone else is more important
than I am. And no matter how great my need is, I should be ashamed to ask
for help because someone else needs the attention more than I do. The bully
was the one who needed help the most, not me. He was the victim, not me.
In the end, neither of us was helped.
Here is what I felt my role in the situation was.
Somehow he wanted me to get him some help because he showered me with all
this attention (albeit negative). The locker room scene was to be
the catalyst to get him the help he so desperately needed. I was
thrilled at the prospect that the church would talk to the bully and maybe
they could help him in some way. I hoped he would receive some counseling.
Maybe that was my role in life, to have other people abuse
me, but eventually they could be pointed toward help when they are discovered.
The church talked to me -- but not to the bully. The church didn't have
the guts to face the issue. Note: I am not bashing churches. I am just
presenting the faults of one weak man.
I felt that my abuse could somehow be justified if it
led to his being helped. But the church saw to it that there was no chance
of that happening. I wasnít looking for vengeance. I just wanted them to
ask him what drove his behavior. Why did this have to happen?
What is the best word to describe the bullyís actions?
He bothered me. He harassed me. He tormented me. He tortured me. No. I
think he terrorized me is the best description for what he did to me.
The Bully Ė His Profile
Yes, I knew the bully. He outweighed me by at least 70
pounds. He was a grade ahead of me, but two years older. I was growing
quickly, but not gaining any weight yet, so I was very thin. We were in
the same Sunday School class. I had looked up to him as a role model. I
thought he was perfect. My parents and his parents were best friends. So
we "ran into" each other a lot since the time I was in first grade. I can
remember sitting in the far back of his parents' station wagon with him
going places. I remember being in his house.
Some said he was the strongest kid in school. He could
play any sport. (I still hate sports.) He was in the band. He had a beautiful
voice. The girls thought he was the cutest boy in the school. Why he needed
attention from picking on me I'll never know.
Most of what happened to me could have been prevented
if I had reported it. But I didn't know any better. I didn't know what
was considered average everyday stuff versus something is definitely wrong
here stuff. Remember I knew him a long time before all this started. I
trusted him. So I didn't have any reason to believe he was doing me wrong.
Soon after this, my Dad was asked to transfer to another
state, so we were outta there. Then we learned that he raped a girl in
his class. I hold the church (well, just the minister) responsible for
that girl being raped.
Sometimes I wished I hadn't moved away because maybe if
he were bothering me, he wouldn't bother other people. Or what should I
have done that could have prevented the rape? I already knew what the church
should have done. The rape was not reported. But everyone knew about it.
I can't explain this, but I feel I was also somehow responsible
for or involved in the girl's rape. The bully had talked so much about
sex while harassing me, I felt I had a mind connection with him, or even
a psychic connection from the Vulcan mind probes. Even if I were not responsible
for the rape, my connection to the bully made me feel like I was present
at the rape. I relived the rape in my mind as though I were actually there.
I can still see him carrying her down the stairs to the basement as she
cried and pleaded for him to stop.
All those times he had bothered
me, I felt his rage building up and becoming more violent. I knew what
would eventually happen someday. But I was powerless to stop it. Why couldn't
I find a way to defuse this walking time bomb? (Thatís a lot of responsibility
for a kid who was 11 through 14 years old during the bully years.) Even
after I moved away, I still had a feeling he was watching me and knew what
I was doing.
Let me draw an analogy between this situation and another.
When my little doggie was young, I took him to obedience training. In one
of the classes, the instructor told us that you have to know the personality
of your dog when reprimanding him or giving him commands.
She used a German Shepherd and my dog as examples. She
said the shepherd had a strong, almost defiant personality. You need to
speak firmly and sometimes rather loudly to him, and maybe even give him
a little smack to get his attention.
My dog, on the other hand had a very soft personality.
He was very eager to learn and to please. He was submissive. She said you
should use a much softer voice with him and NEVER hit him. If you are too
forceful with this dog, you will damage his personality. My dog was standing
in front of her. She said she was going to go toward my dog to see what
he would do. She raised her hand to him and he flip-flopped over on his
back so she could rub his belly! He was adorable. Everyone laughed.
So where is the analogy? I have a very soft personality.
I am eager to learn and to please. You need to use a much softer voice
with me and never hit me. If you are too forceful with me, you will damage
Rest of My Teen Years
I grew up during the Vietnam war. I was sure there would
be lots of bullies in the army, so I was planning on killing myself when
I turned 18. But the war got over and I didn't have to.
I never made any plans for my life as to what I would
do in the future because I didn't expect to have a future. I was caught
off guard. It was like being given a whole other life to live. But I wasn't
prepared for it and I didn't want it. I was afraid of people. I was afraid
of life. I was unable to relax and enjoy anything.
I can't go to the bathroom in a public restroom unless
no one is in it (and I think no one is going to enter it). Sometimes I
can if I go in a stall. I was able to use the bathroom properly in grade
school because I remember standing in line at those weird urinals that
go all the way down to the floor covered with those tiny little tiles.
So this must be the bullyís handiwork. This rules out events longer than
two hours. I avoid certain kinds of rooms, areas in a building, and certain
kinds of structures. I like to know where a door is in case a quick escape
In grade 11, I started having mysterious headaches that
disappeared during the summer. They came back when school started. I thought
I had a psychosomatic illness and was avoiding life because of the bully.
I went to specialists but they found nothing. I thought I was crazy. I
would have nightmares and wake up screaming. I stayed awake to avoid the
I was afraid something bad was going to happen to me in
bed. I donít know by whom or by what, but I thought something would get
me. I had watched too much Star Trek and worried if aliens might
be watching me. I had a ritual whereby I would transfer a small part of
my soul and mind into a jar. Then if something seized control of
me, the portion of me that was still in the jar could rescue, save, and
restore my captured being from the thing that held me captive.
I wondered if it were possible for me to have special
powers to protect myself. But I was afraid the aliens would sense
my powers and that would lead them straight to me. So I wondered if I could
transfer my powers to my dogs, which the aliens wouldnít suspect of having
any powers. Then when the thing captured me, my dogs would come rescue
me and set me free. I thought it would be entertaining to watch my dogs
overpower the horrific, all-powerful, unsuspecting monster. To this
day, I still wake up screaming sometimes. (We did eventually discover a
physical cause for the headaches.)
I felt myself changing but I didnít know change was normal
and could be a good thing. I resist change. If I can't predict the outcome,
I won't try. I thought I had to remember all the details of my past and
replay them in my mind or I would forget who I was. I might change
and be a different person and not know who I was.
Past + Dreams = Tomorrow
I thought I had to keep the past alive because of the
saying that we are the sum total of all our past experiences. To leave
out one of my past experiences would take away a part of me, leaving me
empty and incomplete. I used to believe this. But not anymore.
The truth is that we are the sum total of all our past
experiences PLUS everything we can dream or imagine for tomorrow (with
emphasis on the PLUS). So instead of worrying about adding or subtracting
things from my past, I found a new career. My new job is to open my eyes
to all the wonderful possibilities that already exist around me.
Those possibilities may be hiding under a rock that I
will have to overturn. Or those possibilities may be buried 10 feet below
and I may have to dig for them. Or I may have to climb a mountain or two
to realize those possibilities.
Life is a series of mountain climbs. With each peak that
we reach, we are given a fresh view of a new valley. Each mountain along
the way is higher and harder to climb. But thatís ok because the view from
the top of each new mountain just keeps getting better and better! Now
the only way I can feel empty and incomplete is if I donít try at all.
When I do feel empty, I know that emptiness is only a
gap separating me from someone. Now that the emptiness has alerted me to
the gap, I can start building a bridge to span that gap. And I thought
the bad would never go away. But emptiness is so efficient it gets rid
of itself! See, things are looking up after all!
When I quit fiddling around with the old chapters in my
life's book, I have the time and energy to explore and write the new chapters.
Here's a pen (or keyboard). Start writing a beautiful
new story today!
Sent with a loving PUSH up that hill,
But, yes, it is difficult, it is lonely. But I am hoping
someday I will get the knack of not using the excuse that if something
is difficult or takes too long, I can't do it.
I would rather be alone in my parents' spare bedroom than
in a mansion sharing the bed with a stranger. Even if that stranger may
be the partner that I used to think loved me.
My Reactions to the Bully
Did my mind actually regard the bully as a person? Or
did he just represent the situation I was in? If he was just a situation,
it is harder to get angry at a set of circumstances than a person. How
do I forgive a circumstance? I have never been able to get angry with the
bully. I don't know if I have been conditioned to not respond to the situations
because I have no control over the outcome anyway. And why should I be
angry with him when he told me it was my fault anyway?
I thought no one would understand my special problems,
like just saying it out loud wouldn't be enough for them to comprehend
the magnitude of my suffering. I would have to explain in detail why everything
bothered me. This would just humiliate me even more than I already was
and would serve no purpose.
I didn't think I actually could sin. I blamed all my sin
and mistakes on someone else. "Oh, that person MADE me sin. He forced me
into a situation where I had no choice but to do it, so it wasn't my fault.
That doesn't count as sin." My self-image was too deflated to accept any
responsibility for wrongdoing.
Since I spent so much of my time in compromising situations,
it seemed natural to me that I could not make decisions or take charge
of anything. When you are forced to act a certain way, you lose your will.
You become accustomed to someone else thinking for you and telling you
what to do.
I never had the confidence to approach other people to
start a conversation or a relationship. I couldn't believe anyone would
want me to be his friend unless he was going to get something out of it
for himself. I waited for them to make the first move. That was the way
I had been trained.
At the end of a grade or any contacts with people, when
we were going our own separate ways, I would realize they actually did
like me when it was too late. I never knew the possibilities until the
opportunity had past. I had to be able to examine a situation and know
what the outcome would be before I would assume the risk of the communication
becoming spontaneous and I would have to ad lib it.
I earned a Bachelors Degree. I have had highly successful
careers at two companies, except for gaps when I couldnít work due to health
issues. I had a two-year period in my 20's when I could not work due to
depression. I have not worked the last few years for the same reason.
I couldnít go to the gym to workout with the boss or participate
in office sports. I felt those who did received special considerations
at work that I did not. I always had to prove myself far beyond what was
expected of me. I am a perfectionist. I can't stand for anyone to find
fault in me.
I can usually interact with one other person pretty well.
After I get used to him/her a bit, I can be quite personable. But when
I am in a group I keep quiet so no one will notice me and find an excuse
to attack me.
There were two more critical factors in my past careers.
First, when I was unhappy in a position, I was afraid to change environments,
so I stayed there until either the company drove me into the ground, or
I went into self-destruct mode and did it myself.
Secondly, every time I made a change or started something
new, there was someone in the new environment drawing me into it. They
pleaded with me so much to come on board with their team, I felt safe and
secure going in. But now that I am older, no one is chasing after me anymore.
If someone even looks at me cross-eyed, I think they are
mad, disappointed in me, etc. My work has to be better than perfect. I
can't seem to get it through my head that a relationship with someone is
an ongoing process and is NOT built on the thrill of one specific thing
done well, or the disappointment of one little mistake. (I think one little
mistake carries more weight than a huge success.)
How could such an evil person be given carte blanche
access (permission) to say and do whatever he wanted to me? Just for his
fiendish pleasure. He was always touching me. Why wouldn't any good people
touch me? Why was the evil one so adamant about carrying out his mission
to torment me and make my life Hell, yet the good people don't seem to
care enough to lift a finger to help me or to find the road back to normalcy?
I needed to let a man re-earn my trust.
When other people cross over boundaries with you for years,
you lose your sense of where boundaries should be maintained. Sometimes
you forget they exist at all. For some people who have been abused, this
means they will cross over boundaries and violate the rights of others,
or at least make them uncomfortable. For me, it meant that in order for
people to reach me, they had to make exaggerated efforts that would cross
over my boundaries, as I was already accustomed to. If the effort was not
exaggerated, they were only making a halfhearted attempt.
I looked forward to Doctor appointments because I knew
I would be touched (in a proper way) during the examination. I loved having
surgery at this one hospital. They would have you lie on a stretcher with
wheels and would strap you in and roll you from room to room. I didnít
even mind being held prisoner and not being able to move. The anesthesiologist
was so compassionate and kind. He would hook you up to the IV that provides
the sedation. And then he kept stopping back to check in on you. He would
ask you if you were Ok, doing all right. And he would pat you on the shoulder
to reassure you everything would be fine. And I donít mean it was one of
those quick pat-you-on-the-shoulder fast before someone catches you touching
another man pats. He placed his hand on you and he left it there. I was
in heaven! I have been to this hospital several times and have never been
Psychology of the Matter
When I was growing up, pop psychology said that people
have all these deep, dark secrets buried from their childhood. When they
become adults, they have to try to remember the traumatic experiences they
are suppressing. For many years, I wondered what else had happened but
I had suppressed it. I still canít remember what he looks like, or even
his face. But thatís Ok with me. I donít ever want to see it again anyway.
Another prevalent theory was that in order to release
yourself from a traumatic experience, you have to role play to reenact
the situation. But during the role playing, either reverse the roles or
arrange it so the outcome is positive.
This made me think the only way I could be "cured" was
to find a man who would let me take his clothes off him, to reenact the
situation and reverse the roles. I knew this was not going to happen. Reliving
the scene backwards, or giving it a different ending (like someone helped
ME instead of HIM) would reverse the curse. Neither scenario was going
Since I knew I would never act out the role playing in
person to undo the damage, I started a role playing fantasy. I had different
versions. In one version I pictured myself undressing him. Having to undress
a man made me think I was gay, although I am not.
In another version he tried to undress me, but some people
came to my aid and rescued me. Then they comforted me. It was during this
time (headaches) that I developed the intensely painful need to be held.
I needed a protector to cradle my brow to his bosom. But perhaps it is
not the adult in me that needs comforting as much as it is the child in
me. The adult wants to shrink down and become a child again to fit in the
arms of a protector and comforter.
Sometimes I wonder if, instead of seeking a comforter,
am I really seeking a better role model? I have witnessed some poor examples
of masculinity. Not only have I had a damaged perception of how men are
in general, I have also had a damaged perception of how women perceive
men (because men are so inferior to women and men treat women as sex objects).
I was looking for a man to show me that a man could be
all the things that I am now, but was afraid to be when younger. In other
words, I have had the goal of being more than what I have witnessed personally.
Could I show others love, compassion, and consideration above and beyond
what I have received myself in the past? Yes, I have done that. But only
after I began to reach out to help others instead of trying to get others
to reach in to help me.
Fantasy versus Reality
But nothing in reality could ever be as perfect as something
conjured up in your mind. I knew ANYTHING would a disappointment, whether
good, bad, or indifferent, when acted out in person. I could just imagine
me after role playing in person and thinking, "Is that all there is?"
I don't really WANT to take someone's clothes off him.
What I am looking for is just the realization that someone could love me
enough that he would consider letting me do this if it would be therapeutic
I want to be healed. But I don't know what to do. I was
manipulated to act a certain way. I was backed into a corner. I don't want
to have to manipulate someone else with a sad tale to get attention. I
want to be loved freely as a fellow human being, not because I backed someone
into a corner with no way out other than to do what I demand to get me
off his back.
So which should make me feel greater guilt? Things that
happened to me in the past? Or what I have to do to receive comfort and
encouragement in the present?
In gentler terms, perhaps I need to meet an offender who
is sorry for what he has done to someone else. But he would apologize to
me because I was there. We could help each other out.
I think I would be much better off if I lived in a foreign
country that is not homophobic like America is. In many countries, men
openly display affection with each another, just as women do in our culture.
I have a feeling that this openness between men would have been a soothing
balm to my wounded spirit. Or at least it would have opened the door to
a relationship that would have provided a way to salvage my self-esteem
and identity. It is hard for me to know who I am because I try to be who
people want me to be.
I have never talked to another adult
who was bullied as a child. But I have talked to several men who were sexually
abused as children. They say it is very common for a man who was abused
as a child to want to be held by another man. These struggling survivors
live their lives hiding their pain because they would rather suffer through
anything than to ask for comfort and risk being labeled a homosexual. What
a tragedy. So many wasted lives. These boys and men do not deserve to be
condemned to a life void of feelings, numbed by the pain. It is as if they
are frozen in time, never free from the past, and never free to live a
contented life in the present.
Women and Men
Women I don't even know will sit down and tell me their
whole life story. There are no walls or barriers between most women and
me. I have been told I have a woman's heart. I am a good listener. When
I was 16 I was told I had a quiet dignity and a reach beyond my years.
People tell me their revelations. And I sense needs I
am not directly told. It frustrates me that women are so open with me while
men live in their own little worlds. Am I really trying to get a man to
comfort me? Or am I looking for the opportunity to comfort or otherwise
encourage him, but have not yet discovered an appropriate avenue? Maybe
I shouldn't want to help him. Maybe no one could believe I would want to
help him. But I do.
Perhaps in my quest to make contact with men, I am trying
to break down the barriers and receive permission from them for me to reach
out to them. Perhaps I do not need for them to initiate a "neutral zone"
between us where it is acceptable to let your hair down, so to speak. Maybe
in the course of living the barriers will come down by themselves.
I have always felt that I need some kind of catharsis
to relieve myself of these experiences. But when I have talked to psychiatrists
and psychologists about this, they are impressed with how well I have done
on my own simply because I can talk in a calm and rational manner. But
I was calm only because I was telling the story of another person, like
the victim was someone else not I.
So what I have is a bad experience that is classified
as unfortunate, but it is not considered a traumatic experience. But I
still feel traumatized by it. I can't go to a support group because not
"enough" happened. But it still hurts inside. I canít get angry about
it because nothing really happened. I canít ask for help because I had
not reached all the extremes possible in the situation.
I have actually spent my life hoping for progressively
worse things to happen to me. (Yes, they did happen.) Maybe eventually
I will hit on the right trauma that would be severe enough (or acceptable
enough) for someone to offer some comfort to me. I want to ask God for
someone to be a friend to me. But whether I will deem myself worthy to
accept that friendship is questionable.
I wonder if people think I am overreacting to this since
I was not technically raped. I don't want someone to humor me. I want them
to believe my need is real.
For some reason, the role playing fantasies never made
me feel any better. They just made me feel more guilt and shame. But they
did eventually teach me something. I didn't really want to have control
over someone, to have all the power. I just wanted enough power to keep
myself safe. I didn't think that was too much to ask.
Fantasies will NOT be what will cure me. A fantasy can
merely be used as a tool to give me hope. I can use this tool to make goals
to which I can look forward from this point on. I even redefine the fantasy
as I grow and mature into something more realistic and something that will
better meet my needs as I get to know myself better.
I have to beware of the magic pill syndrome. Take one
pill and everything is fixed. Right now. No effort. No waiting. No guessing.
There is only one thing I can come up with as an answer to that failed
fantasy: SLOW DOWN.
What we are all trying to do is to make up for all the
lost time we have had snatched away from us forever. We have been cheated!
However, regardless of how badly or brutally the rules of society have
been broken by our attackers, we as victims are STILL obligated to play
by the rules of society -- if we ever expect to find any kind of peace
in this sometimes hellish place we have no choice but to call our home.
There comes a point in our lives, that instead of trying
to undo the damage from the past, we must focus all our energy and effort
on enjoying the present and building for the future. Yes, it is all right
to enjoy yourself, and even life itself.
Ask a "happy" person and they will tell you that relationships
take time to build. THAT IS THE LAST THING I WANT TO HEAR.
We think the world owes us some kind of special consideration
(waiving the rules) now to pay for the injustices we suffered in the past.
But it ain't gonna happen! We may meet a few nice people along the way.
(I hope we all do.) But we can't expect everything to be handed to us on
a silver platter. We have to go out there and get it ourselves! What are
we waiting for?!
But, we cannot start a relationship, then watch it grow
into a healthy, productive, satisfying relationship in just one evening!
When we think we can, we are only fooling ourselves.
I didn't get married until I was in my 30ís. I thought
I was contaminated and no woman would want me. I wouldn't have gotten married
at all if I hadn't gone on an antidepressant. It gave me a false feeling
of invincibility. I moved too quickly. And then drugs have side effects.
After waiting until my 30ís for marital relations, I could not fully appreciate
the beauty of the experience. What a kick in the teeth.
Due to my late start I have no children. I was hoping
for three or four. My ex-wife was having trouble getting pregnant but never
got around to taking the fertility drugs. Then she left and divorced me.
Now, in my 40ís, I am too old to start a family, especially since I am
not even working.
My wife leaving me was the best thing she ever did for
me! People tell me I didn't deserve to be treated the way she treated me.
And she didn't deserve my kindness.
Hope for Tomorrow
Here is where it all starts to fit together. I could
never really deal with the past abuse because people didn't believe me
or they denied that it hurt me. But the one thing everybody kept telling
me about my wife and the end of our marriage is, "It's not your fault!"
EVERYBODY kept saying the same thing. It's not your fault.
Somehow their reassurance that I wasn't a bad person and
a bad husband helped me to see that every bad thing that happens in the
world is NOT my fault. Somehow the reassurance I received from a shattered
marriage was able to wipe just enough sewage off my face so that I could
see more clearly. Clearly enough to reach out and let some warmth filter
back to my heart that had been turned to ice.
I have always felt I needed a "story" to receive any attention
or affection from people. But this squeaky clean person with a big smile
and a sparkle in his eyes is starting to peek out from inside me. I don't
need the stories much longer. This glowing person inside me will soon be
able to attract all the tenderness I need.
Epilog - March 6, 2005
I can't blame the bullies or anyone else for everything
that goes wrong in my life. However, sometimes it seems to set a precedence,
from which the grip is almost impossible to break free from.
I have not worked for over six years. I am on Social
Security Disability for a list of mental illnesses. I had not been
diagnosed as bipolar when I wrote before. I now have been, nine years after
it actually began.
Why am I writing? I wrote something I thought you might
like to read. This is for a church newsletter.
God Made It Easy
"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always
be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason
for the hope that you have." (1 Peter 3:15a). Sometimes I tell God that
I am too tired to show hope in the face of adversity, although I will at
least try not to complain too much. I want to smile to show my hope, my
joy, but at times that seems too difficult, too much to ask. I want
to testify about Him. So I ask Him to provide ways to use a situation to
His glory, to be a witness. Of course He provides. He always does.
I have suffered from depression for many years. And there
was social/general anxiety, OCD, and PTS. Now add Bipolar Disorder
(Manic-Depressive Disorder) to the list. But it went undiagnosed for nine
years. The doctors completely overlooked (or ignored?) the bipolarism.
So the medications they gave me just fueled the extremes. I had doctors
from excellent practices. But none of them would/could identify the condition.
I can get up in the morning wondering how I made it through
the night. Then in the afternoon of the same day I could think of an idea
that will earn me a Nobel Peace Prize. And then I start working on this
idea, as though I will actually complete the project. Then in the evening
of the same day I could be plotting my suicide. I am so versatile! Most
days arenít like this. (Some days are worse.) But the cycles are usually
spread out more than this.
I wasnít working, had no income, and my insurance had
expired. So I went to a free (for me) community services organization.
I sat in the lobby with homeless people. As with any place, there is some
good. And some not-so-good. But God was watching over me. I was assigned
their best health care professionals. They immediately knew I was bipolar
and began drug therapy with the correct medications for this condition,
as well as talk therapy. That was a year and a half ago. Results are not
immediate or foolproof. It is difficult to find the right combinations
of treatments. I am not where I would like to be. But I am SO much better
than I was before they started treatment.
I thought it was a disaster that I lost my insurance.
However, the free clinic gave me what the expensive mainstream doctors
could/would not -- much improved mental health. I have a reason to testify
about God. He made it easy for me to prove to others that hope exists.
That was mental. Letís do physical next. I am 46 now,
and seem to collect things ahead of time. I was diagnosed with glaucoma
when in my early 30ís. I have had four surgeries on my eyes, two on each
for glaucoma. I need four more procedures done on my eyes. Both need surgery
again for glaucoma, and cataracts have now been found. So I will have the
lens replaced in both eyes during the glaucoma surgeries. (I have to see
the cataract specialist before the glaucoma specialist can plan the glaucoma
surgery.) And I have osteoporosis and I am two inches shorter than I used
I said I thought it was a disaster that I lost my insurance
and lost my mental health care. But God provided. The same is true for
my upcoming eye surgeries. I thought it was a disaster. But this gave God
another opportunity to show how He provides. I went on Social Security
Disability last year. So I started receiving some income, but still had
no insurance for medical coverage or hospitalization. How is God providing
for the eye surgeries? A Medicare card came in the mail.
I will have some medical and hospitalization coverage
through Medicare. This coverage becomes effective on the same day I have
my next appointment with my eye surgeon Ė April 1. That means this coverage
begins on the exact day that I need it Ė the day my eye surgeon will announce
he is ready to proceed with the surgeries. I donít have to postpone
the surgeries hoping that someday I might have insurance. God is providing
that coverage now. God is covering me now. I did not plan the timing for
any of this. I did not apply for Medicare. It just ďhappensĒ two years
after SSD begins. (I was afraid to go to the free clinic. But it is responsible
for me receiving the SSD benefits and therefore the Medicare benefits.)
I have reason to testify about the reality of God, and
witness about God, even when I donít feel like smiling through it. God
made it easy for me to prove to others that hope exists through Him --
even when I canít prove that hope exists within me. I believe they call
Surgeries, divorce, bankruptcy, unemployment, giving up
my house and pets. This was recently said of me. ďIt is not the height
of great successes that mark your victory, it is the fact that you get
back up each time.Ē Itís true what he said about victory found in not giving
up. But I am still claiming a few more successes. I believe God still has
a few more mountain tops in store for me -- for me to raise others up to.
When I could not smile, my joy still showed. Hope through
God was still evident. I showed everyone I had a reason to get back up.
A reason to live. Not always for myself. But always for Christ Jesus!