Forgiveness: It’s An Elusive Process

So, I was bullied.  My whole life, matter of fact. Like most of us reading this. And it doesn’t leave us. Anyone who has been bullied can remember the time and day. We carry those memories with us for the rest of our lives.

I have a friend who is 75 now, and she had told me often about the pain of the kids who bullied her because she was poor and father was an immigrant. When she was six, she was given an invitation to a birthday party. She was so excited, she ran home to tell her mother. It wasn’t until she got home that she found out the party had already taken place the week before.

I had a similar experience of being ostracized.  When I was five, I was leaving kindrrgarten at the end of the day. I was all lined up, and one of the girls was passing out invitations. I held my hand out. But she skipped me.

“I don’t have one for you. You’re not coming. You’re fat.”

That was the first time I realized I was different. No one had pointed that out to me. This first transgression would be the first of many, many more, though my whole life.  Being young, I didn’t realize it was trauma.  But for me to remember that, it’s still there. I now can look at it without owning it, but the memory is still there(and to feel little to no emotion when relating it is a huge accomplishment for me as I relate it to you now).

Even when I was thin in High School, I was still bullied. And bullied  a lot(it’s difficult to talk about).Typical female, pulled apart, find every flaw. My boobs were too small, my hips too big. Not pretty enough. I was told I was ugly both at home and at school.( Here’s the real kicker: The people who picked on me the most were in my church youth group, the one place that you should be accepted. I still cannot belong to a church today  because of the  trama.)

Yes, and I do mean trauma. Constant bullying causes trauma. Studies have proven that. It actually changes your DNA and those of your children. Bullied people are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression . We bullied people know this.

Nearly every single person in the world has been bullied, but some more than others. But for me, I just kept muddling though, pushing it down, struggling with my self-esteem. I developed a moody, ‘tough, you aren’t going to get to me’ persona. (A coping mechanism, right?) What I didn’t realize is how many of us, especially women, are dealing with this issue, and carry the scars everyday).

For those of you who don’t know,  I’m a psychic medium.  I am also an emotional healer and an empath. People come to me for spiritual guidance. Although I’m a teacher, I have a background in Psychology,(among other things).  I find it interesting that I’m so empathic to those who are bullied.  Maybe that is what has made me who I am(Maybe I would have been a real asshole if I hadn’t been bullied, who knows?)

Now we come to the real point of the article: forgiveness.  I thought I had forgiven all these people. I just THOUGHT I had let it go. This was long  ago. Who cares now, right? You give people power to them when you can’t forgive. Every world religion uses forgiveness as one of their primary tennets. And forgiveness emcompasses more than bullying; it covers EVERYONE and EVERYTHING that has negatively affected them.

Let’s be honest: it’s not whether people have been bullied or not, but it’s how they come to terms with it. It becomes who they are, at a deep level and how they heal. And how they heal is what matters. Some people let it rule their lives while others let it go. Most of us are all somewhere in between, like me.

I have no easy fix for any of you; what I DO know is that everyone heals at different times. I am 51 and thought I had let my bullying all go.  WRONG! I realized that I had set up a victim mentality that has followed me through adulthood.  I actually “allowed” people to bully me, not wanting to cause trouble, letting them silence my voice. My voice of anger and resentment of being labeled “different” or “not good enough”,  this had festered into every aspect of life. I hadn’t realized it until had turned 50. At this age, I had become very distrustful, and a workaholic, trying to prove those “bullies” wrong.  It wasn’t until I started spiritually counseling others that I realized there many, many of us, particularly women who are just like me.

That’s where healing begins. These are the things that I know that have helped me. These things apply to all levels of forgivenezs and trauma.

1. Realize that you were  bullied.  Own this without shame and embarassment. It’s  not your fault. It never was. You are not weak for allowing it to happen.

2. Stop the ‘victim’ mentality. I found this very diificult because when I was bullied, I was ‘silenced’. I felt there was nothing I could do but take the abuse. My comunication skills became horrid, figuring the other person would ‘one up’ me anyways. I broke through that by forcing myself to voice my opinion, at even putting my job at risk. It’s very empowering. Taking small strides in tiny ways helps. Force yourself. 

3. Accept that this bullying has become a part of you, and how you deal with the world.

4. You need to realize you will always have some self-esteem issues.

5. Be forgiving of YOURSELF, most of all.  Be gentle with yourself.  You can’t forgive others until you forgive and accept yourself. Forgive your devisoons, for good or for bad.

6.   Remember forgiving people is not automatic. It takes time.

7.  There will be good days and bad. You may have  days that you thought you forgave, and then the anger floods back. It’s ok. It’s a process. Remember, be gentle with yourself, right?

8.  Write, journal, paint, do SOMETHING with those emotions. Cry into a pillow if need be. It helps, trust me.

9.   Help others. This is a primal human need. Listen to other’s stories. Help the less fortunate. It speeds the healing process.

And yes, like most of you, I’m somewhere in the middle. Some days are good, some are bad. What I’m trying to do is make more days good than bad. That’s a sign of the beginning of true healing. And it has started happening.

And this is everything I know.

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