Living with PTSD after bullying

Olivia Benson quote

Post-traumatic stress disorder has always been linked most closely with war veterans, but now it's understood that it can develop from other types of traumatic experiences as well. One of those experiences is bullying.

When you've been bullied repeatedly and made to feel like there's nothing you can do to stop it, then it's not that surprising that you might experience post-traumatic stress symptoms after the situation has passed.

The overwhelming nature of bullying combined with the inability to do anything about it is the root cause of PTSD from bullying. It can be scary when you experience the symptoms of PTSD, but the good news is that it is possible to manage them and get to a point where they are not as severe.

Symptoms Of PTSD From Bullying

Does the thought of your school days make you shudder? Maybe you can't even look at a school building or school bus without having nasty flashbacks. Maybe you haven't been able to go to class reunions because there are certain people you don't want to run into. Maybe you find yourself always on the defensive and think that others are trying to bully you in some way.

These are all signs of PTSD from bullying. What you need to remember is that if you experience any of these symptoms, you are not alone.

Symptoms of PTSD fall into three categories.

  1. Re-experiencing
  2. Avoidance
  3. Arousal

And I've experienced all three types. Yeah, not fun. In fact, I still experience symptoms but they're not as bad as they used to be. I'm honestly not sure if they'll ever go away completely but I've learned to live with them.

Re-experiencing is when you relive the moments in your mind. This can get triggered from something like being in a school environment or it can happen in the form of nightmares. What makes this so scary is that you can feel like you've gone right back in time to when the bullying happened and you can feel everything just as you did then.

I've been lucky not to experience nightmares, but I can't say the same for my waking hours. I can't tell you how many times I've relieved the past in my head. It seems to get triggered when I feel angry or when something reminds me of that time. When I think back to that time I just get upset with myself for "letting" the abuse happen. Sometimes I even think about what it would have been like to get revenge but then I realize that I'm only causing myself unnecessary suffering.

Avoidance is when you try to avoid things that would trigger flashbacks or emotions. This is where you might avoid the place where the abuse happened, or you might avoid certain people who either did the bullying or are related to them in some way. You just know that it would be too difficult to face these people or situations again.

This symptom has been a big one for me. In fact I haven't looked at my old school since the day I left it 18+ years ago. And I've been by it several times. I just haven't looked. I can't bring myself to do it nor do I have any desire to. I feel that a flood of emotions and memories will come back to me if I do and I can't risk that happening. I've come too far for that. I don't believe that we need to put ourselves back in our past environments in order to move on and heal. I think it's perfectly fine to walk away and never look back. Some people may need to confront their past in this way but it's an individual thing.

Arousal is when you're hyper aware of dangerous situations. This is most common right after the trauma. It's that always looking over your shoulder and not trusting anyone feeling. You might find that you have difficulty sleeping or trouble concentrating because you're expecting something bad to happen. You might also get startled very easily, especially if the bullies liked to sneak up on you and do things.

Right after my bullying ended, I remember being fearful of the intentions of everyone. I couldn't even go to the grocery store without thinking that the person standing next to me was judging me. It was terrible and ridiculous at the same time. To this day I still catch myself thinking this way but I've learned to become less concerned with what others think. As the saying goes, "What others think of you is none of your business." 

Experiencing PTSD from bullying is also a factor in low self-esteem. If you think about what happened to you and you blame yourself for it then you're not going to think too highly of yourself. You're also most likely to suffer from relationship problems after PTSD, which will also lead you to not think too good of yourself.

I had some serious trust issues in the first few years, and lost relationships over it. I blamed myself for that happening. I felt like a failure when it came to maintaining relationships with anyone whether it be friends or family. It's another one of those things that takes time to get better.


Have you ever heard of complex PTSD? It's actually what I've been describing in this post. It sounds a lot like the PTSD you might normally think of but the difference is that it is how PTSD is described when the trauma is repetitive and not just a one-time incident. It's also used when the trauma causes the person to feel trapped in the situation with no sense of control.

You can probably see how this applies to bullying. By definition, bullying is, "A form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort," according to the American Psychological Association. Based on this definition, we know that bullying is a repetitive thing and, I don't know about you, but I certainly felt trapped. Maybe the bullying wasn't life-threatening, as is typically the case with regular PTSD, but it is certainly a threat nonetheless.

Overcoming PTSD

As I said above, I don't know if I'll ever be completely free of symptoms, but I now know how to live with them. For me it involves avoiding known triggers, as well as feeling like I have control of my life. An important step you can take if you feel like you have symptoms of PTSD is to get professional help. You don't have to suffer in silence.

Because PTSD results from a loss of control, doing things to make you feel in control again can be extremely helpful. Check out my list of 23 effective strategies for building your self-esteem that could be a great place to start.

I know how scary and frustrating it can be to experience symptoms of PTSD from bullying, but I also know that it doesn't have to always be like that. Between work you can do with a therapist and work you can do on your own, you can get to a place where your symptoms don't interfere anymore or maybe even go away completely.

Do you struggle with symptoms of PTSD from bullying? Are there things that have helped you cope? Feel free to share in the comments below.  
Also, if you know someone who may have symptoms of PTSD from abuse then share using the links below.
A note about comments: Given the nature of this site, anyone being disrespectful to anyone else will have their comment removed.

photo credit: TraumaAndDissociation via photopin cc


  1. I was very thin as a teenager, 5′.5″ and 95 lbs. I was a very anxious kid due to the fact of a mentally unstable mother in an unhappy marriage with my father. I didn’t like food and I didn’t eat well. From the age of 12 years old, grade 6 I had a friend who if she didn’t get her way would call me names. I met a girl in grade 7 and my old friend was very jealous. She was so cruel to me about it and those 2 other girls became friends and excluded me from everything. I was very shy and people were mean to me for that, I was not good in sports and kids were mean in that department too. High school was terrible starting in grade 10. I had no other friends except 3 or 4 girls who were very judgemental of my weight, they were all heavy. I tried to gain weight by eating more and ended up feeling sick. When I was 17 I started lifting weight to gain weight, this toned my muscles, made me strong, gave me some confidence and I ate more. I met a boy in grade 12 and we married years later. People used to call me bone rack and anorexic. I have nightmares about it now. My daughter is 16 and I relive my high school memories more now that she is in grade 10. How do I get past these memories? Why can’t I just focus on my life now? I have a good life, 2 beautiful girls, a great husband (from high school) I am a perfect 130lbs now and I still workout. How do I get these memories to leave me alone?

    • Hi Anne, I’m sorry to hear about what you experienced and how you’re still affected by it. It sounds like you’ve been triggered by your daughter being in grade 10. Have you ever talked to anyone about what you went through? There are some therapies out there that can help with the memories and a qualified professional should be able to guide you in the right direction. Just remember that you deserve to enjoy your life and get past these memories.

  2. I’m going to be 40 next year and I’m still struggling with the memories of the years I was bullied, from 12 to 15, and the disastrous relationship I then had at 15 which reinforced all the negative stereotypes i had about myself. For years now I have been on the mend. I last self-harmed about 8 years ago and I’m gradually bringing the excess substance abuse under control. I m also taking advantage of every opportunity I have to rebuild my self esteem – by doing the things I love and I’m good at, by getting positive recognition for my actions and efforts etc. But I still spend an inordinate amount of time having flashbacks (I’d say on average, every day, several times a day, I relive an old situation in my head, “retrospectively rehearse” what I could have done/ said at the time in order not to be humiliated, then get wound up, upset and angry about it etc). I catch myself doing it all the time, it’s almost like I’m possessed. With the years I have managed to detach myself from the flashbacks a bit, so when they happen i can “refocus” my emotions and awareness to the present, adult me and remind myself that I am now safe and ok and that no-one is going to bully me. But the flashbacks keep happening. So my question is- can they ever stop and what steps or specific therapy would be best for me to undertake in order to minimise the place they are taking in my life ? The old fears still lie at the bottom of my psyche, telling me I’m not good enough, that my loved ones are going to abandon me etc. I know it’s all BS, if I use logic; but emotionally, my visceral, immediate response to those negative stimuli is to believe them. It feels like a never-ending battle, and I’m tired of this crap !! Any advice ?

    • Hi Louise. First off, I want to acknowledge the work you’re currently doing to heal. I know it’s tough because you’re not where you want to be but do give yourself credit for the things you are doing and the awareness you have. That’s only going to help you get to where you want to be. Have you tried any types of therapy before? Some that come to mind that I would look into are alpha-theta training (which is a form of neurofeedback), EMDR, and even cognitive behavioral therapy. If you have a doctor they may be able to give you some recommendations as well. I hope that helps and I wish you an easier road soon.

  3. I was severely bullied from the time I was in Kindergarten onwards (I am still bullied sometimes now, but not by the same people that bullied me while I was in school).

    I moved a lot and in 1998 I moved far away from where I had been living since I was four years old – ten hours away, but in the same province (I’m in Canada). I was eight years old, in grade four, and people would throw things at me; two particular incidents stand out during this time: In Halloween of 1998 kids threw candy at me on the bus; the bus driver didn’t do anything about it nor did the teachers when it was reported, even though I had candy stuck in my hair and all over my clothes. I cut all of the candy out of my hair myself (you couldn’t just pick it out since it was sticky) and removed it all from my clothes, but told my mom. We reported it but nothing was done. Then, a few months later, one of the main girls that was bullying me ganged up on me one day and pushed me down, then proceeded to kick me; three of her friends joined in and kicked me. Mom and I reported it to each of the girls’ parents but again, nothing was done.

    Then, in 1999, we moved away from that place because mom switched jobs, and moved to a city that was nine hours away from that place. Nobody in the city knew those people but because I have a mild form of Asperger’s Syndrome I was made a target for bullying. People started calling me “Scary Terry” even though my name wasn’t Terry (and isn’t even close to Terry – my middle name isn’t even close to Terry). I couldn’t even go outside without people calling me that name, chasing me, or beating me up – I would try to ignore them but these things would still happen.

    Once, in 2005, when I was 15 years old, a girl that would regularly call me names and say nasty things to me, found me in the playground, by myself. She came with a bunch of little kids and claimed that I owed them apologies – she claimed I said nasty things to them when I had not spoken to them in a long time – and the last time I had spoken to them was a few years prior, and I only said “hello” to them – I guess if I speak it’s considered rude too! I tried to explain to the girl that I never said anything to them but she would not listen – instead, she pushed me down and kicked me until I apologized; I tried to escape but she grabbed me and had people surround me so I could not escape. I apologized just to get her away from me and had to ask for a couple of the kids names – if I had called them names, wouldn’t I have known what their names were? This isn’t the end of it though. Later that day, the girl knocked on my door and when I stepped outside, she dumped dog shit in my hair. Mom wouldn’t do anything about it; she refused to contact the police until later, when the girl came to our house again and mom answered. The girl said that if I was seen on the street ever again that she would kill me. Mom then contacted the police, who went to the girl’s house, but only gave her a warning – they only addressed the threat; they did not address the fact that she pushed me down and kicked me or that she dumped dog shit in my hair.
    This was during a time that I was attending a school that I was bullied frequently – I would be shoved down the stairs and the person who would push me would say “go fucking die you retard!” and even though a teacher was present when it happened, and my foot got broken, nothing was done, because apparently, it was an “accident” – yet if I did something like that I would be suspended or given detention! If I ever fought back, by pushing someone out of my way who was trying to do something to me (like hit me) I would be suspended since the person would claim they never did anything to me and would get their friends to back up their lie and because I didn’t have any friends and was “retarded” (peers would call me that and teachers even said it to my mom) I would ALWAYS be the one at fault! I attempted suicide many times because of this but obviously each time failed and nobody knew about the attempts – I would always claim they were stomach bugs since it would be due to overdoses – I would suffer out the heart palpitations along with the nausea and vomiting but the only things people like my mom would be aware of would be the nausea and vomiting.

    The only redeeming factor that saved me for a while, before the girl physically assaulted me but while I was being bullied both in school and outside of school was a TV Show that I got introduced to, and not from someone telling me about it or just seeing it on the TV – I dreamed about the TV show before I actually saw it, since it was on a TV channel I rarely looked at. The TV Show is called “Rescue Heroes” and it is still my favorite TV Show, and I am now 27 years old. When I first dreamed of the TV Show I woke up feeling good, then after two more dreams about the TV Show I looked it up online to see if it was a movie or something (not aware that it came on a channel that I barely looked at). The official website had a description of the episodes and a list of the characters and I had already dreamed of some of the characters; in my dreams I joined the team and was friends with the characters! I started to watch the TV Show and discovered that I liked it so at least I had something to look forward everyday – that TV Show would come on in the afternoon, after I finished classes as well as on the weekends. So in a way, I got some “friends”.

    However, this did not stop the anxiety due to the bullying. After the girl threatened me, mom went for a walk with me one day and heard people yell nasty things to me. She then decided to sell the house we were living in and move to a city nearby. When we moved, I switched schools and was happy for the first three months in my new school. Then everything changed. One of the bullies that attended the school that started the name “Scary Terry” (this wasn’t the bully that started the name) began attending the school I switched to. He told everyone that I was Scary Terry and despite my attempts to ignore the people calling my name, the name still spread like wildfire and the only difference between my former school (where the name “Scary Terry” started) and the new school, is that in the new school nobody called me “retarded”.

    People would still physically attack me – I had one girl push me down just outside the school’s doors one day in 2006, during a snowstorm, and she kicked me in the side many times and broke my glasses while calling me various names like “fucking bitch”, yet I don’t know what I said or did to her to make her do this. I reported it to the school but they claimed because they didn’t see it, nothing could be done.

    The same girl that physically attacked me during the snowstorm also wrote me a fake “love letter” for April Fools’ Day, in 2008, except it wasn’t a nice letter at all – it said things like “I love your greasy hair” (even though my hair isn’t greasy), it made fun of my sinus issues (I have times where I can’t breathe and an inhaler won’t work, so I end up making this sniffing sound to relieve my sinuses – doctors are unable to correct this problem and it is unknown what is the cause of this issue), and she ended the letter by saying “Would you marry me and bare my child?” and signed it as Sango, The Demon Slayer (my favorite Japanese Anime is “InuYasha” – I would have to bring a laptop to school sometimes for a class and my background was of the characters from “InuYasha”); I figured out that she wrote it because the way the “i”‘s were written in the letter matched hers – her writing of “i”‘s is unique.
    I brought the letter to the principal but she was in a meeting and unavailable. I was also busy because I had an important assignment due the next day and an important test to study for that would take place on Friday. I ended up tearing the letter up into tiny pieces and putting it in the garbage – if anyone found the letter they would have a difficult time putting it together since I tore it up into several tiny pieces. However, before I tore up the letter, I showed it to a couple of people who I thought were my friends at the time. One was a girl that will go by A. and another was a boy that will go by N. Neither A. or N. knew who wrote the letter. That is when I decided to bring it to the principal, but ended up destroying the letter since the principal was busy and, because I had an assignment due and an upcoming test, so was I. Because I was busy, I pretended it was a “nice” letter – I didn’t say anything else about it but I didn’t want anyone to know that I was upset either.

    A few days after I showed A. and N. the letter, N. did something that I will never forgive him for (since this is something that I ended up developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from; all of the bullying incidents I have listed have contributed to Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder but this incident alone contributes to both Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder AND Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

    N. went on a local website where people from the province I live in could post. Someone that was from the school I previously attended (the one where the name “Scary Terry” originated from) started a hate thread about me. This was also the person who started the name “Scary Terry” to begin with. I tried reporting the thread to the police when the person started the hate thread (I was alerted to it after another friend, who did not contribute to the thread nor did they know anyone who was posting in the thread, let me know about it) but the police would not do anything since no threats were being made in the thread. The administrators would not do anything either – it turned out that one of the users who was contributing to the hate thread was someone that was in school with me, and that person was an administrator! Anyway, N. made the username “Fearing_Scary_Terry” and said the following:

    I know Scary Terry, she’s so fucking nuts it’s not even funny…however I do laugh at all the people who are in fear of her and just pretend to be her friend…I mean, NOBODY actually likes her…nobody can stand her at all and you can tell she knows it yet she tries like a fucking psychopath to be your friend. I know somebody who she randomly walked up to (and NEVER talked to before) and she was like “Hi wanna be my friend, do you like my hair!?” I fucking cracked up shes a fucking mess. She likes this dude in school who can’t wait for her to be gone next year..she fucking terrorizes him. There is SO MUCH shit on her I could type but I honestly don’t have the patience right now…

    In other news…apparently for april fool’s day somebody stuffed a fake love letter in her locker…I’m looking into this and trying to find out who it was so I can thank them and possibly get a hold of that letter and post it up here.

    I reported the post and threatened to sue the website (I can’t actually sue the website but I wanted to see if that would make them do something about that post or any of the other posts). One administrator responded (not the administrator that contributed to the hate thread) and said that the guy’s account “Fearing_Scary_Terry” was renamed “douche” and was banned permanently, his IP Address was banned indefinitely, and his actual account was banned for two months. I found out that it was N. since I had N. on MSN Messenger at the time (thinking he was my friend – just to let you guys know, I never once went up to someone and said “Hi, do you wanna me by friend, do you like my hair?” and I don’t know why he would say I “try like a fucking psychopath to be your friend” since I was only nice to people; I would offer help with things they were having trouble with, such as spelling, but I wouldn’t be in their face constantly or talking to them constantly), he sent me a message shortly after he made the hate post – I had not reported it yet nor had I told anyone about it yet, so he just revealed it was him when he did that. I asked him if he did it and he denied it but the following Monday, mom and I went to the school and brought the post to the principal. The principal said there wasn’t anything she could do but offered to call N.’s mother and tell her what happened. Mom and I said that was fine. A few days later, I was called to the principal’s office. N. and his mother were there. N. gave me an apology letter, claiming he was sorry for what he did and he should never have done it. His mother claimed that N. was now grounded and banned from using the computer for one month.

    However, he also gave me the “real” apology letter, except this wasn’t an apology letter at all. In the “real” apology letter, he claimed that it was all my fault that he made the post (because I’m a freak with multiple issues) and that I should be thankful that he didn’t say more in his post, like how I liked “Rescue Heroes”. I don’t give a shit who knows I like that show since people in the school, including the people that bullied me, were always going around with “Dora The Explorer” items (apparently “Dora The Explorer” was “cool” for High School Students, which I was – I was in Grade 12 and he was in Grade 11; he took Theater Arts with me and A. – A. was also in Grade 12, like me).

    A few days after N. “apologized” he started telling everyone that I hacked into his MSN Messenger account and that if he got any messages, it wasn’t from me! Since I thought A. was my friend I asked her to speak to him and tell him that I didn’t hack his account; I don’t even know how to hack for fuck sakes! She said she would, but when I went to see if she spoke to him I saw they were playing Crazy Eights! I asked her if she spoke to him and she said no, she then told me to “let it go”. She never once helped me when any of this happened – the assault during the snowstorm, she never told people to leave me alone when they called me names, and she never defended me when N. claimed I hacked him.

    I had suspected that A. wasn’t a real friend anyway, before any of this happened, when we had to choose who we wanted to sit with at the grad. I asked A. if she would include my name on her list of who she wanted to sit with and she said yes. I put her name in, but when she handed in the list my name wasn’t on it. I ended up sitting with people I knew but wasn’t friends with.

    Also, while at the grad (which was in May 2008) they had this thing called the “Humor Awards” – they had categories like “Most Likely To Die Studying” and “Most Likely To Take Over The World”. I was one of the nominees for “Most Likely To Take Over The World” (but I didn’t win). I looked over at the table that was next to the one I was sitting at and the girl that beat me up during the snowstorm and wrote the fake April Fools’ Day Love Letter and quietly asked her if she was one of the people that nominated me for that. She nodded. This was another way for the bullies to say “Scary Terry”.

    Even though these things happened from the time I was in Kindergarten (during that time, before I moved in Grade Four, I was just called names and made fun of for liking certain things) until I graduated school in 2008, it still hurts, despite that it is now 2017. I still see people who bully me and they will sometimes make snide remarks and say things such as “freak”, “Scary Terry”, or scowl at me.

    I have 211 people blocked on Facebook; they are all people who have bullied me and I don’t have anyone from any of the schools I attended as friends on Facebook either – I don’t feel comfortable having any association with people who made my life miserable. The reason that the list is so long is because these are people that either contributed to the hate thread about me, beat me up, wrote mean things to me, wrote mean things about me, or drew mean pictures of me (in school this happened – someone drew a mean picture of me on a desk and wrote my name underneath it; I showed it to the teacher and she recognized the writing but then I erased it, the next day, the person did the same thing except wrote “haha” this time and when I showed it to the teacher again she claimed she didn’t know who would do that but after I said that she identified the person yesterday she denied doing that – I found out that the person who drew the pictures did not receive any punishment at all).

    I have begun to believe that my role in life is the Scapegoat – if I do something wrong, or if someone says that I did something (even though I never), I will be punished yet if someone does something to me, such as draw a nasty picture and the teacher knows who did it or physically assault me, they are not punished at all. I wish I had been told that was my role in life when I was younger. I would not have liked the role but would understand that is why people can do and say what they want to me and, for the most part, get away with it – because my job is to be a punching bag. I still wouldn’t like it but would understand that it was part of my job, just like a janitor having to clean up someone’s puke. I’m sure the janitor does not cleaning up someone else’s puke but it’s part of their job, just like being treated like dirt is part of my job as Scapegoat.

    • Don’t worry about it dear. You did nothing wrong and you are still standing. You didn’t deserve it but you are still here and you can go on. You have been through alot and it’s not easy, but you are still standing.

      • Thanks; as I said, my job in life is to be the Scapegoat – that is why people can say and do whatever they want to me and get away with it. I wish there was some was for me to be paid to be a Scapegoat; I’m having trouble looking for a job and if I could I would list that as my job instead and be paid for it!!!!!

        • To you, the person who wrote this. Without going into the details of what I experienced, even though it wasn’t as severe as yours was, bullying of any form can knock your self esteem and cause you problems throughout your life. I highly recommend you seeing a counsellor. You need to heal from this trauma you have experienced otherwise it follows you around. You need nurturing and loving from true friends who will never inflict that sort of pain you have so not deserved to endure. If it means going to group therapy or individual therapy then do it. Your self esteem will gradually grow back and you will be healed. Don’t let them win by making you feel less of a person. I believe you, if that helps. I had exactly the same as you, although I am a lot older it never leaves you, but it will make you stronger I promise. I wish for you lots of love from family and friends. Please tell yourself every day that you are not any of those things they called you. Take care and wishing you all the best, you deserve to be happy. Have faith. 😉

          • I have inquired about therapy but the only therapy they have is “group therapy” – that means I have to be in a room with other people. I can’t do that at this point; this has done extreme damage to me and my anxiety for any situations, including those that involve me having to go out anywhere and be in a group, is very high. This is not a doable task at this point. There is no individual therapy for this type of trauma; I inquired about it a few weeks ago and then inquired about it again yesterday and was given the same information each time: The only therapy available is group therapy.

            I also inquired about a counsellor but because of some medical issues I have (a brain injury since birth – a cyst covers the entire right side of my brain; I can still walk, talk, and do basic things as well as study – I graduated with a 96% Average in the Administrative Specialist program in college for god sakes!) counsellors don’t want to see me because as soon as they hear the word “brain injury” they think I’m unable to be helped, even though I show that I am willing to get help. They will only see me with my mother (even though I’m now 28) because of the brain injury, and despite the fact I can speak and think on my own, without anyone else involved. If I go out, I usually go by myself. This angers me; it feels like they’re labelling me “dumb” because of the brain injury.

            I have extremely high anxiety which I know is from the years of trauma I went through. I had a friend stand up for me recently, online, she said something to one of the people that bullied her and that person unfriended and blocked her (even though that person was her friend). I saw what she wrote to the person, she said that what the person and the person’s friends did to me has resulted in lifelong scars – she wouldn’t name me but gave them a clue who I was – she said that her friend is basically the real life version of Carrie White from the movie “Carrie” (I have been bullied in almost the exact same way that Carrie White was, even the same things were said – people called Carrie “Crazy Carrie” while I was called “Scary Terry” even though my name isn’t even Terry. I have a theory that the bullies got their idea from the original film or novel (I graduated in 2008).

            I wish I knew how it would make me stronger. I guess by realizing that it’s my duty to be someone for people to treat like dirt will make me stronger – since people always got away with it even if a staff member (or person in authority) witnessed it.

            I doubt my self-esteem will ever return; too much damage has been done and I don’t know what it will take for it to be repaired. It’s completely destroyed.

            To me, being treated like dirt is just another job. I guess God made me the chosen “Scapegoat of this earth.”

            • *Sorry, I meant to say in the paragraph “I have extremely high anxiety which I know is from the years of trauma I went through. I had a friend stand up for me recently, online, she said something to one of the people that bullied her and that person unfriended and blocked her (even though that person was her friend).”

              I meant to say “I have extremely high anxiety which I know is from the years of trauma I went through. I had a friend stand up for me recently, online, she said something to one of the people that bullied ME and that person unfriended and blocked her (even though that person was her friend).

              • Rebekah,
                I sympathize WITH you. I, too were bullied in elementary school. My bullying was 1975 to mid 1980’s. It started in 1st grade with spit balls and progressed to shoving, tripping, and hitting my head into the brick wall of the school at recess by 5th and 6th grades. I had bullying into high school. I felt even bullied at my 10 yr class reunion. (Claims were made why I never recieved an invite to the 5 yr, all untrue, I never moved).
                While in middle school, one boy punched me in the mouth, the brother of my neighboorhood friend. Loosening my front teeth and those around them. I endured about 15 root canals on them. I started grinding my teeth while I slept because of the stress.
                Over the years I endured physical abuse and pain, emotional abuse and pain at the hands of boys, even as they aged, to me they’re boys. Now I have serious bone degeneration along with signs of concussions. I also questioned what my life was for? 7 years after graduating I got my answer. I gave birth to twins; boy/girl. It was then I could trust someone without questioning why. Even now, my bullying was 44 yrs ago I struggle with it daily.
                I have a request for you, Rebeekah. Can you email me? We have a lot in common and would like to be a pen pal from WI, USA.

                • Hi Cyndy,

                  I’m sorry you had to go through things too.

                  I don’t see an e-mail address for you, but I would like to contact you.

                  Because publically posting e-mail addresses may lead to spam (as spam bots and people can see your e-mail address and spam you with unwanted e-mail), I have a side e-mail address that I can give you, and then when you e-mail it I will give you my real e-mail address, if that is ok with you.

                  I look forward to hearing from you.

    • Cher Armstrong says:

      I recently read an article called “This is what it really feels like to be Bullied” by a survivor named Anna Koppleman which I suppose did trigger me when I got an onslaught of old emotions since the article echoed so much of how I felt as a child and teen. (Despite said triggering, I don’t think articles like that should be censored, they’re important). I wound up making a whole Facebook post linking it complete with these words:

      “This old but relevant article….. really brought me back to how I felt when I was that exact same age as this writer. And basically my entire adolescence. And childhood, though my pre-adolescent self would’ve simplified it to “everyone hates me and I don’t know what’s wrong with me or what I did to deserve it.” Holy crap. I hope this girl, who based off the datestamp is now a senior, is okay, and even better, now removed from that devastatingly toxic situation in some way.

      I’m only grateful to have at least been born early enough that cyberbullying only really became a thing in 8th grade and that we older millennials did not have the omnipresent access to technology that Gen Z kids now have. If I was young enough to have been on things like Sarahah and to get hate texts constantly, which I have no doubt I would have had all these technologies come a decade earlier, no joke… I don’t I’d still be alive today. I barely made it through high school without attempts as it was. And I would have made sure the attempt succeeded.

      Bullying’s really no joke. 13 years straight of that, of adults asking me what I was doing to invite being mistreated, of being told that if I wasn’t “separate myself by how I dressed from my peers” (an actual thing said about a fucking FOURTH GRADER who is from a POOR family and has NO SAY in their outfits) has hurt me much more than even being homeless on and off for several years between the first attempt at kindergarten (had to repeat that over attendance and health issues from things that befall homeless people), that one time at summer camp when we were on the camp van that was meant to bring us to a river for a canoe trip that ended with something that can never be seen. (suffice it to say if I were a Harry Potter character I’d definitely be able to see thestrals.) Even the REASON that my mom and I ended up being homeless- there’s a house that is legally my mom’s, but family bullshit and an even bullshittier legal system. Or maybe I just don’t notice any of how that affects me because I was MORE affected about being bullied over being homeless and what I know now was anxious habits that I eventually dropped that came from it.

      And that is just shit that happened before I graduated high school and experienced concurrently with the relentless, merciless emotional and psychological torture from classmates (along with a couple of more physical incidents. Like that time an older boy decided to try for assault by pinning me against the wall, lucky for him in my case being a skinny kid didn’t mean being a physically weak kid and I got out of that and bolted). Or that time a friend I’ll leave nameless unless she wishes to disclose herself and I got jumped after school. Getting punched by a fourth grade boy multiple times as a first grader. Other things that apparently happened but I cannot remember and am not entirely sure I want to.

      This post will probably be deleted within a day, possibly even within an hour. But yeah. Maybe one of these days I’ll get over it.

      Meanwhile I’ll stick with my standard coping mechanism of distancing myself from people the moment I sense I’m annoying them or think they might not like me and stick to the very scant number of people I was friends with while the other 99.99% of people within 2-3 grades of me was doing Open Season on Cher Armstrong. Because as I see it they were friends with me when I was at my very worst and when there was absolutely nothing to gain from being my friend and even with the risk of being bullied themselves. And who dealt with me at my most difficult to be around, (I wish I could put to proper words how I feel about those friends that i’m still friends with to this day.)

      They, summer camp (which when I used cold logic contradicted what adults implied to me, that I had no social skills and no talent for making friends. I made friends perfectly easily at summer camp every time) and not having the level of technology we have now a decade-plus later saved my life.”

      I did NOT mention certain other specifics, but in sixth grade there was an incident where I was on the computer and a couple of my boys took my opague

      The school banned water bottles which I felt was an unnecessary thing even then and I know I wasn’t wrong because my adult self still agrees. Just caution students about leaving drinks unattended. There were people who got mad at me over it too and bullied me even more. I was teased a lot because that happened to me. I still heard about that for years, even after graduation. One of my college classmates worked with someone who was in high school with me that knew I’d be at that same college. And apparently thought it was cool to go “oh there’s this girl who’s going to your college…” It was infuriating considering I wanted college to be where I could totally just forget K-12. And now I had to be terrified that the college friend wasn’t the only one who heard it and that college people might hear of it and also make fun of me for it.

      Then there was the teacher I alluded to above. She apparently advised to at least one parent to tell their child to not talk to me or play with me because I was a “bad kid” who “likely wouldn’t graduate and would end up in jail before high school” (I acted out I suppose because of the whole homelessness thing and it was confusing and upsetting to realize nobody else lived in shelters, but does calling out, not staying in my seat, responding to name calling with namecalling arguing REALLY warrant emotionally torturing a flipping SIX-YEAR-OLD by working to make sure they had no friends and telling people things like that?!)… basically trying to get students to ostracize me either by calling attention to my flaws in front of the class or because their parents said they couldn’t play with me. I might add that I am now 31, have never been in jail, and graduated as salutatorian and with a school record for a track event. And don’t even get me started about what a load of crock it is that people think a “star athlete” and “star student” who can force a smile easily is a happy person. They couldn’t have been more wrong.

      I still don’t trust anyone really. I tend to distance myself from people, don’t like trying to talk to people, hate walking up to groups of people even more. If I consider someone a friend and they suddenly seem to be ignoring me (even if i’m completely irrationally thinking they are and they’re just busy) I respond in kind- and if they don’t reach out I assume I just cut off what wasn’t really a friendship anyway, figuring that they’d contact me otherwise and that since they’re not contacting me… so, yeah. I also get attached to people, message them a lot, then if they stop answering I figure I’m being annoying and stop talking to them altogether. Would those things be a sign of C-PTSD ? <Maybe. I'll never see a therapist to find out though, not after how bad the ones in my school were- they liked asking me what I was doing to make my classmates pick on me and other things that made me feel even worse about myself.

      Sorry for the long reply…

      • I don’t think the fact that you decide to stop messaging someone if you think you are annoying them is a sign of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I do that too, and it is related to confidence, in my opinion.

        I had the exact same experience you had with therapists – I had one that was in the school I attended from Grade Five until Grade Nine and I had to see her every week and she would bring up incidents that happened and ask what I did wrong, even if I didn’t do anything wrong! She would make me be the one at fault, then accuse me of not letting something go if something happened before I saw her the next time and then mentioned it! And these would be things that would happen constantly – the name calling, people writing nasty things, and physical attacks.

        It seems that both you and I were given the role of Scapegoat since we were both asked if (or blamed for) we did (or what we are doing) to make our classmates hate us.

  4. I was severely bullied in highschool from age 15 on. I was sexually abused at 11 from the popular guy in school who was older than me. When I entered high school his friends believed his story and called me a slut and a liar. I was chased down alleys, spat multiple kids..The worst was part was being humiliated by it all..I was terrified to go to school everyday and the teachers did nothing. After awhile I started believing their words..maybe I am a slut..even tho I was a virgin. I tried to kill myself. Took a bunch of pills and if I never told my friend I would be dead. I was sent to hospital and had my stomach pumped..Then one day my perpetrator died in an accident and an adult said it would go away now. He was so wrong. It got worse and speculation was that he killed himself as this was going on during court case..He rolled a vehicle..had gas all over himself and lit a cigarette and apparently said “see you all in hell”. The hardest part was even tho I was sexually abused by him I also grew up with him and was not welcome at the funeral. The bullying continued on..blamed once again so I started to cope by drinking. By 19 I was on my way to alcoholism…I drank on for another 10 years umtil I sobered up for 3..but I was hanging on by a thread..Yes Alcoholics anonymous helps with coping skills and how to live another way but it does not address trauma. I relapsed because of my anxiety..Another 2 treatment centers ..and still relapsed.. I felt like I was crazy. I didn’t understand why I wanted to hide out in my house or why I was so scared of judgement and people. Why it took everything out of me just to have the guts to show up to I could pick people out of the crowd and they could send me into panic attack.I mean I knew what it stemmed from but didn’t realize I had complex PTSD until 25 years later..and now it all makes sense..alcoholism and ptsd is a double edge sword..I could not get sober without treating my PTSD and I couldnt treat my PTSD without getting sober..I had a complete inability to connect on relationships of any kind of feel emotion. I wrote a letter recently to one girl who stuck out for me..who bullied me the most and I told her how she has affected my life and I got a response I didn’t expect. I got an apology and she owned that she wasn’t nice and how she was going through her own pain…I bawled my eyes out for a week and it felt good. Being able to feel…It took me a major breakdown to break open if that makes sense. I am doing EMDR with my therapist and by the grace of God I’m sober today…Everyday is still a struggle but to now know why I did what I did..I was merely coping and not a bad person or those words I was told everyday once upon a time..I hope to see the silver lining in this one I can help another

  5. Im 53 years old and my sister (pam) who is now 62 has bullied me my whole life,,the last time was 2 years ago on facebook , she publicly bullied me on a post that she was too cowardly to post on her own fb page , she had my sister in law do it for her fb page, my sister in law has no mind of her own, ,she is easy to manipulate.,she is not very bright and my sister and brother take advantage of her,, she does as she is told by my sister and brother,,,,I no longer go to their fb pages , so I have no idea if its still going on, I no longer speak to any of them,,my problem is I need some tips on how to cope with being bullied, I believe I have ptsd from this,

    • Hi Kay, I’m sorry to hear about what you’ve gone through. What you’re doing by having boundaries and no longer speaking to your family members is one good way to cope with it. I would also recommend reaching out to anyone who you feel safe with and confiding in them so that you don’t feel alone. And just know that it’s not your fault and you deserve to live your life free of the bullying. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I would also recommend this post on some strategies for building self-esteem as that can help with overcoming PTSD symptoms – I hope that helps!

  6. Christine says:

    I have ptsd and probably cptsd after looking at my symptoms. I have neck and back pain and jaw pain. I also have somaitc movements related to these. My poor spirit has emdured a lifetime of trauma, but what set it off was being bullied by a sociopath a work. I had a nervous breakdown and have not beem the same since. I hurt on the daily, it is more like an intense pressure that is uncomfortable amd wont go away. Idk what to do about it.

    • Hi Christine, my suggestion would be to see a therapist if you are not currently. They may be able to help you work through your trauma. And a trauma informed therapist would be ideal. I wish you all the best.

  7. Hi. I just thought i’d post my story here as everyone else, I don’t expect an answer. I’m 18 years old now, and have a variety of problems. The bullying started in 1st grade and ended in 9th grade (only because I dropped out of school. In the first few years I was able to relatively defend myself,but then my bullies got so many and so cruel that I just couldn’t defend myself and “let” it happen. I woke up with stomach ache that I had to go to school ,every single morning.mI told my parents sometimes and they did what they could,but it’s just gotten worse. They also didn’t know that it was repeatedly. In 7th grade I tried to run away from home, I didn’t care where I’d go.. just away. In 8th grade I went to a psychologist,hoping she could give me a paper for me to be homeschooled (in my country homeschooling is a very rare thing and requires permission). But she said she couldn’t (she lied or just didn’t care) and she can help me cope with my anxiety. I got furious and told her that how the fuck should I cope with something that’s still going on. Anyway, I stopped seeing her. In 9th grade was the worst (though my bullies weren’t there), I got in a new school, things were looking up, but I was so tired and sick by then that I couldn’t take a new environment. I lost the remaining of my friends, had to take a train with a whole crowd to another city,meet new people etc. I was very suicidal that year,started cutting myself. I didn’t trust anybody and ended up going to the school psychologist, who sent me to a psychiatrist in a hospital. She was useless, diagnosed me with social fobia, but she did manage to get me homeshooled. But it didn’t work. I quit that school and started going to night classes , which again I quit this April. I have all of the simptoms from this article, and tried to overcome them alone, but I can’t. A lot’s happened this summer, I got diagnosed with insulin resistance and PCOS (my grandmother’s sister had this, so no one assumed it’d pass down to me) , which means that it’s not my fault I’m overweight ,can’t have children etc… I just don’t know if I’ll be able to overcome this and move on. My life is fucked up and I did exactly NOTHING to deserve this. *sigh* I’m gonna get a special diet from my doctor, go to a new psychiatrist (who hopefully will be able to diagnose me with what I really have) , and try to get back and finish high school. Suppose it’s a start… Wish me luck!

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Orsi. You’re right that you didn’t do anything to deserve this and you deserve to be happy and well. You are young and still have your whole life ahead of you. It’s great that you are taking some steps that can help. Please continue to do that. I wish you all the best.

  8. I’m 26 years old, and I was tormented throughout my years at school. It resulted in me becoming a jerk by the end of 6th grade. I figured that to be popular or even liked, being a terrible human being was a requirement. After a while though, I couldn’t continue being a jerk, because it always made me feel terrible. I despised my middle school years and high school. I gave up trying to do well in school. I felt nothing good ever came from trying. I would be mocked by the other students and even a teacher. At 20 years old, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Too late for it to do any good. 6 years later, I still feel deep down that my bullies were right. Maybe I am worthless, inferior, a waste of flesh. I’ve never had a girlfriend, kissed, or had sex. I keep finding online that women won’t date someone that has no experience in relationships or sex. As I get older, they want someone that knows what they’re doing and to settle down. I’ll never get the chance to experience dating like a normal person. I’ll be a 40 year old with no dating experience. I have no hope in being a functioning adult. Maybe the bullies were right.

    • Hey Daniel, I just wanted to comment and say that the bullies were not right. You didn’t deserve to have people treat you in a way that made you feel worthless, inferior, or a waste of flesh as you say. It’s understandable to feel these things when you feel like you’re not accomplishing anything, but it doesn’t have to always be that way. The past doesn’t have to equal the future. Sometimes we just need to believe in ourselves a little more, but I know that’s hard when others haven’t believed in us. I encourage you to find something in your life that you have accomplished and that you can feel good about – it can be big or small – and remind yourself of that whenever you are feeling hopeless. Focus on small things you can do to try and build up some confidence. Maybe even try to get involved in some group based on something you like to do where there will be others who share that interest. Being around people who share a common interest can be a safe and supportive place. Might even be a good place to meet someone you could end up dating. Relationships come when we are ready for them but maybe you haven’t been looking in the right place. Either way, don’t give up on yourself.

  9. Krystal says:

    Bullying has impacted my life on so many levels,I was bullied on a daily basis as a kid and i even had a teacher who once saw me get bullied and turn his back on me,I ended up dropping out of school at age 13 and to this day I still have nightmares about School,I went through a few misdiagnoses including Schizoaffective disorder but it wasn’t until i was 31 that I found out that I am on the autistic spectrum and I don’t have PTSD but C-PTSD instead,I feel the bullies have robbed me of ever having any peace in my mind,I hate being 34 years old and if something triggers of a memory it’s like I rexperience the pain all over again,I don’t have any friends in real life and i can’t connect with many people,I don’t wish the bullies a bad life I just wish that if they do remember me they have some remorse for what they did.

  10. I came across this article looking for help for my son. We were given his diagnosis today. He’s Autistic and now has Complex PTSD. Thank you for having these things around. I’m going to study and try to learn what I can. Your stories give me hope and my thoughts with everyone.

  11. Bullying and abuse will happen throughout life. The best way to cope is to focus on things that make you feel better and developing coping skills to improve your stress reactions. We all bully and are bullied at some time in our lives. Tactics to block the impact of a bully’s actions help. If the bullying escalates into violence it is time to leave. If you are trapped in a hostile environment life can begin to feel like a warzone and survival mode tactics kick in that trigger aggressive outbursts and massive surges of fear. The one who can stay calm can think clearly and maybe escape harm. Mobbing is the real killer as many people join the bully as it makes them feel safer to be part of the mob led by the tough guy or gal then to take a stand that will often result in personal injury and loss. Meditation, distraction, humour, thought shifting and wise reactions to ugly behaviour might save your life and sanity one day. Peer at the bullying creep as if they are a slug and try to block them penetrating your sense of self. Know yourself and you have a tool to block the impact of their words and actions. People are animals at their core and a victim or prey situation often arises as individuals compete for power or possessions.

  12. Hi all at 55 im now living my life hiding in my bedroom suffering anxiety depression and panic attacks at 15 I lefts school after being bullied all my life because of my disability. I was able to lock it away for over 40 years. Then I found the job of my dreams and thing done to me in the work place such as bulling ,humiliation and embarrassment im now back where I was 40 years ago scared no confidence and feeling like the unless person I was told I would be over and over again. I’m told I have to try and forgive my bullies before I move on but I can’t because if I do I feel im giving permission to it happening again to me. I never thought I would be here again in my life and its just so hard the sad thing is I worked in mental health and was bullied by my managers now im on a new journey of recovery taking little steps each day. I’m lucky to have a great bunch of medical professionals to help me. In my work I was told never be afraid to ask for help and I do believe there are some people out there who will listern but sadly that was not the case for me.Be strong my friends remember you not alone and always hold you head high and be proud of yourself.

  13. This article was really helpful for me. I’m a 14 yr old girl and I was bullied through primary school. I had one good friend in primary school called Eva. In my mind, she was amazing, all I needed. So when she started to abuse me and force me to do things I didn’t realise what was happening. I caught on slowly but I couldn’t accept what was happening. I thought it was a joke and stayed in the friendship. I had nowhere else to go, no one else to turn to. Eva became more and more abusive. She started to exclude me more and more and found a new friend who was more manipulatable. Eva used her new friend to make my life worse. Now there was two people against me instead of one. I thought it was something I’d done. I thought I’d done something to Eva to make her so nasty. I was in Year 2 at the time, at seven years old. When I went into Year 3, other people in my class began to catch on. They realised I was isolated and took advantage of that. Sometimes there weren’t enough teachers to supervise all the play grounds and that’s when they’d find me. I would try to hide in the corner but they’d come over and shove me around, take my stuff, pour water over my books. As I went into Year 4 it became physical. I had to hide bruises when I came home. They would trap me in a corner and send three boys in to beat me up. I still have the scar on my hand from one particually bad attack. A teacher came out and saw what was happening. But while the bullies were caught, nothing happened to them. They were just let go. I never learnt to be around other people, to interact with people, make friends. I’ve become isolated and developed anxiety. I have had panic attacks and flashbacks. I found it really hard to settle into my secondary school. My fear of making friends has held me back because I’m absolutely terrified it would happen again. This year I applied for counselling through the school.

    It was amazing. My counselor was incredible and I’m starting to slowly recover. I’m making friends and I’m starting to get sleep now. I do still ask myself, What if? How could it have been different? Why didn’t I do this, see this? Why didn’t I get help? But I have now. And it’s changed everything. I’m happier and I’ve found a group of friends where I can finally be myself. They accept me for who I am and don’t want anything else. I used to have daily panic attacks but now I get them once a month if I’m unlucky. And when I do, my friends are there. My counselor was the one that first suggested I had PTSD and it was a big shock but it made sense. If there’s anyone out there who’s in my situation or been in it then get help. I know it’s sometimes easier said than done and I know you may think it’s not a big problem but the advice my counselor gave me was in a way life changing. I’d been so low I was considering committing suicide. Now I know I’ve got so much in front of me and I can’t let the past control my future. My whole view on life has changed for the better. I don’t think I’ll ever forget what happened. I haven’t fully recovered but I’m on my way there

  14. I’m glad I came across this site. I’ve had so many people tell me that bullying is a normal part of life and that I’m being silly for thinking school bullying might still be bothering me as an adult. I quit trying to talk to most people about it because I got tired of being laughed at whenever I opened up.

    I started counseling, and my counselor seems to think I have complex PTSD from junior high bullying. It was bad back then – the rumor mills got going, I was called ugly, evil, and stupid on a daily basis, sometimes by the teachers, and I had girls encouraging me to kill myself every single day. I think the hardest part is that inside it never stopped. On bad days I can still hear all the cat calls and threats from other girls, and in some ways, 25 years later, I’m still there. It’s like a part of my mind picked up where they left off and kept on making me feel worthless.

    I got diagnosed with a panic disorder as an adult, and working backwards figured out that I was probably having daily panic attacks in sixth grade, but only on days when I went to school. Honestly, there are some things that happened back then I can’t even talk about with my counselor yet because just thinking about the memory triggers panic attacks. A lot of things in this article clicked, and I know I’m still struggling with a lot of anger against those girls and with trying to forgive them. I just keep hoping that someday this will end and I can move on and leave it behind.

  15. I am really struggling with this, and have been since 2011. You see as a Master Sergeant in the Air Force I was bullied by a higher level supervisor daily for a year and a half. Unlike many people who wrote on this page, I couldn’t leave the situation. You see I was in the military, and there’s no quitting. When I tried to report the abuse to my supervisors they turned it all around on me to protect my accuser. For a year and half he belittled me, yelled at me behind closed doors, and told me I was useless, all while piling on massive amounts of work that no one could accomplish. He clearly had a problem, but he made his problem mine and in the end I now have PTSD. My hair fell out, I almost vomited daily, and now to this day I can get a job because I’m terrified I’ll end up with a supervisor who will do the same things to me. I do receive a retirement pension and disability, but clearly that’s not enough. I have no one to ask for help, and all I want is to be able to get a job without being terrified during an interview. In fact I’ve been offered several great jobs, but I’m too scared to take them.

    • Jennifer: I am so sorry to hear your story. It is a lot like mine but I am a teacher. I taught at a school (military, all boys in fact!) and was harassed by my principal and department head. They were so demeaning in private but around others just praised me. Then some of the bullying developed in the whole department. Imaging having grown adults laugh at you, a teacher, for planning your year or wanting to integrate technology in the classroom! My boss repeatedly mocked me for being organized and well planned. And he really yelled at me once and said I deserve to be treated poorly by a coworker. So I took another job – just started this week. Yes, it is very hard – harder than I thought it would be but I figure if it is bad I will just quit. Try taking one of those jobs – interview well and ask all the questions. I bet you are better at spotting the bad guys now. If it helps we can keep in touch and encourage one another. Good luck!

  16. I relate to a lot that is in this thread. Especially the fear of being a success, to protect me from being bullied. I was targeted in my workplace by my boss, along with peers on my team. This article made me think back to highschool and being bullied by several people there. I felt trapped and threatened to report it. At 48 years old, I see a consistent pattern of being bullied, ostracized or being in situations where I had conflict with someone and felt threatened to report, as I felt like no one would protect me. I recall a time where someone punched me in the face in public; the suspect ran away; though there were witnesses, I felt like I did something to provoke this person to do what they did. The world has always felt unsafe for me. I am hyper-vigilant. And it is this post that has prompted me to look at a long trail of feeling like I am to blame; and that if I came forward, no one would help and no one would believe me. My most recent situation at work, where I documented over a calendar year of bullying conduct by my boss and submitted it to HR, led to the termination of said boss. I was targeted by her, as well as several peers in my department. Though I feel vindicated and am grateful that the company decided to terminate her, I am challenged by the trauma of my experience, am hyper-vigilant towards the new boss and the remaining people in my department. My team has proven to be duplicitous and not worthy of trust and I am wary of my new boss, who was the boss of my former boss. I know it isn’t fair, but I am finding it a challenge to give my new boss the benefit of the doubt. I am expecting her to be just like my boss. And though I have noted that the people on my team “appear” to be showing me relative “civility” following our former boss’ dismissal, I can’t help but question their motives, and think that it is all an orchestrated ploy to bait me before switching. To the point of self-esteem, I feel like mine was depleted long ago. I have been trying to “key word” what I’ve been going through, because I want to live a full life that I think I still have in me somewhere. I just hope that I am ready to face all of this, as I have put it off for far too long.

    • I’m sorry to hear about what you’ve gone through. It’s not your fault, though. It’s never okay for someone to bully another person. You are not alone in how you feel and being able to live a full life is absolutely possible. I wish you nothing but the best!

      • I plan the meet with a counselor early next week who is trained in helping people with trauma. I believe that I have C-PTSD and I want to ensure that the counselor can help me with it. If the person is only trained in treating people who have PTSD can I still find benefit? I find it a challenge to trust. And, I want to know that I am getting the right treatment. Are you able to provide some advice on how I can make the best of these sessions?

        • I met with the counselor. I realize that I can share a lot but feel very little. I have always had a hard time experiencing intimacy. I don’t know how to trust. The counselor assured me that when we meet it is “your time”, he said. He gave me control. I thought afterwards that he was assuring me of this because people who have experienced trauma had their control taken away. And I see in my life how much I’ve tried to take back my control but in unhealthy ways. I want to benefit from this counseling, and I’m wondering if all I need is to feel like I can trust this person, so that I can share deeper. I mean, I think I’ve lived my life dissociated, unable to bond with others. I want to bond, but I just don’t know how. And I don’t want to think about it too much. I just want to look forward to meeting with this person because this is a person who understands me and I can find a way to trust his feedback. I’m just very confused, but I am doing my best. Not sure if anyone relates to what I just shared, but hope this forum can also provide me with insight as much of the time I feel so alone.

          • Hi JS, sorry I didn’t respond to your previous comment but I didn’t see it until now. It’s sounds like you had a positive experience at your appointment, which is great. It can take time to feel like you can trust a counselor, especially if trust is difficult for you. If this person is someone who understands you and who you feel is helping you, then over time you will probably be able to share more with them and begin to feel like you trust them. Just know that you are not alone in how you are feeling and that it takes time to learn how to trust again. I hope that you continue to have a good experience with this counselor and that they are able to help you. Keep us posted!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Great post. I can say as a victim of childhood bullying and psychological abuse that one of the biggest problems for kids facing this kind of abuse today is the generational gap in the word ‘bully.’ To my parents, a bully was someone who beat you up every day. To most people of my generation, it’s years and years of mental torture and feeling judged by everyone.

    As I’ve grown older I’ve had a realization – it would have been better for me to come home with a black eye or broken nose and say ‘it hurts’ rather than to come home as I did – with no physical scars whatsoever, and say ‘it hurts’.

    I’ve only recently learned how to consciously cope with the effects of having been bullied long-term. Part of this has been scary in that I have to live my life without constant fear that others might be judging me, for whatever reason. This has caused problems in my relationships and has led to trust issues in relationships with my romantic partners, friends and family. I felt like I couldn’t trust my parents because they simply didn’t understand what was happening, and when I tried to explain it, they basically told me that it was a part of life and that I had to deal with it. Later on, after I finished middle school, I started seeing a psychiatrist for the first time. But even this didn’t really help, as I was still being bullied in high school (one person who I thought was my friend suddenly one day turned on me and followed me around the school calling me a ‘fake’ and that I had no friends). I was really happy to leave high school and go to college, where I was able to make friends easily and deal with the effects in a positive way. But it never fully goes away, and I sincerely feel terrible for the growing ability for bullies to target their victims, making it hard for onlookers to combat them.

    In short, I can strongly identify with complex-PTSD and wish that children psychologically and physically abusing one another was a problem more taken seriously.

  18. Hi everyone, we are a family who’s son has been through horrific bullying, we completely understand the pain and hurt that never goes away!! Nat

  19. Hello, My Name is “T”. I’m Disclosing My Name for Privacy Reasons. I’m 16 Years Old, I’m also Starting my Junior Year at my High School later on Next Month.

    (Before I Start, I will Say that I have a Good Memory.)

    I’ve Been Bullied Every Year Since Kindergarten. I got into my First School Fight in October 2010, in 5th Grade. It has gotten Worse in High School. From Being called Names from a Jacket I wore, To Classroom Disruptions. I’ve went to Teachers, Administrators, to even the SRO (School Resource Officer). It’s either been Close to Nothing, or, Nothing at all that’s worked. I’ve Told My Parents about It happening Every Year Since Kindergarten. They Always tell me: “Go Tell The Teachers”.

    Earlier This Year (Sophomore Year), I’ve Asked my Parents to Transfer Me to a Different School. They said “That’s Not An Option”. I’ve Tried Dropping Out, They Refuse for me NOT to do That.

    My Good Memory, Sometimes Helps Me out with Problems. Or, I Have “Flashbacks” to what Happen in them. I have Memories Ranging from: “Photographic”, “Audiographic”, etc… Along with That, I Think TOO MUCH about the Past. On How “What Could I have done Differently?” or “What if This Happened”. I’ve Researched about Good Memories online. I’m Thinking that I have “Emotional” & “Hyperthymesia” Memories.

    Sometimes with my Good Memory. It doesn’t all Pinpoint to Bullies at School. It sometimes Pinpoints Life Events. Like Relatives Dying. Or to my Parents having an Argument. (Nothing Physical, Just Verbal.) One Time in May 2012, Before My Birthday. My Parents were having an Argument in front of Me. With my Dad Pulling out a Knife, Threatening to Kill Himself in front of Me & My Mom.

    I Remember a Lot of these Things. They can be Good, They can be Bad. Most of the Times they’re Bad.

    I Thank You for Reading This.

    • God's Child says:

      Hi, you are living my life! Im 16 yr old girl and I’m being bullied and now I suffer from PTSD from Verbal and Psychological Abuse but you are not alone!!!

  20. Kimberly says:

    My son was bullied by his teachers at his school, ALONG WITH the students throughout his fifth grade year. He had chronic illness that the doctors wouldn’t diagnose properly and instead kept labeling him as depressed. So his teacher was cruel to him and kept calling names like “sick boy”. And she would embarass him and yell at him. Now he is better because we found ot was from food allergies and adjusted his diet. Uet he is now homeschooled because henia unable to cope with middleschool due to panick attacks. He is a much happier boy. But that horrible time has done irrevocable damage to his emotions and psych. He still has panic attacks and nightmares to this day.

    • Hi Kimberly, I know, I know exactly what you mean!! we too have been through so much! my heart goes out to you! please remember you are not alone. Kindest Thoughts and prayers Nat Evitt

  21. Thank you very much for this article.

    My parents were protestant pastors in a South American country that is mostly Catholic. I grew up studying in a Catholic School, and during most of my time there things were not so great. My last two years in high school though were very bad, and I had a terrible time trying to cope. I remember that I had a hard time sleeping, became very insecure, and was unable to live a normal life like most of my peers. I also had a lot of self sabotage and was unable to take advantage of a number of opportunities in different areas of life that came around in that time.

    Years later I was terribly frustrated that I still hadn’t been able to get over my memories. Re-experiencing would sometimes be a daily thing. The memories would come back and I just felt really bad for not having tried harder to defend myself and allowing the harm. I felt I wasn’t that person that had been at school those years and it was like I just couldn’t accept what had happened.

    I think I tried to compensate somehow but eventually depression and anxiety became more than I could handle. I eventually started going to therapy, and kept on going for almost 6 years. But it was incredibly hard for me to talk about that in therapy. It was kind of like the shame and humiliation came right back and as a young guy it didn’t feel right.

    I am 31 now. I have come to understand myself more as a whole and started to accept and forgive myself for not being able to do more. Definitely giving myself the time, tolerance, and understanding the triggers has helped a lot.

  22. Interesting article.

    I’m a 59-year-old woman who was bullied and harassed, intensively and relentlessly, all through elementary and middle school. The bullying took the form of derogatory name-calling, exclusion from activities, and physical attacks that included attempted sexual molestation and beating.

    My situation was exacerbated by a home situation that involved a bipolar, abusive father and a mother who never came to my defense.

    I want to keep this brief. One effect of the unremitting and corrosive attacks to my self-esteem has been a lifelong pattern of self-sabotage. I don’t know if the mental health community considers self-sabotage to be a part of the pattern of behaviors associated with Complex PTSD, or if it exists as a co-morbidity not directly related to the PTSD.

    I’ve been working with a counselor for the last two years, and have come to understand that the self-sabotage is a defense mechanism to deflect the attention that comes with standing out or being successful in any endeavor.

    When you’re the subject of protracted bullying, you get it beaten into you (sometimes literally) that your success at anything that gets you positive attention will cause the bullies to intensify their attacks on you. When you’re successful at something, the bullies perceive this as you challenging their domination of you; it’s as if you’re actually threatening to take something away from them, and they intensify the bullying to protect their position ahead of you in the “peck order.”

    Sheer survival trains you to avoid the appearance of success, which can become a pattern of self-denigration and self-sabotage. You veer away from pursuit of activities where you can be successful; if you find yourself standing out and drawing attention because of success, you might abruptly cease the activity, using the excuse that other obligations, responsibilities or life events keep you from it. Or you may disparage your success, attributing it to luck, chance, or assistance/participation of others.

    Anything to avoid drawing the kind of attention to yourself that could draw attention of bullies.

    Acknowledging that I have engaged in self-sabotage is a new experience for me, and I’m finally starting to change patterns of behavior.

    I’d be interested to hear if other people who have been the subject of bullying find themselves, consciously or unconsciously, engaging in self-sabotage. My counselor thinks this is a common effect of prolonged, severe bullying.

    • Hi Karin, thanks for the comment. I think you are spot on in what you talk about here. I for one have certainly engaged in self-sabotaging behaviors over the years. It’s something I learned to do very quickly while I was in the bullying situation. And it’s something that I continued to do beyond that in order to protect myself (or at least that’s what I thought I was doing). It took me a while to begin changing my patterns of behavior, and even then, I wasn’t aware that deep down I was sabotaging my success as a means of protection. You explain that connection so clearly and articulately here, and I thank you for that. I wish you the best in overcoming your self-sabotage so that you may achieve the things you deserve. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help!

  23. jonathan says:

    Hey Melissa, Great article! Good to read about someone who managed to turn an awful into a tool to help others, I admire that a lot!

    I too have suffered from bullying for a very long time ( from age 8 till 18) and it left a very big open wound that I am still in the process of healing to this very day ( nearly 14 years later). I went trough many depressive periods during the bullying and a significant one that happened 4 years later, when I experienced the biggest depression to date, with 2 years of suicidal thoughts on a daily basis (during this period I have been institutionalized for 3 months).

    Around the age of 21 till I was about 28 I fled into a fantasy gaming world which actually caused my character in this world to become a surrogate for my self-esteem and while I felt I made progress and friendships, in my real-life I made very little progress towards developing myself as a person.

    Mentally I was in a state of chronic depression until I broke with my escapism only to discover how much healing I still had to do. Meanwhile I had been diagnosed with numerous personality disorders, gaming addiction, depression, ADD and autism (all later retracted except for the autism and ADD). Yet still everytime I was diagnosed, it was just a explanation for the symptoms I displayed caused by a very long traumatic experience. Because I always was in quite a bad place while being diagnosed, the focus was never on the past but always on what was bothering me at that very moment.

    When I turned 30 I decided I was ready to tackle a different part of what had bothered me for a long time, which was my obesity, caused by years of emotional eating. After losing over 88lb or 40kg by working out religiously (yay for dopamine!) over the period of a year , I slowly started to experience a sort of self confidence I had never felt in my entire life and my quality of life improved significantly. I still struggled with my emotions feeling out of touch (mostly aggressive outbursts when feeling a kind of pressure that I couldn’t control or escape similar to what I felt when bullied) so I once again decided to contact a psychologist.

    Finally my therapist realized that I may actually have been suffering from complex PTSD and started to take steps into getting my ready to take on my past. The last year during therapy, and the year before that since I started working out I feel like my development has entered warp-speed so to speak. I finally start to feel like I deserve a place in this world.

    What does bother me still is that my brain seems to block out some of what I have experienced as a defense mechanism, I have literally blanked out while in a therapy session for instance, so I can talk about what happened but not always in detail.

    The arousal you mention is also still an issue for me and despite feeling more confident and in touch with myself lately, I still scare easy, and will be startled by someone standing in front of an elevator when I exit one, or someone entering a room when I am the only one there. I still employ the “fastest seat to escape from” tactic in restaurants and know exactly where the all the exits are. It is also very hard for me to travel anywhere outdoors without my earphones in and my music on to block out any unwanted interference. It gets better though, I used to be so anxious I couldn’t handle to pressure of being on a crowded train-station for instance.

    I’m not done fighting yet and can’t wait to see where I’ll be next year or the year after that, which my suicidal self years ago could never have imagined. I hope to help people who have been in the same situation as myself eventually so it is great to discover a site of someone who already works in this field 🙂

    • Jonathan, thank you so much for sharing! There is so much hope in your story and I love that. What I think is great and what will help you to get to where you really want to be is all of the awareness that you have. Dealing with PTSD is tough and takes time. I still deal with some symptoms myself from time to time. I love how you say that you’re not done fighting yet, and I’m sure that you’re only going to continue to grow and heal. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help!

  24. Hi Melissa
    Thank you for the inside you gave me, there is not much resources about PTSD criated by the school involvement, and I am glad I found it.
    I would like to ask you a question if its possible, because I am going to a school meeting monday, and I want make sure I have as much information as I can.
    My son is now 13, he was diagnosed with PTSD from bulling in 2013, after at least 3 years of being bullied.
    When he started first grade he was reading and learning on a 5th grade level, but becase he has dysgraphia (writing disabilities) that was not identified by school testing, ( because his inteligence would make up for his disabilities and he was always classified as average on everything.
    He got very frustrated because he could not write and the school said he was going to get better. I told them I didn’t agreed but they always shut me down talking about his behavior ( he cryed very easyly and wouldn’t get over), but he was still ok.
    2sd grade he was very distracted, would stay still and the teacher complained, I took him to the Childrens Hospital to do an emotional and behavioral assessment, and they did not found anything wrong with him.
    And by then he started coming home and telling a boy was bulling him, I went to school and asked to the School Phychologist investigate, and she told me the boy wasn’t doing anything and by talking with my son he was misperceiving bulling.
    And put him on a school intervencion grupo so he could interacte with other children.
    His performance in school was going down the hill and He kept telling me about bulling and I would go to school everyday and they kept telling me he was misperceiving.
    I went in a meeting with the school phychologist and Social worker and they told me they thought he was autistic, because by they he was very sensitive to noise and the other children.
    I told them I didn’t think he was autistic brcause he was never like that before, so they come out with mild autism and told me I was in denial.
    He went to 3th grade and the boy that he said was bulling him wasn’t in him classroom anymore, so he had a more quite year even though it was still times that I had to go talk to them, but he shut himself more and did not talk about bulling but was very emotional and would get along in the playground in our building because he was always feeling rejected, but his teacher was great and he got better from the year before.
    4th first days of school and the teacher wants to talk with me because he was not focused he would not stop moving he was coming home with his tee shirts full of holes from biting it, I asked the school to test him again because I want him to have help. And then my son told me the bulling was still happening, and told me who was bulling him(the same boy from 2sd grade ) I went flying to school, they tol me again that they talked with the kid and he said it wasn’t towards my son.
    It got down the hill again, and they told me it was my son’s fault becase he didn’t know how to stud up for himself.
    So they put him on a program to get him to learn how to get his confidence back.
    It all got worse, by the end of 1th quarter he did have any friends they were excluding him if he would sit in the cafteria the kids would get up and live him by himself all leading by the bully.
    He got tested again come average (didn’t qualify again), and I took the matters in my hand went to school and investigate about the boy found out he was bulling not just my son, went to the principle he told me he couldn’t do anything they were going to help my son again.
    my son was in therapy for months and it did not help he just go worse.
    I am a single mother and did not have money to chang him from that school.
    He was then diagnosed by the therapist with PTSD. I ask the school to help, they would let him go to the Phychologist office when he was upset or crying but the kids were all making fun of him by this point.
    So I got him tested outside of school
    And the neurophysiologist confirmed he had PTDS, anxiety, depression because of the bulling and becase of the involvement, and he finally got diagnosed with Dysgraphia.
    At that point my son would not look you in the eye, would not talk, he just made noises, he would throw himself on the floor if he would feel afraid.
    He was stressed, depressed, anxious.
    He was vanished.
    The neuropsychologist told me he would not succeed in the public school becase of the PTSD he need a safe place to recover.
    A school that provided him an intellectual opportunities, the public school devide to give him an IEP, to help with DYSGHAPHIA, but nothing for PTSD.
    One of my clients and his partner (I am a house cleaner) Offered to pay for a private school for him that would offer what he needed(my angels they saved my sons life).
    At the beginning he would still cryed for no reason and the teacher asked him what was going on and he would just cried and told him he thought about the boys, and Mike his teacher would just told him “you are safe now Donald, nobody is going to hurt you here”
    And he would get back again.
    My son is now health plaing sports, doing well, its being 3 years.
    The school is one hour away from my house so I spend 4-5 hours a day driving to keep him there, I asked the school for transportation and guess what they told me?
    “It was your choice when you took him out of here.”
    And they told me that in the middle school the have program for children with PTSD,
    But I told them that my son is traumatized to go to that school because the bullies are in the same school and he trow up in my car the other day just because I Told him I was going to a meeting in that school.
    They don’t understand that that school is a sourse of my son’s PTSD or they just make believe they do not understand to denial help.
    Do you think is there any chance that my son would turn out ok if he would go back there, since he is doing better now?
    What should I tell them?

    Thank you so much for let me vent here.

    • Hi Suzi, I’m sorry to hear about what your son has been through. And I’m sorry I didn’t have a chance to respond sooner. I don’t know if you’ve made a decision yet, and of course you have to do what is best for you, but personally, as someone who was bullied in school, I would not send him back to his previous school if those who bullied him are still there. That’s great that he’s doing better but I fear that he would regress if he’s back in that situation. I would take the fact that he threw up when you told him you had a meeting there as a sign that it would not be a good thing for him. I understand that it’s a difficult decision for you, but that would be my recommendation. I hope everything works out for you both and please keep me posted!

  25. I might be a bit late to this thread as I see the last comment was a year ago. Still, I’m reading it now and I found it all interesting and helpful. My daughter – now aged 11 – has been bullied at school for years. She has all of the symptoms described – from low self esteem to extreme anger, mainly directed at me. For the past six months she has been having private therapy – EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing – and it has been miraculous. I haven’t seen it mentioned in any of the threads so thought I would just reach out from the UK to say that it is certainly worth looking up.

    • Hi Joy, thanks for the comment. You’re not too late at all! I’m sorry to hear about your daughter but that’s great that EMDR has been working so well for her. Thanks for mentioning it – it’s definitely worth considering for those who are struggling.

  26. Stephanie c says:

    I have heard the e f t – emotional freedom technique or ” tapping” can relieve stress and anxiety- worth looking into.

  27. What are some ways I can deal with my childhood traumas and abuse without medication or extensive therapy?
    I grew up in an abusive home and it hasn’t stopped. I’m 19 now and am still dealing with it on a day to day basis. Growing up in a home that wasn’t healthy was made worse because other kids could see there was something wrong with me and being children didn’t understand it and ostracized me. I was bullied horrendously. I didn’t make a friend until I was in the 6th grade.
    There is always these questions in my head.
    “Why wasn’t my mother more attentive? Why didn’t she take me out of such a hostile environment? Why did she turn to drugs? Why didn’t my father see what he was doing wrong and fix it? Why would those monsters at school do that to me? I was so young and now I’m an adult who can’t seem to move on from any of it. Why can’t I let go?”
    I’m on Prozac for depression and a string sleep aid because my mind races when I’m not busy. I feel like I’m just as dependent on these pills as my mother is to hers. Different reasons but it feels the same. I’ve gone to therapy off and on for the past two years and I feel like I’m not getting anywhere. Like I feel like they all string this process along big and don’t give me any advice so they can charge me a leg and an arm for just an hour of me venting.
    I’ve tried doing read etch on cognitive thinking and excersize with a healthy diet and hobbies and trying so much but… Not be if these things have stopped me from thinking about all that has happened. These people who did horrible things to me at school come in to my work all the time. I get these god awful flash backs that don’t go away for hours or days. Like I just can’t shake it. I work and live with my parents while I’m going to college and everyday is a different struggle with them. Both of them addicts and liars.
    I need to find a way to let go of all of it and move forward. I’m just… Not sure how to do that.
    Do you have any advice you could give?

    • Hi Brittany, I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. I can offer you my personal opinion here. I do think it’s good that you are getting professional help, but if you don’t feel like it’s working for you then maybe you could try seeing someone different. It seems to me, however, that it’s your environment that is holding you back the most right now. Try not to be too hard on yourself. These things that happened to you are not your fault and it takes time to let them go. The fact that you have to deal with your parents everyday and see the people who bullied you is only going to make that more difficult. It’s great that you’ve tried things like exercise and eating healthy and having hobbies. I would definitely keep doing those things even if they don’t feel like they are helping much right now. My question to you would be, is there any way you can change up your environment? Can you stay at college instead of with your parents? Can you work somewhere else? If those things aren’t possible then I would find positive people to hang out with as much as possible. I really believe that changes like that could make a big difference for you. I hope that helps. I wish you luck!

      • BRittany says:

        I have been working towards my apprenticeship for the past 2 years and I’m almost finished. I won’t be making good money but I hope to move out on my own. I don’t think I can find work as a tattoo artist anywhere else and not be resented by my family for it. I hate working with them because I have to be put in the middle of everything and they tend t lash out at me at work but… I love tattooing. Isn’t passion. I think I can handle seeing them at work if I’m not going home with them too. And I just go to community college right now and dorm prices are outrageous. I appreciate your advice. I’ll try to keep what you’ve said in my mind as I go through today and the next the next. Thank you.

  28. Hi, Melissa. I’m a guy who have been suffering with depression disorder and anxiety disorder from school bullying PTSD.
    in my case, the reason of the bullying was my Obsessive Compulsive disorder.
    I had been bullied for 7years, from 6th grade of elementary school to graduation of highschool.

    I suffered a lot since i was a little kid with ocd (i guess it started when i was 9 years old)
    and it got pretty worse when i started my 6th grade, i had severe ocd thoughts, and some ocd behavior such as murmuring some words repeaedly, doing some continuous motion, like tapping a table etc to release my anxiety.
    and one bully in the same class saw it, he made fun of it.
    it was a start of living hell.

    he called me the disabled, and exaggerated my motion, and made me feel like a mentally insane person.
    he threatened me, kidding me, swore at me, and even hit me.

    at that time, i even didn’t know what OCD is, so i was so afraid of my symtoms, and his insults made my symtoms worse and worse.
    i almost thought I was a disabled, cuz i’d been told for so many times.

    and I got into the middle school which I had to stay with him again,
    I was so afraid and bullying was started again.

    I had been losing my hope and confidence more and more, and my ocd and depression, anxiety got worse and worse, eventually i ended up overstaying as a victim until i graduated high school and finally got free.

    now I’m 26 but I’ve been still taking my anti depressants such as Welbutrine, Paxil, and Xanax. and still suffering with gloomy and ugly feelings and victim mentality.

    I had worked in Australia for 17months, but i had to come back to my home country Korea due to a relapse of severe depression disorder.
    i even couldn’t go outside for a few months, and slept too much. i slept 12-17 hours every day i really couldn’t control it.

    then I realized and had to accept that i have a horrible traumatic events. cuz i couldn’t stand it so always tried to hide and avoid it.
    I thought I was totally recovered from my school days, but I found me running away and drawing lines between me and people. I could approach to random people without hesitation, but I always ended up avoiding relationships I easily made, always felt gloomy that I always make shallow relationships. i think it’s an aftermath of the trauma.

    now i’m getting focused on remedy and reflection.
    I’m trying to face my past days and traumas.
    thank you for your good article and i wish you all well.

    even though I can’t go outside easily now, and I feel lonely but I can’t approach to people and make friends that easily like I used to with my fake-confident persona.
    but I think I’m looking for true-self since I accepted my painful heart.
    it is NEVER easy to mend my heart, but I WILL DO survive the recovery.
    pray for me pls. I also pray for you.

    thanks again.

    • Hi Jake, thank you so much for your comment and for sharing your experience. I’m so sorry that you had to go through that in school and that you are still suffering now as a result. It’s good that you are able to recognize that what you are struggling with is a result of the bullying. Now you can focus on how to heal from that. It’s a good sign that you are looking to focus on that. I don’t know what things are like in your country, but I would definitely recommend going to therapy if you are not doing so already. Talking about my past in a safe environment like that really helped me. I will certainly keep you in my thoughts. Please let me know how things go.

  29. I was diagnosed with ptsd this Tuesday from childhood bullying. Its been 10 years since I graduated high school and I still can’t get over the crap that happened when I was younger. The bullying was so bad my senior year I ended up giving everyone but a select trusted few the silent treatment. I was a mess when I started college because I couldn’t speak to anyone and actually ran away from old classmates I would run into who had picked on me in the past. When I had to pick up my younger sister (6yrs age difference) from her after school activities, (same high school) I would lock the door and have my cell phone ready in case one of the kids decided to harass me which never happened. Every time school is mentioned or something specific story is brought up I get so angry its ridiculous cause it’s been 10 years. Its been difficult finding a job because of not being able to pass an interview since I get the same feeling I get from interviewers as I did teachers trying to tell them when I was having problems back during my school years and the teachers often times made the bullying worse when confronting the bullying. I avoided school dances and even missed out in prom because of my classmates. The only time my parents got me and my siblings a school year book was our last year at each elementary, middle, and high school since they couldn’t afford it for 3 kids ever year. My parents wanted to buy me one for my senior year and I told them I didn’t want it. The sad part is I can’t remember half of their names or faces but I remember what they did to me.
    My 10th year high school reunion was last year or supposed to be last year. I have no idea if we even had one and I had no intentions of going. Partly because of this I can’t get a job since I don’t interview well, and I can’t hold down a job. The only reason why I would want to show up at my next one is if I’m successful and to shove it in everyone’s faces.
    So being diagnosed with ptsd formally is definitely the first step.

    • Hi Monica, thank you for sharing your experience. I can identify with so much of it and I’m sorry that you are still struggling so much as a result of what you went through. Don’t be hard on yourself about it, though. You just have to do the best that you can. It sounds like getting that diagnosis is opening the door for your recovery. I take it that you are seeing a therapist or psychiatrist. Getting professional help was really the first step for me in my recovery journey. I found that dealing with the mental health issues related to the bullying allowed me to then develop a healthier self-esteem and become more confident, which then allowed me to be more social and do better in job interviews, etc. It sounds like you are starting down the path toward healing, and I believe that you will get to a better place because it sounds like you really want it. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help along the way.

  30. I’m 16 this year and I still have the above problems going on since I was 8. I was bullied by my seniors and my own classmates. When I told my parents about it, they didn’t give a shit about it. They even made a joke about this matter. “The only reason you get bullied is because you don’t look pretty.” That’s what they said. Well, at least they said the word “ugly” in a nicer way. Honestly, what kind of parent would say that to their own child?? Till now, they still kept saying that I didn’t look pretty and blah blah blah. I went for couselling in school nearly every week so I pretty much dropped the idea of committing suicide.

    • Hi tabi, thank you for the comment. I’m sorry to hear that you struggle with these things. And I’m sorry to hear that your parents were not supportive of you. I hope you know that the bullying is never your fault. I’m glad that counseling has been able to help you. Please continue to hang in there. Things can get better. The important thing is to continue to reach out for support from those who are willing to give it.

    • God's Child says:

      Im being bullied and as a result, i never go to school a whole week. I tried talking to my mom, she defended me and went to the school but it continued. I told her that it never stopped abd she got angry and told me because I’m to skinny and the pharmacist said i had the perfect weight for my height. She also told me it’s because I dont talk to people but they all rumor monguers and bullies but Im healing as I have a little support group!

  31. i dont really know how to describe mine because i dont think its official because im only 13. from 3rd to 7th grades i was bullied in school for a number of reasons and whenever i talk about it or think about it i start having a panic attack or just start tearing up or sobbing. i think i do have it but not medically diagnosed but im afraid i might have it and ive been thinking about it for a long time.

    • Hi Emilee, thanks for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that you were bullied and that it’s so upsetting to you. My best advice is to talk to a safe person about it and possibly get some therapy for it. A therapist would be able to determine if you are suffering from PTSD. Hang in there and I wish you well. You are not alone in what you are experiencing.

      • jenny hemfjell says:

        Remember this, its not your foult (sorry my english writing is not good sometimes). I hope the bulling stops. Becose nobody deserve beeing bullied. Becose i have experienced that when bulling stops, the sympoms becomes less. Thats why i hope the bulling stops. I hope more and more people know what to do to stop the bulling. Remember life is wordt living. 🙂

  32. Hi Melissa,

    Thank you for this article! It’s something I needed after going through a rampage of anger today because of what happened in the past. I think the thing that sparked an explosion in me recently is that quote that goes something like, “We will never get rid of bullying. We are creating a generation of victims.”

    Anyone who says that has never been ganged up on by 15 people at once every day for years, and even had teachers join in on the “fun.” It’s so frustrating when people just don’t understand.

    Luckily, things have gotten better over the years, and I would love to start some kind of anti-bullying support group or foundation to make something positive out of my horrible experience. Putting a smile on someone’s face who is desperate and defenseless is something you can’t put a price on.

    • Hi Chris,
      Thanks for the comment. I’m glad that the article was able to help you in some way. I’m sorry to hear that you are struggling and that people just don’t get it. I had a lot of anger and rage in the past so I know what that’s like. I have some posts on anger as well that you might like. And I think it’s great that you are interested in starting something to support others. Let me know if I can help in any way!

      • grader says:

        Hi there !! please can anyone help me. i am getting flashbacks whenever i see a dog!! dogs are everywhere.. when i was in grade 9 … i changed school branches (but same school ) … and i earned a nickname dog . so in grade 9 for 5-6 months it was worse. i feard if my friend would tell that nickname to others… i got support from a friend in grade 10 but he didntknew that i had that horrible nickname. in grade 10 section changed but the kid who gave me nickname was stiillin the sameclass .. although there was support from that friend i feared if the kid would spreadmynickname all over…. so life was distressing for those nearlt two years… my grade was affected… i think… i was mostly victim of verbal bullying but not of physical … so yeah can anyone help me .. how to cope with it….. i would thank u somuch for givingme any suggestion… so yeah now i have nearly finished my grade 12 but still those 2 years of nickname calling flashbacks me ….. . now its grade 12 xm and every minute its difficult for me to focus on present. i fear that i might fail the board exam. if it happens thinga are going to get worst… today i got suicodal thoughts(only thoughts) so yeah i wanna go to normal again. can i fix myself with any therapy? is it expensive? or without therapy can i get out of it?

        • Hi, thanks for your comment! I’m sorry to hear about the flashbacks you’re having. The first thing that comes to my mind is that you might benefit from a therapy that uses a technique called systematic desensitization. I’m not sure where you are or what your situation is like so I can’t say if it would be expensive or not, but I would look for a therapist who could help you with that. You could also just Google it to learn more about it as well. I hope that helps!

        • Hi Grader, how are you going? are things getting better? Nat

  33. I have the same problems. Growing up an Aspie kid in a wanna-be yuppie small town, I took one hell of a beating. After 8th grade, I got out, grew up, and got a life. It looked pretty good.

    Then my husband and I moved to another wanna-be yuppie small town. I knew what it was (hoped I was wrong, but I knew). But that’s what you find in this area. It was a sacrifice I chose to make to be within 150 miles of my family.

    Now I can’t even go outside. I live in constant terror of what my neighbors might do to me (or my kids) if I do ANYTHING to attract their attention or give them an opportunity to harm us. My house stinks all the time because I’m afraid to even take the dog outside to pee.

    I have a very nice life. Except that I’m living in a prison of my own making that I don’t get to control and can’t get out of. I can make myself go outside, but it uses up so much energy that when I get back in it takes hours to recover. I have 4 kids and a house to keep. I can’t lose hours to recovering from the emotional stress of mowing the yard.

    My husband doesn’t get it. He makes fun of me (not in a friendly way).

    I’ve been in therapy for over 3 years. It isn’t getting better.

    I want to die. That’s the only way I’m ever going to be done with it.

    • Hi Annie, I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. I’m going to send you an email to see if I can help in any way. And please know that you are not alone and that you don’t have to go through this alone. And please call the suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 if you’re feeling suicidal. They also have a chat feature on their website if you prefer that – Hang in there because you are worth it!

      • jenny hemfjell says:

        I agree whit u Melissa. I hope that anni will be abel to to talk to her husband. maybe he then will understand and suport her. I hope she can talk whit her neighbors. Maybe simply say that she is afriad becose of something she has experienced. Becose it sounds like Annie needs to know she can be safe.

        • Thanks again, Jenny. It’s so important to be able to get the support of those around you but sometimes that isn’t always the way it goes. Either way, it is important to find people you can feel safe around.

  34. Hello Melissa,
    Perhaps you have been lucky in that the mobbing lasted not too long. I have been mobbed several times very intensely, some of it lasted more than 10 years, and I do not think I will ever get normal again. I can no longer react properly and assertively to aggression and injustice such that people always start to think that I am the nasty bastard when I overreact. I always get the guilt. I know that I should not overreact but the pain and the injury are just too strong. If I have to write a letter to complain about some abuse, then I have to turn it around again and again for days, wondering if there will not be this little word that will
    be used to give me all the guilt. It is exhausting rewriting it 20 times and still feeling insecure if it is well written. If you downsize your complaint too much, then people will not realize how bad it is, and then it will also have no effect. But I am just unable to strike the right chord because that has been completely disoriented by the manipulations I have gone through. It makes you sick and you just do not know what you can express or otherwise. Most of the time, it turns out that they will pick something to blame the victim anyway. People I love very dearly have told me that I react abnormally. This is really great fun: Just imagine that it is somebody you are secretly in love with: your heart is bleeding and she would not understand it. You know then that you blew it. I wished I could get my soul back like it was before all this happened. People would refuse to accept that you have PTSD because they do not know what it is and tell you that this is all long ago and that you cannot invoke this anymore. Having PTSD just continues abuse and the violence. When you try to give them some reading about it such that they would understand, they will say you no thanks, we prefer more pleasant reading. And it is repulsive to people to tell them your horror stories. You are just glued into it for ever, it wrecks all your chances for a better life.
    Bullies have thoroughly wasted my whole life and to undo all the damage, I would need a second life wherein huge amounts of happiness would have to be poured out on me to heal me. I feel lost and ever so lonely. I am just an open wound, it is as though my heart has become as a stone of very hard and very cold ice. I wished that somebody could come along, plunge her magic hands into my chest, seize my heart and put warmth into it such that everything melts. I have the impression that I would then cry it out so loudly that it would torn the Universe apart. But that is not going to happen.

    • Hi GC, thank you for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that you are struggling so much and that you were mobbed and bullied for so long. It’s a terrible thing and it certainly leaves a lasting impact. I do believe in having hope, though. The important thing is to know that you are not alone and that you did not deserve this to happen to you. I may be doing well now but I still struggle with things. It’s a work in progress, but you have to work on it to make progress. If you can connect with other survivors out there then they will be there to listen and validate your feelings. You can feel free to reach out to some of my podcast guests. I know they would be happy to support you, and I’m here to support you as well. Hang in there and know that things can change and things can get better. I know you don’t feel that way right now, but I never felt that way either. Be strong and have hope.

  35. Hi Melissa, I looked articles on this topic after coming to terms with having this not too long ago. I moved back home recently after finishing college, and have been experiencing all of these symptoms. My anxiety goes way up whenever I leave the house by myself and feel like a soldier marching to war. If I’m in a depressed mood sometimes I wake up in the morning with intrusive memories of the incidents playing in my head. I’ve had tons of bad dreams about being bullied since finishing high school, but often in random situations (and made up dream bullies) and not directly in the same setting. I also find it way more challenging to deal with jerks ever since coming back here. My doctor is helping my find a place to live in another town not far from here because she thinks the whole town might be a trigger for my anxiety/PTSD. I can’t wait to get the hell out of here.

    • Hi Emily, thank you for your comment. I’m so sorry to hear that you are experiencing these symptoms. It’s tough, but know that you are not alone. You might find that moving helps you with the triggers, and it might make you feel empowered. I wish you luck!

  36. Thanks for the article. I’ve had to go through a bit more than what is described in this article but it is all from bullying. Will probably never live close to a normal life (I lived inside my head for a long time to protect my self from the hurt) but the info here will help get the message out that Cptsd is serious and doesn’t have to be caused by war.

    • Hi Dan, thanks for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that you struggle with C-PTSD from bullying. You’re absolutely right that PTSD and C-PTSD are serious and not only caused from being in a war.

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