In this episode of The Grass Gets Greener podcast, I'm joined by someone named Michael who otherwise wishes to remain anonymous. Michael joins me to share his story of how life has been for the past 40 years since being bullied throughout most of his time in school.
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Michael experienced bullying from his classmates from first to tenth grades. As a first generation American with English not being his first language, he was made fun of for being different. He was beat up, labeled, had things taken from him and set up to get into trouble for things he didn't do. He even had a knife pulled on him at one point.
Effects of the traumatic experience:
There were two ways in particular that he was affected by the bullying. One was having trouble speaking in front of others because he was made fun of when he did speak. This was particularly difficult because he needed to be able to do this for the work he does today. The other issue he struggled with was being able to talk to girls and ask them out because he lacked self-esteem. He also felt as if he was developmentally delayed because of cultural differences.
Overcoming the traumatic experience:
One of the things that helped was taking action even when he was scared; like asking a girl out even if he feared rejection. He used reading and writing as an escape. He found people he could connect to who weren't going to judge him. He had very supportive parents so he relied on them for advice. He developed a mindset for moving on. And then there has been the healing effect that time has had on him.
What Michael does today:
Michael is an IT Developer for a Fortune 500 company as well as a missionary pastor who has traveled to Central America to help those in need.
Given what you know now, if you could go back to when you were going through the tough times and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Michael's Answer: To integrate himself more with those around him so that he could relate to others better and be less of an outsider, while still maintaining his individuality.
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