Discussion around Bullying?

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meg_col

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Discussion around Bullying?
« on: March 07, 2018, 11:48:30 AM »

*Trigger warning, I'm talking about the events that led to my current mental health issues, events namely isolation+'bullying'*



Hi, I didn't really know what subject line to give this, but I'm basically wanting to open a discussion around potentials for bullying to cause C-PTSD? I've been going down a dark internet hole lately to look up if anyone's had any similar experiences to mine. Looking back I was basically socially alienated throughout my childhood/elementary years--in second and maybe third grade I would just walk around  by myself at lunch everyday, was constantly belittled by others, in sixth grade, on a group chat this guy I liked called me a * and told me to go jump off a cliff, and there's more than that but that's main stuff that happened early on. Anyway, so a few months ago I was been diagnosed with C-PTSD and had kind of been suspecting it for a while. When I saw people who were part of this 'cool group' from my elementary school I would feel like my body was tight and need to literally run away.

So, alright, this is too much contextual information, but as I've been kind of talking about it again recently, very much wrapped up in right now feeling like I'm still there, obsessing about the people who I grew up with. But down my internet rabbit hole because I somehow decided it would be a good idea to look up C-PTSD and bullying, there were a lot of threads where people talked about how experience with bullying is not a valid reason to suspect C-PTSD and how it's trendy to pretend to have PTSD now. Idk I personally got really angry about it because I consider most of my traumatic experiences to be based around 'bullying'--the isolation, the shunning, the belittling by friends as well.

Part of this is me wanting validation, maybe. But also I wanted to open up the conversation maybe to see what other people think of the opinions expressed on these threads, and whether other people have similar experiences of trauma to what I've expressed? The usual association that I think of when I think of trauma are life threatening events, and while that might be true for some people, I don't think it's true for me, if I do in fact have C-PTSD.

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Blueberry

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Re: Discussion around Bullying?
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2018, 12:20:50 PM »
Hi meg_col! and a warm welcome to the forum  :heythere:

I don't think much of those threads saying that bullying isn't a valid reason to have cptsd. You'll find lots of us on here - our reasons for suspecting cptsd were discounted as well by professionals, family and friends, because what was done to us wasn't 'enough', 'bad enough', 'traumatising enough'  :blahblahblah: :blahblahblah: :blahblahblah:

We obviously can't diagnose cptsd on here, but if you suspect you have it, you're welcome! You don't need a confirmed diagnosis. If you read around and recognise yourself in posts and can learn from that or feel validated, that's great.

I was bullied badly by an older sibling and what my parents did to me - making me into family scapegoat - was a bit like bullying. It set me up for bullying by others later and I never learned any skills to deal with it.

What professionals seem to forget, they did in my case too, is that what can traumatise a smallish child is different to what may traumatise an adult. If the child doesn't see a way out of a situation, then it can seem life-threatening, which in turn can traumatise. When you're only in second grade, you probably can't see an end to bullying at school or imagine that life can improve, it all seems eternal. You live more in the present at that age, unless you're already escaping into the past or future of course. No help from teachers, parents, peers? No escape. Feels life-threatening. Traumatisation. Not always, but can be.
Should is
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for me.

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radical

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Re: Discussion around Bullying?
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2018, 01:16:50 PM »
Bullying is traumatising for children and for adults.  It's not some small thing, but real abuse.
I was driven to the edge of suicide by bullying as an adult.  Imagine how much worse for a defenseless child.

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Contessa

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Re: Discussion around Bullying?
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2018, 02:22:30 PM »
 :yeahthat:

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Rainagain

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Re: Discussion around Bullying?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2018, 04:34:30 PM »
If I knew how to do the 'yeah that' sign I would.

What happened to me as an adult was a bit like bullying, this was in the workplace.

It was more subtle than school type stuff but just as unpleasant.

And it led to cptsd.
Everything will be alright in the end.

If things aren't alright then it isn't the end.

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DecimalRocket

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Re: Discussion around Bullying?
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2018, 04:17:55 AM »
I've gotten bullied in school when I was younger. I've gotten flashbacks of these moments too often back then. To be accepted and loved is a basic human need, and to not have enough of it as deeply traumatizing.
Hi there. :) I’m absolutely logical, but far from cold.

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ah

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Re: Discussion around Bullying?
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2018, 07:51:04 AM »
I was bullied more than once too, at different ages. As an adult too, probably nearly identical to what Rainagain went though, which cemented and calcified my cptsd beyond repair.

I think bullying is very traumatizing. All alone, confronted with violence and rejection, with no one to turn to. All the conditions for trauma are there, in my experience.
Human beings are very complex animals, we use language to survive, to connect and also to hurt. You can absolutely be in danger by being attacked verbally and shunned.

For example (it's different, but similar) a child can be emotionally neglected and abused by a parent, and even if the parents never lays a hand on the child the emotional abuse is there and it results in suffering.
Being bullied as a teenager can be brutal because that's an age when we need others our age the most, more than we need FOO. Our need to belong is so powerful.

To me, your body's fear reaction is indicative of pain and so is self doubt. Maybe if "cptsd" leaves you feeling uncomfortable, you could call it "bullying - and its consequences".
I think there's no one size fits all. Many people are traumatized yet don't remember anything that could be traumatic, still the results are there and can be learned about and hopefully lightened. If you're in some pain, that's all I personally need to know to say you deserve help and validation, and understanding. Just like you did when you were denied them in 6th grade.

I think no one who really knows what ptsd or cptsd feel like would ever want them just to be trendy. They're too harsh, no fun at all :no:
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 07:52:53 AM by ah »

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Gromit

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Re: Discussion around Bullying?
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2018, 11:37:13 AM »
I see my mother as a bully now. Making me feel scared & small, isolated.
In school I am not sure where it began, there was an instance in infant school, then it began in earnest in primary, year 5 as they call it now. Some of the people involved went to the same high school as me and other people in high school joined in.
Some of the way my older sister behaved was bullying I think now.
I was bullied at work too.
More recently I have been bullied by parents at my child's school.

In my experience bullying makes you hyper vigilant. I was always on watch for people to avoid, people I felt safe with. I have had nightmares about the school and workplace I was at.

My FOO was useless, they weren't interested after primary school when it reached the point I made excuses not to go to school. It was seen as a 'fact of life', they would not listen.

My own theory is that it is my upbringing that made me such a target. I did not have the skills to deal with it. If I had been shown how to stand up for myself and that it was ok to tell some people to * off. Things might have been different.

The latest bullying took me by surprise, I had no idea adults would behave in such a way, unless they were from my FOO, obviously.

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Blueberry

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Re: Discussion around Bullying?
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2018, 12:13:00 PM »
My own theory is that it is my upbringing that made me such a target. I did not have the skills to deal with it. If I had been shown how to stand up for myself and that it was ok to tell some people to * off. Things might have been different.

 :yeahthat: is my theory for my own situation too.

Gromit, I'm sorry that you and others on here have been experiencing recent bullying.  :hug:
Should is
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for me.

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Gromit

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Re: Discussion around Bullying?
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2018, 11:57:06 PM »

Gromit, I'm sorry that you and others on here have been experiencing recent bullying.  :hug:

The difference now Blueberry is, my OH saw the comments made about me on FB by our charming neighbour & went & confronted her, in person. My FOC knew what was happening & was supportive, even if, apart from my daughter, they did not experience it. And, I also had a T to talk it through with.

But, yes, bullying sucks.

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kdke

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Re: Discussion around Bullying?
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2018, 01:47:42 PM »
I mean... isn't prolonged bullying just another form of prolonged trauma? I don't understand how bullying can't cause cPTSD lol.

I'm not laughing at you but rather incredulously at whoever might reason that it's not possible. It's really odd. From my own anecdotal experiences, I dealt with lots of bullying in grade school, however a bit sporadically. I did have friends here and there but did experience times of being isolated, shunned, even pushed and slapped around a couple of times. I was called names, had rumors spread about me about things I never actually did. It all left lasting impressions on me for a while. I became a very timid, socially awkward child who just desperately wanted please, which made me even a bigger target.

Of course, in some ways, I do consider my school bullying rather "mild" in comparison to what others have gone through. I had friends, I wasn't completely isolated (but was during certain periods), and I experienced zero bullying in high school. I know I'm fortunate in that part of my life. However, home was another story...

Anyway, my point is that yes--I personally think bullying can be a prolonged trauma that can cause cPTSD. A bully can be anyone, too; not just the mean kids at school, but your own sibling or parents. Your own family; the people you're supposed to be able to trust and rely on. Both can be traumatic.
“Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth,
 and if a man does not know what a thing is,
it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not." - Jung

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kdke

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Re: Discussion around Bullying?
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2018, 01:52:05 PM »
My own theory is that it is my upbringing that made me such a target. I did not have the skills to deal with it. If I had been shown how to stand up for myself and that it was ok to tell some people to * off. Things might have been different.

 :yeahthat: is my theory for my own situation too.

Gromit, I'm sorry that you and others on here have been experiencing recent bullying.  :hug:

Triple that. I think with the severe enmeshment and sexual abuse I suffered as a child really inhibited my ability to socialize well, and so I became an easy target for bullies. That and having no one to really pick up on what I was going through along with crappy advice of, "Just ignore them," I kept being victimized by other kids.

At many points did I feel like I didn't belong, that there was something seriously wrong with me. I was hurting and had no one to protect me, no one to guide me through any of that turbulence.
“Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth,
 and if a man does not know what a thing is,
it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not." - Jung

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woodsgnome

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Re: Discussion around Bullying?
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2018, 06:15:17 AM »
When I see references to bullying, I always cringe at how I felt like I was at the bottom of a huge heap of bullies, ranging from sexual molestation among my FOO but even more forms of abuse at the religious schools I attended.

Regarding the latter, another element, at least in high school, is that, unlike for the elementary grades, I actually chose to go there. I felt a desire to figure important things out; and religion seemed important enough. Considering the ramped-up forms of abuse I endured in high school, I was even more traumatized and guilt-ridden for having personally chosen that route.

 At this time the parents had emotionally abandoned me altogether (good in one aspect--the m's overt sexual abuse ended). Call it cptsd, or trauma, whatever--entering high school I walked into a den of bullying from all fronts.

The worst aspect was perhaps what I'll call mutual bullying. By this I mean that the teachers actually encouraged my peers in their tactics of bullying/abuse. So it was from all sides. Even my own religious curiosity played a role--the teachers didn't want someone who dared to question their version of knowing God (who seemed like a huge bully once they got hold of the concept). And on top of that, the kids around me thought it odd that I would even care about thinking of such matters as what really mattered about this religion/spirituality stuff. They hated me for that and the teachers used them to the point of suggesting ways they could bully me.

So when I see the bully word, it conjures up those images of being trapped on all sides from everyone I knew; except for one or two kids from outside the school, but even those I lost as my social life hit the skids around all people. I learned to trust no one, and that's stayed with me. So the trouble is that even as an adult my fear of people has left me open to more forms of bullying, which in turn reinforces my problem of social isolation.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2018, 09:08:02 AM by woodsgnome »
"...we make our descent into the darkness then wait for some new kind of wisdom to take root." --Valerie Andrews

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PeTe

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Re: Discussion around Bullying?
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2018, 02:19:09 PM »
meg_col, there's no doubt in my troubled mind that bullying can cause cPTSD. I experienced it as really traumatizing, and as such has had and still has effects on me - the way I behave, the way I feel, the way I look at myself, the way I look at others etc.

I think part of the reason why people say CPTSD isn't caused by bullying, is that for diagnosing PTSD, you have to have some sort of life threatening trauma in the past. CPTSD isn't officially recognized as a diagnosis here. My psychologist was therefore very clear that he would diagnose me with relational trauma, though most symptoms and most of the history anyway fit CPTSD. To me this is kind of intellectual laziness. If you picture the way humans evolved, in hunter-gatherer packs, being isolated and treated badly by everyone was a potentially life threatening situation. We've evolved to perceive these situations as life-threatening in my eyes. This whole "it's just words" is only partly true.

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camille13512

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Re: Discussion around Bullying?
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2018, 07:50:23 AM »
I have discussed this with my T's before. Both of them agree that bullying in my childhood is a source of my trauma (I'm really lucky to have found T's open to the notion of CPTSD, despite it not being a formal diagnosis). One reason is that my body does not lie; I tense up, freeze and sweat as soon as I see people of similar age approach me. Even though I was both abused by adults and bullied by kids, my fear for peers is much greater than that for the older authoritative figures, because my body remembers bullying as a torturing "game", which was literally how my bullies called it. My body told me that peers torture for fun, whereas with older adults I might get away after I give them what they want. It is all messed up, but since the bullying and isolation place a deeper mark on me, I cannot think of a reason this is not considered trauma.