Childhood Recovering from chronic bullying

Gare

New Here
Hi there.

I’m writing to hopefully gain some resources and support around the topic of bullying. I’ve been reading several books on complex ptsd which almost always focus primarily on childhood trauma caused by parental abuse or neglect. While I acknowledge parental neglect as a factor in my childhood traumas and my encounters with bullying, I still haven’t really found good info on dealing with that particular type of trauma.
I’ll specify that I encountered near daily bullying from preschool through 8th grade; nearly 9 years of consistent severe bullying that in my view has caused me a seemingly irreparable amount of long term mental health issues for decades since.

There of course was neglect by the school system officials, teachers and my parents.
My mother was an alcoholic who had her own mental health issues stemming from the violent death of her brother in her teens, who I happen to be named after. For years I’ve brought this stuff up to therapists but I’ve yet to actually have it addressed and unpacked to sort out what caused what and so forth. I don’t remember a time in my childhood before the bullying but I do know that I never felt that I fit in and always felt a step behind the other kids social, never feeling safe.
My first day of kindergarten I was actually carried by my hands and feet out of my mothers car by the clergy members who ran the school and carried up two flights of stairs kicking and screaming, finally left alone in a hallway outside the door of the classroom.

I would really like to find more info on dealing with long term trauma like this that isn’t solely focused on dealing with parental abuse.

Thanks
 

Friday

Moderator
Basically, with bullying & PTSD, you’ll need to ignore the bullying aspect and focus on the actual immediate threat to life & sexual assault which is wildly outside of most kind of typical bullying.

Which doesn’t mean to ignore the -often tremendous- consequences of bullying in and of itself. That will ALSO need to be addressed. You’ll just simply not find them in PTSD-land the same way people with PTSD from other uncommon sources won’t find them commonly married to PTSD resources.

The upside to bullying being the backdrop is that there is an equally tremendous amount of resources available to victims of bullying to reverse the effects of ostracism/shunning, humiliation, problems with authority, et al… you’ll “just” have to hit up those resources on one hand, whilst the other focuses on the life threatening incidents &/or sexual assault with the other.

I know.

“Just”.

I have complex trauma from both very commonly associated with PTSD (combat & domestic violence) along with traumas that are statistically rare in the English speaking parts of the world. The ones that are statistically rare just DON’T have a lot of literature on the backdrop. At least not in English.

It is exceptionally rare to develop PTSD from bullying, as 99.9% of bullying doesn’t come anywhere close to meeting the threshold for PTSD. Just like 99% of “marriage” (clearly a common event in most peoples lives) or mountain climbing (uncommon for most people, but most climbers never experience PTSD threshold events, the same way most marriages never do) doesn’t cause PTSD. But abuse within the marriage? Does. And even though the overwhelming majority of marriages will not give a person PTSD, domestic violence often does. (Apx 1:5). So there’s a helluva lotta literature on domestic violence. Both in PTSD-land as well as totally separate/apart from PTSD, as well as in relation to other disorders that are common consequence of domestic violence that have nothing to do with PTSD. There are many, many, many ways that people “break” under pressure. Life threatening, or otherwise.

So my advice will be to isolate the events that are PTSD threshold, on one hand. Then deal with the backdrop (bullying) separately.

You’ll probably notice FAR more traction on the bullying side of things, than the PTSD side of things, simply because of the avoidance symptom of PTSD. No worries. It all helps move YOU towards where you want to be.
 

osiris

MyPTSD Pro
When I first came to this site I was struggling with horrific bullying in my workplace - and when I first sought out therapy I was convinced that the bully had caused all my problems.

Turns out in reality I had been living with ptsd for years from all the other stuff I’d gone through, work became (and still is) my biggest stressor and the bully was a trigger for a lot of what I needed to and am still working my way through.

Lots of great wisdom from Friday there - and I have found it really helpful to pick things apart to see how bullying connects to trauma in my life and the emotions that come up and why.
 

Gare

New Here
Thanks for the responses. I’m not totally convinced that 9 years of relentless bullying in my formative years wouldn’t create long lasting problems. In the early parts of Arielle Schwartz book A Practical Guide to Complex PTSD “relentless bullying” is mentioned as a potential cause for Complex PTSD. So I’m not entirely ready to trivialize that aspect of my childhood trauma without further therapeutic and intellectual research.

I know my mother and grandmother suffered from ptsd due to my uncles murder. And the alcoholism I also know is an aspect of the trauma I carry.

The only literature I seem to find about abuse in the classroom seems to be written for teenagers and children fit current bullying, which does make it seem somewhat that adult issues which are very real after such experiences are not taken as seriously or at least not written very much about.

I’m any case that’s where I’m at.
 
C

Carol nay

Hi there.

I’m writing to hopefully gain some resources and support around the topic of bullying. I’ve been reading several books on complex ptsd which almost always focus primarily on childhood trauma caused by parental abuse or neglect. While I acknowledge parental neglect as a factor in my childhood traumas and my encounters with bullying, I still haven’t really found good info on dealing with that particular type of trauma.
I’ll specify that I encountered near daily bullying from preschool through 8th grade; nearly 9 years of consistent severe bullying that in my view has caused me a seemingly irreparable amount of long term mental health issues for decades since.

There of course was neglect by the school system officials, teachers and my parents.
My mother was an alcoholic who had her own mental health issues stemming from the violent death of her brother in her teens, who I happen to be named after. For years I’ve brought this stuff up to therapists but I’ve yet to actually have it addressed and unpacked to sort out what caused what and so forth. I don’t remember a time in my childhood before the bullying but I do know that I never felt that I fit in and always felt a step behind the other kids social, never feeling safe.
My first day of kindergarten I was actually carried by my hands and feet out of my mothers car by the clergy members who ran the school and carried up two flights of stairs kicking and screaming, finally left alone in a hallway outside the door of the classroom.

I would really like to find more info on dealing with long term trauma like this that isn’t solely focused on dealing with parental abuse.

Thanks
I completely understand where you're coming from. I was bullied constantly at home from my earliest memories, i was never smart enough or pretty enough athletic enought went to kindergarten thought i might find a friend, silly rabbit nothing changed , it got to the point in high school even though at the time i walked around hunched over my books . perfect object to bully and i didn't know at the time. That trauma on top of the abuse frome left me no safe place to escape except for the places in my mind
 

Sideways

Moderator
So I’m not entirely ready to trivialize that aspect of my childhood trauma without further therapeutic and intellectual research.
Definitely it's not a case of trivialising what you've experienced. You'll probably find that in terms of chronic bullying and mental illness, it's the case that there are other illnesses that are far more prevalent when bullying is the cause, and there will very often be symptoms that overlap with ptsd, although the underlying illness is something else. For example, anxiety disorders can be so similar to ptsd that it was only a few years back that ptsd was separated from anxiety disorders.
 

Friday

Moderator
I’m not totally convinced that 9 years of relentless bullying in my formative years wouldn’t create long lasting problems.
I don’t think I could ever be convinced that 9 years of relentless bullying wouldn’t create long lasting problems. In point of fact, what I actually said was…

Which doesn’t mean to ignore the -often tremendous- consequences of bullying in and of itself. That will ALSO need to be addressed.
I’m not saying that the effects of bullying are not a problem. I am saying that those problems will largely need to be addressed separately. Because those problems will a) mostly be outside the scope of PTSD which is a super common thing with PTSD as trauma rarely happens in a vacuum & b) are not commonly linked to PTSD. So all of the resources for those -often tremendous- problems will be found elsewhere.

I’m saying you’re going to be dealing with MORE problems having a backdrop of your traumas happening during 9 years of bullying, not less, or of lesser impact.

- PTSD is pretty simple/straightforward as far as disorders go.
- TRAUMA, and the effects of trauma, get complicated as hell.
- The BACKDROP to those traumas? Gets infinitely more complicated, and often (but not always) have issues in spades that need their own specialised treatment.

Especially if, as in with your case, the backdrop is something that is known to cause -often profound- problems even with no PTSD threshold level events.

I’m saying this as someone who has common traumas & uncommon traumas (including prolonged complex trauma)… as well as comorbid diagnoses, and crossover symptoms, and all kinds of complicated nonsense.

Truly, more problems, not less… and often those problems are a helluva lot worse (greater impact, longer lasting, etc.) than just the problems stemming from the traumatic events & PTSD itself. From experience. Giving those things the weight & import & respect they deserve? Is the opposite of trivialising.
 
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