It wasn’t easy being a teenager. I had moved so many schools that it was difficult forming an identity, which is what everyone is doing as a child to “fit in”. but instead of finding it for yourself, you were given one- Being good, bad, naughty, nerdy, stupid, funny..it never ends.
Not so strangely, I found myself to be very different from how my peers perceived me to be. At 13, my teachers joked with my calling me a “beauty queen” when I got a haircut. At 13, the boys began noticing me because “you developed a nice rack”. At 13, my friends tagged me as “the flirty one”, the one who “sticks it out just to get closer to him” [ a friend made this jingle ripping off some Linkin Park song, thanks, Z] and thanks to a false rumour, I was one of the “sluts”. [ The rumour didn’t stand for too long which was when I uncovered an ugly truth, nobody cared about the truth.]
Eventually that was all I heard. Forget trying to create an identity, now, I had to strategise and try to scrape the word “slut” off my forehead. Here’s what started happening. It was obvious that I wouldn’t be too bright and my peers found it strange if I scored well. It didn’t matter what I wore or not simply because it was established that I was someone who “craved attention”. I found myself fighting a lot of people and the rumour mongering and the name calling just didn’t stop. It didn’t matter what my opinion was one something, because I was obviously stupid. I was never picked for debates or competitions- in my school, you couldn’t just apply. The teachers would walk in and pick their pets. So I’m assuming the pet will write an article about being “The nerd”. 😉
I’ve mostly removed each person who harmed me in this process from my life. I’ve taken every action in my quest to change this perception. But what I haven’t lost are those awful memories that make me cringe each time they come to mind. In my current social sphere, I’m guarded. I never let my guard down and as each drink goes in I become quieter or happier to discuss any subject but me. The ghosts of my childhood haven’t gone but keep reappearing in different forms. I find it exceptionally hard to trust someone. There are some awful friendships I cannot get past, some relationships that were straight out of hell, and the hate I have received from people I absolutely didn’t know, really hurt. My rational mind keeps bringing up past data the minute I feel threatened in any way- to be hurt, to be judged etc. and I draw conclusions adding up all that. Conclusions that are extremely negative and I act upon them.
My defence mechanism is so polished thanks to a lot of encounters I’ve had in the past, that it attacks anything resembling vulnerability. Over this, I have no control. Maybe writing about it will help? There are too many instances I recall where I am unable to understand what even happened. Unfortunately, those who let me down outnumber those who didn’t and my mind simply registers everything with a hint of cynicism.
Victims of abuse don’t become better people. They don’t “learn to be better” just because they were once subjected to it. In fact, I only notice myself reacting in certain ways to protect myself- what I don’t notice is how that reaction is perceived by the person opposite me. I may sound rude, I might even sound like a bully. It never ends. It’s a circle of viciousness that basically alienates everybody. People become bitter and repeat it. They do exactly what was done to them. What do the words “forgive and forget” even mean? Nobody forgets and certainly, nobody forgives.
Where does it begin? Why do people do this? They’re insecure. Most assume this would mean you have something they don’t. Jealousy? Sometimes. Others, it’s because their lives are, well, shit. They don’t feel complete in themselves and they only project that on to you. They feel safe knowing they’ve managed to reduce someone else’s self worth, momentarily, and it gives them a very temporary power rush. “See? I’m better/smarter/more attractive/richer/hotter/thinner.”
If somebody calls you a fool repeatedly, you will soon start believing that you are one. You will then spend a good amount of time fighting a phantom only to realise that it never existed. If you feel your friendship is being abused, end it. If you are the one doing it, a virtual hug for you, you are suffering.