Life After Bullying Learning to Be You Again

How to move on with your life after bullying

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There is no doubt about it, being a victim of bullying is hard. But there is life after bullying. You just need to take it slow and rediscover who you are. It can be easy to believe the lies bullies tell about you – that you are ugly, stupid or fat. But you have to reject those and learn to appreciate all the things that make you, you. Here are steps to learning to be you again.

Step #1: Recognize that your feelings are normal reactions to abnormal circumstances.

Even though you may feel like you life is out of control, or that you are “going crazy,” these are normal reactions to the stress that bullying places on you. Accept that it is normal to feel this way, but make it a goal to overcome these feelings with healthy thoughts and feelings.

Step #2: Talk about your thoughts, feelings and reactions with people you trust.

This includes talking with your parents, friends, teachers, religious leaders and counselors – anyone who will be supportive and listen without judging. Do not isolate yourself or try to keep your feelings inside. This is not healthy. It also may help to talk with a professional counselor. Your doctor can provide recommendations.

Step #3: Create a space where you can feel safe and at peace.

For instance, you could create a small space in your room with comfy pillows, a cool rug and a small light where you can kick back and relax. Listen to soothing music, read in this area, or write in a journal.

The point is that you have a place free of technology and the outside world where you can unwind and feel safe.

Step #4: Remember that you are recovering from something traumatic.

Just like you would when you are getting over an illness, make sure you are taking care of your body. Get plenty of rest.

Eat nutritious meals and exercise. All of these things help you recover just as much as talking it out will.

Step #5: Resume your normal activities and routines.

Do not stop doing the things you loved just because you were bullied. This is what the bully wants – to have power over your life. Be sure you stay involved in things that you enjoy and that make you feel good about who you are. Do not let a bully take that away from you.

Step #6: Become a self-advocate.

If you haven’t done so already, be sure you report bullying to the proper authorities. Additionally, if there is something you need in order to move on, speak up and ask for it. Self-advocacy skills are an important part of healing but they also help build self-esteem and help you take control over your life again.

Step #7: Develop awareness of your emotional triggers.

When you have been severely bullied, it is not uncommon to feel a pit of anxiety in your stomach for what appears like no apparent reason. In reality, what is happening is that you saw something, smelled something or tasted something that reminded you of the bullying you experienced.

Do not be alarmed. But instead make a mental note of what is causing these feelings to rise up again. And when they do occur, it might help to engage in positive self-talk or to reframe your thinking so that you do not experience the trauma of bullying all over again.

Step #8: Avoid engaging in victim-thinking.

Allowing yourself to dwell on what happened to you, by reliving it over and over again, keeps you in victim-mode rather than overcomer-mode. Remember, you do not have to forget what happened to you, but do not let it control you or monopolize your thoughts. You need to be able let the past stay in the past.

Step #9: Find deeper meaning in what happened to you.

While it is true that a bully victimized you, this does not define who you are. Instead, try to discover what you learned about yourself in the process. For instance, are you stronger than you thought? Are you more resilient? Have you learned to be more assertive? Record your thoughts and ideas in a journal. You never know, you may be able to use these insights to help someone else someday.

Step #10: Be patient with yourself.

Remember, healing takes time. Recovery has ups and downs. You will have good days and you will have bad days. But just remember, to work on perseverance and resilience. And in the end, you are going to be a stronger and wiser version of yourself. You have the opportunity to learn and grow in ways you may not have considered had the bullying never occurred.

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