Very rarely do the bullies in our lives attack once. Over and over, we hear their message that we’re not good enough. We did something wrong. We need to do things their way. We should agree with them and see the world through their eyes because our own thoughts, opinions, and decisions are not in alignment with theirs.
The first time we’re attacked by a bully, it shatters our world. It makes us angry. It hurts through and through. It’s hard for us to shake off the fact that someone actually said and did that! But over time, those repeated statements begin to play over and over in our minds. And then- it really starts to have an impact on how we view ourselves. The bully doesn’t even have to be present in front of us to attack our self-esteem, our choices, and who we are.
To borrow a phrase from Pink Floyd, these built up painful emotions over time leave us “UN-Comfortably numb.” The comments that once were shocking and left us in anger and disbelief can get to a point where the initial shock and awe no longer happen. We get to a place where the fear of confrontation and calling them out on their bold and incorrect assumptions takes more energy than it does to just bury and ignore those feelings. So we carry on. We ignore. And we slowly corrode on the inside.
The pain can begin to the take form of an uncomfortable numbing. We begin to pull away from people and groups. We start to say less- afraid of the rejection and possible attack. And we can start to do this with many people who are involved in our lives- not just those who have somehow bullied us.
If you’ve felt the uncomfortably numb in your life after being made to feel doubtful about yourself and your abilities, be sure to tune in for tomorrow’s 3rd post in this series. We’re going to talk about the next step in dealing with adult bullies in your life.
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