The Roadblock? Fear of Bullying

OK, let’s try this again after I’ve blown a fuse with the previous rant. I’ve been noticing a major roadblock in front of me for the past years. A kind of block I can’t seem to get around or evade or transform. Something substantial I had trouble to identify. And I think I have figured it out by now. All past emotions getting mixed in set aside, I believe it’s the very simple, tangible and immensely frightening fear of getting bullied again. Because it happened too many times in the past and practically from the very first day on the job. Ironically, the only time I was not bullied was during my time in the military service. Some instinct told me I had to give off a tough image or s.th., or else I’d get bullied to shreds. And so I did. I got up with the early risers to demonstrate dedication and didn’t take shit from anyone. As a matter of fact, I even found myself in the role of looking out for others during that time, most noteably the “gentle giant”, as I called him. A guy easily 6.2 or somewhere in that range of physical height, but very mild mannered and laid back as a person. Which, of course, made him easy prey for the “toxic ankle-biter”, a short, stucky, but athletic guy with a quick mind and mouth. An abusive mouth, I should add. I soon began to hate the latter for giving the gentle giant a hard time. But – as bullies often do – he found his group of “admirers” – weak nobodies lacking a personality and harboring an embarrassing attitude of being “best buddies” instead to make up for lack of character. And so the bully and his bootlickers harrassed the gentle giant whenever they saw an opportunity for it. I should add that the gentle giant had the bunk bed above me and the toxic dwarf inhabited the upper bunk next to ours. So there was a natural bond by proximity from the start – or s.th. like that.

To make matters worse, the toxic dwarf often made snide remarks at the giant during roll call. We were not to talk or move at all during that or else the entire platoon might get punished with some extra work or whatever ranking officers saw fit or were amused by. Soon enough, no one liked the dwarf much any more. But he really knocked it out of the ballpark – and not in a good way – when he teased and toyed at the end of a firing practice at the shooting range. We all had our guns loaded with real ammo still. They were adamant about us understanding that while carrying a loaded weapon, there was no time and place for tomfoolery of any kind. And it had been a long day as it is, marching to the shooting range, holding a fire practice with some competition bits for hours on end and facing the fairly lengthy march back. And of all things, Mr. batshit-stupid picks this time to satisfy his hunger for abuse! I was furious and I hissed “You’re so toast after this, asshole!” at the abuser. After this, things changed. He’d watch his back for me, treated me with major respect and let up on his abuse towards the gentle giant a bit. Still not enough for my taste, but I settled for this and thought it wiser not to aggravate the situation any more.

Anyway. Why this story? Coz it reminds me that I am able to set my foot down on my or someone else’s behalf. I was not born or raised a total wuss, no Ma’am! And I think, I held on to this approach after my military service – as much as I could, that is. Nonetheless… getting bullied for feeling and acting depressed often was a given from the first job I ever held to the last one. Yessir. That’s unfortunately right. No matter, how well I performed, how hard I worked on blending in and running with the pack – I would sooner or later find myself shunned, neglected, backstabbed and ultimately singled out and released. I remember only one time, when one of my bosses would stand up for me – or try to do so, but this was during his recovery from cancer with interrupted presence at the office. So others wove their webs of deceit and treason and ousted me at some point. Have you ever been in a situation where you are simply without any chance of winning, no matter what you do or don’t do? That’s the quintessential experience of getting bullied for you. And it messes with your sense of self and ultimately your self-esteem – something, I wasn’t exactly blessed with in abundance from the get-go, to put it mildly.

And now – I feel all “spent”, basically abused over and over, no matter what the situation, people or environment. I have always kicked myself in the butt and moved past the – recurring! – abuse and its outcome of retraumatization. I’ve sort of forced myself to pick myself up and go on, time and time and then time again. And now I’ve arrived at the feeling that the world simply has no place for me. That I’m not wanted, no matter what the walk of life or occupation. Sure, people have always enjoyed using my talents or dedication or – in earlier years – willingness to help out. Of course, as I’ve made myself available like this, who wouldn’t take something that’s up for grabs, right? But it always felt like I was giving more than I’d get in return. I mean, I’m aware that this is not an accurate assessment. That I may miss the important part here, miss the love returned to me. Yes. It’s pretty likely bordering on certain I did. As I have built this emotional wall of self-protection around me, sort of an emotional “damper”, so any new abuse or unpleasant situation wouldn’t hurt as much. One of the coping strategies or tools seems to have become to reduce the emotional reverberation of anything encountered during life, good or bad. Just put a cap on it, so the outcomes won’t be as devastating as they were in the very beginning of my life. And yet – events happened and seem to have scorched what healthy tissue was left. I can not seem to bring myself to be excited about anything much any more. Is that the definition of a depression? Maybe it is. I don’t care much about that. All I know is that I can’t seem to be able of using that excitement as a driver for prolonged committment any more. And the one thing, I thought would always work for me – music – doesn’t seem to cut it, either, any more. That is quite a shock, I must say. And maybe I’m wrong here. It’s possible. Fine. But – I can’t seem to muster the courage, the stamina of risking another letdown again. Because then – there would be nothing left worth living for. I have failed in all my previous relationships, romantic or professional or of any other nature. I have firmly run my previous life into the proverbial wall. I have lost everything I would have described as my former identity along with any ideas on where to derive new direction from. Unfortunately, I seem … broken for good. Or so it feels. I can’t see, by which approach I could reverse or change that. I have practiced appreciation for the little things, seemingly small joys or encounters. But … nothing lasts. I don’t know. I wrote about feeling stranded in a previous blog entry. And it appears, I keep finding myself in that place time and time again. Whatever short moment of confidence or positivity I manage to muster, falls apart again on the next day. I could be broken for good. And that’s the scariest shit of all.

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