Tonight I was talking to my 5 year old son. It turns out he is being bullied by some kids in his class. My son is a very sweet, sensitive kid who takes things to heart more than the normal child. Apparently, this has been happening for a while, but my husband and I did not know. We often ask him how things are going at school, and he is like every other kid, “It’s good.”
Today he had several tantrums where he cannot keep in his emotions. He can erupt at the moment he does not know how to handle the anger, disappointment or irritation he feels. Other kids look at him like he is being a baby, but really his sensitivity gets the better of him and he cannot deal. It was not until tonight that he finally told us what happens at school after we asked him. He was afraid to talk about it, probably because it embarrasses him.
I remember being that super sensitive girl. I would cry easily and overreact to my family and schoolmates comments. I took things too literally and did not know how to respond. After a while, bullies liked to pick on me to see my reaction, but I did not know that if I did not react, it would just go away. I tried to tell my mom and my teachers, but I was alone in fixing my problem. My mother often asked me what I was doing to cause it (I heard, “It’s all your fault!”). She also did not have experience with childhood bullies in school, so it left me alone and in the dark. Teachers were busy with their own issues, so I was often left my own devices to sort out strategies to get the bullies to disappear.
In the eighth grade, after seven years of bullying, it finally stopped. I made friends outside my school and let people see the real me. I stopped caring about the other people who tried to hurt me, and I was confident and free.
The loneliness we go through does not have to weigh us down if we learn to let go. Unfortunately, most of us must do a lot of suffering until we meet the right people who are willing to support you or you get tired of caring. It takes bravery and strength to stand up and say, “I am not happy, can someone help?” Often, I thought that no one cared enough to want to help. I was too focused on the people who tore me down to see there always people around me who did care. I just thought that I had to suck up the pain, not be so vulnerable, and pretend I am fine. Once I stopped this behavior, I finally was happy I asked for help and let go of the negative focus.
As I told my son tonight, there are a lot more people who like you than do not. When he counted them, he smiled and lit up. When I changed my focus, my life bloomed from a scared child, to one fully seeing new possibilities and having friends.