In recent years — much too late for some of us — they have begun to analyze the bully and his/her impact on our lives. For too long too many assumed that they alone were a target, they alone failed to stand their schoolyard ground. Now the research is confirming we were hardly alone. Most of us had a little rotten kid back in fourth grade who left us scarred for life.
The latest investigation comes from Duke University which has quantified the obvious: “Childhood bullying appears to set kids up for a lifetime of mental health problems.” They found that the children who had been victims of bullying were four time more likely to have anxiety disorder as adults. Kids who did the bullying were four times more likely to have an anti-social personality disorder. The most troubled adults are the one who were both bullies an bullied, with 14 times greater chance for panic disorders and depression.
And you wonder why school reunions can be such sweaty, nerve-wracking events. They are often an organized excuse for damaged personalities to re-live the damage.
Linus has been bullied too in the ‘Peanuts’ comics, but he’s been smarter than most victims. He not only has a little blue blanket for security…he carries it with him wherever he goes. Of course, you and I wouldn’t be found dead holding on to our security blanket. Not cool! Not adult! Instead we suppress our old hurts, expressing them in Freudian disguises like studied cynicism or even outright aggression. [See heroes of the black arts like Napoleon, Stalin and Hitler for details].
How long has it been since Eddie or Liz stuck their mouths in your face during recess…? Many complex years. And yet everything about that day and that confrontation is as clear to your Id as if it were yesterday. Why is that? Because we’re such frail things as dreams are made of. Hurts, when personal, almost never stop hurting.
Still, hurts are like most everything else in our personal lives….they can live only as long as we keep nourishing them.
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