Lizzies Story

Welp, I am back again. Oh and so soon! However, I am trying to get better at blogging more often.

Sooooo…….what now?

This is the first of what I hope will be many stories I plan to share on here this summer. If you look back you will see where I used several resources with great suggestions on how to be a good friend. Plus, some of my own. Things I have learned as I have healed and grown.

I want you all to meet Lizzie. She is also a an adult who survived childhood peer abuse. This is a story of tragedy and pain. I want you to see how abusive her peers and even friends were to her. So, here is Lizzie in her own words…….

I was thoroughly abused in my childhood and teen years and it impacted my confidence and mental health. It has destroyed me. Here I share how this childhood peer abuse has affected me.

I do not remember much about my early life. However, I can remember clearly by the time I was three. By that time, we had moved to a different area twice. I was born in my mums hometown. My dad worked on jobs based on contracts so we had to move every so often. When I was a baby, we moved to a different town and after six months moved to my mothers hometown again. When I was two my sister was born. We lived in a nice neighborhood and I have so many great memories of this time. I went to nursery and playgroup. I was so happy and a mischevious thing. I could just be myself without anxiety and self-concousness; I made friends easily. My auntie, uncle and grandparents on my mums side lived close by even though my auntie lived abroad for several years.

When I was four. mum decided to move back to dad. I started a new primary school and I made many friends including a best friend named Charlotte. I was popular and when I had to move at the age of six, I was showered with cards and gifts from my friends and teachers on my last day. I had moved back to mums hometown for 11 months and made some nice friends at school. However, we had to move again as dad could not find work. When we moved back I wanted to attend my old school but there were no spaces available. So, I had to attend this new school as this is where my bullying began. They would make fun of my clothes, accent and call me names. I was chased around the playground by gangs of kids. They bossed me around and tripped me up. They even pretended that I had what was called the “lergy.” I spent lunch period wandering the playground with nobody to play with. I was never invited to birthday parties. There was one girl who had a birthday party at a indoor playground. She invited many in the class but not me. She said the reason was the bullies would turn on her if she did. I remember one girl saying “Go back where you came from. Nobody wants you here.” I had never been so lonely in my life. I still kept in touch with CHarlotte. However, she eventually replaced me with a new best friend. As primary school progressed, the abuse calmed down a bit. I still did not fit in with my class. However, I managed to make friends who were in the year below me. In my last year of primary school I would read books, writing stories and poems. I was even published for some of them. I still wanted to be a kid while others my age were in a hurry to grow up. They told me I needed to grow up and stop hanging around the kids a year below me. If not, I was not going to fit in at high school.

I started high school and left my friends from the year below behind. All the other kids that came from different primary schools were also in such a hurry to grow up. They were all into makeup, swearing, sex, bras etc. where I was immature in comparison. I did meet one friend who was probably more unpopular than I was. That seemed to bring my reputation so I figured I better stop hanging out with her. It seems so mean but at that age you are dying to fit in. The friends from the old primary school also came to high school and I was reunited with several of them. I was also reunited with Charlotte and she made it clear that she had other friends. She even joined in on the abuse when it happened. I made friends with another girl and we hung out on the weekends. However, she would turn against me and she along with another friend would ignore me. Also, they would run away from me and thump me on the back. In my second year of school, things went from bad to worse. I had gotten the idea that if I acted and meowed like a cat that people would find me funny and want to talk to me. Of course the opposite happened and I was abused again. I was trying to cope with this at school. One day I came home, hid under the covers and cried. Mum contacted the school and they referred me to the school counselor. She told me that I needed to make an effort to smile and be nice to them. However, I had given up and would not talk to anyone. My parents moved me to a small private school. Things were worse when I got here. Because of my previous experiences it had knocked my confidence and I felt incredibly shy around those I did not know. The kids picked up on that and I experienced the worse abuse I had ever experienced. The kids called me “retard” and “dumbass.” Also would imitate me, take the mick out of me push me down stairs, kicked my chair during lessons until I would fall over completely. They would sharpen pencils and jab them into me. They would pull up plastic and leave it in my hair. Also, I was intentionally left out of things. They made nasty comments about me even when I was in the room. They took this to the internet and to the Bebo website to slander me. Also, they said they made masks of me and use them to scare others. As a result, nobody would be caught dead around me. When I went out, there would be kids from my previous school and would verbally abuse me. I became frightened of going out and when I did, I felt as if everyone was staring at me. When I walked down the street I would hear voices and screaming. I had decided enough was enough, my reputation was shot here and I needed to get to a whole new area. I would go on holiday to dads hometown. I really liked it there and told my parents that I would like to move there. A whole new area and a fresh start away from the abuse. I hoped to be free of the abuse and be in a place where I had no history.

By the age of 14, we had uprooted and moved to my dads hometown. I had passed the exam to get into an all girls grammar school. By that time I had developed full blown social anxiety and paranoia. I also had low self-esteem and this was how the abuse and social isolation affected me. I was petrified to talk to anyone and show them the real me. This was because I was afraid they would think I was weird and as a result not want to be my friend. Of course being shy and distant from others did not win me any friends either. My grandmother passed away six weeks before moving there and it was too much to take on at age 14. During lunch and break times I would wander around the school or on the toilet. I remember walking into the lunchroom and see girls around me at tables and groups chatting and laughing. When I would perch myself down at a table, I would literally shake my legs under it. I would skip school and as I had no friends would spend a great deal of time in my room alone. Eventually, it got to where I would refuse to go to school. I still took my GSCE exams but did not do as well as I could have. I began to self harm by cutting myself on my arms. Once my mum and sister caught me with a lot of paracetamol I was planning to take. I started to see a counselor and mentor.

At the age of 16, we returned to the area we lived in previously. I had started college then. I chose a college which was over an hour away by bus to avoid running into any old abusers. As the other students had their friends from school, I had not known a soul. It was scary and I started roaming around the college alone. I would try and sit near groups of people so it would not appear that I was alone. The bus rides were horrible too. Many students took the same bus and would sit in groups and laugh and make lots of noise. I looked so stupid sitting as a “billy-no-mates” on my tod. I stuck college out and the second year I made three friends outside of my class. I would spend my free periods with them.

I left college shortly before the age of 18. I took a job as a carer in a nursing home. Two were for the elderly and one was for adults with mental problems. One of the nursing homes I worked in I was abused by my co-workers. I was also in an abusive relationship and my boyfriend dumped me. I enjoyed drama and dance and went to amateur dance and drama societies. However, being around the people would trigger flashbacks and panic attacks from being in school.

When I was 18.5 I had a nervous breakdown. My GP advised me to quit my job and referred me to mental health services.

A few years on, I am detained under the Mental Health Act in a psychiatric hospital. I have been diagnosed with depression, schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. I still experience really bad social anxiety and have low confidence. I also find it very hard to make friends. I do not know if I would have developed mental illness had I not been abused as a child. I know the abuse has had an impact on my confidence and definitely was the cause of my social anxiety. Everyday I wish I could turn the clock back to when I was that happy and carefree child. I really wish that one day I could rise above the abuse I suffered, get my health and confidence back, do what I want to do in life and make friends again. I hope one day I will be able to add a happy ending to the story and help victims get passed their own traumas.

I hope sharing my story has helped in raising awareness that childhood peer abuse is just as traumatic as other types of abuse. Thank you for reading.

Thank you Lizzie for sharing this with us. I am so sorry you had to live this during the crucial years of your life. You know how cruel people can really be. My prayer is that you heal completely. You deserve only the best.

Blessings,

Elizabeth

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A Few Changes

Hello! Yes, it is 3:30 am here on the east coast. Sometimes, being nocturnal can be fun! Plus, I get peace and quiet this way. Its a beautiful thing….

Elizabeth, why are you here in the middle of the night? Most people sleep at these hours!

I have gone back and reposted some blog pieces from back in the day. I realized they may be of help to someone. They are not necessarily about friendship. However, I see how they can be helpful to others. I am also including stories of survivors. You will see how they were hurt and abused by friends growing up. These stories are important and make great learning tools.

Wait! There’s More!

I also brought the Wall of Honor post back up. This is a special place for those of us who lived and survived this abuse. If you wish to be added, please contact me at adultsurvivorofpeerabuse@gmail.com to learn more.

Thank you for reading and have a great weekend!

Blessings,

Elizabeth

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Heart of Spring! YAY! Spring has Sprung!

heart of spring oneWell Well…..you are probably shocked to see me put a post on here. No, really! I admit, I have been behind and promised something earlier. Feel free to hate me.  Life gets a bit crazy sometimes.  Well…a lot….

Wait! Don’t go….this time I have something very interesting. Look to the left and you see a photo,  right?

Guess what! The Hallmark Channel is airing its new movie entitled Heart of Spring. This stars Lisa Whelchel and Michael Shanks.

Let’s learn more about this movie! Who’s in?

A single mom, Carly Ashby (Whelchel) is a famous blogger. Her blog is about her passion for parenting and she also runs a flower shop. There is one particular blogger, Jugglingdad, who attacks her and sees parenting in a much different light. (In our world, this may be a case of cyberbullying. However, need to see the movie first to decide if that is the case or not).  Offline,  Ashby has met this great guy, Dr. Andy Sommers (Shanks). They are both single parents and she falls hard for him. Sounds like a fairy tale and they hit it off and everyone lives happily ever after, right?

Wrong!

You can guess who this guy is online. It’s simple!

Mr. Wonderful is…………………………….wait for it…

Jugglingdad!

No!!!!!!!!!!

Wait……Noooooooooooooooo!!!!

YES!!! For real!

What are the odds?

Imagine! This online enemy is a great catch offline. As you can guess this will get interesting as the movie goes along. My guess is when Carly finds this out she probably feels like she has been hit by a Mac truck. As for Jugglingdad? He probably wants a one way ticket to skedaddle out of town and fast! Awkward is probably an understatement here.  I guess we have to watch and see how this plays out…..

Anyhoots, this looks to be a sweet movie. You have family, romance and a little something for everyone. Do you want to see a preview? Go to You Tube and check it out.

heart of spring twoSooooo……..mark your calendars! Grab a bowl of popcorn! Tune in to Hallmark this Saturday, April 9, at 9 PM EST and 8 PM EST.

 

Enjoy the movie!!!!

 

As a side note: Lisa Whelchel starred in The Facts of Life back in the 80’s. A few years ago, she wrote a book Friendship For Grown-Ups: What I Missed And Learned Along The Way. Like us, she missed out on learning healthy social skills. However, hers were due to being on television. I have no idea if she is a survivor or not. As for the 80’s, I have successfully blurred a lot of these memories. However, I still enjoy the music of Stevie Wonder and Joe Jackson. They are timeless!

Photos: Courtesy of The Hallmark Channel. Thanks Ron Del Rio for your help!

 

 

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It’s Been A While

Yes folks, it has been a while. I apologize for this absence. Things got sort of crazy busy offline from October until after the new year. Happy 2016 everyone! May this year be a blessing to you and yours. In a nutshell, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. Mom was in hospital for over a month. I was sick for about a month with bronchitis  and other respiratory problems. Not to mention being tired. Oh all of the holiday stuff was happening so I can honestly say offline, my life was busy busy busy! On the good side, I have seen and been with friends and family both off and online. Oh and Clemson won the Orange Bowl and made it to the Championship but Alabama won by five points. Lets not forget the Carolina Panthers are headed to the Super Bowl! Their home is here where I live. Clemson is about 60 miles away. After such a rough 2015, South Carolina wound up with some awesome events! Most importantly, I have been with God. I am always with God. No brainer folks……

Anyway, I will be posting again soon. Get this blog back in business. In the meantime, feel free to hang with us on Facebook: Adult Survivors of Bullying/Peer Abuse. I should be back here soon. Again, may 2016 bless you!

Blessings,

Elizabeth

 

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A visual of Friendship

Hello y’all! Its fall! Clemson is 6-0. Back with my girls again! Also, been #ridingthegratefultrain. Yes, I am counting my blessings instead of singing the blues so to speak. Negativity is no fun and nor is someone who is chronically negative. Its a toxic thing. However, positivity is what keeps the fun going. Laughter is the best medicine! Aint nuttin stealing my joy! If you sit down, take one thing to be grateful for each day, it makes a huge difference!

Okay Elizabeth, what are you up to now?

I have been reading some books on friendship this fall. Also, collecting blog and article pieces discussing it. So, bit by bit I am a getting my info in a row so to speak. This topic is so important and so underappreciated. Well, except with the tween set. To them, this is their life. As adults, we can learn to value it too. I do not mean House Wives of anything either. Gosh, talk of toxic! NEXT!

One thing we need to remember. In these relationships, not everyone will not be on the same level in your life. We have our BFF’s, our friends, aquaintaces. people we once knew, family friends etc. Then, we have been people we are aware of and who are also aware of us. No, they are not friends. They just know we exist. THEN, we have people we do not even know. I want to give you a visual picture here on how to view these things. As survivors, we missed a lot. We missed learning these healthy boundaries for sure! Stay with me and let me give you a visual on how to see these things. This has been a blessing for me and has helped me keep these things straight.

First off, you have come to the door to a gymnasium. You are not able to open the door yet can see inside. For me, this is people I do not know or never met. These consist of strangers walking down a street, some Twitter and Facebook followers. I see them at a distance at a mall. You get the idea.

school gym doors shut

This is what I am speaking of above. When we see strangers, we see the outside. Their hair, face, eyes etc. The door is locked and that means the person does not know anything about me. Sure, they can see inside my eyes if they look closely. However, cannot get in.

Next, we are opening the door. Once we open it, we are at a small foyer. As you can see, this is before getting on an escalator.  This area is people I have just met, followers on Facebook and Twitter.  Or, people I may be in a class with at some point. Or, ladies from bible study that I may see and say hello to. I know their names but that is it. Or, people with mutual friends. The difference from the above description is I know these people exist. I know their name and little about them. I have spoken to them a handful of times if that.  They are not riding the elevator or even stepping onto it. I do not take my problems to them. They do not know my secrets or my heart for that matter. I really have no opinion of them.

landing before wall

The next illustration is people going up and down the escalator. This consists of about 95% percent of the people I know or have known. These are friends that have not become like family. People who have been in my life whether it be a reason or season. Aquaintances from my past and present. Someone I use to go out with or crush on and are on good terms with. People I went to school, church or worked with. We had lost touch but reconnected whether it be online or offline. People I have helped through the years. Ladies in my bible study. People from church. The Anti-bullying community, colleagues past and present. Other adults who survived this peer abuse. Friends from all over the world. They are on social media with me. Notice the escalator goes up and down. That is because roles in these people can change at some point. Some have changed. Some have reconnected. Whatever the case, this is where they are. Also, my survivor support system is on there. However, they are at the tip off getting off of the escalator. That is because they are support in all of this. They are more than riding up and down the escalator.

landing before getting on escalatorlanding when getting off of escalator

As you see, they are on the escalator without really getting off. Its good to have people like this in your life. They are there when you need help. I may have shared confidences with them at some point. We have had serious discussions. They are aware of happenings in my life. We have worked and played together. Those I have worked on projects with. Or, those who are in my bible study class and we have become friends. People I pray with. They know my family and happenings there.  These are God ordained people. This means new friends. They have my cell number, email address and know where I live.  I have helped them out at some point. You more than get the idea….

Now, I am moving on past the elevator. Do you see in the photo above on the right side? It is the area after getting off of the escalator. Now, these are people who have been in my life for a very long time. I am talking since childhood from school. Or, family friends who have become like family. Also, family itself. These are friends who have been constants for so long that they are FAMILY! Of course, family too. They know my cell number, email address and where I live. They are on speed dial. These are people I can call in the middle of the night in a crisis. Those I call when mom goes to the hospital. Those I would trust to look after my mother. These are lifetime people. They may not live near me but are highly valued. Or, they do live near me. We have spent many holidays together.

After that landing, a cliff will drop off. People are off of the landing yet have not completely fallen. These are people who have been in my life and have been toxic for me. Those who abused or took advantage. Old boyfriends where things ended badly. The peer abusers and their crews. These are people I cannot allow back into my life. My own health comes first and their presence has stressed me or sickened me. Some people can let abusers run in and out all the time. I am not one of them and took a long time to learn this. They are blocked on social media. They do not know where to find me. However, they are forgiven. I hold no ill will or grudge. I love them and am commanded to do so. However, it does not mean I like them. We are not commanded to like everyone. Also, I highly doubt GOD wants us bringing people into our lives that we know are bad for us. Here is the illustration.

dropping off

So, who is next? Well……..there is one (well actually three) who are in all of these places. The only one that has been able to do every bit of this in my life. One dwells within me. One saved me from jumping off any cliffs and took my burdens to the cross. One created me in HIS image. This is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Alpha and Omega. The beginning and end. The one who has full control of my life. The one who picks my friends and colleagues in life. The one who brings me through anything I attempt or do. Nobody else is even getting close to where this person is in my life.  So, do not even try it.

the trinity

Whew! That was a mouthful! Are we done yet?

Yes, I am done! Yippee! I just wanted to help others out there to see how to keep (or as some would say micromanage) people in ones life. For me, this is the safest I can do. It helps me keep others in perspective. We cannot let others just run in and out and keeps us off balance. We need to maintain balance. I hope this helped someone out there. Have a good week! Enjoy the fall! Be YOU!

Blessings,

Elizabeth

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A Heads Up!

Hello! I am here briefly as I wanted to leave a bit of information here. Please know that anything posted on here is my work. This means that I own this and if anyone wishes to use it, please credit me accordingly. As you see, I have a couple of posts on here where I used the work of someone else. However, I credited them accordingly. This is their work not mine. I just used it to show how it can help those of us who are adults and coping with childhood peer abuse from our peer group. I see far too much of this happen online. Also, its a pet peeve of mine.  I am normally a nice, pleasant person who is drama free. However, if I catch anyone doing this…..well, I may not be so nice. Soooo…….with that I bid you adeau for now…..enjoy the end of summer. Hallelujiah we are almost done with it! Bring on fall! Most importantly, be you!

Oh there is more…..

Also, I am slooowly learning how to add photos and videos to these posts. Right now, I am in the figuring out stage. So, please be patient with me as I tackle this task. I am just not that technologically sophisticated.

Sigh…..

Blessings,

Elizabeth :)

 

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The world is not all that!

Wow! How time sure flies when having fun! We are into September now. Since I last wrote, I had a birthday, school started and Clemson football starts this weekend. I am already on the phone about problems cropping up at schools concerning this abuse. Hey, I give my abusers credit. They gave me at least a month before going full throttle on me. Well, maybe three weeks. I wish we could just learn to treat others as we wish they would treat us.

So, let’s move forward shall we?

I found this blog piece on Twitter over the summer. The piece I am referring to is a blog piece by a woman named Glennon Melton. She is the one who is from a website called Momastery.  One day someone tweeted one of her blog pieces. It came down my feed and it was awesome. I had to save it because I knew what was in it would benefit this population. It was refreshing to see words on a website that I have tried to verbalize for a very long time. As a survivor, I have had so many of these thoughts that she shared. From what I can gather, this is someone who is in recovery from addiction. She lived with some demons of her own. These are some survivors have had to live with. Depression and anxiety we have known for a long time. Many of us have known addictions and struggled there. Instead of feeding into these problems, she sees them as superpowers! She uses these to her advantage and to help others. I got to give this girl some props. She wants to make things better out there. My faith teaches that we are in this world but  we are not of this world. We are to be lights in this world. However, should we still do our part to help make the world a better place? Of course we should! We can hide behind our beliefs or we can step out of our comfort zones and do something. In my own work, I get in and have to deal with the world. I want to make it better. Peer abuse (bullying) is a world wide problem. I have helped people on every continent on this planet. There is no escaping it wherever we go. Now, is Glennon an adult who survived childhood peer abuse? That is a question I am not able to answer. I do not know this woman in person and can count the number of tweets on one hand that I have shared with her. I do know she has an understanding of what this world is really about. That part is obvious in what she writes.

How can she help if she may not be a survivor?

I know….we tend to believe that unless you have lived something you really have no clue as to understanding it. Yes, I get that and I follow that when it comes to peer abuse. However, we have common problems. Depression, anxiety and addiction are also demons we struggle with. She has a strong handle on mental illness. How we can become more accepting and learn to coexist without unnecessary struggles.

There are many survivors who are wired to be sensitive individuals. I know because I am one of them! We develop these problems and feel we have to live up to certain beliefs and expectations. Sensitivity is not valued in our culture nor is mental illness. We have to keep quiet and hide this side of ourselves so we do not ruffle feathers. We know from experience that this gets us into trouble. Once it is out we become vulnerable. It annoys others and makes them uncomfortable. Now we must stay quiet so they can remain comfortable. I know, we have learned our ways of coping just to stay afloat. We are always wrong and they are right. We learned this at a very early age.

Why are we always wrong?

Newsflash! We are not always wrong. Listen, we are all created to be individuals. No two people are exactly alike. Not even identical twins. It just is not possible for this to happen. However, according to the world, we must conform and we must be a certain way. Now how can something be right if it is impossible to even achieve? We were always taught by the world we were wrong. However, we are not. In my own healing, I had to learn this. I found myself always trying to people please and make others happy. It never worked and never will. I had to learn to be myself. I was made to be sensitive so I will be sensitive.

The world needs to get a grip. It needs to stop making unreasonable demands on us. It is wrong of the world to set these standards. Stop trying to keep quiet so others can remain comfortable. This world is full of all kinds of people. We all have rights. There are some people who are so thick skinned they cannot see where someone who is sensitive can bring calm to their storm. We need compassion and love. As humans, we try and deny so many of these needs. When we do not have these needs, we hurt inside. I love to hug people. Not only do the endorphins this brings help my depression. I hug because I am a person and I need love from another person. As a sensitive person it is important for me to hug others. Not everyone has this strong need but I do. I am going to do what I can to get my needs met. If I have to bug someone to hug me I will.

How can this tie into friendship? Well, it is possible. Let me see if I can help you here.

Acceptance. When we make a friend, we accept all of them and that is the good and bad. Instead of dwelling on how they annoy us, why not try and see how they bring joy to us? Find something in them that drew you to them in the first place. Love them as they are.

Changing. Stop trying to change them! You are fighting a losing battle. I had a friend at one time try to change everything about me. Anything I did was wrong and needed to be fixed. The reasoning behind it was I would not fit in. Or, nobody would accept me if I did not do this and that. You know what? She was wrong and they were wrong and the world is wrong. I am not about to conform to anything someone thinks I should conform to. You should not have to either. These people are toxic and you deserve and can do better.

Compromise. No two people are alike. No two people will see things the same way. Yes, we have people that have common interests. However, it does not mean harmony will prevail 100% of the time. We need to learn to share. You will not believe how many adults do not know how to do this. Many will manipulate you into giving into them 100% of the time. Try it next time you decide to hang out with someone. If they want to go out to eat, go out to eat. However, they should do something you would like the next time you get together. Friendships are like any other relationship. There is a lot of give and take involved.

Heal. It takes a long time to get to the point of seeing things as I have stated above. The first step is getting out of that comfort zone. Try one of your friends on compromise and see what happens. Look at the good in your friend. Dwell on that. What have they done lately that has made you happy? Have they shared something valuable with you? As you heal, you will start seeing these things in a more realistic manner.

The world is wrong. No, you are not wrong. If you are anxious then you are anxious. I do not mean have full on panic attacks because you can and want to make someone mad. I mean if you have full on panic attacks that is how you are. If you take meds for these then it shows you are doing something about it. Some people have diabetes. Others have cancer or leukemia. Do we tell them to get over it? No! Nobody should tell anyone to get over any pain in their lives. THEY need to get over it. The world caters to these abusers. They try to manipulate, control and live by those standards. To them, you must also live by those standards. Follow the laws (or right ones) given but do not follow the laws the people of the world imposes on you. We grew up with their demands and we failed at meeting them. It got us abused as children by them. As adults, we have rights and have a right to have rights. Be yourself! It’s hard and takes a lot of work to get to this point. However, it can be done. Healing is a long process. I know everyone is at different places in their healing. Or, some have not even began to heal. Despite any of that, put some of these on your goal lists. Or, bucket lists if you wish to do so. A person can heal. I am living proof of it.

Thank you to Momastery for your insightful thoughts that you have shared online. If interested in learning more, visit Glennon Melton’s website. Also, follow @momastery on Twitter.

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Spot on! Go Annie!

Hello again! Wow, August is almost here and that means many things. One thing is for sure and that is that I cannot wait for Clemson football to hit my radar again!

Recently, I attended a Google Plus Hangout with a colleague Annie Fox. I have been familiar with her work for a while now. She created the Cruel’s Not Cool Campaign. Also,  has delved into the nature of friendships in females. She shared valuable information  concerning how friendships follow us throughout life.

It was an awesome hangout experience! Really!

One thing I believe survivors struggle with is friendships. Now, everyone has a different story and even though some of us did eventually marry, not all of us did. I know many who did not. It had nothing to do with sexual preference. A lot had to do with learning appropriate social skills so we could grow into the next phase of our lives. If you look at relationship development in a person, you see they start out knowing their parents and family first. By the time they enter school, they begin forming friendships that they choose themselves. As they enter the teen years, they notice the opposite sex. Plus, they enter the workforce. At this point, they learn to develop relationships that are romantic in nature. Also, work related relationships they do not have in their personal lives. As young adults they marry, have careers and children. By this point, they should know how to develop different relations in their lives. They are friends, colleagues, parents, spouses, siblings aunts, uncles, cousins and the list goes on. If someone has not learned healthy relational skills during developmental years, makes going to the next level hard.

According to Ms. Fox, friendships in girls are vital. Sure, boys value their relationships just as much. However, for girls, it has an affect on their social development. During these crucial years, girls develop intimate relations with their friends. Subconciously, what girls are doing here is looking for potential mates in their lives. They learns desires and turn offs in a mate. Also, girls learn how to nurture during these years. If this is not learned in a healthy manner, it affects the girl. She could wind up in bad marriages, seek dysfunctional mates, or avoid it altogether. I look back and see a lot of it in my own life.

Praise GOD for healing! It can happen…

Friendships among girls is like walking a tightrope. One slip and the relationships crumble. During the adolescent years, there are physical and mental changes. As everyone is changing, relationships change faster than they started. Two girls will become best friends and form a thick bond. If another girl enters the equation, it upsets the balance. Suddenly, the tightrope shakes. For a girl, this is like holding on to a life preserver. Eventually, it will sink and the relationship goes down with it. If one of best friends starts to change and move towards the interloper, it can be because the other girl and her needs are changing. However, with survivors, they held on to bad friendships (or that life preserver) for dear life. Settling for anything was the way to cope. They feared so much lonliness and exposure.  They will do anything they can to hang on to that friend. These friends usually treat them badly I know, I did this. I never allowed myself to grow and change because my own thought patterns were so dysfunctional. Those I developed were skewed. It took 14 years to relearn them.

Another green eyed monster is popularity. For girls, popularity is a hot commodity. If a girl is considered popular, she carries a lot of social power. She may enjoy this but also deals with a lot of jealousy and backstabbing behavior in her circle. I have dealt with girls who were popular and they felt vulnerable and violated. This circle of friends is very competitive. They tear one another down so they can fight to stay on top. They do not always know if someone is really their friend or not. So, as you see, survivors can come in all packages. Popularity is what everyone wants or thinks they want. At the end of the day, it is just as destructive as any others social dysfunction out there. Girls today will go online, see how many “likes” they have on Facebook. Or, go on Twitter and see how many tweets she has that are favored. If she does not reach so many of these, she may fear going to school the next day. She is scared her popularity is in danger. It is not a healthy way to grow up. We must start taking social abuse seriously!

Listen, popularity is not what it is cracked up to be…….

As survivors missed out on learning what is healthy and not, they bring to their relationships much dysfunction. One thing I see in girls and in women is their need to belong or have someone as a friend. They will do anything they can to get in their circle. If they see that potential friend with another potential friend, it is devastating. I do a lot of observing and see this online as well as offline. Social media feeds into a lot of this as well. I will save that blog piece for another day.

Ms. Fox left suggestions in dealing with this. I am leaving this for both parents and adult survivors. For survivors, this will be much harder to tackle. However, with baby steps, its possible.

  • If you see two people together, look around and see if anyone else is around. Most people will have room in their hearts for several friends. Learn to branch out and get to know others. Just discern what is healthy and not.
  • Empathy: Parents, listen to your children. Survivors, find someone safe if possible to share these feelings with. Someone who does have empathy and has love in their hearts. Survivors heard of a lot of negative reactions growing up. As a result, they will struggle with this. You have to keep searching for that person to help. Jesus became my anchor here. This is one who never lets me fall off that life preserver.
  • If you keep knocking on a door that will not open, stop knocking on it. It took me a very long time to learn this. However, moving on can be the most refreshing thing out of this. Not all adults are socially sensitive.
  • Social skills: Please seek some behavior modification or cognitive therapy here. In some cases, you will have to go back and relearn things. It is essential to get in a contained environment away from external variables. You will be doing a lot of desensitization here. As I have a background in psychology, I was able to tackle this myself and with GOD. I had to get into a completely different environment and use the internet to tackle these things full on. It was hard, it nearly killed me but by the grace of GOD I got through it. If a child is currently experiencing abuse, please do not think twice. Get them into therapy as soon as possible.
  • Get unplugged. We are so dependent on technology now. As we have cell phones, we can get access to all sorts of social outlets. Kindles help us feed into this as well. Sometimes, it is nice to do it the old fashioned way. Take time away and just spend it with others. Go out to dinner, see a movie or whatever is out there to enjoy. I lived without all of these distractions for almost 30 years. I am no worse for wear.

As survivors, our healing is at different places. Our thoughts are skewed. We have developed problems due to the abuse. I know I missed out on a lot. There is hope! We can heal! If children are currently dealing with this, do what you can to ensure they are growing up healthy. As you see, their future is on the line. A fine tight rope line and do not want them clinging to life preservers.

Thank you Annie Fox for your insightful interview and valuable information!

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The Clique Summer Series

Hello everyone! Welp, summer is almost over and the kids will be headed back to school. Usually, I have more free time in the summer as I do not have many seeking help or needing a speaker. Things calm down some here. Life is a bit slower. I should be happy.

I am so ready for fall! I want my life back! I want to see my sista’s from the same mista! I want my Clemson football! Thanksgiving is my favorite day! HURRRY!!!!!!!!

As I am aware that school is starting in a few weeks, I wanted to share a blog I created in 2010. It was a summer project I did on the tween book series The Clique by Lisi Harrison. These were a series of books written for tween and teen girls in the 00’s. They revolved around a Queen Bee named Massie and her four faithful followers. I did not write about the whole series, just the books that had everyone build Massie up and made her the monster she became. In the last book, I showed how she was dethroned and blamed everyone around her for creating what she became. I still do. If you keep giving someone a lot of social power or even power, they will start believing they are so special and start treating others terribly. Then once they fall, they become just as traumatized as those around that they themselves traumatized. My goal was not to insult Lisi Harrison or her work. Quite the opposite; I wanted people to see that through these books, Ms. Harrison had a clear understanding of these social dynamics in these situations. What is sad though is she got the inspiration for these books from the people she worked with at one point. No, not any children but adults who behaved as badly as children do socially. As adults we should know better but I see it all the time.

Will we ever grow up?

I did this series because I wanted people to see for themselves the things I talk about with friendships in girls. Through these books I was able to share the building up of a queen and how those around her do it whether it be intentional or not on their part. The adults who allowed it to happen by not holding accountability. The peers who feared and acted as they did so they would not be abused. The bystanders who desired to be part of this group of abuse. The dysfunction these relationships bring. The poison everyone experiences. The psychological problems that developed as a result of this. Sometimes, just saying and speaking on it is not enough. People need to actually walk through and see or read for themselves.

I know many adults who survived this childhood peer abuse have horrible memories of situations such as this. Some survivors have come from being part of cliques such as this. Others desired to get in but got abused out. Then there are those who were disgusted by them and stayed away. As a result, they got abused for other reasons. There are some who were kicked out by the queen and experienced abuse. Every story is unique and no two people live identical lives or see things the same way. I just know that as adults, they struggle with these sort of things. I admit for a long time I did. I am learning now healthy social skills and am doing it a step at a time and a day at a time. Finally, I believe off the internet, I am learning to love others and be accepted for me. I have learned healthy social dynamics and situations. It has been a blessing. A lot of prayers and healing but it was done. It was the internet that did help me start healing. It was worth it!

Thank you Jesus!

So, without further adieu, here is a link to The Clique Summer Series! Its long but worth the read. If anything, learn from this. I made suggestions to parents and adults. No, not to tell them how to raise children or run their lives. I did it so it would help them see these things and learn what to do with their own children in these situations. Again, here is the link.

Have a good week! Be well! Be Blessed! Be YOU!

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Icebreakers

Hey y’all! Happy almost 4th of July! I hope your summer is going good. Are you taking any vacays? What about staycays? Despite that I hope you are living it up! Fall will be here soon! YAY!

So…..I have needed to get started on this blog and am just getting around to it. Things keep me busy and as they say…….busy  is good! Mucho Bueno! Yes, we are going to talk friendship since hardly, if anyone, talks this stuff. There is so much crazy out there now that it can be hard to know who is your friend and who is not.

Sad and a bit disturbing, huh? Well, lets talk it up here on the blog here!

Sometimes, when doing something new, getting icebreakers is a tall order. After all, we are talking to strangers on here. We are also talking depressing things. Overwhelming things.

Let’s change that….

Lets get started. I am going to list 20 questions. They are simple questions and can be used to help in learning about others. I use to get these a lot in email as I am sure you as well. SO………grab your seatbelt and hang on tight, lol.

Lets do this!

What is your name (Feel free to use a moniker. I certainly understand if you wish to): Peer Abuse, Elizabeth Bennett

What is your favorite color( s): Purple, pink and blue.

Favorite food (s): Spaghetti……baked is the best

Favorite TV show (s): I don’t watch TV. Nothing but insanity on there now.

Favorite Movie (s): Girl Interrupted, Ann of Green Gables, Pride and Prejudice, Grease

Coke or Pepsi? Diet Coke and Dr. Pepper

Summer, fall, winter or spring? Fall

Favorite subject(S): Psychology, English

What do you do in your free time? Read, write, play cards, swim, sleep, thrift shopping, biking, anything psychological (type watching people watching).  Vintage shopping.

What are your strengths: Adaptability, sensitivity, accepting, helping others, full of faith , hope and love. Also, diplomatic, strong, can see another persons point of view (empathetic). Trustworthy, loyal. LOVE to help others (lets face facts. I am a helpaholic).

What are your weaknesses: Stubborness, moodiness, loathe cell phones, vulnerability, do not trust easily, not the most sociable person. Tend to avoid talking about things that are needed to be talked about. Tend to be anxious…..tend to keep things bottled up only to have them find their way out at some point.

The beach, lake, desert or mountains? The beach!

Do you come to decisions easily? Nope!

Leader or follower: Both…either role works.

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be? I wish I could be sociable and not fear getting to know people. I know I am hard to get to know..

Twitter or Facebook? Facebook

If you were granted three wishes, what would they be? To stop all peer abuse, my mama would be well and my friend would be free from prison.

Favorite music genre: Late 60’s to early 70’s, R & B, contemporary Christian, jazz (Michael Buble especially).

Have you ever been in the media? If so, what? Newspaper, TV, movies, social media, radio. All having to do with bullying/peer abuse.

Have you ever googled yourself? Yes

Anything else? I hope this blog blossoms this summer and we can learn things about being good friends or learn to be good friends to others. :)

Thanks for coming over! Feel free to post or just lurk! Have a good day. :)

PS: A lot has happened in the news over the past several months. This has been nationally and even in my home state. Please, unless it pertains to friendship lets try to avoid these topics. I know we have lost many friends based on opinions we have. So, that is painful enough. Feel free to talk about how losing the friend made you feel but please keep the drama/politics of it all off of here, k? Thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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