Rocky Shoals & Open Water

Posted: August 14, 2012 in Bullying
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I can still feel the humiliation. My last name spat out in disgust as if I’m a disease. Being slammed into the lockers that line the hallway, my books falling to the floor as the onlookers roar with laughter. My cheeks burning in shame, I retrieve my books and trudge to my next class wondering if this waking nightmare will ever end.

Psychology Today  explains that: “… in recent years, experts have begun to identity a second definition for PTSD that allows for the victims of repeated traumatizing incidents. Bullying falls into this category.”

Throughout my childhood and teen years I experienced persistent bullying. I grew to hate my tormentors, and despise myself and carried this hatred into my young adulthood. It was while listening to a radio adaptation of Patricia M. St. John’s children’s classic, Treasures of the Snow that God broke through my defenses. For the first time “Perfect love casts out all fear,” (John 4:18) meant something. Just as Lucien in Treasures of the Snow  forgave Annette  so I, too, came to forgive my tormentors and release my fears. What relief to let go of that which had weighed me down and robbed me of joy and the assurance of salvation. I knew at that moment when I forgave that I, too, was forgiven.

But a new struggle ensued.

As I looked at my past experiences, without the distorting lens of blame and hatred, I came to understand that I’d unintentionally made myself a target. Shame and self-loathing sprang up to take the place of blame and hatred. Bullying shuts its victims down, turning them inward.  This kept me from learned the relational skills that are a normal part of growing up. I was awkward and self-conscious around others. Depression and anxiety became an everyday part of my adult life.

My new journey involves letting go of old false beliefs, taking risks and learning to relate to others in healthy ways. I don’t always get it right. When I stumble my tendency is to resort to old patterns where I berate myself and hide. I’m learning instead to trust in and lean on God’s perfect love, letting it drive out the fear that so quickly overwhelms.

I know intellectually that God’s perfect love should displace all my fears. But healing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s only in a caring community that His love is fully demonstrated. It’s only through the prayers and patience of my brothers and sisters that I will be able to navigate through the rocky shoals of self-doubt out into the open water of God’s love.

Resources: The Wounded Spirit by Frank Peretti
Comments
  1. Thank you for sharing this. It speaks to so many of us and real life issues we face. BB