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13 Jan Bullying, How Does it Start and What Does it Do?

This is a subject that from a personal viewpoint I am fascinated with. I was bullied on and off from Primary School all the way through to my late 30’s. It wasn’t until I did my NLP Practitioner course that I was asked a question that perhaps forced me to revisit old information and conclusions. The question, ‘how did you know you were being bullied’, not a nice subject, not a gentle question and it hit an old belief, hard.

Ok, now, let’s take a step back. When we were young we were like little vacuum cleaners sucking up information, big sponges absorbing meanings all through our childhood experiences. Our cognitive ability was minimal, things were ‘ouch’ or perhaps a cuddle, and our ability to intellectually challenge any individual experience was extremely limited. Yet these decisions and conclusions shaped us at our very core as to who we know ourselves to be. Those experiences one by one start to shape our self image and self esteem. Things like being chosen to answer a question in the classroom, being picked first to play in a team or indeed being left till last. For some these moments ‘shaped’ an image, a way of seeing themselves though others eyes. The few drive themselves to the point of self destruction to outperform others in later life, revenge to be seen as the ‘best’.

We are learning in every moment but as adults we seem to think that it was mainly as a child. Do you remember the word ‘Because’, it was a favourite of all children when they were starting out, until one day they used it one time too many. Then an adult replied to the child who ask, ‘why does it do that’ or some other question involving the word ‘why’ and the resounding response came, ‘BECAUSE’… The child learns that asking questions wasn’t the best thing to do and the number of uses of the word ‘WHY’ drops off dramatically some say from 8 to 1 in terms of usage.

So, as adults we carry the learnings of our childhood, hard wired into our psyche, perhaps a smell which still makes you feel sick? You know, when you think about it you can remember why and have never tried it since. How many decisions have you made as a child that you have never challenged as an adult? I accept that gravity is gravity and that some learnings are wise to be left as were, but, how about the experiences that left you with an understanding as a small child that have held you back as an adult. The child was bullied was a certain height, weight, had an ability to speak at a certain level, and could protect themselves to a point.

So, if I asked you, the learnings in your life, how have they shaped your view of who you are and are they still appropriate?

My questions for you, when do you still react to life based on the learnings and lessons of your past experiences and are they getting you what you want in your life now? Are you still running from a bully that only exists in your past? Are you setting up a loop where the outcome is you always being the victim? What would it be like if the learning that you took from that moment in your past was wrong, that you are perfect just the way you are now and that they were the ones with the real issue, what then?

Richard Elwell

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