I am writing this as a victim and survivor of bullying, which I
suffered from the age of three to 16. I was also physically, verbally
and emotionally abused from birth to six years old.

My father was the worst. His violent temper, constant lies and
evasion of responsibility, his yelling and accusations, were the
beginning. He would pick me up and shake me, hit me and hit me until
I cried. I remember the tense atmosphere. I can recall running up the
stairs, him chasing me. “Nooooo!” I cried, but then his hands
were on me and I felt blow after blow rain down. Another time he
picked me up and threw me across the room. Then there was the time he
threw me against the wall, slamming me against it. He even tried to
throw me out of the window. I was in constant worry of something
setting him off. I wanted to reach out, to emotionally connect but
time and time again, I was ferociously rebuffed. I wanted to cry
because I felt sad but that made him angry, too. So I kept my
feelings to myself. I was terrified of receiving another round of
hitting. When would it come? So I was fearful of sharing with others
in case I got hurt – not just physically but emotionally, too. I
began to dream that this was possible. I dreamed of a life where
everyone surrounded me, everybody loved me and I could be safe. Every
time I got hurt, I would zoom off to this dreamworld to escape. I
thought I must be a terrible person to get this punishment. So I
developed Avoidant Personality Disorder. Daddy did that.

Then there was the school bully at elementary school. He was stocky,
slightly overweight, mean and threatening. One day I had to go
outside the classroom because I left something in my bag in the
cloakroom. While I was there, the bully showed up. Maybe he skipped
his class. He saw me and an opportunity. He came up to me and asked
me what I was doing. After I replied, he told me he thought I was
stupid because of the way I used to pretend to drive a car around the playground (I had a vivid
imagination – you know, thanks to my father – see above). He told
me only crazy people do that and began to rough me up. He pushed and
shoved me around, grabbed my bag and kicked it away. Then he pushed
me down and tussled with my clothes. I was very frightened, since I
was still extremely shy. Then he got up and threatened me with dire
consequences if I told anyone. So I told no one.

There were also the twins from another class at Camborne School
(1984-1988) who saw me in the school library when I was 15. “It’s
interrogation time,” they began, ominously, sitting down next to
me. “Are you mature yet? How many times a week do you masturbate?
So, how do you make babies? Have you ever kissed a girl? Are you
still a virgin? Why haven’t you lost your virginity yet? Do you want
a girlfriend? If you were in bed with a girl, what would you do
first? Can you ejaculate? Do you have ‘wet dreams’?” I’m using all
the polite vocabulary for this article but actually, they used the
slangy, rude stuff, so just use your imagination as to how it really
sounded. This went on for about 45 minutes. After they left, I felt
extremely upset, tearful and with that kind of gasping,
lump-in-your-throat type of feeling. I decided I had had enough. I
kept silent and serious for the rest of the day, then went home. I
finally poured it all out in front of my parents. My third dad
carefully wrote down everything in a notebook and telephoned the
school to make an appointment. He was great. There was a meeting with
the headmaster and some top people and their parents came to speak to
my parents. The twins were punished and there was a dramatic
reduction in the teasing I received from them and others. I was left
alone from then on and my final 6 months at school passed pleasantly
and without incident.

Now, of course, I am a Certified Life Coach, able to use my knowledge
of adverse early life experiences to advise clients on how to get out
of these negative childhood backgrounds and into a new life, where
they feel confident to make the decisions they need to make to
achieve the dream life they’ve always wanted in a way that is
meaningful for them and brings them peace.

If I met my bullies today, I would offer forgiveness. Not only
because forgiveness is powerful and not just because I think I’m a
“nice guy”. Rather because I now have some of the insight I
lacked at that time.

To my father, who is now dead, I would say: “I know why you did
what you did. Your anger and selfishness and constant lying was the
result of your bossy, self-opinionated, “couldn’t
take-no-for-an-answer” mother, who, when you were a kid, badgered
you and bossed you around and, when something bad happened, would
interrogate you mercilessly until you told the truth. Then she would
give you such a hard time about what you did when you told her that
you learned it was easier to tell a lie to keep the peace. You felt
unheard and your own opinion was dismissed in favour of hers. I can
understand how this made you angry, made you feel like you should put
your own needs first and made you tell lies. I can forgive you for
that. However, you chose to take it out on my mum and me and couldn’t
handle being married. Instead of turning to the light and searching
for the truth, you chose to exert yourself by being even worse than
your mother in some attempt to make your own mark. In so doing, you
lost Mum and your children and never saw me again for the last 24
years of your life.”

To the elementary school bully, I would say: “I don’t know where
you are or what you are doing now but I now understand that you
behaved the way you did probably because you had a bad family
background. You hadn’t been taught how to share uncomfortable and
negative feelings and saw in me everything you hated – the
weakness, shyness and insecurity that you yourself were trying to
cover up. Is that right?”

To the twins, I would say: “You shouldn’t have done what you did. I
know it must have been frustrating to see me living in a dreamworld,
talking to imaginary people and being shy and awkward and saying
silly things. You couldn’t understand what I was doing and I couldn’t
explain it either. I can forgive you for getting impatient with me.
However, you chose to treat me like an idiot and assumed a negative
cause and the questions you asked me were designed to make me feel
small and stupid. I hope the punishment you received will make you
think twice before you treat anyone like that again in the future.”

 I would then invite all four of them to learn what I have learned and
embrace the life and light that I have found and work with them as
their Life Coach to achieve their dreams, confident that, in my
experiencing them at their worst, they will be inspired by their
former victim to uncover their deepest insecurities and find the
means to leverage that into a life that’s something better.