When I was growing up in the 70’s and 80’s I don’t recall much attention being paid to the topic bullying in schools, by my parents, teachers or even by popular culture. It was only the most egregious incidents that were identified as “bullying”. As a trauma therapist who works primarily with adults and teens, I can tell you that many of my clients were bullied as children. Adults who were bullied as children may not have identified what they experienced as bullying at the time but the lasting effects are the same. It’s very common for someone who has been bullied to minimize the damage of the bullying by saying such things as “kids will be kids” oe “everyone goes through stuff like that”. However, it’s very traumatizing for children and adolescents to experience social humiliation, social rejection or social isolation, especially if they experience it alone as children often do. It’s humiliating to be targeted so children and adolescents will often keep it to themselves instead of reaching out for support.
The effects of childhood bullying for adults who were bullied as children can interfere with social development, keeping them from achieving developmental milestones and greatly inhibiting life skill development. If children and adolescents learn that peers are “not safe” and to be avoided, childhood, adolescence and adulthood, can be very anxiety producing. They could become paralyzed by feelings of inadequacy and not learn to challenge themselves to become independent and to accomplish things that make them feel uncomfortable. Bullying affects self-confidence and self-esteem. It can interfere with a person reaching their potential. In other words, ultimately, this could even result in a “failure to launch” into adulthood.
The good news is that with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), adults who were bullied as children can resolve their symptoms (likely anxiety and depression) so that they can achieve what they want to achieve in their lives. As an EMDR therapist, I have seen it happen over and over again.
About Barbara Edelman, MSW, LCSW
I am a Licensed Psychotherapist in Saint Louis, MO.
I am certified in EMDR and specialize in treating Anxiety, Depression, PTSD and Trauma in adults and adolescents and helping my clients develop a sense of peace, comfort and connection in their lives and relationships.
If you have anxiety or depression or think you may have unresolved trauma and would like to work with a Saint Louis area therapist who specializes in anxiety and trauma, please contact me for a free 15-minute phone consultation at 314-780-4906 or email me now to schedule a time firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website at www.barbaraedelmanmsw.com.