“I Thought Home Was My Safe Haven. That Changed When I Was Bullied By My Family”

Episode 4: Bullying At Home

I grew up in a joint family… it included my dad’s family (mom, dad, my brother and me) and that of his two elder brothers. Since I was the youngest of all the four children in the house (three boys and a girl), I stuck around my brother and cousins most of the time. But they had a life, a huge circle of friends and were very popular in their classes. I, on the other hand, would try to fit in.

Growing up, I was extremely shy and slow  at grasping things. And this is what started the pinpointing. At first, my aunts would make fun of my inability to understand things, then slowly my parents began to accept the same and make comparisons. My elder brother was an all-rounder and I was often compared to him and my two cousins. I was not only average in studies, but sports as well. I tried my best to perform but remained a mediocre.

I clearly remember how happily my brother and cousins would show their scorecard, and I would sit alone in a room hoping nobody thinks of me. Soon, that became a normal thing. I was there, at all the events, celebrations and family gatherings but I was hardly visible. Not only my aunts and uncles, but even my parents and brother looked past me. It was like they were good without me. And when I did come into notice, all they would do was constantly remind me of how ashamed they are of me.

I tried to concentrate harder on my studies and scored fairly better in my Class X final exams. But when I showed my result card at home, everyone gathered and mocked my small achievement. They said how will I get admission with such marks and how will I ever achieve anything in life. What they didn’t notice was my attempt… I tried.

I wasn’t bullied in the outside world alone, but even at home, a place I thought was my safe space. Relatives often came home and passed comments reminding me of how thin I am, how no one can depend on me, and how I will always be a burden on my parents … My family too were ashamed of me and would agree with all these thoughts.

With time, I started believing in their words and felt more like a loser who was just existing without a purpose. I had no one to share my feelings with. The only way I could express anything was by writing. I maintained a journal where I cursed myself for the way I am and even contemplated ending my life.

In the end…

One day, when I was away at a school trip, my cousin read my diary. He shared it with the family, and it was then that they realised what I was going through. When I returned, I was embarrassed because now my feelings were out in the open, and I would be laughed at and teased again. But this time it was different. They all sat down and spoke to me and apologised for their behaviour in all these years. I forgave because I loved them, but trust me, it took time to heal. Those moments of bullying, being picked on and constantly made to feel like a loser were so traumatic, that I had started to believe all of it was true.

A child’s mind is vulnerable and it learns and understands through what is observed and taught. If you constantly discourage a child and focus on their weak points, the child is bound to grow up with low confidence and inferiority complex. We take many liberties with our family members, fool around and even compare our kids with that of others. But what we don’t realise is that it can take shape of bullying and we may hide in under the carpet, but its effect will always be visible. Don’t take your loved ones for granted. No matter how they are encourage them and accept them wholeheartedly.

– As told to WebPep.blog

In this Blog Series, It Happened To Me #BeingBullied, I am going to share first-hand experiences of people who have been bullied, in an as-told-to-me version. These are true accounts shared by some of my closest friends, relatives and colleagues. Since this is a blog series to highlight the impact of bullying, and help you understand the same through real life accounts, I shall not name anyone. It’s not the person but the experiences that count here. So hope you stay connected with us for the next few days and share your stories and those you may have come across too.

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