Bullying – How Bullying has affected my self-esteem and how I view myself negatively because of it – also some family background (o.k. quite alot)

Bullying does go on all the time.  Everyday.  In all aspects of life.

I was bullied by both my brothers.  By my eldest – who is two years older and by my youngest – who is nine years younger.

I was in the middle and the only daughter.

We were all adopted from different families so we were not related by blood.

However,  we were lucky enough to be adopted when we were very young babies.  I was 6 weeks, my older brother was around 5 months, my younger brother 3 months.  Strictly speaking we came to our adoptive parents at that age – legally it takes a while to be adopted – but I think that in the sixties when I was adopted the legal process was swifter – for example I can tell you that I was 6 months old when I became legally the daughter of my parents because I know that around that age I was christened in the church where they had been married six and a half years previously.

May I also make  something clear- though on some emotional level  there is a wound that I will never know my birth mother and birth father – my ancestry and so forth,  my adoptive parents ARE MY PARENTS – though my father has passed away now.  I am blessed to have been adopted – I might have been fostered from pillar to post or placed in a Children’s Home – remember: I was born in the sixties and there were still institutions for children then and they weren’t always the best places.  We are more aware in 2014 that a family unit is far more nurturing for children than a place which has alot of children.

Also – because I have a diagnosis of Bipolar – I have wondered about a genetic link in my parent’s past.  I unfortunately have no way of researching that – I never wanted to go on “Surprise, Surprise” or programmes of that ilk.  I also never felt confident enough to ask in Newspapers, though it is my belief that my birth mother did at one time work for a newspaper as a shorthand typist, in the sixties and I did make enquiries at one time, years ago, to the Trinity Newspaper Group.  My birth mother covered her tracks sufficiently to make it more difficult to find her.  My hope for her now is that she was able to move on after my birth, and have a fulfilling life – it cannot have been easy to do what she did – and I know that my father told me she sobbed on his shoulder when she passed me over to him.  My parents were allowed to send photographs of me for a short while so that she was comforted that her baby looked healthy and happy, well dressed etc.   Can I tell you that my adoptive parents were pleased as punch to have me?  I have seen the baby photographs and I am reassured that we may I may as well have been born to them at that time.  I looked beautiful and content and so did my parents.  Whether I was a welcome addition to my older brother – he was two – possibly not as much – he had to share his adoptive parents with me – and he was just a toddler himself – but I think we grew to love each other on some levels.

My older brother was only two.  I have a family anicdote.  He sprinkled pepper into my eyes when I was a baby.  Poor me – poor Mum.  She told me she rushed next door and “Uncle” Bill answered the door.  He helped her to bath my eyes and I assume I stopped crying at some point.  To me this anicdote is fairly amusing – but to Mum at the time – it must have been quite a scary thing to happen – which may have been the reason why it was repeated often enough for me to recall it now – as there is absolutely no way that I remember that incident.   Honestly – my family have been blessed with a sense of humour.  And I am certain that we chuckled about it later on.  Mum’s panic at the time was real and nurturing – but the rest of the family would have encouraged her to see the funny side.  She put tremendous pressure on herself to be the “perfect” mother – particularly because she had been given a very serious responsibility – bringing up someone elses child.  Bringing up someone elses child is not a role that my parents took lightly.  It was their determination as a couple that got them through a difficult period.  The difficult period will be understood by any adoptive parents out there who may read this article.  Even in the sixties one had to fill in forms, sign papers, be vetted by social workers.  It was an extremely serious undertaking.  Both my parents were sensitive people and it was not easy for them.  I believe that it was their love for each other, the support of both sets of grandparents and the support of friends and their church.

Gosh – I am pausing here – this is becoming more long-winded about bullying than I expected and I haven’t even got to the bullying bit – so for those who were hoping for a bit more of that – I apologise – I will get to it.  I guess that the reason I am meandering is because being adopted is fascinating to me but for my adoptive parents it was much more serious than my fascination.  

As you learn when you are a teenager – more so then anyway – parents are not perfect and are human.  I wish they hadn’t tried to be perfect – especially Mum.  I think she did put that pressure on herself – more so than Dad – only can I say that now because of what we have discussed together over the years – even since my Dad died more than 17 years ago.  There is no such thing as a “Perfect Parent”  just alot of guidelines and books really.  My parents read books about parenthood because I saw them.  They were both products of their own up-bringing, of society at the time (both born in 1934) AND my Mum had to listen to her Mother-in-laws advice from time to time and was in regular telephone contact with her own Mum too.  (Gran lived “across the water”) – the River Mersey and they- Mum’s parents sold their car some time in the sixties.  (I must just tell you – for those of you who watched “George and Mildred” and “On the buses”, my Mum and Dad had a motor-bike with side-car.  They sold it at some point because they were adopting I think and needed the money.  But I can visualise them – I cannot recall seeing any photographs you see – and it is cute and funny for me to see them riding along with Mum in the side-car and Dad riding the bike- Dad never bought a car though he drove vehicles in the R.E.M.E. for two years).

So – sense of humour in our family was prevalent.  My father worked full-time.  My Mother was a full-time Mother/Housewife in the when they adopted my older brother and I. They both had worked hard to get a deposit on their house. They got to know each other and started courting at age 19.  They married  six years later.  They loved each other with a passion.  Dad did his part in the garden and working in the shed – jobs around the house etc.  Mum was a good cook, very intelligent woman, taught herself to read before she started school,  She did not go to University, she did  however go to Grammar School as did my Father.  Mum worked her way up from short-hand typist to Personal Assistant to a factory Manager in Liverpool.  She failed her School Certificate but passed the second time – I believe.  Anyone who has seen the squiggles of shorthand will know that it is pretty difficult to learn.  Mum learned to play the piano and was Temperance Queen of Liverpool.  Her picture was in the local paper and there was a write-up about her.  The picture of her dressed in her Temperance Queen outfit – I have seen at some point – she looked beautiful of course.  The Temperance course was part of her Sunday School education.  (somewhere in Mum’s side of the family is a female relative who was involved in the Co-operative movement- just thought I would add that).  

Dad had a relative who had “built bridges” in the Engineering sense.  He was fascinated as a child with the Spitfire, and Steam Engines.  If he couldn’t be an Engineer then he might be a Steam Engine Driver – that’s what he told me.  He was in the Air Cadets at school (Liverpool Institute-same one that Paul McCartney went to – though years later).  He learned to fly in a Tiger Moth.  On his first flight with a pilot in control – the plane was turned upside down etc.  The pilot approached my Dad’s mother and said “Your son has a cast-iron belly!  Dad loved flying. He loved aeroplanes and took us as children to air-displays etc.   Dad loved the Railway and especially the Steam Engine – as I have said.  We were taken to see Railways in York, in the Isle of Man, and we travelled by train to Llandudno.  Where my Dad’s parent’s lived for sixty years you could here the trains going by – especially from the garden.  Where my parents moved to in 1960 – there was also a train system close by.  I recall seeing the trains pass over carrying coal.  They would have been electrical trains because the Steam Railway had been de-commissioned by the time I was born.  I have watched the Flying Scotsman “fly past” and seen other “famous” trains such as the Mallard.  Dad started his working life sweeping up wood-shavings in a Draughtsmans office and worked his way up to become a Draughsman himself.  I assume he had to go to nightschool to achieve this but I think he was an apprentice.  Around the age of 32 – he took his Constructural engineering degree for the third time.  He passed.

Mum had a brother who was 5 years younger.  Dad had a sister who was 5 years older.

They were hard-working parents.  We had a good start in life.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions.  What makes me say that??  Later on – when I was older – Life at home was hellish.

My older brother (by two years remember) started taking cannabis aged 15.  He grew it in my Mother’s bedroom at one point.  When I was around 15 he “dropped his first acid” – that’s L.S.D.  It was a Sunday.  My parent’s were visiting my Dad’s parents.  I was “put in charge” by my brother.  He was with his so called best friends girlfriend.  They were in his bedroom.  I was not allowed to enter it.  My brother recalled his experience to me afterwards and it wasn’t all pleasant.  Needless to say – or maybe because I am (a) a coward (b) sensible (c) school education  – my choice in the future was to NEVER ever try L.S.D.  Thank goodness – it didn’t do Marilyn Monroe much good from what I’ve read about her.  ( I look just like her – no – she was lovely wasn’t she?)  My older brother continued to take cannabis from time to time when he could afford it.  He got his hands on NEAT alcohol when he was 16 and working as an apprentice in a photographers.  He tried to persuade me to drink some mixed with some orange juice.  I was 14.  I refused.  He ended up drunk, falling out of bed, hitting himself on a piece of furniture and my parents shouted at him.  He also scribbled on his wall-paper and it was a bit of a mess.   I would describe him as artistic, creative, demanding in the sense that he sought approval and praise for his accomplishments from us all, even when they were crap, and they weren’t always, slightly eccentric, thoughtful, bought presents to seek our approval and love (in my opinion)  a pain in the backside at times, a bully towards me – competitive with me, at the same time he wanted to annoy me at times and disturb my sense of peace I think.  He rushed home from Sex Education to tell me all about it.  I was traumatised – I played with dolls until I was 12 or so.  My Mum helped alot because I went to her.

I said (in a way this is funny on reflection) “No, No, Get out, Get out – It can’t be true”  

He also came back from a Biology lesson to tell me that spiders crawl into your mouths at night to drink your saliva.  I laughed my head off.  He was a bit gullible.

He played tennis with me once and told me that I was rubbish and that he was going to beat me at tennis. (did he have poor self-esteem at the time? Who cares?  I didn’t play tennis with him after that.  

But – on another level we were sort of friends.  I loved him.  I think he loved me too.  It’s easier to remember him with kindness because he could be kind.  We shared the same era.  We shared our parents at the same time.  There was a bond of sorts between us.

Looking back – even in adult-hood – my older brother bullied me.  It was his way and no other.  He was older so he must know more than me because he got there first.

bullying happened to me.  There are more personal things that I don’t wish to discuss regarding my older brother’s behaviour – but I was a teenager then and I don’t think I was mature enough to cope with him.  

I asked my parents to put a lock on the bathroom door – a safe one because my “baby” brother was 9 years younger.  They never got around to it.  This caused problems for me over anxiety that someone would come in when I was on my period.  etc.  Privacy is essential in a bathroom for a teenage girl.  Boundaries may be crossed and a girl’s privacy should be respected – and usually was.  But the bathroom with no lock scenario annoyed me greatly. It annoyed me that my Dad never got round to fitting one.  That’s all I want to say about the bathroom lock – or lack of one. What’s the use of complaining?  What’s the use of asking?  What’s the use of going on about it?  I did at the time – it wasn’t done.  I still am disappointed though.  What did I say before?  Parent’s aren’t perfect.  But – lack of foresight comes to mind.  No thinking it through.  They were the adults – I was the pubescent child.  Was it necessary for me to go through that?

I’m tierd of this now.  So – I have mentioned a little bit about bullying.

That’s all I want to type now.








Posted on January 10, 2014, in mental health and spiritual awareness and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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