I was bullied throughout most of my primary school years. As grim as that sounds, I quite enjoyed many other aspects of my primary school years – which in turn, kept me emotionally balanced enough to survive, so to speak.
Starting High School was like a breath of fresh air. I still had my issues with very dominant and controlling types of girls but the problem was, these girls tended to be popular and funny and cool and I ended up wanting their validation, their friendship, their attention. And so there was always something quite intriguing but horrible about these girls – and also my attraction to them. I was always quite hopeful that it was possible to sift out the bad from the good in them. So I persisted in one particular good but bad friendship.
As an adult, I can see how throughout my years of development, I’ve harboured a bit of a love / hate relationship with females. And perhaps with people in general. Distrusting at root, probably sums it up.
It seems I’ve grown quite an internal resistance towards people of a best friend bully nature, but somewhere in me feels attracted to them for other reasons than their horribleness. There is always a fleeting exterior with such people. That whole sifting good from bad thing again.
When I think I spot something identical or similar to my primary school experiences, I can feel the anger racing through me and the no tolerance attitude that holds me in “get set” mode – ready to walk away from whatever it is that was forming. But I also observe my resentfulness towards not having any long term / consistent relationships with females. It seems that there is still such a strong distrust and fear towards allowing people into my life.
The biggest disguise in all of this is that my childhood bully was also known as my best friend. She’d steal my clothes and adorn herself with my ideas, intrinsically lie about it all but come and hang out with me on a weekend. She’d instigate arguments with other class mates for the sake of retaining her control and power over others. In the face of a disagreement, she would ensure that our “best friends circle” refused to talk to me at her convenience, but still come and see me after school to do homework and have family dinner with me. “How did this happen?”, you may question. In my opinion, not everything is black and white. These subtleties of there being a thin line between love and hate, good and evil, exist. For me, the good things always made me second guess the not so good things. I preferred what appeared to be the happier ending – for the greater good. However, this was in fact the inability to put boundaries in place for my own well being’s sake.
I wonder at this point in my life, whether our various childhood experiences have more power than we think. I wonder whether they need more of a proactive and practical release, than a passive one. I wonder how many of us are actually aware of the subtle repetitive cycles. I wonder how, in my case, distrust can be remedied into trusting and feeling good about healthy risk taking. The fact that I see friendships through a “risk taking” screen, is quite an indicator in itself. And I’m sure I’m not alone on this.
Ultimately, I wonder whether I can grow to confidently identify the difference between 1. living out and setting healthy boundaries within my relationships (and so achieving better experiences) and 2. being in relationships that just aren’t right for me.
What I do know is that there is something about setting boundaries for yourself, that develops the ability to make the right choices and allow the right people and experiences into your life.
To be a sifter of the bad vs.being a developer of your own good – is the question. And a very tricky choice.
Be well and choose well x