Skip Nav
20 Brilliant Ideas For Your Wedding Seating Chart
Walt Disney World
This Adorable Disney Park Line Is the Happiest Collection on Earth
16 Adorable Swimsuits For Ultimate Disney Fans Only

You Asked: How Can I Get Over My Adolecent Bullying?

Dear Sugar,

I was severely bullied for my last four years of elementary school. Ever since then, I've suffered from low self-esteem, loneliness, and unhappiness. I feel like an outsider, even today. I've made friends, but never any solid, long-lasting friendships. For a long time I pretended like it never happened and as a result, I started to binge drink and I let men take advantage of me. I think I loved the attention guys gave me. I've since stopped that self-destructive behavior, but I still can't seem to move on and get my life started. All I want is to put the past behind me but how can I do that?
— Stuck in the Past Patty

To see Dear Sugar' answer


Dear Stuck in the Past Patty,

I'm sorry to hear that you're still feeling the residual effects of your childhood bullying, that can't be light baggage to carry through adulthood. Your childhood is the most vulnerable time of your life so have you ever spoken to a therapist, or confided in a family member or close friend about how your past is still affecting you? Pretending like it never happened won't make it go away, so I highly advise you to face your past head on. Are you by chance still in contact with any of these bullies? If not, would you feel comfortable contacting them and telling them how their actions affected you? It could be a great way to gain the closure you so clearly need.

We all know that making new friends is hard, but think about how many people are trying to do exactly the same thing. Put yourself out there, volunteer at your local community center, join a gym or a book club, or hang out at a local coffee shop. If you make yourself approachable, it's just a matter of time before you meet nice and welcoming new people to befriend. I'm glad to hear you've put an end to your destructive behavior, it means that you are making progress. In due time and with a lot of work, you'll be able to put your past behind you and move on with your life but remember, pushing your feelings under the rug won't make them go away so lean on those that love and care about you for support during this difficult time. Good luck.


Join The Conversation
Silverlining10 Silverlining10 9 years
I've never been bullied, but I have had people attack my self-esteem and by the time I moved to my sixth high school at the age of 16, it was practically non-existent to barely clinging on. Some suggestions I have for you is attending meetings, possibly finding a good friend you know you can confide in and being honest and opening up or even attending therapy. I know people think meetings are generally about AA or gamblers anonymous, but there are tons of meetings for people who have low self-esteem or even want to meet new friends. If you don't attend school, taking classes, such as a dance class at a gym, could be helpful in finding some good people to surround yourself with.
designerel designerel 9 years
i will echo the others here and say seek some counseling. it'll do no good to keep your feelings to yourself, they will eat you up. going to a therapist will get the ball rolling to putting those horrible experiences behind you.
ninjastarlett ninjastarlett 9 years
have you tried or considering personal therapy?
CoMMember13630786602261 CoMMember13630786602261 9 years
"my forehead was still huge" I love that comment. Its not about changing who you are, its about accepting who you are. flaws and all.
Advah Advah 9 years
People gave excellent advice. I would just add that if you have time, you can try volunteering or working with kids, or just helping people out with an activity/craft/sport you're good at. I find that realising you can help someone makes your day so much better, and makes you realise you're better at a lot of things than you think.
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
i was teased. -my forehead -lips too big -my forehead was still "huge". -people made up awful rumors about me. which lead to -girls wanting to fight me because supposedly i gave their boyfriend head. they would call me "Skully Mack" and the teacher would laugh too. -i listened to "white music", iwas listening to Tool and 311, and could care less about 2 Pac. wasn't cool at all. -i didn't wear jeans and sneakers. i dressed like a Vogue intern. so that wasn't acceptable in high school. the "white girl" thing got brought up with that too. -when i moved to Houston, my dad gave my a BMW for my first car. people would give me MAJOR crap about it. -my forehead was still huge. but by this time, i didn't care what people thought. i remember my Grandmother telling me, "They talked about Jesus, what do you think they'll do to you???"
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
i think that as you get older and come into a woman that you will heal. but maybe some need therapy. which is okay too.
sunlandseagirl sunlandseagirl 9 years
I suffered from teasing as well in primary school( i guess elementary is the American version) and I would say the best way to undue the feelings of inadequacy is to open yourself up to friends. Good friends compliment you,want to spend time with you for who you are. They can heal the deep scars that others inflicted. The thing about being bullied is that we often believe when the bullies say we are not good enough. I have found good friends can undue that damage. A while ago I was in the same situation as you. I carried around all of those feelings of inadequacy untill i decided i would not let it hold me down any longer. I started going to the gym and eventually worked up the courage to join bellydancing class--It was the best thign I ever did because i made so many new friends who complimented me and liked me for who i am. Their kindness reversed all of that pain. I bet you have never been told by many people that you are cool, smart,funny etc. Let others in and they will convince you that you are!
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
It sounds like you need therapy. If the wound is as deep as it sounds, we're not going to do much for you in an online forum. You need to rebuild your self image and self esteem which are not easy tasks. Therapists exist for these types of issues and challenges. Good luck.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
I agree with Melizzle and the rest of the advice! Find out where the bullies are today. I saw one of my most hated childhood bullies at a wedding last year. She was a "Mean Girl" for the most part. She called out my name, and I was shocked! I didn't know whether to duck and run or stay. We talked, and she has grown up to be so lovely! She also keeps up with another girl who was awful to me. She said THAT girl asked about me and told me all about the life she's living. She grew up to be a great person also! They know they were terrible as kids, but grew up to be nice, decent women. I even call them "friends" now. One of them is a nurse and cared for my grandma in the home during her last years of life. I thanked her partly for her kindness, and laughed a little inside that she had to wipe up drool and work in a place that smelled like poo. But now I digress. :) The big picture is that we all grow up, and forgiveness is important. They were going through things you didn't imagine at the time, as well as vice versa with you. they didn't know what kind of impact they were making on you. If they didn't realize it on their own, they probably would be sorry to hear it.
melizzle melizzle 9 years
True story: I had an elementary school bully. Years later, I reconnected with her, only to find how awful things had turned out for her. I normally wish only the best for people, but in this case, karma did it's part. Find out where these bullies are today. Realize that you are better than them. And if all else fails, seek therapy.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
Has what you were bullied about changed? For example, I was endlessly teased about 1) my family's economic status and 2) my appearance Currently, my income is much higher than that of the bully's so I can easily overcome that and not let it affect me. Obviously growing up it was more difficult because I did not have control over that. The second subject of teasing is more difficult. I am definitely more attractive than I was when I was little, but I still have one permanent facial feature that still affects my self esteem. However, now we are all adults and, unlike children, adults can see past silly things. This feature does not affect me getting a job or anything like that. So I guess since my life isn't affected by the things I was teased about, I've been able to work through years of low self esteem because I know that now I am better than that AND that no one judges me on these things anymore. Once you realize no one else really cares, then you will start to care less yourself.
CoMMember13630786602261 CoMMember13630786602261 9 years
I went through something similar. Not so much bullying, but I didnt ever feel like I fit in anywhere, which was probably promted by an incident from earlier in my childhood that I will not go into here. The best thing you can do is find someone that you trust and can talk to about it.Finding someone who understands you will help alot, whether its a significant other, a family member, a friend or a therepist. Like dear said, pretending that it didnt happen wont make anything better. You just have to accept the fact that it happened, and move on. For a while there every morning when I would wake up I would pretty much have to force myself to get out of bed. Every day I had to make a conscious decision on whether I was going to let it get me down, or if I would just keep pushing forward. Try recounting all the things that were said about you (yes, it will be painful) and then look in the mirror and tell yourself why all those things are not true. Make a mental list (or a tangable list, if you wish) of all the things you love about yourself, and believe in it. People can be incredibly cruel, but you cant let there behavior hinder the way you live your life. I know I know, its all much easier said than done, but I did it, and I know you can too. Good luck.
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
You should see a counselor. I think the only way for you to really get past it though, is to realize that things happen in life. The best thing you can do is take them as a life lesson and then let it go. Bullying from elementary school shouldn't stop you from living your life. I'm sure the people who bullied you don't realize the pain they have caused you and would probably be very embarassed and a shamed that they ever acted that way in the first place. But in reality that's part of growing up, we've all been treated badly at some point in our lives and I think most people go through at least one period in time where they feel left out or that they don't fit in. So you are definitely not alone. I know I'm's still early in the morning for me. Anyway, I hope you can get the help you need to move on and leave this behind you. Good luck.
The Friends Cast at Award Shows Over the Years
Friends The Musical Parody
How to Get a Healthy Relationship
How a Separation Saved My Marriage
From Our Partners
Latest Love
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds