Not much to report on today, as I’ve spent pretty much the last two days indoors, partly to save money after Monday, partly because there’s nothing much going on at Uni at the moment. I thought I would be back in the swing of things there this week, but it turns out things won’t really be kicking off again until our project proposals have been returned to us, either approved or rejected. I should know how that’s going by December.
It’s probably a good job I’ve had the time off this week, as I’ve been able to throw myself into step 4. I’ve written about twenty pages so far and have just about finished with the first eleven years of my life. Being made to go back and examine the past in such detail has thrown up a lot of resentments that I’d forgotten about. I was bullied at school from an early age; one of the resentments happened when I was just 4 years old. And I know I’m still holding many of those resentments now because as soon as I think about them, I feel a twinge of fear and anger in my gut. They can’t have been buried deeply, because it’s been remarkably easy to recall the details of everything that happened, and it’s clear to me that I’m still living in fear of those bullies now.
I was never physically abused as a child; all the bullying took the form of verbal abuse, on a daily basis. So to an extent I can’t help wondering sometimes if my issues are that important. Many people in AA have been physically and sexually abused; I can’t compare my story to those people’s. When I first came to AA it was embarrassing to admit that I’d never been beaten up, thrown down stairs or whacked around the face as a kid. All that happened to me is that I was called names, belittled, laughed at, threatened and excluded every day of my time at school.
My sponsor’s already told me that my experiences have been just as painful as everyone else’s; many people have told me that over the years, actually. So I’m starting to believe them. Considering I’ve written twenty pages about the things that happened to me at school, it’s no wonder I’ve spent my entire adult life living in fear. I’m only halfway through the list at the moment. Every time I get nervous in social situations, it’s because I was so humiliated by countless peers at school across many years. The humiliation didn’t stop until I’d left school at 18; from the ages of 5 to 18, then, I was going through this each day, and it’s no wonder I attempted suicide twice when I was 16.
What worries me is that just thinking about those people can still produce an emotional reaction inside me. I thought my parents had played the biggest part in my emotional problems, but if I’m honest, thinking about what my parents have done doesn’t exactly upset me as much as it used to. I can accept what happened between my parents now; I’m probably halfway to forgiving my father. Am I ready to forgive the bullies at school? I don’t think so. I can appreciate that they were just kids and it’s in kids’ nature to be cruel, but I don’t think I’ve even really begun to come to terms with what those kids did to me.
I still get scared every time I have to walk past gangs of kids in the street. It’s not like I wasn’t aware that I still felt this way, but it’s become apparent that I have to start dealing with that emotional trauma right now, if I’m to do a good step 4 and 5. And sometimes I don’t know if I want to forgive those bullies, sometimes I don’t want to let go of the resentment because it keeps me safe. It keeps me from having to take responsibility for my own life.