If you weren't one of the "cool kids" in school, you probably remember what it felt like to be bullied.
It was a painful process, and it makes you doubt yourself and your abilities. You often felt like you weren't good enough, and it made you shy and insecure. You thought the bullies were right.
But, you grew up and moved on.
You switched schools, went to college and found out who you were and what you believed in. The bullies now seem a lifetime away, and you're finally allowing yourself to break free of them.
Or are you?
Psychologist Dr. Mary Lamia and author of the upcoming book, "What Motivates Getting Things Done: Procrastination, Emotions, And Success," tells Elite Daily,
If you are continuously bullied, you're inflicted with a lot of shame. That shame makes you turn upon yourself, and sensitive people attack themselves.
So, even if you may not realize it, your childhood bullies have changed the way you perceive EVERYTHING... from your career to your relationships.
But luckily, the first step to being free from this is realizing the effects.
This is the most important way bullying affects your life because you often feel like you have nobody to rely on when you're being picked on every day.
In fact, it's been found that people who have been bullied are significantly less likely to develop close friendships. Instead, they tend to be loners, and find it hard to trust people easily.
Without that support system, they doubt themselves even more, and a vicious cycle develops.
Your family sees you while you're being bullied as a child, as well as the effects it has on you. They often feel helpless because they don't know how to help, and the bullied victim retreats further and further into his or her shell.
In this way, kids who have been bullied miss out on those opportune years to form strong bonds with their families.
They aren't the open and bubbly children they once were, and this distant relationship continues even when they've moved away and begun to live their lives as adults.
It's been seen that victims of bullying find it hard to maintain loving, intimate relationships.
Dr. Mark Dombeck wrote in an article,
Being the repetitive target of bullying damages your ability to view yourself as a desirable, capable and effective individual.
We've been told time and time again we can't be in a successful relationship unless we love ourselves first, and unfortunately, childhood bullying creates a block in one's brain.
This prevents the victims from seeing themselves as valuable or worthy of being loved.
Because success in career often relies on self-confidence, perseverance and the ability to deal with disappointment, those who have been bullied struggle to succeed in the workplace.
Studies have shown how those who have been bullied tend to isolate themselves, which can have far-reaching consequences when it comes to working as a team in the office.
In addition, Dr. Lamia explains,
If your boss reminds you of your childhood bully, your memories come back. You remember how you felt at the time, and it can cause you to withdraw.
So, if you're finding it hard to speak up in meetings even though your eye's on a promotion, think back to how your past may be playing a role.
It's been found that despite being MORE successful, people who have been bullied in childhood have poorer health than their peers. This is because those who have been bullied have low self-confidence, says Dr. Lamia.
So, they go through their entire lives trying to get that sense of validation they didn't get in childhood, and they often go to extremes. This leads to crazy high stress levels, and therefore poorer health.
If you've been bullied as a child and can see these effects in your life, realize you're not alone. Through deeper self-reflection, you can find a way to fight this.
As Dr. Lamia puts it,
The best way to deal with bullying is to use it as an opportunity to learn from it, and learn something about yourself.