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Bullying. Jodee Blanco. Somebody does understand.
     
 
 
                 Survival Tips for Students

                 Survival Tips for Parents

                 Survival Tips for Educators

                 Tips for Adult Survivors

                 Advice Excerpted from
                 Please Stop Laughing
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SURVIVAL TIPS FOR ADULTS

A Note from Jodee to Adult Survivors of Peer Abuse

It’s amazing isn’t it? You’re an adult. School should be nothing but a memory by now. Yet it’s as alive for you today as it was when you were a student. Though you’ve grown up, you can’t seem to grow out of the insecurity and self-doubt left over from those painful years.

You’re not alone. As a former school outcast I know what you’re going through. Perhaps, you’ve become an overachiever like me, driving yourself into the ground because the only way you can turn off those old voices from school is to keep trying to drown them out with accomplishment. Or, maybe it’s the opposite for you. You have so many dreams of what you want to do with your life, but never seem to have the energy or ambition to go for it. Whether you’re the Adult Survivor who’s attempting to fill the hole in your soul with success after success, or the one who never reached their full potential, we are all of us victims of what I’ve come to call “Adult Survivor Syndrome.”

Adult children of alcoholics, co-dependents, battered wives, rape victims, and dozens of other abused groups in our society have somewhere to go for answers and help. Our culture recognizes their suffering and responds to it with government funding, research grants, support groups, how-to books, outreach programs, press coverage, and other forms of tangible assistance.

Until now, Adult Survivors of Peer Abuse have had nowhere to go. In fact, to be honest, I never even realized we were a population until I decided to turn my own pain into purpose and travel the nation’s schools doing anti-bullying work. Something astonishing started happening when I was on the road.

My typical day long anti-bullying program in a community includes a student seminar in the morning, a teacher workshop in the afternoon, and a Parent/Family Seminar in the evening which is open to the public. I expect parents of bullying victims and even some parents of bullies to attend the nighttime seminar. I never anticipated it would draw enormous numbers of Adult Survivors, many of whom don’t even have kids, who come up to me afterwards seeking comfort and information.

It was then I realized that I wasn’t the only one. I was a part of something much larger than myself. Our struggle is valiant. Our wounds are real. Our needs are profound. It’s time for all of us to reclaim our lives.

Warning Signs You May Be Suffering From “Adult Survivor Syndrome”

• A nagging insecurity that makes you second guess yourself to the point of negatively effecting your daily life
• Compulsively driven in your career or the opposite extreme of never living up to your full potential
• Susceptible to abusive romantic relationships
• Tendency to over-extend yourself to others for fear of abdonement, rejection, or exclusion
• Fear of bumping into former classmates that can be so extreme you avoid necessary errands
• Negative voices from school keep replaying in your head, making you a hostage to self-doubt

If you can identify with two or more of these bullets, chances are you have Adult Survivor Syndrome. I’m so glad you’re here, because that means you’re ready to take the next step and seek help. I invite you to peruse the rest of my website. I suspect you will relate to what I’ve gone through.

Guidelines for Healing

It took me until the night of my twenty year high school reunion to realize there was never anything wrong with me back in school. I was simply on old soul trapped in a young body who was misunderstood because of it. Before you can truly escape the hold your former classmates still have on your self-esteem, you need to reprogram your self-talk now, rather than replay past voices.

Say to yourself “There’s nothing wrong with me. It was everything that was RIGHT about me that made me stand apart from the crowd. I was not excluded because I was beneath the crowd. I was excluded because I was misunderstood.”

Years later, I would be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of my years being bullied at school. Most of you probably associate PTSD with Viet Nam, a disorder that afflicts only soldiers. The truth is that PTSD can affect anyone exposed to prolonged traumatic experiences. My diagnosis saved my life. I encourage you to seek out a therapist or other mental health professional to help you overcome your own past as a victim of peer abuse. Make sure that whomever you choose understands PTSD and has experience treating PTSD patients.

I won’t lie to you. I’m still working through my own healing. Sometimes, when I drive by my old high school, hear a certain song, or smell something that reminds me of the school cafeteria, it takes me right back to those painful years and I am gripped by an irrational panic. The struggle to become whole again is a daily process, achieved through small, but vital triumphs. I celebrate my courage every time I step foot inside a school gym. If I run into a former classmate in a restaurant and am comfortable making small talk, I smile inside, knowing that I’m getting better. You can achieve the same. Remember, you’re not alone anymore. We have each other.

Hugs,
Jodee Blanco