Imagine yourself in a large room with a few other people. You look around at the wide space and the high ceiling and someone lets out a “hoo!”. Every second or so, those same words resound back at you. Bullying has similar effects. People will direct hurtful comments or behaviours at you, and then you walk away and think nothing more of it or you may repress the memory of it. Truth be told, if you don’t get any reconciliation or some kind of closure from it, especially if it was more than a single incident, the memory of it can come to haunt you long after the abuse itself ended… by your own hands. That’s what I call echo bullying.
If you want to know if this applies to you, take notice of how you treat yourself. Do you treat yourself with compassion or with disdain? If you tend to be overly critical and hard on yourself, you’re likely repeating the destructive messages that were directed at you, though perhaps not in the same words. If you always put everyone’s needs before your own, then there may be an underlying feeling that your well-being is not as important as others (here I’m talking about being a doormat for others, rather than being selfless and generous). This exercise is what lead me to the realization of what kind of impact my past of being bullied had on me. Since then, I’ve made changes in my behaviour towards myself and others. As a result, I’ve found new energy and a new appreciation for life that was taken from me while under the bullies’ abuse.