Socially anxious individuals can be particularly vulnerable to being exploited in personal relationships. The exploitation and deception not only inflicts pain and confusion, it can also give rise to social shaming, abuse and isolation. However, as two accounts linked below discuss from personal experience, whilst the harm can be long-term, new environments, healthy relationships and understanding of one’s mental health conditions can, eventually, reduce some symptoms and give rise to self-compassion.
In one blog-post, a mother, Paula, with social anxiety, describes having been deceived by her partner of 30 years, and father of her children. Their relationship broke up after he had a secret sexual relationship with another woman and then decided to leave for a new woman: “Silly me – the woman who was loyal, and worked her arse off farming and parenting alongside the man I truly, madly, deeply, passionately thought was absolutely love of my life.”
She remained with him for a period of time after learning of his affair and was demeaned by at least one social peer: “Roger’s best mate’s maggot wife, who told me he cheated on me because I must be shit in bed. That I was a terrible partner, and caused him to cheat. That I was never good enough. Or other friends, who just pitied the fuck outta me. Poor Paula, so pathetic, she stayed with that cheater. No self esteem, that girl.”
In another blog-post, a Swedish woman, Jennifer, with social anxiety disorder symptoms recalls being rejected in her late teens and, likely, cheated upon, by a boyfriend of a few months: “I cried in school, every day. I didn’t want him to see how he had broken me…”
She also experienced being verbally demeaned and abused, in her case in the public setting of a classroom, by both by both her former boyfriend and some peers: “I heard how he, along with my entire class, laughed out loud. I also heard some of them say “write this, write that.” The abuse she experienced at this time formed a ten year history of being victimised, both verbally and physically, at school.
Paula, the mother, though still scarred, writes of moving on with her life: “Meeting new people means no one brings their narrative about my life to the table.” She adds: “I’m not magically cured of my social anxiety. I still get short breathed, and prickly. But there is a quiet confidence in the background. That confidence that usually comes with age, but certainly, in many cases, with singledom.”
Meanwhile, the Swedish woman, Jennifer, now into her mid-20s and diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, social anxiety and depression, writes: “Bullying can ruin a person. Words can damage more than any physical pain. I’m still getting over it. I’m still damaged by everything I went through.”
However, new environments, relationships and experience has allowed her to reflect: “I’m not really pissed at them for bullying me. I’m more pissed at myself for having ALLOWED them to bully me. For having been so weak that I couldn’t, not once, stand up for myself. But, as I did find out during that last year in Gymnasiet – I have a diagnosis that doesn’t allow me to stand up for myself. Social Anxiety is a bitch.”
Deception and exploitation in personal relationships can be accompanied by abuse and social shaming, even once the relationship has ended, as these two accounts evidence. The long-term impact on the victim can be severe – but, there is the possibility of finding new strength to manage symptoms, especially, once the exploitative relationship and related social networks have been discarded.
To read the full blog-post by Jennifer from Sweden, Bullying – Part 4, click the link below. To read the post by Paula, who goes by the blog username, Horsesrcumin who writes about her mental health and personal experiences following separation in her blog, “Tearing at the Fabric”, click here.
We’re finally at the end, guys! So the next part is about my last year of bullying, and honestly it wasn’t half as bad as the previous years.
Like I explained in the last post I quit the art program after just one term. So now I was at home during the entire spring and summer and the year was 2011. At the end of August that year, I broke up with my first boyfriend whom I’d been with since February 2009. It was difficult, but had to be done. During that time I had just started a new program at “Gymnasiet”. It was an industrial class and I was interested in a future job as a welder, mostly because my mom told me how much some welders earn and how easily I would get a job as soon as I was done in school. Female welders are HIGHLY sought…
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