I'm 28 years old and I was bullied from about the age of 9, all the way through to college, which I attended when I was 25. The worst of it occurred in high school. I've been literally traumatized by the events that took place. I've been meaning, for probably a YEAR, to post some of my experiences on this community, but it is simply too painful.
Yesterday I ran into an acquaintance who went to the same high school as me. She's going to college right now and is being bullied by some younger girls in her class. She mentioned that she remembered how I was bullied at our high school; then she began describing how she was a spectator during one incident in which a group of girls rushed me outside the school and beat me up. She said she remembered how I'd been wearing a short skirt, boots, and pantyhose, and how the girls had knocked me down and beaten me up; my skirt flew up and everybody saw. "I felt so sorry for you".
Needless to say, hearing this brought it all back - the humiliation, the degradation of it. It absolutely triggered me and I couldn't get away from her fast enough. I spent the rest of the evening as an emotional mess because of this.
Anyone else still struggle with being "triggered", even if it's been years since you were bullied?
Sometimes, although I have come a long way now. It now takes a HELLUVA lot to trigger me. I have turned my sadness into pity for those who bullied me so long ago, and now I no longer live anywhere near my old highschool and college, my life is free of such heavy weights.
Oh hells yes. And often times it's the life occurences that come out of nowhere that get me. Most of my bullying came from behind and I still have a reaction whenever something jolting happens to me from behind.
One other time, my friends and I were going to the county fair. We were advised to park in a faraway parking lot and then take a shuttle. Know what that shuttle turned out to be? A big yellow school bus...just like the one that a lot of my bullying happened on.
Try to be patient with yourself. Because being bullied often meant being surprised by bad events back when it was originally occuring, it makes sense that you'd have a lot of emotional reaction to it happening now.
And...not that you really asked...but consider reading up on post-traumatic stress disorder. I'm not saying that you have it and I'm not saying that you have to go into counseling or anything, but reading about PTSD really helped me understand my body's reaction to trauma and calmed me when I thought that I was just nuts. It put my life experience into a framework.
Thank you for your comment and suggestion. I have read a bit about PTSD and I see similarities in my reactions, although I don't think I have it. My reactions to being triggered have calmed WAY down in the past few years - believe it or not.