After the trauma of being bullied for more than two years for being shy and quiet, of being hounded for it–
treated as if I had nefarious motives–
punished by withholding me from my best friend–
screamed at via e-mail in vicious, foul language–
and even turned on and blamed for this abuse by my own best friend–
then ridiculed by them both for being traumatized by this and not wanting to see either of them again–
then intimidated by them by sending me a nasty message and stalking my blog after being banned from it for malicious behavior–
then intimidated into silence through threats if I dare to tell my priest what they’ve been doing–
It is a balm to my soul every time I am with my friends, every time I am with nice people. At church, I’m accepted as I am. I am an introvert, mixed in with elements of selective mutism and nonverbal learning disorder, so I sit quietly as others around me at church chat with each other; yet they still smile at me and accept me as I am.
When I am with friends, real friends, good friends, such as I was yesterday for July 4, they accept me as I am. I sit there quietly most of the time, listening to the conversation, contributing if I have something to say on the subject, but mostly just listening.
This is the way introverts are; it’s the way our brains work; it’s the way we were born to be. And my true friends accept this.
I was with a friend of 20 years yesterday; she and my husband spoke far more than she did with me, but it was all okay. She’s an extrovert, but she knows I am this way, always have been, always will be.
There was a time when some extroverted friends tried to get me to talk more, even to strangers, but they were gentle about it, just made a couple of comments they saw as helpful, and now they just know it’s the way I am.
Years ago, at my last job before becoming a housewife, one of the secretaries made some snarky comment about my quietness to the other secretaries. I didn’t hear it, but I certainly heard of it, as all the other secretaries were incensed with her for what she said about me, as they considered me a sweet person who didn’t deserve it.
So even though there might be the occasional person like Tracy, bullying me for being quiet, most of the adults I’ve known since leaving school, have been far nicer about it.
The emotional trauma of being bullied for so long and so viciously is still with me, still affecting me every day. But every time I am with people at church or my real friends, it is a huge help.
It reminds me that not everyone is like Richard and Tracy, that most people I know are not like Richard and Tracy, that most people, period, are not like Richard and Tracy.
This reminder helps a little in drawing me a bit out of that shell that’s been around me ever since they emotionally eviscerated me for being shy and quiet.