As a culturally diverse society and as human beings we are diverse and therefore will go on to develop different strategies to fit in with the different people we connect with. Invariably this goes back to childhood, parenting and experiences we have had to deal with, from our parents to their parents, through the generations and the environments they grew up in.
For example, a child who is particularly bright may be picked on because of his or her abilities in school over other children, or the child who has a disability and is picked on because he or she is completely different and is therefore perceived differently. Each of those children will have a different resolve for working through their problems.
The child who is picked on because he or she is bright, may work particularly hard at home, but give the impression that in school he or she is like everyone else. The child with the disability, may see the problem as being the perpetrator’s problem and not so much his or her own, but another child with a different disability, may see themselves as being the problem.
As individuals, we are unique, but these situations are not and to some extent, continue to happen in schools and in the work place. I personally don’t remember being bullied in school, but I do remember being isolated and being stared at, in and out of the playground, because I walked differently to everyone else. My coping mechanism was to withdraw, to protect myself.
Whereas some of us work relentlessly through challenges that life brings, others don’t always manage to do that and still live their lives in isolation, blaming themselves for where they find themselves emotionally. In school, I struggled to keep up and fit in because of my lack of abilities associated with my neurological impairments and although I didn’t give up on school altogether, school gave up on me.
Suffice to say, I struggled with homework and school work, because I had no one help me work with it, including my parents. For many years, I saw myself as being responsible for not doing well in school and felt guilty, but when I look back now, it was never my fault, or responsibility. There was joint blame around my parents, my teachers and the school.
It took me a lot of years to understand, but now I know this was never my guilt to carry.