As human beings we are diverse, and therefore will develop different strategies to fit in with the different people we connect with. This goes back to childhood, to our parenting, and to our own experiences; 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 in school because of his or her abilities; or a child who has a disability may be picked on because he or she looks different.
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 her disability as someone else’s problem, if she’s secure in herself, but other children with different disabilities may see themselves as the problem.
As individuals we are unique, but these situations are not. I don’t remember if I was bullied in school, but I do remember being isolated and stared at in and out of school, because I walked differently from everyone else. My coping mechanism was to internalise everything, to protect myself.
Whereas some of us will work relentlessly through our challenges, others may live in isolation, blaming themselves. In school, I struggled to keep up and fit in because of my disability, and although I didn’t give up on school, school gave up on me.
I struggled with homework and school work because no one was helping me. For many years I saw myself as responsible and carried the guilt. Of course, when I look back I realise my inability to make headway wasn’t down to me. With a little help I could have done better. It took me a lot of years to understand that.