Sometimes the words can be from a parent to their child. For years I held a secret. I thought that I had shared it with all my children but I realize that I had only shared it with Sarah when she was struggling with the bullying. When I was 20 years old I tried to commit suicide.
My parents had divorced and I was struggling. I was in college in a major I didn't want to be in. I wanted to do oceanography and then psychology. My dad was so against those that I put them aside to major in what he wanted. Only problem was in the end what he wanted wasn't what I wanted. I quit. I was weak at the time and confused.
When my dad found out I quit he started calling me night and day. I don't know how many times he told me I would not amount to anything. I was worthless. At the time I thought that my dad was the greatest. We had a good relationship, so I thought. I realize that it was only good when I was doing what he wanted. The harassment continued and I would call it bullying.
At some point I started to believe him. I was lost. I didn't know where to go from that point. I was worthless.
One night I took a bunch of pills and alcohol and went to bed figuring that all my problems would be solved. After all, I was worthless so what did it matter.
In the middle of the night my phone rang. I tried to get up and answer it...but couldn't. I fell to the floor because my legs were totally numb. I crawled to the bathroom and threw up then went back to bed. I believe that whoever called me in the middle of the night saved my life.
When I woke up the next afternoon I realized that that was the stupidest thing I had ever done. I also realized that I needed to get away. I joined the Army reserves and left town.
It is not something I would ever do again. However, I do understand how at that moment it all seems hopeless. At that moment it is hard to believe that things will get better. How powerful words are and how much damage they can cause.
I didn't tell anyone what I was planning. Everyone would have been shocked. I also wish that I had been able to talk to some of my friends before and afterwards but I felt too stupid.
My relationship with my dad has never been good since. One day I talked to him about that night and he said, "bullshit, you're lying". I am sure that I am still worthless to him. I am sure that he would consider me a failure. If he knew I was going to school for teaching he would look down on it. His motto was "those that can....do, those that can't....teach".
At that time my dad was a Christian. It took me many years before I was willing to open a Bible. Even then it was because I was attending a Baptist University and I had to study the Bible. I graduated from Wayland Baptist University in 1999. It took me a lot of years to make my way back to school.
I have come to realize that in so many ways I am not worthless. I have learned not to worry so much about what others tell me about myself. Quite frequently their words are worthless. Those negative words no longer have their power over me because I know who I am now. It took me a long time, but knowing who you are is more powerful then all those negative words thrown your way.
So, speak gently to your kids today. Tell them how great they are and how you love them for being themselves.