Evading A Painful Past By Rising Above Fear

I don't know how to start today's post or where to start from. Probably afraid of revisiting the past. 

A painful, inglorious past – one that I wish to erase permanently. 

I'm equally aware that unless I share my story with a larger audience, it'll continue to haunt me for the rest of my life. To heal completely, I need to evade every bit of negativity that has surrounded me for years.

So there, I was a victim of verbal and physical abuse during childhood.

You heard it!

Only my wife and a few close friends know about this bitter truth, and now you. Time to bury the hatchet maybe. 

Here's my tryst with agony, consternation, and triumph.

The Beginning

I was an average Joe in school. Extroverted, talkative, and naughty. But never the kind to harm anyone intentionally. As someone who grew up on a staple diet of typical middle-class values, I was privy to all the nuisance I now wish no kid should ever indulge in while growing up.

My Childhood Ended Even Before It Started

The struggle to make ends meet implied that both my father and mother were required to be in full-time jobs. My upbringing was rather strict. Considering the culture and environment I grew up in, it would be deemed completely normal to raise hand on boys or expect them not to cry when they get beaten up. I never really understood that popular notion back then.

And I still don't!

At school, I was timid for the large part and avoided clashes of any kind ... perhaps, as a result, was bullied a lot. I don't exactly remember for how long did I endure all the name calling but I do remember telling myself repeatedly every night "sticks and stones can break my bones but name calling can never hurt me."

I Was Wrong. Dead Wrong.

One should never live with an illusion that the hurt will vanish just like that.

To illustrate the deep-rooted psychological effect it had on my own life – I stopped believing that I could be "macho" like other boys. It broke my ability to believe (in myself), eventually getting to a point where nothing else mattered anymore. The tears, the suffering, the people. I gave up on everything!

The psychological effect of cyber bullying (Reference: http://www.fizzandtattle.com/)

Biggest Turn Around

For me, the greatest challenge was to rebuild that esteem. I needed to believe in a power greater than myself to get through.

As luck would have it, I met Sadhna (my better half now) at an interesting crossroad. She taught me how to let go. She urged me to speak up about issues that truly mattered.

Exploitation of any kind will continue to exist only and only if we accept being silent. It is basically like you're saying "I allow to be taken advantage of; I allow this to happen to me."

Bully Free - It starts with me (Reference: http://www.nea.org)

Counseling Alone Will Not Help

We've got to stop this culture of bullying right away. I had to travel down a long road to get to this point. Imagine those who are probably not that strong.

Where will they go? Who will they look up to?

I'm leaving you today with a food for thought, hoping that you'd be able to rise above fear!



  1. Your triumphant attitude is really gratifying Rahul! :)
    But the sheer irony continues to exist - still a big proportion of children do not get their right to enjoy the fundamental years of growing up. Bullying from parents, acquaintances and fellows literally kill their self-confidence, leaving them in dismay and instilling a belief that they are of zero worth!
    The terrible part – after making your heart void of confidence, parents expect you to be brainy and outperform others. Anyhow, the weak have to transform the fragility into their strength. A voice must be raised to cease “Bullying” – a life-threatening act!

  2. You are right! Bullying is unnecessary and must be stopped without any further delay. All of us should do our bit to end this menace.

  3. In response to my post about bullying (http://2brahulprabhakar.blogspot.in/2014/12/evading-painful-past-by-rising-above.html), here's a touching mail from John Durham. Please read it till the end.

    Hi Rahul,

    I don't often get around to reading your Google+ posts, but I felt compelled to read this one, and I would like to thank you sincerely for having the courage and kindness to write about your suffering.

    Courage, because part of us – bizarrely, and this is a real "kicker" – feels guilt and shame that we were victims of abuse or bullying (!) .

    Courage, because unlike you – and although I have a lovely, special wife – I have never even told her about this suffering, because I was so ashamed of not being able to defend myself, either verbally or physically. (Men are supposed to be strong and confident.) In parallel – and this I couldn't hide from her – was walking the streets as a child, neglected, because I was afraid to go home in the evenings, where sometimes my father came home drunk

    [I'm sobbing as I write this, Rahul]

    and shouted at me through my locked bedroom door "you fucking bastard" and other horrible things.

    Kindness, because by disclosing something about your past, you give others "permission" to do the same, and they don't feel so alone, or weird, about feeling this way.

    One thing I am proud of is that, although I felt angry and a deep sadness about what happened to me, I have never once felt bitter. I learned later on, after my parents' deaths, that my father had gone through some terrible things, before, during, and after World War II. My father was not a bad man, and I have managed to come to terms with my childhood to a certain extent and retain some love and compassion for my parents. However, I'm still in therapy.

    I don't blame my teachers for the bullying I suffered. They were great, supportive, and can't possibly see everything that goes on.

    You seem to have found a partner with whom you can share a lovely complicity and get precious support from. That's just great. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

    Thank you again, Rahul, for this wonderful blog!

    Your friend,

    John Durham


    Main Office
    Crêt-Taconnet 8
    2000 Neuchâtel

    Telephone: +41 (0)32 724 51 71
    Mobile: +41 (0)79 209 61 35

  4. Dear Rahul aka Capitan,
    Yet another riveting post and you have me in deeper awe of you. Respect for what you made out of what life meted out to you. I am so happy for you that Sadhna has proven to be your real, true life -partner.
    Thankyou for sharing such a bitter memory to inspire and protect the people of the future...
    Hat's off to you once again for proving yourself a formidable leader of sorts..


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