Bullying is often associated with school-age folks and yet bullying among seniors is all too common.
I had first hand experience when I first moved to a Senior Housing Community. I settled in well, but I noticed some folks were judgmental or gossiping about others and then I saw one newbie for some reason, being bullied by others. I saw her begin to withdraw and avoid others...then came my turn! As I said, I settled in well, was asked to join specific groups and was generally well-liked. I fell ill and then trouble started. Since I didn't have a diagnosis that was familiar to others, like a broken leg, or Cancer people didn't seem able to accept I was really ill. (I have a iatrogenic...doctor-caused injury that entails being prescribed medications that are neurotoxic which are very debilitating.)
I chose to taper off those drugs and have endured a long, protracted journey that includes physical pain, chronic insomnia and is very limiting to my mobility and ability to be out and about as I was before my taper. I'd tell folks I was ill (some I gave specific info to and even they seemed to refuse to understand I had a long hard struggle before me!) I'd get people banging on my door or wanting me to come 'do for them'. Time and again I'd remind them I was very ill and strugging.
One neighbor came over under the guise of "concern' and soon began to pick on me, mock me in my weakness and then rage at me. She'd attempt to dicate to me and call me with bizarre requests and when I would point out they made no sense she would tell me my perceptions were off. I know she began to tell others I was mentally ill and had another neighbor join in the harrassment by coming and banging on my door when I had told her time and again not to do that and that I was in severe pain. I was so isolated and struggled to understand what was happening when finally, after months I called the Life Steps Social Worker and complained to her. Initially she was appalled and said their actions were unacceptable and went against all rules in the Community...but the two main harrassers would tell her they were only acting out of concern. So nothing was really resolved and the main aggressor lives only steps away and can watch my place from her upstair window. She had told me she watched me and was angry when she saw me get packages and visitors. This is no way for anyone to have to live, feeling watched and disliked simply because they are sick! I'm heart sick and it has caused me much emotional trauma and impacted my relationships with other neighbors.
I'm trying to reach out to others that have been bullied to share our tales of woe and ideas on how to combat Senior bullying and support one another. Any tales and ideas will be greatly appreciated. I believe a support group can help reinforce to those bullied, they are not alone.
Let's try and reach out to each other and see what we can do.
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