How do you feel when you're being bullied? I mean, feel in your body?
October 25, 2019 9:16 PM   Subscribe

I've encountered a situation that has (surprisingly) evoked physical responses that remind me of being bullied as a child/young person - sensations that I haven't experienced in many years. Mainly: nausea; a sense of my limbs tingling; a lightness in my feet, but not in a good way - more a sense that I'm not connecting to the ground. I wonder if this is a common response?

The situation to which I'm responding isn't really all that impactful on my life - though obviously it's painful - and I will manage it. But I'm curious if my physical response is common or uncommon.
posted by goofyfoot to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My first response to being bullied was to kick a boy with my skates. Whereupon I was told by my brother that I shouldn't have done that, but I knew it was right.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 9:23 PM on October 25, 2019

I don’t remember such a reaction to being bullied, but I had stress-induced epilepsy as a kid for a while and this sounds not that dissimilar to how I would often feel under stress (that is, not a full-blown epileptic episode, but sth like a mild echo of it? It’s hard to describe. My body would feel like it was being massaged internally, but not in a nice way.)
posted by ClarissaWAM at 10:00 PM on October 25, 2019

I'm curious if my physical response is common or uncommon.
Physical/mental/emotional responses to stressful triggers are common. I disassociate and hyperfocus and feel nothing (whereas usually I'm very in touch with how I'm feeling). One possibility to explain your feelings: blood is rushing to your guts causing peripheral symptoms and nausea from the internal agitation. In addition, you may be responding to the situation more than you realise because you have become practised at dealing with stressful issues through life experience.
posted by Thella at 10:15 PM on October 25, 2019 [6 favorites]

(I know you're just being curious, but in case you need an internet stranger to remind you, it doesn't matter if this is a common response, because it's your response. And that's all that matters.)
posted by nathaole at 10:52 PM on October 25, 2019 [5 favorites]

My whole body hunkers down and prepares to passively endure physical abuse. The standard fight or flight reflex (adrenalin, etc.) kicks in but both options are clamped down hard — overall I feel very rigid. There is also a sense of disconnection from the body, which I think might correspond to your floating feeling.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:09 PM on October 25, 2019 [3 favorites]

Yes, it's common. There is a whole book about it, The Body Keeps the Score.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 4:21 AM on October 26, 2019 [6 favorites]

I used to get extreme tingling in my fingers and GI distress as a side effect of fear - generally social anxiety type stuff. I’ve never heard of anyone else who has the tingling even though I’ve asked people, so it’s kind of neat to hear I’m not the only one. I think the GI stuff is definitely a pretty common fear response. It stopped happening around my mid-20s when I stopped being an anxious person in general.
posted by frobozz at 5:09 AM on October 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yes, it's common. There is a whole book about it, The Body Keeps the Score.

Heartily seconding this one. For a short introduction, try this episode of On Being with Krista Tippett--Bessel van der Kolk: How Trauma Lodges in the Body.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:25 AM on October 26, 2019 [3 favorites]

Those are great book recommendations. Also, remember that it's actually "fight, flight, or freeze" and the tingling sounds like freeze to me.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:42 AM on October 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Anger and anxiety but only because I can’t physically assault people without going to jail and that seems to be my default solution.
posted by Young Kullervo at 8:39 AM on October 26, 2019

Tingling in hands and feet feels a lot like adrenaline to me. I've had that in interpersonal confrontations, but also when about to do something exciting like jumping off a diving board or going onstage in front of a big crowd, so I don't know that it needs to be more specific than "present, immediate stress." Happy to defer to experts, but I don't know that fighting, or fleeing, or freezing, are set, mutually exclusive options to this kind of stress--they're all in the wide continuum of possibilities of dealing with that jolt.
posted by pykrete jungle at 11:40 AM on October 26, 2019

This all sounds like a common fight or flight response.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:15 PM on October 26, 2019

This grounding exercise may prove useful to you.
posted by WCityMike at 6:20 PM on October 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

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