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Life Style

The way to discuss to youngsters about bulling by girl abused so badly she considered taking her life: ‘I used to be dwelling with nervousness day-after-day’

Born with a cleft palate, Australian girl Paula Dunn was bullied mercilessly at college.

By Yr 12 – feeling “ugly, silly and hopeless”, and instructed she wouldn’t quantity to something due to how she seemed – she considered taking her personal life.

Dunn is now a cognitive scientist and “teenage resilience” skilled, specialising within the psychological well being of adolescent ladies.

And what started as a three-hour resilience workshop for youngsters has morphed into her first ebook, a No.1 Amazon bestseller.

On the official launch of The Restricted Version Chief: Create Confidence to Conquer Life, Dunn revealed her youth of brutal bullying – and provided strategies to manage and “conquer”.

Paula Dunn was bullied mercilessly at college. Credit score: Provided

“Whenever you’re born with a defect in your face, you possibly can’t conceal the imperfection,” Dunn stated.

“One of many issues I needed to uncover with myself is knowing who I’m as an individual, and rising up with not being accepted for who I’m, and being ostracised in consequence or how I seemed.”

Dunn stated she was put in a field by classmates and academics alike, inflicting her deep emotional ache.

“I struggled to be taught ideas at college nevertheless it wasn’t as a result of I used to be dumb, it was as a result of I used to be dwelling with nervousness day-after-day being bullied,” she stated.

Paula was abused so badly she thought about taking her life.
Paula was abused so badly she considered taking her life. Credit score: Provided

“Due to how others noticed me, I created an inside perception about how I noticed myself, so that you’re endlessly attempting to do properly – you alter your persona to guard your self.

“However on the finish of the day, what we actually need to attempt to obtain is who we need to be – how we need to be seen by others, not how others see us.

“That’s the Holy Grail.”

Within the ebook, which Dunn says can be utilized as a type of teen-raising handbook, she affords parenting recommendations on nurturing and sustaining optimum psychological well being for adolescent kids.

She additionally speaks on to teen ladies a couple of broad vary of ideas, together with “what sort of that means” they assign to their ideas and emotions.


A few of Dunn’s most vital, but easy, recommendation is round bullying – speak in confidence to somebody in regards to the abuse.

“In the event that they don’t really feel snug speaking to their dad and mom, they should speak in confidence to somebody, like a greatest good friend,” Dunn stated.

“Don’t preserve it inside – that’s one of many issues nobody ought to ever do – as a result of it might probably lead you down the trail of different issues.”

Now Paula has advise for others going through what she did.
Now Paula has advise for others going by means of what she did. Credit score: Provided

Dunn is aware of from bitter expertise that “different issues” can embody suicidal ideation, “and that’s not the place you need to be”.

“Discover somebody you belief, who you will be weak with, and discuss it out,” she stated.

“Generally you simply want to speak to somebody and it doesn’t appear so unhealthy.”

Parental errors

On parenting, Dunn suggests probably the most widespread errors is well-intentioned dad and mom being overly vital of their kids or pressuring them into doing issues their manner.

“What they’re instructing their baby is that they’ll’t use their instinct, can’t discern or make the fitting choices, or have that inside compass to know what’s proper and what’s unsuitable,” she stated.

“In order that’s an instance of issues that we imply properly however that may generally can take us on a bum steer.”


To her youthful self, Dunn would now say it’s not the way you begin off in life that counts however the way you select to stay it.

“Go on the market, be you, have braveness and stay life with out limits – as a result of there’s no different approach to be,” she stated.

“When you fear about what different folks assume on a regular basis, you’ll by no means get off the bottom to do something.”

Paula Dunn’s ebook The Limited Edition Leader: Create Confidence to Conquer Life is on the market now.

When you want assist in a disaster, name Lifeline on 13 11 14. For additional details about despair contact beyondblue on 1300224636 or discuss to your GP, native well being skilled or somebody you belief.

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