When The Bullying Happens At Home
School yards and work spaces are not the only areas that bullying can occur in. Sometimes the bully lives right within your own home.
Sometimes the bully is someone who is supposed to love you, care for you, protect you.
Contrary to popular belief, bullying does not go away with acne, age or adolescents.
Why Does Bullying Happen at home?
Often times, bullying is a sign of unhealed childhood trauma in an adult who has never learned how to relate to others in a conscious, healthy way. They have major inner child healing to do and project their pain onto others this way.
They feel the need to manipulate and control situations and will stop at nothing to get their way. It may be that they have been raised as the golden child of the family and never grew out of taking advantage of that position, or can often have personality disorders. They may be in the power position of the family.
Sibling bullying is another big form that often happens and occasionally does not stop in adulthood. Jealousy, anger and aggression all play among siblings and often times can be some of the most painful and humiliating of experiences.
I do want to notate, that bullying at home is different from domestic violence in that it occurs between family members who are not intimate partners. Domestic violence is what occurs between intimate partners. Both have similar intentions and types of behaviors, but bullies are not intimate with their victims.
What Bullying At Home Looks Like
Family bullying can take many forms. From relational aggressive behavior to the extreme physical bullying and everything in between. They often use humiliation, manipulation, and intimidation to bully their victims with.
They may constantly criticize their victims, blaming them, calling them names, showing them they have no value and possibly don’t even belong in the family. Family bullies sometimes even utilize gaslighting and isolation of their victims by turning other family members against them and using the silent treatment to shut them out.
The Effects Of Bullying At Home
Constantly being criticized and hurt at home leaves many lasting complications. Adults who have been bullied may experience any number of physical and mental consequences. The majority of victims report struggling with stress, depression, no self- confidence and anxiety all throughout life.
Physically they may experience sleep loss, headaches, muscle tension and pain. The victims are more likely to experience a mental breakdown at some point in their adult lives due to the bullying and many report not being able to function day to day from the pain and shame of being bullied at home.
Sadly, it is becoming more common to overlook within the household as the focus is stronger at school room and workplace and cyber bullies. But it does happen. It does hurt. And we do need to talk about it.
What To Do If You Are Being Bullied At Home
- Learn how to stand up for yourself, in your own terms. Learn how to be a bit more assertive and guide the conversation with “I think” and “I feel” instead of making it about them and be honest, direct and straightforward.
- Establish boundaries and stick to them. Know your core values and beliefs, be strong in them and clear to the bully what they can and not say/do around you.
- Avoid getting emotional. I know it is hard, but don’t engage with the passive aggressive comments, the fighting or the gaslighting. Remember that you can not control the bully – their actions are on them – but you can control your reactions. Do your best to get out of the situation, walk away, don’t take their comments to heart. Maintain your dignity, composure and respect, don’t sink to their level. Remember, this is a reflection on them, not you.
- Turn to someone you trust. Talk to someone about it. If the first person doesn’t get it, try someone else you trust. Keep trying, you are not along, keep talking about it.
- Carve out self-care time! Make time to give yourself some love and attention in the way that you need it.
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