Is This The Bully in Your Family?


As noted in the picture above, the bully in this scene, in this family, may represent someone in your family or someone that you know. This post will describe the effects that a bully has on a family and how to identify this dysfunctional member. In future posts, I will discuss spousal bullies, fathers who are bullies as well as the mother in the family. The child within the family who plays the role of the bully will be discussed in many posts.

Bullying within the family is probably the least reported form of bullying. It comes in many forms and aspects such as from the mother or father upon their children. Close relatives such as aunts, uncles, cousins, stepchildren can also be identified as family bullies. If a family member is constantly criticizing, threatening a member regularly, complaining about the victim, making negative comparisons to others and generally not exhibiting any love or affection to that family member, bullying does exist in that family. The opinion of society is that since this happens within the family, it should be ignored or excused. Not only does bullying provoke a crisis within the family, this form of aggressive and cruel behavior can impact the behavior of the bully outside of the family.

The victim of a family bully finds it difficult to trust anyone outside of the family since trust does not exist within the family.If it is the wife or mother who is the victim of an adult bully (husband) her victimization will impact on her ability to parent her children. She will live in fear of physical and emotional abuse and will find it difficult to function outside of her dysfunctional home especially in her work environment and social interactions. The male victim of bullying ( the wife) will be too humiliated to reveal his predicament and believes that he will not be believed since the statistics are quite low in male spousal abuse. Bullying amongst siblings may be a causal factor of emulating the violent behavior of their parents or parents who are fearful and helpless in controlling their bullying children. Victims of sibling bullying exhibit dysfunctional behavior amongst peers and in school. These children may also be the bully on the playground replicating family behaviors. Lastly, on the topic of family bullies, children may be the target of bullying from their own parents and victimized by them physically or emotionally.

A characteristic of a bully that should be considered is that it is highly unlikely that you can make a bully understand that the way he or she is treating you is abusive. These dysfunctional people do not take ownership of their aggressive behavior. They always have a justification and rationalization for their acts and most probably that you are the cause of their behavior. The only way these bullies can be helped is through clinical intervention.

My next post will discuss and describe the adult male bully within a family and how to address this dysfunctional family member.

Do you know anyone who replicates these descriptions? Do let us hear your voice and what your are feelings?

Bullys in the Family


Today I attended a workshop on Blogging which was presented by an outstanding writer. Unfortunately, when I entered the room, I was aware of my own bully, a colleague, who sat at my table. As reported in my last post, about bullys in the work or professional environment,my bully fits the description of the Narcissistic Adult Bully. This bully “is self-centered and does not share empathy with others as a result of their behavior.” “They think highly of themselves and has a need to put others down to maintain their level of importance.” As a highly respected member of the community, it is most difficult to report or acknowledge such a person’s behavior to others. Therefore, I did choose to send this bully a letter explaining his actions and how much I was hurt. This letter was not acknowledged nor was the email that was sent after I encountered this individual at another event. This category of adult bully finds it most difficult to acknowledge his behavior. As most victims of a bully, and cited in my last blog, ” Bullys do not wish to address their behavior and any attempt to describe their behavior and how much you have been hurt is useless and unproductive. My only recourse, due to his prominence and pompous self regard, is to continue to ignore and distance myself from this bully. Perhaps forgiveness will diminish my pain but the memory of this painful encounter will always remain in my heart and in my soul.

As revealed in my last post, I did plan to discuss the adult bully within the family. This bully could be described as a spouse, a parent, an uncle, an aunt or even a grandparent. The pain that is inflicted upon their victims is similar to the fear, intimidation and humiliation that is experienced in the work setting. However, the victim suffers more due to the fact that this bully is a family member who is suppose to love and respect them.

As described in the definition of a bully, it is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. Bullying can take the form of physical contact, words or more subtle actions. Dysfunctional families do engage in such behavior in the form of child abuse, spousal abuse and geriatric abuse. All family members are at risk for such pain and suffering if there is a bully in residence. We have all been aware of such horror stories on the media almost daily. Perhaps we have lived with and have been subjected to a bully in your family. I have described family bullies within my own family in my book, FAMILY SECRETS: A JOURNEY OF GOOD AND EVIL and if you wish to learn more about this experience, I do provide information on my book on my website, family

In my next post, I will continue with more information and interventions on the topic of the adult bully within the family. Your voice and what you are feeling would be greatly appreciated.

The Adult Bully: Who is This Predator?


As noted in current media reports, the focus is on children who bully and rarely are adults described or reported to be bullies. An adult bully is more likely to use verbal bullying as opposed to physical abuse exhibited by children. The goal of an adult bully is to gain power over their victim and assert themselves as the dominant adult. These bullies attempt to humiliate victims and show them who is the boss. Does this person seem familiar to you?

There are many different categories of adult bullies and can be identified by the following characteristics;

1. Narcissistic Adult Bully is self-centered and does not share empathy with others. This bully exhibits little anxiety about the consequences of their actions.They are narcissistic and think highly of themselves and has a need to put others down to maintain their level of importance.

2. Impulsive Adult Bully is highly spontaneous and usually do not plan their assaultive acts. These bullies seem to find it quite difficult to restrain their actions and displace their anger on innocent victims.

3. Physical Bully are rare but do threaten to harm a victim with highly descriptive assaults. They may channel their aggression to possessions of the victim by destroying their property or treasured belongings or choosing to steal them instead.

4.Verbal Adult Bully uses damaging words such as highly destructive rumors about their victim. Sarcastic and demeaning language is used to dominate or humiliate an innocent person. Such bullying is, indeed, difficult to document by a victim and may effect the quality of life, job performance and is a factor in causing depression for the victim.

5.Secondary Adult Bully is demonstrated by someone who does not initiate the bullying but does join in with other aggressive individuals with the intention of protecting themselves from being a target of other bullies in the future.

Bullying in the work place can create a miserable and difficult, unproductive work environment. It is relevant that supervisors be made aware of bullies since they can disrupt productivity and create a negative atmosphere for the workers. Morale usually is poor in such a setting and risks for potential law suits do exist.

Bullies do not wish to address their behavior problems and reporting them rather then attempting to work things out is the only intervention for a victim. Bullies are more interested in power and domination and they wish to feel that they are important and preferred and accomplish this by bringing others down. A positive aspect of reporting a bully is that their behavior can be documented and there are legal and civil laws for harassment, abuse and other forms of bullying.

Bullies were frequently bullies as children or a victim themselves as children. Understanding this behavioral aspect of a bully will assist you in understanding their dysfunctional behavior. However, all one can do is to ignore the bully, report the behavior and document the bully’s behavior.

Have you met this predator? Do let us hear your voice and what are your feelings about bullies.

My next post will continue to discuss bullies, the bully not in the work environment but the bully within the family, the home environment.

The Pain of Bullyism and How to Understand It


As noted in the illustrations above, these suffering characters do appear to be exhibiting much pain and anguish as the object of verbal and emotional assaults by dysfunctional perpetrators, Bullies.

Research into this topic has documented a strong link between bullying and depression. Depression can have a number of significant effects in a person’s life. The link between bullying and depression can also extend to additional emotional dysfunctions such as low self esteem anxiety, physical illnesses and poor career performance.

Before a discussion is presented on bullyism, we do need to define our terms and understanding on what is a bully. Bullying is seen as purposeful attempts to control another person through verbal abuse which can be in the tone of one’s voice or in content such as teasing or threats. Exclusion from a group or even repeated physical abuse or violence that are deemed unwanted by the victim. Bullying occurs in schools, workplaces,in homes, on playgrounds, in the military and even in nursing homes. Bullying is the most common type of violence in contemporary American society. It should be noted that bullying is considered to be separate and distinct from sexual harassment.

What causes one to become a bully? There are so many factors that create such a negative individual such as cultural factors, institutional causes, social issues, family issues, power and the bully’s personal history. Cultural factors regarding our fascination with winning, power and violence which influence the compulsive drive to seek power contribute highly to the formation of a bully.The high rate of domestic violence does impact upon our young people growing up to expect that violence is an acceptable method of getting what we want. Our institutional environments precipitate violent, bully-like behaviors if there is the absence of behavioral standards regarding interpersonal relationships or the tendency to ignore complaints of bullying from the victims.

Unfortunately, the bully does acquire more social recognition for negative behavior than any positive actions. Situation comedies and reality television significantly contribute to this societal dysfunction as well as the volume of violent reports in our media newsfeed.The family system is, indeed, the core of creating behaviors that mold the fabric of our world. If there is an absence of love and respect and a high incidence of violence and rage, the children will absorb these behavior patterns and bullies will evolve from this milieu . Bullyism begins in the womb of the dysfunctional family.

In my next post, I will continue to describe this dysfunctional individual who does attempt to destroy adult victims and how this bully is identified and, perhaps, rehabilitated away from the bully’s quest to hurt and inflict pain on their victims.

Please do share your voice and what you are feeling regarding this painful subject. As a therapist, I will provide advice and interventions in later blogs as well as introduce to topic of child bullies.