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?