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The Long-Term Effects of Adult Sibling Bullying

Lifelong effects

❶A group of older neighborhood boys would be after me for reasons that were never entirely clear. The association of suicide and bullying in childhood to young adulthood:

Worse than adult verbal abuse

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What happens to victims of childhood bullying? to bullies?
Definition and epidemiology

However, I'm quite confident that it will never go away entirely. It seems to me that bullying is just one of those things that are just a part of human nature. Something that can be suppressed but not eliminated. Where I want to go with this essay is not to talk about how to make bullying stop, but rather, to explore the sorts of damage bullies do to their victims, and to discuss a few paths through which some of that damage can be, at least in part, undone.

Here's a few statements to get us started: In making the second statement I'm suggesting that ring-leader bullies those who organize bullying are behaving as though the emotional and physical health of their victims is not important or is at least less important than their own desire for the thrill of aggression and dominance.

Narcissists treat other people as though they were objects either to be used, or discarded, and the bully both uses his victim for purposes of self-gratification and aggrandizement and then discards him.

Now, children are fairly narcissistic by their very nature. Children are not born appreciating that other people are actually just like they are with their own needs and independent rights. A long period of development must occur before children grasp that the other people around them have needs and interests just like they do and need to be accommodated and accorded respect.

The golden rule of treating others as you would yourself like to be treated makes no sense to a young child who has not yet matured to the point where this basic appreciation of the individuality of every person has been grasped.

Instead, children need to be held in line with what amount to incentives and sometimes punishments for acting as though other people matter. So by saying that bullying is a narcissistic action, I'm not at all saying that all bullies are narcissists. Adult bullies who have not outgrown their childhood narcissism probably do qualify, but little kids are just going to be that way.

This is why I'm not terribly optimistic that we can solve the problem of bullying in our time. The experience of being bullied can end up causing lasting damage to victims. This is both self-evident, and also supported by an increasing body of research. It is not necessary to be physically harmed in order to suffer lasting harm.

Words and gestures are quite enough. In fact, the old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never harm me" is more or less exactly backwards. For the most part, physical damage sustained in a fist fight heals readily, especially damage that is sustained during the resilient childhood years.

What is far more difficult to mend is the primary wound that bullying victims suffer which is damage to their self-concepts; to their identities. Bullying is an attempt to instill fear and self-loathing. Being the repetitive target of bullying damages your ability to view yourself as a desirable, capable and effective individual. There are two ugly outcomes that stem from learning to view yourself as a less than desirable, incapable individual.

Being bullied teaches you that you are undesirable, that you are not safe in the world, and when it is dished out by forces that are physically superior to yourself that you are relatively powerless to defend yourself.

When you are forced, again and again, to contemplate your relative lack of control over the bullying process, you are being set up for Learned Helplessness e. At the same time, you may be learning that you are helpless and hopeless, you are also learning how you are seen by bullies, which is to say, you are learning that you are seen by others as weak, pathetic, and a loser.

And, by virtue of the way that identity tends to work, you are being set up to believe that these things the bullies are saying about you are true.

It would be great if the average person was possessed of unshakable self-confidence, but this just isn't how identity works. Identity is a social process. Other people contribute to it. Particularly when people are young and have not yet survived a few of life's trials, it is difficult for people to know who they are and what they are made of.

Much of what passes for identity in the young and in the older too is actually a kind of other-confidence, which is to say that many people's self-confidence is continually shored up by those around them telling them in both overt and subtle ways that they are good, worthy people. This is one of the reasons people like to belong to groups — it helps them to feel good about themselves. Bullying teaches people that they are explicitly not part of groups; that they are outcasts and outsiders.

It is hard to doubt the reality of being an outcast and an outsider when you have been beaten or otherwise publicly humiliated. It takes an exceptionally confident or otherwise well-supported person to not internalize bullies' negative messages and begin bullying yourself by holding yourself to the same standards that bullies are applying to you and finding yourself a failure.

In other words, it is rather easy for bullying victims to note that they have been beaten up and then to start thinking of themselves as weak, no-good, worthless, pathetic, and incompetent. These are the sorts of thoughts that lead to depression, or, if they are combined with revenge fantasies, to anger and rage feelings.

Where the first ugly outcome of bullying unfolds rather immediately in the form of a wounded self-concept, the second ugly outcome unfolds more slowly over time. Having a wounded self-concept makes it harder for you to believe in yourself, and when you have difficulty believing in yourself, you will tend to have a harder time persevering through difficult situations and challenging circumstances.

Deficits in academic performance can easily occur when bullying victims succumb to depression or otherwise become demoralized. They certainly also occur when victims ditch school to avoid bullies. The deficits themselves are not the real issue.

The real issue is that if deficits occur for too long or become too pronounced, the affected children can lose out on opportunities for advancement and further study, and ultimately, employment. I've read retrospective studies where people report having left school early so as to avoid continued bullying, and this of course will have altered and limited the job prospects they have available to them as adults. Leaving school may be a dramatic if occasionally realistic example of how early bullying can affect one's life, but there are surely other ways that anger or depression caused by bullying harms and developmentally delays people's progress.

Inevitably, it is the sensitive kids who get singled out for teasing; the kids who cry easily; the easy targets. This doesn't much work when you are a kid it is difficult to reinvent yourself without actually moving to a new place , and it can have negative consequences in adulthood when the same children, now emotionally avoidant or angry or cynical adults, find themselves having difficulty entering into or maintaining loving and warm intimate relationships.

Thanks to a nationwide hospital register that includes all inpatient and outpatient mental health visits in Finland, the team could trace the mental health outcomes of those aged 16 to About 20 percent of those who were bullies as children had a mental health problem that needed medical treatment as a teen or young adult.

This compares to the 23 percent of the kids who were bullied frequently and had sought help for a psychiatric problem before age The group that fared worst in terms of adult mental health were the children who were frequently bullies and were also bullied themselves. About 31 percent of these children had psychiatric problems that required treatment, as well as the highest rates of depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and substance abuse of all the groups in the study.

It also seems peers may be worse than parents when it comes to the psychological effects of disparaging words and harassment. A study published last year in The Lancet Psychiatry reported that children who were bullied by peers had significant mental health problems as adults — even more significant than children who were mistreated by their parents or caregivers.

In his study, Dieter Wolke, Ph. Bullying, in contrast, is repeated aggression by peers — such as verbal taunts, physical attacks, or social exclusion — carried out at least once a week.

The data on maltreatment and bullying in youth correlated to mental health problems in adulthood. One in 3 U. In the United Kingdom, about 16, children permanently stay home from school because they are routinely bullied, and their academic achievement suffers as a result. Bullied children may also suffer from serious illness, inability to focus, poor social relationships, and even have trouble holding down a job as adults.

According to a Duke University study published in in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, while young adults show long-term ill effects of having been bullied in childhood, those who did the bullying might in some way be healthier than their peers. The report is based on findings from the longitudinal Great Smoky Mountains Study, which started in and followed 1, children from western North Carolina.

Researchers interviewed the participants as many as nine times. The study was led by William Copeland, Ph. This study is the first indication that being a bully might actually be protective. It measured blood levels of C-reactive protein CRP — a biomarker of chronic inflammation that's been linked to cardiovascular risk and metabolic syndrome — over several points in time.

Being a victim of mentally abusive father and physically abusive mother myself, I agree something has to be done. How do we know the next environment will be fine? I think the solution is to prevent lousy people having kids in the first place, an impossible propose. I respect your theory but as a 46 year old woman who suffered extreme bullying at school from the ages of about 12 - 15 when I dropped out of school , your theory does not apply to me.

I will say, however, that being bullied has had a strong, even to this day, effect on my life. If you are interested in hearing my story, please feel free to contact me at at your convenience. I can attest that, in my case there was no bullying in my home. I was the oldest. My siblings were 7 and 10 years behind me, and they were my sisters. Bullying for me started shortly after I was old enough to venture out, and increased exponentially in elementary school.

This was many years ago, during a turbulent time for the nation. In fact, I experience all of the consequences described in the article. It is not easy to have to observe: Firstly, schoolteachers, police officers, and psychology professionals have been the worst bystanders. Secondly, cyber-bullying is cruel, sick-minded, and an anti-social attack on someone's psychological integrity. That is true because that is what bullying is, and cyber-bullying is bullying.

We do not need the advent of the internet and social media to explain why we must now stop bullying. We just need people to stop being the same irresponsible and uninspired cowards who did not intervene before. I'm now 42 years old, and I've worked hard to overcome the long term effects of the bullying I had to live through, and though I've made surprising progress with social and emotional issues, it doesn't matter.

My prime has passed, and my life is not successful, and I don't want it now that the health problems from living a hard life a starting. I won't cite staying out of prison in spite of the odds as an accomplishment until I get paid for it just like the professionals who think that's a success. I hear a lot in the news in recent months about kids committing suicide after being abused by their peers.

I think suicide happens once someone senses they have no chance left in life-- that they have been destroyed. That's got to be the most horrible of all evil phenomena: The result of intentional and thorough psychological manipulation.

The long lasting effect: Your story has touched me and I really feel for you. I am 46 years old and I was a victim of bullying for about 3 years. Bullying followed me from school to school and finally stopped when I dropped out for good. I will never have a high school reunion Bullying has affected me and changed my life in countless ways, even today.

If you want to talk, please feel free to contact me through my e-mail or telephone The heartbreaking suicides of two bullying victims this month, shows that we, as a nation, still have not done our job as adults to protect our youth. I was in the waiting room of a doctor's office, when a friendly young teenage girl and I began chatting. She was very open, and told me that she was at the doctor's office to get medication because she was being bullied in school.

This is an appalling reflection of the sad state of our school systems: After years of experience, I can explain at least part of the problem. I was recently playing with my 5 year-old grandson, when he confided that he was being teased by three girls in his kindergarten class. He is a good-looking boy, smart, well-spoken.

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Feb 20,  · But most studies on the effects of bullying focus on the childhood period. "The question for our study is what happens long-term, down the road, after they're no longer being bullied and after they're no longer children," Copeland told LiveScience.

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I called these "common" effects because I want to convey the idea that you are not alone in experiencing any of these issues. Thanks in part to the study mentioned above and in the video, more attention is being brought to the long-term effects childhood bullying can have on adults.

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Bullying Causes Long-Term Emotional Damage The experience of being bullied can end up causing lasting damage to victims. This is both self-evident, and also supported by . But less is known about the long-term psychological health of adults who, as children, were bullies or victims of bullying. Studies of childhood bullying with long-term follow-ups from the early school years through adulthood are lacking, Sourander said.

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Sibling bullying can take many forms, but it is always done with the intention of shaming, belittling or excluding their victim. It can include name calling, threats, constant teasing and enlisting other siblings to join them in the bullying. The Long Term Effects Of Bullying. Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. and this of course will have altered and limited the job prospects they have available to them as adults. Leaving school may be a dramatic (if occasionally realistic) example of how early bullying can affect one's life, but there are surely other ways that anger or depression caused by.