The lingering wounds of adult bullying: how emotional scars run deep

Bullying is often thought of as a behaviour that only occurs in childhood or adolescence.

But adult bullies are also a reality that many people face.

Adult bullying takes many forms and can have a significant impact on the victim’s emotional and mental well-being.

What is adult bullying?

Adult bullying includes verbal, physical, and emotional abuse. It can occur in the workplace, social settings, and even within families.

Some examples of adult bullying include:

  • Verbal abuse: This can include name-calling, put-downs, and yelling.
  • Physical abuse: This can include hitting, pushing, and other forms of physical violence.
  • Emotional abuse: This can include isolating the victim from others, gaslighting, and manipulating.
  • Cyberbullying: This can include online harassment, cyberstalking, and other forms of digital abuse.

Adult bullying is often fuelled by power imbalances, where the bully feels a sense of superiority over the victim.

They may use their power to intimidate or control the victim, making them feel helpless and powerless.

Adult bullying can have a significant impact on the victim’s emotional and mental well-being.

Anxiety is a common effect of adult bullying, as victims may experience fear and uncertainty as they never know when the bully will strike.

Depression is also common, with victims feeling sadness, hopelessness, and even having suicidal thoughts due to the constant bullying and harassment.

In some cases, adult bullying can result in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), with victims experiencing flashbacks, nightmares, and other symptoms of PTSD.

In addition to emotional and mental effects, adult bullying can also cause physical health problems.

Victims may experience headaches, digestive issues, chronic pain, and other physical symptoms due to the stress of being bullied.

Workplace issues can also arise, as adult bullying can impact a victim’s work performance, causing them to miss work or even quit their job.

Bullying can be ever worse for empaths.

Empaths are individuals who possess heightened emotional sensitivity and are highly attuned to the emotions of others.

They have a natural ability to understand and empathise with other people’s feelings, making them more vulnerable to experiencing the effects of adult bullying.

When an empath is subjected to adult bullying, the impact can be much more severe and long-lasting than for non-empaths.

One reason why adult bullying is worse for empaths is that they tend to take on the emotions and feelings of those around them.

This means that when they are being bullied, they feel the full impact of the bully’s negativity, which can lead to intense feelings of anxiety, depression, and helplessness.

The constant exposure to negative emotions and energy can be overwhelming and exhausting, leading to physical and mental health issues.

Another reason why adult bullying is worse for empaths is that they are often more susceptible to feeling guilt and shame.

When a bully targets an empath, they may use manipulative tactics to make the empath feel responsible for the bullying or convince them that they deserve it.

This can lead to a cycle of self-blame and negative self-talk, which can further exacerbate the negative effects of the bullying.

Empaths may also struggle with setting boundaries, which can make it challenging to protect themselves from adult bullying.

They may feel guilty for standing up for themselves or setting limits on the bully’s behaviour, which can make them more vulnerable to continued harassment and abuse.

Dealing with adult bullies can be challenging.

But it is essential to take steps to protect yourself.

Here are some tips for dealing with adult bullies:

  • Speak up: Let the bully know that their behaviour is unacceptable and that it needs to stop. Try to keep your response as free of a strong emotional reaction as possible.
  • Set boundaries: If the bully continues to harass you, set boundaries and let them know what you will and will not tolerate.
  • Get support: Reach out to friends, family, or a therapist for support. Having a support system will help you cope with the bullying and its effects.
  • Document the bullying: Keep a record of any incidents of bullying, including dates, times, and what was said or done. Save emails and other correspondence.
  • Report the bullying: If the bullying is happening in the workplace, report it to a supervisor or HR representative. If it is happening in a social setting, consider contacting the authorities.

Adult bullying is a serious issue that can have significant emotional and mental health consequences.

It is essential to recognise the signs of adult bullying and take steps to protect yourself.

If you are a victim of adult bullying, know that you are not alone, and there is help available.

Seek out support from friends, family, or a therapist, and take action to protect yourself from further harm.

Remember, no one deserves to be bullied, and everyone deserves to feel safe and respected.

Especially, when you’re an empath, adult bullying can have severe consequences because you are more likely to internalise the negative effects of the bullying.

It’s essential that you recognise your vulnerability and take steps to protect yourself, such as seeking support from trusted friends or family, setting boundaries, and practising self-care.

With the right support and tools, you can learn to navigate the challenges of adult bullying and emerge stronger and more resilient.