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Bullying in Adult Relationships

Advocates against injustice in the communities through creating awareness


What is Bullying?

Bullying has a wide range of definitions. It can be comprehensively described as the act of physical or verbal aggression aimed at creating insecurities and asserting control over a person. Peers who seek to exclude one of them from the group especially in school-going children can be seen to mimick, laugh at the victim, intimidate, coerce and verbally abuse them based on their inadequacies. According to statistics, 28% young people aged three to twelve years are victims of bullying. While we concentrate more on physical abuse such as slapping, kicking, pushing and sexual assault, emotional bullying is even much worse due to its hidden nature. Individuals suffering from psychological torture are hardly noticed. Victims are brushed off or when they try to raise concerns. Sometimes caregivers are just too busy to listen or take action. They will advise them to try and sort their problems own their own.

Who is Abully?

Do we know abully? May be we are being bullied and not even aware, or our behaviour is skewed towards this description. Let's find out. A person who has trouble empathizing with others,is domineering, has very high self-esteem and sees the action of their victims as provocative or trying to stand up to them is a bully. They have endless feeling of entitlement over others as this makes them feel better and fulfilled. Mentality of such people is that they are above everyone else and to keep the pride and ego, they remain aggressors for long. Humility is lacking in their dictionary.

Bullying in Adult Relationships

There are four types of bullying:

  • Cyber
  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Verbal

In this article we discuss all the four but in the context of a relationship. I narrow down to adults. This can be married couples, work, peers, gender based or dating relations. The act is highly associated with kids or youths but come to think about it, grown ups tend to assume that whatever abuse they go through instigated by colleagues at work,home or any set up is not bullying. They hide it and are not willing to talk about it. Alot of people are suffering in silence.

Pointers to Abully

  1. Fault finders - A partner who constantly reminds the other of their flaws and mistakes they made in the past. They bluster their victims with demeaning words that cut deep into the soul and creates fear and questions regarding who else knows about it or what eavesdropping us. The aggressor knows the secrete and weaknesses of the person and is like a button to press in order to bring them under control.
  2. Withholding necessities- Though indirectly impact the victim, it does happen in relationships where one is dependent on the other for basic needs. This individual normally has no choice because if he or she does not bow down to demands and pressure, will definitely suffer the consequences. In other cases, a person feels indebted to another for a certain favour that they were done and therefore fall victims when they are coerced into doing what they hate or something which goes against their beliefs and principles. Couples go to an extent of denying their partners sex, time and money.
  3. Physical assault- it is the most common type of imperious acts. It involves victimization by pushing, punching, kicking, slapping hitting with an object, strangling, pinching and any other physical abuse including sexual harassment such as indescent touching. There are millions of cases reported across the world, however, only repeated cases are considered to bullying.
  4. Verbal bullying- Entails spouses or workmates who have a habit of yelling and making harsh comments to their victims in order to subdue them. They tease them in ill manner. Gossiping in their presence and calling them names that lower their dignity thus resulting into withdrawal symptoms. Hauling insults all the time to tame the target when they try to defend themselves. This creates psychological torture to the sufferer. Words have such an incredible power that can make the victim to become suicidal.
  5. Emotional aggression. Studies have shown that women are more likely to use this form of bullying than men. Generally, it is more verbally done but directed to emotional detachment. One in a group adults at work place or learning institutions can be a victim when others spread rumours about them or reject their ideas with no single person supporting them. Afeeling of exclusion affects them mentally and can result to depression.
  6. Property destroyer- Some think of damaging property owned by the victim in an effort to dominate them. They break household items such as televisions, utensils and furniture. In serious cases, burning down the whole house, farm or important documents and the victim conseals their deeds for the reasons that are holding them hostage.

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Impacts of Bullying

  • Divorce and break up. Couples may resort to divorce when it becomes unbearable. With all interventions put in place having not worked in their favour, they break ties and go their way.
  • Health problems. People sustain injuries due to physical abuse, mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, stress, loss of appetite and change in sleep patterns.
  • Low self esteem. Victims view themselves worthless and helpless. They lose self confidence and cannot do simple things because of failure to believe in themselves.
  • Isolation. The have bad mood, feeling blue and hence does not associate with others in a normal social set up. They prefer to stay alone. Others do so for fear of shame.

55% of adults reports to have been bullied in one way or the other in their lives. Surprisingly, it happens even in adults but most of them shun from sharing or taking necessary actions. They hope that it will at some point end on its own. Do we have bullies in our homes, schools or workplaces? It's time to stop it. Do not tolerate this behaviour or die in silence. Speak up, seek help from family, friends, authorities and counselors.The perpetrators too need help. If we do not take action, it escalates and the end results are devastating. If we don't stop it, who will?





This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


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