Emotional Bullying

Emotional Bullying And How To Deal With An Emotional Bully

Last Updated on November 27, 2022 by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt

Everyone remembers the feeling of emotional bullying from their childhood. The biggest child on the playground wanted to play with the ball so he took it from a younger kid. Remember the times when some children surrounded someone different and ridiculed them until they wept? Perhaps you remember the “cool” kids at school who ignored you and refused to let you join their group.

Remember that you are being emotionally bullied. Emotional bullying refers to a person who tries to get something by making other people feel angry or afraid.

What Is Emotional Bullying?

Emotional bullying doesn’t happen only in the playground. It can also be seen in adult relationships as well as workplaces. Being a single mom, you really need to know about this kind of bullying, and how to deal with it!

  • Name-calling, teasing, or mocking
  • Using sarcasm
  • Threatening
  • Belittling
  • Ignoring or excluding from a group
  • Lying
  • Humiliating

These behaviors can also be observed in adult relationships. Such as when an emotional bully makes someone else “pay” for an alleged mistake. Or when they use sarcasm to respond to genuine questions. Emotional bullying can be seen in the workplace when coworkers are humiliated by “office pranks”.

Emotional Bullying office pranks
“Office Pranks” are not as naive as you think!

Effects Of Emotional Bullying

While some might dismiss emotional bullying as something that is childish or easy to ignore, research has shown that it can cause lasting traumas for its victims. People who have been subject to emotional bullying are more likely than others to become emotional bullies.

This can also cause mental problems. Victims feel shame, guilt and embarrassment, as well as fear. These emotional bullying effects can lead to: Depression, Low self-esteem, shyness, poor job/academic performance, isolation, suicide attempt. Emotional bullying can also result in Stockholm Syndrome. In this case, the victim over-identifies with the bully and defends his behavior. 

How To Deal With An Emotional Bully

As an adults, you can follow the same advice as in the schoolyard: ignore bullies or speak up. They are more capable to understand the behavior of emotional bullies than children. They can also see past bullies’ actions to help someone who is feeling alone or scared. 

But actually, these tips also work well if your kids are facing emotional bully.

Emotional Bullying speak up
Speak UP!

Adults also can see that the behavior of an emotional bully is not about the victim, but about the abuser. An emotional bully does not bully just one person, they also try to control others that way. This knowledge can help someone who has been emotionally bullied to see bullying as a symptom of a disease rather than a personal attack. A simple shift in perspective can make it easier to ignore the behavior of an emotional bully.

Another tried-and-true technique is to stand up against an emotional bully. The bully will change if someone stands up against them. Although it is unlikely that an emotionally bully will change, small changes in behavior can happen. Being able to stand up to bullies makes it more likely they will recognize the problem. They may be even more open to seeking help.

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