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The Long-Term Effects of Adult Sibling Bullying

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❶Archives of Disease in Childhood. In the language of cognitive behavioral therapy, these would be thought of as dysfunctional core beliefs which could be addressed and repudiated using cognitive restructuring techniques that encourage people to closely examine such beliefs and dispute them when they are found to contain exaggerations and distortions which these sorts of beliefs surely will.

Definition and epidemiology

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What happens to victims of childhood bullying? to bullies?
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Hopefully the things that researchers have and will come up will help limit the scope of the problem in the future. 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. A similar form of damage comes when bullied kids internalize negative attitudes concerning aspects of themselves that set them apart from others, such as their sexual orientation, minority group membership, or religious affiliation.

In such cases, bullying sets up a peer pressure to reject aspects of one's self which are fundamentally not rejectable, and thus a potentially lifelong tension gets set up inside that person. If anyone out there has a better idea for how someone can end up become a homosexual-hating homosexual, or a jew-hating jewish person or other seemingly self-contradictory person I'd like to know about it. The following list, culled from my reading on this subject, summarizes some of the effects bullying victims may experience:.

A few interesting observations of factors that seem to lessen the negative impact that bullying has on people have come to my attention during the process of cataloging the ways that bullying can mess you up. A Spanish college student sample study suggests that there is a direct relationship between victim's perception of control over their bullying experience and the extent of long term difficulties they experience as a result of bullying.

Perception of control and not reality of control was key in this study, as no relationship was found between the various ways that students coped with being bullied and how they turned out.

I can see the outline of a mechanism working here where students who believed they still had control over their situations avoided developing learned helplessness and therefore had less of a chance of experiencing depression. However the study doesn't really help us to know what to recommend that people do to lessen their chances of long term problems. Remember, it didn't matter what the students actually did; it only mattered what they believed.

If we go with the idea that believing you have control over events is important then the thing to do if you are being bullied is to keep persevering in your efforts to stop the bullying as though those efforts will result in your being able to get the bullying to stop.

No single thing you do may actually stop the bullying from happening, but the effect of continually working under the assumption that you haven't tried all options and may still get the bullying to stop may do the trick.

And, of course, you might actually get the bullying to stop because of something you do or don't do. Rather than try to control the past which is impossible , it might make more sense for hurting victims to get themselves to focus on what they can control in the present, for the benefit of their future happiness and fulfillment. As the poet George Herbert's classic phrase wisely advises us, "living well is the best revenge". The age at which kids are first bullied seems to be important according to some research.

Young children who are first bullied during their pre-teen years appear to be less negatively impacted in the long term than are children who are first bullied as teens. People first bullied as young children report experiencing higher long-term stress levels than do people who were never bullied.

However, people who were first bullied as teens report more long term social withdrawal and more reactivity to violence than other groups. There is a greater tendency towards the use of self-destructive coping mechanisms in the first-bullied-as-teens group, and an interesting but hard to make sense of sex difference, where women tend to become more aggressive as a result of their bullying experience, and men to demonstrate a greater tendency to abuse substances.

I can't help but wonder if the increased independence and emancipation that teens enjoy makes them more likely to experiment with and then get locked into maladaptive coping strategies like substance abuse than their younger peers. Finally, multiple researchers point to the protective effect that a good social support network has with regard to bully victim's short and long term outcomes. Having supportive family members and peers around who can be confided in when one has been bullied and who can offer support and advice tends to lessen bullying's impact.

There are a number of reasons why it makes sense that a supportive social network should help, but one of them deserves to be made explicit. Namely, that when a bullying victim is surrounded by and bought into a supportive social network, they are receiving many positive messages about their worth from network members, and there are thus fewer opportunities for bullies' negative messages to find purchase and grow to take over self-esteem.

More often than not, though, bullying takes root within families where abuse and bullying tactics are practiced by the parents. Children are wired to imitate the behavior they see around them, so it is no surprise that a child who is being bullied by an abusive parent goes on to bully others. As is so often the case with bullies, it will be those even less powerful than they are, such as younger siblings or classmates, who end up being the target.

Relationship dynamics between the bully and the victim often remain unchanged from childhood into adulthood.

The bully continues to victimize their sibling because having someone to pick on boosts their own fragile sense of self-worth. The victim, worn down by years of ill treatment at the hands of their sibling, may feel resentful, but may also be at a loss as to how to change the situation, thus allowing the abuse to continue. Having someone to blame for their problems or take their frustration out on suits the bully and so they deliberately resist any attempts at sincere reconciliation.

After many attempts at trying to have a healthy relationship with the bullying sibling, most victims simply give up and accept the situation, however miserable it makes them.

Some take the drastic, but necessary measure of avoiding contact with their sibling. Estrangement between adult siblings is not as uncommon as most people think, with a recent study at Cornell University finding that one in ten adults have one or more family members from whom they are estranged.

For many people in this situation, it is a last resort and one they may grapple with for years before finally taking the plunge.

The Short and Long-Term Impact of Bullying

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There are "well-documented studies, both short- and long-term, showing that kids who are involved in bullying do have other problematic outcomes," Bradshaw said. For instance, children who bully are more likely to be members of gangs, carry a weapon, and have truancy problems.

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Bullying can have negative short and long-term consequences for both the victim and the bully. While traditional intervention for bullying tends to include getting help for the victim and establishing consequences for the bully, it should be noted that both the victim and the bully benefit from psychosocial support.

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Feb 20,  · Another percent were bully/victims. The rest were neither. Long-term effects. Long-Term Effects Of Bullying: Pain Lasts Into Adulthood (STUDY) Children's Health Stories Of There are short and long term effects of bullying that should be noted for both the victim and the bully. It is important to realize that once it is determined a bullying situation exists, immediate help needs to be given both the victim and the bully.

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Feb 10,  · Long-term effects of bullying. Dieter Wolke 1 and Suzet Tanya Lereya 2 between the victim and the bully. 1 Bullying can take the form of direct bullying, which includes physical and verbal acts of aggression such as hitting, stealing or name calling, or indirect bullying. The Long Term Effects Of Bullying. Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. 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. that bullied students who believed they were able to influence and/or escape.