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“Going through life, we will inevitably face bullies along the way. When we think of bullying though, most of us think of children in school. We picture a child being teased or picked on by their classmates. While this is the most common form of bullying, it’s not the only one. Adults can be bullied too – and the impacts can be just as devastating.

For National Bullying Prevention Month this October, we will discuss the link between bullying and mental health, and explore some of the lifelong impacts that bullies can have on individuals.

Effects of Bullying

While the effects can vary depending on the individual, there are some common mental health impacts that have been linked to bullying for both children and adults. These include anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and increased feelings of isolation and loneliness. Bullying can also lead to sleep problems, eating disorders, and substance abuse. In extreme cases, it can even lead to thoughts of suicide.

Bullying in Adulthood

Unfortunately, even as adults, bullying is a very real and present problem. Whether it’s in the workplace, on the internet, or in social situations, bullying can take many different forms. Here are just a few examples of bullying in adulthood:

  • Being excluded from social events or activities
  • Being the victim of cyberbullying from people who do not know you
  • Being belittled or made to feel small by someone in a position of authority
  • Inappropriate sexual comments
  • Being passed over for opportunities
  • Being the target of gossip or rumors
  • Being ostracized by colleagues or friends
  • Being verbally or physically abused
  • Being “called out” or teased publicly

All of these forms of bullying can have a serious effect on our mental health. According to a study done by the Yale School of Medicine, adults who were bullied as children are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, PTSD, and even suicidal thoughts. In fact, adults who were bullied as children are three times more likely to suffer from depression than those who were not bullied. Additionally, children who experienced trauma are more likely to become the target of bullying as an adult.

The effects of bullying don’t just stop at mental health, either. Adults who were bullied as children are also more likely to have problems with alcohol and drug abuse, as well as difficulty maintaining healthy relationships.

“So what can we do if we find ourselves the victim of a bully as an adult?”

Talk to someone you trust about what’s going on 

 This could be a friend, family member, therapist, or even a co-worker. Just having someone to talk to who understands what you’re going through can be a huge help.

Identify your feelings

Are you feeling scared, sad, angry, or helpless? Once you’ve identified how you’re feeling, it can be easier to start working through those emotions.

Create a support system

This could include friends, family members, or co-workers who you can rely on. Knowing that you have people in your corner who will support you can make a big difference.

Stand up for yourself

If someone is bullying you, it’s important to stand up for yourself. This doesn’t mean getting into a physical altercation, but it does mean speaking up and letting the bully know that their behavior is not acceptable.

Seek professional help

If you’re finding it difficult to cope with the effects of a bully, seek out professional help. A therapist can help you work through your emotions and develop coping mechanisms to deal with the effects of bullying.

No one deserves to be the victim of a bully!

If you or someone you know is being bullied, it’s important to reach out for help. There are many resources available to both children and adults who are struggling with bullying. With the right support, it is possible to overcome the effects of bullying and live a happy, healthy life.

For more resources on bullying prevention, please visit The National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

Begin Working With A Therapist in New Bern, NC

Overcoming the effects of bullying is much easier said than done. Our team of caring therapists understands this and would be honored to provide support in helping to end bullying. You can get started with therapy at our counseling practice in New Bern, NC with these steps:

  1. Fill out this consult form.
  2. Read about our skilled therapists.
  3. Begin receiving the support you deserve!

Other Services Offered With Renewed Wellness

Our team understands you may experience a variety of mental health concerns as a result of past bullying. At our New Bern, NC-based therapy practice, we are happy to offer support for a number of mental health concerns. Our team offers mental health services including therapy for anxiety and stress. Our therapists specialize specifically in chronic illness counseling and addiction counseling. For those going through a life change, we also offer life transitions counseling. Feel free to also visit our blog or FAQ to learn more.