As opposed to what most of us think, bullying is not something that can suddenly go away, like a rash, an exam, or a problem solved. As a matter of fact, it persists throughout the adult years and is evident in almost all aspects and situations. Apart from the popularized topics of online bullying, sibling bullying, and school bullying, the infamous act of bullying is also evident within families and even among adults. And most often, family bullying occurs merely due to the bully having never learned how to connect with the rest healthily. Also, it sometimes happens because the bully member of the family wants to control and handle different kinds of situations. If, like me, someone in the family is a bully, here are several strategies that you can try to keep matters under control.
Always confide in someone you can trust.
If and when you need to spill the beans on what happened to you, do it with someone that you feel close with, someone you have been confiding your innermost feelings with for quite some time. It can be your sister, brother, or close friend. The key is to keep away from the useless chatter. Find someone supportive of you and genuinely cares about you. Some individuals go straight to their family members rather than their friend, but be cautious when you do so. As most, if not all of us, may have experienced, family members might have the urge to resolve the issue and end up worsening it immediately.
What’s important is that you confide in someone who can be trusted not to say anything when they don’t need to in the first place. He or she needs to be someone who will not make things even more difficult for you. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you should keep mum about it when you are bullied, but confiding about it to one person can tremendously help in making you feel less alone and anxious. Ultimately, having someone who can listen to whatever you might say and keeping you levelheaded in the process is undoubtedly one of the best things that you need. So choose the right person to trust in.
Don’t get too emotional.
When you are trying to deal with bullying in the family, stay composed and don’t show frustration or rage. If you can’t control the bully, you can indeed control your actions. Keep your calm, and do not in any way, interact with the bully. On the contrary, do some journaling about the events that have happened so far, remembering to include vital information, such as dates and places. This will help you find any behavioral patterns.
When we’re talking about a family bully, it is crucial that we set clear limitations between the two of you. For example, if your partner’s brother never stops insulting what you do or say to the point of embarrassment, tell her straight out that you don’t like what he’s doing and that you would like for it to stop. If he keeps doing it, then you always have the option not to invite him over your place even though the rest of the family is invited. You need to set rules and restrictions to keep respect. If this happens to you with other family members as well, you need to do the same – keep your contact with them to a minimum. You don’t need to tolerate their behaviors just because they’re family.
Decide for yourself.
When someone bullies you, you always have a choice, and you always have to make a decision. You can try to forget about it, allow the bully to continue disrespecting you, ignore the bully, or respond with an act of subtle but sweet revenge. Whatever you do, please do not give in to what he wants by reacting negatively at the expense of your self-respect and dignity. Be composed. Don’t behave the way he does. You have the last say about what you should do. Decide wisely.
Maintain or increase your confidence.
Bullies – whether in the family or not – know how to choose whom they can control and influence. Don’t let him know you’re anxious (if you are) and avoid showing defeat or insecurity. When you stand up for yourself and show strength and confidence, you are one step ahead of the person bullying you. Most importantly, be respectful and keep the bully from bullying, even your mind.
Take a break from everything.
Living life with a bully in the family could be exhausting and daunting at the same time. Commit to giving yourself time to relax and take a break from all the thinking. Take a hike. Go beaching with your friends. Visit the spa. Or enjoy the silence in a place where you will feel peaceful and happy. Whatever you do, make sure that will help you take out a portion of negativity from you every time you have that break.
Ultimately, if bullying in the family harms your mental and emotional health, consider seeking professional help from someone who is experienced and qualified in tackling family issues.