Wednesday, July 24, 2024


Anti-Bullying Awareness Week: Confronting Bullying in Adulthood

Bullying in adulthood may not exhibit in the form of playground taunts and schoolyard fights, we associate with childhood, but it can be equally damaging.

By Avni Ved

Friday, November 10, 2023

Bullying is often associated with childhood and adolescence, but it’s important to recognize that it doesn’t always end when we grow up. Bullying can persist into adulthood, although in different forms. With the Anti-Bullying Awareness Week approaching (13th– 17th November 2023), let us try to understand and address bullying in adulthood.

Bullying in adulthood may not exhibit in the form of playground taunts and schoolyard fights, we associate with childhood, but it can be equally damaging. In adult life, bullying often takes on subtler forms, such as workplace bullying, cyberbullying, or even relational bullying among friends and family. 

Types of Adult Bullying

1. Workplace Bullying: This type of bullying involves behaviors like spreading rumors, undermining colleagues’ work, or subjecting someone to unwarranted criticism. Workplace bullies can create a hostile environment, leading to stress, anxiety, and decreased job performance. 

2. Cyberbullying: The internet has brought with it a new dimension of bullying. Cyberbullying includes online harassment, trolling, and the spread of hurtful content through social media.

3. Relational Bullying: Bullying can also occur within social circles, where friends or family members engage in manipulative behavior, exclusion, or emotional abuse. This form of bullying can be particularly painful, as it disrupts personal relationships.

Understanding the Impact

Adults who experience bullying may face a range of emotional, psychological, and physical consequences. Common reactions include anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, increased stress, and even physical health issues. Addressing these issues promptly is essential to prevent long-term harm.

Dealing with Adult Bullying

1. Recognize Bullying: The first step in dealing with adult bullying is recognizing it for what it is. Understand the signs, acknowledge your feelings, and seek support from trusted friends or professionals.

2. Set Boundaries: Establishing clear boundaries is crucial when dealing with adult bullies. In the workplace, communicate with HR or management about the issue. With friends and family, have honest conversations about your boundaries and expectations.

3. Seek Support: Reach out to friends, family, or a therapist for emotional support and guidance. Talking to someone you trust can help you process your emotions and make informed decisions.

4. Document Incidents: If you’re facing workplace bullying or online harassment, keep a record of incidents. Documenting the behavior can be helpful if you need to escalate the issue or seek legal action.

5. Change Environments: If bullying is persistent and impacting your life, consider making changes to your environment. This could involve finding a new job, disconnecting from toxic online spaces, or distancing yourself from harmful relationships.

Bullying doesn’t discriminate based on age and can have a significant impact even during adulthood. By understanding the various forms of adult bullying and implementing effective strategies to deal with it, individuals can regain control of their lives and work towards a happier, healthier future. Remember, seeking support and taking action are key steps in ending the cycle of adult bullying.