You are an adult now, you have a career, nice car, you are done with college, and you have a wife/husband, and a family. Maybe this is you or maybe you are single and struggling through relationships. Where ever you are in your personal and professional life, maybe there is something that you have never quite gotten over and that is the person or people that bullied you. Perhaps being bullied has affected your ability to keep relationships, hold down a job, or perhaps you’ve managed to have a successful life despite your painful past.
How does bullying affect adults? According to research there is a strong connection between depression and bullying, those who are victims as well as bullies are both prone to depression. Those that suffer from depression have a greater chance of low self-esteem, anxiety, high rates of school absence and physical illness. High rates of teen suicide have been speculated to stem from depression and while experts are careful not to link bullying with suicidal ideation in teens, those that have suffered from depression have reported to have been bullied.
I was bullied as a child and even partly into my young adult life. I also have close loved ones including family members who were once victims and now survivors. Those bullying survivors are current adults that work constantly towards overcoming trust issues and personal insecurities. This includes myself. According to an ABC report a daunting survey by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that adult bullying is a major issue affecting approximately “12 million Americans in the workplace nearly a third more women than men.” Bullying can shake a child’s confidence; this type of wearing down on a child’s self-esteem can affect so many things in their lives. Guess what happens to a child’s grades when they don’t believe in themselves? When they are too depressed to do their homework? When their parents are too busy to notice the withdrawal? Guess what happens to that child once they are adults? What will their future look like compared to a child that wasn’t bullied?
In an article published by BBC, Childhood bullying ‘damages adult life’ long-term consequences of bullying were tracked by Psychological Science documenting roughly 1,400 bullying victims from the age of 9-26. Former bullying victims and now adult had higher rates of obesity, struggled with mental health issues, acted out aggressively, wound up with other serious illnesses, and had higher chances of poverty. These adults still tormented by their childhood, also struggled to keep long term employment and equally refrained from long term, close friendships. Those that have managed to go beyond their personal limitations and hardships from having been bullied during their younger years, manages to be an inspiration to many of us. Though, with every story of triumph there are hundreds of reported adults that unfortunately, do not share the same success story. I believe in the power of the mind. As a former bullying survivor and one like many of us, I have had to overcome extreme levels of family dysfunction. There is no perfect family or childhood. It is my belief that the more we are made aware of bullying and the horrific ramifications, the more we can protect our children and their future.