Bullies in the home are a reality  that millions of adults have personally experienced it by their biological or nonbiological sibling(s). Bullies, who are aggressive siblings, has never been considered  an important societal issue. Generally within the mindset of society it is considered harmless.


Bullies are often siblings living in the home.

 Acceptance of bullies who are siblings has come about  about because it is perceived as a competitive rite of passage that is helpful to adulthood. This unfortunately is firmly still in place. Since the beginning of mankind, children within families, have been bickering and trading aggressions. The real focus, however, hasn’t been on how harmful bullies, who are sibs, can be to adulthood.


Bullies are very hurtful to adulthood.

Bullies, the majority, aren’t at school. Bullies are more prevalent in the home. The #1 origin of the present epidemic of bullying comes from the present epidemic of bullies who are siblings. When many child are victimized by bullies who are sibs, they will act it out on other children. When a children are victimized by bullies who are siblings, they often send out signals of being a victim and in turn attract bullies.

The torment and fighting that is often shrugged off as normal sibling rivalry can significantly alter the brain of a child.


Bullies who are siblings, can alter the brain of the child.

 I am a survivor of sibling abuse. Over the years I have consulted with survivors who struggled with emotional issues and sabotaged themselves in their careers because of  humiliation they experienced in their own home at the hands of bullies who were  sibling(s) cousin(s), step, etc. I discovered that this little acknowledged type of abuse,  is very eroding to the identity and self esteem. The victim can constantly have doubts and worries about their ability to perform. Because of in-home bullies, they often have inability to trust their self with decisions and/or contact with human beings. The outcome is often excessive self criticism. 

I want to share beneficial and much needed empowerment information for recovery for the adult survivor’s life. They are offered to strengthen and heal from sibling abuse. 

1. Understand the Brain & The Hippocampus

 The “hippocampus” is often activated and sends out pervasive feelings of anxiety, helplessness, and panic. New research suggests that even when there are no physical scars, aggression from sib bullies can inflict psychological scarring to mental patterns that can last a lifetime.


Bullies often alter the hippocampus of a child’s brain.

 According to what little research has been conducted, adults, subjected to sibling abuse, who were attacked, threatened, intimidated in childhood/adolescents, have an increased risk of PTSD, depression, anger and anxiety. Negative information and beliefs are actually over learned and stored in the hippocampus.  The function of the hippocampus is to store memories.  The hippocampus “forever” archives the aggression and has a difficult time ignoring its presence. Knowledge about this portion of the brain is helpful in reducing hopelessness and shame.

Reformatting the hippocampus to its normal state is very difficult. Many therapists aren’t trained in how to unravel what an aggressive sibling has done. It is extremely important for the survivor to not only know the parts of their own brain, but be proactive in acquiring knowledge about what therapists and treatments are helpful in reformatting the hippocampus which is trauma work, EMDR, CBT, etc. This information helps in not feeling fated or that abuse and aftermath, by bullies in the home setting, has no hope or remedy for recovery.

 2. Practice Meditation & Positive Inner Communication 

Because the hippocampus is altered, an adult survivor can live an inner life time of never ending torment. The inner self often says:

*Can I be free of my past and move on?

*Will I ever have a normal life?

*Will this anxiety ever go away?

*Why do I keep attracting the wrong people?

Meditation is helpful for many survivors because it calms the brain and helps it to be in present time, rather than the past. Within a state of calm the brain has more of an opportunity to notice the stored negative beliefs from a state of detachment. With skillful discipline and the assistance of the trauma therapy, the brain is able to oppose negative conditioning. (Therapy Referral/see website).

Helpful anchor statements are:

I am good, I have opportunities, I have abilities, I have empowerment, etc.

Helpful affirmations to repeatedly say to self. Try writing them 3 x’s a day by hand.

I have a river of peace running through me.

I have solutions for my (financial, relationship, home environment, etc) and I hold to my inner strength.

I have organized my home so I feel safe and comforted.


Sibling bullies and the aftermath requires positive thoughts.

I hope that this has been helpful and I look forward to sharing with you again. It is never too late to recover from what a sibling did to our lives.

Nancy Kilgore, M.S.


CLICK HERE 4 Information on Bullying

Click 4 Info on Bully Siblings

Click 4 Meditation Strategies

5 thoughts on “Bullies in our Homes: Adult Recovery Strategies From Sibling Abuse

  1. This is a very interesting issue that should have more attention, especially when it has large consequences.
    I never experienced this, but I can imagine this has great influence on later life.
    Hopefully it gets more publicity and I wish you good luck with your blog in this.

    • I am being abuse my my younger sibling of whom I am the oldest. We have the same mother but diffrent father. I think that my stepfather turned them against me when my mother told them that their father abused me an my sister.

  2. My older sister the Social Worker, has spent years undermining my confidence, shunning me, and gas lighting me to our parents, her children and any one who will listen. As a child she would sit on top of me and try and spit in my face, fart into my pillow at night, would cheat at games, would leave me alone in situations where she was my caregiver (hide n seek, your it), dragged me onto a rooftop and couldn’t get me down (fear of heights now) and generally was constantly picking on me. She would feign innocence to my parents and I would inevitably get into trouble. SHe left home at 14 and starting doing drugs, I thrived without her and normalized my teenage years (for the most part as I was molested at age 12). Over the years the bullying became a different beast of shunning and judgements of me, my life, my choices, my parenting style, you name it – I was never good enough, smart enough to attain any kind of positive anything from her. I made a few mistakes and was held accountable for years and years, and to the point when I made a mistake with one of her adult children (ie said something I shouldn’t have) I have been made to feel guilty and have it thrown in my face over and over again, and then left out of family events with the label that I am being problematic. Realizing this has escalated since I started therapy 7 years ago and started to find my voice about these things, the escalation of the flying monkeys (aka her kids and our parents). Recently my parents are in agreement with me that she is unreasonabley targeting me for derision by herself and her kids that they are wondering how much of what I have been telling them over my whole life has been possibley true. Sad, but true. My mom is dying of cancer right now, and my sister has imposed herself and attempts to remove me are palpable but not working. Thank goodness for my psych who has documented all of this, otherwise the crazy making would actually make me crazy (it’s what drove me to therapy. I am the identified patient) She has lay diagnosed me with Borderline, but my psych says I actually have CPTSD due to the cognitive dissonance I suffered at the expense of my toxic family situation. (Dad is a Narc, mum anxious and fearful) and I was sexually molested, raped 3 separate occasions and married at toxic man who is the father of my child (ongoing verbal abuse post divorce to the point of having to go no contact)

    I will say this, I am attempting to go no contact with sister but she is turning it around on me while my mother is ill and I find that to be the worst part of it all for now, but I do know that once my parents are both gone, I will thrive without the triangulations and flying monkey behavior that seems to be pervasive. I have friends who remind me I am not the person my sister would like me to believe I am and that is the most helpful to me, others can see her from a position outside the family. No one can understand how a social worker can behave this way, because she is seemingly good at her job, but cannot resolve her feelings about me. I am flawed but don’t deserve to be treated like an outsider. Even real criminals get a visit in prison from loving family members. This will always make me sad. But I choose to let it go and work on not needing or wanting anything from her. (Tough because well .. Family)

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