Bully sibling is a term that isn’t utilized in everyday conversations. A bully sibling was in my childhood and the aftermath grew in my adulthood. As I write these words it is early spring in California and the poppies are rapidly coming up through the damp earth. The sight of this explosion of poppies is a joy to my tearful eyes. As I witness winter becoming spring, I am very aware that the present epidemic of bullying is directly connected to the epidemic of bully siblings or sibling abuse. Bullies are not falling from the sky and are being made in the American home. Our country doesn’t want to acknowledge that the #1 cause of bullying is actually aggressive bully siblings. For many years, my older sister was my “in home” bully sibling.
A bully sibling was in my own home.
In this particular new spring, I have reached a new appreciation for how hard I fought to recover from what the abuse of my bully sibling in childhood. For many years in my adulthood, I made no connection that my crisis-filled, dysfunctional life was the result of my bully sibling. Recovery has been difficult and done by trial and error because information wasn’t readily available. I want to share 3 empowering ideas for a productive recovery from from a bully sibling.
It is never too late to recovery from what an “in-home” biological or nonbiological abusive sibling(s) did in our childhood. Reclaiming one’s life can happen now…this very moment.
bully sibling are often emotionally abusive
1. Recovery Requires Education
Challenge yourself to become knowledgeable about research, books, and resources on this topic. When you embark on this journey, you will feel liberated and validated. You are a survivor!
In America alone, researchers estimate that there are 40 million
adult survivors of bully siblings.
Eighty percent (80%) of all human beings have at least one sibling.
The sibling relationship has the greatest longevity when compared to any other relationship between human beings.
Abuse by a sibling is more damaging than if it had came from a parent or a stranger. It is experienced as the highest betrayal. It can be an overwhelming, uncontrollable experience that psychologically impacts the victim by creating feelings of:
Negativity, helplessness, vulnerability, impulsivity, loss of safety and loss of control.
There are few researchers who have conducted research on this issue. Most researchers are seeking financial gain when they address “birth order” which is a great deflection and diversion from a massive ignored crime.
Bully Sibling researcher, Corrina Jenkins Tucker, PHd
According to researcher Corrina Jenkins Tucker, PHd, in study published in the American Pediatrics Journal, June 2013, a bully sibling can have devastating and long lasting impact to an adult survivor’s life with:
Job instability, chronic depression, anxiety, addictions, incarcerations, bad relationships, hospitalizations, drug addiction, alcoholism, estrangement from family, homelessness, PTSD financial problems, and suicidal ideation etc.
2. Create Your Own Definition
Sibling abuse is the physical, emotional or sexual abuse. The physical abuse can range from more mild forms of aggression, such as pushing and shoving, to very violent behavior such as using weapons or household items. It can be destruction to pets or property.
Bully siblings are usually not supervised.
· Often parents don’t see the abuse for what it is. As a rule, parents and society expect fights and aggression among siblings and don’t see the abuse as a problem until serious harm occurs. The victim child is concerned with maintaining a ‘status-quo’ for their family and will act as normal as possible, while others may repress memories.
Sibling abuse is similar to living with a constant bully without an opportunity to escape and it is always emotionally humiliating.
Abuse by a bully sibling is very hurtful.
· The victim child doesn’t want the abuse. It isn’t age appropriate.
One of the best authors and researchers for your personal definition is Vernon Wiehe. His book is called Sibling Abuse. Conduct a Google search on this topic and challenge yourself to gather information and form your own definition.
Bully siblings are often tolerated as normal.
3. Beneficial Therapies
The aftermath damage of a bully sibling can be chronic mental impairment. The beginning neurological formations can be altered, jeopardizing the adult’s psychological development. Statistics about the pervasiveness of this issue do not tell of the anger, betrayal, fear, guilt and self-hatred experienced by adult victims. Every day millions adult survivors face the challenges of mental illness and many deal with a challenge that has four letters: PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). PTSD is a genuine medical condition; it is the fifth most common psychiatric disorder and can develop at any age. Untreated, it can become a life-shattering chronic illness.
Studies have found that a child who is subjected to intense threat or trauma from a bully sibling, is more likely to develop Complex PTSD.
Millions of survivors are misdiagnosed with chronic depression, borderline personality disorder, anxiety, attachment disorder, etc. Many are subjected to electric shock therapy. Many are medicated with antidepressants or tranquilizers and do not get the therapy they need. Ignorance of this childhood crime has been incorporated within many mental health delivery systems.
*Many survivors can’t make the association that their mental health issues resulted from the aggression perpetrated by a sibling(s), cousin, step-sibling etc.
*Many spend countless hours in unproductive therapy.
·Many therapists are not trained in how to pinpoint the occurrence a client’s background.
Within traditional adult-therapy session, the survivor may be paralyzed or re-traumatized by approaches that dismiss abuse from a sibling(s) as irrelevant. Sibling abuse is rarely discussed in therapy sessions.
Abuse by a Bully Sibling is the most resistant to regular therapies.
One of the hardest challenges of a survivor is lack of trust in people, lack of assertiveness, and destructive patterns.
I was misdiagnosed. Many of my adult years were spent in the wrong therapy. From the ages of 21-38, I frequented many therapists’ offices and participated in talk therapy sessions that never shifted my outlook. Talk therapy doesn’t shift what was done to the brain’s neurological system. In my opinion, EFT, NLP, and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing). EMDR therapy are helpful repairing the psychological makeup of an adult survivor. It is controversial because therapists would rather keep a traumatized person in several sessions for revenue.
I hope that this has been helpful and I look forward to sharing with you again. It is never too late to change our adulthood.
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