Bullies in our Homes: Adult Recovery Strategies From Sibling Abuse

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

3 Empowering Ideas for Optimum Recovery from a Bully Sibling

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.

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

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

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 sibling

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 sibling

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.

*Therapy Referral for Sibling Abuse (Click Here)

bully sibling

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.

Important Links:

Click here for Bullying & Sibling Abuse


 Click here 4 Definition of a Bully