What Is Adult Bullying?


The topic of bullying typically revolves around the younger sect of society, but today we want to tackle the question What Is Adult Bullying? While many individuals would laugh and say there is no such thing, for those of us who have experienced adult bullying it is a real and true experience. Most commonly noted in victims of abuse, adult bullying is often called by different names, but is still a factor in our society that needs to be addressed and removed from the equation.


The most common form of adult bullying comes in the form of abusive relationships. Most women who are abused (physically or emotionally) are actually mere victims of an adult male bully who wishes to control them. Every aspect of an abusive relationship is a form of bullying.

Abusive Relationship Bullying

  • Controlling another persons actions

  • Verbal and Mental abuse that demeans the persons abilities, physical appearance or intelligence

  • Physical abuse that is meant to control or punish another adult.

Other forms of adult bullying that are common place come within peer groups. While these are not typically the “lock you in the school locker” forms of bullying we see in the movies, they are truly a form of abuse and bullying that can have lasting damage on an adult.

Adult Bullying Amongst Peer Groups

  • Spreading Rumors of bad choices, bad reputation or untruths amongst peer groups

  • Name calling and untrue accusations in front of peers

  • Belittling another adult peers intelligence or abilities in front of coworkers/friends/family

  • Making fun of or belittling ones religious choice/belief system

  • Degrading another person due to their sexuality

  • Segregating individuals due to their ethnicity or race

Many adults fall victim to adult bullying on a daily basis, and do not recognize it as such. Even more adults are adult bullies in their very behavior toward individuals they don’t “approve” of, or disagree with.

A few of the more common places we see adult bullying

  • Religious groups that try to convert by using fear tactics

  • Male dominated work places that refuse to hire females for traditional male roles

  • Individuals who refuse service or friendship due to sexual preference

  • Adults condemning other adults for their lifestyle, sexuality or religious preference

  • Locker room teasing due to physical appearance (both male & female)

  • Societal “standards” of physical beauty leaving out those who don’t fit the mold for various reasons including physical disability, weight, hair color, eye color, skin tone

These forms of adult bullying are just the tip of the iceberg so to speak. Stereotyping others, refusing friendship and belittling an individual are all common forms of bullying that we see daily in society. Unfortunately if we look at these things honestly, we will have to admit that many of us have been bullies in the past without even realizing it.

Get more information about preventing bullying in our Stop Bullying Tips article.

Have you ever dealt with adult bullying? How did you handle it?

4 thoughts on “What Is Adult Bullying?”

  1. Because I was bullied as an adult in the workplace, the effect of this behavior that destroyed my confidence, I researched the “why” I was targeted. I have published the book “Bullies, Bosses, and Angels” to help those being bullied, or who have been bullied in the workplace.

  2. We actually have an 82 year old bully in our neighborhood! If he doesn’t “like” you he stalks you while you’re walking your dog, vandalizes your property and stands in his garage with binoculars to see when you come and go. He was recently arrested and admitted that he deliberately drove his golf cart over my lawn and sprinkler heads “because he dislikes” me. He has previously been arrested for stalking. Hopefully, the court will realize what this guy is doing and do something about it. Trying to put a stop to it has cost me thousands in video surveillance and travel expenses.

  3. What a great post Adult Bullying is also a problem for many people too. People don’t really take notice to the adult bullying. Thanks for spreading the word.

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