What Are The Effects Of Bullying On Your Adult Years?


As an adult who suffered from bullying during my formative years, it is easy for me to say that it can indeed effect your life continually, but the question remains, What are the effects of bullying on your adult years? Every victim of bullying will have a different answer, but the result is the same. The effects of bullying are long lasting and do not disappear in your adult years simply because you are now a “grown up”.

What Are The Effects Of Bullying On Your Adult Years?

Studies show that the effects of bullying can linger permanently. While individuals who have good relationships with their parents and a strong support at home will be less effected by the bullies in their lives, those who are not surrounded by support will see the effects of bullying well into their adulthood. Distrust, poor social skills, inability to maintain good relationships, are just a few of the problems formerly bullied children face as adults. If bullying isn’t a real issue in society, then why do we have so many adults who suffer from what has been deemed post traumatic stress disorder as a result of childhood bullying?

The most common effects of bullying that linger in adults are:

The effects of bullying are far reaching. Even though a bully may no longer be present in a child’s life, it does not mean the damage has not been done permanently. With children being so impressionable in the formative years, what is said by their peers can often impact them for life. When faced with daily derogatory comments, a child may soon begin to believe what is said. It is difficult to gauge how much one instance or a dozen instances is going to effect a child in the long term.

We have even fewer statistics on the effects of bullying in children who are in the LGBT community. Since this is a hot topic that is controversial for any age, let alone a child, it is assumed that an LGBT child who is bullied by their peers will suffer lasting effects from bullying that could lead to suicide, violence or depression that would be debilitating to their daily life.

Bullying is real. It isn’t something that developing a thick skin as a child will prevent you from being hurt by. This is not a simple matter of teasing. There are true long lasting effects of bullying in adults everywhere today. From the woman who doesn’t feel her body is good enough and distrusts the compliments she receives, to the young man who was smarter than the rest of the class and teased for being a geek that is now unable to develop a traditional social life – bullying is real and the damage done may be permanent.

What are your thoughts on the effects of bullying on adults? Did you deal with bullying as a child?

13 thoughts on “What Are The Effects Of Bullying On Your Adult Years?”

  1. Hi,
    I’ve been bullied since I was 6 because of my weight up until a few months ago because I started online schooling. I’m 16, I recently found out I have a thyroid condition meaning I can’t metabolise things properly which is I’m the way I am. It made me not take their words as harsh but they still hurt and honestly the bursts of anger is what’s getting me at the moment. I dont have anyone to talk to because I don’t trust them so I’m not sure what to do

  2. Hi, my name is Ryder Crawford, I’m 16 years old. I have been bullied for a while. I just need some extra advice, from someone who knows a lot. Please help.

    1. Hi Ryder,
      Do you have a friend or a trusted adult you can talk with? Being a victim of bullying is hard – but it is not your fault and you are a better, more wonderful person than anyone who is bullying you. Things will get better. It’s important to talk with people about what is happening to you. Good people will support you – they are out there. I am thinking of you.

  3. There should be a place in hell for bullies; particularly ones that aren’t willing to own up to it. I have heard some colleagues talk fondly of stealing some other student’s lunch money and other forms of torment. This makes me absolutely sick. Having been through it all for much of my grade school years and even in the work place, this must be addressed on a regular basis.

    1. Dear Michele,
      I do not have a title of expertise here–only a ton of experience. I’ve been thru ACA (a brilliant 12 step program dealing with Adult Child issues), many many spiritual and psychological methods and even had my own school of self awareness and healing.
      My own personal experience and what I’ve seen during my 60 years is, that bullying does not stop at school. It definitely goes on and even intensifies as one gets out into “real life”, the business world, the work force, any org or work place, even any religious organization or group.

      Those of us who have been bullied at an early age and who were neglected by parents have no resources to deal with this. We become losers, despite our often outstanding talents. What I have found that lifted me out of that space was being seriously involved in creative/art/sefl expressive activities, where I feel I have the power to render things as I please, or however I find it working for me. I can be God within my blank canvas–and it is an experience I need–that I missed out on as a child. I need to show this constellation of being to myself over and over again, to stay out of the pits.
      The other thing helping is a group, could call it a sanctuary, that understands fully and accepts fully who I am and how I am–with all my shame, anxiety, talents, and other attractive emotions and energies. This is the harder part, as where these are accepted, they often validated as well–which pulls you back when you’d be ready to leave the baggage behind…
      There was one place where the group thing worked for me, and I got to a really great place in my life–it was the Berkeley Psychic Institute. This org now has many many affiliates as the graduates started to create their own groups and teach there. These days they do a lot of it online, which , for me only works 50%, but it is still the most effective. I’d thrive on a Physical group where the bodies are present as well–bodies make things very real and reassuring. Right now I am participating in an online group like this, called Intuitivevision.
      Other that that, what helped me a ton was Family Constellations, truly magical and one doesn’t need a “technique” or a special lingo to do it, and it changes the past to a certain degree.
      However, you are so right ! the fact remains that our culture, society, economics, politics and social life is based on Bullying, it is a major force of that keeps the world spinning around. There could be other ways to spin the world, but for that more things need to change, mostly within human beings as individuals.
      As soon as one has to give her/his life force/time/attention/physical energy or body to an “employer” in order to survive, by creating and giving away wealth for a BULLY, this might not change much. As long as someone else, and employer, etc, dictates when you eat, when you sleep, when you go to the bathroom, what clothes you wear, in what form, style, and when you communicate, where you have to put your precious attention–you are being bullied. Even if it is, on the surface, well accepted by our society, which it is. If you can exploit yr employees/clients to a large degree, the world congratulates you, praises you and further rewards you for being a “good business man”, “being successful”, “have a winning attitude”, or whatever it is called these days. There might be a very few exceptional cases where success is not built on exploiting others, such would be the case of the author of the “Harry Potter” books, for instance. She of course had a super supportive mother and sister, giving her a solid foundation and energy pool to draw from and lean on when she was bullied on her path. Where she has a wealth of sweet energy from her female line, I come up empty. This feels painful, shameful, punishing…I often ask God, “what have I done, that you punish me so for ?” No answer so far. Being mad at God is also said not to be a “winning attitude”. So I am stuck, because I’d like to know at least who to be mad at…
      So God, if you happened to be listening, maybe it is time for You to change your ways, as well. We’ve been trying to fix your fuck ups in our selves, but a little bit of help from you wouldn’t hurt–hopefully.
      Best of luck, awareness, self affinity and creative space for all of us!
      And a hug to you, Michele,

  4. My name is Linda Crockett and I am the founder of the Alberta Bullying Research, Resources and Recovery Centre. I am someone who experienced bullying as a child and many times in the workplace. I have put in my years of recovery and I completed a masters degree in social work specializing in addressing the phenomenon of bullying. I’ve been a SW for over 26 yrs. Research shows that children abused and or bullied are at a higher risk of becoming targets and/or bullies in the workplace. So are children from domestic violence and or homes with addictions, sexual abuse and so on. For this reason I say bullying is a symptom. There are many layers to this complex phenomenon. We do need to be role models that encourage and practice attending theraphy and many other self help practices for ourselves first, if we really want to help our children. We need to heal. We need to practice what we preach. Take care of us, do we can take care of them. Self compassion and more. Too many people are trying to help others in this area without doing their own personal work and working within their own scope of practice. We have trained professional therapists available now for recovery work. Some of us offer sliding scales, counselling via phone, Skype, email and in person. Be sure that those you see have credentials, and knowledge of bulllying factors. If your insure contact me and I will connect you. You risk further injury seeing someone who is not trained in this area. Without recovery change does not occur. The cycle continues.

  5. Bullying has lasting effects when the behavior occurs in the adult years; esp. in the workplace and domestic abuse. Bullying is damaging to ones self-esteem regardless of the target’s age. Just like children should feel safet to attend and learn in school adults; need to feel safe and their contribution valued in the workplace. More attention needs to address adult bullying in the workplace.

  6. I am 43 years old and I work with people of all ages who want to recover from the emotional effects of bullying and to restore their self-worth. From the age of 11-14 I endured relational, verbal, and physical bullying from four girls that were supposed to be friends. It escalated to the entire middle school alienating me and participating in the bullying. I suffered most of my life from depression, anxiety, and rage and I know the profound effect it has. I agree completely that having a supportive and nurturing family can make the difference in how resilient we are. I unfortunately did not have that and found that my emotions took over my life and I developed PTSD as a result. I still struggle today, but with the help of my life coach have found hope and resilience. I dedicate each day of my life towards helping others so that they do not suffer from the life long impact that bullying can have. The key to overcoming the effects of bullying is to talk about it. The shame will not go away unless victims can share their stories with someone who understands what they have been through, can offer compassion and empathy, and provide them with tools to rebuild their self-esteem, manage their anger and fear, and find joy again in their lives. I am happy to see that today society has no longer deemed bullying as a rite of passage, and we are all taking a stand to prevent and intervene when we see bullying. There is never too much education and awareness out there on this issue. Bullying takes lives and by the grace of god I am still here to share my story and use my experience to help others. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Bravo for having the courage to speak out Angela. Bullying is not just a childhood thing it is a pervasive sickness that presupposes one can feel better about oneself or achieve their objective by humiliating another. Hitler was a bully at Munich, need more be said. The logical conclusion of bully thinking is genocide. Canadian John Peters Humphrey overcame being bullied to say one should never be tortured or killed for an opinion.

  7. Savannah miller

    I did deal with a lot of bullying, but sadly most of it came from my own dad :/
    It most ways I made me mean, but at the same time I promised my kiddos would never go through the things I did.

  8. Our class bully is nowhere to be heard nowadays….but i worry for my 5 year old cousin who already is experiencing bullying round their neighborhood. something has to be done

  9. My daughters and I are actively involved in helping kids and moms with the effects of bullying. They actually wrote a book that will come out this fall, called I Love ME! which they are committed to getting in the hands of other kids, especially those who cannot afford it. I help moms love who they are and overcome some of the effects of bullying, abuse, and other victimizing experiences. It is so sad to see that hurt people hurt people and that the cycle goes on. I appreciate you shining light on this very important subject!

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