“When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~Viktor Frankl
Bullies are everywhere. One of the most insidious and destructive forms of bullying is family bullying, because it’s often done in the name of love.
As someone who was bullied by family members for more years than I care to count, I spent a lot of time learning that most of the bullying going on was not about me or my failings—it was more about what other people needed to unload.
Family bullies often pretend to (or believe they can) help by offering criticism. But a majority of the criticism is usually designed to make the bully feel better rather than to help the victim.
In my family, bullying was the way my parents got rid of their feelings. After years of paying close attention to what was going on under the surface, I finally realized that the more emotions my parents were trying to deny in themselves, the more they put me down.
I also learned that there are ways to minimize the effects of relating to dysfunctional family members, and I’d like to share them with you.
1. Plan your responses ahead of time.
If you know what kinds of comments push your buttons, prepare responses ahead of time that allow you to hold on to your self-esteem.