Are You A Bully & Don't Even Know It?

By

Relationship Expert: Are You Bullying Your Family?
If your suggestions sound more like demands, you might be guilty.

Bul·ly
verb, bul·lied, bul·ly·ing

To act the bully toward; intimidate; domineer; exert power over.

I'm grateful that bullying is a hot topic in the media and that parents have been calling on school administrators and teachers — not to mention social media — to do a better job protecting our kids from cruelty by their peers. As a mom of two, I understand our cultural outrage about this subject and, like so many others, I sometimes point fingers at the parents of bullies, particularly those who set bad examples by being bullies themselves.

 

Yes, parents can be bullies too. You know the grown-ups I'm talking about: You've seen them out and about, doing and saying awful stuff not just to their kids, but to their partners, too:

  • They insult: "What were you thinking?" or "That was a ridiculous thing to do!"
  • They name-call: "What an airhead!" or "Why are you always such an a*#hole?"
  • They act superior: "If you'd just listened to me in the first place..."
  • They issue commands: "Don't you dare say another word!" or "Why don't you say something? You should stand up to your boss!"
  • They belittle: "How could you not know how to do that?"
  • They threaten: "You say that one more time and I'm out of here."
  • They manipulate: "If you just did what I asked, I wouldn't have to nag you about it."
  • They withhold: "If you were kinder to me, maybe we'd have sex more." or "I'm not giving you another dime until you get your spending under control."
  • They judge and gossip: "My husband's so insensitive. You know how men are."

"Them", "those parents", the ones over there, across the playing field, the ones who live across town, or next door, in another country, or school district … they're the parents whose kids become bullies.

But if we're honest with ourselves? Given the right dose of fear, frustration, powerlessness, exhaustion or shame, any of us, myself included, not only could bully our spouses and kids, but sometimes actually do, if only briefly, unconsciously, and hopefully unintentionally.

Not buying it? Thinking to yourself: "Sure I might be bossy sometimes, but I'm no bully!"? Fine. Insert "bossiness" through the rest of this post whenever "bullying" appears. Seriously: My advice is just as applicable to those of us who are bossy as to bullies.

Article contributed by

Rhona Berens

Relationship Coach

Rhona Berens, PhD, CPCC
Rhona@ParentAlliance.com
Parent Alliance® 
Helping Parents Stay Sane and Stay Together

 

Location: Los Angeles & Northern California, CA
Credentials: ACC, CPCC, PhD
Specialties: Communication Problems, Couples/Marital Issues, Life Transitions
Other Articles/News by Rhona Berens:

Yes, New Parents Fight A TON. Here's How To Keep The Peace

By

You both dreamed of the day your little bundle of joy would enter your life, envisioning how you as a couple would be closer and how parenthood would enhance your lives. But now that baby is here, you and your partner find yourself at odds, fighting more than before and worrying that your relationship won't recover. But you're not alone! Research ... Read more

Why Starving Your Relationship of Romance Is Hurting Your Kids

By

I read this quote recently:  “The best thing a society can do for itself is to promote and support healthy couples, and the best thing partners can do for themselves, for their children, and for society is to have a healthy relationship.” - Harville Hendrix, author of Getting the Love You Want Seriously?!?! The "best" ... Read more

Why Dads Relate To Me As A Lesbian

By

When I first started coaching expecting couples and new parents, I worried that me being gay would be an obstacle for heterosexual clients. Either because of homophobia or they might assume that, as a lesbian, I couldn't possibly understand straight relationship dynamics. Instead, I discovered that being gay allows me to understand both moms and dads in ... Read more

See More

 
My Videos
ASK YOURTANGO MORE QUESTIONS
Must-see Videos
SEE MORE VIDEOS
Most Popular