In Expert Interviews

Interview: The Adult Bully

Adult Bullying

Dr. Chloe Carmichael holds a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Long Island University. Her private practice focuses on stress management, relationship issues, self esteem, and coaching. Dr. Carmichael sees clients in her Manhattan office or via Skype. She talks to us on The Adult Bully.

Chloe Carmicheal

Chloe Carmicheal

Is bullying as big an issue today as it was say 10 years ago?

Yes- in fact it is an even bigger issue.  The advent of social media has emboldened bullies, and given them more clout. Moreover, the permanent record of the internet makes the wounds more enduring.

Do you see a difference in how bullying happens today – for example social media, mobile phones or maybe adult bullying ?

Yes.  Bullying can now occur even when two people aren’t in the same room.  This means that a child being bullied can’t even breathe a sigh of relief after the school day ends.  The evening hours, which may have been a respite in the past, can now be filled with new text messages and online postings that continue the bullying around the clock.

Have you knowledge of any severe cases and consequences of Bullying and adult bullying?

Yes, I do.  I work with many clients who have been bullied as children, and even some who struggle with it in adulthood.  For example, I have a client whose parents moved to the Deep South in the United States from East Asia. She was bullied for looking different than the other students, as well as for her nascent English skills.  Today, she struggles with public speaking, social anxiety, and self esteem.  Of course I see those issues as consequential to the bullying.  The good news is that she is making a lot of progress in therapy.  She is building awareness and learning new ways to view the world and herself.  This facilitates positive experiences, which reinforce the new perspective she is building.

Have you come across cases of The Adult Bully?

Absolutely.  It is not uncommon, for example, in an office environment.  Office environments can sometimes engender hostility or power struggles that set the stage for bullying.  This can be particularly true if several people form a clique and then single out a target to bully.

Is there likely to be long term effects on people who are Bullied?

Yes.  In my practice, I work with issues related to self esteem, anxiety, and goal attainment.  I regularly work with clients whose struggles in these areas trace back to episodes of bullying.  If someone gets the idea at an early age that the world is a cruel place, they don’t fit in, or they can’t trust others, then self esteem dips while anxiety rises.  This in turn has consequences on the types of goals that a person might set or believe they could reach.

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1 Comment

  • Aiesha
    Sep 05, 2013 at 05:45 pm

    Well, sad as it is, as long as people keep ‘admiring’ the Abby Lee Miller’s of the world, because she supposedly has ‘spunk’ this epidemic is never going away. Bullies need to be shunned and shut down, not encouraged and damn sure not praised!

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