How to Heal From Bullying in Childhood (And How It Affects Adulthood)

By Tiffiny J. Fambro | Confidence

Oct 06

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Bullying is a form of abuse, intimidation, and assault, usually from one child to another. However, children can also be bullied by adults.

There is physical bullying such as hitting, kicking, spitting, or inappropriate touching. It can be mental such as name-calling, spreading rumors about the other person, staring, pointing, theft, or threatening written text.

The emotional impact bullying can have on a child is immense as it can lead to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, low confidence, suicidal ideation, or self-harm behavior.

Physical health can also be affected by bullying. Symptoms include insomnia, stomach aches, headaches, and chronic bodily pains.

Keeping these things in mind, it’s easy to see how learning how to heal from bullying in childhood is an important thing to do if you wish to excel in life.

How Being Bullied as a Child Affects Adulthood

Our childhood experiences and interactions become the psychological foundation for our adulthood experiences. People who suffer from childhood bullying may become wounded adults.

Research studies have shown that in adulthood 80% of women that reported being bullied in childhood also reported as having negative life events in adulthood.

Women who suffer from childhood bullying can have lower self-esteem, lower personal confidence, and possibly difficulty with social connection. They may deal with more physical illness or disabilities in adulthood.

They also may have a higher chance of attracting needy people, narcissists, abusive relationships, dysfunctional friendships, and high conflict personalities. This could also result in experiencing bullying in the workplace, bullying in marriage, or bullying/abuse in the family.

Women that were bullied may become very sensitive adults. They may not be able to handle difficult situations, they may not be able to defend themselves against unfair behavior, they may be overly emotional during small challenges, or may become very dependent on others.

Some women may display opposite behavior by developing shielding techniques such as being overly defensive, overly aggressive, hyper confrontational. This could result in them projecting false confidence. Meaning they may claim that nothing bothers them, they can handle anything, or that they don’t care what people think.

Internally, however, most women experience the complete opposite emotions of what they claim. Often, they do care about what others think and are deeply affected by negative experiences.


Can Childhood Bullying Cause PTSD?

Research has also shown that childhood bullying can cause post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

PTSD is a psychological disorder associated with experiencing a traumatic event such as war, a natural disaster, sexual violence, serious injury, or long-term abuse. Symptoms include sadness, fear, anxiety, intense negative thoughts, and suicidal behavior.

People suffering from PTSD may also get triggered by events that remind them of the past trauma. For example, if you were bullied in school as a child you may have difficulty going to your child’s school in adulthood because the school atmosphere reminds you of your childhood experience. Or if you were bullied by a child with red hair, you may have negative feelings for people with red hair in your adulthood.

Many times PTSD can go undiagnosed and people may not realize that the symptoms they are experiencing are related to past trauma.

How to Overcome Being Bullied as a Child

Here’s how to overcome being bullied as a child:

  1. Acknowledgement
  2. Healing prioritization
  3. Improve thought patterns

Let’s go over this process in more detail.

1. Acknowledgement

The first step to overcoming issues in adulthood from childhood bullying is to acknowledge that the bullying you endured affected you as an adult. Allow yourself to acknowledge that bullying is a form of abuse and that abuse caused you deep pain. Be willing to show yourself compassion as you navigate through your emotions.

2. Healing Prioritization

Next, make healing a priority. Start working on activities that build your self-esteem, confidence, self-worth, and self-love.

Activities such as daily exercise, healthy nutrition, meditation, yoga, journaling, speaking to a licensed therapist, and distancing yourself or eliminating toxic relationships that trigger your pain.

It also helps to write out things that you are proud of that you have accomplished, such as getting a job, planting a flower, being a good friend, or anything that you did that you are proud of. It’s important for you to see- in writing- the experiences that make you feel good to remind yourself that you are valuable and worthy of your love.

If you have positive supportive people in your life be willing to spend more time with them as those positive connections will make you feel happier.

3. Improve Thought Processes

Lastly, interrupt negative thought patterns. Whenever you start saying negative things about yourself or have negative thoughts be willing to stop and acknowledge that the negative thoughts are untrue. Remind yourself of all the positive things you wrote down and reaffirm your capabilities. This will further improve your self-esteem, feelings of self-value, and feelings of self-worth.


Bullying in childhood is a form of abuse and it can have severe consequences in adulthood. It can cause PTSD, physical illnesses and exacerbate other mental health disorders.

As adults, it is important to acknowledge the impact of bullying and how it may have contributed to feelings of low self-esteem, low confidence, depression, anxiety, or hypersensitivity.

Once the effects of bullying have been acknowledged, the healing process can then began. Getting past the trauma is possible, and once you do so, you can begin to live a happy, healthy, and confident life.


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About the Author

Tiffiny has a B.A. in Psychology, and master’s degree in Public Health Education. She worked in consulting for over 16 years, as well as previously owning a fitness and health business. In her personal life, she used personal development, mindset and health strategies to go from being overworked in a demanding corporate career, emotionally drained in a toxic marriage, physically unhealthy, and depressed to becoming an award-winning figure level bodybuilding athlete and entrepreneur. As a women’s empowerment coach, she works to help women get clear on their goals, build confidence, increase self-esteem, take action on their deep desires and create a life they love

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