IBS and bullying

IBS and bullying

You may never have made the link between IBS and bullying, but there often is one.

Bullying can leave a seemingly indelible imprint on your health, your well-being and your success in life. But know that this can be turned around.

The last section is of particular importance, so don’t miss it.

Bullying and IBS

While not all IBS sufferers have had the experience of bullying, many have. Sometimes the bullying is about IBS symptoms themselves. But the bullying may have started a long time before the symptoms ever manifested. At school. At home. Or elsewhere.

If you think back you will sorely remember when others were not kind to you.

Parental bullying and IBS

We don’t often think of parents bullying their children. It sounds odd, especially if they wanted a family.

And yet…

Many people do not see this kind of insiduous bullying. It may have going on from generation to generation disguised as “good parenting“.

And children can think that having parents that very regularly criticise, undermine, and shame them is normal.

If just one parent is the bully, it can feel so unfair if the other parent doesn’t step in and stop the behaviour. It can leave you feeling unsupported, unprotected and open to attack.

Maybe you were the “black sheep” of the family?

Was there was a narcissist pushing you around, putting YOU down so they could feel superior?

Maybe you reminded one of your parents or caregivers of someone that triggered them?

Unfortunately it can even be grandparents that bully or mistreat a child.

Either way you were in a position of being deeply criticized, emotionally (and maybe physically) hurt and humiliated, and have likely been running from that deep feeling of humiliation ever since.

And this may have been setting off digestive problems, headaches or sleep problems well before your IBS symptoms fully set in.

Sibling bullying

You may have experienced bullying from other family members, like brothers and sisters.

If parents don’t step in and stop this, it can become an ongoing problem – and a living hell.

How do you know if you have been subject to bullying?

The number one sign is that you have trust issues.

You probably keep people at a distance, whether this is physically or emotionally.

And yet you yearn for connection and unconditional love.

When dealing with other people, you avoid conflict and will do anything to keep the peace.

You are very aware of the moods of people around you, and do your best to act in a pleasing way to avoid another person’s angry outbursts or critical tirades.

Bullying as an adult

Have you ever been subjected to bullying in the workplace, or at home by your partner or even one of your children? If you experienced being mistreated as a child, you may not notice the red flags as this has been a familiar theme.

I didn’t notice that I was being bullied at my last job. It was done in a very covert manner, by sending me to work in an office the other side of the building, and withholding the information I needed to do my job. A colleague in another department was directly and verbally bullied by their superior on a daily basis.

No-one deserves to be bullied. And it can be hard to stand up to it, especially as isolating someone is often part of the bully’s strategy.

Know that you are worth better. Walk away if you can.

The Inner bully

As a child you couldn’t fight back effectively, and probably thought that you must have done something wrong to warrant such behaviour from others.

Know that you didn’t.

No-one deserves to be bullied.

The worst part of repeatedly being bullied is that you have likely unconsciously turned the bullying on yourself.

You may have developed a strong inner critic. And are perpetuating this familiar treatment yourself, because you were taught that’s all you deserve. Well it’s not.

To break this cycle you first have to notice it.

You might not realise you are doing this, but telltale signs will be there such as:

  • sudden IBS flares (especially of diarrhoea),
  • talking down to yourself, or minimising what you do or achieve,
  • working too hard and not resting enough,
  • never putting your needs first because it feels “selfish”
  • walking on eggshells around other people, and people pleasing,
  • craving escape and an end to this chaos.

If you notice that any of these are true for you, be kind to yourself. That’s what you need from yourself now the most – kindness. It’s what you’ve wanted (and deserved) all along.