How to Handle an Emotional Bully

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23

origami speech bubbles : stop bylling ! (cs5)No one likes a bully, and no one likes to be bullied. Bullying is a major issue in today’s culture.  But did you know that bullying is not only physical? Bullying can be emotional as well.

What is an emotional bully? An emotional bully is a person who abuses another person through his emotional responses toward that person. For example, an emotional bully gets upset about something but then makes his target person feel as if she is the one who is wrong and has the problem.

Emotional bullying is a form of psychological abuse that is just as bad, if not worse, than physical abuse. Unfortunately, it is seen all too often in Christian circles as well as secular ones.

How can you recognize an emotional bully? Here are some clues:

1) An emotional bully will twist words to demean you. For example, he will make himself look as though he is right and generous and you are wrong and selfish. If he is a Christian, he may even imply that you are acting contrary to the Word of God if you don’t agree with him.

2) An emotional bully will use sarcasm to humiliate you either privately or publicly. He will make jokes at your expense, not caring that those jokes cut you deeply.

3) An emotional bully will insist that you should act in a certain way–his way–and if you don’t, something is  wrong with you.  An emotional bully will try to make you feel inferior or ignorant if you don’t see things his way.

Emotional bullies are everywhere.  So, how do you deal with one? 

1) First of all, stay calm and think through what is really going on. The emotional bully would love nothing more than to get a reaction from you. Do not automatically assume that what the bully is saying is true. Check the facts. Submit them to someone you trust for input.

2) Second, respond to the bully gently but firmly.  Point out the flaws in his argument and tell him you disagree with his assessments.

3) Third, confront an emotional bully.   An emotional bully needs to be confronted so he won’t continue his evil behavior against you. Always confront in love–but confront!

4) Set boundaries for yourself as to what you will accept and not accept in your life. Remember that you alone, under Holy Spirit’s guidance, have the responsibility to manage your life. Part of healthful life management is to set boundaries for who and what you will allow into your life. Respect yourself enough not to allow an emotional bully to take control of the life that is yours alone to manage.

To help you learn more about who you are in Christ, you may wish to obtain a copy of my ebook, You Were Made for Greatness!  You Were Made for Greatness-def

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Dr. Diorio is a Certified Life Coach, a Certified Biblical Counselor, and a Certified Behavioral Consultant. She is also an award-winning, widely published author of fiction for children and adults. You may reach her at  or via one of her social media venues below:

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The Controlling Heart

Do you have a controlling heart?  Or, perhaps, you know someone who does. Whichever the case, a controlling heart can cause major problems both for the one doing the controlling and the one allowing himself to be controlled.

What are some of the characteristics of a controlling heart?  Here are a few of the most common:

  • Controlling people want to dictate how everything around them is done. They nag and insist on their own way of doing things.
  • Controlling people are unable to admit their mistakes. They have to be right and refuse to listen to constructive criticism that could set them free from the spirit of control.
  • Controlling people assume authority without being asked and without the spiritual or legal right to do so. They may interrupt a meeting and simply take over, or they may make a decision they have no authority to make.
  • Controlling people micro-manage their spouses, their children, their friends, and their co-workers. They offer advice without being asked.
  • Controlling people are manipulative. They often use charm to get their own way.
  • Controlling people are narcissistic, selfish, and very immature. They believe their way is the best way. They will not consider the opinions of others as being as valid as their own.

Usually one of two evil spirits lies at the root of a controlling personality: 1) the spirit of power or 2) the spirit of fear.  Some controlling people have a sick need to dominate others and will attempt to bully them into complying with their wishes.  Other controlling people operate out of fear that if they do not hold the reins, their world will fall apart. In my experience, most controlling people are motivated by fear.  Both spirits of control will, if not confronted, destroy relationships, families, churches, and organizations.

Control issues usually start in early childhood because of a home environment that, in some way, failed to make the child feel secure.  As a result, the child developed a method of coping with anxiety by attempting to control his environment. What the controlling person fails to realize is that control is an illusion that inhibits healthful growth and fosters bondage. While authority is ordained of God, a controlling person abuses that authority to the detriment of himself and others.

People with controlling spirits are usually very insecure and have serious codependency issues. This means that they need to control others in order to feel safe and secure themselves. Especially challenging are controlling persons in positions of authority. I have seen organizations split or fail to full their destiny because of a controlling person who either led the organization or led the leader of the organization.

If you struggle with a controlling personality, get help. If you are the victim of a controlling personality, get help to free yourself in the proper way. 

God made us to be free within the confines of His Word. He who seeks to control another is assuming a role attributable only to God. Doing so is nothing short of idolatry.

Copyright 2015 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved.