When does bad behavior cross into abuse or bullying?

Question about “friends” who behave badly.


My sister believes one of her friends is abusing her. He is definitely mistreating her. He is definitely a Huge Jerk, that is NOT an exaggeration sadly. When does constant putdowns, jabs and extreme rudeness and insensitivity become abuse? The situation is quite Toxic. When does bad behavior cross into abuse or bullying?


It crosses over into abuse as soon as it becomes clear that this was not an accident, but intentional.

Harassment is a pattern of behavior that intentionally harasses another person that serves no legitimate purpose. So any behavior that disturbs, upsets or intimidates or is used to control another person that has no legitimate purpose is abusive – intentionally so.

The bad behavior you are describing isn’t just abusive, it is, as you say, toxic.

The question is – how to make it stop.

First, this “friend” is not an actual friend.

Second, they aren’t going to stop if they are asked. They have to be made to stop. And this isn’t easy to do and depending on the abuser, could result in retaliation if tried.

The easiest way to deal with this is to stop hanging out with this person and just leaving if they show up. No explanation is needed. No arguments, just – a matter of fact. Your sister should not be around this person.

Other people, not your sister, need to start intervening whenever this person is rude. A simple statement – stop. That’s rude. Is sufficient. This is a statement of fact, not an accusation. The “stop” is a command, not a request. If they don’t, repeat and report.

But really – just not being around this person is the best course of action and if they show up, walk away. If you are asked why – we don’t want to be around someone who is that rude.

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