In the course of reading posts in the Misophonia Support Group, I come across people who are being teased and taunted over their misophonia. Let’s call it was it is, bullying. To be clear, when someone deliberately makes a sound that they know is a trigger for you, they are using verbal harassment. Verbal harassment is a definitive aspect of bullying. Teasing and taunting don’t always rise to the level of bullying, but sometimes it does when repeated over time.
When the person bullying you is a family member, it’s a confusing and difficult problem. Sometimes, it’s a parent that is the bully. We expect parents to be caretakers, so the emotional damage they can do when they become emotionally abusive can be significant. Siblings and co-workers also engage in bullying. Even bosses can be perpetrators. All these people have one thing in common; they’re all bullies.
It’s difficult to deal with bullying, but it is possible. In the case of family members, it can be hard to accept that the person is, in fact, a bully. Nobody wants to think that their relatives are capable of this kind of behavior.
The reasons why people bully is complex, and the methods to stop bullying don’t always work with misophonia. For example, one way to deal with bullying is to ignore the bully. That’s not easy to do when it involves an autonomic reaction. Since misophonia causes automatic negative emotional reactions, it’s difficult to ignore trigger sounds. Avoidance of the person is possible, but not in all circumstances when one lives with the bully.
The current research suggests that misophonia is neurological. It is inappropriate to blame a person for having a neurological problem. Most people do not blame others for having ADHD, dementia, learning disabilities, or other neurological disorders. But some do. We call those people bullies.
If you feel uncomfortable with other people’s comments about your misophonia, let someone know. You don’t have to suffer in silence alone. Talk to a trusted friend, co-worker, or family member. You can also vent about your feelings in the Misophonia Support group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/misophoniasupport/ We care and want to help. We’ll listen and may even have some helpful suggestions.
If someone is bullying you because you have misophonia, I encourage you to research bullying to learn how to cope with it. You should not be purposely triggered. You deserve respect, and you should be well-treated by others. Having sound sensitivity is not your fault.
A lot of the information on the internet deals with the bullying of children. But all the information can be helpful. It just needs to be adapted to your specific situation.
Here are some links to get you started: