Bunny Boiling is a reference to an iconic scene in the movie “Fatal Attraction” in which the main character Alex, who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder, kills the family’s pet rabbit and boils it on the stove. Bunny Boiling has become a popular reference to how people sometimes exhibit their rage by behaving destructively towards symbolic, important or treasured possessions or representations of those whom they wish to hurt, control or intimidate.
In a reddit post user anon_girl shares how she was a victim of bunny boiling growing up. This is her post:
“So I recently started doing some research on emotional abuse and one tactic that abusers use is called Bunny Boiling and it basically means that the abuser takes something the victim cherishes, and destroys it in such a way that it causes psychological damage to the victim. Throughout my entire life my dad had no problems taking away my things but some things stick out more than others.
1) We had a small shoe rack in our laundry room and my sister and I were only allowed to keep 3 pairs of shoes on the rack at a time and the rest had to stay in our rooms. If my dad found more than 3 pairs of one of our shoes on the rack he would take our favorite ones from the extra and throw them in the trash without telling us.
2) When my dad was going at it with my sister one night he took her alarm clock radio and threw it on the ground as hard as he could, shattering it to pieces, then took her ipod, threw it into the sink and turned on the garbage disposal, tearing it to shreds
3) When my dad got mad at me once he went to my room, brought back my hair curler and straightener, held them above his head by the plugs, then cut the cords and let them both clatter to the ground
I only just now realized how much worse that was than if he had just taken those things away for a week. Now I’m very possessive of my things and get angry at people when they ask me to share”
In an extreme case of bunny boiling, Sarah Williams murdered 60-year-old businesswoman Sadie Hartley by first paralyzing her with a stun gun and then stabbing her 40 times, her only crime was that she was dating Sarah Williams’s ex-boyfriend Ian Johnson. Psychological abuse can taper into violence and take extreme forms. It is more tough than one may think to decipher abuse when it is happening. Most of the times the abuser denies he is indulging in abuse. It is important to recognize signs and symptoms of abuse especially since it can take such dangerous forms as ‘Bunny Boiling’.