Today’s anonymous post is about online bullying. As our use of social media mushrooms it’s a subject that is becoming increasingly relevant.
We obviously need to be aware of it in relation to our children and how they use the internet, but it’s also something that could affect us, as adults.
Here’s one blogger’s story.
Please show her your support. Thanks
I’ve really deliberated over writing this post. It’s not a positive one. But maybe by writing it I can help other people who find themselves in the same situation.
This post is about online bullying. I know we prefer not to talk about it or write about it, and I don’t want to worry or frighten people. But I also believe that when bullying happens we need to speak up.
I’ve been blogging long enough to have encountered a bit of sniping in the blogging community, it happens and you can ignore it. The word ‘bullying’ gets misused a bit. People sometimes claim to be bullied when really they’ve just had a bad fallout with someone.
What is bullying? It’s an unprovoked attack on someone, designed to intimidate them and make them fearful. When carried out online, it’s psychological abuse. Bullies want control over their victims. Sometimes they’re nice to them so they can leave them nervous about when the next attack is going to come.
Recently I was bullied online. It came from another blogger who I know and have met. It was that blatant. It was from someone who perhaps considers herself untouchable, she didn’t even feel the need to do it anonymously. I’ve no doubt she’s done it to other people, she’ll probably continue to do it.
Why did she do it? I’m not completely sure. I think the attack was designed to keep me in my place. Bullies lash out when something in your behaviour, appearance or personality arouses a feeling of inadequacy in them. They want you to feel as bad as they feel.
How did it make me feel? When I read the words on my screen I could hardly believe them to begin with. Then I felt cold, shivery and very sick. I didn’t sleep well that night. I still find it hard to believe this person would do this.
But on the whole I can shrug this off. I’ve been bullied at school and I’ve been bullied at work. I’ve also been sexually harassed at work (another form of bullying). Having been a victim of this before I’ve spent many hours analysing why someone becomes a bully. My main conclusion is that bullies are insecure, unhappy, unfulfilled people. How bad must you feel about yourself to spend so much time trying to make other people unhappy?
When you become a victim you often blame yourself for what happened. You wonder if you’d done something differently then maybe the incident wouldn’t have taken place. I know I’ve done it in the past. But a victim is entirely innocent. No one ever deserves to be bullied, no one ever brings it upon themselves.
So how did I handle this? I could have pressed the ‘print screen’ button and posted the evidence of the bullying on my blog. But that would just create uproar, division and a lot of antagonism. This bully has a lot of friends. Have you noticed that about bullies? They surround themselves with people who are presumably too scared to be on the wrong side of them.
I responded to the attack in a calm, measured way. I didn’t ignore it because I didn’t want to show I was running off scared. But I didn’t get angry either. If anything, online bullying is easier to manage than bullying in the playground or office. It’s less immediate, you have time to think about how you’ll deal with it. I don’t know if the bully will try this again. That’s part of the bully’s power isn’t it? Will she leave me alone or try something else?
I’m not naming and shaming because it can degenerate into mud slinging and a lot of other people start to get involved. Bullying happens in all walks of life and we’ll never be rid of it. But I will stand up to my bully, I’m not intimidated and I’m not scared. I’ve been through worse in life. I’m confident and have self-belief, I don’t need some screwed up person trying to bring me down with them.
It’s just as well I can handle this. What if I were suffering from PND? What if I were trying to cope with a difficult family situation? If there were other distress in my life this incident could have brought me down. Who would look after my children while I was in this state? Do bullies even think about this? No, they think only of themselves.
My message to other people who are bullied: you are not alone. I understand how you feel. I know what it’s like when you start to believe what your bully says to you. I understand what it’s like when other people make you lose your confidence and self-esteem. I was there some time ago, but I’m getting older now and I’ve learnt to believe in myself. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad about yourself. If you feel alone, talk to someone. Vent your feelings. Write an anonymous blog post like I have. Understand that many people are there with you and would give you a hug if they could. Don’t ever let a bully bring you down. I know I won’t.