When I was in school kids were always taunting some poor kid they considered the “weakest” link. The ones that retaliated by fighting back or heaven forbid telling a teacher, suffered the bullying longer and at a much harsher level. Bullying in the age of social media has graduated to a much more sophisticated albeit nasty and far reaching phenomenon called “cyber-bullying”. In my day it was bad enough to be the talk of your social circle or if it really got out of hand, the entire school. Today with Social media the nastiness has the ability to reach infinite numbers of people with one click of the mouse.
I have always asked myself why do people feel the need to bully? Do they realize by extinguishing someone’s light it does not make their light shine brighter? I honestly just don’t get it. Maybe I never will. I have always been the type of person taught to look for the good in people even bullies. When I was being bullied in grade school I ended up managing to become friends with that person. I found out the reason he was lashing out. He had just lost his mother. He didn’t know how to deal with his pain and bullying was how he dealt with his grief. Now I assure you not every episode of bullying is as cut and dried as this or as easy to be resolved with a loving heart.
The harder situations are people who just bully because they just want to hurt for no reason whatsoever. It’s just plain hate. Maybe it’s hate because of jealousy or they feel like you slighted them in some way. Instead of being adults and taking the time to hash it out and resolve whatever the issue, they resort to cyber bullying. I have seen friends who have gone through this and it’s beyond upsetting. Your reputation is something you protect. People making baseless accusations and name calling that are so hurtful that some people never recover. People who don’t even know you make snap judgements. If you defend yourself it can escalate to a higher level. If you stay quiet it makes you look guilty but it goes away quickly. I have come to realize the people who know you will never believe nasty rumors. The ones that do, are not people that you need in your life.
Ironically this blog came out of a recent incident on Twitter where a fake account was created under my name. Some inflammatory tweets were sent from that account that really upset me. It brought back a lot of very unpleasant memories from my childhood that I had hoped were left deep in my past. It made me realize how vulnerable we all are on social media to this type of behavior. Haters are always going to find reasons to hate. Cyber-Bullying is becoming way too common and people consider this behavior normal. I caution everyone not to accept this behavior as the new normal because it can and has had tragic consequences. Think first before you destroy someone with nasty rumors or doxxing. What you think is a harmless prank can have serious ramifications.
But as is in my nature there was a huge silver lining in all of this. There were many people who reached out and offered their support to me. To all the people who sent messages of support, I was very touched and I can’t thank you enough.