When I realised it was anti-bullying week, I couldn't miss up the opportunity to discuss it and raise
awareness. I didn't want to try to polish a turd by giving this some fancy title, bullying is bullying, it can happen to anyone, anywhere BY anyone and it's important to remember you are not alone. Thankfully these days, there are so many support networks to turn to and with the huge rise in technology, they are much more easy to access compared to maybe 10 years ago, but with that also bring a huge rise in means for people to bully, with cyber-bullying becoming one of the most common. I think these days, people are so worried to label anything with 'bullying' as it seems extreme, but bullying is extreme, it's nasty and hateful, it can come in sprinkles or bursts, or it can be relentless. I thought I'd share my two experiences both very recently, that I feel, one more so than the other, was bullying plain and simple.
A troll, which personally is a masked name for an online bully. I was initially pretty shocked that someone chose to target me, because I'm just me, they can't really gain anything from doing so - but I soon realised bullys don't want to gain anything but gratification and power, they feel by forcing their words and thoughts on to you, it somehow diminishes you and raises them, however I feel it's quite the opposite. Now, I could place cold hard cash on the fact my troll will read this, and then make more vile comments. The troll began befriending me, shared interests and outrages with me and would regularly interact quite friendly, soon enough I noticed her feed was full of a lot of venom directed at others, so I chose to ignore any further comments as personally I didn't want to communicate with someone capable of such behaviour. And sure enough, when I wasn't interacting, the hate began, I'm guessing as she thought this would be the next way to gain my attention. I ignored the comments about my sons name, the fact we allowed Noah to holiday with his grandparents being compared to Madeline Mccann, that I was a selfish mother, I moaned about my children, I don't deserve them, I shouldn't have 'spawned' life, abusive names which I wont pollute my blog with. It all reeled in, night after night, I couldn't even tweet that I was taking Noah to have his flu vaccine without poisonous comments. Of course this person was blocked, but when a bully is intent on causing hurt and destruction, not much will stand in their way. Then people began to reach out to me, explain their experiences with the bully, and suddenly, I didn't feel so alone, in fact I felt incredibly strong. Having a strong support network of friends and family I could discuss the situation with, made me realise, that if anything what she was doing was her problem, not mine. It was sad, I began to feel incredibly sorry for the girl and continue to rise above it, even when I'm shown daily the things that are still being said - including the fact she knows where I live (Very worrying). However, I do think people who bully really need to look to themselves, I think if they pushing so much venom out, they must be quite sad and angry people who truly are not worthy of your time. Which brings me to Instance two.
The fake friend
This one, is more subtle than the head on attack from the troll. This was from someone I assumed was a friend (never, ever assume). Only afterwards I see she was my friend when it suited her needs. There were a few warning signs here and there, a LOT of people had bad experiences with her and the fact she was a Brexiteer should have been enough of a warning surely? But no, I'd never push a friend away for their political views. So yes, warning signs I noticed some little digs here and there, in conversation, then narcissistic tendencies firstly, she would seem extremely upset about life problems and I'd spend long periods of time calming her down, which became incredibly draining, to the next day it be brushed aside as if nothing happened, but funnily enough she didn't have the same patience or time when I had something I wanted to vent about. Her discussion of other people, to then see her portraying an extremely different picture to them - remember 'A friend to all is a friend to none'. The constant put downs of her own family and friends, began to get me thinking, I wonder if this is how she talks about me to others? I didn't take long before I was told some things that proved just that. Someone claiming to be so thrilled and happy for any achievements I had but would be making passive aggressive remarks online, clearly aimed at me, and behind the scenes would tear them down with others, discredit them and make up lies. She wasn't a friend at all, now I see she was undermining my achievements as it made her feel better because she wasn't doing as well, even though I'd constantly try to send opportunities her way. Unlike the troll, initially I felt incredibly hurt and betrayed, but again support from friends really helped me through. I began to think 'Will I really care about this in a month?' and the truth is, no I absolutely don't. In fact, when I distanced myself, I witnessed the behaviour increase obviously the viciousness was no longer hidden away so well. It made me sure as hell I made the right choice.
I posted these two situations, to show that bullying really does happen anywhere and anytime, you don't have to be a child to be bullied, nor do you have to be someones 'enemy'. No one really knows why bullys target people the way they do, but it's incredibly important to see the problem is not with you, it lies with them. Although a lot of the time, bullys do like to play victims in circumstances, as they try to avoid responsibility for their own bad behaviour by blaming the target for causing it. I do feel it's important to share posts like this, to raise awareness as bullying is still so rife in all walks of life.