Bullying Comes of Age

I grew up with bullying. At a young age I learned to see it coming but was powerless to stop it. It came in particular from members of my own “family.” I put this in quotes because these people are no longer any relation to me in any way. Later I chose boys who bully girls. I thought that was the way it worked.

Over the years I learned that bullying is a lifestyle chosen by antisocial people with empty lives and too much time on their hands. No real friends, no enjoyment of the small things, no compassion.

Children and teenagers are most susceptible to bullying because they have little power to fight back. Many kids who are bullied do not report it because whether an adult believes you isn’t the issue—kids know the price of telling means life will get worse. Complain and your pet cat disappears. Later the bully taunts the victim with what they did to it. Many parents are clueless as to sibling bullying, or they may see a bullied child as “overly-sensitive.”

In the old days, bullying was done in person, on land lines, or by mail. Today’s technology makes it much easier. Witness the trolling and personal attacks on comments sections of political blogs. Party-line liberals and conservatives consistently use the words retard, fascist, imbecile, moron, paranoid, ignorant, subhuman, racist. I read comments to learn—but all I’ve learned is that there is precious little productive exchange of ideas. And, it’s really, really boring.

Both liberal and conservative blogs tend to be snide and sarcastic. Any questioning of their views results in a hard slap with fanatical rhetoric. They welcome your questions as an opportunity to unload more blah blah blah. Not once have I asked a question and received an answer that specifically addresses my question in a rational way. Just more fundamentalist bullshit, cut and paste from a numbered menu.

If you write about anything that is even slightly contentious, you are inviting trolls and bullies into your life. The stalkers who leave nasty comments have one thing in common—they desperately want to engage you in some dysfunctional mindgame, but they’ve already lost my attention long ago. I’m never mean to anybody because meanness begets meanness. If I’m mean to people how do I know they won’t go kick their dog? I want no part of this evil chain.

On WordPress, there is a “My Blacklist” option which I am now using. To enable, go to My Account, go to Settings (last icon down), and click on Discussion. Scroll down until you see “Comment Blacklist.” There is a space to type in the URL and IP address of the troll. You will never see or even know about another comment from them. Let them bring it on if it keeps them from kicking their dog or a family member. If they start e-mailing you personally, keep copies and report it to your internet provider and the police.

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16 responses to “Bullying Comes of Age

  1. You nailed it! …on all counts. The best way to squash a Bully of any type is to completely ignore them . To give them any acknowledgment at all merely feeds their ego. I do the same as you in this medium and in the real world, yet I have been chastised as being ‘cowardly’ for doing so. I am not a coward, I have instead conscientiously chosen to walk a quieter path, a higher path at that where Bullies fear to tread.

    • The only time I fight is if I see someone hurting an animal or a kid or a smaller person. Then I lose control. But I’ve learned to be passive regarding the personal stuff, and even then it’s not easy. I’ve run away, moved, and moved again. I’ve lived all my life with unlisted phone numbers and kept my addresses secret. It’s not cowardly, it’s survival. The cost of revenge is too high.

      Now I have the blog and that changes things. People from my past have found me, people who I have made it clear to many, many times I never want to see or hear from them again. None of us are young anymore—which proves to me that bullies never change.

      • I guess I differentiate between a bully an a physically abusive person, though one is often both. Either or, both are deplorable. Just sad you had that kinda of ‘crap’ forced upon you. ……….salut

  2. They are everywhere, of all ages and social standing. You meet them at work, in clinics, in schools. I just ignore them and they look stupid to everybody else.

  3. First, I am sorry that you had to experience this now and in the past. Bullying has been around forever, ignored in general, and now it seems to be getting attention in a way that could expose it for what it is: cowardice.

    In many ways our culture promotes bullying. Corporations are full of bullies, our government has its share of bullies, and they also exist in many of our local communities. Whenever competition is favored over cooperation bullying is being bred.

    Thanks for this thoughtful post. I am fortunate and have not yet experienced cyber bullying, but if I do I will follow your advice.

    Peace to you.

    • I think you’re right about our culture promoting it. It’s how a lot of people get ahead in their jobs. Bully bosses and co-workers can make your job a daily hell while they cover their asses with lies again and again. It’s not just here—workplace bullying is extremely prevalent and even accepted in Japan. And of course any place in the world with a totalitarian government is just one big mass bully. I guess at least here we have choices, such as they are, and only as an adult.

      I tend to think it’s a gene some people have, and if that’s true, it’s not a problem that’s going to go away. I don’t have any answers for dealing with this as a human trait. We may be screwed.

  4. Terrible, abusive behavior, this bullying business. I have seen and felt it first hand, like you. I hear about it from my students and it sickens me. So much of this behavior is passed over as, “Being really assertive, aggressive,” to make a sale or manipulate. Teresa Evangeline on her blog is taking photos — beautiful work — and collaborating with a New Mexican writer to put together a book to sell to help shelters for battered women in NM. Our four-legged friends are so mistreated, Debra, as you know and animal shelters do abound for that. But in the mix of day-to-day life, we see it and I cringe. Totalitarian governments are like you say, one big mass bully. We protect the weak and help the less fortunate. Sometimes, it becomes necessary to jump from a plane in the dead of night, parachute in and bring the bastards down. I’ll look up the blacklist on WordPress and have it ready, just in case. And, yes, to Bill’s comment about competition. We need and do have cooperation. That’s the light in the darkness.

  5. Good tip. Good post, too!

  6. Personal pacifism isn’t easy to keep up when you want to lash out. Sometimes I feel I’m in a war or some trite Stephen King novel—your basic good against evil theme.

    I imagine many bullies don’t even know how squicky they are, not that they’d care. Yes, there are times to bring the bastards down, I guess each of us has to weigh the risks—are we starting a war or ending one?

    Thank you and all of you for being the light in the darkness!

  7. Hello again Debra,

    Quidmont here again thoroughly enjoying your blog. I can’t thank you enough for introducing yourself.

    As you know I’m collecting blogging tips to gather a list of best practices points. May I put a link to your post here please? In fact, may I link to your blog in general?

    Very, very pleased to meet you Debra.

    – Bob

  8. Hi Bob,
    Thank you—I’m here to learn and share, so yes!

    Content that inspires comments often leads to new content. Dynamic interaction is the best of what blogging is about. Everyone loves like-minded souls but most of us want to hear from folks who disagree as well—if only they knew how important delivery is. It’s the difference between understanding and immediate alienation.

    Pleased to meet you too.
    Debra

    • Hello once more Debra,

      You should get pingbacks from links I just put to your site in general from Quidmont and also to the specific post on Bullying from the Quidmont Blogging Tips page.

      Thanks again!

      – Bob

  9. Hello Debra.

    Thank you for a beautifully written piece on bullying. Like you, I’ve experienced bullying of all types in my life and even now I still manage to fall into the trap from time to time. The difference is that I can usually see it coming and cut it off at the pass instead of allowing it to escalate as it has in the past.
    Great blog and lovely to meet you.
    Best wishes,
    Juls 🙂

  10. Hi Juls,
    Nice to meet you too, thanks for writing.

    Yeah, bullies are not always overtly aggressive, they can be wily and passive-aggressive. They’re even more dangerous because they set you up to knock you down.

    I see you’re almost ready to join the Red Hat Club! Welcome!
    Debra

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