There are a few groups on Facebook that offer support if you happen to be a victim of the newest boxing arena, a Facebook bully. Facebook, the company, offers some help, but they are slow to take any action like deleting the bully’s Facebook account so they can’t continue their reign of terror.
I thought I would offer some of my own advice to you.
Do you remember the rules to follow if you ever catch fire?
2. Drop and
The rules for Facebook when you realize you are being pursued by a bully are;
1. Don’t respond
2. Delete and
There can be a few minor problems with that, which I realized early on.
You could say I followed the first rule without even knowing I was following it. When my bully first attacked me in a group setting I was in so much shock that I could barely get a response typed. He was throwing up paragraphs of pure hatred and I was staring at my computer screen trying to make sense out of complete nonsense. I think I got two comments typed out before the Group Admin started deleting his comments. That was fine with me.
I had deleted him earlier and blocked him too. So I also followed those rules, but one of my friends sent me a message one afternoon and told me to unblock him because my bully was tearing it up in another group I was a member of and I needed to go defend myself. When I arrived at the scene of the grime, another friend was busy trying to quieten him. She was also sending him messages in private asking him to stop. It was one of those times again where I sat in front of my computer screen completely paralyzed, not knowing what I should be doing.
I think that’s how it must be for most people on the receiving end of this kind of abuse. All you can do is sit and watch. like it’s a train wreck. That is not a good feeling.
On Facebook, like you would have anywhere else in the world, you face the issue of your own reputation being destroyed. Except on Facebook it can happen a lot quicker and in front of masses of your friends, all at one time. Without the power to delete, you’re pretty much stuck with whatever gets printed on that page and it’s there for the duration so you can go back, if you’re so inclined, and read it over and over and over again. Don’t do that to yourself, okay?
This is when you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get proactive. Take back the control you have and take steps to protect yourself from future attacks. Use the reporting function on Facebook. Ask your friends to report what they witnessed too. Use the functions available to you to lock down your privacy and canvass anyone on your friend list that has witnessed the attacks. They might have questions and need reassurance from you. Trust me, by the time you get to this point, you’re going to start figuring out who your real friends are.
I have to tell you that I have one of the strongest and most supportive bunch of friends in all of Facebook land.
On Facebook, that’s what will make the difference for you. Your friends. After all, that’s why you’re there. Never lose sight of that reason and the bully will fade into the past much quicker if you direct your energy towards the people that have your back, rather than at the bully.
What if you’re not sure you’re being bullied? Perhaps you think the person is just being mean to you? I’ve had two instances over the past week of people defining, or asking for a definition, of what a bully is. I decided this is a good place to start. Everyone should know the difference between being bullied and just having a disagreement.
What is a bully?
The dictionary.com defines bully as:
“a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.”
Wikipedia defines bullying as:
“Bullying behavior may include name calling, verbal or written abuse, exclusion from activities, exclusion from social situations, physical abuse, or coercion. Bullies may behave this way to be perceived as popular or tough or to get attention. They may bully out of jealousy or be acting out because they themselves are bullied.
Wikipedia also has a section devoted to cyber-bullying and cyber-stalking:
“The term “cyberbullying” was first coined and defined by Bill Belsey, as “the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others.”
Cyber-bullying has subsequently been defined as “when the Internet, cell phones or other devices are used to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person”. Other researchers use similar language to describe the phenomenon.”
There is one aspect of the subject that fascinates me. Those people that just stand back and watch while a bully tears someone to pieces. Never has this behavior been so obvious as it is right there on Facebook. Few people will dive into a thread to stick up for their friend that’s being chewed up. Most just sit in front of their screens and watch it all unfold like a horror film.
Who are these people and what are they thinking?
According to Wikipedia, they have a name and this is it;
“Characteristics of typical bystanders
Often bullying takes place in the presence of a large group of relatively uninvolved bystanders. In many cases, it is the bully’s ability to create the illusion that he or she has the support of the majority present that instills the fear of ‘speaking out’ in protestation of the bullying activities being observed by the group. Unless the ‘bully mentality’ is effectively challenged in any given group in its earlier stages, it often becomes an accepted norm within the group.”
I am not only intrigued by this observation, I am stunned that in creating a Facebook group geared towards helping people being bullied on Facebook that I have followed along the same lines as many before me in creating/joining a “friendship group”. This is a group is full of very strong individuals that offer support and advice to anyone that asks to join and share their experiences.
I want to close this post with something a little different. I’d like for each of you reading this to take a moment and consider putting yourself in the shoes of the Bully. I know, that’s hard to do, but give it try.
I have never been a bully, but I have been bullied on more than one occasion. I have five older brothers. You do the math. Even though they were my siblings, I can imagine what I am about to describe to you was a part of their motivation as well.
Imagine you’re a bully. Imagine you are the person that has or is currently taking a bite out of your life. Imagine threatening someone, maliciously ridiculing them, setting them up to take a fall, or worse. How do you feel? What does it take within you to reach this place? Do you feel good about yourself? Powerful? Triumphant? Proud? Loved? Of course you don’t feel any of that. Here’s a secret…neither do they.
That’s right! Even when they act like they’re right, they know they’re wrong. Even when they’re shouting about how screwed up you are, they know they’re the ones with all the problems. Even when they’re LOLing on your computer screen, their face is set in a grim frown, their posture is tense and uncomfortable and their stomach is probably lurching. Trust me, even if some people show support for them and their nasty actions against you, you can bet those people are just as scared of them as you are. There’s no trust there and certainly nothing resembling love.
How must it feel to have your heart so compacted with hatred and self loathing that you would verbally attack another human being?
The next time you’re on Facebook and your bully horns in on whatever fun you’re having and starts to vomit all over it, sit back in your chair. Let the screen fill with whatever the bully wants to say. Let them get it all out. Don’t respond. Don’t defend yourself. Do not participate. Send your friends, whoever is present for the tirade, a private message letting them know you’re okay and won’t be giving the bully any of your energy, but if they have any questions you will answer them the best you can. Log off, take a bubble bath, make some tea and start over again tomorrow.
Realize that what you have just witnessed is a person that is in a lot of pain. They have no clue and were never taught the proper tools to alleviate their pain and suffering in the right way. Their lives must be in such a disarray that this is the only way they know how to behave.
But you know how to behave and you know who you are. Show them, by example, that bullying does not work on you. Empower yourself. Shut them up, shut them down, and then shut them out. Don’t waste another minute on them. In fact, for every attack you receive, spend a few minutes sending one of your friends a nice message, or post a pretty picture on someone’s wall. Counteract whatever negativity the bully throws your way with love for the people in your life that treat you like a human being.
Now how do you feel?