Saturday, June 5, 2010

Blog Against Bullying

This post is part of the "Blog Against Bullying" Blog Party, hosted by A Yummy Mummy on a Pink Park Bench.

My son is still a baby, so I haven't had to deal with bullying in his life yet, although that is one of the things that makes me glad we're planning to homeschool, and really hesitant to even put him in daycare or enrichment type classes.  I know that sooner or later, he'll probably run into bullying or teasing, and that I won't be able to keep it from happening, and that bothers me already.

I have been bullied at a few different times in my life. It wasn't very surprising as a kid, because I was always "different", and that tends to draw that type of thing. In preschool and the first few years of school, I was taller than most of the other kids, and my family didn't have much money, so I didn't have the "right" clothes or other things to help me fit in. As I got older, the clothes and money were still an issues, and I sucked at sports but excelled in academics, so I had the "nerd" label to go along with it. By high school, I was still sort of an outsider, but was involved with the sort of subcultures and things that caused people to avoid me more than to tease or bully, and had a good group of friends, so it was easier to ignore the jerks.

The thing that really caught me off guard was running into the same type of behavior among adults. I thought most people grew out of teasing and bullying behaviors after high school, but apparently they don't, and adulthood just raises the stakes. The "adult" I ran into started out by using the internet, so I figured he was just a typical "troll" picking fights online, but it quickly escalated when he began posting my personal information and calling my home phone number, and eventually calling my employer and spreading rumors about me to try to make me lose my job. This started several years ago, and I have still been "cyberstalked" by this individual every time I post on certain forums. I do know his real name, employer, etc, but haven't played the same cards on him, because I just think that's wrong, and am afraid he would do even more to target me if he realized I know who he is. I'm sure there are some ways to handle things like this, but I ended up just avoiding places, both online and in real life (some of our friends overlap & we have been invited to the same parties and events at times), because I have enough going on in my own life and don't want to deal with the added drama.

I guess I'm lucky in some ways, because I have seen adult bullying in person, in many ways that are more direct and even worse. The top one of these is the workplace bully, because the person can sabotage or even destroy your career, and you cannot avoid them. Another problem is that many bullies are almost sociopathic, and are great at lying and turning things around, so the victim who complains is sometimes labeled as a troublemaker or bully themselves when they report the problems. The same goes for family bullies - some adults are still bullied by spouses, parents, siblings, in-laws, or even adult children, but are afraid to stand up to the bully because they are afraid of other family members taking sides or blaming them for creating problems, or because they have been socialized to believe that they don't have a right to take up for themselves when mistreatment comes from "family".

I don't really have the answers to bullying, whether it comes from children or adults, but I think one of the biggest helps will be teaching victims that they don't have to put up with it, and that they always have the right to take up for themselves and confront or distance themselves from any bully. Just as most parents would know better than to force a child to keep making playdates with a bully who is mistreating their child, adults need to stop forcing themselves and others to tolerate abusive behavior (which is what "bullying" is) in the name or workplace or family harmony. By allowing ourselves as adults to be pushed around and ridiculed, we are teaching our children to expect that same behavior, making them easy targets for bullying because they will not stand up for themselves. In the worse cases, it can destroy a person's self esteem, leading to either suicide or a person with such low self-esteem that they find themself drawn to further bullying in the shape of an abusive spouse or partner and/or a workplace where bullying, threats, and coercion are the norm.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for participating!

    Wow! That just floors me that an adult would go to such lengths to harrass someone else. I mean, I realize that there are adults who are bullies, but like you, I guess I figured a person kind of grows out of the being a bully stage to some extent.

    I hope you're able to get this person to stop and realize that what he is doing is wrong and illegal. I read something though at one point that said (in a nutshell) that adult bullying is illegal because it's otherwise known as harrassment and a crime. Bullying with kids though, which can be the exact same thing as what adults experience, is often times just considered "part of growing up" or "kids being kids."

    I think that's sad that when it comes to children people take their bullying so much less seriously and yet they're much less capable of dealing with it than adults are.


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