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Bullying from afar posted Mar 29, 2018


You post your opinion on one of the social media platforms and someone who disagrees with you insults you and berates your opinion. This rebuttal opens the doors, windows, trap-doors, motes, and sunroofs for everyone who agrees with your assailant to further diminish your social media stature—you think. As the days pass more comments, over 100 now, flood the internet with more insults. Now you’re wondering when and if this is ever going to end. You’re considering closing your pages and laying low until this thing blows over.

Question for you? “What is the difference between someone insulting you online and insulting you in person? More clearly put, someone follows you around for a week telling you how stupid and uninformed you are and inviting others to join him/her in following you around with insults. Would this be the same as what happened on the internet? And in response to the face-to-face abuse, you decide to stay in the house until things blow over.

Both scenarios are examples of bullying. Except the first incident is what we call cyber-bullying. Right, this is done online, with the bully at home, tucked safely behind her/his computer. We’ve all noticed how bold people get with their opinions when they don’t have to face their victims. The second one is the traditional approach to bullying; this bully often knows exactly what he’s/she’s doing. The brut knows how to purposely unnerve, frighten, and harass you.  Of course, there are many reasons for this behavior, but the point of this article is to see if those of us who unintentionally bully others online may be persuaded to re-think how we reply or respond to others’ online posts.

Consider the following:

1)    We don’t have to agree but there is a way to disagree without name calling

2)    The way to disagree is that you simply suggest that you may not understand something or that you could wrong. This way you are acknowledging that there is more than one way to see a thing.

3)    Right, acknowledge that there is more than one way to “see a thing or do a thing.” I’d bet my life that there is someone on the other side of the earth that is doing the same thing as I, using an approach that is the complete opposite, but it’s just as effective. I just know it.

Now let me follow my own advice. I could be missing something, y’all. I’ve seen a lot of insulting comments especially from YouTube, “music critics.”  Now I’m thinking that insulting other people’s musical taste may be the way it goes. I mean this may be the culture or the normal process for YouTube listeners. Just because I have a “normal” that is different from yours doesn’t make my normal incorrect. Back in my day, we’d say that I’d need to “pull up.” So, I’m pulling up. I’m considering that what I’m calling cyber “bullying” or cyber “insulting” may be how the game is played.

Oh, like in my day, we used to play the dozen (of course we didn’t know the slaver history behind it at the time) but it was all done in fun and nobody felt insulted or upset—although the point was to find the most hilarious way possible to insult someone. So, I need to respect how it’s done online. But, I can also respond to others’ posts in my own way, which does not include insulting or othering—a term that means disrespecting someone or something because it's different from my way of doing things.

So, I’ve come full-circle: I can acknowledge that there is more than one way to post opinions on social media content. I can respect that I may not know that for the online culture “insults” (my interpretation) are standard, possibly not personal (may not even be an insult) thus not cyberbullying. And, finally, I can posts my opinion my way because there is more than one way to make online commentary.

Or, I could join the new age online commentator and offer the judgment that people who insult and berate others from the privacy and safety of their homes are cowards and juvenile, but that would not only be

28850 PointsGold

Dr. Debra LMFT (MT2416)

/ The Relationship Expert / LMFT