Bullying...or not?

on Jul 04, 2016 @ 10:09 pm

In light of a recent post whereby some members felt they were being bullied, I just wanted to clarify something, so that we can continue to have a peaceful online environment and to make sure we recognize the difference between bullying and just poor communication. Although I did feel the behaviour was uncalled for, I don't think it can be considered bullying.

I'd like to share with you what I've learned through professional training as a teacher and as the head of an anti-bullying campaign at my school. You can disagree, which is your right, but these are the known facts. Bullying is a consistent, repeated behaviour over a prolonged period of time. It continuously makes the victim feel attacked, threatened, ridiculed, harassed and intimidated. It can be physical, emotional and/or psychological (although the physical part isn't present online). The person who is bullied feels constantly put down, inferior, afraid or worthless. It can also fall under the category of cyber-stalking (an example of this is the spammy "church-bot" posts - which started to get worrisome).

The two words to keep in mind are "repeated" and "constant". Since the recent post in question was a one time event, I wouldn't categorize it as bullying. I think the member was upset and went about expressing herself the wrong way. Let's hope the situation has been dealt with and there has been more of an understanding on both ends. 

My intentions are not to offend those who felt it was bullying, but just to clarify what is often confused. Just like we wouldn't want to dismiss behaviours that are questionable, we wouldn't want to prematurely label someone as a bully either.

If you do feel like you are being bullied or harassed, either in person or online, please get help, either from friends, family or the authorities, especially if you feel like your life or wellbeing is being threatened.  Whatever you do, don't give the bully any attention. It only serves to feed his/her weak self esteem. Also know that adults who bully can face legal repercussions, so this is a very serious issue.

I do like how some of you are reminding us to be kind to one another. I think that's such a good, positive spirit to have on this site, and anywhere for that matter. I also appreciate how most of you wouldn't hesitate to defend and support fellow chicks. Keep being awesome! 


18 Replies

.... on Jul 04, 2016 @ 10:23 pm

Enjoyed reading your input; quite an intelligent young lady.

. on Jul 04, 2016 @ 10:32 pm

I agree. Bullying is usually a repeated and targeted behaviour. I was bullied a lot in school, so I remember feeling an almost constant sense of dread.

The number one thing we can all do I think is just keep kindness and compassion in mind. It's easy to get frustrated or stressed, but take a look at where that stress is coming from and communicate in a clear and respectful manner.

I haven't been around as much as I'd like lately, so not 100 percent sure what incident this is referring to, but I'd hate to think anyone was feeling bullied and hopefully we can remedy that!

Great post.

. on Jul 04, 2016 @ 10:39 pm

@prettyrainbow, thank you clarifying. I will agree to disagree with you because I do want to keep this community a positive one.

Bullying is a topic which has come close at heart to me and I myself didn't know the difference up until a few years ago with the help of many many professionals, legal and doctors, you name it I've consulted with.I could say it doesn't have to be repeated to be considered a form of bullying. Usually bullies will only bully someone, if that person let them.(as in being a timid and passive person) If the person is assertive and speak up for themselves, the bully has no chance of continuing because the person is no longer a good victim. (bully has no power over them)

I'm sorry if I came across as labeling someone as bullying, it is not my intentions. I meant to get the message across to the poster that is writing in caps and labeling EVERYONE as dishonest without being certain,is public humiliation. Imagine if that was address to a single person in real life? That could affect that person for a long time. I have gotten legal advice regarding bullying and that is indeed a form of bullying. I couldn't sit there and not voice my opinion when I saw that post. The poster actually posted other topics in regards to reviews in the past as well.

Again, sorry if I came across wrong. I was just taught and trained to recognize the problem and fend for it instead of being passive about it. I was only trying to stick up for all the chicks on here because it was so inappropriate. Once again, sorry to have offended you. :)

. on Jul 04, 2016 @ 11:35 pm

@jujusamples - You have absolutely nothing to apologize for! You are allowed to feel the way you feel and I want you to know that I do value your opinion and what you've gone through. I apologize if I made you think otherwise. Public humiliation is wrong and you were right to speak up about it. I didn't know there were multiple posts by the same user. If this is the case, then yes, it is bullying and it should be reported. No one should have to feel belittled or harassed.

It helps to have different perspectives though and I appreciate that we can discuss this openly and share our experiences with one another. From my standpoint, if I would take into account every child I've come across who has said something nasty towards a friend or group of friends, the whole school would be considered bullies. I actually started the anti-bullying program because I was noticing students labeling each other very loosely in the schoolyard - everyone was calling each other bullies, even if it was a one time occurrence and you can imagine all the tattle-taling that went on. Fortunately, with lots of professional development courses, we're now better equipped to know the difference. If the behaviour continues, that is when we file an official bullying report and it sticks with the child throughout their school years because it's considered a behaviour issue which can sometimes be coded, much like a child who has ADHD or autism is coded. Sometimes, we even call the cops to come and handle certain cases. We obviously can't do that with every single dispute that goes on, so we need to be 100% sure that we're actually dealing with a bullying issue, otherwise, we'll have the child's parents bringing us to court for demeaning their child's character. It gets even trickier when you label an adult this way, because many wouldn't hesitate to sue if they feel wrongfully accused. That's why I personally feel it's important to know when it's a simple mistake and when it calls for serious help.

Nevertheless, that doesn't mean the first simple mistake doesn't deserve to be firmly reprimanded, because if the behaviour has similar characteristics to how a bully usually talks or reacts, you want to speak up right away and present consequences to make sure it doesn't happen again.

This is my professional experience with bullying and you alone know what you experienced in person and the advice you got from the professionals you sought out. I'm sure it has helped you to be more prepared in case it should ever happen again, which I really hope it doesn't. I too was bullied throughout my school years and later on as an adult (by some colleagues, unfortunately), so I feel for you and understand you.

You are absolutely right in your description of a bully. They prey on weakness, which is why it's best to just step away and report it. The only person they'll be left talking to is themselves.


. on Jul 04, 2016 @ 11:40 pm

@Irememberu Thank you, that's very kind of you to say! I'm glad you found this to be helpful.

. on Jul 04, 2016 @ 11:45 pm

@wonderwhatif - I'm sorry you had to go through that as a child. I know exactly how you must have felt. There were times I didn't want to go to school because I knew what was waiting for me - more ridicule and intimidation. I finally had enough and spoke up and it changed everything for me. I then became that friend who would look out for anyone who was being teased or was walking alone in the schoolyard and would invite them to play because I knew how it felt.

Kindness wins, that's for sure!


. on Jul 04, 2016 @ 11:57 pm

thank you @prettyrainbow, I'm glad we are able to have a discussion regarding this topic. I'm sorry to hear about what happened to you as well. I guess we connect because we have something in common. It's our kind personalities which is probably our best and worst qualities. That's why bullies loves us. All in seriousness, I could laugh about being bullied now but it really did affect me for years and years and bullied again at the work place for years. I think it's a repeated pattern for both the victim and the bully until you get help. It is very admirable of you to be helping those kids and paying attention to their behaviors. I wished I had a teacher like you when I was in grade school. :)

Yes, even though the poster posted as anonymous, she made a mistake of putting the last topic she posted. I saw another topic about a month back regarding the same reviews, complaint. That last complaint thread as a bit warm as well. So I decided to say something this time, in hopes that it will stop. :)

@juju on Jul 05, 2016 @ 01:46 am

I agree with your thought that this particular incident was bullying BEHAVIOR, not that a few posts makes her a bully in and of itself. Just the manner in which the OP presented herself in all shouty caps...Imo it's bullying behavior - which is different from being a bully. Does that make sense? I'm going on 48 hours with no sleep so this post is probably not very articulate haha.
I don't think the OP IS a bully (based on her recent similar posts, which I was so surprised and disheartened to see after being offline for awhile). But I think it's bullying behavior. It comes in all forms and shouty caps and straight up accusing many people of doing dishonest things and BEING dishonest is bullying BEHAVIOR.
I don't want to get caught up in the Websters Dictionary level of what bullying is or isn't, just that the posts were highly offensive to many, including me. Being accused on a broad based level is just wrong. It's not cool in my books. I'm not so concerned as to the definition or word for what happened, just that no one has the right to make others feel bad like that.
@prettyrainbow: as always, you're so sweet and lovely and a peacekeeper (the teacher in you). You've got an amazing personality and human qualities. I appreciate the things you have to say and find your advice to be solid and consistent. and much more articulate than sleep deprived me haha. I appreciate that you made this post because although the OP's posts were really inappropriate and uncalled for imo, she also doesn't deserve to be hunted down with pitchforks. She made an error. A shouty caps error that offended a lot of good people and made some pretty broad and incorrect statements, but she doesn't deserve to be thrown under the bus or humiliated because that's also bullying behavior imo. What's done is done, we learn, we move on. And we keep being kind to each other. Standing up for yourself and others in situations like this isn't wrong. No one should be a doormat and sit back, quietly accepting bullying (or just not nice) behavior. But I also appreciate you defining what happened, almost like a debriefing, so everyone can move on in a positive way and learn from the situation. So the bad feelings can dissipate and no one is harboring any remaining bad feelings.
I'm glad your part of an anti bullying campaign / strategy. You'd be really good at that.

. on Jul 05, 2016 @ 02:59 am

Thanks @flyeyez! That's what I meant, in terms of differentiating between bully-like behaviour and the actual cycle of bullying which is far more complex and complicated than a one time event.

I apologize if the definition came on a little strong. I do, however, feel it's necessary because someone could come across this post and associate what bullying is and connect it to what may be happening in their own lives. Some people hardly know that they are being bullied until they are made aware. There are situations where the victims start blaming themselves or brush it off as someone having an aggressive personality and label themselves as a doormat in the process. I believe that in order for there to be change, we need to educate, but I didn't mean to school anyone, if that makes sense. Maybe it wasn't my place, but I see no harm in posting it if it can help someone.


. on Jul 05, 2016 @ 03:26 am

@prettyrainbow, I think you absolutely did the right thing. It's all about learning and this site is very good for that. We all could learn new things everyday. I can see the tension and negativeness is fading off. There are actually interesting topics left right and center today. love it. :)

P.S. this is also a very good topic. I like to read your comments a lot. It teaches me new information and I like to learn!

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