Most people have been bullied at one point in their lives. It is common practice especially in lower age schools where the line between right and wrong is quite thin and impressions are everything. By impressions, the words crowd and Klout automatically follow.
For many, leaving such institutions is great relief as one is tempted to believe it is an end to the mental (and sometimes physical torture that is bullying).
Enter eBullying or Cyber Bullying:
Fact: The internet provides the perfect place for the existence of a cyber bully because of anonymity and expansive resources in easily-rallied participants.
You have heard of them before and know them; those guys that will wait for you to produce online content in form of a tweet, a Facebook update, an instagram image, a blogpost or even a twitpic and victimize you endlessly for it being ‘not up to their standard.’
They go an extra mile to make you feel like you’re going to take it down and/or delete it forcing a subsequent perverse form of satisfaction from your attempt to defend your content.
Well, here are a few things you should probably know about your cyber bully.
- Cyber bullies thrive on reaction to provocation and conflict – The minute you start to curse out a cyber bully, you are fuelling their urge and interest to pound you even more. They get a kick out of having you react and throw tantrums. Trust that there are very idle people out there that pick out your rant as a weakness and you will never hear the end of it.
- Cyber bullies are generally weak – The Bully behavior is normally deep-rooted and will probably arise from poor upbringing, a much-less-than-perfect childhood, daddy issues and a lot of other issues not related to you. It is not your fault he doesn’t like your poetry; it is because he probably can’t think of any two words that rhyme.
- Cyber bullies thrive on attention – Look for any evidence of a cyber bully that continued to tarnish a brand when he is completely ignored by others. You won’t find even one. Simply because if no-one is watching (or listening), then they’re no longer interested.
- Cyber bullies will lie pathologically – Lying doesn’t necessarily mean speaking a half-truth or something that is untrue altogether. Manipulation is lying. When someone manipulates anything you say, distorts it and uses it to their advantage, they have lied.
- Cyber bullies are somewhat intelligent – Anyone who can predict your next reaction in multiple non-isolated events is intelligent. A bully will anticipate what the ‘rest’ want to hear and portray it in an easiest digestible form. Do not under-estimate a cyber bully.
Enough of what they are and a bit of their profile. Here’s how to deal with a cyber bully:
- Ignore – Do not respond. There’s only so much one can do when ignored. Just a few more prods and they give up. They didn’t get to you to force an anticipated reaction out of you which is mission critical to them. The mission is failed, plan thwarted, on to the next one.
- Look, Learn – Most often than not, a bully will project his own weakness when they are victimizing you. It isn’t easy to see what exactly they are suffering from at the beginning but it always comes out. Study, and understand. You will be surprised how much you will learn from what a bully projects.
- Be aware – Most of those who fall victim engage because they believe they are being called out for something they have done, or said, or written and have an urge to self-defend. Be smart and notice quickly enough that you are dealing with a bully and steer clear or forge ahead with your campaign. Other people are likely to join in and participate in the bullying session. Even so, don’t budge.
- Strike hard – There comes that time when the bully just won’t go away and they just keep stoking the fire and you cannot take it anymore. At this point, there’s only one thing to do: Strike. The strike can be a lawsuit, but this may not do much. Go ahead and call them out. By this time, you should have enough information having understood, profiled and anticipated your bully. It is not wise to ‘hit back’ without a relevant back-up system. And please don’t bring a teaspoon to a gun fight. It makes you look unprepared. Find a soft spot in their ego and sink that smoldering rod in there. Do not confuse this with going down to their level, I am not asking you to do that. Besides, Gandhi taught us that an eye for an eye only leaves the whole world blind.
When confronted, always fight on a different level. Be smarter, prepare well and you will live longer.
It doesn’t really matter if they call you fat, stupid, thin, too black, too white, racist, incoherent or crazy. You know who you are, don’t you? Nothing will ever change that.