Monday, June 23, 2014


I used to think I understood cyberbullying, but until these two incidences happened, I don't think I did.  I wondered why a person couldn't just block out the bullies and concentrate on all of the good things and the other support that they got.

But I have discovered that it is harder than I expected.  The first incident in which I was targeted was a discussion forum and consisted of quite a few ad hominem attacks on the views that I posted.  The problem is that I LIKE to look at things through the views of others and so I gave some credence to the attacker's views, even though I disagreed with them.  This made the personal attacks from the bully more painful than if I had just been able to dismiss him as a crank.  I had some respect for his intellect and knowledge.

This is the same thing that hurt me so much with the second attack, too.  I was commenting on the thread of someone whom I greatly respect.  I share his views on a lot of things.  But, for reasons I don't completely understand, he felt I was commenting inappropriately.  His original post was a bit vague and I was commenting on my perception of that vague post.  His attack was very personal, and, I felt, completely uncalled for.  I suppose my comments did reach beyond understanding the exact situation he was in the midst of.  But, given that there were few details and that general philosophical points are frequently argued, I didn't feel I was out of line - I just felt I was supporting my own views.  He, obviously, felt differently, essentially telling me to shut up when I knew nothing about the situation.  So, I did.

But I still feel the sting of his rebuke.  I wish I didn't respect him so much.  It would be easier to just dismiss the whole incident.

So, now I understand a bit more about cyber-bullying.  These incidences, both of them, are relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of cyber-bullying.  But they happened to ME, so I now understand.  I wish I could say I understood cyber-bullying before this, but I don't think I really did.  And I probably don't even now, because I am an older adult, I have enough personal resources to retain my self-image, and I have the life experience to know that "this, too, shall pass". 

But it is a wake-up call for me to pay attention to how it can start and to try to stop it - both with myself and with others. 

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