Cyberbullying is a real thing and it can happen to anyone and you don’t need to be a public person, it happened to me and my family.
You hear all these stories about online bullying and they seem so distant, you feel sorry that these things happen but you would never expect that it will happen to you. Because you lay low, you don’t ruffle any feathers, you are a nice and respectful person and you expect nothing but the same in return.
One of my fears is the fear of being hurt.
I thought cyberbullies will never find me; if I play it “safe”, I won’t be the subject of any bullying and I won’t get hurt. It may feel safe but it isn’t; mostly because my heart still hurt when I see stories like Constance Hall (video at the end of this post) and more so when I read teenagers not coping and losing the battle. I hurt. Most of the time you are only aware of these issues when it is too late. But no more! We all need to come forward, share our experiences and support each other.
Lay low and you won’t get hurt is a lie.
Here is what happened
Last December my husband commented on a post in one of his industry’s Facebook groups and everything went wild!
It doesn’t matter who this person is or what was said because it’s not about taking sides. Just for the sake of being fair, I’m posting the whole conversation (I’ve blocked names and pictures to avoid further complications)
I wasn’t annoyed by what he said. What annoyed me is that he went the extra mile to keep his threats after he was banned from the Facebook group where all these started. I'm listed as his wife so he contacted me via messenger. He didn't hesitate to send me screenshots of the whole conversation and include further threats of contacting my husband’s employer so he can be sacked. He took it too far.
But the real problem was when I downloaded the screenshots he sent, I was really scared, my heart sunked!
He had posted pictures of our son.
and he made clear threats.
That day it was real for me: the online world is not a safe place.
My husband didn’t say anything wrong, we were not in fear of him losing his job over this issue. He just gave his personal opinion and everyone should be entitled to that and someone that can’t deal with criticism, well, shouldn't be posting in a public forum asking for one.
What scared me the most is that everything is online, our contact details, email addresses, home address, everything. A person going through that amount of effort is capable of more things or maybe he just let his emotions controlled him.
This is just one example of what a person’s derailing emotions are capable of doing. I still don’t understand this kind of behaviour and I probably never will.
And it’s never about you, it’s about them
I can only assume that my husband’s opinion of his work triggered some hidden insecurities and that was why he reacted how he reacted. I’m not sure if this person is good or bad or a troll or he just had a bad day (or week)
Facebook did the right thing, he couldn’t contact me any further and after becoming aware of this issue, we blocked him.
Facebook knew that something was going on and put protective measures. I didn’t accept the message, blocked and reported him.
Unfortunately, we can’t stop this from happening.
We can’t stop people from being nasty. I do all sorts of meditations and self-care to keep my vibrations up and keep these kind people away from us but still, some people filter through.
Mean people exist and that good people behave badly sometimes and bad people can behave well sometimes too. The online world just exposes to all these in a broader way.
Ignoring the bullies, banning them, pretending they don’t exist will never work. They are real!
Shouting from the rooftops “be nice” will create a hypocrite society with people smiling at you while talking ill behind your back. The change has to come from within, from inside us, a real change. Think before acting. Breathe, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
You, me, everyone deserves RESPECT.
Cyberbullying can be a crime. The NSW Police Public Site lists these actions to take if you are a victim of cyberbullying
- Block the person who is doing the bullying
- Keep a record of threatening or intimidating messages
- Contact police about any threatening or intimidating messages
- Report the person to the social media platform
- Don’t reply to bullies – that’s what they want
- Check your privacy settings
- Talk to someone you trust about the situation
What did I do?
- Mindfulness helped me cope with this situation. As you can imagine my imagination flew and showed me all sorts of scary situations that were not real. I defuse myself from those thoughts and didn’t let them develop any further. If I let these thoughts escalate then anxiety will kick in and it will be downhill from there. I used the “Leave on a stream” technique.
- I didn't take it personal and I didn’t blame my husband or myself for any of these.
- This happens and the internet may not be the safe space that I used to think it is, but I also met wonderful people and the ratio is still favourable, there are more good people than bad. I decided to focus on the positive and be grateful for the good people I met.
- I evaluated my options, contacting the police was one of them.
- I forgave this person and myself for letting him affect me by honestly accepting the situation and letting it go. Read what I wrote about forgiveness here.
PS: Constance Hall’s video about cyberbullying inspired me to write this.