I wrote this post a couple weeks ago, but couldn’t quite hit the publish button. It is hard to share when I feel vulnerable. After I tucked this post away, the topic of cyberbullying started popping up all over, both in my real life and cyber life. I realized I needed to share because people need to know it is okay to say no, to delete that comment, to walk away from that conversation.
I am generally a quiet, patient person. But lately what I have seen on both social media and online games has made me cringe. It would seem people no longer care about their words. They fling them out across cyberspace like darts, hitting anyone that comes by. They belittle, demean, and use sarcasm as a way to get their point across. People are using words as a weapon. And unlike a real weapon, words leave deep wounds that people may never see.
Usually I let people comment on facebook and on my own website. I am open to people disagreeing with me. And the majority of the time the people I interact with know how to disagree in a respectful way. Then one day someone left a comment on a topic I shared on Facebook. I let it sit there. After all, they have the right to disagree with me. But the way they said it was not nice and not at all respectful. Finally, I removed the comment, the first one I have ever removed. Why? Because this person wasn’t simply disagreeing with me. They were using their words to belittle me. That’s when I said no more. I refuse to be used that way. I refuse to allow someone to tear me down in order to build up their own idea.
I refuse to be bullied.
And I refuse to watch others be bullied.
As a writer, I understand the power of words. One word can shatter a person’s soul. It can lodge inside a person’s heart and mind until the day he or she dies. Yet on the internet we have no problem saying things that I doubt many of us would ever say if we were face to face with that person. Or if we did, we would immediately see the hurt we had inflicted.
I no longer remain silent when I see people ganging up on another person in cyberspace. I carefully choose my words and say something. I stick up for the person being beat over the head with words. Because if I don’t, then who will?
And I will no longer allow comments to remain on my Facebook page or website that tear either myself or other people down. I will not bully others, nor will I participate by remaining quietly on the sidelines. It stops here, with me.
My friends, do not let other people tear you down. There is a respectful way to disagree with people, and then there is simple bullying to get you to join their side. You can delete the comment. You can leave the conversation. You can close the account. You are not what other people say about you. Let me say that again: You are not what other people say about you. You are not stupid. You are not a whore. You are not ugly. You are not lazy. You are not a noob.
You are a unique person, created in the image of God who loves you. Your soul matters so much more than your body. You have the potential to change the world simply by allowing God to transform you from the inside out.
You do not need to let other people stomp all over you with their words. You have the power to walk away.
The moment I realized this a couple weeks ago, I found freedom. I was not chained to that comment. And neither are you.
I refuse to be bullied. How about you?
13 thoughts on “I refuse to be Bullied”
Great post, Morgan. Thanks for sharing. I have been on the receiving end of those “word darts” more times than I can count. The hardest thing is when it comes from relatives, people you can’t walk away from. I’m still learning how to deal with that.
Thanks for the reminder, “You are not what other people say about you.”
Extremely well-put, Morgan. My thoughts exactly. I just wish more parents would explain this to their kids rather than teach them that it’s always someone else’s fault; that no matter what you do or say, there won’t be any consequences because it’s the other person or entity that made them do or say it. There should always be consequences to what one says and does, because when there isn’t, respect, dignity and integrity are completely tarnished.
Thanks for standing up and refusing to be bullied.
Exactly, Bryan. It starts at home. Teaching our kids our words matter is important. It is something I am working on with my own kids. Truth, treating others the way we want to be treated, ignoring what others say about us and focusing instead on what God and true friends say about us, those are the things I am trying to instill in my kids.
And that they can walk away from people who treat them poorly. Although that is harder for teens with all the social pressure out there.
Thanks, Morgan. Very well said.
I think that as a society, many people have become numb to the power of words. They take their “freedom of speech” way too far. You may have the freedom to speak anything you want. But that does not mean you “should” say it. Many times, sometimes not often enough, exercising that freedom of speech may just land you in jail. Good post. Maybe if more of us would delete comments, people would be more thoughtful in what they say.
Yes, it is sad 😦
I had this exact problem with a close family member this weekend. I made dinner then got verbally attacked for something that happened earlier this week. They said I was irresponsible and that I wasn’t trustworthy and that I didn’t care. Eventually we both apologized, but i think they still think those things are true. How do you deal with that when it’s your parent? I’d rather take all the blame in the world than hurt that relationship but I’m tired of being judged and bullied for everything I do. I try my best, but sometimes its not enough. You might not have an answer, that’s ok. Just wondering if you had any thoughts.
That is a tough one, especially when it concerns parents or family members. I have been there, so I know what you are saying. First, I evaluate if what they are saying has some merit (kinda hard to admit when you are feeling deeply wounded). Then, can we talk and work things out. But sometimes you can’t. Then I ask can I salvage this relationship, or would time apart help heal wounds. I have backed away from relationships because where we were heading would have ended up irreparable (except for the grace of God).
By backing up, what I mean is I explain to the person that I need time away and no communication. This is time away so I can heal from the wounds and not let bitterness set in. In some cases, this time of silence has lasted months and even a year because the hurt was deep and I didn’t know what to do. So I prayed. And I prayed a lot. And I hurt, and was angry, and felt helpless. But I could not go back to that person and start a relationship again until my own heart had healed.
Now if you are living with that person, then backing away may not be an option. But prayer is. Your heart must come back to a healthy place before the relationship can move forward again (notice I say your heart, not the other person’s. We cannot change another person, only ourselves). Here is a post I wrote shortly after my family was let go from a church about how to deal with hurt and bitterness: https://morganlbusse.com/2011/09/03/bullet-wounds/
I try to rush this process because I know that Bible says to love one another, and to honor one’s parents. But I’ve discovered rushing this process does not let me come to a healthy place with God and myself so that I can then truly love the person who hurt me.
Lastly, focus on what God says about you. I have a bad habit of internalizing what people say about me until I believe it (whether it is true or not). What I am working on is not focusing on what people say, but what God says. No one is perfect. I am lazy sometimes. Or foolish. Or I lose my temper. Does that mean I am chained to that the rest of my life? NO! Despite my sin, God loves me. He gives me the power to change. And even when I fall, He picks me back up. I have hope. I do not need to stay the same. I am a new person, changing on the inside like a caterpillar in a cocoon. And someday a beautiful butterfly will come forth 🙂
I really appreciate that you took the time to reply. You gave some good advice and I think that taking a step back with that relationship for a little while might be a good idea right now.
Great post, and right on target.
I’ve noticed a decline in standards in the ‘cyberworld’ over the past few years, and it’s distressing. On Youtube, for instance, insulting and profane comments have replaced those that were uplifting and informative, only a few years ago.
And on a certain forum discussing the restoration of old airplanes, the lack of civility among erstwhile professionals has to be seen to be believed. I don’t post anything there anymore. Don’t need the aggro.
We really lost something in this country when Dr. Benjamin Spock’s ideas on raising children became popular. Suddenly kids were to be seen AND heard…and in retrospect, who on earth would want to let children set the civil tone of our society? Nothing against children…but do you remember what happened to the ‘different’ kid in your class?
In her wildly popular and idiotically banal song “The Greatest Love”, Whitney Houston says of children that they are our future…”let them lead the way.”
And that’s exactly what we did. We bought into a culture of infantilism created by grown-up children who never really had to learn proper social behavior. For them, ‘in your face’ is not rude, it’s cool.
Digging out from under this one is going to be tough.
Thanks, Andrew 🙂 I think that’s why people who are different, who use their words wisely, who encourage, who diffuse situations, who treat those who disagree with respect, stand out. And even more so now when most of the world simply reacts and vomits words.
I think people say things online they would not say in real life. Sitting behind a computer screen can sometimes disconnect us from the truth that our comments don’t float out into the void somewhere – a real flesh and blood person is on the other end of the blog or facebook account. It’s no excuse for the behavior, though.
And I say, “You go, girl!” to deleting inappropriate comments and standing up for others. Very brave, very true post. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
It’s a societal problem. Kids are growing up texting and IM-ing without the face to face interaction of a few years ago. They aren’t able to see the effect of their words, resulting in a lack of empathy. Good for you to post this timely reminder that we are God’s children, created in His likeness.