I saw this meme on Facebook the other day, and it’s not the first time I’ve seen or heard this sentiment. I think it’s ignorant.
It is true that bullying seems to get more attention than it has in the past, but is that because we are “creating a society of victims,” or because bullying is getting more vicious and we are becoming more educated? I lean towards the latter. The digital age leads to easier stalking, harassing and bullying than I ever experienced as a kid. Now, instead of kids bullying at school, they can stalk the target more easily and bully the target in front of the world.
While there is something to be said for learning to deal with a bully, learning not to be hurt by others’ bad behavior and false opinions, and learning to be strong, there is also something to be said about refusing to accept bullying as “normal” behavior! Why would we want to tell the bully’s victim to shape up without telling the bully not to be a jerk? Sure, we cannot make a jerk stop being a jerk, but we can let the bully know that the good people of the world will not accept bullying.
When I was recovering from narcissistic abuse, so many people blamed me for being upset, called me angry, (of course I was angry!,) or told me to get over it…but not enough people validated that I had good reason to be angry and hardly anyone pointed out that, hey, maybe the ex narcopath shouldn’t thrive on abusing people! I think that with bullying and all abuses, it’s important to make it clear that we shun cruelty rather than rushing to tell the victim/target to hide their feelings and move on. Yes, moving on does have to happen…but holding the bully accountable is essential, yet it rarely happens.
We used to say “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me;” however, research and time have shown that verbal and emotional abuse, as well as bullying, lead to long-term or even permanent consequences for the victims. Society as a whole is learning to value emotional health, but there are still those old-fashioned thinkers out there who continue to deny the damage that is done by ALL forms of abuse–and not just physical. We still have a long way to go towards learning to treat each other well.
Related links and information:
Stand Against Abuse (one of my earlier blogs)