Am I a bully?
After a disturbing weekend on twitter I have been doing some self reflection and reflection in general on the topic of bullying. Plus the accusation posed at me by some, that I am in fact a bully for calling out what I perceived as bullying.
I have previously posted on twitter that I abhor bullies and bullying. I have been subjected to bullying since I was a small child. I was bullied by my brother, who was 4 years older than me, the worst incident was when he stabbed me in the face with a penknife. I know can you imagine that happening today? I hid the wound from my parents and when it was spotted said I had fallen playing outside. I still have the scar visible on my chin to remind me.
As a child I had a huge mop of curly hair which made me stand out, I was also tall and extremely gangly for my age. Throughout school I was bullied for my hair and height. Children are the worst, but I survived and according to my dad, it apparently builds character. By the time I was 15, the school bullying stopped, why? I was 6 foot 2 inches and had filled out, was doing weight training and swimming 2x day and playing multiple team sports. The bullying stopped when one day after school a kid who enjoyed taunting and bullying me got the shock of his life. I had had enough and just turned and punched him on the nose. This was one of the two times in my 62 years I have actually punched someone in anger. So apart from the usual bullying by teachers in a boys grammar school I remained relatively free from bullying until I started work as PT.
Through my PT career I have been exposed to the usual bully bosses, thankfully not too many, but enough for me to speak up and suffer the consequences. I worked for an extreme passive aggressive bully boss for 10 years until I eventually quit my job and happily moved on.
So looking at SoMe and reflecting on what I perceive as bullying and others seem to perceive as me bullying.
It seems a normal practice on twitter for people to be overly rude and aggressive in their responses, and then play the victim when challenged. It also seems that the group pile on and mocking spree is an acceptable behavior on twitter and other SoMe platforms. What disturbs me the most is the DM bully. This is the person who DMs you with messages which are derogatory or snide requests to remove a tweets they didn’t like. Often guised as a polite requests, because their followers have negatively commented about the tweets. The passive aggressive behavior that ensues, if you block said person, like a tweet exclaiming “look he blocked me, who knows why?”
So in the spirit of two wrongs don’t make a right I have been accused of “subtweeting” so I immediately apologized and deleted, only to be subtweeted with derision.
If I am a bully for standing up to group mocking and thus blocking, or a bully for calling out bullying, or a bully for commenting and supporting others who are also being bullied, or calling out ageism or vulgar language. Then yes I am a bully. But I think YOU need to look in the mirror and reflect.
My experience with bullies is that how they treat one person is how they will eventually treat you. So good luck and if you are an enabler, it’s only a matter of time before the bully turns on you.
Am I a bully?