Bullying is something I have spoken about a couple of times on my blog before because it really is a topic quite close to my heart. However, I'm taking the time to discuss it with you all again because it's an issue that remains as relevant as ever.
I have been bullied quite a few times in my life - I was bullied for a short time at primary school, an even shorter time in my first year at secondary school which actually involved the bully being removed from my form and then I was bullied online from Year 10 to Year 13 and throughout my first year at college, resulting in about 5 years of bullying.
I thought it was over when it died down in about 2016 but over the last year it's begun to start up again - and it's only since this most recent bout of bullying that I've begun to really notice something; the bullying begins when I become more successful.
|Just having a lil' laugh in the face of the haters who have tried to bring me down|
When the online bullying started in Year 10, I had just got myself into my first proper relationship, one of the few serious relationships in the year group at school, and the bullying began. When I started college, I started my blog and began to do some really cool things, like working with Channel 4 and 4Music and getting my own radio show. The bullying got worse, with people slating my work, telling me I wasn't going to get anywhere (lol) and needed to quit writing (even bigger lol).
At one stage I even got the police involved because I just couldn't deal with it anymore, but the police told me until they caused me physical harm they couldn't intervene. Sigh.
Fast Forward to 2018 where my life is the absolute best it's ever been. I'm in an amazing career, on a great wage. I live in a beautiful home with the love of my life. I'm getting the chance to travel the world. My business is taking off and becomes more and more successful all the time, I'm more confident in myself than I've ever been and really living my best life and do you know what?
People can't stand it.
I've brought it up a couple of times already, but a nasty photo of me was made and circulated around the town I live in. I've had people who I believed would be life long friends write nasty, indirect snapchats about me and behave so nastily I've had to cut them off altogether. I've had people cut me off, for no reason. I had a twitter account set up that only followed me and responded to all my tweets for a while with nasty comments, telling me my boobs were saggy, that I was fat and so on. And then almost two weeks ago, there was this:
An account was set up on Instagram with, what I can only assume, was the sole intent of writing nasty comments on my photos, because they had no posts on their account and no followers and then went back through 92 photos and videos on my Instagram feed in less than five minutes to post five nasty comments before I blocked them.
Once the initial hurt and upset dissolved, the comments are quite humorous. Taking jibes at my weight clearly because they know I've just lost weight and am proud of how good I look right now. On one photo their best insult was "tin foil". Literally lol.
Commenting no my boyfriends appearance however, is something I won't tolerate. Ever. I am very open and share most of my life online, including the people in it. Say all you like about me - I've probably heard it all before - but comment on my loved ones and it's over for you. I didn't care what this troll was saying about me, but to say such nasty things about my boyfriend was just completely out of line.
"When you try to come for me, I keep on flourishing"
Bullying is still a huge issue that needs to be properly tackled - and yet it's something we don't seem capable of tackling very well. The number of bullies and trolls is growing, and the number of people becoming depressed, ill or even ending their life over it is growing with them. Bullies caused me to self harm, caused me to develop odd eating behaviours, dragged my self esteem down to below zero and made me feel worthless. This, in part, lead to me becoming a victim in a violent relationship. In short, bullies and online trolls absolutely ruined my life.
But I got through it. I'm one of the lucky ones. It wasn't easy, but I made it - and so now I'm going to share with you some of the things that I learnt, in the hopes that if you're being bullied too, they might help you.
Bullies are never happier than you
People aren't bullying you because you're sad, or because you're having a rubbish time. People are bullying you because you make them feel uncomfortable or insecure or vulnerable about their own lives. Look at how many celebrities deal with online bullies and trolls every day, simply for living a lavish life that they earned that these bullies and trolls can't obtain. In my case, as I've already said, my life is currently the best it's ever been and I'm very open about this online. Bullies and trolls can't stand to see this, because they don't want people to have things they don't have, and so I've seen a rise in bullying and nastiness directed towards me.
Bullies are very sad, lonely and bitter people. People who think their life hasn't gone quite according to plan. People who think they deserve better. People who don't have a loving partner, or a nice home, or a caring family. Bullies are always worse off than you, and that's why they try to drag you down to their level - so that they can feel better. It doesn't excuse their behaviour at all but it definitely is worth remembering how good your life must be for someone to work so hard at trying to get to you over it.
Most bullies and "anonymous trolls" are people you know
Or, even worse, people you considered friends. Anonymous trolls are always someone you know, someone close to you - hence why they know so much about you and know exactly what to say to hurt you the most. I once found out my entire circle of friends were writing incredibly nasty things about me on Twitter, because they knew that at the time, I didn't have Twitter. When I did join Twitter, what felt like my entire year group all tweeted the hashtag #TheDownfallOfTwitter - because they no longer had a safe space to bitch about me where I couldn't see.
When this kind of thing happens, there's not a lot you can do. I'm 22 now and if there's one thing I can tell you about friendships, it's that they are incredibly fickle. I wish that growing up, I had kept a very small, select circle around me, rather than being friends with everyone when many of them were stabbing me in the back.
This point does link back to the first - people want to see you do well, but never better than them. If you can excel at something and a friend can't, this can turn them into a bitter, nasty bully - this has happened to me on numerous occasions, and it hurts a lot. Your friends are supposed to be your cheerleaders, are supposed to clap when you win! But sometimes your successes reveal the true colours of people you believe are your "friends".
This is not anything to do with you - it's a reflection of the kind of person they were to begin with, and you're definitely better off without someone like that in your life.
No reaction is the best reaction
Now obviously this seems a bit hypocritical, as I'm dedicating a whole post to bullies and trolls, but as a general rule of thumb, I've found that no reaction is the best reaction. I used to rise to the bait everytime it was offered, respond with fury to every nasty comment and mean post I saw about me, write my own indirect posts about people who wrote indirect posts about me. Really, this just added fuel to the fire. Bullies and trolls thrive off your reactions - it spurs them on to keep being nasty because they love knowing that they have power over you and your feelings. That they have the power to bring you down.
Don't give them that power. I'm now well trained in simply blocking and deleting. Of course, if the bullying is serious it should be reported. I got the police involved in the photo situation and it was swiftly nipped in the bud. But for nasty comments online, simply delete them and block the profile. It drives bullies and trolls absolutely crazy when they can't get to you.
As I've mentioned, bullies are never happier than you. Imagine your life being so sad, so lonely, so miserable and bored within your own life that you have time to dedicate all your free time to visiting the profile of someone you apparently don't like - especially under the guise of a troll account - to leave nasty comments. Imagine. You've gotta pity them really. They just need a hug and some guidance in the right direction. They've obviously been through some shit that's left them feeling this way about other people, so pray for them, block and delete them and move on.
And remember - if a hater keeps checking on you, that's not a hater, that's a fan.