Here are some useful eye-openers and tips for child sex abuse survivors, witnesses, whistle-blowers and campaigners being targeted by bullies on Twitter, Facebook or other social media.
Whether its disordered damaged individuals doing the bullying, or deliberate campaigns orchestrated by powerful interests, pretty much the same rules apply.
With thanks to Tim Field’s great site BullyOnline.org
The Internet provides the perfect forum for cyberbullies, individuals whose aim is to gain gratification from the distress caused by provoking and tormenting others. The anonymity, ease of provocation, and almost infinite source of targets means the Internet is full of predators from pedophiles targeting children to serial bullies targeting … anybody.
Cyberbullies harbour a lot of internal aggression which they direct at others. This may include projection, false criticism and patronising sarcasm whilst contributing nothing of any value.
People who bully are adept at creating conflict using provocation, which bullies delight in because they know they can always coerce at least one person to respond in a manner which can then be distorted and used to further flame and inflame people. And so it goes on. The bully then sits back and gains gratification from seeing others engage in destructive behaviour towards each other.
Many cyberbullies are attention-seekers. More than anything else they want attention. It doesn’t matter what type of attention they get, positive or negative, as long as they can provoke someone into paying them attention. It’s like a 2-year-old child throwing a tantrum to get attention from a parent.
The best way to treat bullies is to refuse to respond and to refuse to engage them – which they really hate.
In other words, do not reply to their postings, and on forums carry on posting without reference to their postings as if they didn’t exist.
In other words, treat nobodies as nobodies.
The anger of a cyberbully is especially apparent when they come across someone who can see through them to espy the weak, inadequate, immature, dysfunctional aggressive individual behind the mask.
The objectives of cyberbullies are Power, Control, Domination, Subjugation. They get a kick out of seeing you react. It doesn’t matter how you react, the fact they’ve successful provoked a reaction is a sign that their attempts at control have been successful. After that, it’s a question of wearing you down.
The more you try to explain, negotiate, conciliate, etc the more gratification they obtain from your increasingly desperate attempts.
Understand that it is not possible to communicate in a mature adult manner with a disordered individual who’s emotionally retarded.
The Number One rule for dealing with this type of behaviour is:
don’t respond, don’t interact and don’t engage.
This is not as easy to do as it sounds. It’s a natural response to want to defend yourself, and to put the person right. However, never argue with a cyberbully; it’s not a mature adult discussion, but like dealing with a child or immature teenager; whilst the serial bully may be an adult on the outside, on the inside they are like a child who’s never grown up – and probably never will. Cyberbullies and harassers often have disordered thinking patterns and do not share the same thoughts or values as you.
It’s important to become alert to provocation.
It could be called “The Baiting Game”. A provocative comment is made and those who respond spontaneously in irritation (eg non-assertively) are then encouraged to engage in conflict with those who respond without irritation (eg assertively).
The provoker watches, waits and stirs the pot with the occasional additional provocation. What interests me is the sense of gratification that a provoker gains from watching others indulge in destructive interaction initiated by him- or herself. In this context, gratification is a perverse form of satisfaction akin to, but distinct from, pleasure.
Instead of getting drawn in to the bully’s games –become an observer. Although you may be the target of the cyberbully’s anger, you can train yourself to act as an observer. This takes you out of the firing line and enables you to study the perpetrator and collect evidence.
Finally a reminder – never try to mediate, negotiate, conciliate or otherwise deal with a cyberbully or stalker yourself. Always remember Rule #1: don’t respond, don’t interact and don’t engage.