According to the official definition at stopbullying.gov, “Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.”
So why, as adults, do we teach our children the politically correct cause of the day such as anti-bullying, but choose to bully people in our lives? Bullying examples include driving, emotional blackmail, people who are invested in a book or novel and who only want positive reviews, and verbal attacks in person or by email.
In 2006, ABC News reported, “The mother of a former friend of Megan’s allegedly created a fictitious profile in order to gain Megan’s trust and learn what Megan was saying about her daughter. But the communication eventually turned hostile.” Megan committed suicide in 2006.
The parents of this child are trying to put more regulations on the internet to prevent cyber-bullying, but bullying has been a problem for generations. Like people who try to regulate violence and pass more laws, more laws and more regulations won’t change anything. It’s a heart issue and it begins by teaching through example.
Have you ever tail-gated someone because they won’t move out of your way? Have you flipped them off and tried to intimidate them so you can go faster?
Today a silver sports car drove close to my bumper as two lanes became one. A Jeep was supposed to merge behind me, but slowed down in order to merge behind the silver car. The silver car would not allow him to get in front. He bullied his way in front of the jeep. Behavior like this can’t be regulated. Emotional blackmail is another form of bullying.
Emotional blackmail is when someone withholds needed emotion, like love, in order to force someone their way. This could include not speaking to someone, hanging up on someone, or not giving practical support for the purpose of forcing a different conclusion to an argument or life decision. If you’re married, leaving the house in the middle of an argument is considered emotional blackmail. The spouse is afraid you’ll leave and caves when you return because he’s grateful that you have returned. It’s a form of bullying. Reviewers are often targets of abuse.
Glynn over at Faith, Fiction, and Friends wrote a post called, Bad Reviews. In it, he received flack for writing bad reviews. An editor sent him an email. The author’s friends attacked him verbally. In short, he chose not to write bad reviews. The bullies won, and I don’t blame him. As a reviewer, I’ve been on that end, too. It’s not fair. Though the bullies read the same Bible as I do, they forget to look at the plank in their eye. The upset mass resort to verbal attacks.
Bullying is everywhere and it takes on just as many forms as gossip. We, as Christians, are being watched in work and play. It’s so easy to justify our actions, like tail-gating, verbally abusive tweets, emails, or words. Ayn Rand said, “When personal judgment is inoperative (or forbidden), men’s first concern is not how to choose, but how to justify their choice.”
Have you been a bully, even in a small way? Share your stories of being bullied or of acting the bully and how that’s affected you today.