Bullying – Kudos To The First To Bring It Up
The February/March Clean Run Magazine featured an Editorial on Bullying in Agility. Understandably, the author chose to use the pen name ‘Anonymous’.
Who can blame them? After all, it’s the bullies who talk the loudest, push their beliefs the hardest, and claim justification in their actions. Bullies blame everyone else for their actions…in other words, they have no idea that they are the problem or even that they are bullying others.
I started writing this blog back in March 2013. It’s now August 2013 and I think I’m finally ready to finish my writing.
My Experience Being Bullied:
I know bullying first hand because over the last 18 months I’ve been a victim of extreme bullying in the dog world. It started with one or two people saying things behind my back, but it grew in momentum when things went ‘viral’. Thanks to the world of Facebook, a person could publicly post a mean comment and within seconds others would quickly chime in with even more vulgar remarks. These were the type of comments that nobody would ever dream of saying to someone’s face, but thanks to the Internet, the meaner the better.
To be clear, I’m talking about hundreds of remarks and comments. It was always the same core group that would start the negative thread, but once the flood gates were open, others would quickly join in.
The negativity and what felt like a hopeless uphill battle was overwhelming and I wasn’t a pretty picture internally. Finally, after a long week of continued abuse from bullies, loosing work thanks to said bullies and having just finished a grueling day at my attorney’s office reading more crappy comments about myself, I felt utterly worthless and things seemed hopeless. I wasn’t sleeping, couldn’t eat, was exhausted, tired, frazzled, was covered in open sores (I have an auto-immune disease so stress can result in blister-like sores that appear), was emotionally worn down and worse yet, I began to believe the negative things the bullies were saying.
Results of Being Bullied:
The result was that I attempted suicide in May 2013.
No, I’m not being dramatic, I’m being truthful. I want people to understand that the mean words and actions I experienced played a significant role in how I eventually came to hate both myself and what felt like an entirely negative world around me. The negativity was so suffocating and the urge to escape it was so strong that the only thing that appeared to be an outlet for relief was to remove myself permanently.
I need to interrupt my story for a moment to apologize to my family and friends and to assure them that my choice had nothing to do with them. I was lost. I felt like a burden. I was trying to shoulder so much. I was hurt by the bullies. I didn’t know how to ask for help. Worse yet, I didn’t trust anyone because some of the bullies had claimed to be friends. My family and friends didn’t fail me, I failed myself when I forgot how to be my OWN best friend and I’m so sorry.
It’s Time To Stop Bullying In the Dog World:
I chose to share my story because people need to understand the effects their words and actions have on others. In this modern age of information-over-share, we’re taught we are entitled to indulge ourselves in expressing an opinion on everything and everyone. What makes this scenario a disaster is that when we sit behind a computer that shields us from having to see the results of the hurtful words we say, we don’t have to take responsibility for our actions. Worse yet, we feel justified in our actions or in the sharing of our words…which is one of the first signs YOU are a bully.
I think instead it’s time to actively practice the wisdom of refraining from engaging, sharing and cultivating remarks. If you have nothing good to say, don’t say it! A couple of fine examples would be:
- Don’t comment on someone’s agility run. Even a simple “I can’t believe they did a front cross there….” brings nothing positive to the table.
- Don’t add that seemingly innocent remark to someone’s negative Facebook page. Even if your remark isn’t ‘terrible’ it keeps a non-positive topic alive and growing.
- Don’t criticize volunteers.
- If you’re speaking with emotion first, refrain!
In the real world, if a child is being bullied, they’re told to tell an adult who can step in and help them. Adults have no one to go to and worse yet, adults don’t hold other adults accountable for their actions.
I can’t stress enough that no matter what age we are, hearing negative things about ourselves still hurts. So, I’d like to propose that we ALL refrain from saying negative things.
Definition of a Bully:
- To treat in an overbearing or intimidating manner
- A person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people
- To force one’s way aggressively or by intimidation
- To be loudly arrogant and overbearing