Monday, December 01, 2008

Happy Hate And Heckling For The Holidays

Give a nasty, self-involved, emotional bully someone to rail at and you can't shut her/him up. Give that same character a computer, and you have the emotional cyber-bully.

The bully is suffering from Hostility, a condition well described in this article from which I take these characteristics of the hostile person.

1. A person construes human nature in his (her) own way.
2. He makes social predictions on the basis of this constructions.
3. To set the stage they must be crucial predictions; that is to say, he must have wagered more on them than he can afford to lose - more of his construct system, that is.
4. He turns up invalidating evidence. It is clear that he was wrong about people. He can no longer ignore the fact.
5. Moreover, he(she) was overwhelmingly wrong - basically wrong.
6. In the face of the harsh facts he can, of course, revise his outlook. But the revision would shake him so deeply that he is reluctant to undertake it.
7. Alternatively, he could let matters ride - say to himself, "So I just don't understand people very well." But this too is an alternative he is reluctant to choose.
8. Finally, he (she) can close his eyes to reality and attempt to make people fit the construct bed his system provides. This is the hostile choice.

With a computer, this hostile person becomes a Cyber-Bully. This is the beginning of the explanation of what a cyber-bully is and does.

A cyber-bully is someone who uses technology to harass, embarrass, intimidate, or stalk someone else. The methods used can include emails, instant messaging, text messages sent via cell phones, digital photos and all other means of electronic communications. The cyber-bully can send:
angry and vulgar argumentative messages
cruel, offensive, and insulting messages
threats and false promises

It has been my observation that these messages can often come in a barrage of emails, thinly disguised as "explanations" and "attempts to reach an agreement." For the emotional cyber-bully (ECB), the only agreement that can be reached is that her way is the only way. Unable to integrate the spiritual value of humility into her persona, the ECB cannot take contradiction, confrontation or disagreement with her edicts and self-assumed expertise. Stand your ground with the ECB and be prepared to block and bounce because she will pursue her agenda to the end of time.

I can't help but think of the Lori Drew case in Los Angeles, where a woman, her daughter and a friend used the Internet to reel in and then cruelly taunt a 13-year-old who eventually committed suicide. When ECBs pick on a person who is having problems and is very vulnerable, they are, in my mind, guilty of a real crime. When they try to push someone who has the guts to push back, then they are in over their hateful heads, whether they want to admit it or not. When a bully pushes and you push back, you find the coward who retreats and hides in the anonymity of the Internet in order to continue his/her bullying.

Most of the EMS/BSE mothers have chosen, rightly, to ignore the attempts at bullying, jabbing and blustering us into feeling threatened or insulted. I choose to tell the perpetrators and their adherents that we know who you are and we think you are one very sad, bent bunch. I'll offer you a deal...You do your thing for your cause, we will do ours and we will leave you alone. Are you mature, sensible and decent enough to do the same thing?

This is your chance to disagree agreeably and acquire some class and grace. I'm all for what you are for, but I am more for what I am for, as well. The two are not mixable, so why not just let us do our thing while you do yours? Or, or you not having much luck, doing it your way?

I thought so.


Sandy Young said...

As ever, spot on. Your explanation should be used in the future as the new explanation of Bullying on a Cyber Scale. Good work, Robin. This one is a Keeper!!

triona said...

I may not be a Senior Mother, but I'm a senior net.denizen, having been on the Internet since before the Web. There used to be a higher signal-to-noise ratio, but there have always been trolls.

In this case, I think there are a lot of people threatened by the Senior Mother and adult adoptee perspective. It's so easy to rant n' rave from the safety of a computer screen. The good news is, it's a sign our voices are being heard and acknowledged by the public, which obviously must scare the pants off them if they feel the need to start flamewars.

I'm with you, Robin. There's room enough here for us all to have a civilized conversation, but we're not feeding the trolls.

Robin said...

Well, my friend, you are up early! I agree that we don't need to feed them....just let them know they are not going to stop us. People are pretty petty when they stoop to calling older women "hags." My hubby disagrees, bless him!

Anonymous said...

I'm not a senior mother -- but I AM a mother! And I honor the work you and others are doing in the field -- to think that not so long ago women could not even VOTE! And now... we vote, AND run for office!! Where would we be if we all sat silently??


Anonymous said...

When I told a friend that I had found my son after nearly 4 decades, that we were trying to reconnect, she began by saying it was a distraction in OUR relationship, that I already had 2 children, so what should I expect, expect rejection from all around me. She was a friend of 18 years. When I withdrew a bit, she sent an online barrage of psycho-babble (she is actually a counselor, and offerred to switch hats and show me the error of my ways), telling me that my "religion was showing", and I should have had an abortion. Wow.

I have ordered "The Girls Who Went Away" and hope that it will arrive SOON,, having read exerpts and know that it will give me some strength. I am raw right now. My son has actually withdrawn a bit; he may be hearing a little blather from "friends", his adoptive family, reading horror stories, and/or feeling a little overwhelmed. I am, I guess, also.

The folks on this and similar blogs (with the exception of the truly angry who will take it out on the innocent) save lives. I could not have gotten this far without you.

Robin said...

Holly, you have made me feel truly humble. I often don't know how we survive as we do, but everytime I hear from someone like you, I realize it is because we share our hope and healing with each other. Someone did that for me. We all need to pass it on.