I’ve been thinking a lot about Bullying lately. Not sure why.. maybe I’m feeling like a bully. I don’t know. The major problem I see in all of the discussion is that apparently bullying stops when you graduate high school. Look at Federal anti-bullying campaign, it discusses bullying quite well and has links to help different groups identify and cope with bullying. The problem? It’s all about bullying with respect to kids. I just don’t get it. Adults can be bullied too.
If you look a little deeper, you can find adult bullying discussions. The “focus” of bullying changes, but the feelings and effects of that bullying are the same as they were when we were kids. Some bullying is overt. People actively picking on others or degrading them. People intentionally posting passive aggressive nonsense that is clearly directed at certain people. (thank you social networks) Even something as simple as posting online about some “truism” you believe that passively degrades other people. Things like “Why on earth would anyone think blah blah blah is something anyone wants to [hear|see|think]” constitute some of this passive aggressive crap.
Hell, people need to be mindful that bullying can be directed at anyone. Your spouse or significant other, your friends, your kids, your pets. It’s a pretty insidious event in our world. Bullying comes far too easily to most people and calling someone out on their bully results in? More bullying.
What is the point of all of this? I’m hopeful people are more mindful of how their words and thoughts affect other people. I’m hopeful that people learn to self-identify bullying habits or are willing to hear criticism from others that their words or actions are classic indicators of bullying.
A year or so ago, I decided I was going to be less snarky and sarcastic. That hasn’t worked out so well. What I have done, or tried to do, is to try to be less biting and mean in my sarcasm. There is a very broadly identifiable line in any friendship or relationship that can be seen and denotes when your jokes are mean-spirited or nasty. I’ve tried to learn to see that line more often than not. If you think I’ve crossed that line, let me know. I’m grown up enough to hear it.
After I wrote this, I found a really nice website from PBS about Adult Bullying. Good stuff to read through: Adult Bullying