July 10, 2011

The Lengths People Go

When I launched the Take the Pledge Campaign, I really did not know that much about cyber bullying. All I knew was that I saw a great deal of negativity on social media sites and blogs. And I hated it.

In the past few months, as I have learned more, I have been amazed by the lengths people will go to try to hurt others. The amount of time and energy some women expend to attack and harass another mom is something I cannot wrap my head around.

First of all, how do they have that much time? And second, why would they choose to spend it in such a way? Where does the hate come from? Can you honestly hate someone that much because of what they believe? How they choose to live their life? A person you don't even know?

Sadly, the answer appears to be yes. I have also discovered women often bully in groups. They bond over their cooperative efforts to tear someone else down, working themselves into a feeding frenzy mentality. I've seen it with my own eyes, and it is U.G.L.Y!

Bullies are very good at making themselves out to be the victim. Whether or not they truly believe that or it is simply a tactic, I don't know. But it is a theme I have seen over and over - I'm not a bully; I'm a victim!

Since I began this movement, I have had conversations with women who have extensive experience being a true victim of cyber bullying, and those who are facing it for the first time. The most important thing I have learned? The principles of The Mom Pledge work.

I really don't care for the term, "Don't feed the trolls." I think it makes light of something that is quite serious. But the intent of the message is a good one. It is sound advice. Do not attempt to engage a bully. You cannot have a rational interaction with an irrational person. It never ends well.

It's natural to want to defend yourself. To counter any nasty things that may have been said to or about you. Many times, you want to settle the "dispute." Try to understand where the other person or people may be coming from. Why she has gone on the attack.

You'll likely never know. Honestly, it doesn't matter. Nothing gives a person the right to bully another. It is not OK. And when you try to reason with a bully, you give her what she wants, attention and the satisfaction that she has rattled you.

All you can do it focus on your own behavior. And block/report/ignore those who are intent on spreading hate. Remember the principles of The Mom Pledge. Live them.

They will not make you immune to those who would attack. But they can give you control of your own online space. And you can serve as a shining example of how human beings should behave - online and in life.

Stand up. Speak out. And be proud. You are all awesome! And if someone does try to bring your down, remember that you have a supportive, caring and nonjudgmental support system right here, in this community.

We are close to 350 strong and growing. It's not trite; it's true. Together, we can make a difference. And show the world how it's supposed to be. Thank you for helping lead the way...

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