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KAY DECUIR — Stay strong and don’t lower yourself to the level of your bully

I would like to write about a topic that is prevalent in our society. This is not a new topic but one I observe often with people I meet and that I experience personally through various forms of Bullying.

There are multiple forms of Bullying, but I choose to focus this month on Cyberbullying. Next week the focus will be on Bullies in the School Setting. Please keep in mind when reading this article that the characteristics of a Bully are common in all types of Bullying.

Sadly, Bullying is very common and has been around for centuries but it appears to be more prevalent in the 20th Century than before. Anyone can be bullied and no one is exempt including the Bully.

What are the characteristics of a Bully? Obviously, Bullies are very unhappy individuals and are seeking attention to self. The Bullies are vulnerable people and need support and help through counseling and possibly metal health therapy.

They usually are not outgoing. These persons were probably the victim of another Bully at some point in their life. Maybe, the Bullies act out for attention, specifically because they didn’t receive the credit they thought they deserved, wanted a position or job another person received or just couldn’t be the person they had aspired to be by a certain age in life.

They can’t be happy for others or things that are happening around them. They seek attention by trying to tear down others whom they believe will make them feel better about themselves.

In Cyberbullying, Bullies are seeking attention to their own stories, experiences using written text, social platforms as Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, email and any other media outlet to focus on themselves while targeting others.

Their hopes are that the ones they try to bully will cower down to their written or verbal comments as name calling, spreading rumors they have created in “their own minds,” twisting information they choose to believe and try to convince others.

The overall goal is to cause injury to another but in the end, they will be causing only injury to themselves. It might take many years before this is realized or it may never be realized in “their minds.”

I have noticed in social media, especially the last few years, there have been more adults bullying others when in fact they only “think” they know the story that has been written by the Bully, and therefore when others comment, they become Bullies themselves.

Why would anyone want to comment on something they don’t know as a fact?

In our society, people want to be the first to announce information they have read or heard before seeking out the facts. This is a great way to create drama and generate negativity in the community.

Our children and young adults are observing the behaviors of those in the home, work setting, sports setting and so on. When is a Bully not effective? Why does a Bully continue to write about a person over and over?

The answer is when the one they are targeting doesn’t cower down or comment back on their posts or react the way they had hoped. Some individuals can handle a Bully easier than others. Continuous writing about a person is trying to wear that person down.

It takes great strength to stand tall and face others in public. But at the end of the day, those being bullied know the truth, so they have nothing to be ashamed of. Those individuals who really know the person being bullied will laugh at the “attention seeking” Bully.

How can they do that you might ask? Because they know the information created is twisted to make a notch on the Bully’s post.

In Cyberbullying, the best advice, no matter the age of the one being targeted, is to not respond to the posts but save the posts for evidence. Eventually, the Bully will slip and fall.

Trolling is a type of Cyberbullying by use of the internet. It can be punished legally if the Bullies do not twist their words enough to make it seem like they are not specifically using the name of the person, position of the person or the correct spelling of the person in his/her hometown.

This type of Bullying is just a way to try to embarrass or ridicule a person. The Bully will post false information about the person, and worse, possibly a family member. Rarely do you find a video or photo posted because then the Bully can be held liable.

Trolling is when the Bully tries to stir up a message to provoke a disruption in the person’s life.

We have all been told, “sticks and stone may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Actually, words can hurt, but remember that the Bullies don’t care if they hurt another person, that is their goal in life.

Most of the time, they are hurting more than you. I choose to let it roll off and move on. People being bullied usually are being targeted for having an unusual name, a certain position in government or community, a different race, gender or religion, having a different value system than the Bully, possibly a physical or learning disability or appearance.

When Bullies are addressed face-to-face in a public setting or electronically, they feed on that feeling they were seeking and will continue to harass the target. Just be strong, don’t lower yourself to this type of behavior. Eventually the Bullies will rat themselves out.

Kay DeCuir is the executive director of the Nederland Economic Development Corporation. She can be reached at kdecuir@nededc.com.