I don’t know about you, but I find it disheartening to see people being attacked online for perceived faults. I was questioning why this happens and wondered: Why is perfection expected of others, yet they themselves wouldn’t be able to accomplish living a life without making mistakes?
Was I missing something to be able to understand this problem? Why DO people do this, apart from the feeling of anonymity that the Internet can give people?
I’ve been rolling these kinds of questions around in my mind for a long time, so I figured it was time to write about it. I tend to learn so much when I write about something, and this time was no different.
My questioning why led me to discover a few interesting articles which help to explain this, and I think you’ll find them interesting!
Even before the COVID pandemic, people were trolls and bullies online. As the pandemic continues to crawl forward with new variants, we’re collectively exhausted from it, and for many, that frustration has only added to the stifled anger they feel towards their own lives.
Internet shaming and bullying have grown exponentially in the past few years, almost to the point that we’ve each experienced it in one form or another. Whether it’s people negatively commenting on a post or outrightly creating humiliating/hateful content, the effects of receiving these negative comments are affecting more and more people.
Some people who like to shame or bully others online do so to vent their own anger and frustrations they feel about their lives, in their attempt to feel better about themselves or to feel superior when they are feeling unworthy or inferior.
Others are on the “sadistic spectrum”, not fully certifiable, but they enjoy hurting others and enjoy seeing their pain or discomfort.
University of Manitoba PhD psychology student Erin Buckels is quoted by WENCY LEUNG in Why do some people take delight in online shaming?
In additional experiments, Buckels found that the more sadistic people are, the more likely they are to go out of their way to make other people suffer, and that online trolls and cyberbullies tend to have high sadism scores.
Still, it’s not clear why everyday sadists enjoy inflicting pain.
“I don’t know that they could answer that, to be honest. They just find it pleasurable,” Buckels says, noting that when targets speak out about their suffering, it likely only adds to their tormentors’ glee. “It increases the enjoyment when they see they’ve affected some kind of horrible outcome on someone. If they don’t get to see it, it’s less pleasurable.”University of Manitoba PhD psychology student Erin Buckels
In my observations, people who lack life skills and the tools to help themselves heal and feel better will struggle with anger issues. The more a person is damaged from their own past, the likelier they are to vent out on others or seek to make others feel just as miserable as they feel.
Seeking to try to make others feel as miserable as we do is a red flag. It points to emotional immaturity, and in an adult, it speaks to possible emotional damage which has been done.
People who have been criticized or severely criticized will struggle with their emotions and have a hard time developing emotional maturity because they haven’t felt nurtured or supported. If you’ve experienced this in your own life, you may be struggling with feelings of low self-worth and this, in turn, affects how you speak to yourself. (I think these posts will be very helpful for you: Brain Rewiring, or Teaching ourselves to like, even to love ourselves, or By changing our inner dialogue, we change EVERYTHING!, and Challenge: When a negative thought enters your mind, think three positive ones. Train yourself to flip the script!
Internet shaming and bullying have consequences for the recipients. In the lightest form, these consequences affect our mood, turning a good day into one that feels terrible. At the other end of the spectrum are mental health and self-worth issues which can lead to depression, anxiety, or even suicide.
Read this article: The Impact of Online Shaming on Young Lives by Sue Scheff. She has even more interesting information to share.
“It’s often easy to hide behind a quick text, snap, post or tweet – but the lasting effects can have a devastating effect on teens and their families.
So when we hear phrases such as,death by humiliation, it’s not a joke.
According to the survey:
41% of teens said cyberbullying made them feel sad, helpless and depressed
26% felt completely alone
18% experienced suicidal thoughts
21% stay home from school due to cyberbullying
38% don’t tell their parents they are being harassed online
Not telling their parents or an adult is an issue that has concerned experts and advocates for a long time. The reasons why kids don’t tell can range from the fear of having their life-line removed (being shut-down from the Internet), to being ashamed of what is happening online – to retaliation from the bully (being called a snitch by friends). This is why offline parenting is so crucial to online life. Building a bond of trust so your child knows that they can come to you no matter what they are facing online.”The Impact of Online Shaming on Young Lives by Sue Scheff
Since many of the online trolls derive a great deal of satisfaction from trying to embarrass or hurt someone through ridicule or mockery, a good rule of thumb is simply not to engage them if it is directed at you. With some trolls that is sufficient to get them to move on to find another person whose buttons they can try to push for their own amusement.
I understand that it’s not always possible to ignore the person or the people who are doing the humiliating or the bullying, for they can find ways to get into your personal space.
Sometimes we need help with dealing with the situation and to find out how to move forward with our lives.
In this article by Bella DePaulo Ph.D., she offers 10 Steps for Getting Over Humiliation
1. Realize that you are not alone. “If you can find people who have had a similar crisis to your own, talk to them.”
2. You have to be resilient, not just smart. Sometimes what separates successful people from those who fail is not talent, but the willingness to keep coming back after terrible setbacks, rather than giving up.
3. Most of the time, it’s nothing personal. Success is often about a fit between you and a particular place or situation. If you don’t fit, don’t take it personally—just move on to a better fit.
4. Learn from the experience.
5. Seek out a support network to help you move on.
6. Use any downtime you have to do something you really enjoy.
7. Think twice before striking back. “Your cause may be just. But the more relevant question is whether plotting your revenge is the best use of your time, energy, reputation, and likely, money. Wouldn’t it be wiser to focus on plotting a new future for yourself?”
8. Don’t hide. “You need to affirm for people, and perhaps for yourself, who you are and what you stand for. And you need to show people that the crisis has not destroyed you.”
9. View the crisis as an opportunity. For example, use it as an opportunity to pursue something you love.
10. Move on. Don’t wallow in your humiliation. Plan for the future.Bella DePaulo Ph.D., she offers 10 Steps for Getting Over Humiliation
ALL of us will at some point or another in our lives experience embarrassment. humiliation or being targeted.
It’s not really personal (even though the attack was designed to inflict the most damage possible), because it’s a reflection of the troll’s inner world. We may only be the one within their reach.
The more we can learn about what motivates others to do harm to people, the more understanding we have, and hopefully feel better prepared to understand it.
Stand up for others
I believe it’s important to stand up for others, to be an advocate, to be more than a silent witness, but to try to hold the trolls accountable for their actions, for none of their negativity happens in a vacuum.
How we choose to handle it is up to us.
I’m sharing more posts that may be helpful for you:
- For most of my life, I denied I share a birthday with a rodent!
- 10 Steps to Owning Our Happiness
- Setting “Boundaries with consequences”
- Making a change… “How do I take that first step?”
- Affirmation: Today is a new day! I can do this!
- As we practice being gentle and kind with ourselves, we actually help to speed the process of helping our lives become more positive!
- Always believe that wonderful things can happen!
- A healthy outside starts from the inside!
More good stuff:
Please go to my Archived Posts page to find more wonderful posts to check out!
Guided Journals help you work on a particular issue by answering questions to help see patterns and to find solutions:
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