The following are the comments I posted on my “Help Stamp Out Cyber-bullying” thread on the topix forum that pertain to this subject. I’ve removed all the annoying, distracting in fighting. Many of those arguments show me dealing with Cyber-bullies but there’s also a lot of crap there too. If you can stomach reading every post of that thread, go ahead and read them. I can’t. Thank you and good luck in your efforts to squash this disgusting affront to humanity.

Greetings participants of the Bullying Resistance Movement for topix forums. If you’ve chosen to take a stand against Cyber-bullying, I’m glad that you’re here. If you’re a bully, I’m glad you’re here too but for reasons we shall discuss later.

I want to tell you upfront that we cannot stop bullying. Living in a world that values individual freedom has a price. That price is freedom of speech and bullies are protected by it the same as you are. We have two choices when it comes to combative instigators. We can ignore them or we can band together to unite our voices in resistance against this cowardly, despicable act. I want to discuss several ways we can go about achieving this goal here. Your input is encouraged. (Unless you’re a bully. In that case, you will simply be used as an example.)

My username for the time being is ononothimagin. It’s likely that you didn’t come here by accident. You probably already know my story and what I stand for. You know that although this is a Michael Jackson forum, I am NOT a MJ fan. This doesn’t matter. All that is required to be part of this effort is to accept our freedom of speech while making it clear that you don’t approve of nor participate in Cyber-bullying. Make no mistake about it; bullies WILL come, guaranteed. This is actually a good thing. It will allow us to exercise different methods of dealing with them.

RULE #1:

You MUST control your emotions. This is paramount. It’s easy to feel like you’re being picked apart by these vultures but you must understand that getting emotional is fuel for bullies. It’s what they call entertainment. When you wear your heart out on your sleeves on just about any subject, it’s a written invitation for callous loudmouths to stomp all over your feelings. Then, if you expose how hurt you are by what they’ve done, this is their payoff.

RULE #2:

Never, under any circumstances, reveal your personal information. It’s fine to talk about the weather or taking your sweetheart out for dinner but never offer you full name, address, or any pertinent details that can provide access to you anywhere except where you’ve chosen to be accessible. If you wouldn’t say something in a room full of strangers, don’t say it via Internet. Even letting someone know sensitive or embarrassing information about you via email can have unforeseen consequences. Protect yourselves and your loved ones at all times. This also includes changing you password at least once a month. I’m not only talking about where you get your email or your bank account information but on topix as well.

Musicians that rap about how good it is to be a gangster and the prestige of a “Thug-Life” have glorified the word recently. This is pure media hype, designed to appeal to the rebellious nature of youngsters and sell records. It’s similar to the way pirates have gained something of a romantic image through movies like “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

The reality is that being a “thug” or a “pirate” isn’t a compliment. Thugs are hoods. They are traditionally dimwitted ruffians, outwardly tough guys hired by people in high positions to do their dirty work for them. They bully, threaten and intimidate anyone that doesn’t play by their boss’s rules.

Normally, thugs need to get their hands dirty and physically terrorize their hapless victims with violence. Internet thugs don’t have that kind of power. The worst threat they can muster is to gang up on someone and try to intimidate them. It’s a toothless attack and this will work to our advantage. Unlike street thugs, Internet thugs don’t have much power. On the street, no mob boss would send in a common thug in to spy on their enemies. They just don’t have the intellect to infiltrate an organization before they lose composure and start slapping each other on the back for how “smart” they think they are. It’s hard not to become jaded in this cynical world. Especially today, when so many think that “bein’ a gangsta” is something to aspire to. This doesn’t mean that the whole world is corrupt. It just means that you need to watch your butt.

I think it would be advantageous for me to name a few of the bullies I’ve encountered during my participation on the topix forum. Allow me to introduce “Jina’s Hyenas.”

The first is the self-anointed Queen of the Cyber-bullies, “J-J-Jina Wild.” I’ve assigned her the title “Mother Superior,” in recognition of a comment she made about how “intellectually superior” she thinks she is to us all. This pompous loudmouth couldn’t care less if she makes this forum a miserable place for everyone. There is only one way to deal with this royal badass and that’s to find her weak spot. I have accomplished this. As far as I know, I’m the only person in this forum that has ever made her cry. I’ve twisted my knife into her soft underbelly many times and like a stubborn mule, she keeps getting back up. After she recovers, she pitches an unholy fit about what monster I am to hurt her so badly, oblivious to the fact that she initiates many of the conflicts here. If she can’t ignite a fiery dispute by being insulting, she’ll break out her big guns… start using profanity, calling others hateful names like “faggot” and degrading innocent family members. Naturally, her faithful pack of Hyenas are always on hand to rush in and back her up. Jina’s inflated sense of her own self worth is legendary. Her treacherous tactics are not for the fainthearted.

“NFL Fan.”
This is the middle finger of Jina’s handful of “friends.” This goon’s job on topix to give anyone that doesn’t bow down to his master the finger. Overall, he is a toothless hound and his growling should be ignored. Hey, badasses aren’t completely worthless! They can always serve as a bad example!

“Pop Tart”
She is a tiny bit more refined than NFL Fan, Inda and jim. The latter are Jina’s “Go on ahead of me” goons. They’re the first on the beach and the most expendable. Pop Tart is content to sit back and survey the damage. Nevertheless, she is every bit as bullheaded as the rest.

The other day, Pop Tart insisted I provide her with a link from a thread that doesn’t even exist anymore! That particular thread has been deleted by topix, so even if I could give it to her, she wouldn’t be able to check it out! So… what’s the point? The point is that there is no point. It’s all about arguing with you. That’s the goal. It doesn’t matter if they’re winning or losing. Bullies believe that all it takes to win an argument is to keep arguing! After all, they have pals that will back their lies up! (Even if those “pals” are in reality THEM… using a phony username!)

If you choose to stick with a particular forum, you’re going to have to confront bullies directly at some point. As I pointed out previously, the key to dealing with a bully is to redirect their insults. It’s the same approach used by professional therapists.

Did you get bullied on a playground as a child? One of the defenses children are fond of using is, “I know you are, but what am I?” They could repeat this until recess was over and it just kept making the bully madder and madder. It’s the same principal here. When someone calls you dirty names, try not to get angry. Redirect as often as possible. Instead of firing back with, “You’re a bigger piece of shit than I am,” say instead, “Why are you so angry?” This instantly transfers the heat off of you, back to them.

This is how I caught Jina in a lie. I just kept calmly redirecting her anger or counter pointing her rebuttals with things I knew I could back up. Eventually, she slipped up and revealed that she was using multiple usernames. It’s inevitable that bullies won’t be able to keep their lies hidden for long and once anyone deliberately distorts the truth, they have become a LIAR. It’s insignificant if what they tell were “only little white lies.” If a liar will lie to you once, they will lie to you again. Count on it.

Bullies will attempt to change the subject with, “This isn’t about me, it’s all about what a jerk YOU are!” Don’t allow this worn out tactic to distract you. Every badass will say it when they’re backed into a corner. The important thing is to stay calm. You cannot reason with these creatures nor can you appeal to their sense of humanity. Whatever you say, they will say the opposite and try to blame you for everything. Just accept that this is the nature of a badass and remain focused on your goal.

It’s a waste of time to keep trying to reason with certain people. Pertinent questions deserve a relevant response but “See if you can explain why you’re such a jerk” is an exercise in futility. Some people just don’t get it. Victims of bullying are just going to have to accept that this is nature of the beast. As I said before, we cannot stop bullying. It will remain a permanent fixture on the Internet but that’s OK, we can deal with it.

While topix is available in repressed countries, they’re established as a company in the USA. We value our freedom of speech here. There’s a fine line between what is acceptable speech and what is not. It mostly hinges upon what each individual finds offensive. As unpleasant as bullying is, most people would rather not get involved with censoring bad attitudes if they can avoid it. Its another argument on it’s own.

There are no quick fixes for bullying. We have to learn to deal with it. This takes communication. If you aren’t a confrontational person, that’s OK. You can still take a stand against this abusive behavior by letting your voice be heard. Trust me, even though this thread (like any other thread) will be plagued by badasses, I encourage you to not be intimidated by these bloodsuckers. They can’t hurt you if you don’t let them.

In the company of shysters, you’re going to be tempted to reach out to people that appear honest. It’s a natural reaction. All I can tell you is stay alert. You don’t have to harden your heart and hate humanity but you do need to be aware. It’s like song sez, “Ya gotta know when to hold `em and know when to fold `em.” You have to pick your battles. You have to decipher which ones you can win and which ones you’re better off letting your enemy drag their ornery butts through the muck fighting without you.

The first step in dealing with a cyberbully is to not give them what they’re after. A bully by nature tries to bait his prey. This way him (or her) can laugh with their cronies over how much they’ve upset you. Don’t give them what they want.

Have you ever seen a cowboy movie where some villain shoots at a person’s feet and then shouts, “Dance?” Cyberbullies do this too but because they can’t physically shoot at your feet, they’ll harass you with words. The motive is the same; they want to manipulate you into responding. If you respond in any way that is emotional, you let them know that they’re getting to you and it only encourages them.

Remember, bullies often suffer from low self-esteem and they want to feel better about themselves. Instead of doing something positive or succeeding at something, the bully has learned to make themselves feel better by controlling, abusing and tearing down others. This gives them a sense of control and power they don’t have in their lives. Most bullies are actually quite weak. It’s especially important not to respond emotionally because this could make you send a reply that you might regret later. Never forget, messages sent to the Internet are almost impossible to take back.

Cyber bullying, which is sometimes referred to as online social cruelty or electronic bullying, can involve:

Sending mean, vulgar, or threatening messages or images;
Posting sensitive, private information about another person;
Pretending to be someone else in order to make that person look bad;
Intentionally excluding someone from an online group

Most serial bullies are also serial attention-seekers. More than anything else they want attention. It doesn’t matter what type of attention they get, positive or negative, as long as they can provoke someone into paying them attention. The best way to treat bullies is to refuse to respond and to refuse to engage them – which they really hate. It doesn’t matter how you react, the fact they’ve successful provoked a reaction is, to the bully, a sign that their attempt at control have been successful. After that, it’s a question of wearing you down. The more your try to explain, negotiate, conciliate, etc the more gratification they obtain from your increasingly desperate attempts to communicate with them. Understand that it is not possible to communicate in a mature adult manner with a disordered individual who’s emotionally retarded. I created this thread for us, not them. The only way to deal with bullies is not to give them what they’re after. They crave attention.

Cyber-bullies bullies harbor a lot of internal aggression that they direct at others. This may include projection, false criticism and patronizing sarcasm whilst contributing nothing of any value. It may also include a common tactic of saying, “everyone likes me and no one likes you.” This is standard bully-speak. It helps to learn to recognize standard bully speak. This will assist you in identifying a bully.

Bullies will attempt to cover up how mad it makes them if they can’t control you. They tend to pick on people who are “different” or don’t fit in with the mainstream. It may be because of how you look, dress, act or because of your race, religion or sexual orientation.

If you are being bullied, remember:

· Don’t blame yourself. It is not your fault. No matter what someone says or does, you should not be ashamed of who you are or what you feel.
· Be proud of who you are. Despite what a bully says, there are many wonderful things about you. Keep those in mind instead of the messages you hear from bullies.
· Get help. Having trusted people you can turn to for encouragement and support will boost your resilience when being bullied. Reach out to connect with family, real friends and anti-bullying groups.(Like this one.)
· Learn to deal with stress. Finding ways to relieve stress can make you more resilient so you won’t feel overwhelmed by bullying. Exercise, meditation, positive self-talk, muscle relaxation, and breathing exercises are all good ways to manage the stress from bullying.

There is no single solution to bullying or best way to handle a bully. It may take some experimenting with a variety of different responses to find the strategy that works best for your situation. To defeat a bully, you need to retain your self-control and preserve your sense of self.

· Try to view bullying from a different perspective. The bully is an unhappy, frustrated person who wants to have control over your feelings so that you feel as badly as they do. Don’t give them the satisfaction.
· Look at the big picture. Bullying can be extremely painful, but try asking yourself how important it will seem to you in the long run. Will it matter in a year? Is it worth getting so upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.
· Focus on the positive. Reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts. Make a list and refer to it whenever you feel down.
· Find the humor. If you’re relaxed enough to recognize the absurdity of a bullying situation, and to comment on it with humor, you’ll likely no longer be an interesting target for a bully.
· Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Many things in life are beyond our control—including the behavior of other people. Rather than stressing, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to bullies.

Bullies always try to make you feel bad about yourself. They do this by saying things “everyone likes me and no one likes you.” They will try to draw attention from their own insecurities by acting like there is something wrong with you. “This is all about what a loser you are.” Remember that unlike confronting a bully in person, an Internet bully cannot hurt you physically. This means if a bully you encounter in person is an insecure control freak, an Internet bully is even lower than that. Cyber-bullies are weak and full of self-loathing.

If you know of something that will expose a bully’s weakness, they’re naturally going to try to squirm out from under it by saying something like, “What about you? You’re ugly!” This indicates that you’re getting to them. Don’t spoil it by trying to dog them into meeting your requirements. The last thing a bully wants to do is do what you want them to do. Just make your point and let bullies humiliate themselves trying to steer around it. It’s really all about maintaining your composure and self-control.

According to the National Conference of State Legislation, cyberbullying is classified as the repeated and willful use of computers, cell phones and other electronic communication devices to threaten and harass others. Several states have already enacted anti-cyberbullying legislation, many that give local schools the power to adopt policies that outline how to deal with the issue. Since 2006, 35 states have passed some type of legislation against cyber bullying. There is nothing wrong with facebook or Twitter as long as it is used properly. If you are being bullied or if you are a bully, those are behaviors that needs changed. It’s not easy to identify yourself as someone who is being taken advantage of and if you are, I hope you take the steps to protect yourself.

More ways to foil a Cyber-bully:

1. Never give out personal information or passwords, P.I.N. numbers etc.-Personal information includes your name, the names of friends or family, your address, phone number, school name (or team name if you play sports). Personal info also includes pictures of yourself and your e-mail address. Ask permission before sharing any information with a Web site, a “chat buddy” and even when registering a product purchased for your computer (like a game). Passwords are secrets. Never tell anyone your password. You may need to delete your current e-mail accounts, cell phone / pager accounts and set up new ones.

2. Use Netiquette. Be polite to others online just as you would off-line. If someone treats you rudely or meanly – do not respond. Online bullies WANT you to answer. Even though you may really want to, this is exactly what Cyber-bullies want. They want to know that they’ve got you worried and upset. They are trying to mess with your mind and control you, to put fear into you. Don’t give them that pleasure. (Don’t give them the satisfaction.)

3. Don’t open a message from someone you don’t know. If it doesn’t look or feel right, it probably isn’t. Trust your instincts.

4. You don’t have to be “Always On” turn off, disconnect, unplug and try actual reality instead of virtual reality! – Give yourself a break. Don’t stay online or connected too long. Spend time with your family and friends off line.

5. Do not erase or delete messages from Cyber-bullies. You don’t have to read it, but keep it… it is your evidence. You may unfortunately get similar messages again, perhaps from other accounts. The police and your ISP, and/or your telephone company can use these messages to help you. You might notice certain words or phrases that are also used by people you know. These messages may reveal certain clues as to whom is doing this to you, but don’t try and solve this on your own, remember, tell an adult you know and trust. GET HELP!

6. You can then look at the root-domain of the sender. You can then go to do a “WHOIS” search with a domain name registration company such as CIRA if the last two letters of the Cyber-bullies e-mail address. If the last letters are something other than .ca, such as .com, .org, .net etc. you can do a “WHOIS” search internationally with Internic.com, This Web site was been established to provide the public information regarding Internet domain name registration services and is updated frequently. The “WHOIS” search will often provide information as to who owns the domain name, and their contact information. Share this information with your local police and your telecommunications or Internet service provider.

Does your school already have a policy against cyber-bullying? If you’re worried that your school administration isn’t doing enough to fight this problem, you could try speaking to school officials about your concerns and offering to help develop policies. If your school is already addressing the issue, see if you can help get the word out.

Speak out. Sometimes, all it takes to defeat evil is for someone to stand up to it. As more people join in, the less they have to confront it. The hate that seemed so powerful before will eventually crumble anyway. If your friends are cyberbullies, call them on it and explain to them how hurtful their actions are. If a friend is being cyberbullied, don’t stand by and do nothing. Talk to them about it and seek help from an adult. Your support may be just what the victim needs to overcome the problem.

Remember the Roman Empire? Backed by vast numbers, Romans furiously mowed people that refused to bend to their ideals into the dirt. Nevertheless, the oppressed quietly kept faith that truth and decency would triumph someday. Eventually, their strong morals and strength of character prevailed. I have faith the truth will emerge here someday as well. I’m no Christian but I believe as time passes and lies are continuously put to the test, honesty will eventually win out.

You don’t need to be a Christian to believe in a higher power. You can have faith in a force stronger than us that is guiding us to the truth without devoting your life to the Christian’s version of “God.” You simply need to have good morals, tell the truth and despite various setbacks, life will reward you. Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for compassion, kindness and peace.

It’s called Karma. If you’re honest with people and show a little charity, things will go your way. There is nothing magical or Biblical about it. It simply means that life will treat you accordingly. If you think you’re better than everyone else, the world will treat you indifferently.

If you harbor hate in your heart, those are the kinds of people that will surround you. It isn’t about some omnipresent being sitting up in the clouds, watching you and making things happen for you, it’s just the way it is. Some people go an entire lifetime and never figure it out.

I’ve known too many Christians in my life who think that as long as they’re going to church and saying their prayers, they will get a seat right next to God after they die. In the meantime, they look down on people they think aren’t as “Godly” as they are and humankind suffers because of it. My belief is that no religion of any worth would be all about what God can do for you. If a religion alienates you from your fellow man, you’re better off without it. If it provides you with building blocks to become kinder and more tolerant toward people that don’t think the way you do, it’s a good thing.

Be free. Do whatever you want to do and be whoever ever you want to be. Just so long as you don’t hurt anybody.

Cyber-bullying is the use of the Internet and related technologies to harm other people, in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner. As it has become more common in society, particularly among young people, legislation and awareness campaigns have arisen to combat it. A majority of states have laws that explicitly include electronic forms of communication within stalking or harassment laws. Most law enforcement agencies have cyber-crime units and often Internet stalking is treated with more seriousness than reports of physical stalking. Help and resources can be searched by State or area.

One method is “Back Off Bully” (BOB), the web app is an anonymous resource for computer, smart phone or iPad. When someone witnesses or is the victim of bullying, they can immediately report the incident. The app asks questions about time, location and how the bullying is happening. As well as providing positive action and empowerment over an incident, the reported information helps by going to a database where administrators study it. Common threads are spotted so others can intervene and break the bully’s pattern. A target’s understanding of why cyber-stalking is happening is helpful to remedy and take protective action to restore remedy. Cyber-stalking is an extension of physical stalking and carries criminal consequences as well.

Among factors that motivate stalkers are: envy, pathological obsession (professional or sexual), unemployment or failure with own job or life; intention to intimidate and cause others to feel inferior; the stalker is delusional and believes he/she “knows” the target; the stalker wants to instill fear in a person to justify his/her status; belief they can get away with it (anonymity). UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line theorizes that bullies harass victims in order to make up for inadequacies in their own lives.

The US federal cyber-stalking law is designed to prosecute people for using electronic means to repeatedly harass or threaten someone online. There are resources dedicated to assisting adult victims deal with cyber-bullies legally and effectively. One of the steps recommended is to record everything and contact police.

Like I’ve mentioned many times here already, victims of bullying need to understand that they cannot control another person’s behavior. If you want to stop being bullied, you can try to ignore the bully, avoid them, fight them or if it gets too bad, contact law enforcement programs designed to deal with them.

Personally, I don’t believe in them. It’s iffy whether the cops will be able to track the bully down in the first place, let alone prosecute them. From where I stand, the best way for a timid, easily intimidated person to deal with a bully is to not give them the attention they’re digging for. Not everybody will be able to shove bully’s snoot into the dirt and in most cases, I advise him or her not to even try. All it will do is enrage them and they’ll bitch about it endlessly.

As part of the 2000 Violence Against Women Act, Congress extended the federal interstate stalking statute to include cyberstalking. It is a FEDERAL CRIME, punishable from five years to life in prison, to stalk another person across state, tribal or international lines using regular mail, e-mail or the Internet. The defendant must have the intent to kill or injure the victim, or to place a family member or a spouse or intimate partner of the victim in fear of death or serious injury.

In 2000, Congress also passed the Amy Boyour’s Law, 42 U.S.C. Section 1320 B-23 (P.L. 106-553), which prohibits the sale or display of an individual’s social security number to the public, including sales over the Internet, without the person’s expressed consent, submitted either electronically or in writing. The law allows a person harmed by wrongful release of a social security number to sue the seller or displayer for equitable relief and monetary damages in a U.S. District Court.

In addition, the Social Security Commissioner can impose on any such violator a civil penalty of $5,000 for each violation, with increased penalties (maximum of $50,000) if the violations constitute a general business practice. This new law applies to violations effective on December 21, 2002, two years after its enactment.

I would like to discuss the power of having a positive self-image.

Self-esteem is the feeling people have about themselves. It reflects individual perception of personal traits and abilities. People with high self-esteem regard themselves in a positive way. Self-esteem affects a young person’s ability to make health-enhancing choices; therefore, enhancing self-esteem is a crucial step toward positive health practices and good mental health.

Four Elements of Self-esteem:
Self-esteem is affected by the ability to recognize and accept one’s strengths
achieve a sense of belonging
develop a sense of power
have and imitate positive role models

Recognizing and Accepting Strengths:
Each person has special abilities and traits. These strengths make an individual unique. While everyone has areas that need improvement, young people need to identify and use their strengths. Identifying strengths and using them can bring enjoyment and a feeling of accomplishment. Classroom activities and experiences that allow young people to identify their own strengths; traits and talents create an opportunity for increasing self-esteem.

Creating a Sense of Belonging:
Relationships that are established at home, in the school or the community help young people feel they are part of a group. The affiliation and satisfaction young people experience within groups contribute to feelings of security and support. A sense of belonging can be developed through class activities that allow students to participate within a group. The opportunity to share ideas and capabilities and to gain personal recognition contributes to increased self-esteem.

Developing a Sense of Power:
Students who have a sense of power believe they have the ability to affect their own lives and the lives of others. Armed with this power, they are able to take charge and make changes. They feel capable of taking the risks necessary to reach their goals and develop independence. Class activities that increase recognition of personal and social competence build self-esteem.

Having and Imitating Positive Role Models:
Young people need standards to give direction and meaning to their lives. These standards are developed through experiences within the family and peer groups and with other people who are significant in their lives.

When they emulate ideals such as honesty, dependability and loyalty, young people become confident of their ability to distinguish between right and wrong. Therefore, they are able to take responsibility for their actions and to model standards for behavior. Self-esteem is increased when students are given the opportunity to examine and express their standards and aspirations.

Improving Self-esteem:
Self-esteem can be improved in many ways. Individuals can take an active role in working to improve their self-esteem. Some specific actions can be related to specific elements, or conditions, of self-esteem.

Addressing Specific Elements of Self-esteem:
Many of these actions overlap or involve more than one condition.

Sense of Belonging:
Creating friendships that help us feel good about ourselves
Personal Assets and Strengths
Celebrating our strengths
Taking care of our physical health
Having a positive attitude
Sense of Power
Improving our weaknesses
Setting challenging but realistic goals
Realizing we control our own actions
Sense of Models
Choosing positive role models
Making decisions based on our own beliefs
Positive Self-talk

Positive self-talk is another avenue to improving self-esteem. Each person carries on an ongoing internal dialogue. This internal dialogue consists of positive and negative messages about the people and events in our world, including ourselves. If the dialogue is primarily negative, it is difficult to feel good about ourselves. We can monitor our self-talk to determine whether it is mostly positive or negative.

If we experience many negative messages, we can use a technique called “thought stopping.” Thought stopping means that when we begin having negative messages about ourselves, we mentally say Stop. Then we switch to a positive message. For example, if I am berating myself for having forgotten to set my alarm, I may say, “You are so stupid for forgetting. How can you have done that?” Stop. “I can be flexible. This is a good chance to realize that it is okay to make a mistake.”

Personal Standards:
Teens need standards (a sense of models) to give direction and meaning to their lives. Standards are developed through experiences with family, peers and other significant models. Many standards are “universal.” or valued by almost everyone. Honesty, loyalty, self-respect, dependability and responsibility are examples of universal standards. Although many standards are universal, the degree to which standards are prized depends on a person’s background, culture and religion.

Teens often adopt the standards of people they admire, whether they are family members or rock stars. The development of personal standards is an ongoing task for every individual.

Awareness and understanding of personal, family and social standards helps teens make decisions and judgments consistent with what they feel is important (a sense of power). Mental health is compromised when decisions do not reflect the personal standards of the individual. In other words, we must practice what we preach. Teens with a strong sense of standards are confident in their ability to tell right from wrong and are able to take responsibility for their actions.

The most difficult decisions are those in which several standards of behavior are in conflict. For example, one friend asks another her opinion of a new haircut. If the friend doesn’t like the hair cut, she must make a choice between being kind and being honest. The choice is difficult, because the friend believes both standards are important. Understanding personal standards is the first step. Sometimes the standards must be prioritized as well.

My synopsis:
I believe that a positive self-image comes from a positive environment. That could include your family giving you positive feedback but it could also involve the values you were raised with. Certainly positive reinforcement goes a long way. Such as giving children praise when they exhibit good behavior and rewards when they get good grades, but equally important are the role models in their lives.

As the traditional family structure has broken down over the last several decades, the youth of today think honesty is for chumps. It doesn’t matter what you do anymore, it’s all about how good you look doing it. The younger generation is under the impression that if you can lie and cheat your way to the top of the heap, this makes you a clever person. I believe this way of thinking is completely wrong. There will always be crooks and swindlers in this world but in the past, the best way to deal with them was to be honest, not join them. I still believe that honesty is the best policy. It may not seem so at first but in the end, you will be better off for taking this route.

I’m of the opinion that children need structure in their lives. This means knowing the difference between right and wrong and realizing there are consequences for bad behavior. I was brought up knowing that there was a boss in my house. My parents were strict disciplinarians. We (my brothers, sisters and I) had the option to obey the rules or face the consequences and we knew those consequences could hurt. A measured swat on the fanny taught us to submit to authority regardless of whether or not we agreed. It was believed that children needed those limits to learn restraint because that child was going to venture out into a world full of bosses someday.

Not anymore. We’re told that strict parenting is uncivilized, reverting back to our caveman days. Popular opinion is that we must coddle our children and only speak to them in a soft voice, regardless of what they’ve done. Single mothers seem to think they have to be their children’s best friend. If a child misbehaves, the parent is supposed to calmly try to weigh it out it with them, no matter how long it takes to reason with an undeveloped mind. Certainly this is the first step but when reasoning fails, sterner measures should be used.

It’s my opinion that much of the lousy attitudes we witness in public forums today stem from the breakdown of traditional family values. Western parents (particularly women) seem to assume frailty rather than strength in their children. As a result, we see a disturbing number of young people that believe that lying, cheating or arguing their way out of predicament is the way to go. Bullying can be a result of a breakdown from both sides of this dilemma. A child that is bullied at home may also become a bully away from home but the opposite may be the case as well. The importance of firm but positive guidance cannot be over emphasized.

Even possessing good values won’t banish bullying completely. There will always be small people that will attempt to prove to themselves that they’re bigger than you are. I believe that the reason we exist is to help others. Not winning the game. Not making more money. Not to be the most popular but to give people struggling to stay afloat a hand.

Doing nothing to help others will surely be our undoing. The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make a difference. It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of humankind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.

10 Ways to Raise Your Self-Esteem:

Maintaining your self-esteem is essential to having a fulfilled life. Harness the power of emotion to deepen your love with your partner, become more successful at work, and more.

Published on April 25, 2011 by Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D. in Emotional Fitness

S – Strength, the power within, is what you can call upon when the chips are down and you are considering cashing in. Using your inner resources to pull yourself up by your bootstraps will give you the sense that you can deal with anything life throws at you.

E – Enlightenment, the ability to know that you know, keeps you solid in your choices and decisions. Your thoughts can change with the wind, but your inner knowledge is unshakable.

L – Love of self may be one of the most underutilized sources of self-esteem. We can be harder on ourselves than on any other person. Consciously giving yourself a break and not falling into the trap of self-denigration will allow you to save your energy for the important parts of life.

F – Fulfillment is a misunderstood quality. It isn’t about not having any more room for additional emotions, but rather it’s about being open and looking for feeling that will add to our well being.

E – Energy, in the form of positive feelings and deeds, feeds our minds and hearts. When you don’t have energy, you can’t feel good about yourself or anything else, and the best way to get energy is to do something physical like exercise.

S – Selflessness, that quality of putting others before yourself, is a great way to build your self-esteem and to contribute to those who need you, at the same time. If you do nothing else today, help someone who needs it and then see how you feel.

T – Trust must first be given to yourself. Your self-doubt works directly against your self-esteem. Believe that you are here for the right reasons and that your participation in life is valuable to those around you.

E – Emotions, being in touch with your feelings, will make you a better person, as well as a better parent and partner. Being true to your emotions can’t help but make you feel better about yourself.

E – Effectiveness, the ability to influence the world in a positive way, can be incredibly empowering. Leaving the planet a tiny bit better than you found it can bring meaning to anyone’s life.

M – Motivation, that inner cheerleader, is what propels you to the next level in life. Wanting to have a positive impact on those around you is a great way to motivate yourself. It is also very life enhancing.

Getting started may be the hardest part, so I suggest that now is the time to use these tips to turn things around. Make the effort and you will feel the change sooner than you think.

– psychologytoday

Learning to rebuild your self-esteem may be one the hardest things you will ever have to do. At times, it may seem futile. You may find that you take only a few steps forward and many back. Just remember that the damage was not done overnight, so neither will the recovery!

The first step in rebuilding is to separate yourself from your abuser as much as possible. Depending on your circumstances, this can be accomplished 100% or only as little as 10%. If you are in a relationship with no other ties – children – then it can be a much cleaner break. If you were married to your abuser AND have children, you will find it to be a daily struggle. Hopefully, your children will give you the willpower and determination to not give up.

A great way of dealing with stress is to work out. By working out, you improve your physical appearance, energize yourself, and accomplish something positive. Having the discipline to work out not only makes you feel better; it creates positive momentum that you can build on the rest of the day.

Being bullied is one of the worst experiences that a person can endure, whether he is a child on the playground or an adult in the workforce. Sometimes bullying causes lifelong damage to the victim’s self-esteem, affect his functioning in many ways that are unproductive or even destructive. Bouncing back from bullying is possible, though, and what does not kill you can certainly make you stronger. Find positive ways to get over being bullied.

While it makes sense that upfront people would speak out on things they feel strongly about, it’s hard to understand why anyone would dwell on constant negativity. I have to confess, this is something I really don’t understand about MJ fans. If you have a hero, why would you bother reading comments from people that don’t like you, who will go on and on about what a piece of trash your hero is? Believe me…. YOU DON’T NEED TO! Just about everything that can be said about MJ has been said, hasn’t it?

When I first started posting on topix, I was looking for an argument. Well… I GOT ONE! In fact, I got thousands! Now, I resist leaving snotty comments like “Michael Jackson was a filthy pervert!” because I’m sick of fighting about it! If I post anything about MJ now, I try to stick to the facts. All that spiteful crap you get from punks like octo and NFL Fan was put there to make you fans angry!! When you get angry, you’ve already lost because now bullies will bounce back with something like, “Oh, you’re angry? LOL! LOL!”

Now what? Are you going to write back? WHAT FOR? Do you think Michael Jackson would be proud of your lack of control? Look at it this way….

Remember the phrase, “Garbage in, garbage out?” This was said about computers… meaning if the only information you enter into a computer is garbage, that’s all you’ll get out of it. Think of your mind like a computer. If you don’t read what people put on the Internet to make you angry, it won’t get entered into your “Brain Computer.” That means negative crap won’t get stored and backlogged there!

Bullying is a serious issue that is faced by many people. There are all types of bullies and all types of victims yet bullies have certain commonalities, as do the victims. Bullying can cause lifelong psychological effects that may require therapy in order to overcome. In more serious cases, the bullying has gotten so bad that the victim chooses to take their own life just to escape the bullying they endure.

It is helpful to recognize the behavior of a bully as well as the signs that someone is a victim as the sooner the signs are spotted the sooner help can arrive for all parties involved. Here you will find the signs and symptoms of the bullying/victim relationship and find out what can be done to curb this behavior and help someone who is in a toxic situation.

Bullies have existed since the beginning of time, as have the victims who have suffered from the bullying. With so many different ways to bully others in this day in age, it is getting harder and harder to control it and protect the victims. The age-old question though is what makes a bully a bully? Who are bullies and what are their motivations? Why are certain people targets of bullies more than others? This paper will look into bullying from a psychological standpoint and attempt to take a look into the mind of a bully. There will also be exploration into the types of bullying that are faced today which are staggering considering the new world of technology that we now live in.

There are millions of bullies in this world from all backgrounds, of all ages and both genders. But just what makes a bully a bully and how are they so different from their victims?

Experts have identified a number of bully characteristics:

An inflated sense of self-worth – they feel like their needs are more important than anyone else’s. They often come from a family where violence and manipulation is a normal part of communication.
Inadequacy – a feeling they hide by forcing others to feel inadequate too. Often bullies were once a victim of bullying too.

The bully mentality isn’t meant to be understood. There is no excuse for intentionally hurting another person. If someone is bullying you, it is noble to accept that this person is probably flawed and unhappy – but that should not make you feel guilty for taking action against them. Some people come from difficult backgrounds and still manage to feel love and compassion for others.

You may never know why your bully wants to hurt you or why you have been made into a victim. All you can know is that this person’s behavior is unjust and they need to be stopped before they cause considerable damage.

Cyber bullying is a growing problem now that people have easy access to the Internet. Now people can be targeted from anywhere in the world, from a number of platforms including social networking sites, instant messaging, email and texting. A determined bully may be able to decode your passwords, hack into their email or social networking accounts and send abusive or inappropriate messages. Allow me to emphasis a point I made in the beginning of this thread…

CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS OFTEN.

The one I have now is 15 figures long, has a mixture of capital letters and small case letters and a series of numbers. I strongly recommend victims of bullying do the same. DO NOT use words that are easy to guess. I’ve lived all over the United States so I use the names of tiny towns I’m familiar with all over the country. Don’t use large cities like “Chicago.”

Use tiny two word towns like, “MineralSprings5632” Don’t use your zip code, social security number or phone number. Just make sure it’s familiar enough that you’ll remember it but will nearly impossible for someone to guess. This is possibly your greatest defense against cyber-bullying. Don’t merge websites you want to remain anonymous with websites you want to be more accessible on.

If you’re getting a lot of flak from bullies here on topix, the way I do, don’t merge topix with facebook or anywhere you have a picture of yourself and personal information. You can adjust your settings facebook and other social networking sites so that only the people you select are able to see your personal information and posts. It’s important to check these privacy settings frequently, because sites sometimes change their policies. Considering forums like topix and YouTube require that you provide them with an email address to join up, you might consider not using your real name there either. They say they won’t give out your information but you just never know. People with blogs may be able to access your personal info if you leave a comment there.

If you’re required to enter a valid email address to join a forum, create additional email identities. Keep it separate from the one that has your real information on. Don’t add it to your account of email addresses. Think ahead of time, “if a bully managed to access my email account, what information would I want them to find?” Say your name is something like “Barney Google,” you were born on 2/22/2002 and live in “Noneofyourbusiness, Nevada!” It’ll serve them right!!

One of my favorite ways to foil a bully is to use a mock answering machine on them. Do yourself a favor and create one in your document files today. Mine reads….

*Click*

I’m sorry but you have exceeded the one response per day limit for toothless hounds set by ononothimagin. Please call 1-800-EAT-SHIT for more assistance. Thank you and have a badass day. Goodbye.

*Click*

If I want to leave a message, I copy and paste this message:

*Click*

I’m sorry, you have reached the response limit for toothless hounds set by ononothimagin but he has left you a message. Please hold…

“I have better things to do than argue with you.”

This concludes his message. Please call 1-800-EAT-SHIT for more assistance. Thank you and have a badass day. Goodbye.

*Click*

If I don’t feel like copying and pasting, I give them an abreviated version….

YNC (This is short for “Yawn, no comment.”)

Yes, you can defeat bullies. Under that hard exterior, they are weak, inadequate, immature, aggressively dysfunctional individuals. Don’t expect them to admit defeat or go down quietly. We have established that cyberbullies are tiny, inadequate thugs that pump their egos up by tearing other people down. The best way to avoid being cyberbullied is to use the Internet and mobile phones carefully.

Don’t give out personal details, such as your phone number or address, on a blog or in a chat room.
Think carefully before posting photos or videos of you or your friends.
Only give your mobile number to close friends.
Protect passwords, and never give your friends access to your accounts.
Don’t forward nasty emails.
Learn how to block instant messages or use mail filters to block emails.

Know how to report bullying to Internet service providers or website administrators. Ask a parent or teacher for help, or look at the advice on Chatdanger’s website.

Cyber-bullying is an ongoing problem that will never be eliminated. I recommend you get better acquainted with the strength you already have inside of you to deal with them directly but if you can’t stand confrontations with punks that will never let up, these are useful websites for information and help:

Directgov: cyberbullying
These pages for young people contain detailed information about different forms of cyberbullying, with tips on how to deal with it.

Cybermentors
Cybermentors is run by young people for young people. If you’re being cyberbullied or bullied in any other way, you can log on to the site and chat to a cybermentor. He or she will help you work out what to do next.

Chatdanger
Chatdanger contains safety advice on mobiles, chatrooms, email, online games and instant messaging.

Digizen
Digizen focuses on responsible use of the internet. Its section on cyberbullying includes a short film called Let’s fight it together, about how a boy deals with being cyberbullied.

If there is one message I want to deliver here above all else is that bullies are actually weak individuals. They put on a big show about how powerful they are but it is just a mask. Inside, they are pitifully dysfunctional children. When dealing with bullies, you must decipher what they say really means. When they say, “everyone loves me and nobody likes you,” does that make it true? Of course not. You know yourself better than anyone. Think about the people that love you and you’ll realize that the garbage bullies say are empty and meaningless.

All I’m doing here is showing you that beating bullies at their own game CAN be done but let’s face it; I’ve exposed myself to a ton of verbal abuse by doing it. If that isn’t your style, take the time to change your passwords with combinations of capital letters, small case letters and numbers and then PROTECT them. Don’t pass them along to ANYBODY you don’t completely trust. Don’t forward nasty emails or merge confidential websites with sites that are full of bullies. This is the first step.

If this doesn’t work, ignore them. Bullies consider it a victory if they can get a reaction out of you. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter. They want to control you. Don’t give the satisfaction. If this doesn’t work, you can either confront them or report them. Reporting them is a lengthy process and may or may produce results. Confronting them is tricky. You need to be sure you aren’t just feeding their obsessions.

Don’t argue. You can’t win. The best you can do is only stick to things you know you can back up and redirect their hostility back at them. If you’re lucky, you might get them to reveal too much about themselves. Once you’ve caught them in a lie, they are LIARS and none of their cheap back talk will change that. You have to realize when you’ve come out on top. It may not feel like you have when a pack of hyenas are cackling about how they’ve beaten you but if you keep throwing their lies back at them and not allow them lure you back into another arguing match, you will be the better for it. If you refuse to retaliate or respond to their trash talk, you have won by not letting them control you. Like I mentioned, it won’t feel that way. Your instinct may be to fight back, but keep in mind that this is the World Wide Web! You might win in a physical fight but you won’t here! There will always be more bullies!

If a bully poses a danger to you, by all means REPORT IT.
Click the report abuse button.
Collect the evidence – keep mobile phone messages and print emails or social networking conversations.
Talk to someone you trust, like a family member or friend.

Social workers won’t advise you to shove a bully’s nose into their own crap the way I do. They are professional people working with law enforcement agencies, so perhaps this is a preferable route to take for people that don’t want the stench of bullies soiling themselves aimed in their direction. Like I said, even if you do manage to bring a bully to the attention of the authorities, it won’t solve the problem. Bullies seldom work alone… they need an audience. Just bear in mind that you don’t have to be in that audience. Let these hotheads entertain each other. This is when avatars come in handy. When you spot their photos, just skip over them. Don’t read them. It’s just the same old nonsense anyway. It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power. People spend too energy thinking about what they’ve missed in life. They don’t quite know what they’re looking for but they’re certain what they have isn’t it. If they realized how much power resides in a single thought, they wouldn’t waste time thinking another negative thought again.

What is anger? Anger is an emotion. It is a signal that we believe we are being treated unfairly.

Feelings are neither right nor wrong. It is okay to feel angry.

Actions can be right or wrong. It is not okay to hurt ourselves, others, or property when we feel angry.

So how can we deal with anger and act in healthy ways?

1) Recognize anger – know when you are angry and what makes you angry.

2) Practice positive responses – practice, practice, practice until your new positive responses become good habits

Quick List of Ways to Cope with Anger:

Walk away
Exercise
Talk to someone who you are not feeling angry with
Distract yourself
Count 10 breaths
Write about it
Come back and deal with it later when you feel calm

SYMPTOMS OF ANGER

How do you know when you are angry? All of us have symptoms of anger – physical and mental signs that tell us we are angry.

Physical Signs:

Fast heart beat
Sweating
Shaking
Clenched jaws
Clenched fists
Fast breathing
Headaches
Stomach aches
Upset feeling in the stomach
Tight chest
Tense muscles
Frowning, scowling
Red face

Mental Signs:

Problems concentrating
Confusion
Memory problems
Thoughts of doing harm
Angry thoughts
Irritability
Short tempered
Yelling
Swearing
Withdrawing from others
Throwing things
Pacing
CYBER-BULLYING

Anger Management Worksheets: Questions About Your Anger:

1. How do you know when you are angry?
2. Where in your body do you feel anger? List your physical signs of being angry.
3. What is the first sign of anger you notice? List your early warning signs that tell you when you are starting to become angry.
4. What makes you angry? List all the things you can think of… all the way from small annoyances to big problems.

Anger Management Worksheets: How You Handle Anger:

1. How do you usually react when you feel angry?
2. Think about the last time you reacted in an unhealthy or negative way to anger. What happened right before you got angry?
3. How did you react?
4. How did you feel after you reacted?
5. What could you have done instead?
6. What would happen if you were to react in a more positive way?

Anger Management Worksheets: A Plan for Dealing With Anger:

1. Make a plan. Write down one of the situations from your anger scale (see anger management worksheets PDF document). Choose one that causes you to feel a little angry. Describe how you would like to react in the future to this situation.
2. Choose a situation near the top of your anger scale (see anger management worksheets PDF document). Describe how you would like to react to a situation like this.
3. What negative behavior do you most want to avoid when you experience anger?
4. What will you do instead?
5. What will you do when you experience your early warning signs of anger?
6. How will you handle situations when you feel very angry?

Practice positive reactions to everyday stresses. Walk away instead of reacting in anger. It’s okay to stomp your feet if you need to!

Exercise. This helps get rid of the physical energy that is built up by anger.
Talk to someone who you are not feeling angry with. Phone a friend, relative, or professional. Tell them about what happened and how you are feeling.
Distract yourself. Do something you enjoy, like reading, TV, music, games, going to the store, cooking a meal…. and take your mind off the anger. Come back and deal with it when you are feeling calmer.
Count 10 breaths. The reasons for counting your breaths are: 1) to calm and relax you by breathing more deeply and 2) to pause for a few moments instead of reacting automatically.
Write about it. Get your feelings and thoughts out on paper instead of confronting the source of your anger right away.
Deal with it when you feel calm. Get away from the situation, and come back later. You will react more positively.
The more practice you get at reacting in positive ways, waiting until the anger goes down a little before responding, and learning new habits, the more easily you will be able to manage anger.
Try this Relaxation to Deal with Anger script – a guided meditation script that describes how to deal with anger quickly and effectively in the moment, and guides you in controlling anger and managing anger when it arises.

AngerManagementResource.com provides more extensive anger management worksheets as well as counseling, CDs and books for you and your family.

Sometimes it helps to step outside yourself and look at you as if you were someone else you really care about and really want to protect. Would you let someone take advantage of that person? Would you let someone use that person you really care about? Or would you speak up for them? If it were someone else you care about, you’d say something. I know you would. Okay, now put yourself back in that body. That person is you. Stand up and tell them, “Enough!”

As long as you look for someone else to validate who you are by seeking their approval, you are setting yourself up for disaster. You have to be whole and complete in yourself. No one can give you that. You have to know who you are – what others say is irrelevant.

Go buy a notebook to begin keeping a journal. Not a diary, a journal. What is the difference? A diary reports a sequence of events and usually pans out if another reads it. A journal on the other hand, is about your emotional reactions to people and events, insights you have in understanding yourself, lists of such things as your needs, wants, values, and goals. You write about your dreams, both daydreams and dreams during sleep, expressing your feelings and allowing your intuition free range to explore the meaning for you. A journal is a good place to record your guiding beliefs and patterns of behavior that keep you stuck and your new updated ones. It’s like saying a prayer. It serves the same purpose.

This may include letters that never get mailed to the people that have hurt you, even if it happened long ago. Time stops emotionally when you have an emotional trauma and a part of you stays stuck in time. By writing out your angry, hurt and sad feelings, it helps thaw those frozen emotional parts of your intimidated self, bringing the light of understanding with new clarity and interpretations from your more aware adult self and integrating these experiences. For example, if you have a fight with a family member and use your journal to sort out your feelings and to make sense out of your reactions, you may use your journal to write that person a letter. Once you begin writing and expressing yourself, you may discover it reminds you of a similar pattern of behavior you have with one or both of your parents and the patterns of thoughts and behavior you use to relate with each other. Journal writing can help make you aware of hidden beliefs and patterns affecting you at an unconscious level. Making them visible allows you to deal with them and manage them.

Journals are not for others to read because it won’t make sense to anyone but you. In fact, they are personal and need to be kept out of reach of the curious in your household. If you feel your privacy will not be honored, then mail what you write to a friend, therapist, or understanding family member. I have worked with a few people who find writing leaves them too open and vulnerable, so they write down insights and process their experiences and then destroy what they have written to avoid any risk of being hurt by another invading their privacy. Others mail them to a friend or a therapist.

Write in your journal a minimum of 20 or 30 minutes a day. This may sound like a big commitment to those of you who have never experienced the healing effects of journal writing. Try it for a month or two before you judge this process. Forget any memories of school and needing to write in complete sentences, neatly, or with correct spelling. Just express yourself. Over time you will get the feel of it. If you walk or exercise your physical body daily, that activity becomes a habit. So does expressing yourself in your journal. It is especially helpful to write during times of rapid growth and healing, high stress, holidays, anniversaries of painful events, or when irritated with someone at work or a family member. One tip is to write with different colored ink pens to match your mood. It’s amazing how easy it is to write issues out in purple, while others respond to green or orange. Try it. Journal writing is a process. One day of writing usually does not tell you as much as does the richness of a series of writings over time. This helps you see bigger patterns, deeper themes, and many more details.

Don’t forget, you aren’t going to get anywhere by begging bullies to stop. Two of the most important things to know when dealing with a Cyber-bully are….

“You can’t beg a bully not to bully you.”

It doesn’t work. They don’t have a sense of decency for you to appeal to. Give it up immediately.

“Bullies will never let you know when you’re winning the argument.”

That means there must be a loser and it sure as hell ain’t gonna be them! Even if they secretly agree with you, they will belligerently keep hammering away on you with the wrong outlook. They live for the moment and making you look bad right that very second is what they think matters most. It’s insignificant if what they’re blowing their tops about is just plain, obviously WRONG and this will be revealed later, they think they MUST out-argue you! How long can bullies hold a grudge? Indefinitely.

If it serves their purposes to bring up trivial things you’ve said or done years ago, that grudge won’t budge. Bullies won’t fail to over exaggerate some casual remark you tossed off so long ago, you barely remember saying it if it gives them the opportunity to strike back at you. Expect it to happen because it will. Don’t give them the satisfaction of becoming upset or acting surprised.

A while back, Octopus tried to hurt me by asking me why I don’t care about Yoko Ono letting her son “Sean” sleep in Michael Jackson’s bed if Jackson showed him porn. I answered, “Because it appears Yoko put an end to it. If she had continued to allow Sean to share a bed with Jackson after she found out that he was acting inappropriately because he was buying Yoko expensive presents, that would put Yoko in the same category as Janet Arvizo and June Chandler but Yoko handled it, so what good would it do for me to get all worked up about it?”

That’s called, “debating an issue on a forum,” ya-all! Someone asks a pertinent question and another person addressed the inquiry. Now, if I had freaked out because I hate octo and felt threatened by his question, that would make me “weak.” Regardless of how Cyber-bullies will attempt to bring you down to their level by calling YOU a bully for having a different opinion than theirs, bringing up pertinent points of view in a forum is NOT “bullying.” It’s what forums are designed for. If you don’t agree with my point of view, say so. If you don’t want a confrontation with me, say so with topix’s “judge it” votes. It’s time to stop thinking that simply giving your opinions on a particular subject makes you a “BULLY.”

Bullies like NFL Fan have attacked people like goodvibrations and myself for bringing up Jews. He uses words like “Nazi” as weapons. He thinks it gives his angry outbursts validity when more than likely; whatever goodvibrations said about Jews was merely her stating her point of view. If what she wrote were as viciously cruel and evil as NFL Fan claims they were, topix would’ve deleted her account. Talking about Jews in a forum isn’t automatically “racist,” nor does giving an opposing opinion automatically make you a “bully.” Reacting like a spoiled child does though.

Pop Tart asked me this question a week or two ago…. “So, its OK to hurt bullies feelings?” You’re darn right it is. It is definitely OK to bully bullies. In this particular forum, you’d have to ask yourself if you’re ready to get ganged up on by about 5 certified badasses. If you can handle 5 belligerent loudmouths picking at you all at the same time and keep your cool, I’d say go for it! They’ve got it coming!

I have recommended 3 methods of dealing with them:

1. Contact the authorities
2. Ignore them
2. Deal with them directly.

Considering reporting a bully to the authorities is an iffy proposition that may or may not produce results and will not solve the problem in the long run anyway, I am an advocate of dealing with them directly. This is a tricky endeavor and not recommended for the softhearted. It’s like the saying, “To catch a thief, you have to think like a thief.”

So, do you want to face them or ignore them? Arguing with bullies gives them what they after. Good or bad, if they can provoke a response out of you, they call it a victory. Then, if you tell them how much they’ve hurt your feelings, this is like hitting the jackpot. I encourage you not to reward their belligerence. You really wanna piss off a bully? Ignore them.

What’s that? You say you want to even the score?

If you’ve come this far, you may be ready to take action when backing away and contacting the authorities hasn’t worked. I’m going to discuss how to confront a bully and fight back. Make no mistake about it…. this is a war. If you’re going to engage in combat with these militant fools, you’ll need ammunition. What ammunition works best? Whatever a bully takes to heart.

Your first impulse may be to go after their loved ones. I’m recommending you don’t do this. Doing that leaves you wide open to retaliation. Don’t rank on anyone’s family members unless you’re ready for them to do the same to you. If it were up to me, attacking impartial family members would be grounds for getting the offender’s account deleted immediately. It’s as low as you can go. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t discuss families if they’re in the news.

Take April Jones, for example. Jina and I have been embroiled in a bitter battle of wills for almost 2 years. It all started when I spotted Jina telling someone about how upset she was by the abduction of a 5-year-old girl that lived in her area. I felt sorry for her and wrote that I didn’t want to say anything that might upset her in her fragile state of mind. I wasn’t the only person that sympathized with Jina that day. Goodvibrations also expressed her sorrow over this traumatic event. I think goodvibrations and I both slept peacefully that evening…. knowing that we had expressed compassion toward another human being.

The next day, Jina verbally assaulted both of us. I mean, she literally plowed us into a wall. She screamed obscenities at goodvibrations and attacked my wife, calling her a “fat, ugly, stupid pig.”

I had options. I could’ve logged off and never returned to topix. What I did was file an “abuse report” on her with topix. Topix did absolutely nothing about it and Jina just kept getting more and more abusive. Even worse, she had a following of hardcore flunkies that backed anything she said up and joined in. What should I do now? I love my wife with all my heart, so my impulse was to protect her.

I decided to try and shake things up at topix. I dared topix to delete my account. I let them know that the reason I was doing this is because I was upset with the way they were allowing Jina to post vile comments about my wife. After a few weeks of me writing, “Come on topix, delete my account! I DARE YOU!” they finally did. I’m proud of getting that account deleted. It made a statement.

Nevertheless, my family and me were still being abused and trying to appeal with Jina’s sense of decency was a waste of time. What should I do now…. bow my head, crown Jina “Queen of the Cyber-bullies” and shrink in defeat? That wasn’t my style. I tested the water by posting mock prayers for the safe return of that missing girl. I didn’t laugh about it, insult the family nor maliciously throw it into Jina’s face. I just wrote, “Dear Lord, please send that little girl back to her family.” I also wrote, “Console those poor, grieving villagers in Wales.” Jina lives in Wales. As you might expect, Jina flew off the handle over me doing this, screaming every nasty insult she could think of and calling me every dirty name in the book.

I had dug up my “dirt.”

While I would’ve preferred the issue had just resolved itself sensibly and those involved would’ve calmly walked away out of respect for others, it didn’t work out that way. Jina had become my Cyber-stalker. It’s been nearly 2 years of intense, bitter quarreling between the “Queen Badass” and me. Currently, we’ve agreed to give this epic battle a day or two off but whether we can say this conflict is concluded remains to be seen.

I assure you, if Jina started talking trash about my wife again, I wouldn’t hesitate to post news publications covering the April Jones case and discuss the impending appeal of the man they convicted of the crime. No petty insults they can hurl at my family will beat an actual crime in someone’s neighborhood. It’s one thing to have a difference of opinion on Michael Jackson’s private life but its something else altogether when you can provide documented and filmed proof of a news event and badasses keep screaming that it’s all about what’s wrong with you!

Do you see how this is done? If you can manage it, this is definitely the best way to fight cyberbullies. Yes, it will make you look like a meanie to dig at them with sensitive topics but if you’re on the right side of that topic, what else can they do but rage?

Focus in on news events that are relative to them somehow. You won’t have to say a word! All you have to do is re-print verifiable news reports. (Don’t forget to leave a web address.) Its better if it is from a respectable news source but even tabloids give you power! If you’ve done your homework and you’ve located some juicy scandal, bullies will go freakin’ berserk! Now they’ll puke bile all over their keyboards about what a monster you are, but guess what? You’ve beaten them. It’s a hard victory I know but a victory nonetheless.

Bear in mind that if you choose to confront a bully, it could go on for years. It takes a lot of commitment to continue to do what you personally find distasteful but if you want to hit bullies where it hurts, you must find their soft spot. The way to do this is to approach the bully non-threateningly. You’re going to be tempted to lash out at them but this will only make the bully and her cohorts lash out at you in return. Make them reflect about their lives by asking non-confrontational, yet personal comments. Even though it’s advisable not to talk about our private lives on the Internet, (where nothing can be erased.) inwardly, people are still dying to do it.

A while back, octo thought it would be a swell idea to join Jina in calling my wife a “fat pig” too. I told him to back off. He wouldn’t. I told him if he didn’t, I was going to get inside his head and expose sensitive information about himself that he couldn’t take back. Octo took this as a challenge and kept insulting my wife. I recalled octo saying that although his father remained in touch with his sister and him growing up, he didn’t live with them. I wrote, “I’ll bet you really love your mother and father a lot, octo.”

I approached the subject delicately. Naturally, octo confirmed that he had a deliciously happy childhood and his mother and father were terrific, loving parents. It was time to set the hook. I replied, “So how did you feel when your mother dated men other than your father?” I DID NOT go for his throat! I didn’t call his mother a filthy nymphomaniac! I gently eased into the conversation and before long; I had dirt on Octopus. I gave octo several opportunities to back off but he refused. After a week or two of shoving research of the effects on children that grew up in broken homes (Like his.) into his face and exposing his private life a little, octo finally backed off and agreed to stop saying bad things about my wife.

This is how to confront a bully.

You don’t have to get emotional. You listen to whatever they have to say at first. If all they’re doing is regurgitating the same lame insults with different words over and over again, dig up some dirt on them. The best trick at first is to catch them in a lie. Even if you don’t know anything else about them and they’re LOLing their butts off about how clever lying makes them, you can still clobber them with this undeniable truth….

“Once you’re caught lying… you are a LIAR!”

Naturally they’re gonna rebuff with, “So what, idiot? Everybody lies!” That’s when you calmly tell them this…. “But there’s a HUGE difference between people that have to lie (Like if they’re lying on an application because they desperately need a job) and people that lie because they call it “fun”…. and you’ve got `em! All they can do now is holler, “No way! This is all about what’s wrong with YOU!” If you haven’t lied, you aren’t the one in the wrong here and Jesus, Mohammed, God and Allah would all agree with you.

Like I mentioned earlier, impartial family members DO NOT belong in an Internet forum but if stubborn instigators don’t respect that and keep attacking your loved ones, you can either slink away with your tail between your legs or give them a taste of their own medicine. You can count on others accusing you of being a bully for doing this because in some ways, you are! Me bringing up April Jones in a Michael Jackson forum wouldn’t be bullying if this were an April Jones forum but I bring it up here because this is where Jina can be found. I can absolutely guarantee you that Jina calling my wife a “fat pig” most definitely IS. If bullies are too badass to listen to reason, don’t forget…. IT’S OK TO BULLY A BULLY!

Just try to be Diplomatic about it. This means try to be fair before you take off your gloves. I like to give bullies a code name like, “KRACKERJACKS.” I inform them if they have anything worthwhile to say and can say it in a civilized manner, put this name at the beginning of their comment and I’ll read it, but don’t waste my time with bullshit. This way, you aren’t forcing them talk to your hand by saying that you’re right and they’re wrong. You’re simply informing them you’re not going to play the Bully Game with them.

How will I know if bullies are sending me their bullshit and just sticking KRACKERJACKS at the beginning of a bunch of dumb insults? I will scan them. Scanning is easy; you just take a brief overview of the entire post and look for keywords like, “Idiot, stupid, worthless…etc. etc. You know what they are. If you spot just one sentence that contains any of these words…. trust me, you don’t need to read the rest. Especially if they succeed in making you angry and you can’t resist bumping heads with these pricks.

But PLEASE… I implore you; if you don’t have the heart for this kind of confrontation, use one of the other methods I’ve described first.

1. Ignore the bully. They call getting ANY response from you a win.

This is probably your most effective tool. Just don’t get sucked into their rage. If reading their temper tantrums will make you want to argue with them about belligerent nonsense… DON’T READ THEM!

NEXT:

2. Abandon the website you’re getting bullied on. This doesn’t mean that you’ve lost. It simply means you’re sensible enough not to play their game and you’ll be back to fight another day.
3. Call the authorities.

We can foil Cyber-bullies if we stick together but don’t cause yourself grievous aggravation by confronting them if you aren’t up to it.

Lastly, I want to discuss what to do if things get tragic.

I’m talking about in the event that arguing with a bully has damaged their psyche so severely, they’ve become suicidal. This is a sign that the situation has gotten out of control. The right action is to do whatever you can to defuse the anger. Hopefully you will be the kind of person that will let an angry cyberbully blow off some steam. I mean, let them beat up on you for a while if it might keep them from sticking a gun in their mouths.

That’s the great thing about avatars, especially if it’s one that a member has been using for a long time. All you have to do is look for that photo and you can skip right past it! It’s simpler than you might think. I know you’re gonna be tempted to read what this irrational person is screaming about but if reading it makes you want to reply… DON’T!! Nobody needs to kill him or herself over ANY stupid forum!

We are all ghosts in the heads of people we meet but it’s up to us if we want to haunt someone.

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

– Mother Teresa

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