Cyber Bullying: Truth VS. Myth


When I published my first book, I was told  that I should go on Goodreads. Goodreads is a fantastic site for fans of authors to go and share their opinions and reviews with others on books they have read. Here’s the problem though. There are those that give an honest opinion of what they’ve read, and those that “troll” the page and get much enjoyment out of getting the “gang” involved. I call this wolf-packing.

Anyone can tell you that I have a tough skin. But I don’t like, nor do I condone wolf-packing. I know exactly what it is, because once upon a time I participated in it. Nothing I’m proud of, at all. I freely admit I was immature and lashing out at people because they had done it to me. And guess what? It is bullying because there is an imbalance of power.

When you’re on new “turf” like Goodreads or Facebook, etc., and you don’t fully understand the etiquette and rules or inner workings, you’re the “newbie” and will make faux paux mistakes. This is when the wolves start to close in. You make one comment or God-forbid you email a person and try to speak like an adult to them and find reason in an unreasonable, un-face across the intrawebs. You wonder what in the holy Hell you did to provoke such behavior on their part and then wham! They’ve sucked you in like rabid raptors and annihilate without prejudice you and anyone within three feet of you.

As I previously mentioned, I once-upon-a-time participated in trolling people. Why? I was angry at how they had treated me, I was taking back power they had “stolen from me”, I was bored, and they didn’t matter to me because they were in an online chatroom and I saw them as righteous targets. I mean, they were on the internet, don’t they know better? (saracasm)

I have since gone and apologized to many of them and even hold some friendships with some of them to this day and this was more than ten years ago. The reason? Because it’s wrong, it’s immature and that’s not who I am.

So reflecting, I want to share the comment that I did not approve by someone when I ranted about cyber-bullying. I’m doing so now because I want to be clear about where I stand, correct a common misconception, and reiterate my training as a Crisis Text Line Counselor.

Christine Hayton
I keep hearing that term “cyber bully”. I think you have to realize how strong a term that is and how it actually describes a stalker with mental deficiencies. You have no experience with cyber bullies or you’d be in hiding somewhere and certainly not writing about it.
Because someone doesn’t like your book and gives it a low rating, or doesn’t agree with your opinion – that does NOT make them a cyber bully. I get very tired of hearing writers complain about readers who are just being honest. You threw you hat into the literary ring – if you can’t accept that someone may NOT like your book – you’re in the wrong business.

Christine, you are very wrong. Cyber-bullying is not a “stalker with mental deficiencies”. I do have experience with them — first hand. I was once a perpetrator of this unseemly behavior and then realized how this was wrong and wasn’t having the desired affect on my person, my character or who I was as a whole. Then my son was bullied at school and through the internet and it solidified my remorse and change of heart. And you should to.

Because the people that get hurt are real. It’s not a matter of normal, every day conflict. It’s not normal teasing. It’s not someone being too sensitive. It’s a deliberate, hurtful, gang mentality to swoop in and try to demean someone’s reputation, feelings, etc. Making humiliating posts on social media, all over, to talk about someone is degradation of character. Honestly? To me, it’s the “troller’s” character that gets degraded, but it can be emotionally disastrous to another person. If that’s something you’re OK with, then maybe you need to reassess your own moral compass.

Finally, to be clear. I welcome any honest review of my book(s) as long as you’ve read the book. I’m by no means perfect but my desire is to be the best I can be. I don’t really care if someone doesn’t like my book, it wasn’t written for them. My book doesn’t appeal to the masses and that’s OK. I learned a lot this past year and guess what… I’m still here, still standing, and I’m not going anywhere.

It’s not about whining, or being a martyr. But education of their behavior, admitting what it is/was, and not being in denial about it is part of the game. If you’re gonna do it?  Own It.  It’s as simple as that.

So there you have it. Christine got her comment read, shared, and now I can delete it from my “pending” file.

Life is about lessons learned. I’m in a happy place right now. I’ve grown as a writer, a person, a mother, and counselor of those that are in need. I’m going to use this as an example of how I understand, I’m here to listen to anyone needing help, and to once again offer the resource of Crisis Text Line to those that need a compassionate ear.

FREE SUPPORT AT YOUR FINGERTIPS, 24/7

Crisis Text Line serves anyone in any type of crisis, providing them access to free, 24/7 emotional support and information they need via the medium they already use and trust: text. Here’s how it works:

  1. Someone texts into CTL anywhere, anytime, about any type of crisis.
  2. A live, trained specialist receives the text and responds quickly.
  3. The specialist helps the person stay safe and healthy with effective, secure counseling and referrals through text message using CTL’s platform.
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