DEV Community

Cover image for I am being cyberbullied and it's affecting my mental health. This is my personal cure.
Andrew Brown 🇨🇦
Andrew Brown 🇨🇦

Posted on • Updated on

I am being cyberbullied and it's affecting my mental health. This is my personal cure.

I had unpublished this post, but I was encouraged to republish it since one other person may find value in it.

April 8, 2020 marks the annual International Day of Pink. This is a day of action for communities across the world to remain united in celebrating diversity while raising greater awareness in stopping homophobic, transphobic and all forms of bullying.

I have decided to take a break from social media starting today for the week because the past few days I have been cyberbullied so hard to the point I was not sleeping or eating and my wife recognized this and told me it was time for me to step back.

I had finally launched another free course and while I received a ton of support ❤️❤️❤️, a couple of individuals were repeatedly wearing me down both privately and publically directly due to its publication.

I don't want to dwell on the events that transpired but since today I learned its 💗 International Day of Pink I thought before I vacation in the IRL I give anti-bullying some awareness and of what I have learned from the experience and also writing is therapeutic for me.

Here were things I tried:

  • I tried asking my bullies to politely stop.
  • I tried explaining to them how their comments were affecting me.
  • I tried apologizing to my bullies.
  • I tried fighting back by bullying them to deter future bullying.
  • I tried reasoning with my bullies.
  • I tried to bribe my bullies.
  • I tried publically calling out my bullies.

None of these worked and some of these were stupid ideas. Why would I do such things?

I wasn't being punched in the face but I was getting punched in the wallet as I can take a disagreement but it greatly affected my sales and that's what led to the serious distress and desperate tactics I took above.


Bullying as an adult I think is different than being bullied as a kid so these rules may not fully apply or are recommended for the latter and they are my personal research and opinion.

Don't fight back

This is really hard not to do. You are helping to justify your bully to continue doing what they are doing and you will regret it.

Don't call them out

Same reason above. And Yes I did. If you realize your mistake, just delete it.

Write it out and break the vicious mind cycle.

I actually wrote this entire post last night with no intent to publish to help me go to sleep. What I have learned is if you are having trouble sleeping, because you keep replaying the same information in your head over and over again, its because you are trying to keep the problem alive. If you write it down, you don't need to repeat it in your head, you can tell yourself, "I don't need to keep thinking about this because I stored all my thoughts here.".

Document all future instances

Just like writing down in the previous post, if you are bullied in the future, take a screenshot put it in a folder. The reason is not to collect evidence, it's the same reason above. You are keeping it out of your head, you have identified the bullying action, and you stored it somewhere else.

If you can hold on, block as a last resort

I really don't like blocking people unless I absolutely have to, it could be you're having a bad day, and someone comments are hitting you harder than you might expect. Maybe your view is skewed. If you can, try to do a soft block like un-following, so you are less likely to interact with your bullies. If you feel that you're in very-poor health, then block away.

I only blocked my bullies after the advice of multiple friends.

If you're a friend that is listening be supportive, don't let you bullied friend continuously replay the details

If you're being bullied, you can end up in the mind trap where you need to run to people and retell the story over and over again. This makes sense as human beings were are looking for validation, and it helps to know you're not crazy, that you are being bullied and it's not all in your head. However, if you keep going on about it going to be worse for you in the long run.

So for the friends that are listening, get your bullied friend to brake this cycle. Tell them to go to bed, write it down once, or give them a distraction like playing a game, or have them focus other positive aspects of them to help validate them.

Your bully might not know even know they are even being a bully.

The weird thing about the internet is it lets anyone in the world 🌎 communicate with each other and it's easy to forget that the person you are talking could be very different from you in what is considered respect. The written word has great flexibility in how it can be interpreted or misinterpreted.

So I'll give you an example. I am from Canada 🇨🇦 and the region I'm from, the way we are showing active consideration for people is by saying sorry frequently. When I don't hear sorry once and a while even normal conversation, I can unconsciously assume that person is being a jerk.

So just be aware of your own social short-comings.

OMG, am I bully and I don't even know it?

I think I have been in the past a bully in some instances without realizing it because:

  1. you can be blinded by your own beliefs and world-view
  2. you can think the other person is so big they can take it
  3. or you can be in a position of privilege that if what you did was done to you that it would have little affect, but you are unwilling to acknowledge or be considerate the affect on others.

I think I have instances where I was a bully and for those I am sorry 🙏🙏🙏 and I hope I don't do it again. Being aware can be tricky.

Here are some things my bullies said in their justifications of their behaviour that was thinly veiled bullying but could seem reasonable

  1. I thought we're having a debate
  2. I don't support you but I'm not being "unsupportive"
  3. I'm not disagreeing with you as a person just your statements don't take it personally
  4. I have a moral obligation to correct what you say to protect others
  5. These are facts and we can't ignore them

1. I thought we're having a debate

If someone is unhappy with you debating them, and literally says I don't want to debate you, then it's not a mutual interaction. You have bullied them. If you feel yourself saying "we'll they can just leave the conversation anytime, you are justifying your bullying"

2. I don't support you but I'm not being "unsupportive"

It's really obvious to say something nice or something mean. If all you have is logical criticism and you never show agreement on any valid points from the other party's perspective then you're being a bully.

The bully's justification is the absence of nice comments doesn't mean you aren't considerate because you have never spoken to them out loud. People only know what you tell them. A bully will try to make you feel bad by telling you that you aren't giving them the benefit of the doubt because simple because you can't read your mind

3. I'm not disagreeing with you as a person just your statements don't take it personally

If someone repeatedly shares they are in distress with your statements, they are taking it personally. Its the bully's justification of forcing their world-view, contrary to reality.

If you want to share your opinion, there is room for everyone, but maybe you don't have to directly reply to who you disagree with.

4. I have a moral obligation to correct what you say to protect others

This is a weird one and it would be hard to convince a bully otherwise.
There are cases where it's important, though I would like 99% of cases its people arguing this technology, methodology or career tip that rooted in personal opinion. More on this in the next point.

5. These are facts and we can't ignore them

Lots of people think that because they had an experience where they observed something to be the truth that it is a fact and so they are justified to repeat their fact over and over again.

Look, unless you have run an unbiased controlled experiment, had it peer-reviewed and it's been generally accepted, it's probably not a fact. It's just your opinion.

You can have your opinion and unless someone welcomes a debate, don't dig into that person.

I have a rule I try to follow which is this. If I initiate something that could become a debate as a direct reply to someone I say okay that was my debate, the other person gets a rebuttal and stop there.

What really makes the point above bullying is if that person on social media platforms is repeatedly doing this and you that feel targeted. If someone did one of the following above to me once or twice I wouldn't sweat it.

But I can't get away from my bully!

In some cases and even in mind I can't fully avoid my bullies even with blocking. If you're blue or stressed out interact with your friends, or just quit social media for a bit.

Share your tips 👇👇👇👇

I have you have any anti-bullying tips, share in the comments below, I'll be interested to read them in a week from now.

I doubt many will read this article, but for the one person who needs this article, it is for you.

I'm doing much better now after writing this article. Peace out ✌️

Top comments (4)

rehanvdm profile image
Rehan van der Merwe

Sorry to hear this is happening to you.. You are doing a great job and we love your content. In the end we are just human, nothing we say or do is perfect and you will never be able to please everyone. Good luck and let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

th3n00bc0d3r profile image

You know what, humans as a species are evolving, and the primitive species depended on violence for its survival, so I am glad whether you know or not, perhaps you have evolved are not one of them, so what does it mean to evolve, it means that we have replaced violence with collaboration for our survival and perhaps you are on the right path into the future.

ogrotten profile image
ogrotten • Edited

Check this out: an historical post about bullying by a parent.

Most of it is relevant here, especially the perspective parts. Specifically:

If your kid is being bullied, the problem at hand is not:

  1. your kids self confidence.
  2. the parents or their interactions with the bully.
  3. niceness (or adult professionalism in the case of workplace bullying) None of these address the one thing that has to be dealt with directly: the bully. You can't expect to stop the bullying by changing your kid.

Substitute the "your kid" parts with "you". There's other relevant parts, also.

But the bottom line is this: If these people are affecting your bottom line, then they need to not affect your bottom line.

You are not without resources. If this is going on Udemy, report them. If it's happening on twitter, report them. If it's happening on any service that has a public face, report them.

When they invaded your personal space, they gave up all rights and claims to their own personal space. If, by reporting them, they lose stuff they spent money on, that is their problem not yours.

Blocking is absolutely a tool in your shed, but I would NOT wholesale block them right now as "anything they say can and should be used against them". Blocking them should be a last resort not because of any social reason, but because they will continue to give you documentation that you can use against them. Am I wrong about this up to this point?

The main thing about that post I linked is that bullies have a complete disregard for social standards. And that you really hamstring yourself when you take up unrealistic rules of engagement.

Understand that no amount of consideration from you for the bully's situation will change them. You must prioritize self care, and do everything you can to clear your own path.

Report cyberbullying to the platform you released on. Report to twitter, report to everyone. With screenshots of their bullshit.

And then when the person has no recourse but to email you or send DMs on unregulated services, THEN you block them.

And look . . . there's always going to be "but what if" and "they'll just" kinda follow ups. Make them get to that point. By not acting at all because "they'll just", then you're literally doing their job for them.

Take the steps you already know you could take. Get these various systems to working *for * you, instead of just being a series of empty bullet-points on a Terms of Use web page.

[edit] There's a post in these comments. Practice your Report skills here. Because you're either getting better, or you're getting worse. And some people are just uninterested in getting better or helping others get better.

[2nd edit] Looks like either they deleted their post, or were reported and removed. See how that works?

leewynne profile image
Lee Wynne

Your content is amazing mate, and so helpful to so many people. I can't help much on the bullying side other that offer those words of support, keep doing what your doing, love it when people keeping showing up each day with the same energy, it destroys the haters.