Friday, March 24, 2017

HOW TO MENTALLY HANDLE ONLINE HARASSMENT



So here's a heavier topic, but it needs to be addressed and the messages needs to be put out there.  People are complicated creatures and it gets even more complicated when we grow up with others, because their presence helps shape us as we grow.   I think something that's very important to always remember is that to keep the human factor in the harasser and "harassee" (I don't like calling them victims because if you fall into a victim mentality, it's so hard to climb yourself back out).
It's so easy to dehumanize somebody, because then they are this 2 dimensional jerk-face that only exists in your brain like a shitty ghost that haunts you online.  It's also easy to dehumanize the people you poke fun at and put people down.  Because they're also faceless and they might seem this bland and soft, mushy person that seems to be hurt by getting prodded with a padded Q-tip.
It's just so easy to dehumanize everyone around you and I think that's one of the reasons why there's so much online harassment, but not only that, but also the repercussions after that.  Why?  Let me explain!
Let's say Potato starts harassing Tofu.  We don't know what kind of upbringing that Potato has had and unfortunately with us being so connected, we get to see first hand how f'd up our world can be.  Some people aren't fortunate enough to grow up in a loving home.  So then never learned to accept people and bring them in.  All they know how to do is to lash out and focus on the hurt they feel and it makes them dysfunctional.   They're blind to the people around them and it makes them the same as the people they're hurting.
Tofu is hurt deeply because their life is already filled with people hurting them emotionally and/or emotionally.  Their response is to withdraw instead of lashing out.  Tofu just gets hurt more and their only escape from their shitty life is filled with more bullying.  The only way they can cope is if they paint the bully into a 2-dimensional monster.
In the end both people push themselves away from each other and there is no solution out of that conflict.  You can't heal if you withdraw away.  People say that time heals wounds, but clearly they've never been deeply hurt before, because if you don't do anything with those wounds, they just fester.  They turn into the big bad in your head that ends up consuming you.
Okay now we got that cleared up, lets talk about effective ways to deal with online harassment.  As a streamer, I've had all kinds of harassment.  I get called names, people accuse me of things, people laugh at me for doing what I do and the occasional stalkers.  It's messed up when my other broadcaster friends tell me you haven't made it till you got a couple of stalkers.  I felt for them, but also I want to make a stand.  So here is me writing to you in hopes that you can make the stand with me.
The absolute most important thing to do is have a change in your mind-set.  It's important to realize the significance in the weight in words.  Just like everything else, words has weight to them.  Let me demonstrate.  Let's say a stranger came up to you and told you that they prefer someone with blue eyes.  You initially think "who gives a damn" because this stranger has no significance in your life.  You have no idea who they are.  They are not a part of your life and therefore their words don't have any weight to them.  Now let's compare that to your bf/gf who said the same thing.  If you didn't have blue eyes, that would hurt, because they are a part of your life and you've given them a part of your heart.  The words they have hold a huge weight on you.
Now what we can take from that example other than the fact that if your gf/bf said that to you, you need to reconsider, is the clear difference in how you feel when two different people said the exact same thing to you.  Now apply that to a stranger that just put you down.  Same thing.  Who are they in your life.  Some stranger that never made an impressionable moment in your life and they don't know you at all.  So in reality the weight of their words is kind of like hot air and you should just let it float away.
I know this seems easier said than done and I'm not going to sugar coat this for you, because you're probably sick of feeling helpless.  You work on yourself your entire life and that's part of what makes life so enjoyable.  Each day is a new day to figure out your brain and how it fits in the world.  It takes time to and small steps to get yourself going, but when you do, you'll start to think differently and that is so rewarding.
Don't forget the importance of a good support system.  If you extend your hand in friendship and kindness, you will get returns of the same gesture and these people will give you a hand when you fall.  If you try to be the person that you wish you were, not only will you attract the same kinds of people, but being in a positive environment will help you towards  being the new you.

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