NOTICE: This blog was written by Aimee Eddy Gross from Erie, PA. This is an unedited version of the blog and has not been professionally edited. To comment on a blog or if you experience any issues, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.Thank you and enjoy the blog!
Children are not the only ones who bully and get bullied. It also happens to adults. You would think once you grow up you would know better than to say or type mean things to others, but that’s not the case. In my experience, for grownups, bullying happens at work, online and in small towns or communities. Gossip tends to run wild in work places, small communities and in small towns. Gossip ruins lives and can cause a lot of damage emotionally too. No matter how old you are, being bullied is hurtful and it breaks a person’s soul.
I grew up in a very small town. There was one red light and everyone knew each other. Gossip ran wild. Many adults passed on stories about who may be cheating on whom, who they thought was no good and so on. No one bothered to find out the truth behind the rumors. Instead they talked, they passed stories, and they destroyed lives. If your home was run down you were considered a loser, if you didn’t talk much you were considered stuck up and so on.
My mom is an introvert, but was and is to this day looked down on and judged. She also was judged for not working out side of the home. Many called her lazy, but she was anything but lazy. She had a fulltime job, but she wasn’t paid for it. She raised four wonderful children and since my dad worked long hours she took care of house repairs, bills, laundry, house work, lawn care, disciplining us and so on. Every summer she put up vegetables to help us through the winter and she canned. She put in over a forty hour week every week. In no means has she ever been lazy, but the town’s people talked and made her feel small and inferior to them.
I also saw bullying in a place where I worked. A woman of another ethnic background worked with me. She lived in the USA for many years, but still had an accent. The other ladies we worked with talked about her behind her back. They said things like, “After all these years in America she shouldn’t have a stupid accent,” Or “She’s not even smart enough to mop the floor right.” They did little things while she worked to put her down, like insult the work she was doing, knocking things over on a floor she just cleaned or messing up something she did so she would get in trouble. None of her work was good enough for them.
I, on the other hand, enjoyed working with the woman. She was easy to talk to, she worked hard, and had a very kind heart. Her beliefs were different than mine and she had different traditions, but I enjoyed hearing and learning about how things were done in her country. Eventually the bullying got so bad she had to leave the company. I was happy for her when she told me she found a job where she was accepted.
A friend of mine posted on Facebook something her daughter did in the memory of the passing of a loved one. Her so called friends began to post comments insulting her ability to parent her child. They insulted her for allowing her daughter to do such a thing at a young age. They tore her apart online for something that was none of their business.
Another friend posted pictures of her children in car seats. Others began posting how she improperly buckled the car seats in and how she was an unfit parent for not doing it the proper way. My friend was deeply hurt. All she wanted to do was show off her wonderful and adorable children. She had no idea that a simple picture would have her labeled as a bad mother. After that she posted that she was afraid to put pictures of her children on Facebook. Those of us who are her real friends encouraged her to keep posting the pictures and to unfriend the ones who insulted her.
My sister is quiet and doesn’t talk much when in large crowds. Many have told her she’s stuck up and they talk about her behind her back. The insults have made her feel even more afraid to go places with a lot of people. It has also made her think bad of herself. If people would take the first step and sit down and talk to her they would see she is a very kind person and would give to them even when she had nothing to give. They judge her without even getting to know her. I might be prejudice, but I think my sister is a wonderful, sweet and beautiful person.
We don’t just have to work to bring awareness to bullying of kids, but also bullying of adults. Bullying of any kind is a form of verbal abuse. It’s time we stop the mean words said or typed and take the time to get to know each other despite their differences. We may not agree with our peers parenting skills, beliefs, style of clothing, and so on, but it’s not up to us to judge. I have a good friend who has different beliefs than I do, but I like her for the wonderful person she is not for our different points of view. Take the time to get to know people from the inside out and don’t judge.
Be the first one to talk to that quiet person at a party. Be the first one to visit that Mom who stays home instead of works. Be the first one to find out about that person who has a different ethnic background. Be the first one to stop passing gossip and find out the truth. Be the first one to stand up to a bully. If we take a stand against bullying we can make a big difference in people’s lives. Let’s stand up to all bullying, among children and adults. You can make a difference.