Cyber bullying: my own reality

 

I’ve been wanting to write about bullying for some time now. I think it’s a very important subject that isn’t approached nearly as much as it should! Unfortunately there are still a lot of youngsters that don’t talk about it when it’s happening and I understand it better than you think, because I was one of those youngsters.

There are many types of bullying, and I would like to write about different ones that I’ve been through, but today I want to talk about one that happened to me when I was 18, because it fits into the whole internet world we are in right now: Cyber bullying. I wrote about it on my old blog, you can read it here.

When I was 18 this girl I was “friends with” decided to bully me on the internet. She was friends with my first boyfriend and I met her through him. Even though I didn’t like her at first, I decided to ignore my instinct and be her friend. Back then there was a site named Fotolog (ever heard of it?). Someone anonymously posted a comment on her page saying she was cheating on her boyfriend or something on those lines and somehow she decided it had been me and went on to start a fight on my page. She started posting really horrible things and going on to other people playing the victim, while I tried not to bring anyone else into it, because I thought it was only between us and no one else. I was already at a bad place at the time, with a lot of schoolwork and everything going on. While this whole thing was happening, one of my best friends died and that obviously really brought me down. When the bully made a really mean and disrespectful comment about my friends death on my account, I decided I was done.

One night I went to meet my group of friends at a local coffee place and I noticed everyone in the place looking at me, pointing and whispering.I didn’t think much of it, until some minutes later the girl and her enormous boyfriend come up to me. She was holding a piece of paper in her hand saying (yelling actually) that she’d “nailed” me. I had no idea what she was talking about. Apparently someone had been sending mean comments to her new blog (which I didn’t even know she had) and had signed with my name. She said something about the IP-address being of the anonymous comments being the same as the comment with my name on it. She had shown that piece of paper to all of my friends and people who I didn’t even know (all the whispering and pointing were explained).

I was at my breaking point. Having lost my best friend less then a month before, I really was done with all the drama and just wanted my peace and quiet. So I didn’t do anything, I didn’t defend myself and truly believed that my friends would know me well enough not to believe her. They did believe her and with time I realized I couldn’t be friends with that kind of people. I was working that Summer and I just concentrated on that.

I thought it would be over then. I thought if I didn’t respond, then there was nothing to pick up on. I was wrong. The bully’s boyfriend started harassing me. He started e-mailing me and calling me with threats. All anonymously, but I could recognize his voice and it was easy to put 2 and 2 together and figure out who it was. It came to a point where I was afraid of leaving my job (I was working in an Italian Restaurant) because I had to pass the place where they used to be. I had to have some other friends drive me home. Eventually I moved out to a shady room in Lisbon with my then boyfriend. I just wanted to get away and feel safe! I was going to the University and thought everything would be ok. But it wasn’t. I was afraid to trust anyone and thought no one would be my friend. I was depressed and stayed in bed all day, instead of going to my classes. Thinking back, it was the worst time of my life. I felt like I had no purpose like I wasn’t worth anything. My supposed friends had believed her, who was known to be a liar and to create drama wherever she went, and that somehow made me feel like I was the one with a problem, when the only problem I had was still thinking about it.

The next summer I got seriously ill with a pneumonia and had to go to the hospital for a couple of weeks and after that I moved back home. I was afraid of going out of the house because I might see the bully or her boyfriend. I once saw him driving by and had a panic attack. In the fall I started going to school again and met some new people. But I was still very suspicious of everyone who tried to get near me. I wasn’t happy. I decided to study abroad for a year and went to my fathers home town Vienna, in Austria. I stayed with my Aunt and cousins, and met some cool people, but it still wasn’t the same. I wasn’t ME! I soon realized I had gone there for the wrong reason, I was trying to run away from my fears. When I got back me and my boyfriend broke up and I for the first time felt I was alone. I had broken off with my “friends” (the ones who lived in the same town as me and had believed the lies about me) but I hadn’t made new ones.

With time things got better, I made new friends, found out a bit more about myself. I learned I like to help people and have an amazing group of friends. It was hard, but worth it. When me and David started dating I was still very hurt and scared because of all of this, and he was a big part in me feeling finally good in m skin.

I don’t think about the bully anymore. The last time I’ve thought about her was when someone made a fake profile of me on Facebook and started sending rude messages to some of my old “friends”. I was warned of it by one of the few people I still talked with at the time. I reported the fake profile and Facebook deleted it. I thought about the girl at the time, because it was the type of thing she would have done. If I pass her on the street I don’t even notice anymore.

I stopped being afraid, but it took me a lot of time! Much later I told my Mom, but my Dad still doesn’t know everything, because I didn’t have the courage to tell him.

I hope you guys enjoy my story, comment below and e-mail me if you want to talk. Trust me, I know how hard it is and how much easier it is to talk to someone whom you don’t know.

 

Rosie

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