Can Adults Be “Bullied”?

When I was a child in the early 70’s bullying as a social phenomenon did not exist.  Bullying was brick and mortar.  The kid who stole your lunch money every week.  The kids who repetitively made fun of your weight, physical handicap, racial or ethnic uniqueness.  I have been bullied and have been the bully in an attempt to compensate for my shortcomings.  I was bullied relentlessly over my weight.  Words repeated do hurt and can  inflict permanent damage.  As a child and teen I had no real ability to reason through it.   It caused significant psychological issues in my later life that I am still dealing with.  Children are bullied every day. They need protection.  They need to learn the tools to cope and “fight back” in acceptable ways when it happens.

What about adults? Can they be bullied?  The short answer is yes.  Even an adult can be in a position of unequal power that forces him/her to endure repetitive taunts whether its in the workplace, a relationship etc.  The bully is still easy to spot.  Unlike children however, adults generally have the gift of advanced reason and knowledge of options to deal with it.

With the advent of social media “bullying” has taken on a whole new meaning.  People who say ugly things are now hidden behind  Facebook pages and Twitter eggs.   Hurtful insults are slung with a keystroke.  It’s much easier and repetitive than stealing lunch money.  Because of the ease of the repetitive keystroke, bullying has now taken on the broad based social media meaning of whatever hurts our feelings. Everyone  becomes a “bully” when they say something unpleasant.  This new concept of bullying irritates me.  It irritates me because it diminishes and dismisses the true nature of bullying and  those who truly need protection, our children.  It also teaches our children that every stick and stone is bullying. This is simply not true and sends the wrong message.

The most recent example is Jennifer Lawrence, the Wisconsin news anchor who used her newscast as a platform to call someone a “bully”.  A viewer sent her an email implying that she was too fat to be a news anchor and was setting a bad example for a children. Ridiculous? Yes. We are all more than our physical appearance.  Hurtful?  Sure. Even an adult and public figure does not like to be insulted.  We are all human.  If Jennifer wants to use her newsroom as a platform to call him out that’s her right.  Is this guy a “bully” in the classic sense?  NO!  He’s an insensitive jerk.  Not every insensitive jerk in the world is a “bully”

If Jennifer feels she was “bullied” that’s fine. We are all different and have different tolerance levels for assholes.  However, for her to use her hurt feelings as a  platform to teach our children that every perceived one time insult and hurt feeling they may experience in life is “bullying” was a mistake.  She did them no favors.  Children need to be taught the true nature of bullying and how it differs from the nature of some people to simply be jerks.  It’s about power.  It’s about repetitive conduct.  It’s about intellect and mental resources to respond.  It’s not about one adult telling another adult he/she is fat.   As a society we need to step back and re-focus on the true nature of bullying and quit publicly defining it as anything that hurts our feelings





5 Comments For This Post

  1. Jason Says:

    Comparing her own life decisions to those who cannot help the way they were born is insulting. It is her decision to be unhealthy, it is not someone’s decision to be disabled or of a different race, like she mentions.

    A better analogy for her “condition” is the following:

    If I was an EXCELLENT news anchor but I smoked on air every day for 2 years, with no signs of me stopping, I would probably get a lot of emails like this. It would be ridiculous for me to cry “bully.” It’s not a far off analogy because both are obvious life choices that are not good for those who choose to partake in them.

  2. Steve Says:

    A public figure was bullied online, she mentions it to her audience and you decide to bully her online with your little blog. How cute.

    I can't begin to tell you how happy I am that after 16 weeks of this story being online, I am your second comment.

  3. bcuban Says:

    Translation: You're "butt-hurt" because you did not like what I had to say. Of course, in the nature of people who get butt-hurt, you simply lash out like a five your old. Can you muster up any level of adult, intelligent reasoning to argue why she was "bullied"?

  4. Steve Says:

    In the final paragraph of your blog entry you state that "she was “bullied” that’s fine. We are all different and have different tolerance levels for assholes."

    Are you now suggesting that you were incorrect or are you too busy lashing out at me to reread your own bullying blog?

    I see one person has 'liked' your reply to me, I'm guessing it's you, how cute.

  5. bcuban Says:

    If you classify disagreement as bullying you must get your feelings hurt a lot.

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