• Cyber Bullying in the Neighborhood

    by  • December 17, 2012 • Home & Family • 16 Comments

    hawaiian hibiscusThe previous content of this post, my narrative about being a victim to a several-year-long bullying pattern of behavior, has been removed in response to written demand from a lawyer representing the other party. I stand behind my story and the truth contained within but have better things to do with my time and money than defend myself from frivolous accusations.

    However, I will not be silenced about cyber stalking and bullying. These are very real, very wrong approaches to conflict. Adult bullying is rarely written about but its effects can be as harmful and long-lasting to both victim and perpetrator as child-to-child bullying.

    StopBullying.org, a program of the US Department of Health and Human Services, defines bullying as a pattern of using an imbalance of power to manipulate others. While this pattern often stops in childhood, it can continue in workplaces and communities.

    PBS’ This Emotional Life writes “Research has found that as many as a quarter of American employees will experience some form of bullying at work. Different from constructive criticism or conflict, bullying is persistent, it focuses on a person rather than a task, and the recipient feels powerless to stop it. Worst of all, employees who experience bullying find that it’s just as hard to explain and stop the abuse as it is to suffer through it.”

    The Washington Education Association details the potential toll on a bullying victim. “When one person bullies another, the targeted person’s emotional strength becomes strained. As a result of this strain, serious health conditions may arise.  Psychological health conditions include stress, depression, and mood swings; loss of sleep and fatigue; feelings of shame, guilt, embarrassment, and low self-esteem. Physical health conditions may also result and include post-traumatic stress disorder, reduced immunity to infection, stress headaches, high blood pressure, and digestive problems.”

    I found that adult relational aggression is difficult to address between adults with no clear authority figure. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are some resources to help:

    About

    I live to eat and eat to live, planning every meal to include as much local and seasonal abundance as possible. My favorite color is purple, my favorite vegetable is whatever is fresh and local, and my favorite drink is whatever you're pouring. Follow me @racheltayse

    http://www.harmonioushomestead.com

    16 Responses to Cyber Bullying in the Neighborhood

    1. Dawn
      December 17, 2012 at 8:19 pm

      I’m glad you decided to write about this. We don’t talk about grown-up bullying much but unfortunately I think too many of us can relate to a story like this. I’m flabbergasted that these people have been able to force so many families out of that community. What a terrible, terrible shame.

    2. Jenn
      December 17, 2012 at 8:46 pm

      Rachel – Once again, thank you so much for sharing your story. Rather than comment on the awful (disgusting, shameful, disturbing, nasty, horrible) behavior of your neighbor let me offer this: I am unbelievably grateful for you and the stories you share through your blog. Hounds was one of the first locally-penned blogs I came across a few years ago when I became interested and involved in the local food “scene” here in Columbus. Your posts and interactions with our community (via open houses, cooking classes, and farmers’ markets) INSPIRE me to try new things in the kitchen, garden, and around the house. Seeing you out and about ALWAYS brings a smile to my face and I appreciate being able to say hello and maybe ask for your advice on a question that has come to mind. I think you are incredibly brave for sharing your thoughts with the world via social media and while I will always respect someone’s right to disagree there is NEVER an excuse for bullying. THANK YOU so much for sharing your stories, advice, and occasional (but hilarious) rantings and ravings.

    3. December 17, 2012 at 9:49 pm

      Ugh, that sucks Rachel. Glad you have moved on. Think they will read this and reflect on their behavior?

    4. December 17, 2012 at 10:51 pm

      This situation you were in sends a shiver up my spin … very creepy. I think you are a pioneer in social media and that is confusing for people who are not familiar with our changing world.

      Stay positive and be sure to protect yourself.

    5. December 18, 2012 at 7:40 am

      Rachel, it’s as if you were singing my song. My family has been bullied by the next door neighbors for over 3 years. We’ve had our house on the market for almost one year. For a while there, it was as if they had the sheriff dept. on speed dial, calling on my husband or kids for any sort of “violation” they could dream up. It makes me sad to see their kids growing up in such a hateful environment. I truly appreciate you sharing your experience. It gives me hope that one day I’ll be on the healing end, I’ll move. This house is taking forever to sell, the market is not kind to us, but it *will* eventually sell and we will begin our new adventures. Thanks again for sharing, my best to you and your family in your new home. Cheers!

    6. December 18, 2012 at 11:46 am

      Damn girl that is some effed up stuff right there. Who has the time to be that nosy and monitor someone’s twitter account? Seems like that person could stand to spend more time together as a family instead of policing everyone in the neighborhood.

      Also it’s not like you called out any family or person specifically on twitter so to be that paranoid that someone will suspect it’s them screams of some really insecure feelings. I’m sorry you had to go through that because bullying behavior sucks.

    7. Marisa
      December 18, 2012 at 11:52 am

      Gosh, those people sound like real assholes, I’m glad they are no longer your problem. Although it’s sad to think that they’ve just found someone else to bully. I guess their mothers never told them that you catch more flies with sugar than you do with vinegar. Actually, I’m guessing that’s not the only thing their mothers left out.

      The thing I don’t understand though… is the bit about how he called the city about your chickens. So what? You’re allowed to have chickens in this city…

    8. Meg
      December 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm

      Your former neighbors are not normal. It’s good that you could be so calm with them, because with many people, it would have escalated. But I do suspect that they felt they could harass you because they knew that you would take a calmer approach, or they would not have done it, as is typical of bullies. You have every right to make general comments whether or not it’s about them or not. It makes me angry reading this, but kudos for dealing with a really rough situation in an admirable way. They clearly were the problem; not you.
      After being laid off a few years ago, I started my own business, which was a lot of work. I’ve only just gotten to the point where I get one day off a week. My neighbors, who like to tell everyone what great Christians they are and how much they love to help their neighbors, called the city on me for not mowing my lawn often enough, and also called animal control for my dogs barking. Both times, the people they called said I was doing nothing wrong and the complaints were unjustified. But because I don’t have time and am still struggling financially, I can’t keep up the large gardens I used to have, and they complain about that too. I wonder why if they love helping their neighbors so much, they haven’t offered to help me. They haven’t been overtly rude to me, as your neighbors were, but I understand the frustration. Fortunately, they are not well-liked in the neighborhood, having told everyone during their first pregnancy that they don’t want to raise their children in this neighborhood. Unfortunately for all of us awful neighbors, it was about 5 years ago and they haven’t left yet, even though they now have 3 kids. But they still live in the dream world they’ve created that we all admire and love them.
      At any rate, great blog, great recipes, thanks for sharing!

    9. December 18, 2012 at 6:09 pm

      Oh that is creepy! And I though your chickens were such well behaved ladies. Only ever noticed them while walking the alleys. Sorry you had to deal with all that!

      We have a bully on our block who only inflicts himself on non residents who dare to park in front of his house. It’s so weird and pointless!

    10. December 18, 2012 at 9:54 pm

      Test

    11. Bob O'Shaughnessy
      December 18, 2012 at 10:24 pm

      Wow. That is just creepy and strange. I’d fully understand having a problem with being called out specifically by name or such on a public channel like Twitter, but if you are the only one that can figure out a Tweet is about you having a problem is a huge over reaction.

    12. Jen
      December 19, 2012 at 9:02 am

      I’m glad that you were finally able to write about this. It’s sad that we act that way toward each other.

      I hope your new neighbors are more welcoming!

    13. December 19, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      If it wasn’t passive aggressive, I’d do a tweet to you including your handle saying “Man, R, your former neighbors are first class a-holes!”. But that would go against the spirit of your message and the holiday season.

      So I’ll just say you were the bigger man in the situation :) Good for you.

      PS (but for the record, your former neighbors are first class booty heads).

      PPS Your chickens woke me up this morning. Cancel their twitter account.

    14. Alex Baillieul
      December 21, 2012 at 10:02 am

      Allot of thought and planning went into this article. Well done sweetie.

    15. Debbie
      December 22, 2012 at 9:55 am

      Sending hugs & cyber support! ;)

    16. December 26, 2012 at 3:56 pm

      Thanks for these comments that just came through because I was having a problem with the spam filter.

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