When you’re being cyber-bullied, it’s so tempting to come back at the trolls with the same vitriol they lash against you. When you’re being attacked online nonstop, the urge to do so can grow so strong that it almost physically hurts not to.
I totally get that because I’ve been there. It’s a natural human reaction to defend ourselves when we’re attacked. However, it’s no secret that when targets do push back against their bullies, the bullies will take their perfectly normal reaction and use it against them to make them look like the instigators.
Understand that when bullies attack, their goal is to bait you into an emotional reaction so they can use it against you to mar your reputation, destroy your credibility, and therefore, paint you as the villain.
And when we’re emotion, the logical brain completely shuts down and renders us unable to think clearly. This is when we’re most likely to make mistakes. We’re likely to say (or type) something out of anger that the bullies can twist and spin to fit their narrative.
This is why it’s so important that we keep our heads and find a better way to respond. Notice I said respond instead of “react.”
Just as you would never feed a bear, you should also never feed a troll.
And the best way not to feed a troll but to respond effectively and successfully is what I call the SBRE response.
SBRE- Screenshot, Block, Report, Expose.
Screenshot for evidence against the cyber-bully. A picture is worth a thousand words, and you need hard evidence to prove cyber-bullying. Screenshots are the hardest evidence you can gather. Cyber-bullies aren’t stupid, they are more likely to attack you on forums like Messenger because it’s a private message platform. Unlike ten to fifteen years ago, most won’t attack you publicly on Facebook, so Messenger is their platform of choice because of the privacy.
If you can, let it percolate a little- give them time to post multiple attacks to establish a pattern. Respond with innocent comebacks like, “I’m sorry you feel that way” or “You seem so angry” to keep them on the attack. Screenshot each attack. You can also give no response at all and watch as the troll becomes redundant in their attacks. As mentioned, the objective here is to establish a pattern of cyber-bullying by this individual and gather evidence of it.
Remember Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.” The trick is to let the enemy destroy himself.”
Block the cyber-bully to protect yourself from future attacks. Once you block the person, be on the lookout for a sudden barrage of friend requests from people with fake screen names, blank profile pictures, and pictures of cartoons or animals. And never accept friend requests from these people.
Report the bullies, describing in detail how long they’ve harassed you and use the screenshots as evidence.
And now, the fun part!
Expose the cyber-trolls by plastering the screenshots all over social media and the internet. Out them! Expose them for the creeps they really are, not only to humiliate them, but more importantly, to protect others from falling victim to their attacks in the future. Because you would never want what you’ve endured to happen to anyone else!
Cyber-bullies are the worst and most cowardly. However, if you play your cards right and use the SBRE response like I did a few years ago, you will be so surprised how quickly your cyber-bullies will disappear, and you will once again be free to surf the internet in peace.
With knowledge comes empowerment!