The "Bully" Card

Mrs. - posted on 02/05/2012 ( 16 moms have responded )




The anti-bullying campaigns have become, IMO, as big as the "Just Say No" campaigns in the 80's (and early 90's). The word itself has seemed to have gathered a whole new power to it. To say someone is a "bully" is now akin to saying someone is a gay basher, a woman basher or at the very least the dregs of society.

I've noticed that a lot of adults are now throwing the word around. I've heard famous people call other famous people "bullies" and regular folks on message boards claim people are "bullying" them ;).

So, do you think adults are using the "bully card" way too much now or not? Does throwing the word "bully" to describe people who clearly aren't at that level, does that devalue or draw attention from those who are actually being bullied? Have you noticed cases of "the adults who cried bully" lately?


Hope - posted on 02/06/2012




About 5 months ago now I was having a serious sit down talk with my MIL. I told my story, about how I felt controlled and what not. Then she in the very first sentence said I was bullying her because I didn't talk and was very reserved when we had family dinner's. In the first minute of her telling her story she used the word about 6 times. It actually broke me inside because it is a very serious word that mean you are purposely doing someone harm. I was not trying to do that, I was just being my quiet and reserved self. I stopped her and told her I did not appreciate the use of that word.

In answer to the question, yes I think the 'bully card' is thrown around far to much. I think it is used by adults as a power play, to bring them to that victim status so they can be the victor in the end.

Krista - posted on 02/06/2012




Exactly. True bullying is pervasive and inescapable. It's the kind of shit that makes you lose sleep. Disagreements on a COM forum, even if they're 16-on-1, are not bullying. Taking that disagreement to your FB wall, to your employer, to your friends and family, and basically putting in effort to make your life miserable? THAT is bullying.

Tracey - posted on 02/06/2012




At my kids school the definition of bullying is "repeated actions designed to cause mental or physical distress to another person"

Johnny - posted on 02/05/2012




Yes, I think that adults throw around the term way too cheaply when things aren't going their way. It completely devalues the struggles of young people suffering from the reality. The fear, the isolation, the self-hate, the emotional agony, the adults throwing around that term on messaging boards don't even stop to think about the way they are distorting the reality of kids who suffer real bullying. I will say that I do think that adults can be bullied too, but not in the way most people like to play the victim card for attention. But women who are sexually harassed, or gay men targeted in the workplace, or a whistleblower trying to do the right thing.

Whenever I see an adult claiming "bullying" online I now just start from the assumption that they are most likely the aggressor and jerk and then go from there. Which may not be entirely fair, but it reflects what I have observed thus far.

Stifler's - posted on 02/06/2012




I agree with the sentiments of arguing on the net is not bullying, following them around the net onto different sites to abuse them, personally messaging them hateful things, attacking their personality and appearance is bullying.


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[deleted account]

People are bullies on different levels and do it in different ways.In person or on the net.

However their still a bully at the end of the day.

I feel on com i see bully behaviour however its not bullying as we have the choice to as many say, turn off the computer.Many don't have to keep it up, although you can get a gist of there bully behaviour by consent passive aggressive comments towards others or just aggressive comments.Its when its consent you know, its a behaviour that is most likely the same in the real world.

April - posted on 02/06/2012




@Jane Serno I want to add that the kids who hurt me in school were like animals. They really were. They absolutely deserve to be called something that you associate with animals.

April - posted on 02/06/2012




I do think adults overuse the term, yes. I was bullied in school for being hearing impaired. I didn't have a disagreement with anyone. I was very quiet and kind of kept to myself, but kids did unspeakable things to me. I was made fun of for how I speak but on a scale of 1 to 10, it wasn't the worst thing they did. I cannot imagine having my son or any future child go through what I did. I also want to point out that bullying can be used to describe just one incident. The worst thing they (he) did to me--if that was the only thing they (he) did, I would still consider that bullying.

Ania - posted on 02/06/2012




I think that we play bullying card way too much. We have to find balance and see that not all bullying is the same. Based on the going definition I don't know how I survived my life, because I was bullied on many ocassions and somehow I turned out just fine. Everyone in their lifetime either was bullied or was a bully himsle/herslef. It is a part of growing up. As long as it does not go to horrible extremes, where conflicts go for a long time and are extremely mean (how do we measure that??? I don't know) then we should sometimes leave it to our kids so they can resolve it among themselves...

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/06/2012




@ Hope "I think it is used by adults as a power play, to bring them to that victim status so they can be the victor in the end. "

Really well put. I have had adults completely egg on, call names, be seriously vindictive and nasty, and as soon as one person retaliates, they pull the bully card to be the victim. It is disgusting.

Bullying is a really serious thing among school aged children, and should be taken as that. Adults bullying on line can be serious...but mostly is one adult that cannot handle a disagreement crying wolf.

Hope - posted on 02/06/2012




Think bullying is when you cause someone, physical, mental and/or emotional harm through persistent attacks.

[deleted account]

I honestly feel the phrase "bully" means differently to each growing generation. Teens commit suicide now over cyber-bullying; a phrase that was not there a generation ago. Adults may use the phrase as well when they feel threatened. While there is so much to discuss on the topic, I still feel society has a long way to go in regard to anti-bully education.

Jane - posted on 02/05/2012




I use the word to refer to my dogs, who are bulldogs of various sorts. I prefer to tailor my vocabulary oriented towards human behavior to the particular offense rather than using a blanket term like "bullying."

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