The Reality Behind Reality Shows: How They Glorify and Glamorize Bullying

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Reality shows and the present epidemic of bullying.

I believe that one of the reasons that bullying has become so out of control in our schools is because of the overabundance of reality shows on television, which seem to glorify and glamorize the abuse of others.

Shows like, “Bad Girls Club”, Jersey Shore (which I think are the absolute worst), and The Real Housewives franchise, are shows in which people as old as their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s act like middle schoolers in a locker room brawl. Grown men and women, whom you would think would have a modicum of maturity, often resort to name-calling, bashing others, and yes…even hair-pulling, shoving, punching and kicking.

When I see this, a question always comes to mind: “What kind of example and message are these shows and their stars sending our children and teenagers?”

It’s true that violence has been shown on TV and in movies for decades. However, before reality shows were heard of, TV was not real and kids of my generation understood because our parents never let us forget it. We knew that what we were seeing was only actors playing the parts of fictional characters in fictional shows. Moreover, we were taught not to try anything we saw on TV in real life because it would put us at risk of getting hurt and/or worse. We grew up with the understanding that, “It’s only a television series” or “It’s just a movie” and none of it was real.

Sadly, as television networks slowly run out of ideas for fictional shows and reality shows gradually take over the airwaves, TV is becoming less fictional (and interesting) and is sending the message to kids that bullying is okay, or that you have to be a bully in order to move up in the world…that to get ahead, you have to step over another person. Such a shame!

Most of the biggest reality stars are lousy role models!

Books by Cherie White

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Cherie72

The People Who Are Most Hurtful to a Target (Hint: It Isn’t the Bullies)

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It wasn’t the attacks from the bullies themselves. The bullies were the people from whom I’d come to expect that kind of behavior. From them, any vitriol, any vile and disgusting words and actions came as no surprise to me!

What hurt more than anything was the betrayal– when those I thought were my friends would so quickly and without question believe the lies and rumors that my bullies had spread. It was akin to being kicked in the stomach. Also, these so-called friends in school never had my back. Some even had the power to stop the bullying and protect me but refused, only throwing me under the bus.

Friends are supposed to be the people who believe the best of you. They are supposed to have your back any time someone attacks you. They’ll speak on your behalf when another person so much as badmouths you behind your back but in front of your them, and they’ll stick up for you even when you’re not around to see them do it. Real friends are with you no matter what, especially when the chips are down. They will go to hell and back for you.

But sadly, the people I thought I could trust did the opposite; they’d either go along with or believe the lies- and without bothering to ask me about it first. Many times, my fake friends sold me out- delivered me up to my bullies- with my head on a plate.

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Rejection and mistreatment from a bully are easier to deal with because, from a bully, you expect nothing more. It’s much harder to take when it comes from someone you think is a friend and think highly of. When I look back now, I realize that I didn’t have friends in school until I was in the twelfth grade.

Before senior year, I only kept these so-called pals around and put up with them because they were the only options I had. It was pathetic.

The betrayals I suffered years ago is why I’m so selective of who I let in my life today. It’s also why I prefer to keep my circle small. I’d rather have only a handful of real friends than a million half-baked, fake ones. But we don’t value ourselves like we should when we’re teenagers and haven’t been in the world very long.

Too many people are overly concerned with having a large number of friends but don’t realize that real friends- people who have your back, who have your best at heart and will go to bat for you under the worst conditions- are a rare commodity and don’t come around every day. Finding genuinefriends is like opening a thousand empty oysters and finding only five or six pearls. These are the friends who are worth more than gold! And if you have them, you’d better appreciate them for all that they are!

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When I meet a new person for the first time, I no longer wonder whether they’ll like me, I now wonder if I’m going to like them. I choose who I let in and who I give the boot, and if I stop having anything to do with someone, you can bet they betrayed me somehow, and I consider betrayal a deadly sin that will get someone dismissed very quickly.

I know what I want in a friend, and I won’t settle for anything less because anything less than desired is unacceptable. Loyalty is a virtue I look for, and if the person isn’t loyal, they aren’t worthy!

I want you to understand that if you have friends who are so quick to believe the lies your bullies tell them that they get angry with you and refuse to speak to you, guess what? These people are not your friends. They never were! Why else would they take your bullies’ word over yours and be so quick to turn against you?

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Maybe those you thought were your friends only tolerated you because they felt sorry for you. And why would you settle for someone’s pity? Or, maybe your so-called friends didn’t have many options themselves, and you were only a second choice friend, or worse! The last resort friend! Ewww! Who wants that!

Also, if you have friends who don’t stand with you and who fade into the woodwork when your bullies attack you, they’re not worth your time or energy. Friends like that don’t deserve the privilege of being a part of your life. You’re better off without them.

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You need to ditch these losers and find better friends, even if it means you have to be by yourself for a while. Hey, I know it sucks. Nobody wants to be alone. However, you must learn to be your own best friend before anyone else can.

Sometimes you must clean out all the trash to make room for the good stuff- the people who deserve to be in your life.

Frenemies: Why They Are Worse Than Enemies

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Victims often pick “friends” who only tolerate them or those who wish them ill will because they’re often lonely and desperate. For so long, they have been wrongly alienated from others due to rumors and lies that bullies have spread about them to keep them from making friends. Because the target is so hungry for a connection…any connection, he/she will befriend anyone…and I mean anyone! They are not selective with who they call “friend” and end up latching on to people who are not even worth knowing…predators, who only take advantage.

Also, young victims often assume that to be “cool”, they have to have a big circle of friends. This is not true.

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With that being said, I want you to know that if you are a victim of bullying, you do not need a whole slew of people in your life to be happy nor to feel like or be a whole person. You only need your family and a few true friends. It’s safer this way. Wouldn’t you much rather have just a handful of true friends then to have an abundance of frenemies? I know I would.

In fact, you should prefer to have enemies over ‘frenemies’ because with an enemy, you know exactly where they stand without having to do any guesswork. However, with frenemies, you will always be the last to know after being played for a sucker.

If at any time you wonder about a person…if your intuition is telling you that something is “off”, put some distance between yourself and that individual and do it fast! Instinct is trying to warn you.

If your so-called friends are only tolerating you, stabbing you in the back, or sabotaging you in any way, it’s time to eighty-six these leaches to your self-esteem. And the sooner you do, the better!

The Difference Between Bitterness and Acknowledgement of Past Victimization.

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Telling you to “get over it” is typical of bullies. The reason they tell you this is to shame and to silence you. In telling you to “let it go,” bullies make you out to be unstable or a drama-filled person who carries a grudge and can’t leave the past behind.

I don’t hate my classmates. I thank them. Because if it weren’t for my classmates, I might have never found my niche and the thing I enjoy doing the most. In their torment of me all those years ago, they inspired me to become a champion for the bullied, an author of 4 books, and a blogger whose niche is bullying. So, I thank them from the bottom of my heart. In truth, I can never thank them enough.

Here’s the thing. There’s a difference between holding a grudge and accepting that you suffered abuse. You can acknowledge what happened without holding onto bitterness and hate.

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Grudges, bitterness, and hate – unhealthy

Grudges are unhealthy. A person who carries a grudge has anger, resentment, and hate boiling inside them and will often seek revenge. A grudge-holder handles any past victimhood he suffered in very destructive ways.

People who hold grudges only let the past hold them back from growing, from enjoying new friendships and relationships with others, and from success. Because a grudge holder carries so much anger and bitterness, they only repel people who would be potential friends and partners. They only attract more negativity and adversity into their lives.

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Acknowledgment of Past Victimization – healthy

On the other hand, acknowledgment or acceptance of prior victimization and how it hurt you is one of the healthiest things you can do. The person who does this doesn’t hold a grudge and doesn’t hate the people who abused her. She only feels sorry for them.

Survivors who accept the past realize that there can be valuable lessons learned from being a past target of bullying and abuse and often use it as their rocket fuel. Like I have done, they do years of research into bullying and into the mindsets of bullies and the victims they select. They consistently search for answers as to why bullies bully, what bullies look for in victims, and much, much more.

They then speak out about their experiences and the pain they suffered to bring awareness to the world- consciousness that, yes, such evil does exist. A former victim who accepts the past freely talks of and spreads awareness of bullying and abuse only grows and acquires wisdom. She then uses that wisdom to reach out to others who endure the same or to prevent others from experiencing the same pain she did.

You would be surprised how rewarding this is to a survivor. Through using past pain for good, many survivors have achieved healing and gotten closure. Also, these people often make fulfilling and life-long friendships and connections through their work toward their cause.

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Expect your old tormentors to come for you if you raise awareness

Sadly though, it’s easy to get these two things confused. Former classmates from school have accused me of being bitter and full of hate. They have blasted me for having the gall to speak out and write about the brutality and the vile and downright devilish behavior they displayed years ago. Luckily, I see right through them.

‘You see? Even years after the fact, abusers despise it when you take the pain they caused you the past and turn it into something that can help people. And when you take something that was meant to defeat you and turn it into something that helps others, and only makes you stronger, oh man, do they hate that!

All that time, they tried to tear you down! All that combined effort! And still! You didn’t drown! You only took it and turned it into something positive, and all that work they put forth to bury you ended up wasted! Understand that bullies become furious when they realize they weren’t able to destroy you.

Anytime you speak out about any past abuse you suffered, it should be not only accepted but expected that your old tormentors will come for you, telling you to get over it. Not only are they angry at you because you didn’t crash and burn, but they’re also very much afraid that you’ll expose them somehow or that you’ll succeed. Don’t take it personally.

Instead, take it as confirmation of their guilt- as proof that they were and still are the ones who have the problem. When old bullies bash you for speaking out, they only outthemselves. Don’t let them silence you, nor allow them to stop you from reaching out to those who need to hear your story because you might end up saving a life!

Turn your pain into power! Be a friend and advocate for the bullied!

Like Versus Respect (and Dislike v/s Disrespect)

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There can be respect without like. However, there can never be like without respect. Put more straightforward, a person doesn’t have to like you to respect you, but they do have to respect you to like you.

Respect and like are different in that like is based on commonalities and good feelings shared between people. When you like someone, you enjoy their company and the positivity they bring to your life. Respect, on the other hand, is regard for another person’s safety, space, freedom, privacy, property and individuality.

When you respect someone, you may not necessarily like the person, but you see them as having the same rights and considerations as you and everyone else.

To not like somebody means you have nothing in common or just don’t want to be around the person. That’s perfectly okay because not everybody is alike and shares the same beliefs, feelings, ideas or backgrounds. Like is subjective.

But to not respect someone means that you have no regard for their safety, space, freedom, privacy, property, or individuality. In other words, if you have no respect for a specific individual, you don’t see them as having the same human rights and considerations as you and everyone else. And when you don’t respect someone, you will think it’s perfectly okay to violate that person because they somehow deserve to be violated.

Respect Concept

Therefore, you can dislike someone but respect their right not to have their boundaries crossed. When you disrespect someone, you won’t acknowledge that person’s boundaries and you are more likely to trample their dignity and their human rights. In your mind, the person either doesn’t or shouldn’t have the same human rights or dignity as you and everyone else. You may wish the person harm or ill will. You may not want to breathe the same air as the person.

Signs of Dislike

1. Nothing in common with the person. You wish them well, but you’d prefer not to go on long trips with them. You have no problem coexisting.

2. You see them as having the same human rights and you and anyone else and you won’t bully them nor place them in danger. You only don’t have anything in common with the person.

Signs of Disrespect

1. Lack of regard for the person’s freedom- this could include belittling their opinions and ideas, taking away their freedom to speak by talking over them when they are speaking, getting angry with them if they would rather spend time with family than with you or the group.

2. Lack of regard for the person’s safety- you bully them or put them in danger of being physically hurt. You don’t want to coexist.

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If you are a victim of bullying, you must be able to distinguish between the two and act appropriately. Disrespect is must worse than dislike. Dislike is a part of life and much easier to deal with. Disrespect, on the other hand, is harmful.

The people who dislike you won’t necessarily try to hurt you but act neutral around you. They might even say a few words to you to be polite. They just won’t be buddy-buddy with you.

On the other hand, people who disrespect you will violate you. They will shame you, humiliate you, try to sabotage you, and physically assault you.

If the people around you dislike you, it’s their loss and you can still be around them if you must.

However, if they disrespect you, then it’s time to either walk away from them or send them packing, one of the two. People who regard you with disrespect don’t deserve a place in your life!

The more you know!

When Bullying is Referred to as “Darwinism”, “Natural Selection” or “Survival of the Fittest”

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Anytime I hear people refer to bullying as either of the three mentioned in the title of this article, I find it cringe-worthy at best! And the words that immediately flash through my mind are “cop out”, “trivialization” and “excuses”.

To call bullying one of these three things is to say that:

1. Bullying is completely normal and natural.

2. Victims of bullying are weak and/or undesirable and must be eliminated from the human race.

3. Bullying is required for survival of the human race.

Allow me to rebut these three (conscious or unconscious) beliefs:

Bullying is anything but normal or natural. It is brutal, malicious, hurtful and cowardly.

Victims of bullying are NOT weak, nor are they undesirable. They may only think differently than most. They are often exceptional people with brilliant minds. Many celebrities, CEO’s, inventors, writers, scientists, doctors and professors were bullied as children and teens and have even been bullied in the workplace as adults. But they survived.

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If these people had not survived bullying, the world may never have seen may awesome inventions and breakthroughs, such as the electric light bulb, telephone, or the first organ transplant. Where would we be without these people?

Bullying is NOT required for survival of the human race, it can only destroy it.

An example of this would be the Nazi’s bullying of Jews during World War II and slaughtering of six million during the holocaust. Now. Do you still think that bullying is necessary for survival of our species?

Bullying is NEVER okay! And sadly, I’ve heard many people refer to it as the above three. Understand that this is only a cop out, a way to blame the target and an excuse not to help victims who are bullied.

If you are a bully or bystander and you believe this sort of tripe, then boy are you ever delusional!

If you are a victim, I want to assure you that it does not mean that you are defective in any way. It only means that you are an individual, who is brave enough to think outside the box and that you refuse to be a follower. Those are characteristics that you should be proud of because you have a chance to go far and change society.

Don’t give up! Give yourself a chance! You never know, in the future, YOU may be the person who brings positive change to the world and your bullies will more than likely end up living less than desirable lives. Suicide is not the answer. Don’t you want to live long enough to see your own potential? I want you to.

Think Before You Act!

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Bullies aren’t stupid clods like they’re portrayed in the movies. They’re sneaky, they’re conniving and they have ways of charming those in authority, lying convincingly and making their victims look like the culprits.

Why? Because they will push you! They push and push until you, the victim, snap! Then you look like the bad guy. You are labeled the crazy person. You are labeled the troublemaker. It happens all the time. I understand this because I’ve been there.

You must think before you act. Bullies have a talent for provoking targets, then feigning victimhood. They’re real good at looking like the victim. That’s why you should never let them push you over the edge. Never let them push your buttons, though I realize that it’s easier said than done.

There are so many victims whom have allowed bullies to drive them to bringing a gun to school and shooting their classmates. But all this does is make the bullies the victims and the target the bad guy! Anytime you bring a lethal weapon to school, you only validate the falsehoods and rumors spread about you! It proves every thing your bullies have said about you to be true! Even worse, it ruins your entire future! Do you think they are worth that?

Instead of handling the harassment with a gun, try reaching for success! Bring your grades up and indulge in your talents and gifts! Win awards for those talents! Do the things that you enjoy the most and bask in the friendships you do have. enjoy time with family!

How you handle bullying is to be successful!

Let’s have a school year with no shootings!

Catch Them Before They Become Shooters!

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With the many shootings taking place, such as the Parkland, Florida school massacre a few years ago, it has been placed on my heart to write about something which needs to be discussed but sadly, isn’t by many. It should be no surprise that bullying is almost always a factor in the uptick of school shootings, which have plagued our country for the last twenty years. Before we go any further, let me remind you that being bullied, no matter how severe, is absolutely no excuse for taking human lives and I would never condone such an action!

However, many shooters have been victims of bullying, whom were pushed to the breaking point. They finally snapped after many years of relentless and repetitive abuse by their peers and being rebuffed by school staff in their attempts to report bullying incidences and get help. Therefore, they resort to bringing a gun to school and leaving death and mayhem in their wake! The shooters then turn the gun on themselves to avoid prison and the end result is that families and loved ones on both sides, as well as entire communities are left devastated!

One such example is the Columbine Shooting in April of 1999. I have read many articles about this particular case and it was stated by many experts that the perpetrators, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had for years been bullied outcasts, who’d only gotten fed up with the continuous negative treatment and finally went into a rage and lashed out, as have so many other victims since then. Again, I cannot stress enough, how wrong and counterproductive bringing a gun to school really is, much less using it to shoot people! However, I believe there is something we’re missing here- the issue of mental health and bullying which often leads to these tragedies.

Sadly, school shootings have become so common in today’s world that they’ve now become a political issue and fodder for the agendas of both the left and the right wings, with the left pushing for gun control and the right’s push to arm teachers and tighten school security. Although these certainly are legitimate issues which need to be addressed, it seems that almost no one is discussing the root cause of these shootings- bullying and/or mental health.

I believe that “An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure”! Perhaps if we reach these bullied and at-risk youth and show them that they are not alone and that they matter just like everyone else, we will be able to save them from the possibility of becoming violent and ultimately, bring down these horribly high statistics! I will explain this in more detail in my next blog post.

(To be continued)

Catch Them Before They Become Shooters! (Part 2)

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Sadly, school shootings have skyrocketed in the last twenty years. But what if I told you that each incidence could have been prevented? What if I told you that we CAN prevent the next shooting…before it happens?

In part 1, I discussed the issue of mental health in school shootings, which is often ignored by the masses. Many want to preach about the importance of gun control or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, gun promotion. However, they fail to discuss the root problems which too often lead to these tragedies- bullying and mental health.

Preventing future shootings is easier than you think. All it takes is to seek out the kids in your school, whom are bullied, ignored, marginalized, sad and alone. You have to admit that these kids are the easiest to spot. I can guarantee that if everyone reached out to the kid who always sits alone in the lunchroom, the kid known for having his face slammed into the lockers or flushed down the toilet, the poor girl who is constantly slut/fat-shamed, or the pregnant girl or teen mother who’s relentlessly being called a whore and gave them a kind word…an encouraging message of love, letting them know that they still matter and have value, I’m positive that it would make a huge difference.

Kindness costs nothing. Just one kind word or gesture, just ONE… can be the difference between life or death…the difference between a senseless suicide or the will to live…the difference between the decision to go on a shooting spree at school or the decision to leave the gun at home and employ more constructive and productive means to handle being the object of bullying!

Think about it!

(To be continued…)

Catch Them Before They Become Shooters (Part 3): Don’t Do It!!!

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As I mentioned in the two earlier posts, school shootings are at an all-time high today. This must STOP!

No matter how horribly you are treated, no matter how angry, sad or lonely you are, it is never okay to take a life. NEVER! Bullying and mental illness, although a cause, it is never an excuse! There is nothing…nothing that justifies killing another human being unless you have an intruder in your home and they are threatening your life and the lives of your family. Murder is wrong and there are better and more productive ways to handle being bullied.

Let’s put it another way: Anytime you bring a gun to school and shoot a bully who has tormented you, you automatically cease to be a victim and make them (the bully) the victim. Sorry, but it is what it is! When you kill someone, you no longer get to claim victimhood. That’s just how the world works. Instead, you make the BULLY the victim!

This is exactly what bullies want…to look like the victim in the eyes of others while sneakily torturing their targets and making them look like the bad guys. By shooting them, you only make it so much easier for them to do that.

Remember that bullies are masters at feigning victimhood, which is the reason they go unpunished while the target looks guilty. Your bullies have looked innocent and vilified you in the eyes of others for far too long! Why then would you want to make them even bigger victims than what they already look like? They have already destroyed your reputation and shooting them would only confirm the lies they have spread about you as truth…that you really did turn out to be a despicable person.

Let’s look at it yet, a third way: If you shoot your bullies, their names will be engraved on a memorial at the school, while your name will be regarded with shame and contempt. You will go down in history as a disgusting and vile monster while your bullies will be remembered as either heroes or martyrs. Seriously! Is that what you want???

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When you take the life of another human being, you not only put shame on yourself, but also your entire family! Do you really want to put the people who love you through that? Once you kill someone, you can never rectify it!

Nicolas Cruz sure didn’t think about this when he snapped and decided to go to Margorie Stoneman Douglas High School and shoot his classmates. Yes. He was a victim of bullying because he was considered “weird”. One of his classmates, Emma Gonzales even admitted to ostracizing him. Yes, his classmates should have reached out to him. However, because he chose to handle it the wrong way by picking up a gun, the fact that he was ostracized is no longer relevant. That’s…Just…Reality! If you shoot someone, nobody will care what your reasons were. Nobody cares that he was bullied. Nobody cares that he was pushed over the edge! And if you let them drive you to do something so counterproductive, no one will give a damn that they drove you to do it, truth or not!

Yes, bullying is a hell that only few can comprehend. I understand the intense rage which builds to a burning climax after having been dehumanized for so many years. I understand the feeling of hopelessness. Why? Because I’ve been there…in the trenches! Trust me when I say, “I get that”. But…you must think before you act. You must keep your wits about you, no matter how difficult it may be. Thinking ahead and of the possible consequences I might have faced and how it would have devastated my family and killed any prospects of a great future was what kept me from doing something which would have altered my own life and the lives of not only my classmates and their families, but also members of my own family as well. With that said, I beg you! DON’T DO IT! If at anytime you’re being bullied and you’re about to lose control, get help…FAST!

Instead, conquer your bullies by taking care of yourself and making positive changes in your own life. Transfer to another school and reinvent yourself if you must. It’s what I did! Accomplish your goals and strive for self-betterment! It could be as simple as doing something you’re good at and winning an award for it, or making an A on a test! Instead of picking up a gun, grab as many successes as you can reach. Instead of a gun, let SUCCESS be your weapon of choice! Because, as Frank Sinatra quoted, “being wildly successful is the absolute best revenge you can ever take” against a bully! I guarantee it!

It’s about self! Make it about you and what you can achieve! Forget those who don’t give you a thought! Screw ’em! Because they don’t deserve the privilege of being in your life anyway! Make a lot of money! Win a truckload of awards! Write a book! Cut a CD…whatever fulfills you! Grab as many successes and happy moments as humanly possible! That’s what you do when people refuse to see your value!

Create your own value with SUCCESS!