Anonymous asked realsocialskills:
Words like “bully”, “tease” or “abuse” are labels. Then someone can say “No, it isn’t!” because it doesn’t match the images in their mind. I think it’s better to describe what happened in terms that can’t be disagreed with, and to describe your own feelings, which others aren’t really in a position to disagree with. For example: “He stood close to me. I felt intimidated. He mentioned my disability in a sing-song voice. I felt humiliated. He struck me, and I could still feel it 30 minutes later.”
I think it’s important to have a way of talking about these things that isn’t just a matter of subjective feelings.
Because feelings can be wrong, or at least misleading. A bigot can feel humiliated by seeing someone they as subhuman being treated as my equal. A racist can feel intimidated by the presence of a person of color. In that case, the problem is that someone is a bigot or a racist. If they change how they think, they’ll feel better.
In contrast, if someone is experiencing injustice, the solution is for the injustice to stop. And it’s ok to oppose injustice by saying “this is wrong”; you don’t have to soften it by making it about your feelings.
Humiliation feels the same whether or not anyone is wronging you - you have to think about what’s going on and get a lot right to be able to figure out what to do.
Understanding the actual situation matters.
Push come to shove, it matters what’s true, and that’s not always a matter of feelings.
If we want to stop bullying, we have to be able to use words that acknowledge that people actually are bullying others. We can’t just focus on the fact that people feel bullied.