What Can We Do About Military Spouse Bullying?
Bullying is everywhere. From schools to churches to the military community. Bullying happens to children, and it can also happen to adults. Bullying happens within our military spouse community, and the worst of it seems to be online.
Being an online bully is pretty easy. You can hide behind your computer screen, no one needs to know who you are, and you can do so without being called out.
Bullying can happen when a new military spouse asks an innocent question or when anyone is asking for advice about a struggle they are going through. People even go on and on about us calling ourselves “military spouses.”
The military community can be the right place to ask questions. So many of us have been through so many different situations and are willing to help. Sadly, not everyone is so understanding, and that is when the bullying happens.
The truth is, when bullies act as they do, that says more about them than it does about the person they are going after. When you are being targeted though, that is easy to forget.
We all need to work together. Every single one of us and if we do, I believe that we can cut down on the bullying and all learn from one another. We are better than a group of people who go after one another. We are strong men and women who stand by and support those who have chosen to sign up to serve our country.
So what can we do about this military spouse bullying issue? How can we make our community a better place?
Be respectful in your responses
Being respectful isn’t difficult. When you are responding to someone online, remember to stay respectful. Even if what they are asking seems silly. Even if what they are asking seems obvious. We were all the new military spouse at one time. We were all very young at one time.
Stay away from the hate groups
There are military spouse hate groups online. Their only goal is to make fun of other spouses. While groups like this are not a shock, they don’t need to be the norm. Stay away from the hate groups. They are not worthy of our energy.
The military community is so good at standing up to groups like the Westboro Baptist Church when they come to protest a funeral, but do we feel the same way about the hate groups within our military communities? Something to think about the next time you see one in your Facebook feed.
Remember that everyone experiences things differently
What you have experienced as a military spouse can be completely different than what your neighbor has. Sometimes when we have not experienced something, we don’t quite understand what the other person who has experienced it is going through. But we can still be kind in our responses to them.
Telling them they are wrong, assuming they are lying, or just giving them a mean response because their experiences are different than ours is not okay. Be understand, realize that there are different ways for things to happen, and be open to listening to what the other person has to say.
Remember, we are a family
Here’s the deal, the military world, particularly within each branch can be rather small. Whatever you say online could get back to anyone else in the military community. This could be bad for you; this could be bad for your spouse.
It’s simply not worth it. You could be bullying someone that you see every day on your military post. You could be bullying someone in your spouse’s chain of command. You can hide behind your screen but the reality is, what you put out there could get back to you and that could cause issues for you and your service member down the line.
What would happen if you PCS to a new duty station only for your spouse’s COC to know about the bullying you had done towards their own spouse? Do you think that would make things easier for your service member? Do you think a spouse that is bullied wouldn’t talk to her own husband about that? Whether you want to admit it or not, it can get back to you and that can be bad news for your spouse’s career.
Your Grandma can see what you post online
When I see what some people post on the comments on Facebook pages, I am amazed. Anyone who follows you on Facebook can see what you post there, even people you have chosen to unfollow. This means your grandma can see your words. Your mom can see your words. Your siblings can see your words. Your co-workers and even your boss can see your words. If they are hateful, that could cause a lot of issues for you down the line.
Let it go and walk away
When someone is irritating you online, it is best to let it go and walk away. Vent to your friends privately but when you go on and on and back and forth with a stranger, you are putting yourself in a bad place. Most of the time, let things go, walk away and let the issue burn out.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t participate in civil debates, but when things go hateful, the back and forth makes both of you look bad, even if you are the one in the right. You can always choose to block someone who is going after you. Make it difficult to keep going after you. Virtually walk away as much as you can.
Online bullying is a part of our world now. We don’t want bullying happening to our children, let’s not do it in our military communities. Let’s all be better than that. Let’s be helpful and know when to walk away. If we can do this, our community will become a stronger one for all of us.