"I'm not sure how much more I can take, it's so awful."

Question

I love the internet. It's a great way to get research done and connect with people. I use it everyday and things go smoothly. But for the past month or so I've been getting a lot of hate mail. I know I know, the sad story of a sorry girl getting less-than-lovely letters telling her she's worth nothing. At first it didn't bother me at all, and I was proud of that. I was proud that I was stronger than those bullies. Then after the first 10 they started sinking deeper. It's like I had this great strong wall to protect myself and something like one email couldnt do anything- but now overtime all the emails put together (I'm guessing there'd be like 40 by now) broke it down so I've vaunerable to anything now. My confidence has been shattered and I feel so weak. And some of the emails have been very bad... I've thought of suicide, but I'm not that kind of person. I would never. I'm just not sure how to stop this. Like I said I use the internet so often that simply getting off it won't work. I've tried different things like blocking emails and making new emails but somehow they keep finding me. I'm not sure how much more I can take, it's so awful. Help?

Answer from counsellor

I am so glad you reached out about the bullying you suffered and decided enough is enough! You described cyber bullying and the effects of it on the victim very well. You are so right. At first you may think something like 'Big deal! They won't get me down with their words!' But after getting one abusive email after another, that resolve gets weaker and weaker, until you feel totally shattered. If the bullying continues and the victim does not reach out for support and help, it's no wonder they don't see a way out anymore and think that suicide is the only way to make the pain stop. Every day KHP counsellors talk with young people who are being bullied, on line and/or off line. They describe the hopelessness that can come with being cyber bullied. Cyber bullying is really an assault on your emotions and it causes so much harm and pain to the victims. I am so sorry this has happened to you! That is why I am happy you reached out for support and ideas! It is never too late to make it stop, even if the abuse has gone on for a while. I would have suggested you block your email and change your address/password, but you already did this. Here are a few other things you need to do: 1 Do not respond to the emails. It only keeps the bullies going. 2) Save and print out the offending emails with addresses included, so you will have a paper trail. 3) Report the emails to your internet provider so they know and can take action. 4) Tell a trusted adult. 5) If you feel threatened, tell the Police. They take this very seriously and have special units that investigate these crimes. Yes, they are crimes! It is against the law to harass, threaten or defame a person, on line or face to face. Remember that you did nothing to deserve this treatment. Reaching out for help from the people who have the power to make this stop is the smartest thing you can do in situations like this. If you don't feel comfortable talking to your parents, guardians, teacher/vice principal (if bullies go to your school) , how about asking a friend to come with you? It makes talking so much easier if you feel supported. I also would like you to check out the KHP cyber bullying site. You go to 'Get informed', click on 'Bullying', ages 13 and up. Right under the red coloured part talking about 'What is bullying' you will find 'New, find out about cyberbullying.' Click on that and you will find more info and links. The more you know about your options, the better you will be able to take action! Remember that you are stronger than these bullies! Remember that the less-than-lovely emails are attacks and not judgements. Their abusive words don't describe you in any way because abusive words (or actions) never describe a person. They are attacks against a person, not judgements of that person. I hope you see the difference and that realizing that difference can be your 'protective wall'. Having that realization and 'protective wall' is helpful and can support you but ......... this abuse has to stop, no matter what. So, I hope you will take the next step and have a talk with an adult about the kinds of emails we have been getting. If the bullies are going to your school, talk to the vice principal. He/she needs to know because it's his/her job to keep the students safe from abuse by other students. You can also always give KHP a call (or write) so you and the counsellor can discuss options. Let us know how it's going and what's going on, OK? You are not alone anymore now you have reached out! :) Take good care of yourself and I hope to hear from you again! Bye for now.