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Bullying and Paranormal Groups
I was so excited this morning. I awoke with an idea for a blog article; bullying in the paranormal. So I jumped online, opened up google and began a search to see what was already out there, thinking, surely, not much. Wrong. A lot. There are websites devoted to just bullying within the paranormal community. Oh, for Pete's Sake. Well, I'm going to write about it anyway, because it's on my mind and bullying has become a huge issue in every walk of life.
Oh, you didn't know bullying was a huge problem in our society? and I am not referring to just kids in school. One of the biggest problems right now is bullying in the workplace; peers bullying peers, bosses bullying employees, employees bullying bosses. There are so many permutations of bullying now, so many styles, so many different classes of victim and perpetrator, it's overwhelming, in a very bad sort of way.
Bullying among and within paranormal groups has been going on for a while. Most people are shocked to hear about it, and even more shocked to become a victim of it. I was one such sorry investigator. It was quite a while ago. But, to make a very long story very short, I was confronted with something of which I was not even remotely guilty, I was yelled at, accused, threatened with legal action, then kicked out of the group. Bam!
Why? I suffered over, wept about, had nightmares over it, for years. That was in a time in my life when bullies were around every corner of my life; home, work, on line, in the art world, and in the paranormal world. I had nowhere to turn.
Another incident I can describe involved a lovely behavior, ironically termed "ghosting". This usually applies to dating, but it applies in this case as well. This type of bullying is all about cowardice and the internet. In dating it is when someone you have been seeing, or just started seeing, disappears without a word or a peep or a trace or a text. Poof. Ghost-gone.
I was a successful member of a group for nearly a year. I liked everyone I worked with. I had not arguments, no clashes, no personality issues with anyone. I was deliriously happy. Then, I stopped hearing from anyone. Emails stopped. Phone calls stopped. Text messages stopped. Silence. Weeks went by. Nothing. I finally, still not worried, just curious, sent a face book message to the lead investigator asking him if there was anything wrong. His answer? "Yes, you are out of the group." What?! "Why?" "You didn't participate enough. Bye." My reply was, "You're kidding, right?" I mean, this was a funny guy, he had a great sense of humor and loved to joke around. I honestly thought he was punking me. Nope. He was ghosting me.
Next thing I notice after a few months is I appear to be black-listed. I went for an "interview" for admission into another group. He contacted both former peers of mine, they bad mouthed me, I'm done as an investigator. Don't worry about this one. People now have such short attention spans, they will forget about you in a very short time and you will be back in circulation as if nothing ever happened, which, well, it didn't.
The only thing I think I may have done wrong was being outspoken and very honest and trusting in what I had to say. I voiced my opinion, even if I didn't agree with others. I thought there was an unspoken assumption of mutual respect. Ha! Nope.
So, I'm now sort of an expert on bullying, since I have been both bullied legally (I won) and in the workplace (and won). and in the paranormal community (and the jury is still out). I guess this little article is a word to the wise, a "watch-your-back" kind of warning.
Bullying among paranormal groups takes many forms and has many motivating factors. I think the most universal motivator of the bully is jealousy. If you or your group has had any public success or positive publicity, there will be those who will absolutely hate you for it and they will share their hate with others. One of the most prevalent forms of bullying is accusing a group or individual of faking, of being a fraud, or lying about evidence, of making evidence up, faking EVPs, photoshopping pictures, etc. They will attack your credibility, and this usually all happens online, especially Face Book. But it will also happen face to face, among friends, fellow investigators, groups who work in the same town, even the investigator who sits beside you in the dark place asking "what's your name?" to the empty room. Why? Because of jealously. Inadequacy, stupidity, evil, childishness, petty nonsense among so-called adults.
So, what do you do about it?
Try to ignore it. Don't fight back with name-calling or baseless accusations. It will only make you look bad.
Identify your trusted friends and keep them close. They are so precious and rare.
Do not badmouth anyone publicly on social media. Never. Ever.
Advocate for paranormal unity when you can.
Try not to get defensive.
Often bullies will stalk people using technology. If it is on Face book or Twitter, you can report the stalking and harassing.
Beware of groups who attack other groups publicly on social media.
Beware of groups who are accused of fraud, disappear, then reappear with a new name and persona, but are the same group.
Accept diversity. Everyone has a different take on things. You do not have to agree with everyone to be able to work with them or sit beside them in the dark.
Fight bullying wherever you see it happening. Defend the defenseless, tell the bully where to get off.
Never become a bully, no matter what. Don't go there.
Stopbullying.gov is an organization that provides information and help on what bullying is, how to recognize it, respond to it and prevent it.
There are many face book support groups for paranormal bullying.
Here is a poem I have had in my back pocket for many years. I think it applies perfectly in this situation.
Mother Teresa's Anyway Poem
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.