First and foremost, let us say that Dogs Around Austin has zero tolerance for bullying! Unfortunately, the anonymity provided by the internet often empowers unhappy people to say things they know are wrong or hurtful. If you’ve been picked on, made to feel unwanted at events, received cruel messages, or threatened to be “blacklisted” in Austin or on Instagram, know that you are welcome here!
It broke our hearts to discover the vicious conversations and harassment happening in our own community, so we want to take this opportunity to make sure you know that Dogs Around Austin is a safe space. We want to help victims of bullying understand that this reflects on the bully and not you! We want to provide you with a support system of resources on what to do if you are being bullied or harassed. We want to help pair you up with other genuine people and pups so that you can confidently attend events regardless of who else may be in attendance. And of course, we want to host gatherings of friends that are eager to support and encourage one another! This is community, not competition. Let’s be for one another!
Remember, this isn’t about you! Let’s talk about why bullies bully:
Cyberbullies want to create the illusion that they have power and can get away with doing hurtful things. If someone tries to manipulate you by referring to their “influence” or threatening to “blacklist” you, walk away! That is not your friend and the only influence and power they have is manipulation itself.
This one is particularly hard to accept. To cyberbullies, hurting other people can seem funny and entertaining. They will usually seek an audience in the form or group chats/messages or cliques at parties. Having a group to laugh at their cruelty only intensifies their illusions of grandeur.
When someone doesn't know how or chooses not to deal with their own negative emotions, like frustration or anger, they commonly take it out on whomever they see as an easy target.
Bullies are most often unhappy and uncomfortable with their authentic self and create an online personality that's completely different in order to say things they know are hurtful. They label their behavior as “sassy”, “bitchy”, or “telling it like it is” when in reality, it is self-loathing spewing out in the form of hate and cruelty. Most often the characteristics they target on others (i.e. physical appearance, success, happiness, etc.) are the things they actually hate about themselves. You cannot take to heart anything a bully says about you. Know that they’re manifesting their feelings about themselves and you are just a platform on whom they’ve redirected.
This may seem contradictory but bear with us. Some bullies target others as a way of gaining sympathy. When their bad behavior is brought to light, they will begin to play the victim. They are highly effective at getting you to overlook warning signs you see or sense. They will tell you how someone took advantage of them or life dealt harshly with them. They’ll blame anxiety, depression, personality disorders, and circumstances to con you into sympathizing with them and wanting to help them. This is a form of manipulation used to alienate you from anyone who might expose the truth about the bully as well as to justify their actions to you so that they seem less heinous.
Remember, bullies make bullies. Often people will side with a bully to try to get out of being a target themselves. It’s a vicious cycle of those that were bullied perpetuating hate to escape being a victim. Those that were bullied grow to see this as normal behavior or they retaliate by hurting their abuser or others to gain back some semblance of control and power.
If you have been cyberbullied, please make sure to talk to a friend, family member, or physician! As a victim, you can speak out! Bullies operate under the cover of anonymity and often just taking that away will put a stop to their destructive behavior. It also allows you to warn others so that they can steer clear and not become a victim too.
Even if you’re not ready to speak out, don’t be afraid to block, block, block! Protect yourself! Blocking a toxic account will only improve your quality of life. Regardless of their online presence and threats of blacklisting, you absolutely have the right to choose not to allow them to contact you anymore. Trust us! We block cyberbullies and it has only made our online experience happier and richer than ever!
Dogs Around Austin will not keep quiet.
We will not tolerate bullying of us, our friends, or our community.
If you’ve been targeted and aren’t comfortable attending local events alone, do not hesitate to reach out and we will pair you with other amazing Austinites. And always keep an eye out for @pennytheluckdragon and @babyknuck when you’re out and about!