I’d like to tell you a story about my time on the internet and being cyber bullied. Most of the abuse that I can remember took place on Blizzard’s game service Battle.Net. I have experienced abuse elsewhere, but I’m going to focus on Battle.Net for this post. What has happened is significant enough that I’d like to address it, how I felt, and how it affected my life afterwards. Something to know before proceeding with the rest of this post is that some of the kinds of people I interacted with on Battle.Net were getting away from their own problems in life, and I just unfortunately happened to stumble across their path.
One thing about me is that I’ve never wanted to lash out at someone who was picking on me. Also, I took offense to things that others may not have taken offense to. I was never the kind of person who wanted to attack others, so I never felt that I wanted to defend myself with equal or more force than what was applied to me. This comes from a desire for not wanting to inflict any kind of harm on the other person. I was pretty careful with how I chose my words, if I chose any words at all. But sometimes it was hard to choose the right words and I’d get stuck in an awkward situation, on more than one occasion.
One of the earliest memories of cyber-bullying was in a trivia community called TriviaHost. I wasn’t sure why at the time, but I was a prime target for others to pick on, or let their feelings out on. Looking back at those times, I may have tried to speak on things I didn’t have much knowledge on. Other times were probably when I tried in earnest to become more than just a member, a moderator, or someone who could help out in the community. This was around 10 years ago or so ago, and the bullying would increase over time.
On Battle.Net I had my fair share of trolls. I think one thing that added to it was because I was in a group who would often joke with each other albeit in more rough ways than I was used to. I of course lashed out at this, and was taken advantage of repeatedly.Then I became the butt of jokes. Of course that’s not a good place to be in, but I didn’t know any better to get out of that situation. I was just a nice kid. That kind of set the stage for other occurrences.
One of the worst levels of treatment I had was actually one of the biggest reasons why I stopped caring about Code Speak on Battle.Net. Someone on Battle.Net was able to worm their way and steal 4 of my channels I had on Battle.Net through various means. For an act such as this, it was pretty devastating to me, because I had worked those channels up, and they were already established with members. Every time a channel got taken over, I’d have to advertise for a new one. Of course this tired others out, over the constant announcement of new channels (using a popular forum for Battle.Net communities at the time). A lot happened to me on Battle.Net, more than I would ever wish on the worst of my tormentors.
What has it done for me as a person? I think in part it made me stronger in some areas, and in others I lost a lot of confidence in myself. Fortunately, I’ve gained a lot of that confidence back. Most kids with this kind of background are bullied in school. Fortunately for me, that wasn’t really the case; it was simply the online interactions that were the worst for me. I made poor choices by not defending myself then, but need to always stand up for myself now.
I’m being open about this here because I want you guys to know what it was like and how it felt. I felt horrible. I felt used. It’s never a good thing to have to go through. It shouldn’t happen. People shouldn’t have to lash out at others for what they’re going through, they should instead be able to talk honestly about what they’re going through. Why me? Why am I the one? Why do you have to find enjoyment through my torment? So many questions to ask.
Let me speak to those who bullied me. Guys, you probably were going through moments of stress in your life and wanted someone to take it out on, or had other reasons for doing so. I will never be ok with what you did, but understand that what was done is done. Just know that you can still talk to people about what’s going on. Your current solution doesn’t have to be at the demise of someone else. Find someone you trust. Anyways, let me get this off my chest, I forgive you.