Quite recently, I fell victim to harassment. I was receiving death threats and abusive calls which were very distressing. I, of course, reported the incident to the police, and my mobile phone provider, but I couldn't help but reflect on trying to understand why people take it upon themselves to carry out such atrocities.
When distressing things occur naturally your mind goes into flight or fight mode. Usually the latter, one tends to react in a manner deemed necessary. When I received the third call, which was demon-like breathing, my first reaction was to scream, shout and swear and then throw my phone across the room. Alas, I could do neither of those, for I was in my place of work, which would create unnecessary attention one does not need after being called a see-you-next-Tuesday.
Instead, I took a deep breath and asked: why?
Why would someone call me to call me I am a psychopath? I tried to put myself in their shoes to try and understand their thought process (sort of like Catfish) but I didn't prevail.
Internet trolls, harassment calls and the like, are all under the same umbrella of antisocial behaviour. Ironically, these individuals who hurl abuse at others, unfortunately, have trouble with looking in the mirror.
Only a day ago my friend experienced an internet troll himself, after posting in a Facebook group asking for advice on how to run a sub-3 hour marathon. The troll - a grown man, might I add - attacked my friend by telling him he could never run a sub-3 hour marathon and that he should wait until he is his age, 46, (which goes to show that trolls come in all shapes and sizes) to begin even dreaming of that marathon time.
Upon reading this on his blog, I felt absolutely heartbroken for my friend because I know how much it means to him to achieve that goal. But to then be shot down by someone who has an obvious chip on his shoulder, is hurtful and unnecessary.
Which takes me back to when I was in China earlier this year with my tour group when we were meeting back at the checkpoint in Beijing Zoo. We realised there was a woman missing but instead, a group of women decided to bash her instead. They started shouting that we should leave her there because she didn't meet us at the required time. The rest of us, however, decided we would wait as it's unfair to leave someone behind, who can't speak English let alone Chinese, in a zoo.
These women were bitching and bitching and bitching to the point where I couldn't stand it any longer so I decided to say something. I asked them how they would feel if we left them behind, to which they responded with the same garbage they were blurting out earlier on. Another woman in our group turned to me and said, "Don't add ugly to ugly."
What she said that day was 100% spot on. When someone is behaving in a nasty way, lowering yourself down to their level isn't going to make superior. Rise above it and leave them to it. Cut them off.
So when I was receiving these unsolicited phone calls, I remembered, "Don't add ugly to ugly." Screaming and shouting isn't going to get me anywhere nor is seeking revenge because as my father always says, "two wrongs never make a right", and as much as it might feel great at the time it always catches up with you. And it'll catch up with those individuals who are trying to bring bad energy.
At a time where internet trolls and nasty people have more of a platform to send abuse, they are the real cowards here hiding behind devices. You're achieving your goals and they are spending their life worrying about you.
So who's the fool now?