I'd like to get a little personal for the moment and share my personal journey and reflections based on my experiences being a part of Witchtok since 2019. This is my story, my opinion and my truth.
Living in the digital age, especially since Covid, the internet has become an integral part of our lives, offering incredible opportunities for connection, growth, and self-expression. However, along with these possibilities, there is a regrettable downside—cyberbullying and drama.
When individuals become targets of cyberbullying, the resulting trauma can be devastating and enduring. Recently, I faced cyberbullying from individuals I once considered friends and today, I want to share my process of shadow work, for lack of a better term, that has helped me navigate the past few weeks. My intention is to offer support to anyone else who may be going through a similar experience.
This is a complex issue, but for me, it comes down to the emotional aftermath of the drama. The feelings that arise when someone who you thought was a friend withdraws their support, spreads vicious rumours, and acts as if they are the victim in every scenario can be emotionally overwhelming. This often leaves you feeling abandoned and unimportant and sometimes worse.
Understanding the Trauma
The first step for me was understanding that cyberbullying is not just an online nuisance; it inflicts deep emotional wounds that can scar you long after the dust settles. Even to this day, I am feeling it. I have experienced feelings of fear, helplessness, and isolation following hurtful comments, threats from troll accounts, sly remarks, and blatant lies that are simply made to invalidate my experiences, undermine my self-esteem, my sense of worth, and even my business and ability to help support my family. When the person who once stood beside me is the main contributor to these things, the pain takes on a new dimension, exacerbating psychological distress.
The Emotional Impact
When the main protagonist, who initially was a trusted friend, no longer sees any personal gain in standing with you, it can intensify the emotional turmoil experienced. The sudden abuse received evokes feelings of betrayal, rejection, and abandonment, causing you to question your own worthiness of support. This has certainly affected my ability to trust others, and I find myself constantly second-guessing actions that I may have once been excited about.
Loss of Validation
One of the fundamental needs of a victim of cyberbullying is validation. It is a lifeline that reassures you that your experiences and your emotions are real and significant. When the main protagonist no longer sees value in your friendship or completely falsifies the original problems and employs and convinces others that you are not worthy of belief, it can send a message that your pain is no longer valid or important. This loss of validation can be crushing, leading to a further erosion of self-esteem and self-worth.
Having personally weathered the storm of falsehoods intentionally spread to tarnish my credibility, honour, and name, navigating this challenging situation has demanded resilience and a commitment to truth. It's crucial to confront these inaccuracies with grace, a composed demeanour, simply presenting the facts without succumbing to the negativity when asked. Communicating openly with those in my inner circle and even some on the outter circle, sharing the genuine narrative, sharing the undeniable truth and showing the supporting evidence, has meant I have recieved encouragement and genuine support, which has been pivotal.
The strength derived from a united front can counteract the damage caused by external misinformation no matter how hard they try to continue with "new claims". Engaging in self-care practices and focusing on personal growth have been my anchors in this tumultuous journey, allowing me to rise above the attempts to diminish my character. Instead of retaliating, I choose to emphasise authenticity, fostering a positive narrative that transcends the unfounded allegations and ultimately reinstates the integrity of my name.
To address the lingering trauma caused by the cyberbullying, I had to acknowledge it for what it is - a narcissist who lost control of another. It is essential to embark on a journey of self-healing and empowerment, recognising that my inherent worth is crucial, irrespective of who stands by my side. I matter.
Here are a few strategies I've found to support this process. I'll be honest; it doesn't always work, and I still have moments of complete rock bottom but with each new day comes a new set of eyes seeing the truth revealed and that is all I can ask of myself and others.
Self-Compassion: Be gentle and try to understand yourself. Remind yourself that your worth is not contingent on others' opinions or actions. Self-compassion cultivates resilience and can help counter negative internal dialogue.
Community and Peer Support: Seeking support from like-minded individuals who have experienced similar traumas has helped me. By connecting with others who understand the struggle, I have been able to foster a sense of belonging and empowerment.
Personal Growth and Empowerment: Focusing on personal growth and rediscovering my passions and talents. Engaging in activities that foster personal development has helped rebuild some self-esteem and has given me a sense of purpose.
To all of you who have read this far, remember, the trauma experienced by adult victims of cyberbullying extends far beyond the initial act. The constant attacks and constant "new claims" can deepen emotional wounds and hinder healing. However, with the right support systems and self-care strategies in place, victims can reclaim their self-worth and rebuild their lives. It is essential for society to understand the profound impact of cyberbullying and actively work towards creating a culture of empathy, support, and kindness both online and offline.