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Modern Problems: Attacking People for Their Emotions

Updated on May 2, 2020
Kyler J Falk profile image

Social issues can only be remedied by a collective acceptance of those opinions we view as opposing our own.


When I was a child we spent a lot of our time being reprimanded for many different reasons, but rarely for bullying people. Granted, many of us didn't understand we were being bullied, but that is because bullying is being refined at the societal level. Performative cruelty is the best way to define this sort of bullying, and it boils down to attacking people for their emotions.

People have refined the art of getting a rise out of others, then attacking them further for letting them get the rise they sought!

Your emotions will be used against you like weapons, make sure you have a thick and sturdy shield.

— Kyler J Falk

Symptoms of the Digital Age

In the digital age we have begun to see performative cruelty refined to a point where it is causing social breakdown on a societal level. With the introduction of social media like MySpace and Facebook, cyber-bullying quickly rushed to the forefront of the list for social justice and so did people get the opportunity to gang-bully others. Thus an age old concept blared at the head of these heinous actions, allowing commoners and kings alike to use performative cruelty as a tool for crushing others.

Performative cruelty, most often used by those who spend most of their time browsing internet forums and social media, is the act of bullying someone in such a manner that seeks to create a crowd to laud you for it. Essentially, you play on someone's emotions and once they become emotional you attack them for doing so, and because of societal standard you can get away with calling them weak and dismissing your bullying as humorous jesting. It is sick, it is twisted, and unlucky for society it is widely accepted as the norm.


Sadistic Tendencies

Now for those of you who disagree with the idea of performative cruelty being a new social norm, I'll be blunt with you and say that you are most likely part of the problem. The most common argument I get for supporting performative cruelty is that, "you need to toughen up, get thicker skin," and I wholly agree with that sentiment as it concerns minor occurrences on an infrequent basis. However, being a realist, anyone who is bullied tends to suffer long-term negative effects and that argument used in this case proves your sadistic tendencies, and/or your ignorance.

Let us say that we could all just, "toughen up," or even walk away from the performative cruelty online, well that would be giving into the performative cruelty and tacitly supporting it. Repression is damaging not only to the self, but to everyone around an individual; if that is what you desire then you have further proven your sadistic tendencies. My question for you is why you would even want to hurt other people and why it brings you pleasure at all?

Sadistic tendencies are very common in abuse victims, especially those who were bullied for much of their life or witnessed and experienced some form of emotional and/or physical abuse. We all have sadistic tendencies, but it's those individuals that are traumatized by repression who tend to project their sadism onto the world around them. Perhaps less callousness, and more acceptance of emotion are the solutions to sadistic tendencies for the majority?

I'd say compassion and kindness, less bullying using performative cruelty, is the exact answer to our problems.

Have you ever been verbally or physically abused for having emotions?

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Acceptance and Understanding

We can sit here all day, like we have since the dawn of time, telling people to toughen up and pull themselves up by their boot straps. However, that is avoidance of underlying issues and equivalent to putting a band-aid on a gaping wound. You wouldn't treat a tumor with an off-the-shelf cold/flu pill; no, the tumor needs to be attacked at the source and excised.

Kindness, compassion, acceptance, and understanding are our medical tools necessary for removing the tumor of performative cruelty from society. I'm tired of living in a world where sadistic cruelty, stabbing people with blades made of words, can be covered up by calling the victim weak and masking your cruelty with humor. It is time we as a human race, we as a symbiotic organism on the same planet, come together for the good of the entire world.

Then again, as has been said so many times before, this has been going on since the dawn of time and revolutionaries only come about every once in a blue moon. In lieu of kindness, I'll gladly pick up my weapons and try to bring cruelty into submission through force.

You can be a part of the solution, or a contributor to the problem; the power of choice is in your hands, don't abuse it!


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    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      12 months ago from California

      I don't like the term cyberbullying because of its immediate connotations. I think cyberbullying invalidates the root causes of itself. My own hypothesis here, with the introduction of social media and unprecedented interconnectivity we have seen a drastic increase in bullying for the sake of attention. People who otherwise would stop a bully, say a kid who punches another kid in the face for no reason, tend to find performative cruelty an acceptable practice so long as the "bully" aligns with their own views.

      I wouldn't even begin to know how to find scientific studies from this perspective, other than calling it performative cruelty which only gets anecdotal focus as far as I know. Perhaps you'll have better luck than me finding something in this scope of thought.

    • Carolyn M Fields profile image

      Carolyn Fields 

      12 months ago from South Dakota, USA

      There are studies out there.

      Not specifically performative cruelty, but it does discuss the distress caused by cyberbullying.

      A very important topic that you've hit on.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      12 months ago from California

      Honestly the statistics I gave are totally unfair and based on my own manipulation of data, took it from my own article which references valid sources. I'm less frightened of the prevalence of social media as a constant, than the rate at which cuber-bullying is occurring and swept under the rug.

      I thought it was absolutely stupid at first when we started rolling out sensitivity courses to corporations, the kind that teach how not to offend people. However, as time progresses onward I see that we were actually ahead of the curve concerning the importance of online discourse.

      Performative cruelty, combined with expectations of stoicism is taking it's toll on society and many are studying this from the perspective of psychological diagnosis rates and underlying causes. Unfortunately these are anecdotal studies for college dissertations, and I'm unaware of any scientific studies on the matter.

      Truly a strange, increasingly interconnected world we live in.

    • Carolyn M Fields profile image

      Carolyn Fields 

      12 months ago from South Dakota, USA

      I find it frightening that our "digital" lives have somehow become more "real" and consequential than our flesh and blood, physical lives. I'm not disagreeing with you on that. In the USA and other developed countries, social media is a huge influence.

      There are currently 3.8 billion active social media users, out of a total world population of 7.8 billion. That's about 49% of the world's population. For the other half (51%), social media is a moot point. They are more concerned with survival issues - food, water, shelter, and safety. It all depends on your personal frame of reference.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      12 months ago from California

      @Jennifer: I absolutely agree, love and kindness from all and for all would go such a long way in solving a myriad of issues in society. It takes one person to uphold these sentiments at a time, and spread love and kindness to everyone they meet!

      Keep being awesome, and thanks for reading!

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      12 months ago from California

      I like that view, and I agree with you. Often I only engage deeper in comments so as to garner more controversy, or conversely to avoid people blatantly insulting others. Other times I use it as fuel for inspiration, and it works.

      However, I'd like to add in that more than 90% of people's lives are spent connected to the internet in some way, and 78% of them spend most of their time using social media. To say real-life is more important these days, that interactions online should be viewed as more inconsequential, well that seems to be more factitious than it is fact as far as actual circumstance goes.

      A complex topic that requires a lot of fair and impartial exploration and sensitivity from everyone. Can't let it fall by the wayside for our own comfort, because it poisons a lot of people's lives who have no one to lend an impartial ear.

    • Carolyn M Fields profile image

      Carolyn Fields 

      12 months ago from South Dakota, USA


      Interesting read. Not too long ago I wrote an opinion about something online and was verbally attacked in the comments. One comment said that I was being "nasty." I re-read what I had said, and concluded that I wasn't being nasty at all. It did disturb me briefly, however. It took me a moment to consider the source, realize that I knew absolutely nothing about the person making the comment, and taking the time to defend myself would take time I'd never get back.

      I'm not saying to brush it off and toughen up. What I am saying is that you can't get too engaged in online comments from people you don't know. I pay much more attention to my flesh and blood, face to face friends and acquaintances.

      Just another point of view.

    • Jpanaro982 profile image

      Jennifer Panaro 

      12 months ago from Eastchester

      Great article. I think it is the saddest thing when people are cruel to others and reprimand others for having emotions. I seen it happen more so happen now than ever. We need to focus on love and kindness and empathy. I could relate you your article in numerous ways. It provided a lot of great information. Nicely done!!

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      12 months ago from California

      Good to see you, Val, and a very important reiteration of sentiments.

      I tend to agree, however there are tasteful and tactful ways to present opinions and beliefs, then there are ways that justify bullying with humor. With all the available courses and material on how to approach issues with sensitivity and understanding we have no excuse for using aggressive approaches to sensitive topics.

      May we all move into the future with less performative cruelty.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Val Karas 

      12 months ago from Canada

      Kyler -- Cruelty is inhuman and unethical in any form. Sometimes it's intentional, sometimes it isn't. And when it isn't, those having committed it may feel sorry. Opinions often sound different between lips and in ears. Be well, my friend.


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