What is the difference between bullying, harassment, cyberbullying, stalking and retaliation? Not much actually. From a behavioral perspective, they are all part of the same behavioral continuum.
Whether we call it bullying or harassment; whether it takes place online or in person and whether the bully is stalking their victim or not doesn’t really make a difference. The effect on the victim is the same. The victim is almost always emotionally traumatized by the experience.
The different terms we use have everything to do with the different ways harassment manifests. If the harassment is happening between kids, we tend to call it bullying. If it is done online or electronically, it is cyber harassment or cyber bullying. If the harasser follows their victim around looking for opportunities to harass them, we call that stalking. If they are trying to socially isolate someone base on an arbitrary social markers, we call it discrimination.
From a behavioral science perspective though, it’s all just unwanted behavior. And unwanted behavior is eliminated using a protocol called “extinguishing a behavior.” That’s the good news. The bad news is that it’s really hard to do. Not going to lie to you about that.
What this means though, is that if you are trying to get any of the above behaviors to stop, it doesn’t matter what you call it. What you need to learn is the behavioral protocol “extinguishing a behavior.” This same protocol regardless can be used in a wide variety of situations. It’s flexible that way because it’s about how to stop behaviors. Not how to stop specific manifestations of a behavior. That’s why it’s so darned powerful and why it’s so important that you learn this technique!
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