As milspouses, we often throw around the word “drama” a lot. Okay, a-lot-a-lot. I think that one of the biggest issues in the military spouse community is not necessarily the drama that people call “telling it like it is,” it’s bullying.
Don’t believe me? Just take a spin around Google or Twitter or even Facebook. There are a number of sites dedicated to military spouses tearing down other military spouses. And no, I won’t link to those pages because I’d hate to give them the satisfaction of increasing their site traffic. If you haven’t seen them, just take my word for it. They exist.
The worst part? Those bullying sites are considered entertainment. Entertainment. How pathetic. The targets of those sites are real people with real lives and the comments and rumor mongering can leave a horrible, and sometimes, permanent mark on lives.
There’s a big difference between kindly correcting someone and the kind of verbal aggression we see online in comments and communities to “teach someone a lesson”.
Just look at the comments section on an article by a military spouse writer on Babble who chose to use the word “deployment” rather loosely. You would’ve thought she committed high-treason based on some of the reactions.
Military Spouse Bullying
There are so many things that some military spouses bully other military spouses over. As we discussed on Facebook, many of us have experienced military spouse bullying first hand. Here are just a few examples:
- They bully unmarried partners because they aren’t a milspouse yet and have no idea what it’s really all about
- Bullying milspouses by playing the “who had it worst” or “you don’t know what a real deployment is” or “my separation was longer than yours” game
- Judging milspouse life choices concerning career, education, homeschooling or staying at home
- Pulling rank or patronizing a spouse motivated by rank or the ever-present enlisted/officer divide
- Excluding military spouses from events or clubs, like in the 2013 case of Ashley Broadway and the Association of Bragg Officer’s Spouses.
Stop MilSpouse Bullying In Its Tracks
We don’t tolerate our children being bullies (or at least, we shouldn’t) so why is it any different as adults? We might think that adults are capable of handling themselves and it’s none of our business, but you don’t outgrow having your feelings hurt along with your Superman jammies.
One of the most powerful things you can do is to take a stand and have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to bullying. Don’t allow it happen around you or to you.
Don’t stand by and silently witness a milspouse tearing down another milspouse. And remember, just because that guy you met at the deployment ceremony is “just dating” his soldier doesn’t mean he can’t relate to you and just because that girl you met at a social event is going through a 2-month TDY while you are going through a 9-month deployment doesn’t mean she can’t miss her husband.
We are all equals in this crazy thing called loving someone who serves their country.
We need each other. We need all strength, support and understanding we can get regardless of our life’s journey. Remember, after all, we are #OneForce.
Have you witnessed milspouse bullying? How do you think we can best address this problem? Share your thoughts with us.