Halte doch die andere Wange hin

Schlagwörter: Bullying – emotionale Gewalt – physische Gewalt – richtige Reaktionen

Haben wir diesen fantastischen Ratschlag nicht alle schon einmal gehört? „Wenn du die Leute ignorierst, die dich fertig machen, dann werden sie schon aufhören dich zu ärgern.“ Es würde sie nur „anstacheln“, wenn man auf ihre Beleidigungen eine Reaktion zeigt.

(Falls ihr auf den Link klickt: es werden keine verlässlichen Trigger-Warnungen gesetzt. Also auf der Hut sein (RW=Redewendung) vor Erzählungen von sexualisierter und emotionaler Gewalt.)

Die wunderbaren Kommentator*innen auf Captain Awkward hatten zu solcherlei Aussagen unter einem kürzlichen Artikel viel zu sagen. Da ich die Gedanken sehr lesenswert fand, zitiere ich hier ein Gespräch, das in den Kommentaren entstand.


“If you didn’t react then I/he/she wouldn’t do it” is stupid even if it’s true. And it probably isn’t, they’d just up the ante until you did react, and then use that same excuse. I mean, there’s room for teasing in the world, since it’s a bonding mechanism and teaches us about social norms, but if it makes you cry it is by definition not teasing.


Actually, it’s interesting that I never thought of this before: “If you didn’t react it wouldn’t happen”, besides being untrue, is INCREDIBLY disingenuous coming from the mouth of an abuser. Because its result is that the victim becomes smaller, quieter and more passive–a more perfect victim! It’s not only conditioning you to blame yourself for your abuse; it’s conditioning you to make you easier to abuse.

Not-reacting is a good way to stay safe in the presence of an abuser. But as a long-term tactic to not be abused anymore, it’s pretty full of shit. Which is why abusers recommend it.


Wow, that rings so true. And I think a lot of abused people really internalize that and take it to heart, which is sad. I know my mother (who was abused and is abusive) has told me before that I got bullied by my sister and by other people as a kid because they wanted to get a rise out of me and I gave into them by crying or getting angry, so I should ignore them or just give in. It’s so crappy and it’s so terrible that we teach people to just ignore or not react when reacting is reasonable.


I got told ALL THE TIME when I was a kid that bullies just wanted a rise out of me. It turned me into a quiet, anxious, insecure needmonster who was terrified to show anything. I loved theatre but couldn’t act, because I couldn’t emote with my face for an hour out of a day, when the other 23 were dedicated to “not giving them what they want”. Over the past year I’ve had to watch videotapes of myself and relearn how to communicate with my face.

Meanwhile the idea of confronting the bullies, demanding that an authority figure help, or seeking out support from other people was off the table. I was told that if I stopped reacting, they’d go away.

They went away a) when I started talking back, b) when my brother threatened him with physical violence, and c) when I said to my parents, “I hate this school. I am moving to this other school in a city 50k from here. You are helping me.”


Yes I was told this too! […] And it is such terrible advice. “Don’t let them see that it bothers you.” So you try to hide it but it is pretty obvious it does, and that just makes it more fun for them. And more of a challenge for them to rise to. It actually escalates things. The variant of the advice that actually works is: “Honestly don’t be bothered by it.” But how is a 10-year-old kid supposed to do that with schoolyard bullies? And how is LW [letter writer] supposed to do that when the bullies are her family?

I could go on for a long time on this topic.


Yep! Not once in five years of school bullying did my carefully learned blank expression and lack of a reaction stop anyone from trying. They just tried harder or escalated it as much as they could. Only thing that stopped them was the day I finally did “react” by leaping on one and almost choking the poor boy while screaming at him… I got given a lot more space after that.

Not advocating violence, just pointing out the ridiculousness of the idea that “not reacting” is any kind of fix. All that did was force me to internalise everything. It either got released through self harm, or through eventual, horrible explosions of emotion and violence that made me hate myself.

Und noch ein verwandter toller Link dazu, inwiefern es „schlimm“ ist, wie ein Opfer von emotionaler oder physischer Gewalt zu klingen. [Englisch]