How "Be the bigger person" is a tool to silence and shame

Dec 2006
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Anyone ever been told to "be the bigger person" after being victimized by bullies? Or a parent?

How often does it work?

I was told to "be the bigger person" a lot in school. It never stopped the bullies from picking on me. It only told them that they could do whatever they wanted to me and I wouldn't fight back. It wasn't until I stopped being the bigger person and fought back a few times (never winning, but also never losing) that they finally left me alone.

My mom physically and emotionally abused me growing up, and continued gaslighting me well into adulthood. I was told to "be the bigger person" because she's my mom and I should be grateful for her raising me. It wasn't until I told her have fun dying alone and completely cut off contact with her and blocked her number for six months that her behavior began to change. That may sound cruel to some of you, but we have a much better and more healthy relationship now.

In my experience, when people tell you to "be the bigger person" it's because they just want you to be quiet and take whatever abuse is being dished out to you. It's almost always used against minorities to avoid upsetting the status quo.

What do you think?

I don't want to be the bigger person. I've been the bigger person my entire fucking life and it's done jack shit for me. Wanna know what actually fucking helped me? Standing up for myself and holding people accountable for their actions. Cutting contact with toxic people if I could instead of keeping up a bond for appearances. Abuse victims know this, which is why "be the bigger person" is such a simplistic bullshit piece of advice to give. I'm not gonna tell you to be confrontational if you're in a rocky situation, but letting someone get away time and time again with bullshit isn't gonna help you heal yourself.

https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbyborderlines/comments/7t6eo0
I truly believe that someone saying, “You need to be the bigger person!” basically boils down to a way that people try to silence victims by using shaming while simultaneously making victims feel they should not be angry at the person who is attempting to shut them down with this phrase. And in many cases, the person saying it also is trying to convince the victim to tolerate the abuse. It’s a lot packed into one phrase, isn’t it?

 
Jan 2015
57,260
17,680
Great State of Texas
I don't know anyone who uses those kinds of antiquated terms anymore.

This 2020, not the 1980's.

There are laws against bullying in school these days.
 
May 2016
3,369
4,472
Florida
I don't know anyone who uses those kinds of antiquated terms anymore.

This 2020, not the 1980's.

There are laws against bullying in school these days.
Well, how about "two wrongs don't make it right"? That phrase is used often here and it basically means the same thing the OP is trying to portray.
 
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Jan 2014
19,592
5,876
California
Anyone ever been told to "be the bigger person" after being victimized by bullies? Or a parent?

How often does it work?

I was told to "be the bigger person" a lot in school. It never stopped the bullies from picking on me. It only told them that they could do whatever they wanted to me and I wouldn't fight back. It wasn't until I stopped being the bigger person and fought back a few times (never winning, but also never losing) that they finally left me alone.

My mom physically and emotionally abused me growing up, and continued gaslighting me well into adulthood. I was told to "be the bigger person" because she's my mom and I should be grateful for her raising me. It wasn't until I told her have fun dying alone and completely cut off contact with her and blocked her number for six months that her behavior began to change. That may sound cruel to some of you, but we have a much better and more healthy relationship now.

In my experience, when people tell you to "be the bigger person" it's because they just want you to be quiet and take whatever abuse is being dished out to you. It's almost always used against minorities to avoid upsetting the status quo.

What do you think?





Coyote,

I'd say get over it. Life is too short to obsess over the past.
 

Rev. Hellh0und

Former Staff
Jul 2011
74,016
15,300
Somewhere below 14th and East.
Anyone ever been told to "be the bigger person" after being victimized by bullies? Or a parent?

How often does it work?

I was told to "be the bigger person" a lot in school. It never stopped the bullies from picking on me. It only told them that they could do whatever they wanted to me and I wouldn't fight back. It wasn't until I stopped being the bigger person and fought back a few times (never winning, but also never losing) that they finally left me alone.

My mom physically and emotionally abused me growing up, and continued gaslighting me well into adulthood. I was told to "be the bigger person" because she's my mom and I should be grateful for her raising me. It wasn't until I told her have fun dying alone and completely cut off contact with her and blocked her number for six months that her behavior began to change. That may sound cruel to some of you, but we have a much better and more healthy relationship now.

In my experience, when people tell you to "be the bigger person" it's because they just want you to be quiet and take whatever abuse is being dished out to you. It's almost always used against minorities to avoid upsetting the status quo.

What do you think?








I agree with you. I've often been asked to be a bigger person to some of the bigger assholes here. That just encourages them!
 
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Reactions: Ian Jeffrey
Nov 2013
12,251
12,643
NY
Anyone ever been told to "be the bigger person" after being victimized by bullies? Or a parent?

How often does it work?

I was told to "be the bigger person" a lot in school. It never stopped the bullies from picking on me. It only told them that they could do whatever they wanted to me and I wouldn't fight back. It wasn't until I stopped being the bigger person and fought back a few times (never winning, but also never losing) that they finally left me alone.

My mom physically and emotionally abused me growing up, and continued gaslighting me well into adulthood. I was told to "be the bigger person" because she's my mom and I should be grateful for her raising me. It wasn't until I told her have fun dying alone and completely cut off contact with her and blocked her number for six months that her behavior began to change. That may sound cruel to some of you, but we have a much better and more healthy relationship now.

In my experience, when people tell you to "be the bigger person" it's because they just want you to be quiet and take whatever abuse is being dished out to you. It's almost always used against minorities to avoid upsetting the status quo.

What do you think?
Hmmm.. i have never - and don't now - look at "being the bigger person" as a win for bullies, or a way to silence victims.

Taking the high road, and not commenting each and every silly thing, or to always fight back on small topics, that's how i look at it.
look at all the back and forth battles of one liners here at PH, in oh so many threads, between 2 individuals only,going on for pages and pages.. we have our master of these troll distractions who just wouldn't shut up EVER.. and I for one do not engage in these petty battles, after 2, 3 exchanges, i take the high road, let him have the last stupid word, i have saved myself a good amount of time otherwise wasted.

Being the better person to me means not to argue just for the sake of an argument. It does not mean to let yourself being bullied, or to keep quiet in family affairs, or to let "matriarch" ranks define your destiny.
 
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