On success, trolls, anxiety and me

A lot of the time I live under a rock, but sometimes, I venture online and find myself witness to some of the not so pleasant interactions which happen in the online world. There have been a few twitter ‘misunderstandings’, some out-and-out nastiness on facebook groups over differing opinions and then there are the comments which people receive. On their blogs. Their own space. Being ridiculed, called names, pulled to pieces. Not because the person commenting disagrees; I honestly do not think there is really many bloggers out there who can’t handle hearing somebody else’s opinion, as long as it’s shared respectfully, but because someone out there is bored and nasty.

Life would be completely dull if we were all the same, if we all thought the same thoughts, held the same views on absolutely everything and felt passionate about what every other person on the planet got fired up about.

I rarely wade into the word flinging I see between people through social media – mostly, I come to the ‘party’ too late and am playing catch ups, trying to figure out why there are hurt feelings and unkind words filling my feeds and personally, I have only ever had one hate-filled comment here. Which happened to be on a guest post, written by my mum about my birth. Through looking into it, we were able to discern it was in relation to my dad being mentioned in the post, due to my parents no longer being together by a mislead individual.

The posts about the negativity being flung at bloggers, whether it be in the comments of their posts, on an article written about them, on twitter or through facebook always seem to come just as I decide to work on growing the blog. And, seeing these amazing women being torn down for having a voice, for sharing a story, for making a stand or sharing an opinion makes me sick to my stomach.

While things are not directed at me, I start to feel a heavy anxiety which leads to me having to pull back from the blog and take a break from social media. I start to get weighed down with the disappointment of seeing people, who are obviously talented and well loved, being treated so badly – and most likely because of that proficiency and popularity.

And then I decide not to put any more energy into creating a bigger community here.

I don’t have that thick skin, the ability to let hurtful comments roll off my back. Hell, I can’t even let hurtful comments about others go easily.

With the recent spate of nastiness, I have had an epiphany thanks to being more in touch with myself than I have been in forever and realised why it is that I take what happens to others in this cyber world to heart and why it is that it makes me fearful of going after success in this blogging world. Other than the obvious. Obviously.

You see, I have been here. A long time ago.

As a teenager, in high school, having returned to a school I once left and needing to make new friends, I found myself surrounded by ‘friends’ who weren’t exactly who they seemed. I was only just online, back in the day when email was amaze and you could dot people on dot.com. Or something.

Things got bad as those I had aligned myself with started to prey on me. Prank calls, following me and then telling me everything I had been doing, nasty emails followed by detailed death threats. Very vivid, detailed threats. Involving hot pokers, coal and my insides.

Back then, there was ‘nothing to be done’ about the messages, as they were not directly addressed to me ie; my name and address did not appear on them as they would on an envelope which was mailed. It didn’t matter that they were sent to my email address, that was not proof of anything.

People I turned to thought it was no big deal, what was happening to me. There was little to no prerequisite. No past cases of online trolling, stalking or bullying in our community. There was yet to be heartbreaking tales of teens committing suicide after being ridiculed, taunted, teased and cyber bullied.

Those years of torment scarred me. Those years are why I suffer crippling anxiety when faced with crowds. Or people. Those years are why I can’t make friends. Trusting people is hard. Those years are why you probably think I am aloof, uninterested or rude. I locked myself away long enough to have no idea how to interact with people. Whether I like them or not. Or especially if I like them.

So, now, the thought of dealing with negativity directed at me via the internet shuts me down. I know I wouldn’t cope, just the thought leaves me feeling raw and vulnerable.

Again, I will probably step back and hide in the shadows, hoping to not be noticed while these strong women stand up and speak out, even as they are treated in such a horrible way. I feel weak amongst them.Weak and unworthy.

What I can say, is thank goodness there are posts. Thank goodness this is being spoken about. Thank goodness bloggers have the heart to group together, support and stand up for each other. I know that bullying is not only directed at bloggers and that it happens daily in all kinds of areas, being in the blogging business means we are in a position to speak up, because that’s what we do.

Also, these days – thank fully – there is something that can be done. Nothing is really anonymous. Every time you post, you leave information about yourself, even if you think you’re being as careful as possible.

There is no longer ‘nothing that can be done’.

Linking up with Jess for IBOT

 

P.S. It’s my 29th birthday today!! So old right now, hehe.

21 Comments

  1. wow, I feel blessed to have not experienced any of this, and I hope I don’t (cyber bullying and slander that is). I too suffer from depression, and don’t have a thick skin. Hope you are okay! Happy Birthday! xxx Rach

  2. i am so, so sorry that you were tormented in the way you were – it is heartbreaking, and horrible that people just wrote it off and insisted it was no big deal, when in fact it was a big deal, it was extremely hurtful and horrible and people ‘got away’ with it.
    Regardless, you are not unworthy. Or weak. You are incredibly courageous, and inspiring, and your voice is heard and is touching lives. You may see it, you may not always – but for every ‘hater’ there are a hundred (at least!) lovers.
    Happy Birthday xx

  3. The only reason I know there is nastyness around the blogosphere is because people say so. I’ve never actually seen it/read it.

    Becky, I’m sorry what you went through and I can see why you pull back from your blog, your community when you see the snarkyness coming out. I agree with Lyndal there’s more people that would try to stay out of the mess than put themselves in it.

  4. Happy Birthday!!

    I am sorry there as been so much nasty behaviour lately. I haven’t seen it yet myself but I have heard about it a lot. It’s terrible when we are doing something we enjoy and it’s ruin by a few thoughtless people. I love what you do. Rachel x

  5. There is nasty everywhere.

    Dealing with it seems to be a life long task.

  6. Yes. I am usually (thankfully) right there under the rock. I’m not really on twitter either, so miss all that side of it. But, I have seen some of the mainstream media and comments on blogging… and it sucks. I don’t understand why people just can’t take the attitude that if you don’t like something, just click away. The internet is full of weird and wonderful things, and things that hold no appeal to me, but if I’m not interested, I just don’t go there. I don’t understand why some people/ trolls have to tear everything down. Like you say, it makes me thankful for being a smaller blogger… at least I don’t need to worry about this, and blogging can truly be an enjoyable escape.

  7. Happy Birthday! 🙂

    I don’t see how anyone could bag your mums story. its her story not theirs! Obviously there was a more personal issue than a reader disagreeing on how your mother gave birth!

  8. First of all, happy birthday!
    Second, as I started reading this post I couldn’t help but think it sounds like me. I have only been blogging a few months, and am yet to come across any horrible comments, but I do get a little emotional about the attitude towards bloggers in general, and the comments I read on other blogs.
    I use blogging as a creative outlet, and to allow other mums (particularly single mums) to relate to someone. Things like this make me wonder if it is worth it. But absolutely it is. There is an amazing community out there, and the support is huge.
    Chrissie xx

  9. Happy Birthday to you!
    I don’t go into the games either, even if I do get to the party soon enough, I don’t see the point of contributing. Don’t feed the trolls.
    Fortunately I haven’t had any hurtful comments on my blog, seems I’m too boring to be noticed by them.

  10. Thankfully I live under a rock too. I knw someone had some dramas last week, but that was just a little bit of what i saw on facebook. Thankfully, no one has ever said anything bad to me, which is good, cause I’m not all that thick skinned either!

  11. Happy Birthday Becky!

    That is so sad you had to go through that in your school years, and understandable why it haunts you enought to need to pull back from social media at times.
    I too have stopped following some blogs and removed other reading content from my life due to trolls and general nastiness. I have virtually stopped reading Mamamia due to the nastiness on there which is a pity because the content is generally good. Luckily I have not experienced it on my blog but I am anewbie so time will tell.

    Enjoy your birthday and I hope your day is full of positive comments and you enjoy the rewards of positive bloggers!

  12. I feel your pain Becky. Too many of us know those events you talk of. And that’s what we need to do. Talk about them.
    Anxiety is a killer. I’ve lived with it for nearly 20 years. Sometimes I manage just fine.
    I do wish I could teach our children how to be oblivious to the hurt though.
    Lots of strength, faith and thoughts your way. x

  13. Happy birthday Becky! Just keep on doing what you’re doing. 🙂

  14. Firstly Happy birthday Becky.
    I hate bullying in any form , I was subject to bullies too and I pull back from the nastiness and trolls too. There is still loads of support in the blogging community it is just a but jaded at the moment.

  15. I’m sorry to hear you went through such a horrible time of bullying. I hope you can find strength in time two that the past no longer has power over you, liberating you to do what you really, passionately want to. It’s not easy to move past fear, but I think the possiblilities make it worth the effort….in time. May this last year of your 20s launch you forward into amazing things to come! Happy birthday! And 29 is not old. I wish I could be starting my 30s again sometimes. I’d do some things quite differently. But then it’s never too late. It’s only too late if one stops trying! 🙂

  16. There is a lot of love in the comments I read Becky. I hope that as your birthday concludes…you can take heart from the kindness, and the empathy and the love expressed to you. I do wish you well. I really do. You have a very old friend in me…I “am” very old.. 62!
    From #TeamIbot Denyse

  17. you have such a beautiful heart. be kind to yourself too.
    Happy birthday for yesterday. Karlee

  18. So sorry to hear that you’ve experienced such nastiness and bullying. I too don’t have a thick skin and when I was subjected to something similar, I had to step right back. I ended up being off-line for about 2 months. Needed every moment of it.
    But I came out of it and realised that, for all the crap I went through, there’s a lot of love and support out there too.
    I hope you find your peace. And best wishes for a beautiful birthday, Becky x

  19. I experienced intense bullying and hate when I first came to twitter merely because I tweeted a ‘well known’ reality tv person in the US. I went into shock and meltdown. I hadn’t hurt anyone so why was this happening. People get courage hiding behind a computer like they do from downing too much alcohol. Cowards who would never face you in real life.
    I’m sorry you also experienced the dark side of the social verse. It hurts, it keeps you awake at night and consumes you. Why? Because you are the opposite to them. Thoughtful, caring and emotional so it’s hard to get your head around what they have done to you.
    I hope you never have it happen again.

  20. Sorry to hear of your terrible experiences. Sometimes I wonder if people realise how much long term hurt their words or actions cause. Online or not, I’m starting to realise that people can only have as much power over us as we let them. Not engaging is a good tactic. Hope you don’t withdraw too much – we’d miss you! xx

  21. Becky,
    I’m so sorry that you had to go through that and for the way that it has scarred you. It is definitely essential that this is spoken about, so that people can know they are not alone. Thank you for sharing this so selflessly and honestly.
    Ronnie xo

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