Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Hiding Behind The Screen


Last week, I wrote a blog about emotional abuse.  It was pretty personal; I detailed some of my own experiences of emotional abuse in my last relationship.  To say that writing it was difficult is an understatement and it's fair to say that on some level, putting it out there into the public domain was a little scary.

The response was largely positive and supportive and for that I am incredibly grateful.  However, one comment sent chills down my spine when I read it.  That comment suggested that I'm incapable of caring for anyone but myself.  It said I have a "cold, tiny heart."  It told me that I was only considering my needs and feelings and I had no consideration for my poor ex.

Except...  Well, if you read the blog, you'll see that whilst in the relationship, I put my ex's needs and feelings ahead of my own time and time again, to the detriment of my own well being.  I believed him, supported him and was abused in return.  My "cold, tiny heart" belonged entirely to him, unconditionally and with all the support he could have asked for.

Still, my thoughts when I read the comment (after I had stopped feeling physically sick and shaking) weren't for wanting to defend myself - after all, I have done nothing that requires defence,  Instead, there was one question in my mind:  Why?

We're all humans, with differing views.  Anything we read, watch or listen to, we are able to form an opinion on.  That opinion may be coloured by our past experiences.  That in itself is fine.  I'm certainly the last person in the world who's going to sit here and write a blog in which I suggest that having an opinion is of itself a bad thing!  I'm also absolutely not going to suggest that expressing that opinion is of itself wrong.  To do so would not only be inaccurate, but stupid - I'm writing a blog!  I express opinions all the time!

However, there is a line that I don't believe should be crossed.  


If you've got an opinion, by all means share it.  But before you do, consider who you're sharing it with and consider how you're sharing it.

The Internet is an amazing thing, connecting people from all walks of life.  But the safety of sitting behind a screen can dehumanise communication at times.  Every now and then, someone seems so intent on expressing their opinion, that they don't take the same consideration for the person they're speaking to that they might normally.  Instead of saying "I disagree and this is why," as you'd hope they would in reality, a person online might simply bash out the words: "YOU ARE FUCKING WRONG!  I HOPE SOMEONE BEATS SOME SENSE INTO YOU!"

Would we do that in reality?  Or is it just that "talking" to someone from behind a screen gets rid of all those inconvenient social niceties that prevent most of us from being cruel or inappropriate?

Or is it that in this fast-moving world, we no longer have the time to sit and consider our reaction before we hit "send?"

Whatever the reason, it's my view that words are powerful.  We can use them as tools to educate, or as weapons to destroy.  After all, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can cut much deeper.

Having an opinion is our right.  Expressing that opinion is equally our right.  But before we furiously hammer the keys on our computer, putting our views out there in the most thoughtless way possible, perhaps we ought to remember that whilst we can't see the person on the other side of the screen, it doesn't mean they don't exist.  It doesn't mean that our words can't touch a nerve.

There is no sense in hiding behind a screen, firing off vitriol at a person we probably haven't even met (and more than likely never will), simply because we disagree with their views.  Jumping to insults is, after all, the quickest way to lose an argument.

Somewhere out there, sitting behind another screen, is a person reading your words.  Hiding behind a computer might make it very easy to metaphorically shoot that person down.  But it being easy doesn't make it right.

That's not to say that I don't approve of debate.  I love debate.  Discussion and debate is how we learn, how we move forwards and, done well, can actually be a healthy way to show respect for someone whose views we disagree with.  You're giving that person time to air their views and you're giving yourself a chance to respond.  That is brilliant and in no way am I suggesting that healthy debate should be discouraged.

But it's the all-too-frequent reliance of some people on negativity, insults and even threats that I feel needs to be stamped out.  If you disagree with someone over a trivial matter in "real life," would you respond by threatening to physically attack them?  If not (and I really hope the answer to that is a resounding "no"), why is it acceptable to respond that way online?

The answer is, simply, that it isn't.

So, be proud of your opinions and express them at will.  But remember that you're not just flinging random letters into the ether.  Debate, discuss and argue by all means.  But the second you resort to judgements, insults or threats, your point, however valid, is dismissed.  The argument - regardless of who is truly right or wrong - has been lost.

Let's not hide behind our screens, throwing hate out into the world.  Let's really read the words people are putting out there and respond with a little respect and maturity, whether we agree with them or not.












25 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more! I've dealt with a lot of "keyboard" warriors and every time it's so depressing.

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    1. I just don't *get* why people resort to nastiness so quickly! Quickest way to lose an argument, if you ask me!

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    4. There is a massive, MASSIVE difference between someone feeling bitter and in pain and verbalising that in words and someone saying "you have a tiny, shrivelled little heart and are incapable of empathy" because they disagree with someone's viewpoint. That's not a reaction borne out of pain entirely, it's a reaction partly due to not being - ironically - able to empathise and resorting to insults instead.

      I think some people lash out because they're in pain, but that doesn't ever make resorting to insults and nastiness acceptable. Ever. I suffer from depression to the point where I've felt suicidal. Do I send nasty comments to other people? No, because I don't want them to feel as hurt as I would, were I to receive them.

      Also, I didn't call anyone a loser. I said that using insults and aggression towards a person instead of having an adult discussion is the fastest way to lose an argument (which I stand by), but it's not the same thing as saying "you are a loser."

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  2. Girl you don't have to explain yourself to us! I read that comment and I feel for whoever wrote it. It sounds like they are hurting and feel bitter and are lashing out at you for no good reason. You are doing wonderful and I am so encouraged by your words and you sharing your story.

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    1. Thanks you - that means so much to me! :-) x

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    3. You the irony? You're telling me - and now my readers - that I needed to explain myself to you. Well, no. I didn't. But I did, because you made nasty accusations against me, all of which were false. But I didn't need to explain myself to you and I certainly didn't *have* to. Let's think about what we're owed for a second. Let's break this down to what happened:

      I wrote a blog about the mosy horrific experience of my life. You judged me for it, sympathised with my abuser and called me names. Yes, you apologised, rightly so and I accepted that apology. But let's just remember the facts of what happened. If you go around reading people's deeply personal articles on abuse and think it's alright to accuse them of making it up or lacking empathy, then I think frankly, it might be wise to keep those feelings to yourself and work on them. Because telling a survivor that she should show more compassion to the man who left her wanting to kill herself? Is sick.

      Going to end this comment now, because re-living this is getting triggery as hell.

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    5. You actually said "I will apologise for ONE thing." Not your entire comment. So whilst we're on the subject of words, let's not make out that you've even accepted that you were wrong to tell a survivor of abuse that they should show more compassion to their abuser, because NEVER have you apologised for that. And that IS disgusting. It IS sick and it IS a whole heap of other "not very nice words." I would never in a million years dream of telling you to show compassion to your abuser. EVER. Why? Because it's an appalling thing to do.

      My blog about trolling behaviour was about trolls in general, not simply all about you. And I stand by it, because resorting to nastiness instead of making a genuine contribution to a discussion is not a nice thing to do.

      If you read this blog in its entirity, you'll note that I said nothing unreasonable. I said it's wrong to rush in and make judgements on a person, which any reasonable person would agree it IS. I said that sending insults and nasty comments rather than contributing anything of worth is an unkind thing to do. Which it IS. But the whole post was NOT about you. It was about trolls. If you're calling yourself one, that's your terminology.

      And going back to your original comment, you told me that you'd read my post and thought it came across as selfish, heartless and lacking in compassion for my ex. Or to use the correct term: MY ABUSER. And I will say - for the last time, because I'm bored of it now - YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY THAT TO A SURVIVOR.

      Literally nobody else has read that original blog and thought I seem selfish. Nobody else has read it and said I show no care for my ex. Why? Because the blog SAYS how much I loved him. The blog just explains how he abused me, which you questioned and took his side over. If you needed an explanation... I suggest you speak to an expert and I hope they give you some comfort. because if your first reaction to a very personal blog in which someone outlines their experience of abuse is to take the side of the abuser and attack the victim personally, then there's some help and support needed. I hope you find it. And I hope you never, EVER speak to another victim the way you spoke to me.

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    6. And quite frankly, that's my last word on it, because I've got nothing to defend myself over.

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  3. AMEN!! Online trolls are the worst kind of people. I heard this quote that I LOVE! "Trolls have a terrible view from under their bridge. They hear you coming, and they hear you going...but can't do a damn thing to slow your roll!" (Dave Blanchard, a friend of a friend) ;)

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    1. Oh my goodness, that quote is AMAZING! :D

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  4. Great post! I really think that people feel safer on the computer and they feel they can spew venom that they would never say to a person's face. I am not sure why people are like that. Maybe they really think these things and they feel more comfortable saying them to a stranger they will never meet. Or maybe they are angry at something else and are taking it out on you. But don't let them get you down. Most of us on here support you completely.

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    2. Let's hope we never meet, then. Because I'll be polite on the internet, but if anyone ever thought it was acceptable to tell me I wasn't abused and I should show sympathy towards my abuser in reality, I wouldn't be.

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  5. I kept a journal of my abuse which has spanned over most of my life and 18 years of a marriage and after the marriage, because the abuse didn't stop when i finally had enough courage to leave.
    At the time writing it down at times seemed easy, because you are fueled with emotion and hurt and writing it down with tears spooling down your face, helped with the pain at the time, then it just got harder and harder.

    When i would open those journals and read about the abuse, what my husband did to me, or our children back then, i break down in tears, i would read a few paragraphs and that's all i could manage.
    I started to write a book a long time ago putting my journals that they were full of emotion straight into the pages, it was too hard, the pain, the suffering i went through our children went through, it was like i was there in that moment all over again.
    One of the reasons i also decided to become a Psychologist, to help others to help me deal with all the emotion and abuse.

    A person who has never suffered abuse, or rape or a violent act can never know what it is like to walk in the shoes of a person who has. The emotional scars you carry them for life.

    There are those who have been some sort of trauma in their lives, they bottle those feelings inside becoming more angry, angry at the world, angry at themselves, they project that anger onto others. Like the person who left you the comment, they are trying to hurt you.

    There are always going to be hurtful, acid tongue people in the world, they have their own set of issues and problems that are going on within their lives that make them the way they are. All any of us can do is not take on board their words of hurt, i know that is easier said than done, it has taken me a long time to do this and i don't always do it successfully either. One way don't engage with people like these, some are just waiting for you to fuel the fire looking for an argument.
    Some cant stop until they have the last word, they are called narcissists and you are never going to change their ways.

    Please feel free to visit our abuse website, there are articles and video's and the book fifty shades of grey is discussed in detail, highlighting the abuse in the book which, effects millions of women every single day.
    I am also a writer and i write articles on abuse which are published by the biggest magazines in the world.
    http://50-shades-of-abuse.com.au/

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    1. You're aware this post may have been inspired IN PART by your comment, but isn't wholely about you?! Yeesh.

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    3. I posted a picture of a troll on a blog about trolls. Yes, I mentioned your comment because (and this really IS the last time I'm replying to you, because frankly, you *are* trolling me, now):

      YOU QUESTIONED MY EXPERIENCE OF ABUSE, TOLD ME I WAS INCAPABLE OF EMPATHY AND SAID I SHOULD SHOW MORE COMPASSION TO THE MAN WHO ABUSED ME AND LEFT ME SUICIDAL.

      If you seriously, genuinely can't see why that was a disgusting thing to do (and don't make out you apologised for the whole thing, because you just said you were sorry for saying I had no heart), then wow. words fail me. I hope nobody ever invalidates YOUR experience of abuse like that, because it's a vile thing to do.

      Goodbye and good luck getting the support you need. I hope you find it and I hope one day you realise just how hurtful what you wrote originally is.

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  8. If you have a lot of writing tasks and lack of time. Don't hesitate to ask top-essay-uk.com.

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