Over the last couple of years, since this all began to take root and take on a life of it’s own, I’ve had to utilize certain defense mechanisms. Tighten up my world, my inner circle of friends and acquaintances, to keep my sanity and some semblance of peace.
Circle the wagons against attack and spies, basically.
And as easy as that may sound, in this day of social media and other online opportunities, it can be a pretty daunting task. It takes a lot of thought and planning, consideration and introspection, to know just who that will include. And from where.
You don’t realize how available you are for public consumption until it makes itself glaringly obvious…for all of the wrong reasons.
Early on, my social media use became a bone of contention in my newly budding divorce proceedings. I was drawing too much attention to myself, and our personal business, by explaining exactly what was going on to those closest relations/friends to us while asking for some personal space. Trying to be honest and considerate, asking for some privacy temporarily by unfriending many of them, lead to more conflict in my divorce.
Following that ugly exchange, and a few more later on, seemed like a good time to cut some people loose. For good.
But cutting loose isn’t easy, and it’s not always the end.
“Unfriending” doesn’t build a protective wall around your personal space, shielding you from unwelcome eyes, instead it only puts up a fence. A wire fence that you can still see through anytime you wish, if only with an obstructed view. Look but don’t touch, or contact directly. It’s an invisible boundary, a suggestion to stay out of your business, that’s all. But unguarded boundaries can be ignored and crossed without much notice.
I know that all too well.
So, in the end, it lead to “blocking” the same people, which seemed extreme to me at the start. I wrestled with the idea for awhile, feeling guilty and oversensitive for even considering it. But the proof that it was the right thing for me to do became incredibly clear once I realized that my soon-to-be ex was being spoon-fed information about me from what I posted or wrote.
Information that he wouldn’t otherwise have, or even realize was out there, without help from friends and family, that were obviously trolling my social media. You see, he isn’t on any of the social media platforms, with the exception of one that has nothing to do with Farmville. But that doesn’t matter if you have enough connections that are, who will troll it for you in the name of protection and support.
To say that I felt cornered, vulnerable and exposed, is an understatement.
To know that I would have to examine, analyze and possibly edit everything that I wrote or posted, for the foreseeable future, seemed like a prison sentence for a crime that I didn’t commit. A situation that I didn’t create in the first place.
It was beyond frustrating.
Frustrating to know that there were actually people out there that believed it was their place, their duty, to stalk me and anything that I had written or posted to report back to my ex. Some of them are not even friends of mine, have no real connection to me, but are able to peek into my world through a common thread somewhere in the universe.
The ‘six degrees of Kevin Bacon’ proven once more.
I still question what benefit these people believe they are providing. How would my posting a meme with goats help him gain anything in our settlement? Or insult or threaten him?
He once accused me of plotting his death, based upon a story that I shared on a platform (that he doesn’t use) that I didn’t even write. Because, you know, if I was going to plot someone’s murder I would definitely post it on Facebook first.
It didn’t stop with Facebook. It included Twitter and Instagram, Pinterest and Tumbler. Yes, even Pinterest, because I was pinning self-help articles relating to divorce and depression that would give them an invitation to look into my unstable inner psyche and report back on it.
Unfriending and blocking some people that were close to me, some that were originally my friends even before I was married, but may have a thread of connection that could possibly lead back to him, was painful but such a relief. Leaving only those that didn’t share any connection to my ex, or possibly to his soon-to-be new wife, in any way that I could imagine was the only way that I felt protected. Safe.
Paranoid? You bet.
And still, that was not enough. Our lives can intersect in ways that we don’t even think of, for reasons that we don’t even realize. I had to go to LinkedIn and cut the weeds, too.
To see someone pop up as a “suggested connection” because they know or work with your ex, or his new wife, is like opening up a fun-house door filled with clowns or reliving a nightmare that you can’t escape. I don’t post my blog on LinkedIn, but it still made me feel exposed, susceptible to more scrutiny and judgement.
Do I miss some of those people? Yes, a few. Some had a very special place in my heart, added some interest to my life. Many were in my life for more than half of my life.
Do I regret my decision of who I chose to block? Nope.
A lesson that I have been learning, repeatedly it seems, is to do what is right for me. What feels right for me, not what other people think is right or feel that I should do. If I don’t protect myself, if I don’t put my needs or feelings first, nobody else will. And that lesson works in all facets of life.
Wear your seatbelt, look both ways before you cross the street, get off the field when the lightening siren sounds. Safety practices that we all know, and most of us use. The idea behind them is to make our personal world a safer place, to protect ourselves and others.
And now we can add ‘police your online presence’. I’m building an iron wall around mine with a secret password.
3 thoughts on “Blocked out”
The first thing I did within a month of being served was to block his entire family and people I had met through him on Facebook and created a second account using a brand new e e-mail address. I blocked all those very same people on this new account so they wouldn’t find me, as well as him. I then told my family and my closest friends that I was going to unfriend them and send a request from the new account. I also created a third account under a fake name so I could join support groups through this 3rd account. I have not deleted my original account because my attorney has asked me not to do so quite yet. I am also using it to find who the flying monkeys are so I can block them on both accounts and unfriend them in the old one. It’s a process that is taking me almost 2 years now. But it is worth it, like you said.
By the way, I post little to nothing on Facebook. And usually, it is something trivial, like a picture of a flower or a new product from work or the pile of snow after clearing my driveway. Nothing personal. No politics. No ideologies. Nothing. And I’m okay with it, for now.
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All the advice generally seems to be to stay off social media for a while or as you say set up another account.
All this is so hard isn’t it? Hope things get better for you soon,
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I had the same problem. Towards the end of the marriage, he had at least one person that would send him information about my posts and blog. He would get mad about things that had nothing to do with him like saying how much I loved my kids. He had asked me to not mention him online so I stopped. When I did that though, I was accused of not wanting to say I loved him or something strange like that. He was mad a me for talking about me and my issues. I eventually unfriended and blocked a lot of people. I have refriended my ex-MIL. It isn’t her fault and she was not happy with his behavior either. She was NOT happy that he left me.