Thursday, December 20, 2012
I have been torn over the past few days about writing about this or not. It’s one of the reasons I chose to take a break from posting for a few weeks. But I finally decided that it’s important to me and so I am going to try to put into words what I have experienced quite a few times, and once again just this week
"Let There Be Peace on Earth"
Many of us have experienced these situations and they are very upsetting when they happen. We often don’t understand why and are baffled and shook up when we find ourselves having to deal with this issue. I’m talking about when we’re posting answers to questions on Facebook, offering up suggestions about what has worked for us in our battles with IC, and doing our very best to help someone by providing them with information from the ICA and so forth. Then, BAM! Out of the blue, you are the recipient of verbal attacks the likes of which is so out of proportion to anything that was said, it causes you such upset and feels like you’ve been kicked in the gut. Next thing, you are un-friended and Blocked on Facebook. I myself have been forced to Block others due to harassment simply for trying to help someone and next thing I know I am literally being threatened and harassed. This has happened to me several times and I am not alone in this experience, as friends of mine have messaged me about similar situations looking for answers as to what could have caused such nasty and vile attacks
I work very hard whenever I post or respond to someone about an IC issue. I work on my response in Word, edit, re-edit and try very hard to compose a thoughtful and helpful answer. I have frequently consulted with family and my Support Group Leader to insure that I am not writing anything that is offensive, condescending, unkind or worse, inaccurate. When situations like this have happened, I have shared these exchanges with others again to see if anything I said might have been misconstrued. I take this very seriously and would never intentionally want to hurt anyone, but I get that sometimes what we write can be misinterpreted. In all cases, I have been reassured that my comments were not in any way hurtful, unkind or rude.
I am not perfect, so I’ll allow that miscommunication and misunderstandings are possible when writing things in emails, Facebook, online etc. It is very easy to misunderstand meaning when something is written than when talking face to face. But the vitriol that I have experienced - as well as some of my friends -is so far beyond what is called for even if you allow that your comments might have been misunderstood
What provokes these nasty, harassing, vile and mean responses? How is it that people feel these types of responses are OK? I don’t understand this kind of behavior and I find it uncalled for. I believe people feel that they are freer to say things behind the “safety” of the internet and a computer screen than they would ever say face to face. I know most of us in the IC Community are on Facebook in an effort to find information, support, share experiences and treatments that have or have not worked for them and so on. It is supposed to be a place of coming together, not a place of harassment and personal attacks. Even if we disagree with someone about an issue, this should not be cause for nasty comments that end in blocking. Often arguments get started over issues of personal experience and when someone tries to explain an alternative approach or idea, people take offense because they misinterpret the opinion being expressed that is counter to theirs. We should be able to disagree, allow for adult polite conversation where different opinions and ideas are exchanged without things deteriorating into name calling, anger and having to block each other
If all the violence in this country has taught us anything, it’s that we need more tolerance everywhere. And if those of us suffering and struggling each and every day can’t even support each other without conversations degenerating into this type of mean spirited posting, then I am at a loss of how we are supposed to help each other let alone be a kind, productive member of society
So here’s a suggestion for 2013. Let’s all make a resolution to clean up our own act. As I said, I am not perfect, and I will work even harder to be thoughtful about what I write and how I answer questions and respond to posts. Let’s all do our best to stop this type of behavior and rise above it if we see it. Don’t allow yourself to be dragged into this type of nasty communication. We need to be a support system for each other, not tear each other down. If we can’t help fellow IC patients, than who can?
Here’s to a Peaceful New Year for us all!