Dealing with attacks from family members on social media

Dealing with attacks from family members on social media

If you have experienced childhood trauma (or some may say a difficult upbringing), dealing with family members around the “what happened or didn’t happen” or “he/she is not like that” arguments is a common struggle. It is also likely that you were/are not supported by siblings or aunt/uncles or cousins as they are either in denial or see things differently and obviously did not have the same experience you. Managing these conflicting beliefs and stories can be difficult, especially in the age of social media where is seems easier for people to bombard you with their views and perceptions on your personal experiences.

For some reason a lot of people are quick to say things like, “well that wasn’t abuse” or “it wasn’t that bad” or “that’s not what really happened” or even, “well, you were a difficult child” or some other victim blaming statement. I could go on and on. This is just a continuation of the invalidation and lack of support that you received growing up. The abuse culture just continues.

It’s hard enough navigating these problem at holiday gathering (if you still go to them), but I’ve noticed a rise in conflicts in the age of social media.

The availability of new ways to communicate behind a screen often allows people to say things they might not say face to face giving rise to some of these problems,. Another reasons is because if you are sharing blogs/articles or memes or just saying things on social media that you believe in/support/don’t support you are sharing your views on things, that these family members, likely do not agree with. Basically just sharing almost anything, could spark a conflict.

What do you do if a family member attacks you on social media?

Well, there are a lot of options here. If they comment in a public way for others to see I would recommend deleting the comment and blocking them so that it does not cause a war, because you will likely get a war because people will jump in with their two cents. Even if people want to support you and you may want that, it’s probably better to seek their support privately because this will just pour salt on wounds and make the situation worse.

Worried about backlash of blocking family members?

This is when it gets a little tricky and will really depend on what kind of relationship you want to have with someone. If a family member is saying, I’m not going to talk to you anymore because you blocked so-and-so then I would question the value that person brings to your life. If they say something like “it’s too bad you and so and so can’t get along” then I would validate this person and say, “yea it is too bad, but I hope you can honor my decision to do what is best for me.” If they’re worth having around, they’ll honor your decision, even if it makes life more difficult for them and they can explore their own feelings about it.

Should I respond to a private message?

Again, up to you. You can not respond and block, or you can respond in a nice way. I wouldn’t recommend telling them off. Just remember what you say can be shown to others things can be screenshot and used against you. So I wouldn’t say anything you wouldn’t want this person sharing with others. (I know it’s sad to think about this but necessary). So if they send you a PM invalidating your feelings or whatnot and you want to try to keep things civil I would recommend something like, “I appreciate your concern about my perception/my feelings on things but this is where I am at in my process and this is my experience and I am entitled to my feelings. So thank you for your concern, but it will not be changing my feelings/my opinion on the matter.” Or something like that in your own words. First share that you heard the other person, then stand your ground. If they get all upset, they can always block you too. Or you can even tell the person: I really don’t appreciate you continuing to bring this up, if we can’t move on to another topic I will block you. And then follow through – if they bring it up again, then go ahead and block the person.

Depending on how you approach any situation will be dependent on the relationship you want with the person but the important aspects are to 1. Be nice and 2. Be firm with your boundary.

OK, I followed through and now I’m exhausted

Dealing with issues like these are likely triggering because it’s opening up old wounds and they can affect you differently depending on where you are in your healing journey. It is important to honor your triggers and reactions and validate yourself and your feelings in the process. See support from those that validate and support you and be kind to yourself as you recover from an event. Telling yourself to suck it up, is no better than the invalidating and attacking family member that you just had to deal with.

If you googled this and found this article, I’m sorry you are struggling and hope you found value in this article. I invite you to comment below if desired.

Heal old hurts to build close friendships

Heal old hurts to build close friendships

I had a difficult morning this morning. Business stress. Nothing major but I felt like I was punched in the gut. My motivation and zest were stripped out from under me. Honestly, it doesn’t take an earthquake to rattle me. I get rattled pretty easily, but then again I think others are the same way too.

Luckily I had a lunch run planned! I’ve honestly never done a lunch run before. Mainly because I do not have a shower at my office and well, I don’t think my clients would appreciate seeing me after a run ;) But today since I had a packed morning scheduled, I didn’t need to go back to the office but could instead, go home shower and get on the laptop!

Anyways, back to feeling crappy. I felt pretty crappy and therefore was not productive in the morning in between sessions (as I said when I’m rattled I sulk). I knew my run would help me to reset though so I was looking forward to seeing how that would help.

What I want to talk to you about today though, isn’t my crappy morning, but rather the magical thing that happened on my lunch run and it has to do with trusting.

Some people like running because they like running, but I like running because of the relationships that are developed in the woods.

As I was running with my friend (well I think we were walking up a hill at this point) he asked me a personal question that is a harmless question, but since it’s an area I struggle with (unbeknownst to him) it wasn’t something I could answer easily. I quickly assessed the situation and tried to figure out how to answer this question as he was expecting a sort of answer that I couldn’t really give due to my struggle. I decided to just be honest. Not go into crazy detail or spill all my problems, but just share that my advice/perception/experience in that matter is difficult to give because of the particular struggle that I have.

It was a bit scary to share because there are of course fears about where that information goes once it leaves my mouth, but I decided to move past my insecurity and take a risk and trust in my friend.

Not to my surprise my vulnerability in this matter allowed him to also be vulnerable as well and I was able to be the supportive friend that I enjoy being and believe that we both benefited from the conversation because we were able to just be open an honest without any fear of judgement.

Why am I sharing this story with you? Good question.

I’m sharing this story, because if we want to connect on a deeper level with others, we must be vulnerable. If we want others to open up to us, we must be vulnerable. In order to be vulnerable we must face our insecurities and our fears about ourselves. We must takes risks and trust in others.

Of course I know it’s easier said than done. If you have had betrayals happen to you, then it makes it even harder to trust others and makes you put a wall up around you to protect yourself from ever being vulnerable. If you’ve constantly had negative interpersonal relationships throughout your life, starting with your family, then it’s even harder to do this. I feel for my clients because of these experiences that they’ve had, they are missing out on these wonderful connections that they could be having with others, and those connections, for me at least, are essential in a life worth living. I want everyone to be able to have these connections in life, but understand that old hurts must be healed to create a foundation for these friendships to build.

My clients sometimes feel that the hurt is too great, that they will forever not trust others, that they will forever wear armor to protect their insecurities. It’s easier to just write off connection rather than get hurt again, right?

This is one of the many reasons why I find it so important to heal from old hurts. These old hurts can take away some of the most beautiful moments of our life. You might not think that my run today with my friend held a beautiful moment, and that’s fine, our values might be a bit different, or maybe the concept is so foreign to you because it has never happened and can’t possibly imagine how awesome those moments really are. Either way, I believe that everyone has the capacity to heal, so that they can learn to trust others and connect with others in a way that feels safe and meaningful. Because in the end, when we can truly just be ourselves, without a shield, and have someone else just accept that, without judgement, is what true friendship is all about.

How to Love again after a difficult break-up

How to Love again after a difficult break-up

So you’ve finally ended the unhealthy relationship you’ve been in and gone through all the ups and downs. You’re broken up or divorced and ready to move on with your life and be happy again.

Congratulations! The hard work is over! Or wait, is it?

You might be finding that you’re ready to move forward, but you’re struggling with letting someone in.

Or you’ve found a great person, but can’t get too close because what if he/she hurts you again.

Will you just be used again?

Will this person actually LOVE me? for ME? Why would anyone do that?

What if this doesn’t work out. Can I handle this ALL over again?

Why can’t I allow myself to just be happy?

OK, I think you get the point. If any of this resonates, keep reading!

Break-ups and divorces are traumatic. Deep hurts have occurred and it likely wasn’t a single event trauma, but ongoing trauma that happens over MONTHS and YEARS. As the relationship resolved you may have been cheated on, lied to, felt not good enough over and over and over again and you come out of the experience like you’ve been hit by a truck, run down, deflated, and defeated. It’s a lot to pick yourself back up again.

So the fact that you’ve entered the dating world again or are considering and ready to do so, first give yourself some credit!

OK now that you’ve given yourself some credit here are two useful tools that you an put in your tool kit so you can being your journey toward love and healthy relationships!

First of all, validate the protector within you.

There is a damn good reason why you aren’t accepting compliments, aren’t feeling good enough, feeling emotionally cut off, distant and fearful. Part of you is saying “We aren’t gonna let this SHIT happen again! NO WAY!” That part of you is feeling a bit sick of feeling like crap so it’s doing its job.

Lets pull out that compassion piece and instead of beating yourself up for feeling like this or behaving a certain way, lets say….

OH hey, I see you protector, you’re just doing your job!!! Thanks for doing you’re job, you have gotten me through so much, but you know what, I got this, I can handle this shit. I don’t want to get hurt again either, but guess what if I do get hurt again I can handle it!

Protector: But can you handle it??? SHE/HE can’t handle it ::points to small child balled up in the corner::

OH Look! who is hurting? Another part of myself…. a younger part of myself… what’s going on with him or her!?

At this point generalizing in a blog post gets a little difficult, so try and stick with me here, but the child is hurting, and if you’re reading it you may know why, you may not, therapy can help – either way we can still move forward.

We have a deeper reason as to why you have a protector… there is a part of yourself that needs love, support and guidance. Respond internally as you would a small child. Offer empathy, support and love. This is why we can’t beat ourselves up, because there is a part of ourselves that is suffering and needs love, no judgement.

OK number 2 – Practice calming skills!

This might sound lame or annoying but after the trauma of a break up that usually goes on for months or even years, you’re body and mind have been on high alert. Imagine being on the verge of getting in a car crash 24/7. Sounds horrible right? That moment of “OMG that guy almost hit me” but you’re feeling that ALL the time? Well, my friends, that’s a comparison to what you’ve just gone though and you need to get your body to learn how to let go and relax again and stop gripping the wheel!

I have an awesome relaxation video you can watch here. And hopefully there will be more of those to come, but you tube is a wonderful place.

Take a walk outside and BE with nature, relax in nature.

Take a bath and sink into the water.

Do whatever you need to do to actually CALM

Note: TV/scrolling FB/etc. doesn’t count. Take a minute to write down the difference between CALM and SHUT DOWN if you’re struggling with understanding what is calming and what counts. This should help you to make determinations.

Hopefully that is helpful in getting your healing journey started. Often support is needed through these difficult times, both by friends and professionally by a therapist. I urge you to find a therapist that understands the dynamics of trauma rooted in these issues so that you don’t spend the rest of your life longing for connecting, but your brain and body never allowing for it.

Best of luck to you!! Questions? Comment below and I will respond or possibly write another blog on it!