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To provide a unique environment where folks who have experienced trauma can openly and safely talk. We strive to respect, validate, and learn from each other.


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Emotionally 'Surviving' Social Media - an article

Felicity Lee
Felicity Lee

Emotionally 'Surviving' Social Media - an article Empty Emotionally 'Surviving' Social Media - an article

Post by felicity on 12/16/2016, 2:27 pm

Emotionally 'Surviving' Social Media

Emotionally 'Surviving' Social Media - an article Ted_cr10

I have wanted to write this article for several years.  Please respond or discuss how you feel.

I remember a time when teaching moral values, practicing basic human principals, and acting on decisions based on individual understanding of right from wrong was the norm in our society.  Parents and teachers taught children to practice honesty, loyalty, responsibility, accepting consequences for personal actions, kindness to others, and respect for all - including self. These principals, some would say, are innate to human-nature - meaning that most people do know right from wrong, have a conscious, feel regret, and behave according to moral values.  In fact, our society was built on this belief.  People do not have the right to harm, kill, or take away others' freedom without some sort of consequence.  We would assume that these sort of moral principals would also be witnessed in social media settings on the internet.  

Presumably, there was a time when people did treat each other with respect on the internet - a couple of decades ago.  The average person was unaware that there were no consequences for behaving immorally on the internet.  Anyone could say anything they pleased about anyone.  There were no 'laws' to stop someone from totally slandering another person.  News reports could be totally false without a shred of evidence.  Scientific studies could be published that never happened.  Bullying was fine and even acceptable.  There was nothing stopping anyone from doing pretty much whatever they pleased while posting in social media platforms.  Freedom of speech was encouraged beyond what society could ever have imagined.

I have been on the World Wide Web since it began.  I have witnessed millions of folks slowly realize that anything does go.  One lie here and another there - accepted, tolerated, believed, and even enjoyed by an unaware populace as the moral stature of our society has seemingly dwindled into oblivion.  

Social media has given a venue to two separate but also related phenomena:

1) Anonymity: the ability for anyone to sit at home posting while using any name they please.

2) Power: the ability to manipulate, influence, and control masses of people through the written word.

Within this structure, individuals practicing morality and principals become victims of those who have spent decades learning the art of 'winning' by attacking within a public venue that is left shocked, but also excited by the drama and chaos that ensues.

Clearly, we all watched as this happened on Twitter during the last election.  The attacks were ruthless, obvious lies, and purposefully written for shock value.  There was a time when this type of 'trolling' was considered cowardly, beneath most people's ability to accept.  Now, it is not only tolerated, but encouraged.

What is happening in our society?  Are we teaching our children that only the weak practice moral values and principals?  It is nearly impossible to raise above the troll who is ruthlessly attacking your credibility by responding in any other way, but to be on the defensive which evolves into a grade-school argument - calling each other liars, for instance.  In a society where we all do want to know the truth, we no longer can measure truth by what we hear.  We are forced to take sides - who is telling the truth?  Who should we believe?  And, we tend to believe the stronger force rather than the moral character of a person buried beneath the chaos and lies.  

Our children are learning that people are either strong bullies or weak victims who follow or hide from the attackers.  And, the idea of consequences or regret for who is hurt along the way of gaining the win is not even considered.  After all, freedom of speech has become the notion that anyone can say anything about anyone without even knowing who out there in the world got hurt.  

I am writing this, not because of the election or any other event.  I am writing this because I am aware and wonder how many other people actually understand social media and how its use is affecting people's moral character and our responsibility to be honorable individuals.  Most of us do know right from wrong.  We know when someone is being attacked, and we recognize when someone is hurt.  It is wrong to sit back and watch it happen or become caught up in it all encouraging further harm.  The right action is to step in and protect the victim, to recognize the lie and stand for the honorable person being attacked.

When I see a person being attacked on the internet, I know that I am being influenced to believe a lie.  I stand for the victim, because I cherish my moral character.  I am a leader, and by my actions, a role model fighting to keep morality and principals alive for our children to learn respect within themselves.  

I do not and refuse to support anyone who dares to attack another person anywhere, any time, and for any reason. I will stand for the victim with a force beyond what any manipulation and/or attack can withstand.

Patricia Goodwin, MA
Ivory Garden Nonprofit Corporation

Please do not copy this article without permission from the author. Copyright 2016 Patricia Goodwin - all rights protected.

Last edited by felicity on 12/16/2016, 7:31 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by krathyn on 12/16/2016, 3:54 pm

thank you for writing this.
i think most parents do still try to teach their children right from wrong but that those lines are blurred from now and harder and harder to see and the younger and more vulnerable a person is the harder it is to respond in a way that reflects a knowledge of right and wrong.
there also have always been bullies and pre internet days they had smaller fields to cover. they are now given a global audience and those who have the desire to follow them have a larger sphere.
I have heard it said "all that is necessary for for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
it is up to those on the side of the good, to stand up to people we find bullying on the internet.

wishing you well-
Emotionally 'Surviving' Social Media - an article 24792 Krathyn, Sebastian, Strawberry, (Kathie 3-9), kathrynmarie
Krathyn of We5:    we accept all intentions of support--

1,000+ Posts
1,000+ Posts

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Post by rosey58 on 12/16/2016, 6:07 pm

Absolutely Brilliant article Felicity !!!!

I am glad my girls are now 28 and 30 and not young growing up with this age of technology and worrying if they may be being bullied online.

There are some good things with the internet and some very bad things, but the more each individual stands up for what is right and protects those who are being attacked it helps.

We can't sit needlessly aside and watch it occurring without doing anything.

I have heard that quote also Krathyn, the first time i read it was when i went to a Jewish Museum when my eldest was studying WWII at school.


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Post by krathyn on 12/17/2016, 12:20 pm

something many people lack when they get on the Internet is a clear definition of what is a "friend" and so without realizing it, they accept bullying and two timing and do not even realize those things are happening because the person is saying on Facebook or another venue they are their "friend"--as we are all social people we look for as many "friends" as we can get but they are not really friends.
Real friends are loyal and caring and do not change from pleased with you to hating you in seconds.
People going on the Net need a mature definition of "friends."

wishing you well-
Emotionally 'Surviving' Social Media - an article 24792 Krathyn, Sebastian, Strawberry, (Kathie 3-9), kathrynmarie
Krathyn of We5:    we accept all intentions of support--

Felicity Lee
Felicity Lee

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Post by felicity on 12/18/2016, 10:56 am

I totally agree.

And, I think it important for all to realize that those who have a traumatic past have difficulty with understanding relationships and how they work. Trust, betrayal, etc. become confused and chaotic. Boundaries become blurred and 'beliefs' easily become 'truths' in order to fulfill personal needs. I have seen this happen again and again.

Everyone would like to meet someone whom they connect with right away. 'Instant friendship' is not a relationship that can hold up to time. And, we don't tend to wonder why, on the other side of the coin, anyone would instantly 'want' to be our friend. We tend toward believing that meeting someone is 'meant to be'. That is hogwash - especially, on the internet. No - you are 'always' targeted on the net for some reason. It may be that the 'friend' sees in you something 'they need' or that you target another based on something you see in them that 'you' need. I have no idea what this would be called, but definitely NOT the foundation of a 'friendship' or a positive relationship.

FB encourages the 'friend' thing by listing 'friends' - your status is based on how many 'friends' that you can collect. My thought - having one 'real' friend is a true blessing. And, a real friend comes with time and in the real world - not on some machine where you allow manipulation, control, and are easily influenced by anyone who claims to be your friend.

I often hear, "Well, I have known and trusted them for 'years'." (generally a couple of years and generally, on the net and/or phone). I also hear, "I would never betray their trust in me - I am a loyal person."

Most of us can see these type of relationships as emotionally harmful, but many who did grow up with traumatic pasts are unaware of what they are getting themselves into. They do become victims and often abusers themselves as they realize that in order to 'keep' these friendships they must fulfill each others' 'needs' that propelled the friendship in the first place. 'Loyalty' means agreeing with anything they say or do and following their lead without thought; free-will disappears. In turn, the 'friend' also must agree to all that you say or do - being honorable to you. These type relationships are addictive - especially, if they 'need' each other every day. And, you soon figure out that if you even think the 'friend' may have lied to you or may be influencing you to act in their benefit - rather than in your best interest, the idea of telling anyone brings on - GUILT - huge. You can't tell anyone - they might 'get in trouble' for their actions - they are your friend, and your 'duty' is to protect them.

I was just watching 'Elementary' - a quote that was so absolutely true:

“I’m an expert on poisons, Watson. I know virtually everything there is to know about them. But I’ve come to learn over the last few years that there is nothing on this planet quite so toxic as guilt.” –Sherlock

Going into these type relationships often BEGINS with guilt. "Oh, you don't want to be my 'friend'? I reach out to you and you let me down?" How many times do we hear something similar? I have heard this sort of comment literally hundreds of times on the internet - yes, it is passive aggressive behavior, but it triggers guilt - and, guilt IS a poison. I have heard people threaten to SU if I don't be their 'friend'.

When a 'friends'' behavior triggers 'guilt' feelings within me, I know there is a problem. And, I do know that if I respond in a healthy way, that friend will immediately turn on me - it is how these relationships work. And, guilt turns to remorse for the victim. The 'friend' will move on to other friends that they have collected - marching forward to attack and condemn the victims of their behavior - punishment for what they see as 'betrayal'.

Once such relationships are stepped into - it is nearly impossible to get out - much like how 'cults' so effectively operate and keep their members tied to the group.

Like I stated in the article - the only way to remove yourself is to stand for yourself and anyone who is attacked with slander and lies. Don't support the aggressor - regardless of whether what they say is true or not. It doesn't matter - 'friends' don't attack people, they don't control people, they don't put their interests first, they do not fulfill personal needs - the are just there for you always, unconditionally.

Yes, it is horrible when someone you came to 'believe' a friend turns on you - you feel betrayed and, their words can cause you to feel the victim - and then, GUILT - you scurry to figure out what you can do to fix it all - falling into yet another trap - the need to return - you have become addicted to the relationship - unable to just walk away. That is no 'friend'. Friends come and go understanding that they are not 'tied' to the relationship, but each has individuality and freedom.

Well, I am not sure the actual definition of 'friend' - I think that we all have difficulties with positive relationships - especially, when we grew up unable to trust anyone. Survivors, though, tend to draw to abusers and want so badly to believe they are true friends, crushed when they think they betrayed them. A 'friend', in my sense of the word, cannot betray me - I never give them that much power.

Thank you krathyn for that post. I think that such an important point. This is an area that most should be spending time in therapy learning about having positive relationships and setting clear healthy boundaries.

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