I write this post with a heavy heart. My intention, tonight, was to write something very different than I am about to write. However, after much reflection and thought, I felt this was what I needed to write.
Many of you read about my upsetting experience with cyberbullying. I wrote a post about it last month (My Experience With Cyberbullying During COVID 19. Sadly it is Alive and Well.) When I wrote that post I had a few objectives. First, I thought I would feel empowered by confronting my bully, rather than cowering and feeling victimized and powerless. I also mistakenly thought that confronting my bully would stop her. The first assumption was correct, in that, I did feel empowered, rather than victimized. Sadly, however, the second assumption turned out to be false. My bully was silenced for a short time, but bullies don't go down easily. I continue to be harassed and taunted, even after writing that post. This has caused me a great deal of personal strife and sadness.
The incidents now seem to be escalating, as I think is typical of this type of behavior. When you ignore the bullying, the instigator gets angry that you are not engaging with him or her which in turn causes that person to intensify their attacks, in the hope of getting a response.
I made a very difficult decision tonight to go take the extra step, that I did not take when I wrote about this last month. I talked around the bully but never identified who that person was. I was hoping that would be enough to stop the assaults. It was not.
The person who has been sending these disquieting and menacing messages is my sister. We have been estranged for many years and I have chosen not to have contact with her. I always felt I was able to maintain a safe distance from her before embarking on this remarkable venture of blogging. Aside from her cruel attacks, writing my blog posts has brought me great joy and gratification.
When I embarked on this exciting adventure, cyberbullying from my sister, or anyone, was the last thing that entered my mind. I was filled with excitement and joy, as was Garin, as we built both the websites from scratch, over many months. Together we watched them take shape. It was an incredible experience for me to share with him. We both felt such excitement each time we tackled, what seemed to be another inconquerable technical hurdle and saw the websites come to life.
When the pandemic and subsequent quarantine started, I found my footing and voice. I began to write daily and found it to be challenging, cathartic, and fun, all rolled into one. From one day to the next, I never knew what I might write about. As each day of quarantine unfolded, so did my stories. I found the process to be magical.
I have enjoyed writing immensely and am grateful for the positive feedback and support I have received from those of you who read my posts. I have tried very hard not to let the bullying get to me, but it is not easy. Writing honestly and from my heart has put me in a vulnerable position. That goes with the territory, especially when writing on a personal level. I accept and understand that and wouldn't have it any other way.
My purpose in writing this is post is not to disparage my sister. My purpose is, to be honest with my readers about what I am experiencing since that is what I do every day. I also to let my sister know that she cannot hide under a rock like a coward, sending me cruel and deeply hurtful messages. If she intends to hurt me, she has succeeded. However, if she intends to stop me from writing (which she has come right out and said), her efforts are futile. I am a badass single mother of four children, so it is going to take a lot more than a cowardice bully to stop me.
I wanted to close with this wonderful letter written to me by a very old and dear friend. She wrote me this heartfelt letter of support and encouragement last month after she read my post on cyberbullying. I am sharing it with you, with her permission. Her words were so poignant and touched me deeply. I saved it, of course, and re-read it on difficult days like today. Her is it is:
I too had a sister who was nasty and destroyed friendships and from whom I became completely alienated so I understand how that feels.
Don’t let anything interfere with the triumph you have earned. This is what she would like, to destroy your confidence and your work and pull you down to a level as low as hers.
This won’t happen, because you are strong and inspired. Achievement sometimes requires working through painful situations.
The good outcome is yours and well deserved. You do not owe any attention to people who are trying to do you harm. Thank God for Garin, who has been able to help you.
Stay true to your inspiration and your goals. This is the work that has been given to you in your life. You have a gift and an important contribution to make and you are being guided to develop this.
You have no obligation to put up with injurious behavior or to acknowledge or try to understand it because of a blood relationship. A psychologist told me this years ago.
So get on with your dream. If you can delete the messages without reading them, do that. If that is too hard, give yourself space and understanding.
Can you imagine living with such hate and resentment balled up inside of you? But this was your sister's choice, and she will have to deal with the pain and deterioration that result. It is not your job to “make things better,” you can’t and you can’t allow yourself to be undermined by it.
You have four beautiful young people and many others cheering you on.
So feel good and be happy. This is your right, your nature, and your gift to the world.
Thank you to my dear friend for your incredible words of support and inspiration. Thank you to my readers for your words of encouragement and the sustenance you provide me with, every time you read my posts. I am grateful for the incredible friends I have that see me through every challenge I face. I am also grateful to my greatest champions: Garin, Catherine, Graham, and Miles. They give me more material to write about than I could cover in a lifetime and more love than I could have imagined possible.
So onward and upward.