Taking on Comments

Hi blog friends. Just woke up after a fabulous night of sleep to find a little controversy in the comments section of my last post, so I guess I'll take on the challenges of this "Anonymous" comment. (Please, if you're going to comment like this, at least leave a nickname!)

If you didn't see it, let me re-post it here:
I just finished reading your blog. I would like to give you some feedback, and I want to preface it by saying I'm not trying to be an asshole. I'm really not. I'm just trying to give you an honest, unbiased view of what you wrote. You may not care for it, but the way I see it is if you're going to take to the internet to tell your story, you should probably be prepared to hear things that you may not really like.

First of all, I am glad that you got back together, and I really hope it works out for you. But I have to admit, I found some big contradictions in your story. For example: Valentine's Day. In your post, you talk about how the two of you don't really agree with the whole Valentine's rituals that others do. You mention gifts. In fact, you mention the gift that he bought you, which was tickets to see Chelsea Lately. You say that you actually like that better than something else because it would give you time to be together doing something fun. After the breakup, though, you talk about the tickets, and you mention that it wasn't a very creative gift since you had been to see Kathy Griffin there before. You also said that it was probably more fun than you would have had with him. That's not exactly the picture you painted before. Another is the fact that before he broke up with you, you never really mention any problems with him. Not really. Yet, after he broke up with you, you talk about things you noticed, and even say that the relationship started to unravel months before. Considering that you had only been living together for a few months, and your blog starts out with your moving in together, it's a little confusing. If you were noticing problems, why did you not share them with your blog followers? For example, the reading of his journal in September. How come you never mentioned it here? If your blog is devoted to your relationship and all of the dynamics, it seems you would have mentioned it, and the fact that you didn't suggests that it's not a completely factual and comprehensive picture of your life with him. I mean, honestly, it was like "Oh, everything is just so great. We're a partnership. He's awesome" one minute, and the next, "I should have seen it. I noticed this and that.". Why didn't you mention noticing this and that if you were being honest?

The other thing I wanted to bring up is the therapist. I'm not knocking therapy. It just seems like sometimes people use it as a band-aid. Heartbreak happens...run to therapist to make it all better. I don't know, I just don't really understand why you felt you needed therapy because your relationship ended. Maybe I have the wrong view of therapy. I guess I just view it as something one does when they are having serious problems. In other words, based on your previous posts, I guess I would have thought you would have a little more resiliency to have gotten through those few (yes, few) weeks without professional help. I just think some people use it as a crutch. Not saying this applies to you, because I dont' know. Just something to think about.

Honestly, I do hope you work things out. But something tells me that you will be back in the spot of him ending things. He sounds like kind of a flake, to be frank. He moves in with you and four months later he wants out of the whole thing? Then a few weeks later, he, too, is going to see a therapist and all is now going to be well? I hope so. But I have my doubts. Be careful with your heart, and I would suggest NOT moving in with him again. I really think you'll be back at the same place if you do.

Shall we take this apart here?

1. I just finished reading your blog. I would like to give you some feedback, and I want to preface it by saying I'm not trying to be an asshole. I'm really not. I'm just trying to give you an honest, unbiased view of what you wrote. You may not care for it, but the way I see it is if you're going to take to the internet to tell your story, you should probably be prepared to hear things that you may not really like.

Prefacing something by saying "I'm not trying to be an asshole" is a red flag. It's akin to someone saying "Don't take this the wrong way." It means that what you're saying is not unbiased but in fact critical. There is no such thing as an unbiased view. But Anon is correct in that if I'm going to tell my story on the Internet, I should be prepared for feedback, positive and negative. So be it.

2. First of all, I am glad that you got back together, and I really hope it works out for you. But I have to admit, I found some big contradictions in your story. For example: Valentine's Day. In your post, you talk about how the two of you don't really agree with the whole Valentine's rituals that others do. You mention gifts. In fact, you mention the gift that he bought you, which was tickets to see Chelsea Lately. You say that you actually like that better than something else because it would give you time to be together doing something fun. After the breakup, though, you talk about the tickets, and you mention that it wasn't a very creative gift since you had been to see Kathy Griffin there before. You also said that it was probably more fun than you would have had with him. That's not exactly the picture you painted before. Another is the fact that before he broke up with you, you never really mention any problems with him. Not really. Yet, after he broke up with you, you talk about things you noticed, and even say that the relationship started to unravel months before. Considering that you had only been living together for a few months, and your blog starts out with your moving in together, it's a little confusing. If you were noticing problems, why did you not share them with your blog followers? For example, the reading of his journal in September. How come you never mentioned it here? If your blog is devoted to your relationship and all of the dynamics, it seems you would have mentioned it, and the fact that you didn't suggests that it's not a completely factual and comprehensive picture of your life with him. I mean, honestly, it was like "Oh, everything is just so great. We're a partnership. He's awesome" one minute, and the next, "I should have seen it. I noticed this and that.". Why didn't you mention noticing this and that if you were being honest?

Anon, are you really glad we got back together? Nothing in this post sounds like you do. I think you felt like you had to say this before you went on to point out of all of the problems you see in our relationship.

Before our break-up, I didn't see this blog as a place to come pour my guts out everyday. I didn't need that. No, not everything was perfect, but SCL was reading my blog at the time. I wasn't going to say things that were private, or things I wanted to discuss with him in person. And I never claimed things were perfect, like this post shows. After the break-up, I had little to lose at that point. I was free to share my incredibly biased perspective in the situation as a way to vent, to find community, and to find some kind of healing. The thing is in the relationship, I was prepared to make it work no matter what. I had committed to that, so it did change my perspective when SCL broke it off with me. Obviously, do I even need to say that?

The other thing I wanted to bring up is the therapist. I'm not knocking therapy. It just seems like sometimes people use it as a band-aid. Heartbreak happens...run to therapist to make it all better. I don't know, I just don't really understand why you felt you needed therapy because your relationship ended. Maybe I have the wrong view of therapy. I guess I just view it as something one does when they are having serious problems. In other words, based on your previous posts, I guess I would have thought you would have a little more resiliency to have gotten through those few (yes, few) weeks without professional help. I just think some people use it as a crutch. Not saying this applies to you, because I dont' know. Just something to think about.

Again, the prefacing: "I'm not knocking therapy." Yes, you are. Well, you are knocking my use of it. Thinking that therapy is about making it all better is a clear sign that you know nothing about it. Sure, I could go have a rebound, get trashed, eat like a glutton, do some other stupid shit to cope. A lot of people do that. Instead I decided to find a healthy way of working through it with the guidance of a skilled professional. I really don't feel the need to defend this. You are certainly reinforcing cultural myths about who "should" go to therapy and that it's a sign of weakness. What complete and utter bullshit.

Honestly, I do hope you work things out. But something tells me that you will be back in the spot of him ending things. He sounds like kind of a flake, to be frank. He moves in with you and four months later he wants out of the whole thing? Then a few weeks later, he, too, is going to see a therapist and all is now going to be well? I hope so. But I have my doubts. Be careful with your heart, and I would suggest NOT moving in with him again. I really think you'll be back at the same place if you do.

Again, do you actually hope things work out? To clarify, it was not four months later. We moved in together early July, so it had been nearly nine months, but that's beside the point. I never said "all will be well." This is hard as shit, and we have a lot of work to do. I don't know what will happen.

Here's the thing, folks. I owe nothing to anyone in terms of talking about my relationship. I share what I feel like sharing, hide what I feel like hiding, and respond to what I want. I don't really give a shit what Anonymous thinks because s/he's basing this on crap I've written, not on the relationship itself. Yeah, there's contradictions, omissions, etc. because it's a blog, not a memoir. As many of you have said, the only people who understand a relationship are the two who are in it.

Comments are always welcome. I'm not against opposing views, and believe me, Anon, you aren't the first. Yes, I should be prepared to have negative and positive comments, but there's no obligation I have to accept it or even seriously consider it, just as the same is true of reading or not reading my blog. But seriously if you're really trying to be helpful and not just throw an opinion out there, try having a more balanced view, one that can be both critical and charitable. And just prefacing it with "I'm not trying to be an asshole" ain't gonna cut it.

Note: apparently I'm not the only one dealing with this right now. Check out Cee's blog post about this very issue.

20 comments:

  1. ew ew ew ew ew! It's funny we both got anon comment bombed this weekend...although I think yours may have been worse because whoever the hell this way really seemed to read a lot into your whole blog! Mine was just kinda mean about one post. I have to say what does it matter that you didn't write about the fact that you were having realtionship problems until you broke up? For one thing...maybe you didn't realize they were real problems at that time...which would be easy to do. That's what I would assume from reading your blog. Also...there is no rule that you have to talk about every detail of your life on a blog.

    And don't get me started about knocking therapy! Who is this person to comment on your CHOICE to go to therapy?

    Ok...I think I am taking my own frustration with anon commenters out on this comment. But, I am really glad you addressed this person.

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  2. PS Thanks for the shout out :)

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  3. Ok, I disagree with the specific criticisms she made. I get why you wouldn't describe the bad stuff before you broke up and going to therapy is up to you, it seemed to help you a lot in fact.
    However, I think hidden among all that she has some important points that might be more obvious to an outsider. First, you weren't being completely honest on your blog (totally fine) but were you being totally honest with yourself? Are you now? Are you telling yourself that things are better than they are? Are you trying to ignore certain lingering problems? I can't define why exactly what gives me the impression that you might be, it's just something to think about.
    Second, I don't think you should move back in together while you work things out. Move back in together ONCE you work things out. Wait at least six months. I think it will help you maintain some perspective on things. It's important to maintain your identity. I mean, even your blog is about him. It sounded like you had fun going out while you were broken up, I think you should keep being social on your own as well as with him.
    In her defense, I really think she just wants you to be happy!

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  4. Greenpepper, thank you. You are absolutely right that I need to be completely honest with myself about this. I think that I am quick to jump back into things rather than take them slowly.

    The apartment thing is really weighing on me right now. I'm not sure what we will do. Right now I don't feel like I'm leaning either way, which is actually quite a shift from where I was last week (feeling like I absolutely want to live together). This is definitely something I need to think seriously about.

    Thanks for the comments. :-)

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  5. I won't address all of this but I do want to say something about not writing about problems when there were problems.

    Every relationship has problems. I adore my husband, I love him, he is my best friend and I feel so incredibly happy to have him in my life. But we have our share of problems, especially right now with me being unemployed.

    Do I pour all that out to my readers every day on my blog? No. Because I like to be upbeat in my blog, it keeps me feeling upbeat. Because I wouldn't appreciate someone going around telling people about THEIR problems with ME so I try not to go around telling people about MY problems with my husband.

    These are blogs and we choose what to put in them. And as the situations change that may change too. But at the end of the day we aren't required to write about EVERYSINGLETHING in our lives. And if someone has a problem with that, then they can easily click that little X in the top right corner and they don't have to read it.

    And to be honest, I think that anyone that would choose to make those comments while remaining anonymous is an asshole just by doing that. If you're going to make comments like that the least you can do is show who you are. It's pretty easy to make judgments on someone when you hide behind a computer screen.

    /Novel over ;-)

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  6. Thanks, Krysten. Mostly I feel like I just vomit onto my blog. I'm amazed that people actually want to read and comment on it. Looks like a big mess most of the time, to me at least. That's what life is though, one big beautiful mess.

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  7. Great job! I have a hard time standing up to assholes. I bow to your prowess!

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  8. Ha ha, thanks (other, kick-ass, fantastic) Anon!

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  9. I was very annoyed by your anonymous commenter. I don't think you should have to explain anything to them! But you're probably a lot nicer than I am.

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  10. L, me too! I particularly get super fucking annoyed with people who reinforce taboos around therapy, and I just had to address it. I don't ignore ignorance very well.

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  11. I agree with much of what Anon said.

    I think Anon is either a) SCL b) "the obsession" or c) a guy from OKCupid.

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  12. I think you're pretty awesome to take on that Anon. Negative criticism seriously hurts, particularly when you don't know from whence it comes, and I think you responded pretty gracefully.

    Also, based on what I've learned about you from this blog for the past few weeks, you're a seriously strong, intuitive person. Thanks for your sharing so much of yourself, and please keep on keeping on!

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  13. What an abrasive comment. I think it is fantastic that you are brave enough to seek therapy. Keep your head up.

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  14. I agree with everyone else. Sometimes hindsight is 20/20, and often things become clear only after the events have completely played out.

    Plus, as someone with a BA in psych and who is going to get a masters in school counseling, I think therapy is great! It really helped me with my breakup.

    -AT

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  15. Oh, I love how you took on this anonymous commenter! You go, girl! And what's up with reading your ENTIRE blog to write that long freaking comment?! When I know I'm going to leave a long comment, I e-mail the blogger! That's what you do in the blogging world.

    But wait. Then you would uncover who they are! Hmm... ;)

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  16. Thanks, Stephany! And everyone who showed me support. What a douchebag.

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  17. oh my lord, you should look at my "Notes" on my facebook page and see my blog hate mail. It is a TRIP.

    That said, yeah, people read the blog and think they now know everything about you and can freely give you advice. I had one guy randomly facebook me, then read my blog and presume to know EVERYTHING about me, and give me advice ("see, your problem is you go into dates thinking everything is going to magically work out and you're going to find your soulmate"... uh.... no I don't, wtf).

    Anyway... yeah. Anonymous people suck.

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  18. I really don't think that person wanted to come off as an a-hole. I think they were looking at things objectively and put things VERY bluntly. I'm looking for those blunt comments on my blog, because I know my emotions can get in the way of seeing the real picture. Trolls are something entirely different, but it sounds like this person is really interested in your blog and that was their honest opinion, and they didn't think up those things with the intention of hurting you. I do agree with you that they seem to have society's stereotype of therapy. You've done some really good work with your therapist, and it's obvious what a little therapy can do from the changes you see in SCL (btw I haven't been able to figure out if those are initials or do they stand for something?) As a new baby therapist, I like reading about what she does! And I think your hope is a good thing, because going into this thinking it will end isn't going to help. Just be careful :) People CAN change but it's easy to revert back to old behavior. We need tune-ups just like our cars, so I think everyone needs to go back to individual counseling at some points as well as couples. The key is to catch it before it gets out of control. The "Wellness Recovery Action Plan" is used for mental illness, but I think it works for everyday life and relationships. Basically, you identify the triggers that set things going downhill, take note of the early warning signs that let you know things are going downhill (ex. getting annoyed with little things, overeating/not eating, letting the house get messy, etc.), and then creating a plan of what you need to do to get back to baseline. Then you avoid the triggers and when you catch your warning signs you follow your plan.

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  19. SCL="Summa Cum Laude." :-)

    However we want to read Anon's intentions, there is some truth in what he's saying, but I also resent people thinking they can understand the situation completely or that anyone can actually be objective about something like this. But, you know, c'est la vie. I appreciate your feedback, BK!

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