Hate Mail

I’ve spent more time on FaceBook recently.  I love reading the articles different people post and I find myself posting too.  Always with trepidation- do people want to see this?  Am I annoying them?  Is it polarizing or bridge building?

The past month I’ve posted a few articles on birth control and abortion.  Its breaking a social taboo.

A high school acquaintance took offense when I was trying to explain why the morning after pill is not an abortion pill.  I linked her name on a video that explained how the pill works since she still seemed so confused after a few attempts at clarifying the basic science behind it.

Her response was to publicly insult my friends, demand that I delete the post, report me to FB and send me a barrage of hostile and threatening emails.  Her husband also sent me messages.  I didn’t even finish reading anything from her husband since it was so hurtful and I’ve never met the guy.  Even thinking about the first few lines he wrote is making my body shake.

She says (edited for length):

“..i’m the one offended by the post in the first place!!!! i’m not afraid of looking at things that are different…..you should have known from that first conversation that i whole heartedly disagree with everything you said….yet you keep trying to push your wrong beliefs on me….and i’m sick of it! just drop it! I DISAGREE WITH YOU….THATS ALL….SO LEAVE IT AT THAT!!! i look at all angles….not afraid to….lets sum everything up for you! i’m not uncomfortable about anything we’ve talked about…i do care about the truth but what you keep going on about isnt the truth (satan can do a good job at making you think its the truth)…seems like i’ve grown closer to God while you have grown away!  IT MAKES ME EXTREMELY MAD !! dont ever guess what i value more cuz you have no idea! you said you looked at the claims of the company and went back further?? well did it ever occur to you that maybe looking back further they didnt know the real effects of the pill and now they do? which is why they say that it CAUSES ABORTIONS!!!! you dont know me so stop judging!! Satan is the father of lies…you dont think he cant use internet to fool people into believing what they think is the truth?? do you believe everything you read on the internet?? maybe you should read your bible more….that is the ultimate truth!! you dont know bounderies…you assume way too many things that is so far from the truth….you’ve pissed me off …obviously something isnt right in your thinking!

i’d appreciate it if you took that post down NOW…i’ve already reported it to facebook…i’m sick of this…..dont bother responding back! take a good read and i sure hope you can learn from it!”

This was one of the nicer messages.  In other ones I was accused of some pretty horrible things.  But it still bothers me.  I was so worried that I was actually being a bully to people that I’ve pulled back a lot from talking to people, posting on FB and even writing in general.

However, I also received several private messages from women who have used the morning after pill or had abortions.  They were too afraid to say publicly that they had.  Some of these events happened a long time ago but they didn’t feel safe to tell me since I had gone to the same youth group as my enraged FB ‘friend’.

Part of me wants to keep speaking out on behalf of the people who are afraid to tell a friend they took a morning after pill.  Part of me thinks I’m not strong enough myself to have hatred and ignorance thrown at me.  I’ve been nicely bubbled from these sort of internet attacks.  Any advice from others who have more experience?

16 thoughts on “Hate Mail

  1. ... Zoe ~ says:

    This is why I am not on Facebook. I have family and friends who don’t understand why. Of course they don’t know that I have been on the internet for years and been inside the hate factory. Been there done that. But I was also in the hate factory in church too and it does steal all your energy away, the hate. Her big thing is Satan and when that is the case, you’re screwed. Blunt.

    Is it possible if you want to stay on Facebook just to do your own writing and not direct it or link it to specific people? Just write. Put up a disclaimer maybe indicating your posts are not meant as a direct attack on other people but a direct result of your own study and research and that you realize other people may disagree but your intent is not for argument sake.

    A former best friend attacked me, long before the internet (when we used pen and paper) and it was awful. Seriously, my husband had to sit with me for 2 hours to bring me back to reality. But you know prairie the effects on me were just terrible. Listen to your body. If it is shaking, listen to it. It’s telling you something. 🙂 Maybe you could take a break for a bit?

    Here’s what I learned about myself. I was and am both strong and weak in this area of advocating for others. I’ve downsized. Those who you’ve heard from in a positive way, they are the ones that matter and are helped by your advocacy. They are your focus. Not this person who literally went nuts on you. You probably can’t fix this and I’d say if you know ahead of time that you can’t fix something with someone, in my best Taylor Swift voice, like ever then don’t interact with them. She sees you as Satan’s spawn and as though you are an attacker waiting to digest her for lunch (take her away from the Lord) . . . I’d say, leave her be. Anything you say, anything at all, she does not see you. She sees The Enemy. Don’t let her reactions kill your focus as it pertains to your writing.

    • prairienymph says:

      Thanks Zoe. That was affirming. I did put a disclaimer out on FB right after. I did take a break but came back to this to see if I was ready to move on. I think I am, but differently. It is hard for me to just respond to someone with silence because I have family that believes that he who yells the loudest wins and silence is agreement and admission of guilt. But you’re right- its not worth it.
      Somehow I think a pen and paper attack would be much worse. Internet allows people to dash off anything without time, thought, or even much visible consequence.

      • ... Zoe ~ says:

        The pen and paper truly was horrible prairie. Four pages, front a back, systematically putting me in the grave and hell, quite literally. It was awful. My husband read it first and by the time he got to page three he put it down and begged me not to read it. I read it. 😦

        Are we related? 🙂 That whole family, yelling . . . winning thing? Been there, done that. Now I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter whether I yell or am silent . . . “they” always win. In their minds they win no matter what, so silence is okay. Less is more. That and I don’t have the energy or patience for the argument anymore. I’m getting to old for it all. :mrgreen:

  2. TWF says:

    I think Zoe‘s got great advice, as usual. 🙂

    Clearly there are people you are reaching and supporting, and they are the ones who matter. Your voice matters, even if it is faltering at times like this, because as you’ve seen, there are those who can’t find a public voice of their own.

    I also think that maybe posting information without tagging particular people is probably best practice, unless you have already received feedback from people with similar interests. Despite the fact that posting with or without a tag is not really that much different, people do consider it a bit more aggressive to be tagged. I know I’ve been made at least a little uncomfortable when people tag me with stuff that I am not really in support of.

    As for this rather irate “friend,” there are a couple things to note:

    1) It seems that her world view is much too religious to accept any secular wisdom. It is a tragedy when people get to this point. You can’t reason with them. I think the best you can do is have discussions within their comfort zone, within the Bible itself, which help to broaden their perspectives. But unless you’re on a mission to deconvert people, or unless this “friend” is actually a really close friend, it’s probably not worth your time to bother with.

    2) Her reaction is far greater than what would be justified, which means that you have likely struck a nerve with her. My guess is either that you are one more, one personal, sign of how the world is being taken by Satan, and you have become part of the evil forces which she sees encroaching and threatening her very existence, or that she herself may have had an abortion which she has kept secret, and is reacting out of a deep shame she now feels for having committed such a “sin.”

    I would ignore her to the extent that you can. And if that doesn’t calm her down soon enough, just start posting verses where Jesus said that you have to forgive in order to be forgiven. Just the verses by themselves, mind you. No explanation needed. 😉

    But I’m no expert on these matters, so you may want to bounce my ideas of others before putting them into practice.

    • prairienymph says:

      Hmm. Some of my FB friends deliberately tag people on articles that they disagree with in order to carry on a (rational) discussion about it so it never occurred to me that a tag to be seen as aggressive or as assuming agreement. Thanks for pointing out that some people see it that way.

      I have no intention of further talking to this person. She was sometimes cruel to others in elementary school, silent in high school, and I only accepted her request because I thought we could relate civilly as adults. The biggest problem with her is that we’re from a small town and my family has to interact with her family.

      I did apologize to her for whatever I did that made her feel attacked and asked her if she could help me understand why she reacted like that. I do talk to other Christians from that group and I don’t want to make the same mistakes.
      Unfortunately, I did point out the verses where Jesus condemns the Pharisees with commentary that it was those most sure of their own salvation and moral superiority that Jesus criticized most. I’m guessing that wasn’t what you meant by using verses 🙂

      • TWF says:

        Small towns do add some complications, but it does sound like you’ve taken the best steps I could think of under the circumstances.

        Sorry, I didn’t mean to be cryptic. 🙂 I was thinking like the Lord’s Prayer Matthew 6:12, and Luke 6:37, and it seems there were more than those too. Oh, like the parable of that guy who begs forgiveness of his debt, but then goes around collect money from those who owe him. Sorry, I’m very sleepy, or I’d do a better job looking them up. X-)

    • ... Zoe ~ says:

      Well I’d consider your contribution here to be good advice too TWF.

      I thought her reaction was over the top too. Like a nerve had been hit.

      I know with my former friend who wrote the nasty letter, Biker Dude told me she had projected her own sorry situation on to me and that really the letter she had written was about herself! (Biker Dude is like this amateur psychologist. He’s good!) 🙂

    • prairienymph says:

      This happened last month but I appreciate the verses anyways. I have found that me quoting bible verses to people who believe themselves to be closer to god than they believe I am is received as an insult. They are the only ones who can wield the Sword.. Even so, I do love talking about the bible to a certain relative (who hasn’t read most of it) when he tries to teach us about it.

  3. D'Ma says:

    I’ve not read the whole interaction between you, obviously. But it doesn’t sound to me like she’s very open to listening to all sides of an issue. And, well, if you’ve made her so uncomfortable she does know there’s an unsubscribe button, right? Weird. I never get these FB fights. I never post anything controversial, but some of my friends do. Then there’s this big argument. I don’t get it. I know passions run high about some subjects, but is it really so difficult to calmly process someone else’ opinion, come to your own conclusion and agree to disagree?

    I’d also agree with pretty much everything Zoe and TWF said. I’m sorry this happened to you, but it does sound as if you’ve struck a nerve and that it’s her problem, not yours.

  4. prairienymph says:

    Unfortunately, I find the ‘controversial’ topics like sex-worker rights the most interesting. Although, I don’t understand why they are controversial or why we can’t be ok with having different opinions or why we be terrified of looking at evidence.

  5. Quince says:

    I have my Facebook ‘friends’ clearly defined into close friend, just friends, or friends that are acquaintances. It helps a bit when posting something that it goes only to the intended audiences. I am out there to change people’s opinions as well, but I can’t force it. I just know that repeatedly sending out ‘meme’s is my subversive way to get people to challenge their beliefs, and some people might enjoy what I’m posting. Ultimately, some people will choose to believe what they want to believe.

    I had a conservative friend that did something similar that this highschool person did to you. Not quite so nasty, but the argument went on and on, and there was no way she was going to change her mind regardless of our discussions. She later left Facebook. I don’t feel bad about it really since she was part of the argument. I don’t feel better than her, just don’t think it’s my responsibility to ensure other people are civil on FB.

    So don’t stop posting, post what you love, post only to the intended audience (who can have rational discussions with you). It will connect with some, the others you just try to have a rational, civil discussion. If not, you let them go (for your own sanity!)

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