Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Readers Hate Me.

Those of you who have been reading me for a long time know that I made a big decision to stop allowing comments on this site several months ago. It took me a long time to decide to turn them off, as most of the feedback that I got from you guys was helpful, supportive, and helped me recognize that I'm not alone. Every now and then, however, there would be a nasty comment from someone, and it would hurt me. Try as I might to remember that people reading here don't know me, that people reading here only see a fragment of my life that I choose to share in a way that represents a particular still got under my skin. Deciding to let go of my need for approval and to turn off the comments here was really healthy for me, and I've found it to be liberating as a writer to be able to post without worrying about whether or not I'd piss off the handful of people who seem to read me because I push their buttons.

I've been blogging at The Second Road for a few months now in addition to writing over here, and there's comments on that blog. Mostly, the comments are supportive, and mostly, they are coming from people who are dealing with similar issues to my own, sharing experience, strength, and hope.

I posted recently about my struggles around my husband's boundary breaking and my frustration with areas where it seems I'm not quite able to put down a clear boundary, and I got a barrage of feedback from all kinds of perspectives. It's been interesting working through my responses to feedback from folks, especially since I'd decided I wasn't doing that anymore on my own site. I'm still stewing a bit about some of it, but mostly, I think I'm able to read what other people think, and move on. People are working through their own issues when they respond negatively to me, and it's becoming clearer that none of the negativity has anything to do with me. Because I'm a codependent in recovery, a lot of the people reading me are also codependents, either in recovery or not...and that means that my readers are struggling with issues of control, addictive behavior, projection, fear, and anxiety. Comments that are fraught with negativity and judgment aren't about me or my life...they're about something that I can't see...something in the lives and minds of the people posting.

I also trust that I have a handle on my own reality, and that there are people who I trust to give me feedback when it's necessary...people who can see all of me and understand my whole story. Sometimes, negative comments can make me question my understanding of myself. I am coming to realize that this self-doubt is one of my character defects. Strangers on the internet don't know more about me than I do, and I can trust my own judgment and the support of my friends in recovery to guide me toward my own answers.

I'm still not willing to let comments happen over here in my own sand box, but I can look at the commentary on The Second Road, and leave it alone.

Maybe one day, I'll let people yell at me over here again. I'm not quite there yet...but maybe one day.

Art: Shut Up by Sal Marino