So…this week was definitely a thing that happened.
I barely even know what day it is, and the rest of the month is going to be extremely tight because I’m now a week behind on freelance (and writing), but my head’s still kind of a mess.
I wrote a thread on Twitter, not thinking it would leave my sphere (most things don’t). If I’d thought the story of “Here’s a dude who creeped on me years ago that I shut down before he could do much damage and oh by the way I found out he’s in prison now for doing a murder” would go viral…I honestly wouldn’t have written it.
I feel badly saying that because I know posting my Letter of Shame provided a good template for reaffirming boundaries that people appreciated. I want to think it helped people. As a woman, I don’t often see a firm pushback against boundary crossing, it’s been through seeing other women in my life have those kinds of boundaries that I learned to state my own–as well as the consequences of those boundaries being breached. I was really proud of that.
But also, I am a fucking nobody.
I fight tooth and nail for any book sales at all. I live in poverty. I’m isolated due to multiple plagues while I navigate a serious autoimmune disease (it’s been 883 days since I had physical contact with another human being outside of doctors and nurses poking and prodding me) so I have very little interaction with people. I am not used to any public attention beyond my usual circle. It was already extremely difficult for me to handle hundreds of notifications a minute of likes, RTs, QTs, replies, follows, etc.
I had another boundary, initially implied but later stated in the original Twitter thread: Please stop trying to find this guy and attempting to link me to him.
That should be painfully obvious–this is someone who was deeply creepy and poised to involve me in endless harassment if I’d fallen for his grift, plus now he’s a murderer. I don’t want that associated with me and I deliberately didn’t name him. Even the fact that everyone kept getting it wrong wasn’t sufficient because, like, hai, I don’t want to be linked to a bunch of murderers at all! And if you get it right, I’ve just posted a semi-redacted copy of an email that humiliated him. Please do not put a target on me.
I like to believe most people are good, or just clueless, but a lot are not, and I did not like the type of attention I’d started to attract by the third day. I had a hundred people on my website digging into posts from 2014 when I dealt with this man, looking for things I referenced I guess in the hopes of finding him. Rifling through my personal life, my posts various places, my twitter.
That boundary crossing also had a consequence: now my account is locked and the thread is gone. I’m hoping to go back to normal by Monday.
I’m pretty much a wreck.
All the attention from being viral was hard on me to begin with because of my anxiety. That attention turning negative made it ten times worse. I posted a kind of thought-dump at Patreon during it all, trying to process while I felt like alternating between throwing up and bursting into tears, which did help a lot (and if you want something really raw and unfiltered, it’s there for all patrons).
Everything I’m feeling right now is all a biological process which, I guess, helps to identify and name? I understood the sensations I experienced–hypervigilance, panic attacks, etc–and that it’s a normal response to this kind of stimuli for me. I understood today that I was crashing after all that, which dumped a different cocktail of chemicals into my body that I’ve had to manage–resulting in headaches, executive dysfunction, brain fog, fatigue, pretty dark thoughts. I’m wavering on the edge of depression and doing what I can not to tip too far into it, and I’m mostly off social media because I saw a story of a missing elderly dog that sent me into hysterics crying so I know my stress cup is beyond a little full. I know I need to try to take care of myself for the next few days while I recover, and at least I’ve got a lot of grounding tricks I’ve picked up over the years to help a little (thanks PTSD!).
If you ever go through something like this, know that all those physical sensations you experience are extremely normal, and are temporary.
Yeah, temporary–it’ll be fine, but I have so much to do I really couldn’t afford this bullshit this week. And, you know, I’m actually fucking mad, because I sold a handful of books before I had to lock my account–every sale helps and now that’s gone too.
So anyway, here we are. If you find this and you read/shared/commented on that original thread and were cool: hey, thank you for that. Sorry it turned out like this. Hopefully that won’t happen again.
I did want to pull up that Letter of Shame for you.
I’ve trimmed a bunch out, but you can use this for a template if you want and read it with my example in mind.
- Repeat the boundary.
- Show how it was breached.
- Include what further evidence you’d like.
- Reaffirm the boundaries and conditions, if any, of future contact.
- Lay out the consequences (realistic ones) if that boundary is breached again.
THEN FOLLOW THROUGH ON THE CONSEQUENCE.
Don’t apologize. Don’t soften your words. Speak plainly and the only emotion you should be showing is fury (and contempt). I also repeat all the inappropriate behaviour so that if the receiver shares the email with others, they look like the asshole. This also has to be used only in certain circumstances with certain people, so be careful.[Read more…]