This is the 22nd installment of Barren Advice. You can ask questions that are fertility or non-fertility related.
Barren Advice is posted each Tuesday-ish. If you have your own question for Barren Advice, click here to learn how to submit. Please weigh in with your own thoughts in the comment section and indicate which question you're addressing if there are multiple questions in the post.
When dealing with comment trolls, how do you get over the frustration and sense of guilt? If I delete a comment I feel guilty; if I leave it there it bothers me every time I see it. I know I SHOULD just delete it and forget about it, but I always take their words to heart when I know I shouldn't. I know I have a right to my opinion on my own blog, and I know that not everyone is going to agree with me. But seeing such negativity directed at me just weighs me down. I spend days wondering if maybe I was in the wrong. How can I stop carrying around so much baggage?
- Lead Feet
Here is the funny part; you're asking me what to do, but I just asked another blogger what to do for this very same situation. Which, I know, must inspire confidence in you as I attempt to answer this, but it is always nicer to fumble through trying to figure out an answer together and it's always easier to speak about it long after the experience than when you've just had someone bash your thoughts as if they're Gillooly and you're Nancy Kerrigan.
That analogy may be cringe-worthy, but I think it best describes what the other person is doing. They see you've made a fine point (or turned a fine double axel) and they know they're not going to compete with you by matching word to word so they instead try to halt your flow of thoughts by hurting you.
It's the equivalent of telling the pretty girl that she's ugly, only, in this case, with words being the only element of you to address, they've told you that your words, your ideas, your emotions are shit. They know they don't have the power to write well and therefore get others to read their blog, so instead they go into the comment sections of others who do attract an audience and bash them.
And, in your particular case, the commenter really had to stretch in order to find something to bash. That should be your first indication that this is not about you, not about your writing, not about your emotions, but about them.
I wrote about deleting hurtful comments a while back and I think this example clearly follows a good rule of whether you should write off a comment or whether you should take the words to heart. If the comment attacks you personally ("you're a crappy writer!"), I'd delete it. If the comment is a comparison between their brilliance and your stupidity ("I can't believe you would do that! No wonder all this shit is happening to you."), I'd delete it.
In your case, a single person chose to speak for a whole group, explaining how your experience is completely wrong because they believe it reflected poorly on their group as a whole rather than seeing your post for what it is--commentary on a single experience. To me, that sounds like their problem, their lack of careful reading.
The larger issue is not whether or not to delete but how one goes about not thinking about the crappy comments left. The same question applies to the crappy things one hears throughout the day. I think denying that it affected you slows down the process of getting past it. Personally, I would tell yourself that you're allowed to sit with it for a given amount of time. Remove the comment from your blog and place them somewhere else. Set the timer for five minutes and have a good cry. Stare at the words and feel them completely. Then erase the email or word document where you pasted the words and leave them behind.
Once that is done, turn towards a small file that you start keeping of comments that make you feel good. This is not to say that we should all ignore the negative commentary we receive and think that we're perfect (ignore the bad and only embrace the good), but you need a balance. Think of this as the equivalent to brushing your teeth. When you have crud on your teeth, you brush it off and when you have crud on your heart, you need to clean it too. You can have this file on paper--notes that your partner has left you, old birthday cards, thank you notes--or you can keep a few old emails and comments from your blog easily accessible for these occasions.
Just in case you don't have an emails saved right now, I'll give you a few words to get started:
Lead Feet:Read through these words and find your balance. You're not perfect or terrible--you're somewhere in between and very human. You have big emotions because you've been through a lot and you have every right to voice your experience. It is what helps the woman behind you who may be navigating the same path down the line.
I've read you for a long time. And by a long time, I mean that I remember old posts where you were just thinking about going to the RE and scanning other's BBT charts for hope. We're talking years and years and years.
Which is a huge statement. I mean, if you didn't write sound thoughts, would someone have stayed with you for that long? You're an amazing writer, an amazing person, a deeply thoughtful and inquisitive person who has been through a lot in a short period of time. And the fact that you are still standing shows your deep wells of strength. And that is more important and more true than anyone else's agenda.
And now, after giving yourself an equal amount of time to celebrate yourself, see if you feel differently about deleting that comment. Your house (or your blog) = your rules. If you don't allow people to leave garbage in your home, don't allow them to leave garbage on your blog. It's much easier to clean it up--the true work is wondering why someone would leave garbage in the first place. But 9 times out of 10, it is their own lack of manners, their own lack of common decency, their own short-comings in the face of your accomplishments (even if it is as basic as not being able to express themselves well vs. your eloquence).
No really, the beauty of a blog advice column is that you get to weigh in with your two cents too. Let the questioner know if you support the advice, add to the response, or dispute it completely.
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