WWYD – Surf By Comment Shootings

A mom friend of mine, in reunion with her child for some time — yet estranged, wrote me and shared that her child had performed a surf by comment shooting on her  blog. The emotional bullets came in the form of a nasty comment left for her.  Fortunately, she has comment moderation enabled, a fact that her child may not have been aware of.  She did not approve the comment but was naturally upset and effected by it (most likely achieving the goal of the sender).

My heart ached for her. She has not heard from her child in quite some time (child’s choice, not hers) and to receive such vitriol on her blog, in a comment, was painful. Not surprisingly, she and her experience have stayed with me the past few days. I have been carrying thoughts of her around with me much like a school child does their backpack. As time permits my mind reaches into that backpack and ruminates on her situation, what I would have done, what others would have done, how it feels and more.

Does a mother respond to such behavior or is it best to ignore it?

If this has been a pattern for your child, for years, (attack, friend, pull back, attack, friend, pull back, attack, attack, attack), how do you handle it?

Is it a distorted cry for attention and connection or truly a vicious attack and an attempt to hurt the mother?

How does a mother NOT respond back to the child?  I know for certain some part of my friend wanted to reach out to her child immediately. Clearly the child is hurting and it is a natural instinct to want to comfort your child. But what does one do when that comforting is not wanted or worse yet, the comforting you extend turns into abusive exchange?  Isn’t it best to ignore?  If you have been attacked by your child repeatedly (verbally or in some cases, physically) how do you make the decision between fight or flight?

Ugh. Just so awful on so many levels.

I cannot imagine being faced with the idea of reaching out to your child, thinking that maybe, THIS time, they are ready for reunion and might want to really talk and connect while balancing the very real fear that this time your child might actually act on their threat to kill you.

If you have experienced this, what have you done? If not, what do you think you would do?

I can offer that while I have never had this level of commentary from my daughter, I have had difficult electronic exchanges. After our last (nearly two years ago), I told her I would no longer correspond via email on such delicate matters.  Too much is left to interpretation, lost and misconstrued in online communication. I gave her my phone number again.  In the future, for me, difficult conversations will NOT be conducted electronically. 

I saw that now, I feel that now, but what would I feel if I had gotten that nastrygram delivered to my blog? Might I feel differently? Its been two years since I heard from her. Would my overwhelming desire to connect cause me to violate my own personal policy?

What do you think? What would you do?

6 Thoughts.

  1. Ack, I’m sorry for your friend, I can only imagine what that feels like. My own reunion is… strained at best, mostly likely just fallen apart completely. I think if I push, he will probably disappear entirely. I don’t know why, we’ve never been close enough for me to get a sense of what he feels or thinks of me. If he were doing this to me, what happened to your friend? It’s in my nature to bury my head in the sand, but I hope I would confront him, as any parent would. I would confront my parented daughter for similar behavior, and while it’s not the same, it sort of is. We can’t “atone” for everything, forever, always, we have to take care of ourselves, as well.

  2. I am an adoptee, so I can’t say what my mother would do in that instance. But, the first thing I thought about while reading your post was..at least she is reading her mothers blog. To me, that means that she wants or craves contact, but is so hurt that she protects herself with anger.
    I say this because that is my experience. I visit my sisters and cousins social networks even though we don’t have a very good relationship and it breaks my heart every time I visit their sites. I hurt because I know we will NEVER have a real relationship. The kind of relationship that you achieve through time and experiences. The hurt child in me protects herself by getting angry at the things they post even if they are innocent comments. I have grown a little in the 3 years that we have been in reunion, but that hurt just won’t go away. I want a connection, but then I push them away by feeling so much anger.
    I can’t even bring myself to add some of my sisters to my facebook even though we share many common friends (family members that I feel “safe” around, like nieces, and some sisters).
    I don’t want to condone her actions because its not right to be rude and hurtful, but I just wanted to give a little insight into her (possible) state of mind.
    Linda

  3. Susan, I have no answers ,but possibly a question into much of the same discussion:) I wonder if “getting” a response, is better than none??? I follow your Blog, and have been so enlightened by your journey, Thanks for allowing me into a small part of your journey,CJ

    • I tend to think so, CJ. I personally tend to think that someone going out of their way to harass a person is doing so because they carry some emotion towards them. In my world, the opposite of love is not hate, but apathy. However, the bigger question is what do with that, particularly if you are fearful of the person involved. Terrible cycle of abuse that happens in this situations.

  4. Every situation is so very different that there are no standard answers. This is in part why this set of circumstances is painful, confusing and difficult to deal with. Ultimately the mother herself must decide what to do.

    Gail

  5. Wow! I can only imagine the kind of pain, fear, and confusion this drive-by person must be experiencing to deliberately hurt your friend, their mother. There are no good or right answers for dealing with this behavior from your son or daughter, I have experienced it too. All I can advise is that perhaps if she can get quite and still and allow herself to feel the pain that this behavior brings up in her, she may find an answer on how to handle it on the other side of the pain. I hope that makes sense. I think the answer come from that still, quite space in all of us, if we allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to go there. Hugs, peace, and comfort to your friend, Suz. We are all in this together.

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