A Pox on Facebook

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Albatross, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    As background, difficult child was asked to leave our home, spontaneously left on a cross-country bicycling trip with no resources, abandoned his bike and has been hitchhiking and living under bridges with other homeless individuals.

    He still finds ways to post updates on FB. It seems like he rather enjoys being entertainment for his FB friends, as he makes a special point of being outrageous. This morning he posted some bragging about how he has been stealing things to get beer $ and got into some kind of trouble involving the police.

    husband and I talked about the posts and how ashamed we are of him, but as much as we want to say something there is nothing that hasn't been said before. He's 22 years old and 1000 miles away. We decided to just keep out of it.

    A little while later difficult child's aunt posted something on his wall about whether it was his goal in life to be homeless. In response, one of difficult child's little chippie FB friends posted some very sarcastic and patronizing garbage about difficult child's "yuppie mom not understanding the hobo lifestyle." I guess she assumed aunt is me, since she and difficult child have the same last name.

    So now in addition to being ashamed and disappointed, I am now wondering if I am wrong for-
    1. Wishing aunt would delete her post and not bring difficult child's drama into her circle of FB friends?
    2. Not posting something on difficult child's wall to come to aunt's defense?

    Is FB the appropriate place for playing this stuff out? If public shaming did any good at all with difficult child, it certainly would have by now.

    I explained to aunt that I haven't posted in her defense because husband and I would both prefer not to broadcast our family drama far and wide and increase difficult child's viewership, so to speak, even more. I then jokingly said that since chippie thinks aunt is difficult child's mom, aunt can go ahead and take over for me if she wants to. Her response was, "If I was his mom, I would have beat his @&^ by now," I guess implying that she doesn't approve of my parenting.

    I am feeling like she violated our privacy when she decided to post on his wall. I can't see any reason to violate it even more, but I also feel a little...creepy...for letting chippie attack aunt like that. On the other hand...she didn't have to attack my parenting either.


    Not sure what the right thing to do is anymore.
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh boy, I am sorry you have to deal with this on top of your difficult child feelings. Geez.

    Well, perhaps others will have a different opinion, however, what I do is just walk away from that kind of stuff. I have no control over the choices others make, so if it were me, I would go to FB, find her comment and up in the right corner you can delete all posts by that person. I would not want to see it or feel it when there is nothing I can do. You told her how you feel, and she can make any choice she likes. You don't have to read about it though.

    Reading that stuff can make you crazy Albatross, and yet I understand reading it to know that they are alive and okay. But the responses are not necessary for you to know about. (in my opinion) Don't take any of it personally. Boy, I know that's hard, but you're dealing with a difficult child here, they live in an alternative universe and trying to make sense, or figure it out or even just understand it is an exercise in futility and heartbreak. Avoid it. Don't let your mind wrap itself around stuff that has nothing to do with you.

    Those homeless kids have to defend their position, to themselves and to anyone who will listen.........don't buy in to that nonsense. Let it go. Like so much other stuff we have to let go of, and I know it's a lot...........but letting go is the way out of all the suffering that is brought to our doorstep. There is nothing you can do about the choices anyone else makes.

    I'm sorry you had to read all of that. Leave it behind you and go do something kind and fun and enjoyable..........don't let them mess with any more of your moments..........
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  3. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    One question first, does she want you to come in and defend her? I wouldn't take what chippie friend says personally at all. They made themselves look like fools with that response. I wouldn't be mad at aunt for broadcasting , because your difficult child has already been doing that, so she thought "what the hay, might as well say something". Know what I mean?
  4. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    I still can't believe he actually took his bike and went across country. Well, remember when you thought he wouldn't make it down the street? Well, he made it 1,000 miles apparently, which believe me, I'm shocked about too.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2014
  5. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Step away from the facebook!

    My son's cover photo (the big one) for a long time was a picture of him giving the finger, with the same language in large print. I was mortified. and his posts were all about crazy, including offering to sell marijuana! or asking where to get it. I wanted to crawl under a rug. Instead I unfriended him. I will admit that I look now once a week or so from some one elses account to see if he has posted so I know he is alive...I try not to read much.

    And then there is the parade of young women who have asked to talk to me, to "explain" him to me, to express their dismay at my hardheartedness and bad parenting, to tell me how special his is....of course, they are nowhere to be found days, weeks, or at most months later.

    step away. Thank his aunt for trying to defend you. Tell her you appreciate her concern for you (you could interpret the beat the (*&^&*() comment out of him that way if you choose...choose that)

    and then...step away from the facebook. It is not the place to engage in ANYTHING other than family vaca pictures. Not to explain yourself, learn about others, play anything out, shame anyone. It just isn't.

    You can let his aunt know that she shouldn't feel she needs to acknowledge or reply either. Then...step away from the facebook. Think really hard...what good is there for you in ever, ever seeing his page?


    and yours in facebook addiction,

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  6. Origami

    Origami Active Member

    Facebook is like a train wreck to me. I know I shouldn't look, but I can't resist.

    Echo is so right! I need to remember this too when I find myself getting too wrapped up in whatever ridiculous thing my son has just posted. I tell myself I'm checking just to see where he is at a particular time, but I think I'm somehow trying to figure him out, which probably isn't going to happen.

    Albatross, I can definitely relate to the "outrageous" posts. The fact that our difficult children don't care how embarrassing their behavior is just means it's even more important to let it go. Hope you can do so--(me too).
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This is what I would do to deflate the family drama.

    I want to add, I have learned to hate FB, even under normal circumstances and rarely post and have shrunk my friends only to immediate family and others I trust implicitly.This aunt would not have made my cut. Aunt or not, what is she thinking???

    FB is a place where you can type whatever you want. Your son and aunt don't have to go at it on FB. If they do, you can't stop them. But you can either actually stop reading his FB or you can tell a little white lie, which hurts nobody and helps you, and say that you never look at his FB anymore and are no longer going to even acknowledge it so therefore she can not expect you to defend anything he says, even though he is out to lunch. You can suggest she do the same. Nobody has to read his FB. Some people, even family members (and in my family it was ESPECIALLY family members) like to cause drama and mayham and get off on fighting and drama. I was told in therapy, among 1,000 other wise things, that some people grow up with so much chaos that it becomes their norm. This was certainly true of me until I learned why.

    You aunt DID violate your privacy, and s he is allowed to do it. But you can decide not to read HER FB either and to go low contact with this aunt if she is a troublemaker. There is nothing to be gained, except possible sympathy from her group of friends, by broadcasting family problems on FB. Take the high road hereafter. Try ignoring it and her when she gets this way or when anyone tries to gain sympathy from your pain.

    Hugs and think about it...people care about THEIR lives and THIER families and after the post disappears, nobody will even care anymore. They have their own lives to live. If they are drama queens they have their own drama making to do and if they are not, they are probably wondering why she posted that also.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2014
  8. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Good old FB. I have learned that I have to be very careful with FB. My difficult child posted something a few days ago that I didn't see because he unfriended me, however my sister saw it and shared it with me. His post was very hurtful, and he lied saying that I never wrote to him while he was in jail. The only good thing about it is I was prompted to do a search and I found this site. You can't control what others post or how others will respond, you do however have control as to who can post to your wall. I do not think it is smart for people to air personal family stuff on FB, but then again, you can't control what others think, say or do. After my difficult child posted what he did I was left with the feelings of shame and wondering if others that saw it would believe his lies. That lasted for about a day. Years ago this type of thing would have bothered me for weeks or months but I have come a long way since then. I know in my heart what is true and that is what matters. Wishing you all the best.
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  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    You know he is alive. That is a good, good thing. It would be awful if you were hearing nothing at all.

    Family members are going to be angry for you, and even for themselves. difficult child's actions hurt them, too. Initially, everyone who loves both you and difficult child will feel a little sense of ownership. difficult child's actions change who the family is, make the family vulnerable in a new way they did not expect. The aunt loves difficult child. In her heart, if she is a decent person, she wished and expected and believed in better for difficult child than this, and she is angry at the hurt of what is happening, not just to difficult child, but for the vulnerability it opens for the family identity.

    "This sort of thing just doesn't happen in our family." becomes "It happened to us."

    And that's a scary thing.

    Plus she hurts for you.

    And the kind of vulnerability that opens us to is a bitter pill to swallow.

    It was and still is, for me.

    I resent it, too.

    But we need to take ourselves in hand as best we can. Focus tightly on your original purpose, which was to know whether your son was still alive and well.

    He is.

    You did the right thing in discussing it with the aunt.

    Let it go.

    Hold an intention now of letting go of the pain and the shame. You know your purpose, and you know what matters. You may have an ally in the aunt or you may not. Only time will tell you that. Until you know, believe for the best because it is the right thing, to do that.

    I'm sorry for the hurt of it, Albatross.

    It has been helpful to me to try to be aware of when I am leveling an emotional judgment. If I am experiencing strong feelings, I get it now that those feelings are a kind of circle between judgment and justification.

    I get caught in it sometimes, but that stuff leads nowhere. The conclusions we will draw through that process are like something a little dictator on a throne would conclude. Whatever we need to protect will be protected, and whatever it is we need to believe will be validated...and none of it will hold water over time.

    I know where I want to be emotionally. I slip into guilt, or I slip into rage and resentment, or I slide into self pity sometimes, but sooner or later I remember that I know where I want to be, emotionally.

    Then, it is just a matter of cutting through the hurt and the confusing carp and the defensiveness to get there.

    I can do that.

    It helps me to remember that it is the situation ~ however it came to be and no one really knows how that happened ~ that is bad. It is not you who is bad, it is not the aunt, it is not difficult child or even the chippie whore hobo.

    Er, I meant the lady hobo.


  10. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ahhh Facebook. The first rule of FB for me is, don't take any of it seriously. Most especially the drama.

    My 2 cents: This is between the aunt and difficult child. She chose to jump in and post, let her deal with the fallout. I'd stay out of it.
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    I would give it a little time and consider, only consider, typing in one sentence that you are his mom and the other poster was a concerned relative...but only if you feel strongly about it. Probably best to stay out of it. She could always do the same...and post that she is the Aunt.

    My line with meddling, uninformed and unkind family and friends is that we have tried for over twenty years to help difficult child, it is something we can no longer do and it has been profoundly difficult and painful. She is a good person deep down inside and we pray for the best and then I walk away...I do this with not an ounce of emotion.

    I agree 100 fold with the others, with the POSSIBLE exception of the one sentence, I would stay AWAY from your sons's FB page at all costs and greatly limit contact with anyone who goes to his FB page. At least for now, proceed with caution with the Aunt. The truth is, most folks don't have a clue....so I wouldn't cut her out of your life or anything...just tread lightly, limit your contact and don't entertain her comments...don't listen to them and certainly don't let them bother you. In one ear...out the other.
  12. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    Facebook.........Oh, my. What a lot I could write here. I enjoy FB as it has helped me get to know some bio relatives (I'm adopted) on the other side of the USA and have loved it. I am very active on FB and am "friended" to many. However....

    Here are my FB boundaries (acquired from years of stepping on unintentional FB landmines) ---

    1) I am "friended" to difficult child. However, I removed difficult child from my News Feed and rarely look -- ON PURPOSE. Harsh stuff helps no one. difficult child knows this, as I told him. I took several out of my News Feed -- ON PURPOSE. They're there if I want/need to connect, but I choose to shield myself from extra doses of negativity (about politics, religion, family drama, etc) as it can bludgeon my brain. Nope. Need my brain functional. :) (I've been burned before...I learned)

    2) I sometimes "block" certain people from seeing certain posts/pics if I even have an inkling it could cause unnecessary drama. Took me a while to get the hang of it, but I'm actually pretty good at navigating FB's tools now. Plus, I've just decided to trust and honor my instincts about when I want something private. This feels like a healthy boundary for me.

    3) I try to avoid the Drama Tornado at all costs. I block others from turning my FB page into a Drama Tornado and I choose not to engage in their FB page Drama Tornado (lest I get swept up in it, too). I've concluded that, generally speaking, if others are all wound up, my jumping into their fray (even with compassion or reason) doesn't tend to help. They're free to have their say, but I'm also free to stay away from toxic schtuff. :)

    4) I do use FB at times (very infrequently and only when things are bad) if difficult child has disappeared for a long time (weeks/months). Just to see if he's alive. But if I see a post of his with a recent date, that's enough for me. I pretty much jump off FB as fast as I can because some details can do serious damage to my heart and brain. Sad, but true.

    Albatross --- Yikes. So sorry to hear what a Drama Tornado kicked up for you with all of that family stuff. I have had that stuff happen to me, too (yeesh!), and my initial responses are much like yours. Sometimes I think, "Why in the world are people sharing this stuff?" I really just don't know.

    But my FB motto is, "Don't put anything on FB you wouldn't want your boss to see." This helps me delineate.

    Oh, Albatross! I forgot the story about your son and riding his bike to California! I remember you speculating whether he'd make it out of the driveway? Wow! I guess he did make it a long way! 1,000 miles? Who knew?

    Technology is a life-saver on many fronts. It can connect family and friends (like it has for me), alert us to important events (births, deaths, accidents, weddings, graduations, jobs, etc), and be helpful in uniting us (1 friend of mine uses it for AA purposes and his posts are just spectacularly wonderful and supportive!).

    However, it can also be a life-destructor if it runs amok. Some young(er) ones, especially, often lash out and blurt hurtful things to others without thinking. I just keep thinking, "If your boss, your parents, your girlfriend/bg, or your local police dept sees this, it's not going to go well for you."

    No, it's not the appropriate place. It's not respectful, it's sensationalistic, and it's waaay too easy to misread things in writing (rather than face-to-face). And you're exactly right......public shaming isn't the answer. It doesn't work.

    You didn't do anything wrong, Albatross. That's the trouble with Drama Tornadoes.......They're no winning. They're a LOSE-LOSE proposition.
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  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    HLM, the part about your boss is true. If our difficult children want to ever work, they need to be careful about what they show on FB. Yikes!!! So many of them share too much, like pictures of them being high.

    Of course, most of our difficult children are allergic to work and are not looking for jobs!

    I like your list :)
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  14. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Well I have been without internet since Thursday. Perhaps the universe telling me to take that break from FB. But I've missed you guys! The best bunch of moms I know. I sometimes wonder if God didn't give the great moms difficult children deliberately. With this bunch of moms parenting nothing but PCs, the world's problems might be solved in 1 generation.

    Guide and HLM, difficult child is 1000 miles away but his bike is 300 miles away, supposedly chained to a tree in the woods somewhere (probably stolen by now). difficult child has been hitchhiking since he abandoned his bike.

    But 300 miles is very admirable, and I think the adventure of being out there seeing the world and having faith that kind souls will help him out is admirable. I just wish he wasn't stealing for beer $ and getting into trouble with cops, too drunk and filthy to get a job or even get a ride to the next town.

    Oops, there I go again. Maybe need a few more days off the FB.

    HLM, I love your list.

    I know you all are right about FB. Echo, I like that idea, of unfriending him and having "back door" methods of just reassuring myself that he's still out there somewhere. That gives me some control of when and what I want to see. MWM, Tanya, Crazy, Cedar, yes, I can't control what aunt does. And I also realize that, as intrusive as aunt's comment was, it was done out of concern for difficult child. She loves him too. This hurts her too. Her exchange is between her and difficult child.

    Nomad, what you said about 20 years really hit on point for me. That is it, exactly.

    HAHA, Cedar!!! I LOST IT when I read that. "Chippie"and I actually had a very nice conversation via private message on FB about assumptions, on her end as well as mine. I did not ask her to, but she took down her posts.

    I don't know what I would do without this place. Suffering in a lonely, silent, and black hole. Thanks again, ladies, for the laughs and the support.
  15. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member


    difficult child daughter claims the world is full of real souls at the level of the streets. That the interactions that take place there are taking place at the level of soul. Here is a story she told me yesterday about her life on the streets:

    An older lady who has spent most of her life on the streets sits in the center of the park where the street people gather to drink together at night. She looks around her. She sees a couple fighting with one another to the left of her.

    She sees a couple fighting to the right.

    Behind her, she sees another couple ~ and they are fighting, too!

    She tells my daughter: "I need a man. I have no one to fight with."

    And they laughed and laughed.

    After difficult child daughter came in off the streets, she learned this lady had died.

    difficult child daughter misses her to this day.

    That's how I feel, too. There are a myriad of depths and colors to my daughter.

    And to my son, as well.

    I just wish they wouldn't....

    It's impossible not to judge them. It's impossible not to worry for them when you know darn well what they are doing is dangerous and they were raised so they would never have to know about the dangerous things.

    But then, that is how the parents of the man who would become the Buddha raised him, too.

    And he did not become real until he knew the dangerous things...and the only way he could find out was to leave home and have a look at how the world differed from what he had been taught.

    And I am very sure his mother was just as horrified as we are, here.

    It is an extraordinary thing to discuss where she has been, what she has seen, what she has learned from everything she has seen and done, with difficult child daughter.

    It is equally disconcerting to confront my rage and disappointment and resentment and blah, blah, blah about those same things.


    The exchange is between difficult child and his aunt. Even when the men are big, so much bigger and stronger than we are, we think of them, we remember them when they were little and we talk to them just that way.

    Love is such a powerful thing.

    I am glad you got to talk to the chipster. She must be adventuring, too.

    I hope she is safe, and that she returns to her own mother and family, soon.

    That's the surprising thing about these people our kids are meeting.

    Their decency.

  16. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    Hey, good to hear from ya! Just a by note, you can "unfollow" his posts so they don't come up on your news feed This way, you can still be friends with him, check on him when you wan to.
  17. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    I'm another that doesn't care for FB! I have very few friends and refuse most friend requests from my extended family.

    My difficult child was posting really weird things and suicidal thoughts (probably high) and then had a fight with a cousin on FB and everyone had to weigh in. Relatives had to call me to make sure I knew what was going on. I told them I didn't post it and there was nothing I could (or wanted to) do about it.

    Then difficult child and girlie would post nasty fights on FB and one she posted very vulgar stuff pretending to be him. Another's wife had a fight with her sister and was posting about sex for drugs. YEP!!! all of this on FB!!!

    Lately it caused more problems when some family members were posting about legalizing pot and them being on food stamps. It was pretty stupid for them to post it, we live in a rural area and it is against the law. Another family member called them and told them how embarrassing it was for her, then their side of the family had to get involved. Why the family member didn't unfriend them is beyond my comprehension!

    I can understand how it does make you feel better to at least know your difficult child is able to get to a computer. The rest of it I would completely ignore. I am always amazed at the fact people think it's OK to post anything and everything about their lives for total strangers to read.

    You have enough stress with difficult child without other drama.