Privacy and going public....rewards and risks.


Well-Known Member
I just read the conductdisorders privacy reminder and it could not have been more opportune. I am a new member (less than a week) and am finding great wisdom and solace in this community. I am having some fear, however. We feel great intimacy with each other, revealing what we most often fear to reveal to others....and at the same time give up control over our intimate experience for others to perceive, use or misuse as they see fit. I am reminded by the recent experience of someone on this site whose family members were mocking postings; I can imagine there are voyeurs or even researchers...or writers who find a treasure trove of experience and wisdom. They do not have to ask for consent or request permission. There exists no copyright or authorization process. There are predators out there.

At first when I thought about it my sense was this: I am a transparent person. How is this different from writing memoir or autobiography. You write and share to achieve understanding....and you let it go. Just as in our personal life transactions we cannot control how others respond.

But now I am thinking differently. Lately in my life I am feeling very, very vulnerable in most interactions outside of a few people (my boyfriend, a couple of his family members, my son, and my religious community. Almost everybody else, I fear when I share something true about my pain and vulnerability I fear rejection and judgment, or even, when I risk reaching out to be a friend or to be social in anything but a casual interaction--I fear rejection.

For example, I invited a new acquaintance to lunch. We talked and talked. When when got to the second glass of wine (a mistake) both of us got teary. This scared her, I think. When she got home she wrote an email to me to question whether we were talking too much. I could not figure out whether she felt uncomfortable with the fact that I was vulnerable or that she was. But I FELT as if it was me----like I am wearing a scarlet letter of grief and regret and vulnerability.

When I asked my boyfriend he said it is us, that we have been going through so much: his parents, my son, my mother and is kind of like we are blood in the water, to other people and to ourselves.

I agree. But here I am on this site revealing everything, fearlessly, NOT UNDERSTANDING or not accepting the potential consequences and risks. The privacy advisory addresses risks to our children. But what about to ourselves? I want to think about this upfront.

Part of what I see as the mission of this community is consciousness before rather than later. It is that I want to achieve. There is more I want to add, specifics about my situation...but I would like to start a dialog first.

Here is a bit of the privacy advisory, for those who have not seen it, that particular struck me.

While you may feel like a small family here, in reality our forum is viewed by hundreds of people each day, many of whom you've never had any personal or online interaction with. Whatever you post here is searchable by google and other search engines.


Read more:


Well-Known Member
This is why we use non-identifying names for ourselves and anyone else in our posts. It is why we are fairly non-specific about our location. It is why some of us "fudge" a few details (like a swap of gender, for example). This is why I no longer post my location... and have for now removed my signature (I make it visible when I create posts where I'm asking for help... otherwise, it doesn't matter).


Well-Known Member
InsaneCdn how do you check to see if your location is listed, remove your signature? Can you retroactively do so? It is so dischordant to feel such a forum that could present such danger.


Well-Known Member
You can't change your user name. You CAN start a conversation with runawaybunny (the site admin), and SHE can give you a new name.

(there's an "inbox" toward the upper right of the site)

Signature can be edited any time you want. You don't have one yet. Signature and location are part of your personal details - see your user name in the same corner as "inbox".


Well-Known Member
I tend to be open about my life anyway, but it never occurred to me that this place wasn't a safe place to talk about family issues I had. After all, it's for Conduct Disorders. I made the grave mistake of trusting my sister with my site. This was at a time when we were on again, off again, but never with this level of hostility. Indeed, it happened after she took up with this abusive boyfriend and I learned to state my mind and there was no thought, at the time, that either of those things would happen. You know, things change.

Although it did hurt me, it also let me know up close and personal who these people are and what I need to do about it. I consider that a plus. Anyone who would spy on you and laugh, who is older than twelve, in my opinion has issues far beyond maybe talking to each other about it. I have made a decision to post when I feel I need support since this is my go-to place and I do not give out enough information for anyone to know who anybody I talk about is. Myself? I don't care. But that's it. I am very certain that nobody in my community knows I post here, even if they read it.

Now I do have to say that if you are very private and don't like anyone to know anything about you, posting on any forum has a risk. Even Facebook is not foolproof. You can block somebody from your site, but, as I found out also, they can just get to your FB by using a totally different computer that has a different ISP. There is no privacy on the internet. I almost never post on FB, except to talk to my daughter at college or share adorable pictures. Most of it is about dog rescue.

My advice, if you wish to be totally incapable of being found out here is to stay off for a month or so then sign up again with a new name, a new location or no location, change the ages of your child a bit, give yourself an extra child, etc. etc. etc. There is no way to guarantee nobody will read this, but understand that I am very naive and way too trusting and should never have told somebody that I had such an on/again off/again relationship with about where I go to post. It wasn't smart of me.

In the end, I decided let them read. They may still read, they may not. I don't care. But I know not everyone feels this way.

The only way to be totally off everyeon's radar these days is to completely stay off the internet. And even then your name and address and even a map to your house will be there. I never gave anyone persmission to put any of that on the internet, but it is there. We are easier to find than we used to be.

There are no forums that are 100% safe. Anyone can go to a new computer, get a new ISP, a new name and read. Even if they are banned under a different name and computer. Yes, learned A LOT.

That is probably why we have so many lurkers who have decided they will learn by reading, not by sharing.

I hope you didn't get too scared. It is unlikely anyone you know would think to look you up in a Conduct Disorders site and without names, exact city names (Chicago area, for example, means little) or real identifying markers, people are pretty much unable to identify anybody, I feel.

Good luck with your decision. I realize it's a hard one. I thought about never posting here again, at least not my thoughts, so I know how you feel. Do what you feel is best so that you don't put anything extra on your plate. If you care about hundreds of strangers reading your posts, don't do it. I personally hope my experiences can help people and if they are strangers, that makes them safe people. I did change a few things and actually DO fudge a few details when I post. In the future, if I discuss any family stuff (like my kids) I will definitely change details around, even if the story is positive and fun like JUmper coming home soon from college (which is a GREAT thing!!!!). Or is she? ;)
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Well-Known Member
Thank you, Somewwhereoutthere for responding. I may stop for a bit, and start again, paying more attention to anonmity. My concern is not that somebody who knows me identify me, it is more that somebody dangerous "out there" identify who I am. In some of my posts I (stupidly) posted my type of work. It is work that is highly susceptible to being located and identified and possibly intruded upon. Yet i really never felt vulnerable. So, I will think this through. Because the sense of vulnerability I feel could well be emanating from my psychological state. I guess I am is useful to think this through...Thank you again.


Well-Known Member
If you feel there is identifying information in specific posts that you would like to edit out - contact runawaybunny. She can do that for you or provide a way for you to do it (temporarily). She understands our need for discretion.


Well-Known Member
Oh, yeah. I understand. Look, the internet is a risk, but if we like we can minimize it. I truly believe Sis never would have found this site if I hadn't stupidly told her and that nobody else would have identified me. It was my own fault. The more I think about, the more it makes sense that she would like to do something like this since she had the means. It gave her a way to read my truth and invalidate it with my brother, who also can not imagine mother as the bad guy. Had to be somebody else.

Actually, I told her about the site she posted on that I felt compelled to check out, although I had never posted there, but she was going to use it. I just knew it. So thankfully I found out the truth. If there was a final straw that was it. She doesn't have to worry about going no contact with me anymore. She can stop waffling. I am done being her scapegoat, and brother's scapegoat too. I had no idea I was brother's scapegoat, so it was good for me to find out.

Don't worry too much. I don't think anyone has ever received an unexpected visitor because of this site. Most are here to learn how to deal with their difficult children.


Well-Known Member
I so could not care less if anyone reads this and figures out who I am in "real life". My signature is pretty darn revealing. I've said on here what state I live in and what I do and really, I'm part of a pretty small group of people and the only person with a kid the age of mine. So yeah. If someone who knew me happened across this site and read carefully enough, they'd know it was me.

Don't care.

Really, if anyone I know asks, I'm just as likely to tell them about my kid and what he's done. I've probably told more people than I should in real life, probably a lot of people who couldn't care less. I've been known to give a vague answer when asked, " What's D C up to? Oh he's on his own. He's between jobs at the moment. I've given up trying to figure it out, lol. What's up with your son?" But anyone who knows me well, they usually get an abbreviated version of the truth.

My son is never going to run for congress or be a professional athlete or celebrity. No one he's ever going to meet is going to know this is him, and if they do, well, he was a "dumb kid going thru a phase" can be the party line. If he doesn't want people to know what he is doing, maybe he shouldn't be doing it.

As for me, what have Jabber and I done to be ashamed of? We tried our best to raise him right. We set a good example as hard-working, honest, sober, decent people. We never beat or abused him. We gave and forgave and then gave some more. Finally, we had enough of being stolen from by the one person in the world who should respect and love us and put him out and EVEN THEN we did things to help him. Someone wants to judge me badly for that, they can go copulate themselves and I'll tell them so to their faces.

I have nothing to hide.

I don't use my real name and such for spammers and bad people to get a hold of easily. But I'm not important enough to think that anyone is going to work at it to figure out who I am. If someone who doesn't like me figures it out, what are they going to do with this info? Talk bad about me? See the above suggestion regarding copulation. Anyone who is important to me, already knows me.
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Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Ultimately you can only share where and when you are comfortable whether it be face to face or online. I feel very safe sharing on this forum.
I am careful with what I post and what information I offer. I never use anyone's name.
One thing I really enjoy about sharing here is it's with others who have been through what I have. To try and find people in my general vicinity who also share in the life of a Difficult Child would be daunting. Yes, there are Al-anon meetings but they are "scheduled" I like that I can come here 24-7 and post and know there is someone out there who is there for me.
I also will never share with anyone in my life other than my husband that I even post to this site.
All of our stories are very similar so for someone to try and break that down to identify someone specifically would be a challenge.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I fear when I share something true about my pain and vulnerability I fear rejection and judgment, or even, when I risk reaching out to be a friend or to be social in anything but a casual interaction--I fear rejection.

You are wise in protecting your privacy. Trust is a rare and precious thing, and must be earned a thousand times over through the course of relationship.
Give nothing away. No one is entitled to the details of your life, or of the private thoughts of your heart.

And here is the thing: Even here on the site, we cannot truly understand the way a thing feels unless we have lived it ourselves. Out in the real world where we are all making the best sense we know of things, most people will not have a frame of reference to empathize with what you are going through. This is not a fault of theirs or a mistaken confidence from you. That is just the way it is.

We are fortunate, so fortunate, to have one another, and this site.

Because the site is anonymous, I have been able to work through and face so much that was shaming, and to confront so many vulnerabilities. I learned about interacting with my children differently, and that seems to have made a difference, for them.

Blessing, then.

In my secret heart, I wish for them to be healthy and so happy, and I don't know how to do that. And that is such a sad and desperate feeling.

But here we all are, and we are making our ways through it.

Whoa. I was just thinking about how freaking awful it was when I first came here. There would have been (and there was and continues to be) no one, no one at all, who could have helped me the way this site has made a difference for me.

And that emphatically includes paid therapists, who are not always as strong or as wise as we need them to be.

It's a calculated risk that our families may discover our identities and be hurt by the things we describe here. Each of us is going to remember events differently. I would never want my children to be hurt over the things I've revealed here.

Anyone else?

Buzz off.

Buzz off (and, to coin a previously unknown legal phrase) copulate you, voyeur.


Thanks, Lil.



I am going to add that last phrase to the needlepoint "f you, mom" in my saddlebag.

Actually, I think it is a truer thing that anyone reading here over time is being helped, and is growing. We are a remarkable group of very human beings, here on the site. Given the number of interactions, destructive interactions are so rare.

I like that about us so much.

Even if the voyeur or spam artist or whatever ~ even if their original purpose was to play the usual games, there is such strength and wisdom here that even they will learn a better way, over time.

I really do believe that with all my heart.

This is why I no longer post my location... and have for now removed my signature (I make it visible when I create posts where I'm asking for help... otherwise, it doesn't matter).

This is a good idea.

Or maybe the best thing is for the kids to know how we have struggled to come to terms with what has happened to all of us. Surely they will face struggles as difficult. We learn such strength, here....

I will recreate my signature.


Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
Hmmm...on the writing thing. If I should ever become a famous writer? And any of the material I shared here is part of that?

You all will know you got to see it, first. And if you read something you know I posted here that someone else is trying to take credit for, then the site itself will witness that the wicked, scheming voyeur, come to pick the secrets of our bones like a thief in the night in the first freaking place, is a talentless bozo.


So we're good, then.



Well-Known Member
I recently changed my username and requested that a few specific threads be removed. This was done very quickly for me and with no problems. All members here should be conscious of how much we reveal and the risks of posting too much information.

I had googled something related to my son and was horrified when one of the things that came up was a posting that I had put on this site. It was a wake-up call for me.
We can get carried away here, posting things that can be traced and linked to us or to our children.

So carry on posting, but think before adding any specific detail. Often members here have found this site by googling something else - I googled homelessness and some other things and found this wonderful site as a result of that. If you post stuff on the internet it can be seen by anyone, so think about what you are posting. It's easy to remain anonymous. Just be sensible (unlike me!).


Active Member
Im raising my hand as I have always said too much, but this is me. I have a big mouth because I talk a lot. But I also have nothing to hide either. But I do wish most of my posts can be removed as well. I am going to be more careful from now on because I do feel bad about my kids esp personal lives spread all over. I do regret this.

But if only people in real life understood what we go through instead of being ridiculed, maybe things wouldnt be so easy to say for me for example. Where I feel I need to explain everything so people, incl here would get it! But you all do get it without hearing all details!!! I have no one else to talk to with the same issues as me here. Groups here? Ha, they are very "quite" as well, and dont really share the real deep deep struggles we go through. But your right, I am going to be more careful. Thanks for the reminder!!