August 21 I went to church to see my son give his returned missionary talk. He had enjoyed his mission so much, taking away spiritual experiences from those two years that he could not have gotten anywhere else. He had touched many lives, and many lives had touched him. He gave a wonderful talk, very spiritual and uplifting. I was so proud of him. As I sat and listened, I looked around at all the people, how nice they all were, remembering how I used to be, wondering how I became so hate-filled. I felt terrible about saying all the things I did online. What had happened to me, I asked myself. I came to those boards never dreaming I’d use a bad word or wish horrible things on someone, and look at what I had become. I knew I had good reasons to feel the way I did, but it did not make it right.

I believe it was either that evening or the next day that I apologized to Fuschia for wishing death upon her husband. It was hard for me to do that, remembering all the mean things she and others had said to me. But I knew I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t apologize. She didn’t accept it well. Neither did the others, except for Sammy, who recommended my posts of apology. But the women just kept bringing it up, wouldn’t let me forget it. It was still a joke to them, trying to get Cindy riled. I blew up again, which is just what they wanted. I didn’t wish death on Fuschia’s husband, but I said the usual things I said when I got mad. It just never ended.

The next day, August 23, everyone was being so mean to me that I continued on my tirade. I was just so angry I didn’t know how to express myself. They said terrible, hurtful things to me, and when I tried to defend myself, it didn’t matter. Finally Factmcfactstein said she reported me.

I couldn’t believe it! I was mortified! “I would NEVER report anybody!” I said. “Don’t you believe in freedom of speech???” They had said all kinds of extremely mean things to me and I never gave a thought to reporting them! And I was saying the things I did because I was so hurt! Couldn’t they see that? I didn’t know how else to react, I had no mean things to say to them about their personal lives, I didn’t know how to get back at them, and that’s why I resorted to words like, “I hope you die!” and “Go to hell!” and “I hate you!” It was all I could think of, I just had so much anger in me. I don’t know if it was before or after Facts reported me, but even Hummy lost her temper and told me I was rude and mean. That hurt so much! I was the nice one there! Couldn’t she see that? Couldn’t she see the reason I said the things I did was because I was so hurt? But she couldn’t. She never said a word to anyone else no matter how nasty they were, but had no qualms about telling me off. She thought I was the rude and mean one, not any of the others. I couldn’t take it anymore. I knew this was it with these Tough Chicks. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but I know I left the board that day in tears, extremely upset.

Sammy soon contacted me on Messenger, saying that he was chided on the boards for not encouraging me to seek mental health support. “A friend would do that,” he was told. He said he told them he felt he was being a good friend. “But if you are hurting I’d like to help any way that I can,” he said.

I was too distraught to even answer. Sammy sent me an email when he hadn’t heard from me, asking to please let him know I was okay. When I was finally able to get hold of myself, I sent him a long email, basically telling him that I was not the one who needed help.

“I just don’t know what to do—I can’t talk to those women anymore,” I wrote. “Or if I ever do, something has to change. They say I need help, but I say THEY are the ones who need help. I’m not the one who came out of the blue and ripped apart someone’s weight loss story, telling her she had mental problems and an eating disorder. I’m not the one calling someone a frigid, selfish, lazy prude and saying her husband goes to hookers, and making fun of her doll collecting and her pictures, and trying to trip her up over her religion and laughing when she gets upset, and telling her she wears a kick me sign on her back for joining it, etc. I admit I haven’t been an angel but I really have tried to be nice, especially when I first came to the boards. I never dreamed I’d end up like this, swearing and so upset. It’s just not like me at all. I have tried to help people, I think I’ve been pretty straightforward with Fuschia regarding her concerns (i.e. insults) about my religion, because it’s a serious subject and I try to be sincere and truthful about it. And I know I went too far with the death thing to Fuschia; as I said, it all built up because they get me where they know it hurts, and at the time that was the only thing I could thing of to get where they hurt. And I did sincerely apologize for it, several times. But they wouldn’t let me forget it, continuing to bring it up, and that made me even madder, so I said it again (but not the heart attack thing to Fuschia again) because I was just so frustrated. It tried to be nice and it got me nowhere. Hummy calls me rude and mean, but overlooks everything Funnychick and the others have said…Gunshipowner/Colorado pioneer follows me onto a current board, asking me if I gave a bj yet, and she makes posts saying I’m jealous of her t*ts. She is a mother and a nurse! And they cut me down about my common-sense view on drugs, which I’ll never understand. But this is all child’s play compared to the stuff Funnychick has said about my religion. That is really crossing the line. I just get so upset, so sad thinking that these grown women with families and good jobs, some of whom claim to be religious, are like this. None of my real life friends or other online friends are like this. And then when they talked about reporting me, it was like the last straw. I just lost it. I would NEVER report anybody, and believe me I have had good reason to. The Terms of Service say no hurtful posts, and if what they all have said to me hasn’t been hurtful, I don’t know what is. I just don’t know what to do. I have put so much time and energy into them, growing to care about them, thinking I could say something to finally get through to them, finally help them understand where I’m coming from, and they continue to get worse and worse. I am just so hurt, and I know I shouldn’t be, but I am. As I have said, it would be different if they were teenage punks or trolls, but they’re not. That’s what makes this so frustrating for me. I tried so hard. I just can’t do this anymore.”

Sammy’s reply was very comforting and to the point. He told me that it appears my interaction with the Yahoo posting community is a source of great anxiety to me. “Your ability to achieve peace within yourself is more important than the rebukes and scorn of a group of people that consider hurting your feelings alternately as either a source of amusement, or your just desserts. Their ability to act in this way is fueled by the belief that you are not genuinely the person you portray yourself as, and if you are you deserve everything they can throw. Once you’ve been dehumanized by the mob, you don’t stand a chance, really. You know I am right.”

Sammy urged me to hang in there, and give the boards a rest for a while. “Don’t even peek in,” he said. “Your absence alone is grist for that mill, believe me. They’ll still be there after you’ve prioritized.”

I took his advice and stayed away from the bully boards. I wasn’t sure if I could ever go back. At least I still had our little email group with Pete, Dana, etc. That was so fun. But just a few days later, on August 26, pbrown mentioned a bachelor party he and his buddies were planning to attend, which led me to finding out about their views on strip clubs, and one can only guess where all this led. I was just astounded at their beliefs, even Dana’s. I knew we were all different, but I had always tried to put our differences aside and just have a good time with them. But this was too much. I tried to talk to them about it a little bit, but got nowhere. I knew I didn’t fit in. I cared about them all so much, so rather than say anything I might regret, I just quietly dropped out of the group and had a good cry.

As I said, August was a horrible month. Oh well, at least it could only get better. Or so I thought.

Chapter 25
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