An update on the privacy issue, and why I hate the internet

Not long ago I posted about the link to my blog being given out by somebody I’d trusted with that information. A few nights ago I decided to confront this person in a private message on the forum we’re both members of, and to my surprise she denied ever sharing the link, and forwarded a private message from another member, in which they said “this is what you’re after” and gave her the link.

I’ve given up any hope of ever feeling comfortable blogging about certain subjects now; these are people who know what I look like and where I live. People who know small aspects of my life but who would never be invited to read what is, in essence, my diary.

I don’t even understand why they’d want to read it. They have no connection to mental illness, as far as I know.

I chose to be anonymous because these are things I don’t tell anybody; not even my closest friends and family. I’ve purposely kept certain facts about myself a secret. I felt safe with my anonymity. I may have hundreds of views a day, but I was comfortable knowing those readers only know me as a faceless stranger on the internet. I don’t think I’m the only one out there who finds it easier to be honest when I can’t be identified.

After a bit of umming and aahing, I decided to push any BPD-related fears to the side and sent a PM to the person who passed the link on. I wasn’t hoping for much sympathy, but I can’t help but think the replies I received are typical of those who just don’t give the slightest damn about mental illness and the damage such small things can cause.

I sent:

***** may well believe otherwise; it was her choice to send me the PM.

It’s known that I write a blog. However, I’ve always stated that it’s NOT for anyone to see unless I give explicit permission; two people on ****** were trusted with the link. You weren’t one of them, so who gave it to you?

You may have been trying to be helpful, but I’m sure you can see why knowing the link has been given out would concern me a lot.

Their reply:

I responded with “What did I let slip? That I have a blog?

Why on earth would you be searching for something like that? I can’t help but find it beyond creepy that you’d actually Google something like that; something downright personal and which I’d said on **** that IS PRIVATE.

Have you given the link to anybody else?

I don’t think you quite understand how much trouble this could cause. “

Their response?

How hard is it for somebody to understand that passing on the link to something which is clearly very personal isn’t the right thing to do? Especially on a forum which has nothing to do with mental illness?

I don’t mind people finding this blog. I can’t stop anybody doing so. I’d like to think that basic human decency would overcome and they would realise that I probably wouldn’t want to have news of bulimia, breakdowns and my relationships shared on a site my friends read. Which my family read.

Obviously,  I have too much faith in others.

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57 Comments

  1. I know the temptation to shut it/yourself down may unbelievably difficult to ignore, but I hope you succeed & are able to continue to post freely. There are options, you could make it so that people have to have your permission to view your blog, which I appreciate will cut down on viewership, but will ensure that only the people you want to see it, see it.

    Good luck to you & please know that your blog is a wonderful resource of information & does HELP people. Try not to let a couple idiots ruin it for you!

    • Thank you much, Ceinwenn. I don’t plan to stop blogging or make it more private; if anything, I’m beginning to think that perhaps they may as well read it. I can’t stop it possibly reaching close friends and family, and nothing ever truly disappears on the internet, so heck… if they want to read it, they can go ahead. Who knows, perhaps one or two of the members who bullied me for being unable to work might read it and realise that the world isn’t that perfect place they believe it to be.

      Again thank you :) I feel much better for a rant, heh.

  2. Sorry to hear that others are not being cool about this sensitive place. My blog is also “private” or anonymous if you will. I have other online social outlets, but I like to keep them separate so some that I know directly in the real world won’t be an insensitive @(#^$(if you know what I mean). I never use filters or write crap about others so that’s not the point, but that fear can be some motivation for someone else searching and compromising your privacy in this space (not to say that it is right because it’s not). I hope you are able to sort this out and others give you respect and space. Best regards.

  3. I am still sadly stunned by some people’s cruelty and no regard for others feelings. Or their right to have something that is theirs Alone..

    I know exactly what you mean about being able to share so much more openly when the knowledge that no one can make any connections to your actual life. There is something to be said about writing/talking to a blank face.

    This was a betrayal of the biggest kind -The fact that ” Ms. Regards” (assuming its a chick cause chicks act like bitches) spent how ever amount of time focused on this tells me she is extremely immature,stupid, bored, and quite the trouble maker. Did I say she is stupid? Nothing else going on in her life so she creates things that cause pain in others. I so wish she was reading this. I see this as straight up harrassment because she knows what it is doing to you.Knew what she had done, albeit her denial just shows again her stupidity. I see this as something this “liittle girl” is doing to fill her hours up that she honestly has nothing better to do because her intelligence cannot provide something on its own. I’m sure she has to walked to one assignment to the next. So she stalks, causes trouble, looks for shallow and petty activities because she lacks the intelligence to be able to create something productive to do.

    The thing is with people like this is that they are dunb, as in stupid, brainless. There is no hope for that problem unlike with mental illnesses. There is hope for treatments and even perhaps some remissions.

    Please remembe this short sentance my friend when people like this get you down.
    Stupid, Ignorant, Dumb, IS FOREVER!!

    • I have no idea whether it’s a he or a she – that’s how much of a stranger I am to this person. I assume male just because of their way of posting on the forum but I may be way off the mark. I’ve never paid them any attention to be honest; they never struck me as someone I’d enjoy speaking to.

      It’s the denial which annoys me. I asked who they’ve given the link to, and they refuse to say. If I knew that, I’d know just how far it could reach. I’d prefer it if my friends didn’t read this before I was ready for them to.

      Thanks luv <3 I just needed to offload really. Depression and self-harm tend to rear their heads when I feel threatened.

      • I assumed a chick because of what I interepeted as snarky bitchiness. I too am no doubt off beat.

        The denial and expressing a tone like they are the one wronged in some weird way irriatates me too. The fact they ARE so stupid not seeing the real threats this could bring to your life in one way or another. This tells me they are either socio-paths and have zero conscious beccause they w=are seeing the possible threats but get kicks out it, OR, they are just so damn STUPID it’s not on their radar that what they did was harful and could continue to progressivily be harmful.

        Its really disturbing to me that they have this knowledge, and the fact that this person is a stranger freaks me out. I had missed that somehow in reading the history of this event.

        I don’t know how you keep yourself and what you journal safe without going private which I would miss.
        Its one thing sweetheart to be couregous by writing publicly, but I really worry about your protection.

        I also would not like this person)s) to be fed by you removing your blog. As in they would see it as a win.

        Have you thought about retitling, different email address even, and then just emailing a those you do want to have it to start. At least it might detour this person and they would get lost. I’m thinking outloud sweetie, So forgive me if lame ideas are spoken about.
        I want you to feel safe. We that love you, need you to be safe and to feel safe.

        I could just ring this persons; neck. That’s no threat, but it is a promise!!

        • I vote stupidity; sadly, unless people are willing to understand that when it comes to certain issues privacy is essential… this will keep happening. Everyone involved is a stranger; far more strangers to me than anyone commenting on this blog. The only thing they have in common with me is the town we live in; which is why I don’t understand why they’d even be interested enough to search for what I’ve written.

          I figure enough people will have seen it now (I now know of five people on that site who have the link, thanks to a lack of respect for my feelings) to make removing anything pointless. And you’re right; removing my blog would only give them a victory, even if it’s only in my head. If they really want to read about the times I purge or hurt myself… well, that’s up to them. I suppose all I can hope for is perhaps one of them will learn a little about mental illness. The ignorance displayed on that site is astounding; I’m tempted to link to posts made about suicide and depression, but it’s horrible reading. I sometimes think I live in the most intolerant town in the world.

          Safe to say, I don’t post on there anymore. I was a member since 2004, but the attitude of many members has convinced me that a forum is never worth crying about. I’ve been called a liar, and a fake. A benefit cheat. I’ve had my weight picked on. I’ve been called a druggie. Scum. Told to go back to ‘my own kind’ (whatever that means).

          Your ideas are never lame, luv <3 I don't think I'll hide anything; as I said, it's been seen now. At best, I hope I can make them feel very uncomfortable by pointing out how inappropriate their behaviour is.

          "I want you to feel safe. We that love you, need you to be safe and to feel safe."

          This made my lip wobble a bit! It's amazing how kind some people can be; it really shows that most out there are still good. More than good.

  4. I hate to be a wet blanket here, because I love reading your blog and I’d hate for you to make it private, but the person you were talking to is right. Nothing on the Internet is private, and everything is out there, for anyone to find, forever. My daughter learned this the hard way, having a conversation with someone she thought was private, only to have Sony send a transcript to me because it violated their TOS (she’s under 18, and needed parental permission to be on the site, which is how they knew to send it to me)

    The thing is, that’s sort of what I do for a living. Internet security-related stuff. If someone wants to find you, and they know what they’re doing and they’re dedicated, they’ll find you. The more you let out in other forums, the less the person looking has to know what they’re doing in order to find you. When you put keywords in an entry you write here, for example, Google picks up those same key words (amongst other things) so if someone is searching on those terms there, your blog entry will come up.

    Again, sorry to be the wet blanket, but the misconception that we are all anonymous on the Internet is just that: a misconception. With enough time and motivation, anyone can be found. The less specifics you give out, the harder it is, especially for someone who doesn’t know you personally, but if you mention in a forum any of the things you’ve shared here, figuring out the two online personas are connected isn’t impossible.

    Despite knowing that full well, I got caught awhile ago… had my own version of an Internet stalker. He threatened to print out everything I wrote and show it to my daughter when she turned 18. I decided that since what I was doing was counseling young pregnant, advising them that they do not have the right to shut their children’s fathers out of their lives just because they were pissed… that I could live with my D reading that. That’s how I judge everything I write now, though, even here… I ask myself how I would feel if she read it. So far, the answer is always “I’m OK with that”. I’d prefer it if she didn’t, but if she does, I am being honest and that’s OK.

    I’m sorry that people can be schmucks.

    • The thing is, I have no problem with anybody finding this blog; if they want to search for it then it may be a little weird if they’re strangers, but that’s up to them and I can’t stop them. I also can’t stop anybody making connections if they wish to. The problem I have is that they passed the link on, when I’d specifically said that privacy was important to me. If I found something online which related to someone I hardly even know but which was obviously dealing with some sensitive issues, I’d at least ask that person before passing the link on to yet another stranger.

      Does that make sense?

      • Makes total sense to me and that is my point too. Of course we know nothing we write is private. I think the point is that when asked to not pass a link, info, phone number, it could be anything that a person wishes to keep as private as possible. The point is someone was asked not share, not to pass it forward. What is reasonable and sensitive about that?
        That it is about not advertiizing or passing it around the circle in my mind.

        Its the same thing in my mind of asking someone not to share a medical diagnosis with others that they may be privy to but its told anyway. Small people elvating themselves by the use of others business.

        Sorry for jumping on the soapbox here. It angers me.

  5. I’m with you. Three people in real life know where my blog is, should they wish to find it. This makes me feel uncomfortable and I wish I had been more careful. Trust is a huge issue, especially with BPD as a complication, I think mainly because we trust people too much and never bloody learn until we don’t trust them at all!!! Grrrrrrr!!
    On the other side of things we have done way too much work in our wonderful spaces to shut our blogs down and start again.
    Take care xoxox

    • Thanks Carrie! xoxo

      I do wish I’d been more careful, but I always knew it would be found one day. I just wish it had been friends who had found it, not total strangers to me. I purposely didn’t speak often about my ‘real’ life – I even created a fake, happy persona – because having BPD makes it so hard to deal with critisism and judgement. I used to take the abuse on that forum because I didn’t believe I could get better… now I want at least small amount of recovery.

      I assume that if they’re willing to Google me, they should at least wonder what BPD is. If they read about that and still sent the link on… well. It tells me all I need to know about that person.

  6. Yet another reason I do not care much for humankind. I am sorry that these fools took it upon them selves to share something that was not theirs to share. I do hope that you will continue to blog here I so enjoy your insight.

  7. Sadly, you do have to much faith in others. Too many people really do believe this is all just a game.

    For my blog I decided to invite friends and extended family to read it, despite the fact I was very worried about sharing my problems with depression. In general it has been a liberating experience allowing them to know. It’s also had its surprises – most of friends follow the blog, virtually none of my extended family do. Go figure.

    That said, I don’t make it easy to figure out who I am. I still want a certain level of privacy. I doubt it really exists, though.

    • Love from coastal Maine, where the sun finally came out today! I am living on a fixed income, have nothing anywhere of any value. For me, being open is more a big deal than being private; most people know that I am an attention-hound, anyway. All that being said, I still shred any medical bills, correspondence, bank paperwork I don’t have to keep. My blog has my name right on it, so all I can say is, sadly, you may have to toughen up, as far as personal blog entries go. As some of your commenters have said, the second best strategy would be to rename the blog, change your user name, and make personal connections with the readers you want reading your stuff, with the rest left in the dark. Whatever you decide, know that the posts you write are important, to me and to all your readers. Sorry you have to go through this, and I hope it will all just ease out for you. I am sending you lots of love, and good vibes. Namaste, my friend.

      • Yay for the sun! We have sun as well today; not too warm, which suits me fine.

        Thank you so much for the support and advice; I was angry and BPD-ing when I wrote this post, and I didn’t expect anyone to actual get it. I expected critisism for being too sensitive. Sometimes these things just need to come out though; I figure it’s better to write and annoy people than go and cut myself or purge.

        As I said to someone else… if they want to read it, they can read it. If it gets to my family or friends, then I’ll have to deal with that when it comes, because I know this helps me. Namaste, my dear <3

    • I purposely decided not to invite close friends because I write about them; if I knew they were reading it, I wouldn’t feel able to get advice on how they’ve acted or things they’ve done, or even just feel able to express my gratitude for having friends. It’d feel awkward. Even my best friend doesn’t know everything about me, and I feel happy keeping it that way.

      Sadly, trust never seems to work out right for me. I inevitably trust the wrong people. I try to keep in mind that most people are essentially good, but I’m beginning to question that.

      I know the privacy isn’t really there, but like you I tried to make it difficult to figure out who I am. I’d love to know what they could possibly have Googled to find me.

  8. I totally know where you are coming from. I can only write so openly and candidly because I know that no-one I ‘know’ will be reading it – otherwise I would have to regulate what I post, wonder how it will be taken, who would get to know about it. I really feel for you but don’t let the b*stards get you down. xxxxx

  9. People use the “it’s not private if it’s on the internet” theory as an excuse to be mean and petty. This is the same kind of person that would private show letters to others, if we back in that era. I’m so sorry this happened to you. But like the others say don’t let it keep you down or shut you up. Big hug.

  10. I have problems and issues with privacy and trust in real life and on the internet as well. I have a friend who has a WordPress blog the same as I do except she trusts no one not even me to read it, it’s all password protected. I let her as well as others read my blog. I feel that it’s part of my writing but it’s also showing who I am to people, which most people don’t see or judge rather harshly. Privacy and trust are two reasons I have problems keeping a regular update on my blog. Fortunately, my family is technically challenged and would have no idea what WordPress is or what a blog is. They have a hard time understanding Facebook and Twitter. My friends, however, I find out real quick who I can trust and who I can’t trust with my feelings, emotions, and why I react the way I do to situations/people,etc. It’s a very conscious and very pointed decision for me to write in my blog at any point in time. I have followed your situation with your blog and totally understand where you’re coming from.

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  12. I am so sorry to hear of your betrayal. I experienced the very same thing and actually stopped blogging for a while. My dear therapist suggested I continue because it was one that was actually mine and was not threatened by disability and potential homelessness. She suggested I make it private, which I did for a while and then somewhere in my injured brain I got fed up with those who betrayed me and said, “The hell with them” and went back to writing publicly.

    I am of the firm belief something sacred happens when we tell our stories.

    I am grateful for your blog and I too write FAR better anonymously than when people know me. I like that I can offer my heart and support but still stay safe too. I have NEVER shared my blog with family or those close to me…but still a betrayal did happen…

    I guess I’m getting sort of crotchety in my mid-40′s! The person or persons who shared my blog without my consent are no longer in my life. Period. End of story. If anyone reads something about themselves they don’t like (although I leave pretty much everything anonymous), well then, “If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn’t, it wasn’t intended for you in the first place!” – a quote from Ray Hunt, a remarkable horseman. I loved his wry, straight-to-the-point view on life and people.

    Anyway, I hope you continue to do what works for YOU. I had thought of starting a new blog but my gosh, why do I have to go through the difficult process of starting over when it wasn’t my error in judgment in the first place.

    You’ve got my support! Been there…and I’m still here. :)

    Blessings, Love & Peace,
    RH

    • “then somewhere in my injured brain I got fed up with those who betrayed me and said, “The hell with them” and went back to writing publicly.”

      This is exactly how I feel now. As you say, it’s not MY error in judgement, so why should I let them get me down? Why should I undo the hard work I’ve done? The privacy issue is a difficult one; no, nothing on the internet is private, but there’s such a thing as human decency. If the person had just said “hey, I found your blog, okay if I pass the link on?” it would have been a none-issue.

      Thanks for the support RH; I really appreciate you guys for helping me not to freak out over this :)

      Love right back.

      • I am so thrilled to see the support you have received here, what a hot – and – unfortunately common topic.

        What I learned quickly with these folks is if they violate trust once, they’ll do it again. Staggering! As they say, “some people get it, and some people don’t want to get it.”

        It can take a lifetime to build trust and just seconds to break it. There are trustworthy people in this world, I have found they are few and far between, but they’re people of their own personal integrity who would NEVER cross that line.

        I completely agree, “if the person had just said, ‘hey, I found your blog, okay if I pass the link on?’ it would have been a none-issue.”

        I am grateful you continue to blog all the same. Good for you!! :)

  13. No, you don’t have too much faith in others. Some people are just ignorant and don’t think about what their actions do to other people. If this person actually gave a damn about other people then they would have mesaged you themselves to say “did you know you can be found through google?” rather than just being the bitch that they’re being. Whoever they are, they’re not worth the time of day.

    ((((love & hugs))))

  14. I totally understand, my best friend is the same way. I try my best to respect her wishes, and even if I come across something that she may not want to be seen by me or others that she knows, I don’t spread her link to everyone I know. It’s highly rude, and I’d want someone to respect my feelings and wishes too. I’m sorry people suck so badly half the time.

  15. I try to keep my blog anonymous as well, but we have to understand that we’re running a risk of being discovered by posting on the internet. For me, it’s worth it. I get why you’re probably feeling afraid and upset right now, but maybe this won’t be a really huge deal in the long run? People will be dishonest and disingenuous, but that’s not something YOU can control. Thinking of you. xoxox

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