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What do you think about this? I don't want it to happen again!
Online bullying, harrassment, etc


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#1 redjellybeans

Posted 21 November 2012 - 02:30 PM

Hi everybody,

Have you ever been a victim of malicious gossip and harrassment from people in your local area who have only met you once or twice, or maybe not even at all?

This happened to me when I was pregnant and trying to meet new people.  I started a group on FB sometime back, and it was a pretty okay experience.  I friended everybody who joined the group, just to get people excited and enthusiastic about this group.  I wanted people to feel included, and chatted to them and met them in public - even opened my home up to them.

I got onto this crusade I guess.  I didn't want any other mums to feel lonely in a new area.  I wanted to be a friend.  And sure enough, the group grew and grew.

But a few people joined who had been in the area sometime, and they had gripes with others in the group I started - to the point where they started to post negative material all over the group wall on FB.  I was told to avoid certain people, and basically found myself on the receiving end of their whingeing about people I didn't even know.  I found myself just zoning out when they said this and also attempted to change the subject of conversation, because I did not want to be associated with this sort of thing.  Unfortunately, these people were posting inappropriate comments and negative stuff on the group wall, so something had to be done.  By this stage, I had a number of people I had made admins, and together we decided to post a little note encouraging people to not fall into the trap of gossip, harrassment, etc.

The people who were doing this saw the notice on the group wall, and because they were only in touch with me as the founder, directed their vitriol at me.  They demanded to be removed from the group, etc.  And that was fine, it was their choice.  And that's where it should have ended.  Unfortunately though, it continued for them, to the point of them sending me abusive text messages on my phone, and even calling my home phone the day I returned home from giving birth and harrassing me over the phone.  I didn't know these people, but because they were annoyed that the group I started was responding to their posts by discouraging gossip, they took it out on me to that extreme.

A few other fallings out happened because people didn't like certain aspects of the group, so their displeasure was directed at me...again with relentless emails, text messages and gossip directed at me even in one case.  It's a small town, and I was told the ringleader had a bit of a reputation for this sort of thing.  I would get messages every few minutes.  Unrelenting.  I had just had a baby and was in tears, not knowing what to do or how to make it stop.  

So I pulled the sim card out of my phone and threw it out.  It was the only way I could stop it.  The offenders were blocked on FB, so couldn't get to me there either.

It was so upsetting for me, because I just retreated totally.  I didn't want any of the hate directed at me.  I cut off from the entire group and left altogether.  I just disappeared and as a result, lost a lot of friends (new friends I had made through the group) because they couldn't understand it.  But I just did not want to be associated with any toxicity at all.  I left the group in the capable hands of the admins, who unfortunately are not in touch with me anymore because I disappeared from them too.  It wasn't helped because I was being stalked online as well from this group.  That plus the phone calls and messages telling me everything I said or did was being monitored, etc, etc...it really made me just literally close the blinds and not come out.  

But yeah. It's an experience that really ruined it for me in this area - to the point where I won't go to the local shopping centre or accompany my husband grocery shopping because I have seen the trouble makers in public before since all of this happened, and it really intimidated me.  Nothing was said, but it just made me feel so distressed.

My close friends here have seen first hand how this experience really affected me - and sent me into a depression for awhile as well.  I was crying every day, and felt like my life was over.  And I was told that basically, I was the subject of bullying.

I guess after half a year of pretty much alienated in my own home (lucky for me I work from home!), and with all these no-go zones in my area, I'm really looking forward to a new life in a new state altogether where I know nobody.  But I am a social person and long to be connected again to local people in my area.  I just won't do it by setting up a group again.

Has anybody else had this experience before?  How do you get beyond it and how do you not let people get to you, so much so that you literally stop living and barricade yourself in your home??  I'm looking forward to a new start, but at the same time scared that I could come across people who like to make stories up just to stir trouble and create entertainment for them.  

It's really hard to not feel afraid that this will happen again.  But I really, really want to make friends in my new city.

How do I avoid this sort of thing??  I definitely don't think not having a life, and just barricading oneself in their home is healthy for one's wellbeing at all.  So how do you avoid this sort of thing happening?

Edited by redjellybeans, 21 November 2012 - 03:06 PM.


#2 Funwith3

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:15 PM

Wow that sounds seriously full on! Can I ask what the group you started was all about? Must be something quite emotional and close to people's hearts.

You know that constant unwanted attention, phone calls, door knocking, texting etc is considered stalking and harassment and can be reported to police? You can get restraining orders fairly easily if you feel that its necessary.

I assume you're off Facebook for a start? Facebook is vicious.

#3 Mousky

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:20 PM

Sounds like it turned into a police matter.

#4 girltribe4

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:25 PM

Sounds awful sad.gif

Maybe try a few playgroups in your new area , community centres tend to run playgroups and other mum/child activities .

Library story times can be a chance to meet other local mums or start up a conversation in a local playground with a friendly mum.

We moved in to a new area about a year ago and I had googled all the local facilities/playgroups prior to the move so I could get out and about meeting people .

#5 redjellybeans

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:27 PM

Hi guys,

It was just a social group and not a cause or anything like that.

It's a small town though, and unfortunately some people have nothing better to do with their time.

Thankfully, it didn't become a police matter, because I shut things down quickly.

It really upset me, but it was just the one call to my home number and thankfully, that didn't happen again.  The other incident was text messaging, that I ended the day it started, by cutting my sim card up.

I blocked the offenders on FB as well, and that removed the platform for them to get to me on.  

Because a number of the offenders knew where I lived though, I always felt uneasy.  Add to that the fact that it appeared a fake FB profile was set up, just so it could contact me with weird, cryptic messages and follow all of my 'likes', etc, it really rattled me as well.

But yes, very upsettting.  To go through an anxious last few months of pregnancy and the first few months with my newborn, and to have all that happen was hell.  Those who know me though put it down to small town syndrome.  It really was a case of a few people ruining it for me.  So happy for the three good friends I have here, who did look out for me.

The group still lives on as far as I know, and it has changed people's lives positively, because they have made great local friends through it.  I'm really happy about that.  But yeah, it's not easy starting something and having dissatisfaction directed at you, even when it's not your fault.  

It hurts though to know that people come to their own negative opinions though about me disappearing like that though.  I came across at the time as emotional and upset, but they didn't know the extent of what was really happening and the affect it was having on me.  

Not easy being bullied online.  And when they are locals doing it, it adds a new dimension to it.

I am on Facebook, because I have a lot of lovely friends old and new on there.  Most have known me for years, but all except say two or so are local.  I just retreated from the locals because of what happened, and the offenders told me that I couldn't trust anybody and it appeared that way because of the things they were saying to me.

I've learnt to keep Facebook to real friends and family, and to not shut things down quickly if somebody becomes stalkerish.

Edited by redjellybeans, 21 November 2012 - 04:35 PM.


#6 RCTP

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:27 PM

That sounds horrific and I don't blame you for shutting yourself away to escape from it.

What sort of sad cases would do that to someone??


Maybe stay away from the online thing in your new home. Try some face to face groups to meet people?
I know how hard it is as I am from Ireland with no family here and if you aren't currently out in the work place (I am on mat leave) it is hard to make more than a nodding acquaintance with people (and sometimes people are too snotty to even do that!).

Good luck in your new place.

#7 redjellybeans

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:30 PM

QUOTE (RCTP @ 21/11/2012, 05:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That sounds horrific and I don't blame you for shutting yourself away to escape from it.

What sort of sad cases would do that to someone??


Maybe stay away from the online thing in your new home. Try some face to face groups to meet people?
I know how hard it is as I am from Ireland with no family here and if you aren't currently out in the work place (I am on mat leave) it is hard to make more than a nodding acquaintance with people (and sometimes people are too snotty to even do that!).

Good luck in your new place.


Thanks so much and hope you're settling in well!  I can only imagine how hard it would be in a new country.

Yeah that's the thing.  This was a local social group that I set up.  I just used Facebook as the platform to set it up with.  

I've decided I definitely won't do a group again, and will stick to professional groups.  I'll meet people one-on-one.  

I'm in my 30's as well, so I wasn't expecting to have this sort of thing happen.

I've actually already began making some positive new contacts in the city I'm moving to, so pretty happy about that.

original.gif

#8 steppy

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:33 PM

This is why you should choose friends carefully.

#9 redjellybeans

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:39 PM

QUOTE (steppy @ 21/11/2012, 05:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This is why you should choose friends carefully.


Totally agree!

I was trying to be everybody's friend and was of the thinking that, "Nobody will hate me, because they will see that I'm genuine and doing a good thing in the community."

Unfortunately though, it doesn't stop it.  

I would not wish this situation on anybody else.  It's a horrible thing to act in such a way that causes another person to isolate themselves.  It really felt like I was being alienated. Some will say I chose that though, but I emotionally couldn't take it and had to retreat into my home pretty much.

The experience though won't stop me from being a friend.  It won't stop me reaching out to be a real friend to another person who is feeling sad, alienated and alone.

#10 SophieBear

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:44 PM

Wow OP, I'm so sorry it turned so badly for you.
I think the PP's advice of meeting people face to face.

All the best in your search for a social group. Those people who bullied you sound like very sad and pathetic individuals.

#11 redjellybeans

Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:57 PM

QUOTE (SophieBeagle @ 21/11/2012, 05:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Wow OP, I'm so sorry it turned so badly for you.
I think the PP's advice of meeting people face to face.

All the best in your search for a social group. Those people who bullied you sound like very sad and pathetic individuals.


Thanks!  I think I just came across some bad apples so to speak, but it's not the norm.  Most people aren't like that I don't think.

Definitely going to meet people one-on-one and not do any Facebook with new people I meet. original.gif

Cheers!

#12 Unatheowl

Posted 21 November 2012 - 06:08 PM

It's a shame that happened to you because you tried to do something nice for everyone.  People just suck sometimes.  It sounds like those people were troublemakers even before you arrived.  Don't let that put you off.  At least you had the initiative to begin the group and try unlike anyone else!

#13 Red Cabbage

Posted 21 November 2012 - 06:15 PM

If you are moving to a small town, take it slowly. In my experience the women who are quick off the mark trying to make friends with the new people in town are usually the ones you might like to give a miss

#14 HurryUpAlready

Posted 21 November 2012 - 06:16 PM

Nasty situation OP. Some people are so pathetic!!

How old is your baby now? I would definitely suggest joining a mother's group via your local council. A couple of girls in our MG have babies who are 3-4 months older than the other bubs, but they joined to meet people as they were new to the area. It worked a treat! We all get along well and enjoy our weekly catch ups with the babies, as well as the occasional night out without the kids!!

#15 redjellybeans

Posted 21 November 2012 - 06:16 PM

Thanks guys.

Yes Red Cabbage, that's a good point regarding those who are quick to want to meet those new to town.  I can see why it's good to give people like that a wide berth, in the event that they may be trouble.

#16 redjellybeans

Posted 21 November 2012 - 06:44 PM

QUOTE (HurryUpAlready @ 21/11/2012, 07:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Nasty situation OP. Some people are so pathetic!!

How old is your baby now? I would definitely suggest joining a mother's group via your local council. A couple of girls in our MG have babies who are 3-4 months older than the other bubs, but they joined to meet people as they were new to the area. It worked a treat! We all get along well and enjoy our weekly catch ups with the babies, as well as the occasional night out without the kids!!


Hi there!

He's almost eight months old.  Really appreciate that suggestion, so thank you! original.gif

So happy to hear that you've got a great mum's group!




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