Growing up as one of 4 kids I learned a lot of good information from encounters with my siblings and mom playing referee. Even when we were not getting into it with each other, mom always had wisdom she shared with us as we went through life thinking we were invincible.
One of my favorite sayings of my mother came usually during long trips in the car on vacation, or when we were all in various places of time out throughout the house because of some squabble that drove her to her breaking point. Every parent that has 2 or more offspring has said it at some point, or will one day. It starts with one child poking at another:
Child A: “MOM!!!! He touched me!”
Mom to Child B: “Stop touching your sister.”
Child B: “MOM!!! She touched me!!”
Mom to Child A: “Stop touching your brother.”
Child A: “MOM!!!! He touched me again!”
Mom to Child B: “I mean it, stop touching your sister.”
Child B: “MOM!!!!! She touched me!”
Mom to Child A & B: “If I have to say it again I’m going to be touching both of you with a paddle, now stop it!”
Child A: “MOM!!!!! He’s looking at me!”
Child B: “She was looking at me first!”
Mom to Child B: “You wouldn’t know she was looking at you if you weren’t looking at her! Stop looking at her and you won’t know she is looking at you.”
Sound familiar? It rarely ended there but you get the idea. You would never have known your sister was looking at you if you had not bothered to look at her.
The same holds true in today’s world of social media. And despite growing up, getting older, maturity doesn’t come with age. Some people just have to poke and poke and poke again. They cannot walk past a puddle without grabbing a stick and stirring it. And we’re ALL guilty of this at one time or another. I have a former family member that I have, on occasion, enjoyed stirring that puddle. Sometimes I just cannot help myself. A former friend too, we both enjoy poking at each other. But sometimes those pokes can become direct attacks, and grow into Fatal Attraction style behavior, the stuff of bunny boilers.
I’m kind of an ‘out there’ person. I have this blog, my spiritual journey blog, and one for my direct sales business. In the past I posted blogs on the MySpace account I had. I love writing. I’m a social media addict using Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, GetGlue and others. I have never been one of those people that was all private about their life and I certainly don’t fear the boogie man. I rather openly share my thoughts and opinions over the Internet. Heck I’ve even done some nude photos over the years, professional, tasteful ones, that were on a website. Because of this very open way of life there is no aspiration of running for a political office. Though if I did I’d just stick it all there myself before the haters could do it for me. I don’t take the haters seriously when they have left unkind remarks, their opinions are not relevant to me whatsoever.
In the past year I’ve had to deal with being cyber stirred by several individuals. It goes with being so open. Most are pretty harmless, if you ignore them, they move on to someone else. Reality, those aren’t truly stalkers, just shit stirrers. But I’ve dealt with one individual that I am starting to question their need for mental help. It began when I posted a video on Youtube at Christmas time, and got up one day to a really snide remark about someone in the video. I was able to backtrack through the ID and some Google searches and discovered who it was and after asking the person targeted by the remark learned there was a love triangle issue going on there. Said target moved on to better things, leaving the triangle. But the commenting person could not. They kept up a constant flow of comments on things, texts to the target, voice mails, even having friends text and leave voice mails. Oh and they tweeted nasty things. And yes, the target and I launched a few return remarks. I can be less than kind when provoked. I know, you are shocked!
After a while it just got old, and my advice to the target was that of my mother’s, don’t look and you won’t know if you are being talked about. For the most part this worked, though the harassing party would go through spurts and send texts or have someone else do it, and a few other things. Thankfully the target continued to ignore the attacks and they’d fade away again. But what do you do when they start leaving comments on your public spaces, commenting ‘at’ you on Twitter, or leaving very unkind comments on your pinboards on Pinterest? I am of the opinion that when you are cruising life’s highway, enjoying your life and minding your own business and someone starts this sort of behavior, again, that they are stalkers. Cyber bullies. They need help only a professional can provide.
When someone has to go in search of you to find you and start following you, means they are not only “looking” at you but they are obsessed. They are stalking you. To seek you out, watch what you pin or post, only to comment on it takes effort on their part. They don’t just log in one day and accidentally start to follow and comment on someone’s Twitter account or Pinterest boards. That is purposeful, deliberate and frankly does indeed make one a stalker.
The target in this case took my advice sometime back and saved everything. Every text, every email notification of a comment left (those are nice as they usually include the comment itself so you have it as evidence even once the stalker removes the comment), screen shots of the actual comments or posts whenever possible, email notifications that the stalker is now following on Twitter, or requested to be a ‘friend’ on Facebook. Keeping these items is very important for documenting the stalker’s behavior and proving that there is indeed a case to be made should you need to file charges. Most people are unaware there is such a thing as electronic harassment, cyber stalking etc. It can land someone in jail.
If you think you are the victim of a stalker, document it! Keep screen shots, texts, IM’s, friend requests. Never delete anything that might help establish a pattern that can later be used.
In my case, I know from 28 years in Corporate America that employers are getting more and more picky about what their employees do outside of the office. They are asking to see Facebook pages, following their employees Twitter accounts etc., looking for anything that would reflect badly on not only the person they employee but the company as well. I know of a number of folks who have been passed over for jobs, and even been fired for “behavior unbecoming”. And I cannot imagine too many employers willing to hire someone who is proven to be a cyber stalker. So, CYA folks – cover your ass. Keep documentation if you think you are being targeted, and then don’t be afraid if need be to file charges. Sometimes, it is the only thing that works.
If it isn’t truly stalking, just keep in mind, unless the stuff is being posted on your ‘spaces’, if you don’t look, you won’t know what they think or are saying about you, and it won’t matter. They only make themselves look bad.