You might be obsessive...

bloobirdJune 30, 2008

If you've ever checked a thread more than three times in one day to see if anyone has responded to your post...

If you've ever interrupted what someone else in your home was doing so you could read them a post...

If you've ever got up in the middle of the night to write post because suddenly you've thought of a brilliant reply that just-can't-wait...(you get a pass on that one if you're a true insomniac)

If you've ever posted to the same thread under more than one ID so you could agree with yourself...

(Or worse) If you've ever posted to the same thread under more than one ID so you could argue with yourself...

And number one?

If you've ever wasted more than 15 minutes of your life wading through html code reading ISP numbers...(blush)

Folks, this forum is dedicated to the discussion of the most important thing in the world; our families. It's only natural, as the topics are so near and dear to our hearts, that we are going to be impassioned and opinionated. It's JMHO, but on an anonymous forum like this, it's not WHO you say you are, but WHAT you say that's important. Still, the multiple IDs are becoming a major distraction to the conversation. How about if, as of today, everyone picks one (and only one) ID to use on this forum and sticks with it? You can still be whoever you want all over GW, but on the parents forum, you agree to post under only one ID.

I'll go first: Hi everyone. I'm bloobird.

Okay everybody, this is the part where you say "Hi bloobird..."

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I am the one and only lostmama. No fake names, no other identities, no arguing with myself.

I do not even know how to check ISP addresses nor would I want to.

I have often thought that some of the replies - especially the ones that attack parents for the situation they are in sound like they are written by the same person or persons.

I agree with bloobird and thank her for the suggestion.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 4:47PM
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I didn't have time to respond this morning when I first saw your post. I like your sense of humor. :-)

About your suggestion, I don't know how much thought you gave to the possible responses?

Those who don't have multiple identities have no need to respond because they weren't doing it to begin with.

Those who are doing it but no one but you (and others like me who are observant and are armed with ISP information) knows yet --- those people won't say anything because if they do, then they'd be confessing that they WERE doing that. And so far they haven't yet been outed. So why would they confess by agreeing to post under one identity?

Then there are those who are doing it under multiple identities and have been outed. Chances are that they aren't going to confirm what we know by agreeing to post under one name. Or alternatively, they could agree to post under one name and each of their names would agree to that. Then someone who spots it would have to decide whether to out them or not.

Some who decide to post under multiple names in the future may use different ISPs for each name so that they will be harder to catch.

Agreeing to posting under one name is like pleading guilty unless you have truly never done it, like lostmama.

The worst perpetrators are unlikely to stick to only one name because of their original reason for doing it. The worst perpetrators do it because they enjoy doing it. They do it for their own fun. To get people going. To deceive people. They enjoy putting one over on someone else. They never stop doing it.

Think about how there was Cindylouwho complaining about her terrible MIL with her long and detailed story. Then along comes magicgran who gives the even longer history of the role of women in America inspired by Cindylouwho's MIL and the different perspectives over the years from her allegedly ninety plus year viewpoint as a ninety something computer using woman. Responding to herself with her very long post that must have taken her some time to think about and type up. Responding as magicgran to her own cindylou MIL story. Then magicgran in recent days provides more details from her life in response to someone writing about disabilities. Who is willing to challenge her on that point and come out looking like a big meanie? The other identity, Forms, has not been around lately but I well remember her pride in her own accomplishments, how she has life by the tail (my words, not hers), the glamorous job, the alcoholic ex, the almost grown kids, the fierce independence, the perfect life. So you truly think that this troll has never done this before and that she is going to stop because you asked that it stop?

I jumped in as amomymous because I knew that multiple names were being used in the Parents Forum before anniebal ever thought of being Becky. I thought it was unfair that she was getting so much heat, especially by those who were also using multiple names. I had stopped using my past name because someone stalks me. I hadn't been writing any posts. But I felt compelled to post again because of what was happening. So chances are that I will continue to use "amomymous" as my only name due to the circumstances in which I find myself. I don't want to use my original name.

I don't think that Anniebal ever had done it before and I doubt she will ever do it again. But the others? The threesome? I believe that she/he/they will continue to do it.

I don't know why some do it as there seems to be no reason, no benefit to them. I think that some aren't doing it to hurt anyone or to put anything over on anyone. I hope that's not why they have multiple names. But for others who do it, I think it is a malicious form of fun for them. They can feel superior having their private knowledge, that they put one over on the rest, and that they can attack someone else from any position that they create. They can change the circumstances to back up any argument. They can make themselves appear pitiful and deserving of sympathy. They can make the circumstances of their life outrageous or tragic. They are not limited by the truth. For them it is a form of sport.

I found a link on Wikipedia that talks about Trolls on the internet. Some might enjoy reading it. I'll provide it below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Troll (Internet) on Wikipedia

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 8:16PM
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Thanks for a great post.,

Now- here is my question, how can I locate ISP addresses?

As I have nothing to hide- I have no fear of anyone looking up my lostmama name and ISP- there is only one me and one ISP. I have never been multiple people- do not have multiple personalities or find pleasure in arguing with myself.

I think it would be informative for others to know how to do this- can you please inform us how it is done??

I have no idea why people would chose to post with a number of names. It makes no sense.

If everyone knew how to find the ISP addresses then the guilty would be IDed and perhaps stopped in their tracks.


    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 9:01PM
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Actually, I didn't expect people to sign on the dotted line and "out" themselves. I just wanted them to think, and hopefully, tone it down. It's not hard to save one ID for a specific forum.

When you start looking at source code, you realize just how long some folks have been playing doubles and threesome. (there are more than one) That's why the "obsessive" list includes the stuff that it does. After a fun filled evening moving furnituire around in anticipation of my Grandson's visit, I had to roll a piano out of the spare room and set up a bed, I was physically tired but mentally wide awake. (Strenous exercise will do that, ya know)

So, I fiddled around with the search on my machine, and I can now buzz through any topic, no matter how long, and pick out the multiples in less than 3 minutes. But then, what's the point? I don't intend to make "outing" people my new hobby; I'd rather read what people have to say than try to analyze them. (though some people's choices of alternate IDs is pretty interesting - LOL)

The thing is, I remember years ago when another very popular bulletin board style forum had a bad case of multiple personality disorder. It got to be such a magnet for malicious, hateful trolling that the web site owner re-worked the code so that the ISP for every poster was shown right there on the post. When people started resorting to masking sites, those were blocked.

The "multiples" fell off overnight, but the thing is, so did the fascinating, impasioned conversations and eventually most of the traffic to the site. With the exception of people who post deliberately trying to cause trouble, I think most multiple posting IDs do it because they either want to show a different "side" of themselves and are worried about "harming" the online personae that others are familiar with, or they are not confidant that what they have written will be given the consideration it deserves. So they "stack" the deck so to speak, by agreeing with themselves, or, (and I have to admit, the most interesting), they post from different sides of the same discussion. MOL "arguing" with themself, and usually bringing up some amazing insights into their original argument. (Classic case: Cindy and Magic Gran, who were posting completely different viewpoints, both equally well reasoned and defended.) That translates to: Good writer, great read. It becomes less a game of "how can I pull the wool over their eyes" than an exercise in "how well can I argue this POV?" Some folks are born debaters, some ain't.

I hope we don't see anyone disappear, just perhaps have enough confidence in themselves to choose one "person" and stick to it. When they want to be the devil's advocate, they can always say something like "Of course, if I were this or that, I would ..."

Having multiple personalities is against the rules, but mostly it's just a matter of being polite. We have so many Southern Belles here we could hold a cotillion. ;^) I'm hoping the gracious good manners that are the rule rather than the exception in that part of the country will lead them to do the right thing and form a long term, monogamous relationship with one ID.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 9:40PM
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My feeling about the cindylou/magicgran/forms type of multiple identities isn't as positive as yours is. When I discuss the issue of estrangement on the GW Parents Forum, I have some trust that the people that I am talking with are telling true stories, not fictions. I offer my opinion and personal experience. They offer theirs. On goes the discussion. I don't come here for the entertainment. Good writing is appreciated but not so much that fiction is preferable to telling the truth about ourselves.

I don't feel okay with playing in someone's playground of fiction. Unless they tell me that I am in their fictional playground and give me the choice of whether I want to play or not. I am irritated to learn that cindylou and magicgran and forms are three stories from one person. I have no clue what that person's real story is and now, even if that person told their story, I wouldn't know what to believe and I don't care as much because he/she/they have deceived me. She lied about herself at least three times that I know of and she has lied at length. She has led me to believe something that was not true. She has not given a reason. She has not apologized and I feel sure that she does not feel apologetic.

Years ago I was part of a fun group that did role playing. We made up silly personas about ourselves. (I was the ghost.) I made up a website for the group. The roles were fantastical. We all knew, or thought we knew, the real truth about each other. Then one of the group, the funniest one, told us she had a brain tumor. We were all devastated. I went out and bought things to create a special gift for her that I sent. Then, it became increasingly apparent that it was all a lie. We didn't know anything about the real person who was writing. She never was who she said she was and there was no brain tumor. It was all about her entertainment, about being the center of attention, about her spinning out elaborate fantasies. We would have liked her without the elaborate tales of what she had done. She led us to believe a lie and then made the lie worse with the brain tumor story. I was outraged. I never did find out who she really was although I tried.

Years before that I was on a discussion board similar to the GW Parents Forum. There was a woman who disagreed with me about some things. So she would create another identity to debate with me. She used details from my life in her own fictional persona. Someone else caught on the first time and outed her. She continued in the group. I met her in person once after that first deception and she was a charming woman, competent in her profession and smart. But she did the same thing two more times after that, even though she had met me in person and we had gotten along well. I have absolutely no idea why she did this.

In a discussion forum such as the ones on Gardenweb, it is inappropriate to create fictional stories and present them as real in threads where people are sharing the true stories of their lives. No matter how good the writing is. No matter how entertaining.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 9:20AM
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I use the Firefox browser. The ISP's are in the source code of each browser window that you are on. On Firefox I can see the source code for each window by going to the "View" menu at the top of my browser window and selecting "Page Source". Then a separate window pops up that is composed entirely of html code. This is hard to look at. It looks like gibberish to most people who don't do anything with html. Within that code are the ISP numbers of the visitors to these pages. To find names or ISP numbers I can use the "Find in this Page" command which is in my "Edit" menu. The names and the ISP numbers are not next to each other. They are separated by about 14 lines of code. So you might find that this isn't much fun to do and is confusing. If you don't match up the right ISP with the right name, you could come to the wrong conclusion about someone. If you find the source code page and look at it, you will see what I mean.

If you are using another browser, such as Internet Explorer, the same capabilities are in there but you would have to look through your browser menus for the commands that you would select. I haven't used I.E. for years so can't remember where they are or how they read.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 9:41AM
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I have an addition to your list of criteria for being obsessive. :-)

You might be obsessive . . .

if you set up a database of ISP numbers, member names, and member profile information.

No. I haven't done that. Yet. :-)

Since it occurred to me, it must have occurred to you. Just curious. Did you? Do it? That's really a rhetorical question but you can answer if you want to. :-)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 11:22AM
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While I do have an exceptional memory, it's not really photographic, so just to keep things straight, I had a list going in notepad until I finished searching a page. I didn't bother to save it because it only takes a few minutes to generate another.

I also diidn't check the member profile info, though now that you mention it, knowing when someone started a second or third ID would be an interesting glimpse into their personality. Were they being stalked with their original ID? Did they feel pressured because they thought they were loosing an argument? Lots of things to speculate about, but geeze, DH will be home tomorrow night and the adorable Grandson will be here the day after, so I'm a tad busy. :^)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 3:01PM
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What they have in their Clippings folder can be interesting too as well as who they have affections for, whom they defend, and whether, based on a reasonable conclusion in some instances that they use other names, other names do or don't turn up for them on their ISP. :-)

You are right that there are lots of things to speculate about. I have spent far too much time on this since learning about the information available. There are more fun and worthwhile things to do and this is a distraction from life. Why should I care other than the issue of being stalked? And the issue of being led down the garden path by fiction writers. Thinking of it that way, yes, I do care but it would be better for me if I let it go and didn't think about it so much.

I must wrench myself away from this distraction.

I do believe that the person who has stalked me has found Gardenweb and has found my posts. The person that I suspect has posted under more than one name. The ISP is the same for all of the names that they've used but the ISP is different from the one that they usually use elsewhere. So I can't be 100% sure but I am about 95% sure that it is that person. That person has not been posting lately but I have to assume that they come here and read the threads and look for my postings.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 3:38PM
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Good point about the clippings. I make no secret of the fact that I'm a sucker for a well written, well reasoned post, no matter who writes it. Considering that i didn't start looking at ISPs until the "becky" posts, it is funny that all four of the clippings I thought were worth saving were in fact, written by the same person. (At least you can say I'm consistant.)

But then, looking back over them, each one was saved for a different reason; this from Cindy: "The therapist said:

"Someday your mother will, WILL, treat your children just like she treats you and just like she treats your wife (me). Maybe you are willing to put up with it for yourself, maybe you think your wife should be the 'bigger person' and just take her antics, but one day if you permit this relationship to go on as always, someday, that will be your child she's screaming at, crying to, manipulating, lying about, punishing, running about recruiting other family members to gang up on, shaming, guilting, blaming, etc... Your mother WILL treat your children just like she treats you AT BEST, and like she treats your wife at worst; she cannot help herself, she does not know any better way to act. And YOU, daddy, YOU will have set your child up for it." That IS true, no matter who wrote it or why.

Forms advice about how using an inheritance to keep your adult children "in line" and doing what you want can backfire is also true. And I remember being so impressed with this: "it's better to let go gracefully, than to make your son push you away so hard, you fall off the edge of his life.", that I likened it to a "brick between the eyes".

The second post by Cindy very much mirrored my own philosophy concerning an adult child who wishes to break contact. And the last post I clipped, the first one by MagicGran, well, I doubt I was the only one who found her charming. the insights s/he offered actually opened my eyes to things about my MIL, and even my Mother. We are not estranged, BTW. I'm actually pretty close to both of them, but I'd not thought much about how they look at life. It was an eye opening post then, and to me, it still is. There are people who have posted under multiple IDs simply for the purpose of adding a "me too", and then we have the author of the forms/cindy/magicgran posts who manages to say something intelligent and insightful no matter what character they happen to be posting as.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 11:11PM
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Good morning! Yesterday I took myself away from this computer and went out and did garden things for a change. I have weeds that are out there eating my yard. Big weeds. Like the Feed-Me plant in that movie that screams, "Feed Me! Feed Me!" I am using a sturdy shovel to dig them out. I hope to get more dug out today.

I enjoyed reading your response today. I went and read the Cindy post that you said mirrored your own philosophy concerning an adult child who wishes to break away. And I read your last sentence and statement about the suthor of forms/cindy/magicgran and I thought that was almost hilarious. That made me smile and almost laugh out loud. Not that I am laughing AT you. I am not laughing at you. It just brought an additional level of insight into you that I wouldn't have had. And made me see the gulf that would exist between us on these issues at this point in time.

So I am not going to try to change your mind about anything.

Myself, I see the forms/cindy/magicgran posts in a different way. I see that the person who writes them is indeed intelligent. Very intelligent. But insightful? In some ways yes. In other ways not at all. In other ways clueless. Cold, uncompassionate, and clueless.

When someone has walked the same path in the same shoes as someone else, it makes all the difference in the world. I do not get the sense that the forms/cindy/magicgran poster has experienced what some of the mothers on these threads have experienced. I do get that this poster believes that she is different. That this will never happen to her and if it does, she will handle it better, much better than these women whom she looks down on. The thing is that maybe she would handle it better. Maybe she is someone who detaches easily from others. Maybe she experiences feeling differently. Maybe she just has no clue because she has never walked in these shoes. So she assumes that she knows the answers and that these other women don't. There is nothing in her first magicgran post, marvelous as it was, that indicated that she had a clue how these mothers in the current day feel about losing their grown child. She has no empathy for them. I see not an ounce of empathy.

She is smart but not the most compassionate person on the block. Maybe she can even "get" some things intellectually but it doesn't reach her heart. She talks from the head, not from the heart and gut. Whether she is capable of "getting it" is another story. I can't tell whether she would "get it" if it happened to her. The reason I can't tell is because many years ago I thought that I had answers that I didn't have. I thought that certain things would never happen to me. I didn't have as much empathy for people as I have now. So it may be that some day life will teach forms/cindy/magicgran some things that life has taught me. If she is capable of learning these things and life gives her the unfortunate "opportunity", she might learn these things. But there are people who will never have empathy and can't have empathy. No matter what they see in life or what they experience. She may be so smart and so convinced of her absolute intelligence and ability that she will never "get it".

I agree that she is intelligent intellectually, so intelligent that she outfoxes herself and assumes that she knows far more about people than she really knows. There is a naiveness there but it is a cruel naiveness, the kind of naiveness where someone goes and does cruel things to others because they have no clue, due to their inability to walk in another's shoes, that they are being cruel. She demonstrates that kind of cruel naiveness. Oddly enough I have wondered if she is in the mental health field or some other field where her ability to research and understand how people think without it actually reaching her heart helps her in her work. I hope she isn't in the mental health field although, if she is, she wouldn't be the first mental health professional who had more intellect than heart.

I wouldn't wish anything unfortunate on anyone but sometimes when I see someone behaving this way, I would wish that they could see where they are missing the mark.

When mothers come here and say that they never would have believed that this could happen to them and they share their stories, sometimes they used to think the same way that you and forms and cindylou think. Chances are that they would have agreed with you and forms if you had known them before this ever happened to them.

Once upon a time I had a very different idea of what led to estrangement too, what caused it, how possible it was. I never gave any thought as to what I would do because it wouldn't happen to me. It wasn't possible. It was especially not possible for a whole number of reasons. Estrangement would have made no sense. That was back when I was naive although, fortunately, I wasn't naive in a cruel way.

I find some people's naiveness cruel because they don't have to come here to lecture women who are experiencing this pain. For some reason known (or not known) only to them, they come here and tell other women what they should feel, how they should think, what they would do if it happened to them (and it hasn't happened to them), what they are doing wrong, and what is wrong with them.

I would give these people more credibility if they came here after having had the same precise thing happen to them and they spoke with the voice of experience. Someone who is mad at their difficult MIL or mother and then comes here and takes out their anger at their difficult MIL or mother on someone else's mother who may be nothing like their MIL or mother is displacing their anger. They have nothing to contribute that is productive. They are clueless. Absolutely clueless. No one knows what this is like until you've walked in our shoes.

Once upon a time I was different and would not have believed that I would ever even need to write a post like this. Because this could not happen to me.

Maybe it is good to be able to experience pain because then it helps you become empathic. So perhaps those that deserve my pity are the forms/cindylou/magicgrans of the world. While she can write a good imaginative post, she can't feel pain in the same way that others can. She might not even know what I'm talking about. Or with all her intelligence, she might know.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 10:51AM
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"Oddly enough I have wondered if she is in the mental health field or some other field where her ability to research and understand how people think without it actually reaching her heart helps her in her work"

You know, I was thinking "Family Counselor"...
We don't know anything, other than what they claim about themselves, and now we know that at least 2/3 of that is a lie. Maybe all of it: I'm not altogether convinced we're talking about a woman either.

Once we know they would lie about their identity, we naturally suspect they are lying about everything. That this poster has no personal experience, they're all talk and no action. In that case, I think this would be someone who hears many, many stories from people of all walks of life; a pastor or associate pastor comes to mind. Maybe it's just the biblical references? (Then again, I do that myself, and I'm certainly not associated with the clergy.) But I do understand what you mean about being cruelly naive when looking in at someone else's life. There's an old saying that goes "Batchelors wives and spinster's children are always perfect." We don't know how much (if any) of this they expereinced themself, and since we don't know for sure, one can be excused for thinking the worst, that they are here simply to browbeat and nag and preach to miserable people about what they are doing wrong. Except that's not what I see them doing.

Writing as "forms", the author gives sound, commonsense advice. If you're really only looking for a sympathetic shoulder it might not be what you want to hear, but it is sound advice. You can't force genuine affection by threatening someone with an inheritance.

Just ask Leona Helmsley, who left 6 million to two grandchildren on the stipulation they visit their father's grave. The're even supposed to sign a gues registry to prove they've been there. So what? It doesn't make them love or respect their father any more than before, but it does buy them a nice car to ride to the cemetary in. Who wants to be involved in that kind of relationship?

Still, whether they are naive with their advice, I have trouble thinking of the person who wrote as Magicgran as lacking empathy. Although we don't know 100%, I'd say it's a pretty safe bet the author isn't a 92 year old woman.

Which makes an observation like this all the more remarkable: "And there's nothing like being desperately lonely and frighteningly obsolete. All the reasons they were beloved and got praise for for fifty years of their lives are gone. They feel driven to make things better for themselves, and perhaps foolish, mean, frantic tactics." The author doesn't excuse a grown woman who acts out (wrong behaviour is still wrong), but they clearly understand the motivation. IMO, that is the very soul of empathy.

And I'm not embarassed to say that I'm impressed with Cindy's views on estrangement precisely because I have been "in those shoes", and through trial and error discovered that was basically the most productive way of walking my mile. As always, YMMV, but I'm here to tell you letting go gracefully can work. Do you get that sweet, loving child back? No, because that child is grown and gone and will never return. But it is possible to build a new relationship that evolves around geniune affection and respect. (If you love me, give me wings.)

I've just always liked the phrase "Don't shoot the messenger", and I try to judge the message on it's own merits, without regard as to who carries it.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 2:17PM
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Since I haven't presented all of my own views on GW regarding estrangement, you wouldn't know this about me. But I wasn't saying that I disagreed with everything that was said by cindy or magicgran or even forms. There were things that I agreed with. But there were other things that they said and the way that they said them that I either did not agree with or thought that they were being presumptuous (that word again) or arrogant or unrealistic.

I have walked in the shoes of a "cindy" myself but it was not a MIL. Mixed in with the story of cindy's MIL was a particular hatred and anger at the mothers on GW who say, "I do not understand why my child is estranged from me." It is a simple sentence. Often true. More often true than not. Yet it was a red flag for Cindy. I don't know if she has a real MIL like the one she described or not. It doesn't matter if she does or doesn't. But it is outrageous to accuse other mother's (and from a fictional character no less!) of being like her MIL because they use the same sentence as her MIL does! That is outrageous! Obnoxious! When she first told the story of the MIL, I related to her. As time went on, I related to her less and less. And magicgran? The same thing. I responded positively to her first post. Then magicgran began to change. She went from giving an impassioned description of how Cindy's MIL might think and feel and why she would do what she did to advising pinkpeonies to pretty much dump her MIL. The advice to pinkpeonies sounded rather un-magicgran-like. It didn't sound like the same person who had written the first post. Or as though the person could not continue posting as that magicgran personality. Magicgran was transforming.

As for my own opinion of pinkpeonies' MIL, I would find her particularly irritating and I would have to put my foot down. Pinkpeonies has a baby at home. She deserves a lot more consideration than she is getting from her MIL. Although maybe it's not so bad that the MIL should be dumped. I was struck by magicgran's switch in attitude from the one of sympathetically analyzing the alleged Cindy MIL to the much more negative one about pinkpeonies' real MIL.

As for "Cindy's" own views, yes, they make sense as far as the alleged Cindy's own alleged MIL. But they don't make sense as far as the other mothers on GW. The alleged Cindy does not try to walk in their shoes. She can only walk in her own shoes as far as her own MIL is concerned. She assumes that what she experiences must relate to what these other mothers on GW are experiencing or are dishing out. How unfair! Also how inflammatory!

This is what gets me about the criticism of mothers who are mourning the loss of their children. How can you or anyone who hadn't experienced the loss of your child in this way assume that this has something to do with your own difficult experience with someone else? While you may have experienced a difficult relationship with someone and dealt with it in a way that worked for you, this does not mean that your feelings about that person in your life or that what you did or think that someone else should do has anything to do with the mothers on GW and what would work for them.

I have a comparison but it is not a perfect comparison. It is the best one I can come up with tonight. How many people who had never had a drinking problem would presume to go to an AA meeting and tell the people there how to solve their drinking problem? How many people who had never suffered from clinical depression would go to a meeting for those who suffered from clinical depression and tell the people there how to get over their clinical depression? (I guess Tom Cruise might try that.) How many people who had never lost a child to death would go to a meeting for parents who were trying to recover from the death of their child and try to tell those parents how to get over the death of their child? How arrogant and crass would someone have to be to do that?

For someone to have walked in the shoes of the mothers who come to GW to talk about the loss of their child, they would have to have lost a child under the same circumstances. Having had a difficult mother or a difficult MIL or a difficult relative other than a child is not the same thing. It is not the same as being the child of a difficult mother.

I've been on both sides of this fence myself. I've walked in both sets of shoes.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 10:04PM
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I forgot one of the first things I meant to say about empathy and people who can talk a good talk but not walk the walk. What I meant to say was that one of the most narcissistic people I know can describe to a "t" the lonely frightened feelings of an elderly mentally ill woman that he has never met. It is remarkable to hear! Yet this intelligent pathologically narcissistic man is without empathy. He can pretend to have empathy and sound as though he has empathy but it isn't real. If you read about those with NPD, you will find that this is common. They use the information that they have on people to try to manipulate them. They can be remarkably good at it even though they aren't able to experience real empathy. Maybe they are good guessers. I don't know. Perhaps the smarter they are, the better they are at it.

That is what I meant about the triumvirate and how a magicgran can do that without it having anything to do with real empathy.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 10:18PM
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"She assumes that what she experiences must relate to what these other mothers on GW are experiencing or are dishing out."

I don't know, I didn't get the impression that Cindy was saying "ALL MIls act this way", or "If you're estranged, it's YOUR fault". I did see posts that suggested that an estranged parent examine their heart and see if there are behaviours and attitudes that could be contributing to the problem, but I haven't seen much outright blame. I read the Ciny posts as being about a specific relationship with one woman, explaining what that person was doing and how difficult this made it to relate to her or allow her around the family. As far as someone else seeing themself in that description, well, I guess if the shoe fits, they can wear it, but if we are going to be honest, we would admit that a good parent is not going to welcome unsupervised time with someone in their child's life who encourages them to lie, no matter who they are.

When someone posts here asking "What can/should/would/could I (you) do"? It's a safe bet they're going to get is advice based on what has worked (or not) for someone else. There is no booklet with tab A slot B instructions, all you have is different people offering "well, this is what worked for me..." While I agree that having personal experience is important, it does not automatically make anyone an authority. If I wanted to get over a drinking problem, I wouln't be hanging out in the gutter with a burned out wino. While I'm sure the wino knows all about being an alcoholic, that doesn't mean they'll be able to offer much in the way of useful advice. For that, I'd more than likely want to talk to someone who formerly had a drinking problem and got over it (even if their circumstances didn't precisely mirror my own), or maybe even someone who never had a "problem" at all. Likewise, if my goal is to end an estrangement, it would probably be more enlightening to get advice either from someone who has "been there and back" (successfully re-established a relationship), or even someone who has never had an estrangement at all rather than someone who broke off ties x number of years ago, and has no intention of ever re-establishing contact. The former can give me ideas on what to change, the latter can only offer ideas on how to cope. Neither is better than the other, but one will help me with MY goal, and the other won't. When someone writes stating they wish they could mend the break asking "what can I do?", it seems disingenuous of them to take offense when someone makes suggestions.

In that same way, I didn't think the advice to PinkPeonies was off the mark. In Cindy's case, it was already made clear that the influence of the MIL had been drastically curtailed. There was no need for anyone to tell Cindy to limit contact, as s/he made it clear, that had already been done. But PinkPeonies MIL was still throwing hissy fits and thought it was perfectly acceptable to dress down an adult in public. She was assuming a level of familiarity that the OP and her DH were clearly not comfortable with, and apparently had no intention of changing. That is disrespectful, and no, she shouldn't be rewarded with a more time to bully and dominate. We are told to honor our parents, but the flip side of that one is that parents are not supposed to intentionally provoke their child to wrath. Honor and respect are meant to go both ways.

While it's best to take a live and let live attitutde where possible, until they are taught otherwise, abusive people do not and will not change their behaviour. Fortunately, Pinkpeonies DH stepped up and did some 'splainin' to his Mother about her behaviour, so hopefully that relationship will mellow over time.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 11:22AM
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Some people love to give advice. Some are on some kind of personal mission to straighten everyone else out.

There is a book that I read a long time ago. It has a lengthy title that sums it up about people who know exactly what should be done. The title is (to the best of my memory): "If you meet the Buddha on the road to salvation, kill him."

Which, of course, does not advocate actual violence. It means to be wary of anyone who says that they know all the answers.

It has been my experience that people who are particularly abusive do claim to know all of the answers and are always willing to share their answers. They are even willing to impose their answers on others when given a chance. Some people listen to them. And then drink the Kool-Aid. And you are right. Abusive people tend not to change their behavior.


Here is a link that might be useful: Estrangements: The Website

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 1:00PM
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"Some people love to give advice. Some are on some kind of personal mission to straighten everyone else out."

Well, it's hard to keep quiet when you know all the answers...(just kidding)

OTOH, some folks will 'ask' for advice, and then categorically disregard it as unworkable for their special circumstance. "Yes, but..." seems to be their favorite phrase. What they really want is to be listened to, and in some cases, become the ongoing object of sympathy, but not advice. They don't want to change, and it's unfair to take offense if someone offers such a suggestion. Not just here, talking about estrangements, but on any subject. Read some of the posts on the landscaping forum, or home decorating, or entertaining, and you'll find that sadly, some folks just enjoy the drama and attention of having a problem.

What it boils down to is that it takes all kinds.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 2:05PM
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Yes, that's true. Some people do enjoy the drama and attention and will take any little thing that happens and blow it up to an incident that becomes unrecognizable to anyone else who was there. Then there are those who get angry when anyone else that saw the same incident tells the story in a different manner that makes it seem much more ordinary. Then there are those who take a quote, a quote like "All's fair in love and war." and relate everything that happens in the world that is unfair in love and war. As though the person who provided the quote was advocating violence and abuse in the name of love. So yes, there are those who take drama and run with it. They might even throw stones at others who are dramatic.

It's not up to me to change them. They do what they do.

No one who does that is going to change because of anything that I or anyone else says.

I"ve never seen a twelve step group set up for people who are addicted to giving advice but I've seen plenty of people who are addicted to giving advice.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 2:21PM
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"Then there are those who take a quote, a quote like "All's fair in love and war." and relate everything that happens in the world that is unfair in love and war."

Sorry, I just saw this or I would have responded sooner.
Are you saying you think it's "throwing stones" to point out that something is patently false?

Character is not how you act when you're basking in the limelight on the pitcher's mound and you're running the whole ballgame. It's who you are and what you do when you miss the pop fly and find yourself shunted to the sidelines (or even thrown out of the ballpark). It's how you behave when you're not at "the top of your game" that determines your character.

I've found that the kind of people who would casually toss around the false cliche' "All's fair in love and war" are MOL the same people who don't think twice about lying, cheating, resorting to abuse, or standing by making excuses for that same behaviour in others. Maybe they've never really considered the implication behind that cliche', or maybe they honestly do think the end justifies the means, maybe they just don't care. I don't pretend to know anyone's heart, but I do know a falsehood when I see it. That's not "throwing stones", that is simply an observation.

Once again, for anyone who never learned, those who might have forgotten, and those who like to pretend it doesn't apply to them, THIS is what love is:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 2:57PM
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No. That is not what I was saying. I was saying that someone who makes mountains out of molehills and who is very dramatic and then makes a specific point of criticizing others for being very dramatic is throwing stones in a glass house.

Someone who makes such a sweeping broad based insulting statement about a complete stranger who uses a quote in the course of a discussion is somewhat unusual. Such a person is not very different from the people that she criticizes for being overly dramatic.

That's what I was saying.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 3:46PM
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"Someone who makes such a sweeping broad based insulting statement about a complete stranger who uses a quote in the course of a discussion is somewhat unusual.'

Considering that the oft repeated falsehood "All's fair in love and war" is commonly used as a feeble explaination for someone's BAD behaviour, I don't understand why you would get upset about pointing that out. It's not like we use that phrase when describing someone who is acting honorably, or making a significant self sacrifice, or acting in someone else's best interest. No, we say it about someone who is willing to lie, cheat, and yes, even become abusive to get what they want.

But just so we're sure we're on the same page, what was the context of that blurb in the discussion here at the Parent's forum? Oh, that's right, it was written as an excuse for someone who was, in fact, lying.

And that's what I was saying.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 4:51PM
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I think that the title of this thread could be:

"You might be anal retentive . . ."

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 6:37PM
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Not being experienced in such things, I will humbly leave that to an expert such as yourself. However, I do know that comment was a classic ad hominem. Real smooth.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 2:48AM
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Thank you.


It was a variation on my original of "Good grief!"

I"m not enjoying discussing this with you any more. It was my way of saying that I've had enough discussing with you. I am sure that somewhere someone else has said something like this to you.

I hadn't even intended to write this post in response but I'm writing it. I don't' want to discuss this stuff with you any more. I'm burnt out of discussing it.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 9:29AM
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I assumed that you would get what I was saying when I suggested another name for the thread. But as far as I can tell you didn't get it. I am burnt out of discussing but I will explain, or try to explain, what I meant since you took it as an attack apparently.

The title of the thread is "You might be obsessive . . . " It is your title. The one you gave it. By doing so, you said that you are obsessive by your own criteria.

I used the quote, "All's fair in love and war!" in the context of a explaining why I felt empathy for a mother who would make up another name to post under on Gardenweb and to pretend to be someone else, a dil who was much like her own dil. She is a mother who is very upset and who misses her son desperately. She had posted here in the past and had been goaded at times by others who post here whose own stories may have been entirely fabrications. She didn't even know that about them. She had assumed that they were real people. She had stopped posting for a time and then she posted again under another name pretending to be her dil. When the truth came out that she was not the terrible dil, many reacted with anger at her which is understandable. But there is also the possibility of having empathy with a mother who would do that considering the depth of feeling that mothers have for their children and that someone can do something that they would not ordinarily do, something that would be out of character for them. That depth of feeling that causes people to do things sometimes that would be out of character for them is love. Especially when love is thought to be lost.

I felt empathy for her. You don't appear to feel that empathy for her. We're all different. I accept that you don't feel empathy for her. It seems that you have a hard time accepting that I do feel empathy for her. You seem to see things in very black and white terms. I don't sense any shades of grey. For you it seems to be that something is either wrong or it's right. There is no inbetween.

Someone can use a quote to illustrate what they are trying to say and the quote is not perfect for every situation and might not even be factually true at all times. When I write posts on GW and other discussion boards, I am not writing a doctoral thesis. I am not trying to make every word perfect. I expect that most people will understand what it is that I am trying to say and not nitpick every sentence to death.

My post in which I used that quote was one where I was talking about feeling empathy for another person. Rather than focus on the point that I was trying to make about how someone could feel empathy even for someone else's unusual behavior, you chose to pick the quote that I used as a target for judgment and criticism. You ignored the point and found a flaw in the quote.

Then in this thread when I brought up the quote again, you used it as a means to insult me. Rather than address points that I try to make, you take other tangents. In your mind it is not okay for someone to lie in the name of love. And you have said in that other thread that you do not lie. Yet it is okay in your mind for someone to come here and make up names and create fictional stories about themselves and to bait other posters. Just as long as they do it in a manner that you consider intelligent and entertaining. But if they do it in an unacceptable manner by your terms, you cannot empathize.

You repeatedly go back to the point that she lied. But if she had lied in your approved way of lying, then that would have been okay. So it's wrong if someone does it and fools us one way but not wrong if someone does it and fools us another.

It is clear to me from what you've said that you are among those who have done this yourself and that you are experienced at it. But you continue to judge others for their "lies".

I don't know you so I have no idea whether you have a clue that you are doing this or if you rationalize what you say and do so much that you see yourself as never lying. And that you believe in your heart that lying by some people is bad and by others (and likely yourself) is permissible as long as they sound intelligent (by your standards) and entertaining.

So you go back to the lying thing again and again as though the fact that she "lied" is the only point and nothing else matters. It doesn't matter that she loves her son and misses him. It doesn't matter that people have posted on GW with false stories and have judged and criticized her long before she made up the dil posts. It doesn't matter that she is upset and looking for a place to share her feelings and thoughts and then was upset by some of the responses. None of that matters to you. It only matters that she lied. You are unable to empathize with her.

To refuse to see any possible point of empathy and to stick to the point that she lied seems much more than obsessive to me than garden variety obsessiveness. "Anal retentive" is somewhat more than the usual obsessive. To be that stuck on a point with no concession that there can be any reason to empathize with someone who does something that upsets people is to me a red flag that the person wants to see things only one way and no other. That if I were to continue to discuss something with that person that I would get nowhere in the discussion. That it would not be an enjoyable discussion. That it is like beating my head on a wall and that isn't any fun. So rather than continue to beat my head on a wall, I would rather not discuss these subjects with you any more.

People are all flawed. No one does things perfectly. Many people are deserving of empathy. Most people are deserving of love. Things aren't black and white. There are shades of grey.

I don't get the feeling from what you write that you think that any of that is true. I have lost the short term enjoyment that I had in discussing these things with you.

But I wish you well. I just don't think there is any point in contining this discussion. I am sure that I have not explained this perfectly but there are only so many hours in the day and I do need to have my breakfast and get on with my life so this imperfect explanation will have to do.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 10:56AM
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*sigh* Ginny, Ginny, Ginny.

I go off for the weekend to visit the Grandkids and return to find you are "burnt out". So burnt out that I guess once you realized "ad hominem" isn't generally considered a compliment, you came back and wrote first telling me you weren't attacking me, then MOL explaining why you think I should be attacked, and finally, basically admitting that is exactly what you were doing in the first place. Like I said, real smooth.

Apparently, pointing out that "All's fair in love and war" is a fallacy has wounded you. So much so, that you have now twice posted picking scabs about it. You do realize that while you are free to describe me as "anal" and otherwise attempt to be as insulting as possible, it doesn't change anything; that saying is still false. That is not anal, it has nothing to do with "empathy", it is simply a fact. However, in the interest of moving forward, the next time you decide to trot out that tired old cliche during a discussion, I will not bother to point out that it is inappropriate when used to describe any kind of normal, loving adult relationship. If you prefer to believe that claiming to love someone justifies acting badly, far be it from me to tell you otherwise. Embroider it on a pillow, make it your sig file, whatever, I won't say a word.

That said, There are a few things I'd like to get straight:
I have never used the word "entertaining" to describe anything, or anyone on this forum. I have said "interesting", that I am "impressed" with certain posts, and even that I consider some to be a "great read"; but entertaining is YOUR term. In the future, I would appreciate it if you did not put words in my "mouth". You are not omniscient; while you might know what posts I find informative (because I make no secret of that fact), you have no idea who I may or may not have empathy for, or why I am posting here.

Concerning what is "clear" to you; sadly, your perceptions are as clear as mud. I have not once lied about anything on this forum, or any other forum. I do not post as multiple personalities, and I have no prior "experience" at deception other than discovering it. Strange that this is the second time you have falsely accused me of "lying" in public. Everyone who disagrees with you is not lying, nor are they suffering from some form of mental illness, nor are they deliberately trying to hurt you. It is possible to simply disagree without assigning sinister motives to the other person.

And for the record, I never, ever, even for a moment thought you were my Mother. To be perfectly honest, the way I've noticed that -you- tend to drag up the same perceived slight over and over and are so quick to falsely accuse complete strangers you happen to disagree with (not to mention that charming habit of summarily dismissing others) makes it difficult for me to associate your online personnae with the word "Motherly" at all, though I'd like to believe that IRL you are simply delightful.

But oh well. As you've said yourself, you're done. Burnt out. I am sorry you no longer consider this discussion enjoyable. I simply wanted to make sure I had a chance to (yet again) answer your false accusations. As you do seem to enjoy using cliches in a discussion, please allow me to add this one: "Remember, when you point your finger at someone, that leaves four pointing back at yourself."

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 10:43AM
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I think we should go back to supporting those of us who are estranged from our adult children. I realize that everyone is not honest and some people are posting as multiple people, but we can chose to ignore posts that we do not believe in and perhaps as in the case of Anniebal/Becky understand that maybe the hurt she feels may have made her do something she now realizes wasn't the right thing to do. She did apologize and admitted to making a mistake. She does however feel deep pain from the estrangement of her adult child and, to me, at least was desperate to find a way to make sense of a crazy, irrational situation. I know I suffer from depression because of this and do feel desperation at times.

I, for one, am a legitimate person with one user ID who has tried to be honest about my feelings of hurt and betrayal due to a 3 year estrangement from my only son. I for one appreciate a forum to help me get a handle on the pain I feel in my heart on a daily basis. I appreciate suggestions and ideas on ways to improve my quality of life and perhaps even end the estrangement.

It is also helpful to not feel so alone as this is not a situation many Psychologists or Therapists understand. I have been to many and ultimately once they can't help, they resort to the typical answer of "get a hobbie and move on with your life". Unfortuately, as many of you know this is easier said than done.

I would like to hear form children who have estranged their parents for no apparent reason to help understand why, why they can not sit down with their parents and have a rational conversation about the reasons and ways to make things better and if there is anything a parent can do to make things better. I for one would give anything to even have a one time phone call with an honest reason for the estrangement. I only know the cruel things his GF has said and written. I have to admit that I may not have always responded kindly to her cruelty, but it appears her plan was to alientate and have our son alientate us and anyone from his past permanently for many years. I watched it happen slowly, helplessly before my eyes. I tried to talk with my son about it, stating my husband and I were willing to do what it takes to make her like us. He did not want to discuss it and the most he would say is there is nothing we could do.

I was upset that the GF he chose to be serious about hated us. No matter how kind we were she seemed to find fault in everything we did, even the kind things. And dare we defend ourselves after she attacked us. She now has complete control of his email which we finally blocked to prevent her unkind responses. No matter what we said: kind, apologetic, extending an olive branch, a new vague reason would be given by her for the estrangement. Her father isn't even willing to help us as he likes having our son as his own. He is a single parent and likes having a "son" so he lies to us and does everything in his power to prevent us from being able to talk to our son.

Our son seems afaid of his girlfriend leaving him and it appears she has given him an ultimatum us or her. After dating a short time, she informed my husband that anything he said to our son he needed to say to her as well. This is his first girlfriend and he knows nothing different. He doesn't see that he is a good catch and doesn't need a controlling GF.

I have to admit, that he has always been somewhat immature socially and often did ask for our advice in college in areas he should have been able to handle himself. I am not sure other than guiding him to make his own decisions, how we could have changed that about him. Again, I contantly think coulda, shoulda, woulda, but if this was her plan form the beginning, anything we did would have made no difference. Her mother left her when she was 3 and she seems to project her feelings about her mother on to me. She also has no friends and in the 7 years that I have known her had never had any friends except our son.

Once he was 18 and away at college, we enncouraged him to make his own decisions, but she was always there to tell him what to do. It seems like even though he has a Master's degree and able to hold down a $100,000 a year job successfully, he needs her socially. She allows him no friends, he even told me he hated this, yet in the end once he was financially independent, he chose her and estranged us. This occurred about 3 years ago, after he completed his bachelors degree shich we paid for. He receive a compete scholarship with stipend for his Masters. This is when the estrangement started.

I've tried to be kind to her, but she is unforgiving of even the littlest things. I agree with a previous poster, I think Ginny, that there is nothing one can do until the child decides to end the estrangement. In the mean time or if this never happens a forum, like this is a blessing, giving those of us who are legitimate a place to feel safe to share our feelings. We are experiencing the grief process as if our children are dead. Sometimes, and I don't mean to be cruel, but at times I think an estrangement seems worse than the death of a child (not to minimize that pain), but with an estrangement a parent continues to have hope so there is no final step of acceptance as it is difficult to give up hope of a reconcliation. I never want to lose hope that he our son will realize that he is being controlled and that we were in fact good parents with his best interests at heart.

I don't feel this is a forum to judge, but to share and help each other to deal with a situation that others in our neighborhoods/communities can not relate to or at least do not openly admit.

Please let's stop the bickering, lets ignore the responses we feel are not legitimate and be there for each other. WE are all at different stages of the grieving process and our feelings of hurt and pain probably change daily depending on the type of day we are having.

I personally have a difficult time seeing my friends who have good relationship with their grown children and grandchildren. I would give anything just to have any direct contact with my son that did not have to go through his GF or her father who do not appear to have his best interest at heart. They will not even except an apology and say we are stalkers if we want to talk to them about resolving the situation. I think of stalkers as dangerous people. All my husband and I want is an honest open discussion with our son that is not filtered through a people who only say bad often untrue things about us. Even if he says his GF has given him an ultimatum and doesn't want to have anything to do with us. I want to know why that would prevent a phone call, email, visit or any type of contact with us or his 84 year old grandmother. If she wants nothing to do with us, why should that prevent him from making some type of contact without her== at least to have enough courtesty to give us a reason for the estrangement. I wonder how many years this will go on, will he contact us he breaks up with her will he have the courage to break up with her, will they marry, will I have grandchildren that I will never see. Why does his GF hate us when we have tried to be nothing, but kind to her and have apologized for things we didn't realize upset her. She will not accept any apology and basically told us we were crap, pieces of dirt. How can she love our son and hate us? Isn't the way a child treats his mother an indication of how he will treat his GF/wife? She and her father say they can not believe that he is such a good person with such terrible parents. They give us no credit. We spent years putting his interests ahead of ours as parents do. This is not to say my husband and I did not have a good realtionship.

I so appreciate the support, ideas, suggestions of people who can truly empathize with this situation or those who can give insight as to what may have happened, but arguments and people posting who have not walked in our shoes should find another more appropriate forum.

We have such little support, please give us the opportunity to help each other deal with one of the most difficult situations a parent can face. As some one pointed out, unless you walked in the shoes you don't know what it truly feels like. I never in a million years would have thought this could happen to us. Two months before it happened, our son called us upset and wanting to break up with this girl, how were we to know two months later he would move in with her and refuse to see, talk to , email, visit, no contact!!! except cruel emails, phone calls from the GF and her father. Our son has remained completely silent! Is he afraid of her? Is he ashamed of what he has done to us? Is he afraid she will find out if her contacts us? I don't even think he is aware of the unkind things she is doing, but am certain she never shows him our kind emails and tells him bits and pieces to make us look bad. The last we heard from her is to only call if someone is dead! She didn't even tell him his grandmother was in the hospital for a possible stroke.

Just a request to use this forum of the right reason. I admit. Losing my son has made me a little obsessive. I am willing to do just about anything to speak to him and try to understand what happened. We are all at different stages and should try to help those we can relate to and have walked in their shoes.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 11:15PM
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Penbyrd, you said:

"I would like to hear form children who have estranged their parents for no apparent reason to help understand why, why they can not sit down with their parents and have a rational conversation about the reasons and ways to make things better and if there is anything a parent can do to make things better."

Unfortunately, the children you ask to hear from don't exist because they always have a "valid" reason for their estrangement and it's always the parent(s) fault totally and completely.

I believe that many of our estranged children KNOW they are in a bad marriage/relationship but for some reason are fearful of taking the necessary steps to get out of the relationship. They direct their anger (which is a result of their fear) toward their parents because it's "safe" to get angry with their parents but "unsafe" to get angry with their SO.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 8:11AM
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I actually know this in my head, but my heart would just like him and his GF to be able to talk to us rationally about things. I know I am dreaming and this will never happen--just hopeful thinking on my part. At times, I could just give up hoping things will change or they will break up and he will one again talk to us. I do realize that as long as she is in the picture, no matter what my husband or I do, good or bad, she will find a way to make us out to be evil.

It is sure amazing how these guys can lose all common sense when they think they are in love.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 6:46PM
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