April 28, 2022

Dear Commenter, I am not your Punching Ball.

We can agree to disagree, but there is no need for insults in the comment section.

Do you know what it feels like to get insulted almost every day?

Maybe you do. Maybe you had a bad day. Maybe someone hurt you?

I see you, I feel you, and I am sorry that you are having a hard time. But to be honest, I am also having a hard time right now. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a journalist. That’s why I studied political science.

After years of struggling with mental health, I gave up on journalism and became a yoga teacher. Then, a global pandemic hit, and I lost my job. I decided to give journalism another go. It seemed like a smart decision at that time.

Two years later, I’ve written more than 300 articles on all kinds of topics. Every day, I am looking for interesting, beneficial, and sometimes controversial stories to write about. And not to forget, I am also dealing with algorithms that make it hard to get people to see my articles.

I am aware that people don’t agree with everything I write—and that’s perfectly fine. If someone decides to write a rebuttal and explain why my perspective sucks, I can’t wait to read it. That’s how we learn, right?

But there is also this type of commenter I am writing about today. The person who feels entitled to attack me personally—and it’s not one person, there are thousands of them.

I was called a communist, socialist, and fascist on social media. Someone pointed out that I look like a meth addict recently. Others sent hateful messages to loved ones after I wrote about getting our booster shots. And yesterday, someone accused me of enabling abusers.

Seriously?

You can disagree with my opinions on politics and other current events, but I have to insist that I am not a meth-smoking communist who is part of a global conspiracy that enables abusers.

And I am also not responsible for your rough day at work. It’s not my fault that your article didn’t get published. I don’t even know who you are.

Dear commenter, I am sure that you are a much nicer person in real life. I would like to assume that you wouldn’t insult me in public. But I don’t know that because I don’t know you.

Maybe something I wrote really triggered you. I am sorry for that.

But here’s the thing: if you know the pain of getting triggered, why are you doing that to someone else? Is it revenge? Does it ease the pain? I don’t think so.

It just causes more pain.

And I am really sorry if my replies to snarky comments are passive-aggressive at times. It’s not that I don’t want to have a conversation; it’s just that I also have to pick my battles.

When I write an article explaining why I think that the boomer generation put too much emphasis on working hard and not enough on mental health, and then someone replies, “Shut up, your generation doesn’t know how to work hard.”—what do you expect me to answer?

Imagine I teach a yoga class, and someone walks up to me after class and says, “Yoga sucks.” Is that a starting point for a mindful conversation, or would it be smarter to avoid this argument?

I wrote about the Johnny Depp trial this week. It’s a sensitive topic. I get it. Domestic violence is a serious problem. And you can be sure that my words are not intended to hurt or harm anyone.

But before calling me a moron who doesn’t know what abuse feels like, take a deep breath.

Maybe I felt the urge to write about this because of my 37 years as a human on this planet? Maybe there are topics I can’t write about for legal reasons? Maybe I am processing my own trauma?

I can’t answer these questions for legal reasons, but you probably already guessed the answers.

And you know what? You are welcome to insult me in the comments. I respect your freedom of speech, but it’s also my freedom not to read these insults.

Do what you need to do.

But there is one thing I would like to ask for. Something that is really close to my heart.

Please stop attacking the ones who write about trauma, abuse, and grief.

You can call me a communist because I support vaccines, but please don’t attack a single mom for sharing her struggles in a mindful article. You can call me a drug addict if that makes you happy, but don’t bash a person who writes about depression.

The next time you decide to attack someone on the internet, please make sure to remind yourself that you are interacting with another person.

That person could be someone who knows how to deal with it, but it could also be someone who is deeply hurt—I am both of them.

Thank you for understanding. May it be of benefit.

Read 16 Comments and Reply
X

Read 16 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Robert Busch  |  Contribution: 156,705

author: Robert Busch

Image: Author's own