Facebook is different things to different people. The Mouse doesn’t have FB, because Mouse is not a real person. Mouse has a twitter because Twitter is much more voyeuristic and facilitates following without interaction, which on FB is much more limited, although I am guessing with work it could be through pages. For me, FB has been and continues to be a very positive influence, from encouragement to meeting up with people who have shared interests, and even conversations with people who have shared life experiences them helping me and me helping them through tough times and coping with what has been a traumatic past.
However, FB is for many people destructive, and I do see that spill over through some people, people who often end up falling off or with whom contact is limited. I know my wife, sees a lot more drama through the “professional” links from her colleagues at work which contain more than a few drama magnets and drama queens. She stays mostly quiet and focussed on work, she is a texter and messenger not a wall poster sort of person. The contrast is marked.
This is on my mind because of two things. One I remember clearly how my FB was read and how if someone said something while travelling I would be expected to know about and was questioned on it. I was grilled massively about women, even though my job and employment was partly working with women. Of course, my communications were all read, my emails checked and my phone checked. When I did lock my phone because of concern at work she deliberately put on the wrong code and locked it up for a lot of hours to teach me a lesson. No communication was private, I was expected to relay verbatim telephone conversations, along with justifying anything I said or didn’t do right. And, that included what the other person said. I never made personal phone calls or phone calls at all unless I really had to. Someone saying they had seen me was bad enough, if they said we had spoken, that too had to be relayed, often the conversation would include “that is not what they said” element of some sort. Isolation got to be a very peaceful and easier life option.
But, what really struck me, wasn’t the contrast in monitoring behaviour, it was the stark difference in my behaviour on FB. The FB memories feature really highlights this because I have not deleted that life. I considered having a new account for my new life, but that seemed like a lot of work rebuilding my network and getting friend requests accepted, but more than that, I didn’t want to hide that life away. If you come to know me then my past is there. I don’t want to be keeping secrets, which I guess is why I was easy to monitor and built up surveillance on. I am a very open person with those close to me. My mistakes and my triumphs are there. There are things and times I would love to keep private, but by the same token those close to me either already know, or wouldn’t change what they think of me anyway.
From the memories feature I see that by comparison nowdays I really do not mention my wife. Sure, she appears, but fleetingly and very very rarely. We haven’t even married on FB yet. I am not sure this tactic was a deliberate choice, maybe at first, but my profile is private and my posts are friends restricted, and the fact I am married is not a secret to anyone. My Instagram is public too, my son and therefore my ex has access, so I am not sure why I am still hiding. Maybe it is because FB was used against me, my friend’s list “warned” about me, and people did walk away. The walked when they were attacked for knowing me, although not all. The one who stayed despite being reported to the police showed their true colours that much is certain. The fact remains that for whatever deep reason not only do I hardly post about her, I feel virtually no compulsion to post about my wife either.
I was pondering this when I stumbled across a piece on coercive control and abusive behaviours that slipped in that the abused make excuses for their abusers and try to make their abusers look good by portraying them in a positive way. Most of the time I had read only the first part and realised how picking fights and upsetting me when people were coming over or we were going out was a way of making me look bad so she could make excuses for me. And I realised too, that her telling people about me and my needs, was in fact, making excuses for me in advance. Of course, I was withdrawn and shy and possibly a little moody looking. I was scared of talking to anyone because of the interrogation and backlash, and I had been emotionally attacked before leaving the house. I spent so much time trying to slide past unnoticed, and definitely not talked to. I wanted not attention at all because when I got home it would ensure I had done something wrong, said something wrong, behaved inappropriately, been embarrassing or something that deserved punishment. No wonder these people believed her version, I wonder if anyone realised I was scared and covering up. On FB as well as the rest of my life I was putting on a front, a face to the world that everything was ok, and I had the dream life that I was supposed to have. And of course when I wasn’t good enough at keeping up the act there were consequences, there were always consequences.
I didn’t make excuses in the traditional sense, and looking back she did do the things I posted about. I am still struggling with this. One the one hand there is the extreme emotional violence and the sometime physical too, yet on the other hand, there is the undeniable things that were thoughtful and kind that also happened. There were fun moments, intimate moments, genuine laughter and smiles. But, that is it, looking back, the word genuine seems hollow and empty. At the time, the experience felt real, authentic, heartfelt and genuine. Now, it is not so clear. The simple, that was a lovely thing to do, what a thoughtful gift, becomes uncertain. Photographs were always difficult because I could remember the context, the hurt in so many. But this is different, how could someone who hurt me, someone who wanted me to die and tried so hard to drive me to suicide, someone who controlled me, someone who told me I was unlovable, told me I deserved to hurt, that no one would be stupid enough to have me – so something kind and thoughtful for me. How can someone who stopped my getting proper medical treatment so that I would, and do hurt every day and will for the rest of my life, show any sort of love, concern, show any sort of kindness towards me at all. How does that work, how can you do that.
Maybe, not understanding how you can be two people at the same time and go between them so effortlessly is a good thing. Maybe it is best that I don’t get it?