Nearly a decade ago now a former employee began stalking me through the Internet, though she didn’t restrict herself to the Internet. When “Family Circle” magazine wrote an article about Peace X Peace, the nonprofit I started in 2002 to connect women to women for private conversations through the Internet, the article centered on an interview and photos of me. Immediately after publication, the editor contacted me because an anonymous hate note had come to them. She forwarded it and said, “This sounds like a disgruntled former employee.” That it was and it wasn’t the first time.
The ways in which stalkers can say nasty things about you and to you include by email, texts, posts on websites, comments on blogs, and more. She has used all of them.
All one needs to do this is enough tech savvy to keep getting new email addresses so you can circumvent the bans against your old ones and the willingness to use your precious time and energy to track a person and say ugly things. I say “precious time and energy” because to me everyone’s time and energy are precious and shouldn’t be squandered – exempting necessary downtime and chocolate.
My personal stalker is a master of “ugly,” laden in snark with a dose of cackle. Nothing is taboo for her to create, hinged on some thread of historical “fact” (is it real to her?), and say.
My tech people and I thought we had her banned from my ever having to see anything from her, but – voila! – a change of her email address and a comments section to blogs, and she’s back and active. Who knows how much she wrote over the years that went directly into one of those little trashcan icons with no one knowing the better.
Her comments on my blogs cannot go public without my approving them, but in the past two weeks I have read several – skimmed more like it – on how my husband told her immediately how he wanted to divorce me, what an ego-maniac I am, and so it goes. I pay enough attention to make sure it’s her with the same old same old. Then I photograph and file before deleting to provide the future option of bringing police action for harassment.
Through the years I have not responded. She’s hardly been a ripple in my life except to remind me that there are people who falsify their resumes both before and after working for you, who lie to your face and about you to others, who can hate you and rage. It’s not pleasant but it is true.
And it is sad. And I wish it weren’t true. But it is. And after a decade of silence I am looking at this a bit and with a longer lens.
I know her troubles and rage go beyond me. It should have been a signal to me that she was in two lawsuits when I hired her. Well, I only knew of one of them then, but, alas, I was taken in. Mea culpa.
It raises questions about her:
Does she know she lies? Surely she must.
Does she know she is a stalker and classic harasser? I suspect she doesn’t.
How does one hate so hard for so long? Does she not long to write me off as a monster and go on with her life? As horrid as she thinks I am, I shouldn’t be worth spending time on.
It raises questions about me:
Is there a grain of truth to her charges? It’s not popping out to me but surely she’ll remind me. Is it egomaniacal of me to write blogs that tell of my life, circumstances, and foibles? Isn’t that what most blogs do?
Do I monitor what I say or write, knowing she will read it? I hope not.
Why does someone hate me so much? My answer to this, from life experience, is that people run their own interior movies and they cast you in roles that work for them. We might want the good roles, but they might cast us as bad.
It raises questions about the people around us. Let’s look at the large scale:
How do peacemakers find techniques to bring harmony when some people don’t have the same thought processes, rationales, beliefs, values, or methods of discernment as most of us do and/or they have no taboos? Particularly when such people are most likely a disproportionate number of the rulers of nation, factions, and sub-cultures? Particularly when they often tend towards hate and harm?
This last question is the most important. That is, if there are not commonly held concepts of respect, compassion, honesty, mutual good, and trust, how do we progress? How do “enemies” move toward peace without the currency of common values on how humans should behave towards one another?
Taken to its logical conclusion, this is how wars start and continue. We cannot find a common set of values and beliefs. We are bombing right now because we do not have an answer to this question.
Coming to this understanding of seemingly impossible divides was not easy. I was a committed advocate of deep listening and seeing myself in others but we must find new answers to what to do about evil in the world. Not everyone wants peace.
Given this, how do we or our nation or our ally nations neutralize evil – real or imagined – without becoming the monsters we think we are fighting? And then embrace the conscience-appeasing rationale that our actions are justified and it is our right to defend ourselves? No nation can kill with impunity and not harm their soul.
The “me” we see in the other becomes a circle of “others” who hate, and choose to destroy.
I don’t have the answers. But I do still believe the divide is “seemingly.” This hope is reinforced because I see good people rising everywhere for better lives. I trust the people on the ground more than the people running nations.
For my little issue, forgiveness for real or imagined injuries and moving on would seem to be an answer, but that’s not up to me. I hope some day it happens.
And, no, dear harasser, I will not post your comments to this blog. Know that in advance. This is all you get. I will write no more. You have to come to your own interior peace just like everyone else. Write me a new role in your movie, maybe that of a bit part bystander who walks away, wishing you well.