Please Mr. Postman

On-line forums are a recent development in the modern world, an on-line space for people to ask questions, share ideas, seek advice and for some a place to share their frustrations.

Some of these on-line forums offer the ability for people to respond which then gets sent to the personal email address of the original poster.

There are no rules regarding this process, there is no written etiquette regarding people responding (or not) to the replies that people may send. But for some people, they feel that if they send an email in response that as a recipient you automatically enter into some kind of contract where a response or acknowledgment is required.

The ‘rules’ are foggy or unclear, but if somehow you do not respond in the appropriate way (to these unwritten rules) then some people feel it necessary to either contact you again to let you know you have let them down/ broken the rules, or go even further by going back to the original forum to create a new post to share their frustrations for  people not responding to them and feeling the need to express their feelings and frustrations on what makes their ‘blood boil’

For those people whose ‘blood boils’ or get angry and frustrated about people ‘not responding’ or ‘acknowledging’ an email from a stranger that happens in response to questions on public forums, I offer these suggestions

1 – Don’t respond to people’s questions. This may be difficult for you, but if your blood boils when people don’t respond, and lets face it, it will happen, and you know that your blood will boil if there is no response, then why contact them?

2- Accept that people are different to you. This may be a challenge, however in terms of self growth and development, it is a great opportunity for yourself to see how you fit into the world and allow difference to happen.

2 – Explore your feelings. This may be more of a challenge but if someone does not respond to your email, instead of feeling the need to share your feelings, write down for yourself what feelings this brings up for you. What do you feel when you have no response? Where in your body? Explore the possible reasons for these frustrations either by yourself or with a trained counsellor or therapist. It is not natural for someone’s ‘blood to boil’ from inaction. Perhaps in times of extreme stress, moving house, bereavement, relationship ending etc then you would be forgiven for the stress getting the better of you, But someone not responding to an email? Really?

3 – If you have rules regarding people responding or acknowledging your reply, do make it clear so that people know in the first place. But in saying that, be prepared that people may still not respond for a number of reasons. They still haven’t read your original email, the email didn’t actually arrive, they did not read your ‘rules’, they do not accept your ‘rules’ as a binding contract and/ or they might think you a little odd so thought best not to get involved further.

 

Finally, as an example, I offer a recent email conversation from someone who responded to my query in a forum. Almost 24 hours later I received an email saying

“In spite of receiving no reply or acknowledgment after sending you the message below…..”

I was taken aback, this was the first email I saw that morning after waking up, I aimed to remain calm and asked

“are you trying to suggest that i have done something wrong?”

I was informed of the ‘rules’

“The (name of forum) works best when people get useful results from their enquiries. I spent a few minutes simply offering you the benefit of our experience, and was awaiting to see if you would have been interested in (advice given). I gave that answer to you anyway. End of story. ”

This person clearly wanted to vent their frustrations at someone, it just happened to me. I was not about to defend myself, that would be descending to their level. They had not taken into account of me not having read the email yet, that I had a life and was out and about with no access to email, that I had not had the time to respond to the 20 responses I had received, that even after receiving and reading the email  – it is my choice, my life.

So all I could respond was

“I have not read your original email yet, I am well aware how forums work. Don’t email me again ”

 

I notice in my brief glance in such forums that this ‘must tell you the rules’ and ‘blood boiling’ and ‘rudeness’ which is associated to people ‘not responding’ or ‘acknowledging’ responses is clearly there and like a virtual dark cloud of negativity aims to rain on people’s lives by telling others how disappointed they are with each other.

It is a shame that the internet that can bring people and communities together can also shine a light on how deeply hurt and unhappy some people can be.

Peace and light to you all 🙂

 

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Closed for refurbishment (6): Begin a new chapter

You’ll never be able to erase your memory of this person, but you can use the experience to better yourself and to help others. If you wronged someone, resolve never to make the same mistake again, and take it a step further: help others avoid making the same mistake you did. If you were a victim, reach out to other victims, and teach others how to avoid the wrongdoing that you faced. Make the end of your relationship with that person a turning point in your life. Start moving in a new direction.
http://m.wikihow.com/Get-Closure
 
 

The new direction for my partner and me is moving to France, its very exciting that we are doing this. We have lived together in Manchester, Preston, Spain, London, San Francisco and Wales – so being somewhere different and new does not scare us.

Moving, allows us to move physically away from some of the pain experienced and also gives us space and miles away from people who have hurt us. We are moving on –  in more ways than expected, and I welcome and invite the challenge and in doing this I wish myself health, happiness, inner peace, joy, green fingers and calm – as I wish the same to others too 🙂

Closed for refurbishment (5): Write a story

Think back to when your relationship with this person began, and document it from beginning to end. This may be very painful, but it will give you a broader perspective. When you get to the final chapter, finish off on a positive note and write “The End”. If you’re writing in a notebook, close it forcefully, take a deep breath, and put it on a bookshelf. If you wrote on loose leaf papers, fold them, put them in an envelope, and seal it. You may choose to keep the story, or you may choose to shred it or burn it. The very act of documenting your relationship and closing the book, however, will help you find closure emotionally.
http://m.wikihow.com/Get-Closure
 
 

Writing the eulogy for my father enabled me to discover and make peace with my relationship with my father and be reminded of the person he was. It was like discovering someone I used to know. I realised how difficult he could be with people. I really do hope that I don’t end up being like that, I want people to think good things about me, but sometimes I think that my father lives on in me more than I realise.

With the eulogy that I wrote I had a picture of my dad that he had recently given to me, I didn’t really understand why he had given me the picture, perhaps he knew all along that he was ill and wanted me to have a happy memory.

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At the end of the funeral service, with out realising I was doing so, I placed the picture and eulogy in the envelope and closed it. Perhaps I was finding some sense of closure without realising it at the time.

And so I write another story.

I arrived into your life and you welcomed me, we were close, as an only child I felt for the first time the feeling and meaning of having a family to bond with and for those times, for the fun, for the good times I will always remain happy and grateful.

Saying a final goodbye is an odd thing, saying goodbye to someone who has died, although painful, does have the finality about it, saying goodbye to someone or people who are still alive, knowing we may never meet again feels sad and yet with a purpose of moving on I continue – although ever hopeful

I cannot continue to have hope for a relationships over, it does me no good, and for this reason I say goodbye, wishing you well, I send you a blessing of love and inner peace –  I cannot wait, just for the chance that things will resolve, this serves no purpose and is just a reminder that things have changed, things change, life moves on, we move on, I move on.

I loved you, you were my family, families change, life changes, we grow – and move on. Goodbye

THE END

Closed for refurbishment (4): Have a symbolic ceremony

People still hold funerals for the deceased whose bodies were never found, and you can still have a formal way to say goodbye to relationships that were never resolved. Gather all of the things that remind you of this person and burn them, or donate them to charity. Give a eulogy to the relationship, and say it out loud.
http://m.wikihow.com/Get-Closure

I gave the eulogy at my fathers funeral, I found the experience useful although incredible emotional – this is what I wrote:

I would like to thank people for attending on this sad occasion.

I do not think of my dad, John and think of sadness.

I remember a man who was born in Blackpool and had a difficult time being a young man, who couldn’t wait to leave home and join the army, where he served in Egypt. Anyone who knew my dad would know some of the stories he told, it was a hard life being there, but I always sensed pride in his experiences

On his return to the UK he joined the police, I remember the story he used to tell me about working for the CID and dressing as a tramp to catch criminals, its hard to imagine, but true. It is funny that many years later I used to work as a kissogram, sometimes, dressing as a policeman

I remember that my father was disowned by his own parents because of who he choose to marry, something that I always found difficult to comprehend, but I see how strong my father was, willing to give up family for the person who he loved

I remember one year, the night before we were going away on holiday, my dad messing around with the police handcuffs and then not being able to unlock them, and the panic we had thinking that my dad would be boarding the plane looking like a criminal off a film, we even planned to cover the handcuffs with a well placed jumper so that no one would notice, thankfully, we managed to unlock the cuffs

I remember as a child being taken on holiday to Spain and Italy when I was 9 and 10, I was very fortunate to experience these adventures, my father never shyed away from new experiences, something that I have inherited

I thought that it was funny that our first holiday in Salou in Spain in 1973 would be the place I worked many years later as a DJ in 1989

I remember my dads love of good food and wine, how my dad could be the life and soul of the party, how he made his cheeky jokes to make people smile

I remember how my father used to hatch plans on how to buy bottles of Johnnie Walker whiskey abroad when it was banned in England, he could be sneeky like that

I remember how blessed I am to have such a generous father, who never held back when I or others needed help or assistance. For me this is a path that I have followed, in my work I have had roles that help and support people

I remember that my dad had only one question for me, ‘are you happy’?

Because of all my dads experiences in life, made him a complex man, an individual, who didn’t always get on with everyone, but aren’t we all like that in some way

All my life I had people telling me how much I looked like my father, I guess that I always found this difficult as I always wanted to be seen as me

One day in my early 20’s I was in Blackpool meeting a mate and I saw my father walking towards me, my instant thought was ‘what’s my father doing here’? of course I then realised that I was indeed looking at my reflection in a shop window and I realised that I did indeed look like my father, even I thought I did

It is because of all these things that make the last year so difficult to take in and understand I still don’t understand what has happened and why he is not here

But I know that John, my dad was proud of me and I am of my dad and all he accompanied in his life

I do not want people to think of my dad with sad thoughts, I want people to remember a strong man, an individual, a generous man, my father, husband to Lillian, step father to John, father in law to Paul and Elaine, grandfather to Jenna

Closed for refurbishment (3): Apologize

If you feel guilt or shame, if you are the one who needs forgiveness, then apologize. But it’s not as simple as saying or thinking “I’m sorry.” Grab a pen and paper and write a full-blown apology, keeping the following in mind:
  • There is no excuse. Do not try to think of or offer one. An apology with an excuse is not an apology. Take full responsibility for what you did.
  • Make it a point to avoid using the word “but”. (“I am sorry, but…” means “I am not sorry.”)
  • Do not say “I’m sorry you feel that way” or “I’m sorry if you were offended” –it makes it seem like you are blaming the other person for feeling a certain way, and is not a real apology.
  • Think about what caused you to make the offense. Find the underlying problem, describe it to the person (as an explanation, not an excuse), and tell them what you intend to do to rectify that problem so that you can avoid this mistake in the future.
  • http://m.wikihow.com/Get-Closure

I am sorry dad for not being able to take care of you better

I am sorry dad for believing you would get better and not seeing how ill you really were

I am sorry for not knowing my father better as he grew older

I am sorry that we won’t be able to see each other again

I am sorry that the hospital let you down when you deserved so much better

I am sorry if I ever hurt you

Closed for refurbishment (2): Forgive

The fastest way to free yourself from an enemy and all associated negativity is to forgive. Untie the bindings and loose yourself from that person’s ugliness. Your hatred has tied you to the person responsible for your pain. Your forgiveness enables you to start walking away from him or her and the pain. When your enemy and his or her evil actions come to mind, send him or her a blessing. Hope the best for him or her. The first 15 – or 150 – times you try this, the “blessing” may feel contrived, empty, and even hypocritical but keep trying. Eventually, it will become a new habit and soon thereafter, the anger and pain that has burned in your heart will evaporate. http://m.wikihow.com/Get-Closure
 
 

In finding forgiveness I am separating past issues from the continuing and current occasions where people are behaving badly towards me and my partner – I need to do this  – although the current situation and continuing actions does not help me move on and help us heal.

I find it difficult to move on from bullying texts being sent, I find it difficult to move on from people bullying my partner by ignoring him.

I am aware that this current situation might be making me ill, my chronic fatigue syndrome has raised it tedious head again and I have felt awful for the past three weeks. I cannot continue like this – the negativity from others who are supposed to be close to us  – has to stop, now!

But how can you move on when people continue to invade our privacy and home-life by sending abusive and hateful texts?

So I reach for forgiveness, to help me move on and hope that we are not contacted and yet not continually ignored. I also waiver into a strange feeling of ‘well fuck you then’  – if you don’t want us, great, good riddance, leave us alone.

Today, I draw a line, where no further do you cross, no further do you hurt or harm me – and because I assume that you are not aware of how hurtful you are behaving, I forgive you

At the inquest for my father, the hospital apologized to my stepmother and me for not telling us the truth and withholding information from us about my fathers health and worsening medical condition. We found out at the inquest that he had fallen three times in the hospital, not the once that we were told. We found out that that the doctor in charge had told the staff that we should have been told that my father was dying, but they withheld this information from us. At the inquest, we were told this news, they apologized. Lilian (his wife) was able to accept their apology, and because of this I do too.

In drawing a line, in helping me find a path to forgiveness, I make this list, none of this is meant to hurt anyone, but to help me and for that I hope you understand where I am trying to get to

I forgive you all for:

  • Lying to us and withholding the truth about how ill my father was
  • Not allowing me to properly say ‘goodbye’ to my father
  • Giving me false hope
  • Not acknowledging what was going on in my life at an important time
  • Sending emails threatening withdrawal of relationships at a difficult and emotional time
  • Not supporting my partner to support me when I lost my father
  • Not listening, just talking
  • Contacting our friends while ignoring my partner and me
  • Acting out the victim role when you have been the perpetrator
  • Manipulating situations to make yourself seem innocent
  • Not taking responsibility for your own actions
  • Sending hateful and hurtful texts and emails
  • Assuming that you have the answers to problems
  • Bullying my partner into behaving as you see fit
  • Not allowing me to grieve in peace

I am letting this all go, I forgive you, for what it’s worth, I forgive you!

Closed for refurbishment (1): Define your loose ends

Much has taken place over the last 6 months, the death of my father being a significant episode in my life. Of course it wasn’t just the death, but everything around and in between, the coroners inquest, the fact that the hospital withheld the truth from my step mother and me regarding my fathers health and that he had fallen 3 times in the hospital not 1, that a doctor has told hospital staff to let us know he was dying, but they with-held this information from us.

Dying now appears inconvenient in a way. Although there are limitless amounts of forms and phone calls to be made reminding you everyday that this event has taken place and that he is no longer with us.

Of course, we take solace in that ‘he will be ever alive in our hearts’  – but it’s not enough really.

So we have to move on

At the same time as my father dying and subsequent inquest, some people decided it was the right time to behave in a baffling way, bringing a squabble/ disagreement directly to our doorstop through the acts of texts and emails. It was so not the right time to do this to my partner and me, a month to the day of my fathers funeral, we had the joy of an email (and numerous texts) threatening my partner with a withdrawal of relationships unless he ‘retracted’ some words in an email.

How sad that this had to come to us at this time, but it made me acutely aware of my place in their thoughts, a place with little importance or a thought of kindness sent, in a way, it was good to know how people really felt, although tough to take at the time.

So we have to move on

To where?

I have been looking at closure and what this means, what is involved, and if it’s actually possible

I found this website: http://m.wikihow.com/Get-Closure where I am drawing from first, let’s see what happens eh?

Define your loose ends. What is it that lingers in you that prevents you from moving on? What residual emotions are still tying you to this person? Usually it’s some form of anger or guilt – anger over what a person did to you, and you don’t feel they were held accountable to it, or guilt over what you did (or didn’t do) to (or for) someone else, and your resulting sense of regret.
 

I do wonder if I could have done more for my dad, but what? Lilian (my step mother) and myself were trying to catch up with him having Alzheimer’s and not eating, we were trying to get a diagnosis of the condition as their were similar symptoms to cancer – we didn’t know what to do – so relied on doctors and nurses guiding us.

My father looked after me as a baby and child, was I able to give that back? I always had this hope inside of me that things would improve once we had a diagnosis and be able to move forwards. In truth, he was dying and we didn’t know.

I wish he was here, so I could speak with him, the sad thing is with the Alzheimer’s it felt like my dad had left us anyway.

But recently, as I was sat in a park in Amsterdam, munching my organic apple, I looked at the clouds, and one tiny one held my attention, and I felt like my anger and sadness about my father evaporate like the cloud. Although it won’t be complete, I know that I am ready to move on.

In terms of the ongoing difficult relationships and disagreements that continue, that feels more complex as they are still around (I assume), but there is nothing I can do anything about this, as my position is that as a third party, no one has said anything directly to me, but the words and actions towards my partner has affected us both.

At a time when I lost my father, I also lost others through their withdrawal of friendships.

The loose ends with this one are that it is continuing, we are ignored, six months later. I feel anger about this situation because its so cruel and thoughtless – but also places us in a place where nothing that can be done will make anything better.

Perhaps its best to know what people really think about you, and then move on,

I am ready to move on.