Update: Actually, I saved the encyclopedic version of this privately, and cut this one, for public consumption, down considerably. Hopefully, glazed eyes will be averted, but no promises.
Last night, I wrote this post after a particular quote in a discussion thread got me thinking about the topic. I wrote it very late, and went to bed, not thinking at all about it until I got back from the endo's this morning.
It was very late when I got to bed; I'm running on about 3 hours of sleep today. I'm a zombie and would be even if it hadn't been one of the craziest days, ever. But we've all survived OK somehow. The tiredness has slowed down my thinking about what happened around that post, though.
What happened is this: in the original version of the post, I had an introduction in which I briefly reviewed the facts of the discussion thread that inspired it, and I linked to the thread itself. The woman who started the discussion thread was "alerted to" my post, and had a fit about it.
First, she linked to it (unfortunately with a bad link). Then, because the link was bad, she copied-and-pasted the entire post to the forum. Here's a bit of her reasoning: "...I think it's important for others to see what can happen just because you don't think another person's advice is appropriate for you."
My immediate reaction to this was: huh?
It took me a while to figure out that she thought I was wrong to repeat information she had included in her post in my blog, and to link to the discussion thread. It took me even longer to figure out that She thought I was talking about her. She thought I wrote that entire post because I was furious with her for disregarding my advice. (heh)
She didn't get that I was taking that one quote of hers and expanding on it, pushing it to the extremes. She also apparently didn't read the whole thing, because I wrote:
I don't think the woman in the discussion thread is dooming her daughter to a lifetime of distrust and self-esteem issues. I'm not making any assumptions about her general parenting, but she certainly did get my wheels turning.(Note: this quote is now slightly different in the edited version, because the discussion thread isn't mentioned anymore.)
Naturally, I got defensive, but I managed not to make a further idiot of myself, at least in public. I sent private messages to a few people explaining that the blog post was about me, not about her... and I privately asked the moderators to remove the posts (they decided not to).
I had so much on the schedule today that I was forced to go away and come back to this issue several times. On the last iteration, it finally became clear to me what I should do: apologize, and remove the specific references to the discussion thread from the post.
It doesn't matter what my intentions were, and it doesn't matter that the woman is a careless reader. Something I did upset her, and even though I wasn't trying to hurt her, I am still responsible for what I did. She wasn't the only one who read a personal criticism interpretation into that post -- but the others who did share this woman's dislike of me, too... but you know what? That doesn't matter, either. It doesn't matter if it's their perspective that shades everything I say as an attack, whether I mean it that way or not. If this was perceived as an attack, it is up to me to change it so it isn't, anymore.
The post was about my own ideas regarding "super parents", as well as my struggles with my own vulnerability. It really did have nothing to do with that woman, other than the fact that her quote set me thinking about it.
So, I edited the original post, removing the first few paragraphs of detail and the link to the discussion thread. I also posted an apology on the board.
It probably won't be enough for the people who wish to be offended by everything I say and do, but it's the best I can do in this situation. In an ideal world we would all be able to discern each other's intent perfectly on every reading, but that is not this world.
I really am sorry.
I have asked one of the mods to delete my account. She has asked me to give it another day to think about it, and commended me for changing my blog post and making the apology. I did those things because they were the right thing to do.
Now, I think the right thing to do will be to just stay away from the forum entirely. It is astonishing how much venom she and the others like her on this forum ascribe to me. They could just ignore me, but they go out of their way to post and make journal entries with the sole purpose of telling me how arrogant, condescending, rude, sick, twisted, and generally unpleasant I am.
There are two ways of dealing with bullies: stand up to them, or walk away. I think in this case, walking away is my best option.
To paraphrase one of my favorite scenes from The Two Towers: What can I do against such reckless hate? Ride out, and leave it behind.