Those Keyboard Warriors Though

One of my dear friends is going through some cyber bullying.

She is a blogger. She is amazing. She talks and writes about injustices, her family, her life and her son Amos. Who not only happens to be the cutest child ever, but also has autism.

She shared some screen shots with me this morning and I instantly started to sweat. I’ve been there.

It will literally take your breath away and feel like you have been sucker punched the first time someone comes at you online. And the second and third time too.

When you get to the hundreds it will just become par for the course.

The first few times though…It will be unexpected. It will hurt. It will shock you.

You will feel incredibly vulnerable. And immediately wonder if your mom saw it. And pray not. Because it’s embarrassing.

And it’s not just bloggers that this happens too although we are easy targets.

Daily, I get emails from parents, grandparents and caregivers who send me screenshots of the hate spewed at them for asking questions.

Usually about different types of therapies. Or vaccinations. Or the unique grief that can accompany special needs parenting.

It will be right there in black and white, with colorful swear words mixed in.

Mom will ask about ABA or pour their heart out about never hearing their child speak. And someone will come at them like a spider monkey.

Name calling. Swear words. Threats. Usually a ‘you are the worst parent ever’ mixed in.

Typically the profiles are fake. This means a profile with no friends or photos.

Or, the really brave ones will use their real profiles. And these ones typically put more time into their insults. Almost like they are looking for a fight.

They will go after your appearance. And your family. They will hit below the belt.

You will wonder how someone that hasn’t met you, or your child, can hate you so much.

As I read through the insults slung at my friend, I thought I’d share a few of the doozies sent to me over the years.

The best of the worst…

Your son doesn’t speak because he doesn’t want to say I love you to you.’

‘Maybe if Cooper got into a car accident he’d turn normal.’

‘Your son is going to commit suicide because your a pathetic excuse for a mother.’

‘She had another baby in hopes of having a normal one to replace Cooper.’

‘You are an embarrassment to not only the autism community but to the parenting community too. Everyone hates you.’

‘She clearly loves her other children more than Cooper.’

‘Cooper is a psychopath. He belongs in prison. Or dead.’

‘You are depressing. My daughter has an autistic son and is a way better mother than you. ‘

Bullies leave these comments buried in threads with thousands of comments. They rarely rise up so I typically miss them. Until someone engages back with them.

As for me, I don’t respond. Not really anymore.

The real aggressive ones will go to Instagram once I block them on Facebook. Then to YouTube. Then the really courageous ones will email me.

I won’t share the meanest comment ever written to me. Because I won’t give it power. But I will tell you it’s framed and up on my wall in my office. I look at it often.

It reminds me of the evil in the world and why I do what I do. And oddly enough it’s from a woman who has an autistic son.

She came at me on multiple platforms putting so much effort into her hate towards me that I immediately thought she should take some of that intensity to government and advocate for our kids. But, it appears that telling me how terrible I am is easier.

I worried for a hot minute that she was going to show up at my house and kill me. Yes, you read that right. But, I moved on from that.

Her comments changed me. But not in the way a cyber bully would want.

She strengthened me. She motivated me. She fueled me.

So my advice…

I could tell you that these people are projecting their own insecurities on the people they bully. That’s it’s not about you. It’s about them.

Or that people hide behind their keyboards and would never say this stuff to your face.

Both true.

But what I really want you to know is…

Nice, kind, people don’t name call. They don’t insult. They don’t beat people up online. They don’t use a social media platform to humiliate people. They don’t bully relentlessly.

So, as hard as it is, and yes, it’s brutally hard, don’t engage. Just ignore. They will move onto their next target.

Instead, surround yourself with kindness. Find people that want you and your child to succeed.

Find people that allow you to say it’s hard, because life is hard, without tearing you down.

Find people that will have a discussion with you about topics that you are curious about instead of criticizing.

By asking questions we are all learning. And helping our kids.

Build a village that offers support. And builds each other up.

Because life is hard enough as it is. The last thing we need is someone tearing us down online for our mothers to see.

Interested in writing for Finding Cooper’s Voice? LEARN MORE

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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