Please read: a message from my Mom regarding comments

Hello, everyone. I (Lola, lol) have gotten comments that I noticed where a bit distressing to me. Mom noticed and we had a discussion about it and only during our talk, which consumed a large part of the night, I noticed that I wasn’t coping so well with those. The most recent comment was that of you, Kyle, which was:

_____________________________

I’ve a question… a bit more on the frank and callous side of questioning this time around, but…

– How does your Dad and brothers react to your sexual advances? Not even your brothers have given in to them? However, you stated in another post that one of your brother’s friends gave in, what happened after that? Did you inform your brother about it, and did those two stop being friends after, or was it all swept under the rug? Also, you speak a lot about your mom, but never your dad and brothers, are you guys particularly close?

– You used to dress lewdly around the house, most likely to give out more sexual advances, right? I’m still confused as to how this would be fair for the others who give in to their hormones to accept you and then be hated later for it. What if someone devised a test like that towards you? I understand you have been through a lot, but I’m just saying the tests are rather unfair.

– What is the difference between an ‘appropriate’ sexual partner and an ‘inappropriate’ one?

_____________________________

I had promised to answer it today, but I’m not going to. Instead my mom wanted to write something to everyone who comes to my blog regarding comments. Please take a minute to read it. Thank you. 🙂 Here’s what my mom wants to say:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear readers and followers of Lola’s blog,

as you may or may not have picked up from my daughter’s past blog posts, I – Lola’s Mom – am involved with her blog in the background. My job is to make sure Lola does not cross healthy boundaries on her blog, but just the same I am here to make sure that my daughter’s blog is a safe place for her. Therefore I am monitoring both Lola’s post and the nature of the comments she gets.

I am very pleased that most comments are of a very kind, respectful and supportive nature. That speaks highly of you. I appreciate that greatly. Thank you very much. You contribute a lot to making this a good and beneficial experience for Lola.

On the opposite side of those comments would be the obviously rude or offensive comments. Those will get deleted right away, but I am equally pleased that none of the comments so far have fallen into this category. This, again, speaks highly of you, the readers and commenters, and I thank you very much.

I am less pleased, however, with comments such as the above, that are not wrong in and off themselves, yet border on inappropriate for my daughter’s mental health blog insofar as they touch on the grey areas in between, and are, indeed, frank and callous.

My daughter is very brave to use this blog to share her thoughts, her perceptions of the world and her feelings especially regarding the issues she is struggling with. She is making herself vulnerable by sharing those things. She is not doing so to satisfy anyone’s curiosity or because she wants or needs scrutiny, but because she is trying to overcome the embarrassment and shame and the unhealthy tendency towards secrecy, that comes with struggling with mental health issues and from having been sexually abused. She uses this blog as a tool to aid her in her recovery.

As such, it is vital that she feels safe and in control here, on her own blog.

I want to put an emphasis on the fact that I am not singling you, Kyle, out to imply you meant harm. I assume in your favor that your questions are fueled by genuine curiosity and a desire to enhance your understanding. Nothing is wrong with that at all. Sometimes an innocent intention, however, does not suffice. It is not a simple matter of black or white here, we are treading very much on the finer lines in between. Things that happen on this grey ground are infinitely more difficult for my daughter, because among those fine lines she has great difficulty telling what is healthy for her apart from what is unhealthy for her.

Questions such as the above are unhealthy for Lola. The underlying tone of the questions, what gets conveyed beneath the words, is subtly invasive and offensive. I readily assume that it is inadvertent, but that does not cushion the effect.

Also saying ‘I understand I am being bold / my question might be callous / that you have been through a lot, BUT . . . ’ does not make the ‘but’ part of the question any more friendly or more appropriate. It just makes it harder for my daughter to call the question bold, callous or inappropriate. This kind of masking, even when unintentional, is not appreciated. If you are already aware that your question might be bold or callous, then please have the courtesy to draw the appropriate conclusion yourself and don’t ask it in this way.

So instead of looking at the question of appropriate vs. inappropriate sexual partners, I would very much like to look at the question of appropriate vs. inappropriate comments for my daughter’s blog.

Appropriate comments need to be respectful. In this case respectful means that you need to consider how what you say will impact the person you address. You are addressing my daughter Lola. Appropriate comments are considerate of her emotional situation. I am aware that this is a very subtle rule and that not everyone finds it easy to look at things from someone else’s point of view, especially if that ‘someone else’ is struggling with mental health issues. It is, however, the most important rule and it will be enforced, because this blog needs to be a safe place for Lola.

Inappropriate comments are those which fail to be respectful. Again, we are all human and making mistakes is human. Neither Lola nor I assume that it happens on purpose. We are both aware that it can be very hard to tell when a comment starts to be disrespectful and why. I apply sensitive standards to protect my daughter’s mental health. It may be a case of trial and error for you to find out what is okay and what is not. Nonetheless, if comments that fall into the ‘not appropriate’ category appear, I am going to delete them along with a link to this post to help you understand what has gone wrong.

And lastly, the fairness of decisions regarding what’s appropriate is relative. Kyle, you asked how it would be fair for the people who live at our house to have involuntary hormonal sexual responses triggered and then later be hated for it. The simple answer is that it is not fair. Just the same as it is not fair that Lola was sexually abused. Many of the behaviors she employs as a result of that are not ‘fair’. There is absolutely no need to make her feel embarrassed or guilty over it by asking how she would feel if people behaved that way towards her, however. Life is very rarely fair, and if someone knows this, then it is Lola.

‘Fair’ itself is a very artificial standard. What’s fair and what is not depends on a multitude of factors. Therefore my decisions regarding which comments are appropriate and which are not can seem ‘unfair’ to some of you, because I make my decision based on what is ‘fair’ towards Lola and her emotional capabilities. That is the way we judge ‘fair’ at our house. When something surpasses Lola’s abilities, then it is not ‘fair’ to put her in the way of it. When we are the ones capable of a more mature response than she is, then it is ‘fair’ that we carry more responsibility for how we handle the situation than she does. And that does not mean that Lola is excused from having to try to the best of her ability to be fair towards others as well, but just that we need to be sure that we know what the actual best of her ability is at a given time.

And to go back to the question of what constitutes an appropriate sexual partner, much the same thing is true. Appropriate sexual partners are respectful of how what they do will impact the person they do it to, which makes their behavior safe. Appropriate sexual partners may misstep, but they will stop when asked and will want to learn from it to make a better judgment the next time around. And appropriate sexual partners can tell that fairness is relative to the ability of the people who are involved and that in order to be fair they might have to contribute more than the less capable partner. Those basic principles of appropriateness can be applied to a multitude of situations.

I am glad that this opportunity to clarify what makes comments appropriate came up. It gave Lola and me a reason to discuss how we deal with them.

To summarize in a nutshell:

Comments that fail to be sufficiently considerate of my daughter’s emotional vulnerability will be deleted and provided with a link to this post. If your comment got deleted, it does not mean that you meant harm or made some grave mistake, but just that what you wrote was inappropriate to Lola’s abilities to deal with it. What exactly IS inappropriate is subject to change as Lola’s abilities improve or experience temporary setbacks. Please know that even if your comment got deleted, you are still very welcome to enjoy reading the blog and to comment again – just try to adjust your level of considerateness to the level of Lola’s abilities.

I want to thank you very much for your understanding regarding the necessity of this boundary.

With kind regards,
Lola’s Mom

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20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nobodysreadingme
    Jan 12, 2013 @ 10:51:11

    Hello Lola’s mom. I think you wrote well, intelligently, and with great care and consideration for everybody.
    I think what you say is perfectly fair. Lola and I often chat online, and I’m careful to do this through the Comments where everything is visible. She reads a lot of what I write, and I consider it a privilege to communicate with her, and vice versa.
    If I ever did send anything inappropriate, I’d probably block myself. Lola has had enough to deal with, and still does have enough to deal with, without me adding to things.

    • Lola
      Jan 12, 2013 @ 11:13:54

      Hello Duncan. Thank you very much for your understanding. All of your comments have been a very good example of someone who is capable of recognizing appropriate boundaries, in a way that can both be lighthearted and good-natured fun, but also very empathic and sensitive when subjects that are challenging for Lola are concerned. You are considerate of how what you say might come across to Lola, which I appreciate a lot. She allowed me to say that she enjoys chatting with you, and your consideration makes me happy for her enjoy it.
      All the best to you,
      Lola’s Mom

  2. nobodysreadingme
    Jan 12, 2013 @ 11:22:55

    Thank you Lola’s mum. I’m sorry but with my accent I just can’t make the word ‘mom’ sound right

  3. manyofus1980
    Jan 12, 2013 @ 11:59:50

    Thanks for protecting LoLa. I’m glad she has suchh a protective mom. 🙂

  4. Kyle Stanly
    Jan 12, 2013 @ 16:32:03

    ~~~~For Lola’s mom’s eyes only… if Lola peeks at it, she was warned… ~~~~

    FROM HERE ON DELETED because content that is knowingly not fit for Lola’s eyes has no place on Lola’s blog.

    • Lola
      Jan 12, 2013 @ 17:44:23

      Thank you for the apology, I appreciate it. I let Lola know about the nature of your comment and we discussed it. If the intention for your line of comments was benign, it was clearly misguided and out of place, because frankly, you have no business making decisions about whether my daughter should face anything or not. You are welcome to stay around as a reader and also as a respectful commenter. Attempts at deliberately manipulating her in an attempt to “help”, however, are most unwelcome. The rules have been laid out above, it is up to you to respect them. Repeated missteps will result in blocking, because if you are incabable of or disinclined to respectful behavior, then my daughter’s blog is the wrong place for you.
      Thank you for understanding.
      Lola’s Mom

  5. Diversity is Art
    Jan 12, 2013 @ 19:53:39

    Hi,
    I’m glad to see this post and know Lola has someone making this blog safe for her, comments can be great but sometimes they can be too much.
    I honestly thought the comment in question was disturbing after I read it even if I didn’t know why, I thought it was my oversensitive impression.
    I always try to think how my comments will affect someone and hope I never say anything that causes any discomfort.

    • Lola
      Jan 12, 2013 @ 20:20:08

      Yes, sometimes that which makes a comment inappropriate is very subtle, but it can almost always be felt. A good rule of thumb is that if it makes you uneasy or puts you on guard for some reason, then it it is important to take that seriously. Lola still has a hard time doing this, which is why I make sure there are appropriate boundaries in place. That you try to think about how your comments will affect the other person and don’t want to cause discomfort is exactly how appropriate comments come about.

      It lies in the nature of mentall health blogs to attract not only responsible people who know from experience how difficult inappropriate comments can be and/or have a sufficient amount of empathy in place to not want to cause harm. Therefore it is important that people who misstep know that this is inacceptable on this blog. I am very happy, though, that the majority of you who post here know how to contribute respectful and enrichting comments. That is what counts the most.

      Good wishes to you, Diversity is Art.
      Lola’s Mom

  6. prideinmadness
    Jan 12, 2013 @ 22:40:35

    Lola’s Mom: You are a great woman and great mother 🙂 Thank you for sharing this with us! I have found great support and healing in having my blog and I would also want that for Lola because she deserves it 🙂

    Lola: I hope you’re doing alright now! I’m very excited to see how Little Lola’s clothes turn out! as I said before I would love that outfit and I’m jealous Little Lola gets it 😛 xoxo

    • Lola
      Jan 13, 2013 @ 14:37:00

      Thank you very much, prideinmadness. I am happy for you that you have found support and healing in maintaining your blog, and very much wish for Lola to have the same experience. Lola is doing alright, and she, too, is very excited about Little Lola’s clothes. 🙂
      All the best to you.
      Lola’s Mom

  7. daylily2011
    Jan 12, 2013 @ 23:49:22

    Hi Lola’s Mom.

    I am a follower and also a survivor of CSA. I can feel the hard work Lola is doing and how wonderfully supportive you are. What you described about inappropriate comments can be transferred to almost all of the mental health blogs where we put our vulnerable selves out in the vastness of the blogging world for all to see. Comments should always be with sensitivity to the writer’s feelings. Fortunately, with age comes wisdom and Lola is truly lucky to have you guide her with your wisdom as she does her healing work.

    I’m a new follower and I am touched by the depth of your support for her. I didn’t see the reply you are referring to but, in general, I feel a maternal instinct to protect Lola as she expresses her feelings and I wondered if you knew about her blog. I’m relieved that behind the scenes you are actively involved.

    I know this is Lola’s blog but I find the relationship between the two of you fascinating. Back when I did a great deal of healing from CSA I cried alone and isolated myself. Post trauma is real and scary. Oh, what I would have given to have a mom like you allow me to freely express the hurt child within. I’m touched beyond words when Lola describes the two of you snuggling because I have personal knowledge of how difficult it is to trust and be vulnerable. You are an incredible mom.

    I’m glad you wrote this post. It’s important to keep this blog a safe place for Lola. 🙂

    –Daylily

    • Lola
      Jan 13, 2013 @ 14:34:56

      Hello Daylili.

      Thank you very much for your kind words. You are only too right in saying that it is very difficult for survivors of abuse to develop trust and the strength to show their vulnerability to others. This is why it is all the more important that everyone who gets to read about the things Lola shares here comments respectfully and responsibly, and also why there is no tolerance for comments that deviate from that. And of course the same is true for all the mental health blogs out there, where people are brave enough to share their journeys and parts of themselves, just as you said.

      I thank you for wanting to protect Lola. I am very sorry that you didn’t receive this kind of maternal support back when you needed it and longed for it, and I hope that you are in a better place now. I also hope that maybe by allowing yourself to be touched by what Lola writes, some of the positive feelings that Lola experiences through the support we give her moves on to retroactively fill a void in your heart, too.

      All the best to you.
      Lola’s Mom

  8. lostservice22
    Jan 13, 2013 @ 04:52:03

    Hello Lola’s mom,
    If you have been reading her blog you have seen that in the past I have said that I am so amazed and grateful that she has such and amazing person like you in her life. the kind of support you are providing is the most important thing for her. I did not have to deal with my abuse as long as she did but I had a lot of the same experiences and I am only a few years older then her and I know that it is so important she have such supportive and loving people in her life. It has made all the difference in my life.
    life is not fair no one said it would be but some of us are lucky enough to find, sooner or later, people in our life who make each day worth the effort of getting up out of bed, and I hope that you continue to be one of those reason for Lola.

    Stay strong and spread your love as far as you can.

    ~Heather

    • Lola
      Jan 13, 2013 @ 14:15:43

      Thank you for your kind words, Heather. Having safe and supportive people in your life really does make a big difference. That is one reason why we, as a family, are glad to be able to be there for Lola. And we are just as lucky as Lola is, because having her around makes a positive difference for us in many ways as well, even when those ways sometimes look chaotic at the first glance. I am sure you are making a positive difference in the lives of the people who love you, too.
      All the best to you.
      Lola’s Mom.

  9. vwoopvwoop
    Jan 13, 2013 @ 05:43:56

    i’m so happy to see this post, it’s fantastic for me to see fair and appropriate boundaries being set in mature ways.

    • Lola
      Jan 13, 2013 @ 14:09:37

      Mature and approproate boundaries that keep people safe are an important key to psychological wellbeing. I’m very happy when people recognize that, Hats, in the way that you do. You are always a very sensible and respectful commenter and that makes your comments very valuable.
      All the best to you.
      Lola’s Mom.

  10. AmendaT (@AmendaT)
    Jan 13, 2013 @ 15:25:04

    Very well written, both in context and language. A slight veer from the topic, love the way the words flow 😉

    Just a thought though, maybe something can be added to the disclaimer tab on the menu regarding this?

    • Lola
      Jan 14, 2013 @ 06:30:27

      Thank you, Amanda. We are considering giving the rules about comments their own page on the menu.
      All the best to you.
      Lola’s Mom.

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