Sunday, January 2, 2011

Blast From The Past

 My Most Difficult Blogging Moment

I still remember the shock of it all, and how very personally I took it.

I had told myself that it wouldn’t happen to me, that I wasn’t that type.

Those kinds of things happened to others, the other kind of people. And, if it did happen to me, I wouldn’t be affected. Other kinds of people were pulled into that, but I’m not other kinds of people. I’m solid, and rock steady, and sure of myself.

Turns out I was that other kind of people.

I never saw it coming–I think that’s what sets all the gears in motion. The unexpectedness of it, the force with which the surprise attack hits you.

Welcome to the world of Your First Negative Comment.

Yes, I reacted in all the ways I said I wouldn’t. I reacted in the ways I had seen what I had judged to be lesser people react. I would click my tongue and tsk away when I’d see a blogger spend an entire post on defending herself against the negative word comments. “Sheesh,” I’d mutter, “get a grip, it’s just a negative comment. Get over it.” 

Wait till you walk a mile in the shoes, I now say.

I wish I would’ve had a camera mounted on my screen to show my unsuspecting face, smiling, reading, laughing my way through the lovely comments on a post I had written on the surliness of my teenage son. I’d pat myself on the back and tell myself how lucky I was to have such wonderful bloggy friends.

Then, as I continued reading through my post's comments, I found myself having to lean in closer to the screen, furrowing my brow, then opening my eyes and mouth in disbelief ( are you with me now in the moment?) as I realized that SOMEONE did not like what I had written. SOMEONE named Anonymous told me I didn't have a brain in my head and was a silly woman. Someone continued on to say that my post was something barely recognizable and passable as a blog entry.

To say I fell off my chair in a crumpled mass is an understatement. But, those words made me do just that.

I now question why I let a comment from a stranger affect me the way I did. I don’t know why, but I did. The coment  had hurt me on all levels. It attacked my son, it attacked me as a mother, it came out of nowhere. I think it’s that element of surprise that hits your raw, vulnerable, unprotected nerve. And, of course, they’re slamming your kid….not a good feeling.

How to get over this? I didn’t address the commenter, (couldn’t anyway…since they were anonymous.) But, I felt too frail, in that moment, to even put out another post. Was I silly? Were my posts sadly lacking? I had to deal with this issue.

I decided to post on how my feelings had been hurt, by a negative comment. I didn’t defend my post, or put down the commenter. I just posted on how maybe I am a silly woman who posts on some not so serious things, and so what. It’s who I am. To my surprise, that post did more for me than I ever could have foreseen.

All my wonderful readers came from the east, south, north, and west, to my defense. I was loved upon over and over and lifted up high and in receipt of multiple, virtual, electronic hugs of love.

That negative comment turned out to be an opportunity for me to see all the beauty of the lovely bloggers that do exist in the majority of the blogosphere. From something bad, something very, very  good. The response to my post affirmed what I had already been coming to believe since I began blogging; that bloggers are a very special breed. That just as easily as one is bruised and knocked down on the internet,  one is just as quickly held and comforted and loved right back up again.

Thank you, my lovely, lovely bloggy friends. And, if  any negative commenters come knocking at your post's door? I got your back.

This week, I'll be running some of my favorites from the past.  This post was originally a guest post for Gigi. Thanks for keeping it safe, Geeg.


  1. Oh, I soooo get this. I remember my first negative comment, too, and how much it hurt. It had been smooth sailing for so long so it just seemed to come from nowhere. I also wanted to break away from blogging, but you said it all right here: when we're down, we have all the support we need from this wonderful community. I'm glad you know who your true bloggy friends are and I'll always have your back, too :) *HUGS* and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  2. Oh dear. That's awful.

    I had a negative comment a while back now. I had written about a celebrity, and an "anonymous" person had questioned why I would say positive things about her as she was a racist. No, this celebrity, in my opinion, is not a racist. A comment she had made had been taken out of context by a racist political party in the UK, and used by them as propaganda for their own agenda.

    I did address the person, by leaving a comment myself, and asked that they read around the subject before putting a comment like that on my blog.

    It does affect you, as I still remember how I felt that day very clearly.

    People are entitled to their opinion, and we do allow comments, but I only ask that if they leave a comment, that it be constructive.

    The very fact these people choose to not reveal who they are says a lot about them, and probably about how the see themselves too.

    I do feel sad for them on one level.

    But simply, if a person has an issue with a blog or post, they don't have to stick around and read it.

    Stay true to yourself, as these people are thankfully few and far between. xx

  3. I remember my first negative comment. At first I deleted it, then put it back up. Had the best numbers I'd gotten in a while as a result and I too found out that I had a lot of wonderful, caring blog friends out there. It was worth it.

    I adore you.

  4. I have gotten a few death threats, those are always fun. People disagree with your politics and offer to cut off your head.

    No exaggeration on any of that.

    Anyway, I think that some people feel that anonymity provides a license to be a moron.

  5. Wow, thanks for talking so honestly about this sensitive subject.

    My first negative comment was a PERSONAL one from a psycho babysitter from our past. I had completely forgotten that by becoming a "public figure" in my blogging this could happen.

    It was a complete rant about how I was the worst mother in the world and listing the reasons why and how she felt sorry for my children because of that. Wondering how such nice people as my parents could have had a monster like me. Truly awful stuff.

    And brought back the nightmare that was that time in our lives when I realized this seemingly nice woman that my kids were very attached to was actually an enemy, IN MY HOME, out to destroy me.

    And it occurred not on my personal blog, but on the SVMG NYC Moms group blog that I wrote for last spring.

    I have never written about the experience, and I probably should as I am clearly still carrying the pain of it with me. She wrote 2 comments, then never re-surfaced again, but I am always on the lookout for her, ever since. Damn, she got under my skin. Crap!

  6. I like how you changed your tone from funny and light hearted to serious and emotional. I'm sorry this happened to you. That was just mean. Yes, blogging communities are strong, as I found out some months ago on my own blog.

  7. I have been lucky when it comes to negative comments but I have faced a different kind of situation nonetheless which i cannot mention. And I sank to the bottom of my heart. That was one moment in blogging when I felt none of it mattered, writing, blog friends, nothing. But gradually, things did happen to become better. I am much happy now for I have found people who would stick by me, whatever the situation be. I completely understand when you say... "wonderful readers from north, south..." it does mean a lot. :-)

  8. This hasn't happened to me, yet, but it is only a matter of time. I will probably crumple too but I do think that this is idiots out trolling. Someone did leave a comment on my blog one time that ASD = SAD and I was very cross about it so I just deleted it and ignored the idiot. Lovely to read this and thanks for reposting:) Jen

  9. You are so right. Those negative party-poopers have nothing on you, Madame Empress. Let that sort of negativity roll right off your back. And that A. Nonymous sure gets around, doesn't s/he? If you open up your heart and world in a blog you are bound to find haters and those who are not secure enough in themselves to put their own name with their comment aren't worth your time. Those who hide behind the A. Nonymous name are cowards. Plain and simple.

    Keep on writing the way you do and you will continue to have more and more followers. Those that don't like can un-follow at any time.

    Enjoy the day!

  10. That baby sitter comment struck a chord with me since I am having a similar situation right now, but luckily not on my blog.

    I haven't yet had a negative comment but I think that is because no one knows my blog is out there...which is OK with me. ;-)

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. I'm sorry that someone had the nerve to be rude, especially in a post involving your child. Anonymous comments typically equal cowards hiding.

    My first negative comment came in the form of an email about a post I wrote titled "Pets We Have Killed". I could have dealt with it privately but decided to write a follow up post to make the anony troll feel really bad. So I wrote about our Pug passing away, "Dogs, we've had two." I still can't read that post without crying.

    I guess I'm a little old school, If I can't say something nice...

    Thanks for reposting this, I'm glad I'm not alone in the crumpeling.

    Sorry for the post removed above! If I could spell I'd be ever so happy.

  13. Ah yes, it's hard to get over your first Troll. I've had quite a few. Luckily, it was an opportunity to see how much your readers love and value you.

    As the stepmother of a surly teen, I see no problem with the airing of the grievances. They can be rotten little buggers.

  14. I had my first one, years ago now, and I remember feeling that very same floor-rushing-up-disbelief.

    My Neg hid behind an obvious nom de plume, but I hunted them down, quietly, and satisfied myself that they were nothing I should worry about. Then, I gave myself a day or two, and wrote a pithy post, making fun of the negativity.

    And to this day, on the old site, you can still go see that negative comment.

    Because it's a formative part of the blog.

    As per usual, Alexandra, you handled it gracefully, and found the silver lining. And per usual, I'm impressed.

  15. contest. not context.

    That wouldn't make much sense.

  16. It definitely sucks when it happens to you. I've developed thicker skin. But, I still hate when it happens.

    Nothing compares to the total hate posts that a few bloggers wrote about me this past summer...and the people who usually comment nicely on my blog who joined in the bashing. Guess they thought I'd never see, forgetting what a small place the blogosphere can be.

    I wanted to walk away from it all...but decided not to give them the satisfaction.

  17. I've had two negative comments (from the nameless and faceless "Anonymous") and I pretty much did the same thing. But I had the last laugh when my readers ripped Anon a new one. It was a great feeling! :D

  18. ::: knock on wood ::: I have not received a negative comment. Well, sure, maybe a few from spambots, but not real people. Glad you made it through a better person.

  19. Ooooooooooo. Oooooooooooooo. Bad Commenter. What's the point, really? Glad your readers had your back. Here's to a positive, healthy start in 2011!

  20. Cece says:

    I remember when this happened. I couldn't believe it, either.

    Weirdos...icky, icky weirdos. Sitting behind computers, full of hate.

    Just click out if you don't like it, people.

  21. I remember this post well and it still rings true. O fcourse, you've got a veritable army behind you now to protect you from such things :)

  22. Negative comments are as uncomfortable in writing as they are in person. Worse, because anonymity usually gives the commentor a nasty kind of courage. I always spend way too much time obsessing about them, or thinking of witty responses.

  23. My personal philosophy is that anonymous people are gremlins.

    They don't really exist, therefore we laugh and mock them.

    When people are brave enough to put their name to the criticisms, then they are worth listening to. They are probably WRONG, of course, but listening courteously is a fair trade.

    But Anonymous people get nothing but mocking. It is all they deserve.

  24. So far, no negative comments, but that would require people I DON'T pay to read my blog!

    But that SOMEONE is a thing that rhymes with "juice bag" and makes me want to pound their face. How dare they bad talk The Empress! And the fact that it was Anonymous shows that person didn't have enough backbone to let someone know who they were. You're awesome and I'm so glad everyone came to your defense. I'm on the front row of the Butt Kicking Brigade. I pity da foo who talks bad 'bout MY friend!

    (Can you sense a little PMS in this comment? Naaah...)

  25. Always anonymous! Which proves a point.

    What I still fail to understand with negative comments is that it's YOUR blog, not theirs. If they want to say shit, they should on THEIR blogs. Punks.

    I love the perspective you chose to take, though. It's more powerful than losing your mind on that person.

  26. I've had a few negative comments. Not a ton. When I turned off anonymous comments, that really cut down.

    They definitely sting a bit, but honestly, since they are from a coward and a stranger, they just don't affect me like that first one I got. I've developed a thicker skin. I'm also a big beleiver in not engaging or acknowledging it at all. Don't feed the trolls, as they say.

  27. Hey Empress, first time commenter! I remember getting a negative comment from a postal worker in somewhere middle American demanding more details of a mail delivery gone wrong. And he posted again when I didn't answer him. The fact that most disgruntled commenters are anonymous does make me feel better, because clearly they don't have the courage of their convictions.

    And yeah, what the others said. It's OUR blog, we can write what we want.

  28. This is why I had to block anonymous comments on my blog. One person.

    But I did the opposite, I fought back. I won't let myself be bullied by a coward.

    And THAT is who I am!

  29. Only a total loser wold troll on HRH the Empress. Know this, the commenter had a small penis (be they male or female).

  30. A while back I left a comment on a friends blog. Some anonymous person slammed my comment. I restrained myself and did not engage this individual on that forum but addressed her comment on my own blog. People seem to think that by going anonymous it gives them license to say whatever they want. I basically told anonymous that if they didn't have the balls to leave there name- then don't comment at all. Jerks!

  31. I know that moment. I had one of those. For me, it caused me to hold my breath while realizing I was all of a sudden feeling the need to defend my blog and the contents of the post.

    It was truly a growing experience. Taking the high road is often hard. I love that you were able to post about the experience without berating the anonymous commenter.

    Growing experiences are very painful. And yet realizing that NO ONE has the right to tell us how to feel, who we are, and if our "stuff" is worthless or not is easily forgotten in a moment like this.

    I'm glad to have found this blog. Personally, you inspire me to be a "better me". I am thankful for you.

  32. I remember reading this when it ran over at Kludgy Mom and it's a well timed re-run today. Anonymous had a doozy for me this morning. Then a second anonymous (my mom) defending me restored my faith in allowing anon comments. It's been a fun day because even after a bunch of negative comments, they still sting!

  33. You are a back-getter which is how you draw them to you.

  34. Why would anyone need to put that kind of energy out there? What purpose does it serve. If you don't have anything nice to say...Geesh. Sorry that happened to you. Some people just like to be evil I guess. Good wins over evil every time.

  35. I can see that hurting quite a bit. To blog with honesty, to talk about how it really is, instead of what is "PC" takes courage because it makes you vunerable. Taking a shot at the raw you is such a creepy mean thing to do. I am glad you got loved right back up. I so enjoy your very honest, real blog.

  36. Oh Empress.
    I think your reaction was how any of us would have felt. I don't understand why people can be so cruel. Of course we all have different opinions on things but this was a post about your son. A beautiful post I might add. The post wasn't a debate or an opinion, it was about your son and how wonderfully awesome he is (of course he is, he has royalty in his DNA :) )
    Clearly it was written by a bafoon with no nads who is jealous.
    I am so sorry my friend.
    Sometimes the world just sucks. Don't let anon ruin your parade... We are all here behind you ;)

  37. I'm still waiting for this to happen...and I know it will one of these days...and I also know that I, too, will feel that the wind has been knocked out of me. Heck, I get miffed over the "Hi! Great post! New follower! Check ME out!" comments. Keep walking the walk and, uh...blogging the blog.

  38. Authors like you, and blogs like this, are a great model for grace under pressure/under fire/under scrutiny, and it will serve me -- and other relative newbies (the Great Unread) -- well to recall just how you handle these kinds of things so that When the Day Comes for Me I will not lose a step in managing it in the most constructive way I can,

    As I raise four children every day, I realize all the time that I'm actually raising ADULTS and as such, I want them to take responsibility for the things they think, and especially for the things that they SAY out loud, or in writing. Therefore, Anonymous doesn't really merit any more attention than the time it would take to get through a comment. My rule is: be a grownup. Claim it. Don't hide behind anonymity.

    Thanks for your marvelous role modeling. When I grow up I'd like to be an Empress, or at least a minor Princess or Duchess, whichever wears the cooler headgear.

  39. Got your cherry popped, congratulations!

  40. This was so crazy when it happened, and what a cowardly way to do it too. But you found a way to turn it around and find the good in your other commenters, who outnumber this one by a landslide. You handled it with grace and dignity, something I have come to expect from you.

    And if you had my back? I'd be set. And honored.

  41. I never read that post in question, because you had taken it down by the time I got over here, but I remember that is how we had "met." Alex had linked to your post-negative comment post and I felt this urge to come over to show my support, even though at that point I had no idea who you were! I left my first comment on your blog and it would be the beginning of many more visits I'd enjoy. It really is surprising how many unexpected doors can open through something that started out so negatively.

    A (male) friend recently shared with me his whole way of thinking when it comes to these things (us worrying about what others think) - I think alot of women tend to assume there is something about us that causes inappropriate behavior in others. He said, no, we have to think of it as the other person having the problem, not us. I have tried to do that. It helps a bit.

    Something is going on with a person who will take the time and effort to write something to cut others down. It could be insecurity, a feeling of being threatened, or something. A normal secure person will not do that.

    I am so glad you never gave up!!

  42. Sadly I have been there! Who is this horrible annon person going around with a venom tounge??
    Know yu are loved!
    Happy New year!

  43. A Happy New Year to you!!

    Oh, that first negative comment. So very ugly. I walked away, took a swig of cheap wine and then uttered some nasty words. Then, I called my husband and whined. Because I am very mature.

  44. I don't understand the reason behind being anonymous and saying something negative. I feel like if you want to say something, be man(woman?) enough to put your name on it. I hate that it happened to you, but really glad to see how you used it to better yourself and your blog. You are much loved for what you say.

  45. The fact that the comment was posted "anonymously" is more telling of the coward who wrote it than anything else.
    I do know the feeling. I experienced it, and I'm ashamed to say, that although I didn't blog about it, I did go to the person's blog (he had left his blog addy) and I played a series of mind games with him for awhile, before I realized that the mere fact that I was playing meant that I was the loser.

  46. I remember that and I still can't believe you had a troll. Obviously someone with self esteem issues. I'm still looking forward to getting a troll but that may be why I haven't been given one ; )

  47. I haven't had any negative feedback yet...but that might be because the only one reading my blog so far is my mom. And I know where that bitch lives! I DREAD the day I get a negative comment because I will fall to the floor in a big puddle. I talk a big game but I have very thin skin. Literally. That's what happens after 40. Thin and wrinkled. Oy.

  48. Oh! I remember this Alex and I am so glad you didn't let it stop you!

    And don't worry, I took care of her car just like we talked about (-:

  49. Well, I haven't been reading many blogs these past 2 weeks so I must have missed it, but I am coming to your defense too and saying that I like you just how you are, too.

    I remember when I was linked and quoted on another blog as a typical "fluffy Mommy Blog." I nearly died. Instead, I commented on THEIR post about how I never claimed to be anything BUT "Just ANother Mommy Blog." DUH! And that I hoped I never treated anyone with the unkindness that they were showing to me and on and on. A real "Mom moment" of trying to make them feel badly about what they had done... :)

  50. hello, love. i totally get you. i got a semi-negative comment once and i got all hot and flustered. whenever i lose a follower, or get less comments, or, whatever, it makes me feel all anxiety-ridden and 'what am i doing wrong?' it's probably not normal and should get a life, but it does hurt one's feelings. it sucks. and i'm so glad to have someone like you in my corner. :)

  51. Empress, anyone who leaves you a nasty comment is headed straight to Hell. No questions asked.

    On a lighter note, that photo made my eyes hurt and I had to quickly scroll past. :)

  52. Off with negative commenters' heads!

  53. I have been there, and it's no fun at all. Comments received over differing beliefs, etc. are one thing, but if someone said something about my kids, I don't know what I would do. Kudos to you, my friend, for showing grace under fire!

  54. I remember reading this post the first time it was published. In writing a post like this you are 1) helping the bloggers who receive negative comments to deal and 2) reminding readers that bloggers are people with feelings. So thank you for being so open with your experiences!

    I haven't received a negative comment yet, but I suspect that whenever I do, I will come sniveling to you for comfort! xoxo

  55. I just don't get negative commenters. Blogging and commenting takes sooo much time. Why on earth would you spend it exuding negative energy and leaving nasty comments? Isn't blogging supposed to be fun? It makes no sense to me.

    Kudos to you for handling it with style and grace. That's why I like to come here... even if I don't comment often. :)

  56. You are the most generous woman in the blogosphere, the first to give anyone the benefit of the doubt -- you deserve the best from your readers!

    Happy New Year!

  57. I gotta tell ya, I'm not the kind of person who would write a negative comment (at least not on purpose), but if I WERE that type of person, I hope I'd also be the type of person who would not hide behind "anonymous". I think that should be illegal. I think that if you post a negative comment your name should be up there so that everyone knows how you feel. After all, you ARE entitled to an opinion, just not a stupid one. :)

  58. Candace says:

    That picture makes me want to puke.

  59. I "met" you right when this happened. I read through your archives and knew right away that
    "Anonymous" was a lunatic as your kindness and generosity has always shone through your writing.

  60. I don't like it when people hide behind the name annoymous and hurt others. My motto is that if you can't say something nice you shouldn't say anything at all!

  61. I'm glad you are running these Empress. I had not read this one.
    Poor poor Empress. I too would be a puddle on the floor. I'm sure my day will come, but then I'll know who to come to for understanding.

  62. Perfectly said and Oh, SO wise you are; Empress. I fully expect negative comments and as of yet; they've all been positive,loving and filled with nice things.

    Perhaps if I ever am inundated with "strong dislike" comments; I'll moderate. But you're right; out of bad comes good! So there I'll take both.

    Sorry you were crying glasses of tears; but it looks as though both glasses? Nearly full! :)



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