Has the world always just been full of mean, rude people? Or has Covid isolation , or social media, just brought out the worst in us?
I’m having one of those days: where so many emotions are hitting me at once. If I said I was a basket case, it would be an exageration, yet if I said I was a mess , it would be an understatement. But I get angry at the appropriate things and I cry at the most inopportune ones ( like mentally breaking down in the car on the way home, on the highway doing 100 tonight). It’s just been like that today. But some of the things I’m seeing online, are just right off in left field and I can’t make any sense of it.
Everyone around me is sympathetic and compassionate: I’m fortunate in that way. It’s what I’m reading online, that’s making me really hurt for mankind ( or ” peoplekind” . If you’re Canadian you’ll get where I’m coming from with that attempt at humour). Anyway, it’s everywhere: the judgemental, mean, cruel, nasty remarks that spew off the keyboards and onto the social media pages, everywhere you look.
I started noticing this trend months ago. It started in the buy and sell groups I belonged to on Facebook. The concept of these pages is pretty simple: if you want to sell something, you advertise. If you want to buy something, you see the article for sale, and you message the seller to buy it or make an offer. If it’s something you’re not interested in, you skip over the ad altogether. Easy enough right? Not anymore apparently. The comments that people put, regarding price usually are so nasty. Sometimes, they even get downright personal and verbally attack the person who just wants to sell their stuff. Oftentimes, these people have no interest in what is even being sold. They just want to stir up shit. I’ve seen attacks on people for advertising rental units over the price. Or people being berated for their asking prices on vehicles, or art, or just about anything.
I’ve seen online arguments ensue in my neighborhood group, where people are expressing their frustration over having their cars, or garden sheds, or even their homes broken into and others telling them its their own fault for having things worth stealing. One woman in the neighborhood who decorates her home for Halloween and Christmas, went online to ask if anyone had seen some of her Halloween decorations which somehow walked away through the night back in October. She was verbally insulted by another woman accusing her of being materialistic and teaching children nothing but consumerism because of the cost of all these decorations on her front lawn.( that I might add, children and their parents came from all over town to see because it was a nice attraction. )
Then there are the animal groups. There are groups, specifically set up to help people re-home their pets here in the valley. While I don’t like to see animals passed off either, these groups are set up for the purpose of finding new homes. I’d rather see someone actively trying to find the best home, than dumping an animal to become a stray. And without fail: out come the keyboard warriors condemning those who are trying to find homes for their animals. It doesn’t matter why : I’ve seen people slandered because they have found themselves homeless, or due to illness, and even due to death. But they are attacked online by these justice champions who join a group, that’s sole intent is to re-home pets, just so they can call someone out. What is sad, is how many people are discouraged by these attacks and instead find less responsible ways to give up their pets. So whose suffering for this? The poor animal is.
A couple of days ago, I posted a video of one of my dogs ” reverse sneezing ” in a pet group I belong to, clearly stating that I can’t get a vet appointment for almost two weeks because they have no availability, but I was worried and just asking if anyone knew if this was anything serious. And the responses were overwhelmingly compassionate and assuring that ” reverse sneezing” isn’t anything serious and that my dog was OK. And then….this one lady…. of course, laid into me that this page isn’t a veterinarian and basically, insinuated that I was a bad pet owner because I was asking for advice rather than seeing a veterinarian. Ug. Give me a break.
But this new trend of vile negativity, has hit even the most vulnerable of support groups this week : groups that are set up for bereaved parents. I saw it in the group for parents whose children have died. I saw it in the group for mothers who have lost their sons. And I saw it in the group for parents who have lost a child to suicide. It’s discouraging, that people who should be bonding by the very nature of why they joined, instead tear each other apart and somehow manage to create division and exclusion. Religion has been a point of argument alot. I’ve seen someone tell a mother that she will pray for her child’s soul because suicide is a sin and that child will not go to heaven. I’ve seen one mother lose it on anyone who mentions God at all. I’ve seen one mother get verbally ” jumped” all over because her anger at God for taking her child insulted others beliefs . I’m not religious at all myself. I am spiritual though. And it makes me sick to read some of the comments. I know that grief changes us, but the cruelty : using grief as the scapegoat, is just low. The other day, in the ” Mothers who have lost” group, one lady proclaimed that she thinks the group should exclude step mothers, and adoptive mothers, because they can’t possibly compare with the grief felt by a birth mother. 😦 I read a post by another woman, expressing rage at anyone who posts on FB the loss of their pet, because according to this woman, their grief doesn’t count as it doesn’t stack up against hers because she lost a child.
These changes in the bereavement groups are only very recent. Prior to a week ago : all of these groups offered unconditional support. It was the ” all of a sudden” change that makes me nervous, and sad for the downward spiral of our species. What has happened to us? Have we always been this broken or has the anonymity of cyberspace just allowed a free for all in expressing the bully and mean streaks of those who are prone to negativity? Some people in this world are just plain mean.
No wonder Sam was tired of it all. This world was too cruel for my sweet boy. And I get it. I understand what led him to make the decision that would take him from us that night. I wish he hadn’t. I wish I could have protected him. As much as it shattered my heart though, his beautiful soul is free from all of it now. I envy, in the very depths of my own grief, the peace that he found. And, I pray that it isn’t a lifetime, before I find it too.