A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.
*trigger warning – online abuse
Dear person who keeps sending me abusive emails and Facebook messages, and who keeps adding snarky replies or subtle links to conspiracy theorists and conspiracy videos on my posts.
I’m not going to try and argue with you.
Or reason with you.
Instead, I’m just going to block you. Delete you. Ignore you.
It’s sad for me to do this. Once we knew each other quite well socially. I knew you as an alternative medicine practitioner. You were good at your job, and you helped me in my pursuit of wellness despite illness. I had respect for your work, and your knowledge. We moved in many of the same circles. I also appreciated that you were often left-of-centre in your perspective.
But something changed.
During the pandemic you moved further and further away from the person I knew. You began to spout American conspiracy theories and rhetoric, although we are both Australian. It became very ‘us-versus-them’.
Somehow that has morphed into you believing that because, as an immunocompromised person, I still choose to wear a facemask in risk situations, that I must also be part of a paedophile ring, that my current illness is the result of consuming adrenochrome harvested from the blood of young children trafficked and kept in underground tunnels by Hollywood elites and Democrats (?????????), and that I am somehow part of a global conspiracy of darkness. That my current meditations for others are done on behalf of the Devil.
My goodness, how you have been attacking me. And then suddenly you’re pleasant, helpful, reasonable as you try to win me to your cause. Then abusive again when I don’t come onboard with you. Then threatening. Nasty. That’s the classic dance of abuse, my friend. A dance that can’t escalate if I refuse to take part.
One thing I’ve learned over the past few years is this: nothing I say or do will change the mind of a fanatic.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs, and you are entitled to yours. It’s healthy to have debate and disagreement. But not like this.
Here’s the thing. Once upon a time I would have tried to placate you, or reason with you, or to engage in discussion. I would have done anything to not anger you, trigger you or upset you. I would have kept the peace – even if that was at my expense. But not now. Now I claim sovereignty in my life. I get to decide who comes through my door, who hangs out in my space, and how people treat me.
I don’t need your abuse. I don’t need your QAnon conspiracy theories. I don’t need your anger or your hate. I don’t need your threats.
And honestly, you were starting to scare me.
I feel sad to have blocked you. But my boundaries make me feel safer. Calmer. Less anxious.
Your behaviour isn’t okay. It’s harassment. It’s bullying.
I screenshot everything. At the behest of a colleague I reported your behaviour and posts to the social media platforms and the police. Because if you’re doing this to me you’re doing this to others too.
I wish you well. I’m worried about you. I hope you are okay. The person I knew behind all of this current behaviour was always someone who was kind, caring, curious about the world, and motivated to help people heal. I hope one day I get to meet that person again.
And me? I deserve to have a life untroubled by anger, abuse and vitriol. I choose to make my home and my online spaces safe and loving places for myself, my loved ones, my community. You’re not welcome here anymore.
With regret, and strong love for myself, Nicole