No One Likes a Tattle-Tale

A couple of weeks ago, a disgruntled reader left a comment on my blog.

Well, I shouldn’t say “reader”, because it was a person who knows me in real life.

The commenter began their comment with the words, “Oh, Tara, Tara…if only your readers knew the truth about you!” Notice the exclamation point. It made me laugh because it inspired images of a pinched-face, pursed-lipped individual hunched over the computer keys, laboriously entering a false email address. I wondered if the commenter ceaselessly monitored the page after they hit “submit”, hoping that I’d be bombarded with comments from shocked, alienated readers who’d felt misled all these years.

Or maybe they just hoped my feelings would be hurt.

I debated posting the comment. I mean, I presumably write what I want (ha!). Isn’t it only fair to post the reactions of my readers even if they’re anonymous and filled with animosity?

But when I presented my internal debate to a trusted friend, she retorted, “Um, you’re not CNN or the New York Times, Tara. You’re not writing a news story and under some sort of ethical obligation to present both sides in an unbiased manner. It’s your blog, and you’re writing from your perspective. In addition, it’s clear the commenter has some erroneous information. Why would you deliberately post factually incorrect information about yourself?”

When she put it like that, I felt kind of stupid for considering it.

So I didn’t post it.

Truthfully, in my five years of blogging, I’ve only received a handful of mean-spirited comments directed toward me personally, all of them from people who know me in real life. All of them related to me via blood or marriage, in fact. Truthfully, my feelings have been hurt, but only when the comments were written by someone whom I respect and admire. The remainder? Well, the “delete” button serves to erase them both from my computer and my mind.

While this comment bothers me, it’s not because my feelings are hurt or because I respect this person in any way, but because it speaks to this person’s fundamental inability to move on.

This commenter is clearly still pouring over each blog post, combing my words for implied meanings, potential insults, and details that contrast their understanding of the situation. Maybe they even print each post and carry it in their pocket, to be brandished during counseling sessions or at the dinner table whenever my name is mentioned in dour tones.

(Some might say, “But Tara, you’re still writing about the divorce. Some would say you haven’t moved on.” My reply would be to acknowledge that they’re correct, to a degree.  I’ll stop writing about it when I feel I have closure. It’s that simple. Writing about this divorce isn’t going to go on forever. It’ll inevitably burn itself out, y’all.)

The thing is, I suspect this commenter’s preoccupation with my words is exacerbated by “interested” and “concerned” friends and family members. I suspect there is a bevy of people, who, when my posts land in their in-box, pick up the phone and yammer on about my spite, ill-intent, or questionable morals. I wonder if these concerned people understand that their impassioned defense only hurts. Not me, mind you, but Drew. Seriously, let the dude move on. He’s not going to do that if you keep tattling to him about my blog posts. And for goodness sake; if he’s the one initiating the conversation, be merciful and remain disengaged.

If I were Drew (and clearly I’m not), I’d tell my friends and family to never mention the blog to me again. I’d tell them that that the words of his ex-wife are just that—words–and they have no power to hurt unless one lets them. I’d remind them that the percentage of readers who actually know him in real-life is infinitesimal compared to the number of readers, and those who interact with him on a daily basis know him well enough to decide for themselves whether my viewpoint has merit. And if they read posts written by his ex-wife and withdraw their support, well, shame on them.

If I were him, I’d start setting boundaries around things that can actually be controlled, such as the drama perpetuated by himself, his friends, and his family. I’d tell them that if they continue to perseverate on the words and actions of his ex-wife, then their time with him will be limited.

If no one in his life reads or talks about my blog, then it will cease to exist in his world.

After all, my blog is one blog out of millions—literally millions–on the internet. Neither his first nor last names are used. No identifying details are revealed. The kid’s names are changed and I don’t mention any specifics about where we live, his career, or his family. If you were really invested and fairly savvy on the computer, you could probably track me down pretty easily. But I don’t share his last name, an address, or a phone number. So if my readers don’t already know him, they’ll probably never know him.

To those who oppose this blog…stop reading it. Stop talking about it. Don’t tell people about it, gossip, or tattle. Don’t give me or my words any publicity. If you profess to be his support system, then be supportive. This doesn’t mean poking at raw wounds, judging his reactions, or causing him to worry that something I write will alter your opinion of him.

Maybe he should expect less from me, and more from you.

After all, I’m not obligated to protect his feelings anymore.

But as his support system, you are.

So do it.

Comments

  1. Susan says:

    Good gravy but how I wish I could have said this stuff to Them, back in The Day. Wishing you luck!

  2. Jodie Corbeil says:

    Beautifully put and amazingly supportive of someone you no longer need to support!

    • Patti says:

      Seriously Jodie! Isn’t Tara amazing to continue protecting someone to whom she is no longer obligated? I think she is modeling true character and integrity.

      • Tara says:

        Whoa. Let’s not give me too much credit. Do I want him to stop feeling tormented by my blog? ABSOLUTELY. But I really just want to be left alone. I don’t want to get vicious comments. I don’t want to be threatened with lawsuits. I don’t want anyone to read my blog who doesn’t want to be here. Just let me write. Let me tell my version of the tale. Then let me forgive and move on.

  3. Patti says:

    I wish you were published in the New York Times. Perhaps the disinterested (can’t-resist-temptation-reader- tattle-tales) will create such a flurry of interest that your blog will get picked up as a popular column! I can’t wait!!

  4. Jan says:

    It took some guts to write this post :) You could always close this blog and start a new one, adding only people you approve if you wanted more privacy. Facebook is also a notorious forum for gossip and whatever is on someone’s page. My friends and family were always messaging me about my ex’s whereabouts, pictures, comments, etc. I finally had to say “I do NOT want to know about it.” I actually deactivated my account several times because I was sick to death of it. Some people like to continue to wallow in the drama when the two people involved have both moved on. I say, “Live and let live!” I hope you continue to post for those of us that are really inspired by your words, though. Don’t let anyone rain on your parade, Tara.

    • Tara says:

      I don’t really want to close this blog. I’ve considered it, but I think it’d feel like giving up. Letting him take too much from me. If I have an “invite only” blog, it feels self-indulgent, like I’m summoning people to come pay attention to me or something. I just want to put my words out there and people can read them or not.

      I’ve had the same conversation over the past few weeks. When he moved back into the house, folks wanted to report things to me. I was like, “I can’t express to you how little I care. Leave him alone.” I think they felt it would be payback for all the times a private investigator sat at the end of the street, watching me.

      Lastly, this blog resulted in a book deal for me! It’s proven to be a valid way to earn an income. I’m not going close up shop and hurt myself financially just to protect his feelings. That’s not my job anymore.

  5. Mandie says:

    AfreakinMEN!!!!

  6. Millie says:

    WOW…so very impressed by your strength, intelligence and grace…your kids, whose new “names” I’m not sure of, are so very lucky to be yours.

  7. Moreen says:

    Nicely written Tara!!

  8. Meredith says:

    As usual, you hit the nail on the head. I wish most divorced people could cut the drama and move on – support the ones that are hurting. Well said! I wish you all the best, and of all things, some PEACE!

  9. Amy K. says:

    Being a writer is part of your inner fabric, and those that love and respect you understand that and support you in that, and want you to reach for the stars. In fact, if by any weird happenstance a judge were to somehow decide that you could no longer blog, I have a feeling (wink, nod) that a few of us dear friends of yours would take up your blog on your behalf and be your voice for you. So for anyone to think they can control your message, your thoughts, or your voice and silence it forever, think again.

    As someone who cares about you, the kids and Drew, I have prayed for you all everyday – for healing, for forgiveness, for moving on, for focus on self-improvement rather than ex-spouse improvement. My prayer now is that Drew would start focusing less on you and more on himself, because only then can he truly heal. I pray that he would realize that if he treats you with unconditional kindness, respect, a forgiving heart, and focuses on his own mistakes rather than yours, that this would allow you to heal more quickly, and that your blog would much more rapidly cease to be a place where he is mentioned or vented about. These are my prayers, and for this one last time, I hope he is reading.

  10. Olivia says:

    Dear Tara,
    I follow your blog, frankly, as a way to help me find the funny in my own newly-divorced, now-single-mama life. (Sorry, don’t know what “Day” I’m on–?) I couldn’t give a hoot, really, about the man who divorced you–never gonna meet him, never gonna care. Please, help me laugh! Help me enjoy the moments of quiet joy, and outright insanity, that go with this new life. With all the friends in the world, what do you do, Tara, when you’re lonely? When you feel like you’ve gone whining and crying to your friends too many times? When people are trying to set you up with new men and you’re not ready? When you don’t want to “get together” just for the kids’ birthdays? These may not be your issues, per se, but I’m sure that there are a lot of parts of your life that we your readers can relate to. Help us find the funny! – O

  11. Michelle says:

    This was extremely eloquent and spot on. The thought that has entered my head, multiple times, when you have posts like this, is that I truly don’t get it. In my opinion, you have NEVER even come CLOSE to crossing a line divulging disparaging information. As a reader, I truly feel like I know nothing about the details of your split. I know you were taken by surprise, and that it was initiated by him. That’s it. That’s all you’ve shared. You’ve shared with us your feelings, your ups, your downs, but not any *details* where I have ever said to myself “what a bastard that ex-husband is.” Never. I don’t have an impression that he’s a bad guy. Ok, the whole PI thing seems over the top and insane, but… again, you didn’t go into detail about why he did this, so I write it off as something that can happen when people get overly emotional about the split and get vengeful. The truth? I have no idea, you’ve never talked about it.

    So, what is everyone getting in a twist about? You really haven’t said anything bad about the guy, EVER. So WHAT if you post on YOUR BLOG that you are mad/sad/pissed off about what’s going on in your life? That’s what the blog is for.

    Some people thrive on drama, even if there is none to be found – they will make it up out of nothing. Tell them to move on, nothing to see here, get a life or find their drama source elsewhere. You as a source are tapped out.

    • Tara says:

      Well, I feel like I should clarify something. Yes, he initiated the conversation about divorce. He told me on Christmas Day 2010 that he had been “planning a divorce for weeks”. He had spoken to a counselor and acquired some real estate ads to find another place to live. But then we went to counseling and on many occasions, he verbally expressed that he didn’t want our marriage to end.

      But sometime soon after that horrible marriage retreat, I knew that I didn’t want to be married to him anymore. It was hard thing to communicate to him, and I did it very, very badly. From his viewpoint, I ended the marriage because I was the one to actually say “We’re done. I don’t want to keep trying.” I remember sitting in a parking lot with his mother the summer of 2011 and telling her, “No, I don’t want to be married to him anymore. He doesn’t want me. I don’t want him. We don’t love each other anymore.We need to end this.” I had already expressed those things to him, but she seemed to be unaware of that. I think it was a long time before he heard what I was saying. I thought I had been clear, he didn’t agree. So much fallout came from that because I moved on before he was ready to see me move on. To be fair, my communication with him at that point truly sucked. It really hasn’t gotten any better, most likely due to my precedent.

Speak Your Mind

*