How to Deal With 'Trolls' Who Attack Your Child With a Disability
So, you may or may not have seen that Instagram took down two pictures of my son, Harry, who has a craniofacial condition. It means he has a unique face. I am a very proud mum, both of him and his twin brother, Oliver, and as many mums do, I love sharing photos and stories about our days. Sadly, some people (for the purpose of this blog we’ll call them “trolls” although I usually call them much worse) feel it’s acceptable to call my boy some truly despicable names. I have had some horrendous messages of hate in private messages as well as being told that I should “kill it with fire” and that my son is an abomination of God. No mother should read what I have to see. No child should be the subject of such verbal abuse. No other human should feel such cruelty towards an innocent child.
It’s made my blood boil more than once.
In the early days, my partner and friends told me simply not to read them (but how do you know they’re awful until you’ve read them?) or delete them. My mum would advise me to send them love and light. But to be honest, what I wanted to send them was the evacuated big breakfast of my dog after a long walk.
At first, the comments still played in my mind long after I had read them, but now I feel I’m a little better at dealing with the abuse from the trolls — so I thought I’d share my thinking and see if it helps anyone else.
Know they are the minority.
First, you know you’ll probably read the comments, but afterwards, make sure you read the comments on either side of theirs. If they left their comment recently, then I can almost guarantee you’ll have more positive comments to counteract theirs. Those positive comments are the ones you should read three times, not the crap that the troll has posted. Sit back and enjoy reading the other posts that jump to your defense. It will restore your faith in people and prove in black and white that where hate goes, love follows with an army to kick its ass.
See it for what it is.
Ask yourself: is it true what they’re saying or is it bullshit? I can tell you already what the answer will be. I know it’s not always easy, but as the literary great T. Swift says, “haters gonna hate. Shake it off.” They have attacked you and your child from behind a keyboard. They don’t know you and don’t care about you.
Don’t respond. I have typed an essay of a reply before now (in capital letters for extra oomph) only to read it back and think simply one thing: this is what they want. If I reply, they win. Don’t let them beat you. If anything, their comment will have brought other (more positive) traffic to your post, so in a way, they’ve helped. I know, I know, they’re tosspots and I really shouldn’t say anything nice concerning them, but it’s true. There are only ever two things you should do with their contribution: delete and block.
Have pity…or don’t.
Maybe they do need some understanding and pity for what is clearly an unfulfilled and lonely existence, but they’re not even getting that from me (sorry mum). Nope, I refuse to give them any head space at all (well, maybe a bit, but then I think about everything I’ve just said and move on with my life, enjoying a happiness they’ll never know).
I hope this helps.
Follow this journey at Our Altered Life.
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Thinkstok image by MatiasEnElMundo