Dear Bully,

It’s sad that it has come to this. We could have been friends. We both have twins the same age and older children the same age. Our children are all friends, we see each other in the same social setting and share some of the same friends. But I’m not willing to be your victim anymore.

We are both strong opinionated and independent women and we are both brilliant parents who have raised bright, beautiful, healthy and happy children. The fact we choose to raise them with different methods and wildly different opinions should not have been a barrier to our friendship. But I’m not sure we were ever really friends. I lost count of the number of times I stood in the playground flabbergasted by something shockingly insensitive that you said to me. The number of times you insinuated my parenting techniques were “wrong” rather than just different to yours. The number of times you stood there and told me I should be concerned that my children aren’t as developmentally advanced as yours because according to you I only gave birth three days early.

The truth is that when I gave birth to the twins I was diagnosed with a serious condition, called HELLP Syndrome, which was not just life threatening to me, but also to both babies. I was seriously ill and doctors weren’t sure I’d survive the night. The twins had stopped developing in the womb at 32 weeks and their health was beginning to deteriorate. If I hadn’t delivered them when I did, there’s a high chance that all three of us would have died. So whilst they were technically born at 36 weeks, developmentally they were as premature as 32 week old babies. A delay was expected. A delay which didn’t worry me because we were SO BLESSED to be alive. I knew my beautiful little girls would flourish in their own time and on their own terms, yet you felt the need to benchmark my children, all the time. You kept asking why mine weren’t walking yet or why they weren’t talking yet. You told me just last week I need to get a move on and potty train them or I’ll regret it. I won’t regret it, because my girls are learning at their pace.

When it came to rolling over, standing up, weaning, finger foods, whatever the next milestone was, I was happy for you when you were bragging about your children’s abilities, but I was not happy when you consistently told me mine should be at the same place. Just before they turned two, you asked me why I don’t have them in speech therapy because “they should be able to say at least fifty words by now and start putting two words together”. These were your exact words. I kept a diary at the time. I wrote them down. My twins are nearly three years old now. They are now starting to put clusters of words together and can now probably say about 50 words, but at two years, they had just learnt to say Mummy and Daddy. And do you know what? Hearing them say “Mummy” was one of the proudest moments of my life, but you just had to belittle it and try to make us feel bad that they couldn’t say more than that.

When I had the DNA zygosity tests done on my girls, to find out if they were fraternal or identical, you were the only person who turned the “I told you so” into something nasty. They don’t look identical to me. I am their mum, I see their differences. I was surprised to find they were identical. It was exciting finding out, not that my love for them would not be altered for any outcome of the test. But like all exciting and proud moments in my life, you found a way to put me down and say something negative.

I recently tested out a theory… that you can’t bear to see other people be happy. I put a series of celebratory, proud moment posts on my Facebook. You criticised EVERY SINGLE ONE by leaving a negative comment.

It’s not just where my children are concerned, that you enjoy patronising me, belittling me and trying to make me look stupid on my own Facebook page in front of my own friends.

You know that my blog is my passion, yet you regularly slag it off and slate me for writing it, as well making reference  to me getting “freebies” as though I am some kind of freeloader. You make these comments with no consideration to the amount of time, work and effort that goes into writing a blog post. Let me give you an insight. Each post involves taking, resizing, cropping and uploading photos, sometimes editing videos to music too, which takes hours in itself. Writing the post, setting the tags, categories, keywords, featured images, titles and filling in the SEO fields. SEO is a minefield all on it’s own, but I get at least 100 hits a day from search engines alone, so I must be doing something right. If I’m doing a review, I have to unpackage and thoroughly test the item, in addition to writing the post. When the post is live, I have to promote it on social media and then maintain those social media accounts. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest. I have to respond to comments, engage with the people who are kind enough to share my posts or talk to me on social media. I do all this with my children’s security in mind, cautious not to mix my public accounts with my personal accounts or disclose their names or location. I have to approve and respond to comments on my blog, join linkies, read and comment on other peoples blogs.

Then there are conferences,  expenses, design, emails to answer, relationships to uphold with PR’s and numerous other things to do to keep my blog alive and thriving. All of this takes hours and hours each week. If you calculate the value of the item I’m reviewing and divide this by the number of hours I spend creating and promoting a post, it probably comes to far less than the hourly rate you earn in your job. Yet you’re happy to slate me because you think I “blog for freebies“. Aside from the fact that I work extremely hard on my blog, the majority of my posts are about family life, cancer, pregnancy and other lifestyle articles, rather than reviews. My blog is my job and my passion and I wouldn’t change it for anything. It is an extension of my persona and I when I started it I didn’t even know you could get “freebies” (which are really not free at all – they are part of a working relationship).

Your most recent attack was on why I blog at all, pointing out that blogging is “pointless”. I could write about ten thousand words on why blogging is my passion and all the things it means to me. All the things it’s helped me learn, discover and communicate. How being part of a wider community has inspired me and allowed me to inspire others too. How it got me through Cancer, moving house, jobloss, ectopic pregnancy and a whole host of other things. How it gives me a creative outlet as a writer and how it has enriched my life. But that’s a whole other post. I’m sure that some of my loyal readers would disagree with you about my blog being pointless. A lot of my readers have blogs themselves. It is absolutely fine, if you think blogging is pointless. That is your opinion and life would be boring if we all had the same interests and hobbies. But if you do think that… why do you like my blog facebook page, read my blog posts and sometimes even comment on them?

Sometimes, when you have such a strong opinion on somebody else’s life, you should keep that opinion to yourself, rather then attack everything which is important to them.

Not a month has gone by, since I’ve known you, that you haven’t tried to patronise me, humiliate me, criticise me or just put me down with your insensitive and often vicious comments. I gave you the benefit of the doubt so many times. I ignored it, with an air of “she doesn’t mean it, she must be having a bad day”, so many times. But now I’ve had enough. There are enough stresses in life and someone smart once told me to choose my battles, because some aren’t worth fighting. I think it genuinely gives you pleasure to make me feel bad, and for that reason, I have decided, I won’t be your victim anymore. I know you think you’ve done nothing wrong, but you are a very hurtful person who has made me cry and boil with rage so many times, yet I never let it show.

I have real friends, who respect me and love me, who enjoy reading my blog as it helps them to get to know me better. I have spent the winter pulling myself out of depression and I am finally getting there. I need friends who fill me with positivity, not friends who just can’t wait to see me fall.

Nobody except my husband, will know who I am talking about in this blog post and I would never name and shame. But YOU, the person this post is about, YOU will know. And I hope it serves to make you think more carefully about how you treat other people. Especially other mums. Because you have become a bully.

 

 

I’m linking this post up to Mummy Barrow’s “Ranty Friday”

  1. Pat Stevens says:

    Hasn’t she heard the mantra ‘Live and let live@?. Well said Emma. Don’t let these imbeciles intimidate you. xxx

  2. Sarah MumofThree World says:

    That’s so horrible. What a nasty piece of work. I’m both impressed and sad that you put up with her nonsense for so long. You obviously see the best in people and give them a chance. I’m so pleased you’re not giving her any more chances. Onwards and upwards, you have lots of good friends and lots of people who enjoy your blog. x
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted..School rugby tournament 2015My Profile

  3. Anne Wallwin says:

    Such a well written and honest article. this is why i love blogs and read quite a few. Blogs are real life warts and all and not snippets from some glossy magazine. If she sat down and read some she would learn a lot about life and friendships. It would be interesting to know if she got the message!!

  4. Virginia says:

    Honey, you sure don’t need thatkind of person in your life. I’m your fan from Brazil. Love your blog.
    Virginia

  5. Caz Stone says:

    I have had a relationship that sounds similar to this, and which I finally broke off over a winter of depression when I was just too raw to keep telling myself “this is about her, not me”, “these are the actions of someone who is deeply unhappy and insecure”. I still feel that to be the case, but I’ve had my turn at trying to change it for her, and have backed out. Well done for protecting yourself. Your twins sound amazingly perfect and on track x
    Caz Stone recently posted..CurrentlyMy Profile

  6. Verily Victoria Vocalises says:

    Good for you for taking a stand and writing this. I have unfriended people who called me a freeloader and said I did nothing for charity – which is a complete and utter joke! You do not need these drainers in your life. Who said you wrote your blog for them anyway? Your blog is for you – and it is up to others whether they choose to read! Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo x
    Verily Victoria Vocalises recently posted..Silent Sunday and My Sunday Photo 5th April 2015My Profile

  7. Lisa@intotheglade says:

    I have come back to leave this message, thinking that everyone else has probably read it and commented now – such a scary cat! Thank you!!!! You have inspired me to do the same, unfortunately it was my boss but as you say life is too short! I am about to leave without another job, but it has made me very depressed all Winter too and I have suffered it for two years. It has robbed me of enough family life – thank you Emma for writing this. In both cases , as my psychologist says, it says a lot more about them xxxxx

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