This last month or so, I learned another problem with living in a fishbowl. It turns out that the glass goes both ways; not only can everyone see what you are up to, but quite often you can see what other people are doing and saying also.
I discovered this on Facebook. As some of my readers know, the last relative still talking to me, one of my sisters, decided to throw a fit because I decided that plans made months in advance (plans which involve other people's schedules and feelings) were more important than her plans announced at what I felt was the last minute. There was the additional fact that they said some harsh words in my direction the previous year---basically, it boiled down to the fact that they felt my entire life was a waste of time.
I tried to come to an understanding with them, but got tired of being told that I did not measure up and that I was not allowed to have hurt feelings over how they were treating me ("That is just the way I am"). As my friends know, I do not respond well to anger, threats and blackmail. And if I can't tell you the truth, I quit talking to you.
Even more serious was I tried to take certain things private (emails) only to have them explode in public on my Facebook wall. I am still not sure what that was supposed to accomplish. Maybe they thought that I cared about my reputation...I know that they care about theirs (a habit that mom drilled into us kids).
Of course, the cherry on top was that they decided that they could not work around my schedule and started to make snide comments on their Facebook status updates. An example: "There are two types of people in the world: those who always have time for friends and family and those who do not." Ok, maybe I am paranoid; maybe that was not aimed at me. And if it was, well, the plans I had scheduled months in advance involved friends and my nine-year old god-daughter (who acts like she is related to me)---my crime was not having time for friends and family; it was that I refused to give my sister a higher priority after learning what she thought of my life and that I was required to change while she was allowed to continue being a PITA.
The snide comments went on for days. Now, she was not holding a gun to my head forcing me to read this stuff, nor was I forcing her to read my status updates (I generally went about my life as normal [sort-of]; I did get less writing done than normal).
Then when she got done with her vacation, she went on Facebook bragging about how wonderful her family was (including my abusive mother). I treated these updates the same way as the others, I ignored them (aka did not take the bait, did not respond).
So what did I learn from all this? Well, all public figures get to see what other people think of them. Besides Facebook updates from frenemies (you have to love that term), we also get to see unfavorable opinions about ourselves in the comment sections of articles, on forum postings, and (if you write books) in the review section of Amazon.
Of course, I do not have to read about other people's opinions of me. I can ignore other people's reviews of my work, and comments they make about me. It is easy to ignore one's bad reputation when your very own family set out to destory it before one's public career even started.
And in this case, I do not have to read someone's snide comments disguised as status updates. Why? Because they chose to defriend me yesterday. I guess I am no longer talking to any of my relatives (unless the relatives on my father's side of the family decide to talk to me now---can they be any worse?).