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Is Mumsnet really a healthy place for advice?

(199 Posts)
WildBillfemale Tue 26-Aug-14 20:40:19

There seem to be several phrases trotted out again and again irrespective of the problem the OP presents;

Red Flag
The script
Porn addict
Having a breakdown
On the spectrum
Cherchez la femme
MH issues etc

Having seen in the last few days a post that presented facts of an admittedly horrible row but a marriage that could probably be saved with some introspection and will (with the OP stating she loved her husband and wished to remain married to him) quickly turn into 100s and 100s of posts telling/ordering her to LTB is this really a healthy place to post asking for objective advice?
Some posters are excellent in doing that but there are far too many whose views are so muddied by their own unique experience that the advice is actually very damaging.............

antimatter Tue 26-Aug-14 20:42:50

IMHO - if person who asks writes as much as possible from the very first post and doesn't omit facts advice is much more balanced than if they drip feed details which suit them.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 26-Aug-14 20:48:12

It's as 'healthy' a place as asking friends, family, your local bartender or anyone else that isn't a trained counsellor. hmm I don't honestly believe that people 'LTB' (or the opposite) on the strength of the MN collective. I think they use the threads for things like getting reassurance that they are not going nuts, polling opinions when they're undecided, or to get support for a course of action that they've already decided. We're all capable of listening to the things we want to hear and ignoring the rest.

There are a few deluded types that are so detached from reality that they might get a shock to the system after hearing some unpleasant home truths. Don't think even they are 'damaged' by the experience.

MexicanSpringtime Tue 26-Aug-14 20:51:49

Well, WildBill, as you know she actually had all kinds of advice on that thread, and the only advice she took was to engineer a conversation with her husband, who then put her between a rock and a hard place.

What I would object to on that thread was the extreme victim blaming that took place. The fact that she recognized her own faults was used against her in quite an unpleasant way.

Bogeyface Tue 26-Aug-14 20:53:34

I am not sure it is tbh!

Often posters seem to forget that this isnt Dear Deidre or a photostory in Jackie.

A cheated on wife has her kids, job, home, money etc to work out. "Pack a bag for him and change the locks" is not that simple! Abused women are often too fragile or beaten down to be able to "Just leave, get safe".

I think that sometimes we get so used to reading "words on a screen" that we forget that there is a real person behind those words, it isnt just an interactive online game.

inneedofsomeclarity Tue 26-Aug-14 20:54:01

All I know is that it helped me no end in the first few days of separation when I was all over the place and I could ask things I couldn't ask in RL and for that I am eternally grateful.

MajesticWhine Tue 26-Aug-14 21:02:01

Posters are best off using the forum to get a new perspective but also taking some of the advice with a pinch of salt; not taking it all completely to heart. Not all the advice is helpful, same as on any other topic.

ThatBloodyWoman Tue 26-Aug-14 21:03:50


MexicanSpringtime Tue 26-Aug-14 21:05:02


I agree.

Though the advice is very seldom all pointing in the same way either, so it would generally be hard to follow it blindly, fortunately enough.

LoafersOrLouboutins Tue 26-Aug-14 21:05:12

I love mumsnet! The advice I've received has, potentially, stopped my ExDH from taking my DDs. I think it is a perfectly healthy pale for advice, just the same as asking friends, family or colleagues.

Lovingfreedom Tue 26-Aug-14 21:06:11

Where are all those posters who come back having LTB on the advice of MN and now regret it? Many, many posts thanking MN support in helping them gain the courage to make the move.

Cabrinha Tue 26-Aug-14 21:10:42

There's usually a cross section of views - and I don't think I've ever read a thread where I've disagreed with every single poster.

I think the LTBs are quite helpful, when you get a lot of people agreeing. Doesn't mean you have to do it, but I think it's strong validation that something isn't right.

I see so many where the OP starts not even sure if they are being unreasonable. 20 LTBs doesn't mean they are forced to end their marriage. But it may leave them feeling justified to stand their corner on the issue in improving their marriage.

LumpySpacedPrincess Tue 26-Aug-14 21:10:51

The person who started the other thread may need to start a new one so this really isn't very helpful is it.

BeCool Tue 26-Aug-14 21:11:07

I think for the most part, by the time someone posts on an internet forum for advice on their relationship, they are at a point of really needing some help. Often the OP isn't full of details about what is going on, but there will be tiny clues, or the right questions will be asked and it all starts to come out.

Most people don't ask for help after their first fight - they might post about A fight/argument/dispute, but this will be preceded by months, sometimes years and years of problems.

From my own experience, I am a professional personal, Post Grad educated, fairly worldly. Yet I couldn't see/didn't recognise the abusive relationship I was in - if you are in the middle of that kind of madness, sometimes you really just can't see it. I knew things were wrong, but I thought it was something I could fix or change if I worked hard enough, and XP just had a tough time/was tired/stressed/poorly parented. But with XP, like with many abusive men, nothing I do would fix it, and he was an abusive arsehole in his relationship with me. I don't know why and I no longer try to understand why, but it was.

I was fairly poorly parented myself, had no positive relationship models growing up and lacked emotional intelligence and self esteem. So while I appeared to be confident, intelligent etc, I was a perfect target for XP and my self esteem was so shot, and my self worth so all over the place, I didn't have a chance to identify what was going on. In hindsight there were red flags all over the place, but I ignored them. I didn't know what they were.

Time after time on MN you see the layers being peeled away, and then finally the penny drop and you see actually what is going on. I think unless you have been in that situation, you probably can't even believe it is possible. How can someone not see it? Well people don't - for whatever reason they don't.

I learnt a heck of a lot about myself and my own very flawed relationship via MN Relationship. And now I see people posting and I can recognise similarities in the situation and confusion straight away. You will see the knowledgeable posters asking the right questions, probing and getting the OP to slowly see what's up.

Alternatives to MN weren't really available to me. My family are emotionally frigid. I would have liked to explore issues with a counsellor but XP would never have stepped in to look after the DC so I could attend - or more like he would say he would collect the DC that day and then at the last minute say he couldn't/something had some up etc etc etc and undermine the whole thing.

And yes (cliche warning you might want to look away now) it did get worse after I had a baby and particularly after the birth of DC2.

It does make me cross when people who lack experience (but think they know it all and think they know better) wade in and start slagging everyone who is giving advice off when really they don't have a fucking clue as they haven't been in the situation themselves. Seen a lot of that on MN lately.

If you don't think it is useful, you don't have to hang out here - there are lots more boards and strings to the MN bow. But I think it is useful to lots of people in a very genuine way.

The Relationships board is not the place for fight club and some posters recently should be very ashamed of the chaos they have caused on genuine threads, started by real people, looking for help and insight.

Oh and if I had a tenner for every moody H/affair thread where the OP swears black and blue there is no possibility of an OW being involved, and then time passes and the thread rolls on and eventually it all comes out and there is an OW. It's astonishing - I've seen the very same thing happen with a RL friend recently too.

I don't see these phrases you quote being trotted out regardless of the OP. Perhaps you could link to examples?

NickiFury Tue 26-Aug-14 21:13:05

Yes it is. You'll always get the ones that scream LTB when they'd never do it themselves, they're quite easy to pick out. But a lot of the regulars on the relationships board are brilliant at getting to the crux of the matter quite quickly and finding out the important details. Some women post on there who don't even realise how abusive their situation is (I was one years ago) and they get amazing sympathetic, empowering advice. I think the relationships board is invaluable. If you can't see it then it's probably because you've not really ever experienced abuse in your relationship.

BeCool Tue 26-Aug-14 21:14:19

Nicki says exactly what I wanted to say but in 1/8 of the words smile

Messygirl Tue 26-Aug-14 21:14:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 26-Aug-14 21:18:40

If someone wants to hear 'work it through' they don't have to look very far. So much of our misogynistic society is dedicated to guilt-tripping women into 'making a go of it', 'taking the rough with the smooth', 'working at a relationship' etc that a lone chorus of 'LTBs' is a useful counterpoint.

BeCool Tue 26-Aug-14 21:19:48

and yet here you are on the Relationship board Madrigals - if it is so rubbish, why?

NickiFury Tue 26-Aug-14 21:20:16

Agree becool. I don't think I have ever seen a thread where "affair" was called and it didn't turn out to be true. MNetters are uncanny in that respect.

glenthebattleostrich Tue 26-Aug-14 21:21:40

I'm more concerned about the MRAs who seem to pop up on every thread at the minute seemingly to drag women back the the 50s. And the victim blaming is out of control at the minute. I am so sick of reading threads where women are being treated like shit and the advice pretty much being do the ironing, cook your husbands favorite meal and give him a blow job for he is Man.

There are some amazing posters on here who give great insight and advice.

MexicanSpringtime Tue 26-Aug-14 21:21:47

Well actually Madrigals, in the thread that the OP mentions there was actually a lot of working it through, starting with that thread's OP. Unfortunately as time went on it turns out that she is married to someone who is not interested in working it through, which is not the fault of either MN or the advice she was given.

rainbowinmyroom Tue 26-Aug-14 21:22:09

Many times, by the time someone posts, she is already in an abusive relationship.

I agree with Cognito, too.

NickiFury Tue 26-Aug-14 21:22:41

I think you're wrong Madrigals. Abuse is very easy to pick out once you know what you're looking for. You can't "work out" abusive relationships and I find that posters that say what you just did tend to have little experience of those kind of dynamics.

MajesticWhine Tue 26-Aug-14 21:23:58

Actually Nicki I started a thread about a problem a few months back (name changed) and a few people suggested affair. I haven't discovered one yet...

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