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A question for experienced reader of this group

(21 Posts)
retiredlady Wed 02-Sep-09 08:52:09

I have been looking back though some of the earlier postings on Mumsnet. There are so many sad stories that it has really shaken my faith in the idea of a loving and all-powerful God. Far worse than this for me are the sad stories where there is brief burst of activity and then total silence for ever.

How do you cope with not knowing what happened and how the poor tortured souls coped one month, three months or six months after their crisis?

cheerfulvicky Wed 02-Sep-09 09:07:44

Hello RL!

I know what you mean, on both counts. It is depressing and makes you wonder. A lot of posters talk about how MN is their only outlet and that 'everyone they know thinks that things are fine'. It makes me sad, what does on behind closed doors, how many people are actually terribly unhappy only we don't know.

As for finding out what happened to them... Yeah. I know I lot of people on here probably have better things to do, but I am a SAHM, and spend a bit of each day on MN. I do wonder and worry about people who have posted and disappeared. I still wonder what happened to Stercus, who was planning to leave an abusive relationship and was scared. Then she dropped off the radar, so to speak. I'm hoping she is posting under another name and is fine, or is too busy and happy to come on MN. But there's a part that thinks the worst

Then there are people in a similar situation right now, and I worry for them too. People think the internet is not the same as real life, that people can lie, that emotions are diluted and you should never take seriously anything posted online. I think a bit of healthy caution is fine, but I'm not dismissive of the ladies who post here, they are real people (for the most part) and deserve real consideration. I think MN is amazing, and am happy to be part of it. If that means worrying sometimes about a poster that has gone quiet, well I guess that's the price you have to pay. It's all part of it, iyswim.

I'm going to be wondering what happened to you, by the way - so do update further down the line about your own situation And good luck with it...

dizietsma Wed 02-Sep-09 09:08:40

My faith in humanity is shaken by the sad posts certainly...

I'm a model agnostic most of the time, but I can certainly see why your faith would be shaken by hearing about all the "evil" that goes on behind closed doors. It's far more prevalent than you could imagine, huh?

Growing up in a violently abusive household, I'm pretty used to the sort of horrific stories of abuse that come up here. My mum never left the bastard, he died in bed next to her, so I'm also pretty used to things never being resolved.

I recommend a book called The Lucifer Effect. It's a book by the Social Psychologist who engineered the famous Stanford Prison Experiment, it explains the situations that provoke "good" people do "evil" things, and how to resist social pressures that influence you to do "evil".

AMumInScotland Wed 02-Sep-09 09:23:59

I think as far as faith in God goes, the idea that an all-powerful God can intervene to stop people from making bad choices goes against the idea that we have any free-will. So my faith in God isn't shaken by the fact that there is evil in the world. There is so much good too.

Yes, some of things which people write about on here are awful, but you can see (in some of the cases at least) how the influence and support of good people makes a difference in their lives.

Sometimes that happens visibly and we can all feel good at seeing how much effect it has had, like when someone feels able to leave an abusive partner. But a lot of the time I think all we can hope for is to set up a tiny trickle of hope in someone, that we may never see the outcome of.

TheScatterGunApproach Wed 02-Sep-09 09:33:28

I think an omnipotent, all-loving God is a logical impossibility but that's just me.

Life can be beautiful, it can be horribly cruel and if there is any sort of rhyme or reason to it I sure as hell haven't spotted it.

How do we come to terms with that? Well we can't really. I don't believe so, anyway.

I think all that you can do is live by the adage 'God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference'.

warthog Wed 02-Sep-09 10:53:53

am an atheist. i think we have to take responsibility for our relationships and choice of partners and not expect someone else / god to do it for us!

i do find it disappointing that people don't update us. we do put time and effort in, so it would be nice to know how it works out. but that's life... if it bothered me that much i wouldn't post anymore.

Mamazon Wed 02-Sep-09 10:58:31

a lot of the time people have namechanged in order to post their more intimate details.
they will eventuially make themselves known to their more close "friends" here and so they are still able to gettheir support.

sometimes there are "what ever happened to..." threads where people will ask for an update.

the rest of the time we just have to hope that the OP has made the decision that is best for them.

ABetaDad Wed 02-Sep-09 11:08:38

I feel the same. I was astonished how unhappy some people are when I first came to MN. Made me very thankful for everything I have and determined to make sure I stayed that way and try harder.

Not sure what God has to do with it. My own view is fairly close to the Quacker faith view that morality and goodness come from within. We have the power within us to make changes in our relationships much as warthog says.

There are a few posters I wonder about - a few that I know left MN and were struggling and a few that obviously name changed. I hope they are well.

TheScatterGunApproach Wed 02-Sep-09 11:38:15

apologies but chortle at Quacker faith

Mamazon Wed 02-Sep-09 11:40:41

i have to admit to a brief chuckle at the vision of ABD waddling about quacking

NicknameTaken Wed 02-Sep-09 11:56:52

I don't know how to answer the religious question, but about the sad stories here - would it help to see them as signs of hope rather than despair? Every sad story here represents someone beginning to reach out for something better, taking the first shaky step towards change.

And yes, it's hard not knowing what happens to people you've worried about, but isn't there something to admire in those mumsnetters who keep reaching out, keep trying to encourage and support people even though they know they might never see the result? They may never know what their words mean not just to the OP, but to a lurker who sees her own life reflecting in the posts.

It isn't easy and the outcome isn't always straightforward and desirable, but posting here is a way of not giving up on ourselves and others.

I was a in a refuge with a woman who told me that it her (I think) sixth attempt to leave her h. I asked if she regretted all those attempts, and she said no, because they were part of the process of gaining clarity and bringing her to where she was now.

Struggle is not despair, struggle means that there is still hope.

Ahem, sermon over.

dizietsma Wed 02-Sep-09 12:04:49

Good points, Nicknametaken.

ABetaDad Wed 02-Sep-09 12:27:55

Spelling was never a strong point! Dont even ask me to spell aetheist. blush grin

Mamazon Wed 02-Sep-09 12:42:30

fantastic post nickname.

I have posted on a depressingly large number of domestic abuse and whilst its nice to hear the ending it doesn't matter. i know that whether what i have said then has an impact hopefully it will help at some point in the future.

but I have had a post from someone i spoke to who came back once she had re settled and was happy and although her gratitude was misplaced (it wasn't me that gave her the strength to leave it was in her all along) it did warm me more than i could ever put into words.

just that one post from her made the other hundred i didn't hear from worthwhile

warthog Wed 02-Sep-09 12:52:57

that's it mamazon - one just makes it all worthwhile. but i'm sure the 99 others have benefitted from your help whether or not they have the strength to follow it through.

mathanxiety Wed 02-Sep-09 17:08:01

Sometimes it makes a lot of difference to someone to just say their bit and get a caring response and basic validation from the total strangers who reply. It makes a difference, maybe all the difference, to know that other people get what you are going through. How about starting a thread asking for feedback? You never know who might see it.

WhenwillIfeelnormal Wed 02-Sep-09 17:15:04

Retired - I understand what you mean and sometimes I know I have felt worse about my own situation when ever I have read about cheating spouses. Then again, sometimes I have felt better too! I think reading about the inhumane behaviour of others on these threads can sometimes give us all a jaundiced view of humanity and cruelty.

I regret that there are so many posters who post, get advice and then never return with an update. The charitable side of me thinks that maybe they don't post when everything is all well with the world again, but even though it is possibly ridiculous, I find I do worry about people and want to know what happened in the end.

Ultimately, I think it's bad manners to take and not give and so I do get frustrated more often than not when people don't update. But it doesn't stop me posting advice when a thread hits a nerve - and some posters are really good at updating too.

tryingherbest Wed 02-Sep-09 18:46:56


OK so I'm one of those posters who had a flurry of activity and never gave an update.

Well sometimes it's because the situation is the same - alot like life and although mumsnet is a great outlet - it will not actually solve your problems.

So I'm a poster - of not nice stuff - situation still the same but hey I'm alive and my ds is OK, so I like many other posters just muddle on.

God stuff - no idea - wish I did.

MollFlounders Wed 02-Sep-09 20:21:40

Retiredlady (and everyone else) - I just wanted to say that I am a poster who can say quite plainly that there is no way I would have left my very unhappy situation had it not been for the feedback I had on here. It sounds a little cheesey, but it's not really possible to say how much that has meant to me.

I agree with tryingherbest that MN doesn't solve your problems but, for me, it was the first step towards actually being able to identify that the things that were happening were problems (I thought everyone was this unhappy- thank goodness they're not!). It is very validating when scores of people who don't know you from a bar of soap give you their take on things (obviously you need to filter and process that for yourself).

Anyway, I also wanted to say that I can understand why some posters don't come back on to update. When I first posted under different names, I was given some great advice but I wasn't sufficiently far forward in my process to take that advice. Having asked for advice, I felt a bit silly coming back on to say that actually I was just going to maintain the status quo. I also think that maybe some posters get to a point where they just want to move on from the situation that caused them to post and it is perhaps hard to find the emotional energy to come back on and update.

retiredlady Thu 03-Sep-09 10:29:32

I'm sorry if what I wrote came across as meaning that I thought people who had received help from Mumsnet readers but who then "went quiet" were being ungrateful or thoughtless.

Some of the posts I have read have been deeply troubling to me, indeed there are a couple of current threads where the writer is clearly in deep despair. I simply don't know if I have the moral or spiritual strength to help these people without knowing how it worked out.

This is my weakness not theirs!

TheScatterGunApproach Thu 03-Sep-09 14:07:38

Not at all RetiredLady, your post came across as very caring towards the posters.

I think it says good things about you that you worry about people who post troubling things. It can be very hard to get involved in some of the threads and then let it go.

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