I’m on Facebook… The big thing about Facebook is that it tries to encourage connections – connections with your workplace, interest groups, family, current friends and people from the past. As a person who is fairly wary of friendships and making connections, I have only a few friends on Facebook – mainly people from the survivor community, a couple of family members and more recently a couple of people from my childhood. One of the ways in which Facebook encourages connections is by suggesting friends for you based on the friends of your friends. This means that you get a list of people Facebook suggest that you might like to become friends with, because one of your friends happens to know them. This was all very innocuous, up until the point where I friended the people from my childhood. These were safe friends when I was younger, so they weren’t triggering or associated with anything negative. It just so happens that some of their friends are people who hurt us. Last night, I logged into Facebook and on the right hand side of my screen were the photos of two of the people who hurt us. These boys (now men) were part of a gang of boys that hurt us… One of them has a smiling photo of his family, which includes a daughter who would be about the age I was when he was hurting me. It was such a shock to see these men smiling out at me. They looked so “normal” and happy, you’d never expect them to have anything untoward in their past.
I have very little memory of my past involving these people. I have vague images of a wood sheds, boys, smells and the light coming through the window… Seeing these men and their smiling families triggered switching and internal chaos. I didn’t even think I remembered their names, but obviously someone inside remembered when it was combined with their photo. The problem is, what do I do with this? If asked about the past, these men would probably say that what occurred in the wood shed was natural experimentation amongst consenting children. There is no way that I could do anything about bringing charges against these men, it was too long ago in a context that could be twisted too easily.
But now, one of my safe escapes has been invaded by their presence. I could “un-friend” the people from my childhood, but the parts of me that remember the carefree times we had with these people are reluctant to do this. I’m also not sure that I want these men to have power over me… but sitting here writing this, I’m starting to have memories around the physical pain inflicted by these boys. I keep thinking that they’re just silly photos, I don’t have to look at them, but, they’re like a car wreck – you don’t want to look, but you end up looking anyway.
I’ve yet to find a way to turn off the “Suggestions” area of Facebook, if anyone knows how, I would appreciate them letting me know. I could block these men, but that means going into their profile which is something I wasn’t strong enough to do at the time. Maybe today or tomorrow I will have the strength to block them… I hope so.