Facebook friends

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.

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18 thoughts on “Facebook friends

  1. First thing I have learned in the last couple of month, is that safety has the first priority. If you can’t block them, ask a protector to do it. If this protector has no experience with how this is to be made, please write down what he/she have to do. Please, be aware that every picture from abusers of the past trigger badly. Even if YOU manage, not to look at these pictures, a hurt little one will see this picture nevertheless. I’m not on facebook, so I can’t help here. I hope you find a solution soon, so that facebook would be safe for you all again. Please take care (((())))

    • Thanks LostShadhowChild… We managed to block them after some internal negotiation and experimentation with some random people’s accounts. It was amazing how much these photos affected us…

      Take care
      CG

  2. Give yourself permission to go into their profile, their personal life, their private place and delete them from yours. That is exactly why I don’t do facebook. I have walls too high to share with the world. I hope you get this resolved, they have no right knowing anything about you.

    • Up until now, FaceBook had been largely a positive experience. The people I add as my friends were for particular reasons and were all safe. It’s this extra feature of FB that I hadn’t counted on. But we’ve fixed it now, so it feels safe again 🙂

      Take care,
      CG

  3. I abandoned Facebook months ago when it became unsafe for me. I feel you need to do whatever it takes to protect yourself and your members, even if it means un-friending people from your childhood. I’m sorry your safe place was disturbed.

    Missing In Sight

  4. Oh, I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. I haven’t joined Facebook, so I don’t know much about it.

    I’ve been sick ever since the new year started, but I wanted to get around to some blogs and say hello and Happy New Year. Take gentle care.

  5. Sorry CG, I am not on facebook either. I just looked and there is a website that talks abut how the apperantly ever changing ‘friends’ and privacy settings work.
    It seems to be VERY complex. There are many options…
    Can you choose to narrow down your friends some?
    I think if the photos are triggering to parts of you, to be fair you need to respect that.
    Is there someone you trust who can help you change the settings or whatever if you know how to do it but are afraid to start looking too much?
    I think you are taking good care in being careful.
    I dunno bout facebook…
    Its good your connecting, I am not good at that, ‘cept facelessly online. But IRL I keep a distance cuz its too complicated to try and be around people alot when you got a DD. Just too friggin much work sometimes just trying to be the right way.
    Sorry this happened 😦 Hope you can quickly delete and maybe take some time to talk to the hurt ones and tell them they are safe and its OK.
    TC
    Ones

    • Hi Ones,

      I’m bad at connecting online and in real life 🙂 That’s why the faceless FaceBook was a safe option for me. I use my real name, but those that I have friended I trust with that information. It was a learning experience, and one we now know how to solve should it come up again.

      Thank you for your suggestions 🙂

      Take care,
      CG

  6. Hey CG,

    I have been thinking about this for a few days. We are on facebook but we are really paranoid about security & privacy. This is what I came up with.

    You cant stop the suggested friends from coming up. But you can block those people from looking at your profile or searching for you on FB.

    Go to setting, privacy setting and blocked people and just put the people you want to block in there. If those people try to search you they wont even see you have a facebook account and I dont think they will come up as suggested friends.

    • Hi Hope,

      Thanks for this information 🙂

      I did a combination of what you suggested and going into people’s profile and blocking them that way… So far they haven’t come up again as suggested friends.

      Thank you and take care,
      CG

  7. Hi! I think I understand the FB thingie you felt. I have blocked over 150 names (real names, names I know some people go by, and maiden names) and my profile is locked up as tight as it can be (I’m also really paranoid). I also use my real name, and I only have five friends on there who are all from college. However, they were with me when I was in crisis back then, at the hospital with me, and helped take me to the school’s psych services, so I feel rather comfortable with them. At the same time I never talk about those things, but I feel a little better knowing I can be pretty much myself with them.

    I blocked all of my family members, which made them angry (ha!), my ex and any of his family members, etc..

    It’s good to hear those people haven’t appeared again as suggestions. I hope that makes you feel a little better and safer.

    Lisa

    • Hi Lisa,

      I’m lucky in many respects that Facebook isn’t big in New Zealand. This means that many of the people that I wouldn’t want to have contact with aren’t on there to pop-up as suggested friends. I do panic each time a friend request comes through, but they mainly seem to be from random people I’ve never heard of.

      Good on you for protecting yourself! Protecting yourself is more important than making other people happy.

      Take care,
      CG

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