You’re Still Talking But The Conversation Is Over

I’m going to write something today that I probably shouldn’t be writing but I’m going to write it anyway. I’m opening this up for discussion and maybe some of you can help me figure this out.

I have an “online hater.”

Is that an actual term or am I making that up?  Does anybody know?  Well, if it’s not a legitimate term, I’m now coining it.  Here’s what it means: An online hater is someone who is the opposite of a fan.  Or a friend.  Or even some nice-enough acquaintance you just met on Twitter.  My online hater is somebody who doesn’t like me because I wrote a book with Michael Jackson as one of the central characters. She thinks it was wrong for me to write it, and that I said bad things about Michael. She told me this in a brief exchange on an Amazon chat board; we actually had a discussion about it when the book first came out.  I guess that discussion wasn’t enough for her because then she showed up on my blog, on the book’s Facebook, the Amazon review site, and once when I visited a blog site for a Q & A. She just keeps showing up and trash talking me.

Is it wrong that I’m upset about this?

Because I am.  I know I shouldn’t probably admit that.   I know you’re supposed to turn the other cheek. I know that words aren’t supposed to hurt you. And yet, I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t hurt. I guess there’s just something in my double-X chromosomes that makes me want to please everybody, and to make sure everyone’s happy. Well, my online hater certainly isn’t happy.  And I’m trying to figure out how to deal with this.

I’m not good with criticism, but as I get older, I’m getting better at it. You can tell me you don’t like my writing, you don’t like my stories, you don’t like my hair, or the way I laugh, or that I laugh at the wrong moments, my eyes are too close, I wear funny clothes, or ridiculous looking shoes; you don’t like my politics, or you don’t like me because I’m not political.  There are any number of reasons you might find fault with me.  I’ve learned to accept the fact that some people just love to criticize, and they’ll do it openly, and often. My emotional skin has thickened (a little)  over the years, and I can deal with most (all right, some) disapproval thrown my way. But I draw the line when you attack my honesty. Honesty is the way I try to live my life, and it’s what I bring to my writing.

All + Everything.

To do something well you have to be passionate about what you’re doing, and you have to do it to the max:  Body and soul.  All + Everything.  That’s what I do when I write.  I give you my point of view, honestly; and I don’t hold back. And that’s what I did in my book. Michael Jackson was in my life for a brief period of time, and what I wrote about him was from my point of view.  Honest, and to the point.  I didn’t hold back anything – my observations or my thoughts. I told my story (and the key words here are my story) exactly the way I experienced it.

So for the benefit of my online hater:  If you want to find fault with me, for writing about my honest point of view, well, I guess you and I will have to agree to disagree.  You’re not going to change my way of thinking, and I know that I certainly won’t change yours. I guess this conversation between the two of us is now over.

It’s time for you to move on.

(How do you handle the haters in your life?  The ones that find meaning in attacking, criticizing, and judging who you are and what you do? Do you let them know how you’re feeling and confront them? Or do you just keep quiet and hold it in?)

43 thoughts on “You’re Still Talking But The Conversation Is Over

    • I can block people on my website, and the Facebook page. I couldn’t do that when I did the Q & A at someone else’s site. But this person runs back to other MJ “ultra-fans” and the entire group suddenly showed up. The good news is that the stats for the website I’m sure jumped higher. So it’s not all bad, I guess.

  1. I guess I’ve been pretty lucky. The only discordant discourse (how’s that for a combo?) I’ve had so far, and it really wasn’t that, is a woman said I shouldn’t have used bad language in my book (only that’s how thugs talk, so what could I do?), and she didn’t really chew me out, just cut 2 stars from the review for it. I’m going to private message you on your issue so that I don’t inadvertently stir anything up…

    • Thanks, Harvey! I don’t think you use bad language in your book at all. By the way, I’m really enjoying KISS HER GOODBYE – I love all the characters, and the plot is really moving.

  2. sounds to me like the word would be “stalker” – and maybe it’s time, if she/he continues, to turn it over to the police. They can trace the person’s internet activity. Obviously this person is a little on the unbalanced side and what bldodson said is probably the correct response – don’t respond to them. However, that being said, if you continue to get harassed by this person, then it’s time to do something legally. I, for one, enjoy every one of your blogs and look forward to reading them.

  3. Mr. Dodson’s correct, you can’t win an argument with someone who’s made up her mind that you’ve done something wrong. I’ve been pretty lucky. Haven’t had any such discourses (though one woman chastised me for using 4-letter words in my book, which only resulted in 2 fewer stars in her review). I’ll private message you on LinkedIn about this. My take on your book was that you were pretty doggone respectful of Michael, actually.

  4. Small people with small minds have a hard time accepting conflicting ideas. You are so beyond that. BLDodson is right…don’t answer them, give them no attention. They are insignificant. Keep writing!!!!

  5. I agree. Do not respond. Move on. Cut them out of your life as soon as possible. They only upset you. No good comes from it. Holding on just hurts you. Cut toxic people out of your life! Life is too short! btw, how about an update on the Cookie story.

    • All good advice, Merril. Toxic people are not good to have in your life. I appreciate the words of wisdom. As for an update about Cookie…you have amazing timing because I spoke to Cookie this afternoon. She went back to New York to finally see Marty (after more than 50 years!). She filled me in on everything and I will be doing a post (hopefully) in a week or two. To quote Cookie about going back there to see Marty: “One of the best things I’ve EVER done! Yeah for me!”

  6. Hi Darlene!
    A long time ago I came home from school and I was so upset that I was in tears. This girl was picking on me for no reason in particular other than the fact that she wanted to. When my mother realized how visibly upset I was, she pulled me near and looked me dead in the eye and said, When nothing says nothing, nothing has been said. I carried that throughout my life and allowed all of the naysayers to simply have their say, because in my golden silence (with a smile), I knew that “nothing” was being said. Keep prospering! (wink)

  7. Everyone I know who writes a blog, articles, books, opinion pieces, or is simply in the public eye has told me that they have had encounters with online haters, stalkers, and other creepy characters. I think it comes with the territory. You only have one online hater!? Perhaps you should become more controversial… 🙂

  8. Darlene, your friend Lynne has a valid point. It’s entirely too easy for mentally unbalanced stalkers to wield social media as their weapon of choice…and I speak from experience when telling you that it is very difficult to deal with them legally. Law enforcement is still pretty far behind the curve when it comes to on-line harassment. You should absolutely keep hard copies of any contact you’ve had with her (or any posts she has made about you via Twitter, etc.)…that’s the only “evidence” you can produce if necessary. She doesn’t sound like a “fan” of Michael Jackson…or anyone else…she simply sounds delusional.

  9. I try to listen to the “hater” and treat him/her respectfully until such time as the “hater” proves that he/she is just so emotional or willful that he/she is absolutely incapable of hearing me. Then, if I’m up to my best self, I say, “Thank you for sharing your point of view” or “I’m resigned to the fact that we can agree to disagree only” and those are the last words from me. If my best self is in hiding that day, I may bring forth some salty language or say, “I’m done.” I usually regret that my best self refuses to appear, but over time, I also recognize that I am merely mortal, not superhuman, and people who cannot budge, empathize, reflect, analyze or apologize do not call forth the best in any of us. Take a deep breath. Focus upon a more positive review (and reviewer). Close your eyes and summon forgiveness from deep within. Exhale. Move on. (Preceding 5 statements of advice much easier to write than execute)

    • I totally agree with everything you’ve written. My initial contact with the “hater” was done with much respect. We actually had a conversation about her view on what I had written. I’m always open to having a conversation, and hearing other viewpoints. But we reached a point where this person wasn’t able to hear me, or even acknowledge that I had an opinion, although different than her opinion. That’s when I disengaged from the conversation and moved on. What I didn’t do (and looking back now I probably should have done it) was to say (as you are suggesting): “Thanks for sharing your point of view. I guess we have to agree to disagree.” Maybe that’s one of the reasons I wrote this post. Thanks for your comment – it always helps me to hear other thoughts on a problem.

  10. I didn’t go back and review your hater’s comments but what I recall is that this is a person whose tunnel vision is blinded by the stars in her eyes, she probably will not agree to disagree. Accept and move on, there’s something to be said about shaking the dust off your sandals. I’ve never bought the adage about words not hurting, they have the ability to cut into the soul and these wounds take time to heal. You have already applied the most effective salve, your honesty.

    • Yes, I agree: Words can hurt. You’ve put it very succinctly – accept and move on. I think the only fighting back that I can do in this situation is to ban her from my book’s Facebook page, and to list any comments she makes here as spam, deleting them immediately.There is a great sense of power when you learn there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

  11. Darlene, don’t allow yourself to be on the same level as the ‘hater’ – always remain a step ahead, which you have already proven! Just the conversations on this blog are enough to stifle any negative feelings. I have one word for your ‘hater’ which I must agree is more of a ‘stalker’ – Jealousy! This person obviously wants to be in the spotlight since he/she shows up everywhere. I had a similar experience when my first book came out in 2004 but it only happened once. Unfortunately, that one time is still posted as comments on Amazon and therefore, lowers the rating! It was definitely someone very angry toward me for whatever reason and wrote a horrible review. I have tried and tried to get it removed but to no avail. C’est le vie! Time to move on! My advice – do not respond to any more comments. That would be fueling the ‘hater’s’ fire. . .

    • Moving on is definitely the answer. It’s interesting to get your input from firsthand experience. I’m sorry that you went through something like this, but I guess it can sometimes happen when we share our work on the internet. I really enjoy meeting new people in this format, and having a conversation with them like this. One bad experience won’t spoil my enthusiasm for this media.

  12. Darlene,
    I know how it feels. I’ve had this experience. I had to face the fact that it was an abusive relationship, and that if I had any self respect I had to get out of it. ( battered wife syndrome! ). I simply stopped answering the emails and when they contined said I would be deleting them unread.
    The two people involved then began threats to drive a wedge bertween me and the people I loved, but when I continued to ignore, they finally faded away becauyse they coudn’t a get any traction. Silence is golden!

    • Yes, and silence works well when dealing with internet harassment. And really, that’s what we’re talking about – harassment. I love your wording: “…they finally faded away because they couldn’t get any traction.” I think that’s true – harassing another individual gives them a sense of power in their life, especially if they get a reaction out of you. If you don’t engage them, they tend to disappear. Sorry you had to go through that experience, but it makes us stronger once we’ve figured out how to handle it, and we move on.

  13. I’m not good with “haters” either. I know closing your eyes, wish them well (as hard as that is to do) and move toward more positive people, if possible. Lots of positivie self-affirmations are essential.

    • Peggy, I’d love to be able to “wish them well” but that’s hard for me to do. The best I can do is ignore them, delete their comment (if possible), and move on. I wish I had a wicked sense of humor, and could fight back with some witty (nasty) comeback. Unfortunately, that’s just not who I am. So yes, moving on to other people who treat me in a positive manner is definitely the way to go,

  14. hahah Darlene! This is such a perfect post! She is probably just jealous or something or whatever, it hardly matters. More importantly, who the hell cares! You have too many people around you who genuinely give a crap about you and love you. So SMILE! ❤

    As you know, one of my blogs is called riatarded and at a point of time someone just kept telling me how it sucked and how I am really retarded. I just told them thank you for your time and please come again. After a couple of weeks, the person never showed up! Awww I miss him/her or whoever it was :p


    • I love your attitude – You always make me smile! And you’re not going to believe this but right before you left your comment another not-so-nice person left me a comment that was even WORSE than the MJ fan that’s been following me around the internet. I can’t say I’m as noble as you are – I didn’t thank them for their time or say please come again. I just hit the delete button. And I must admit that I don’t miss him at all.

  15. I read somewhere that haters are confused admirers. So take it as a compliment that your work caused such a reaction that she can’t let it go. But that being said, I agree with everyone else that you should not respond to her anymore.

    • I love that term, “confused admirers.” And yes, I will gratefully take as a compliment that something I wrote affected this person so much that she can’t let go of it. Thanks for helping me put a positive spin on this.

  16. Darlene,
    I read your book a few months ago, and really enjoyed it. I can honestly say that I am a fan of your writing. I recently stumbled upon your blog, (which I am thoroughly enjoying) and came upon this post. It really upset me that you are being harassed like this. I just wanted to write you and to say hang in there and ignore the ignorant. Its unfortunate what has happened with a small community of MJ fans, they have become quite hysterical and irrational. I often think to myself when I hear of some of this behavior, that this is not something Michael would have wanted or tolerated. With that being said, I look forward to your continued posts. Namaste!

    • I really appreciate you coming here to the blog, and all of your warm words of support. I must tell you that one of the reasons I was motivated to write the book was I thought that Michael’s fans would like to read about a project that was so dear to his heart. I was careful to use the actual words that he said in our meetings because I wanted to capture his enthusiasm and passion on the page. I was really shocked when the fans on that Amazon chat board began to attack me for even writing the book. It saddened me to think they missed some wonderful moments with Michael. Thank you for reading the book, and for joining this conversation.

  17. I try to remember that their own life must be so miserable that the only solace they can find is in making others feel miserable as well. They think it empowers them and gives them some control, but it’s all an illusion. So they keep lashing out, hoping for some peace, I imagine. I think anyone reading a review or a comment by someone so negative is going to see that they are irrational. I know it must be hard, but I think ignoring it is the best choice.

    • That seems to be the consensus of everyone who has come to this post to comment. It’s not easy (for me, at least) to ignore hurtful comments, but I’m working at it. Having access to a “delete” button helps.

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