Chances are, now we’re into November, you’re just starting to think about your family Christmas. There’s presents to consider, what to cook, where to spend Christmas Day, who gets to drive to all the parties – and a hundred other potential reasons for a family row.
Whatever rows may crop up in the coming weeks, I would advise any blogger to think twice before writing about them online. I know from painful experience that blogging a family dispute can cause wounds that can take months, or even years to heal.
Back in April, I was angry with my Mother-in-Law and wrote about my feelings on my blog. Back then my blog was anonymous, or at least I thought it was. I didn’t use my children’s real names, I didn’t use my location and I didn’t use my name or any derivative of it. So I felt secure and confident in the fact that I could be honest and not worry about upsetting the applecart.
Nothing I wrote was untrue, but with perspective and hindsight it wasn’t very nice either, especially when my Brother in Law printed off the post, took it to my Mother in Law and showed her what I had written. I have never had the best relationship with my mother in law, but this pretty much put the final nail in the coffin. Six months on, we are still not on speaking terms.
When I wrote the post, my Mother in Law had upset me and I was sad, angry and in tears – not only wrote the post, but also when I posted it. Because of that, I managed to not only upset my in-laws, but I also upset my Husband deeply, and more importantly I feel that I have affected the relationship my children have with their Nana.
So please be careful with your words. If you’re unsure in any way, leave what you’ve written in your draft folder and come back to read it in a couple of days, when you’ve calmed down and have more perspective on the situation. You might lose out on some of that immediate satisfaction, but you won’t find yourself in my boat – although I’ve long since deleted the post, my Mother-in-Law has a printed copy of my words to use against me whenever she feels like it.
I now make a point of re-reading all my posts before I publish and make sure I’m not saying anything about a friend or relation that I wouldn’t be happy to say to their face. What I learned is that the Internet is never just words on a screen. These words carry immense power and you never know who’s looking at them from outside your immediate circle of blogging friends – your real-life friends, your family, perhaps even your employer.
Once you have pressed that post button, you can never ever truly go back and remove it.
[This post was written by Jen, who blogs at The Mad House]