Protecting your privacy after your divorce from social media harassment: Karen Bashford
Is your Ex following you through social media and the internet?
Social media is a wonderful tool for staying in contact, finding clients and suppliers, and on a social level, sharing informative and fun videos. But there is also a dark side to social media – one that as a divorcee you need to be aware of.
I discovered how vulnerable I was to my horror, when my ex of 22 years used social media and my website to harass me. It is not pleasant to receive an email or comments on a blog from someone you thought dead and buried in the past.
I was amazed at my reaction. I really thought I was over how he made me feel, but oh boy, did I react! I was tearful and shaking, I felt sick, as all my fears resurfaced after being buried deep in my unconscious mind for so long.
If your relationship ended amicably, then great – you probably don’t need to worry about being found on the internet. However, if you experienced physical, mental or emotional abuse in your relationship, and you love social media, you need to be aware that anyone with internet access can trace you, and potentially harass you.
It is so easy to find someone on the internet, all the searcher has to do is type in your name and the search is likely to reveal your profile for Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin, as well as other sites. A snapshot right into your personal and professional life.
It doesn’t take long to set up an account and connect with you through social media. So long as they have an email they can even use a bogus name. You need to be cautious whom you accept as your friend or connect with, especially if you don’t know the person or there are only 1 or 2 mutual friends. It is even possible to find information about you through a family member if they are inclined to be friends with anyone who asks to be their friend.
You don’t know who knows who, and it is easy for your ex to become connected with someone without you knowing. If you post articles or comment on a post, then it has the potential to be seen by your ex.
If you don’t want to be found, it is imperative that you set your privacy settings as high as possible and be careful who you share your posts with.
If you are in business, then use a business name instead of your own name. Otherwise your ex will be able to find your website and sign up for any newsletter or offers you have giving him/her access to your email, address and contact number.
Set your blog comments to be read by you before they appear on your site, that way if he/she does comment it is not seen immediately, giving you a chance to deal with it.
Also ensure you are not included in the national voters public register as your details will be available online through sites like 192.com. The register will also be published in the local library, so it’s easy enough to find you if your ex knows where you are likely to be living, even if your address isn’t known.
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security… make sure you are aware of how vulnerable you can be thanks to the internet.
Don’t forget you can block someone from having access to your social media accounts. It can be done instantly so check out the help section on how to block someone from connecting with you.
Call the police
I am so pleased to acknowledge that time has made me stronger, more capable of dealing with him. After my initial reaction I become angry thinking how dare this man come back into my life and think he can bully me!
I was absolutely amazed how the anger drove me to put a stop to his bullying tactics by calling the police to report the situation. I am grateful my complaint was taken very seriously and I felt reassured that they would do their utmost to put a stop to the harassment as soon as possible.
If you are being harassed in any shape or form, call 999 in an emergency if you feel directly threatened. Otherwise do your best to record any conversations/telephone calls you get and keep any emails, voicemails etc.
You may feel violated all over again, but the evidence will make it easier for you to obtain a successful outcome.
When I heard that my ex had been arrested and given a police caution… It felt as if a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders… freeing me to get on with my life at long last.
Free to grow your business online
This whole experienced helped me to realise how much I had held back from using social media for my business, with this subconscious fear of ‘being seen’ that needed to be shifted. And thanks to his actions helping me to see this – I have had the opportunity to overcome those fears, and now I am excited about sharing more of my knowledge and support online in ways that I was never prepared to do before.
My own experience of being harassed by my Ex online brought three gifts of learning:
- The first is that I discovered how to protect myself better online, and also that the police take this kind of harassment very seriously.
- The second was that having dealt with the situation – faced up to it and taken the necessary action – I was able to unblock my fear of using social media for my business and opened up fantastic opportunities for me to share support and guidance for others through online articles and videos.
- Finally, I had the opportunity to be reminded just how challenging it is when a blast from the past comes back to push your buttons, and feeling empowered by facing up to my fears and overcoming them. Taking some of my own medicine as a Mindset Coach.
Don’t continue to carry your fear, don’t let this person who has already been responsible for so much pain in your life, continue to affect you.
As a mindset coach I can help others and I don’t even need to know their ‘story’ – it’s possible to bring about a change without going over the past, so you don’t have to re-live all that pain and fear again to make profound changes.
Your feelings and reactions are in your unconscious mind, and they need to be changed to enable you to be confident to deal with your ex. To be strong enough to say “no” to bullying and no more making my life hell.