Fear Conquering & Hate Mail

Fear Conquering

A comment on our site:

“In my opinion, anyone who would refer to children in such a disgusting and disrespectful way (adult or not) is an emotionally bankrupt shell of a person…”

BAM! My first hate mail.

I read a lot of blogs. Any of them worth their salt raise strong emotion and spark debate on their message boards.

Sometimes it can get a bit heated, but makes for a nice balance.

We have had comments on our website that strongly disagree with our opinions and we relish them, we value every addition to the conversation. Good stuff all the way around.

But this one hit me like a punch to the gut. My mother-in-law once told me I was too thin-skinned and I was beginning to believe it.

My first thought was, “OMG — was my message unclear? Did I go overboard with the snarkyness and cloud the overriding theme?”

I don’t mind criticism (I say with more bravado than I actually have), but being a bad writer horrifies me. Was my post so bad that it didn’t even make sense? Should I delete the post or rewrite it? Tone down the snark?

I fired off an e-mail to an old school chum who grew up to be a college professor. “Is my post as bad as I’m convincing myself it is?” One of those tell me like it is — I can take it e-mails. I knew he would do just that, which further panicked me as I hit the SEND button.

I waited — obsessively reading and rereading the post and the response — unable to see either objectively.

As luck would have it, Grown Up Professor was online and got back to me quickly. He assured me that my point was indeed clear. Whew. OK. Better. He went on to say he didn’t think my post was mean spirited at all.

Wait. What? My thin-skinned brain went back to reeling. Grown Up Professor may not have thought it mean spirited, but do others (aside from the hate mailer)?

Snarky as we can be, our site’s focus is to cheer people on, to help folks overcome the sadness that comes when the kids leave the nest – and we use humor to do this. Our writing is meant to empower people, not ruin their day. Damn.

I called my sister-in-law. She’d hand it to me straight; we have always had one of those exceptional relationships that transcends our differences. We frequently debate all of those untouchable subjects — politics, religion, music — with vigor and calm. We also respect each other immensely as parents. As the mother of my beautiful and inspirational special needs niece, she is truly my hero. She is devout, feminine and, unlike me, never cusses.

In other words, if my post were offensive, it was going to offend her. Not something I was eager to do.

Listening to her giggle as she read the post while I sweated it out on the other end of the line was music to my ears. She assured me that it was fine. Again, WHEW!

My son, The Boy, called soon after to actually congratulate me.

“Hey Mom,” says The Boy, “You got your first hate mail – you’ve made it!”

As I hung up the phone I began to wonder if my mother-in-law was indeed correct (as she often is) about my thin-skinly-ness. After all, she’s known me since I was a teenager. All the signs are there – even my kids incessantly tease me about it.

I sometimes wonder if I will ever be able to stand up for myself without the safety net of my family and friends. But I do know this– the next hate mail won’t sting so much.

As my wise Daddy told me (okay, I called him too – just to cry on his shoulder), “If you don’t want to be hated on, you can just sit around and do nothing. Even then – that’s no guarantee.”

Jeez, I really need to grow a pair.

Veronica, GypsyNester.com

Click here to see the post (complete with the full comment that made my thin skin thinner).

YOUR TURN: What do you think? Am I too thin skinned? Have you had a similar experience? How did you handle it?

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88 thoughts on “Fear Conquering & Hate Mail”

  1. The post was brilliant and mirrored my own feelings. Stepdaughter just freeloaded off me for a month and I tried to help her sort her massive debts out. She even asked for “her inheritance” early! Like it’s her gid given right. Constantly “borrowing” money that doesn’t get paid back. Yep! Definitely a Parasite kid. Thanks! Finally, we realise we are not alone, and we are not going to give out any more money! Time for her to grow up – even though she 33 years old!

  2. Ohhhhhh Veronica! Love this post! Would love to read the one the hater was commenting on. Knowing you IRL and online you inspire me to take more chances, be less judgmental and live my darn LIFE. No dress rehearsal here, this is it. Funny thing, I still can’t believe you’re thin-skinned. You just don’t seem it. Thanks for being a power of example!

    1. Thanks so much Anne… next I’ll have you eating bugs and jumping out of airplanes – watch out! Seriously though, you give me too much credit (but a bolster I needed – so I’ll take it!) -Veronica

  3. Ohmygawd change nothing…parents that laugh at themselves and find the funny in all things including nick names for babies represents pure fun!

    Some of my children’s nicknames: puppy, math nerd, spawn1 and spawn2,

    In keeping with my husbands nickname “fat bastard”, I am “skinny B” (as in b#]ch), my oldest is a tall lanky 23 yr old “slim” and my daughter is a 20 year old version of me, hence: “MiniB”

    Long live nicknames. Haters gonna hate hate hate…just shake it off shake it off.

  4. You mean you’ve only had one hate comment after all these years of blogging? That’s actually pretty impressive. I just had my first one last month, after only about 1 year of blogging.

    Admittedly, the blog post was a controversial one. (Is it ever okay to get into debt to travel? I say there may be — very rare — times when debt is acceptable.) I expected some disagreement when I published it, but I never thought someone would hate it enough to write what’s probably the longest comment I’ve ever had AND write an even longer blog post to tear it down.

    I read and re-read what I wrote. Was I really advocating people to throw caution to the wind as he claimed I was doing? That blog post was maybe 75% scary facts to discourage people from taking on debt and 25% saying it may be okay if, after careful consideration, they really think it’s something they have to do.

    I was shaken up more than I’d like to admit, but in the end, I still stand behind the opinion I expressed in that blog post. And at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

  5. I got some negative comments on my writing. It totally rocked my world. I lost sleep. I considered throwing in the towel as a writer. The person who left the comments had no idea.

    One of my friends gave me the advice that helped: “Haters gonna hate.”

    You think you’ll take negative comments well until it happens to you… Then, not so well. I heard of another writer who just doesn’t read her Amazon reviews ’cause they’re so bad.

    I heard some good advice in an interview:
    “No matter what you say, 1/3 of people will love it while 1/3 of people will hate it. The last third doesn’t even know you said it.”

  6. You are right on sister! As an educator of 35 years and a parent of three successful children, I can agree you have the right formula for raising kids!

  7. Gypsy Nester, I love your blog because it has always been an inspiration to me. I hope that one day my kids will be out on their own. They are young adults, both special needs. They go to college part time but have tremendous difficulty and anxiety trying to make the grade. Both apply for jobs and my work here and there but get scared off by things very easily. I retired to better help them find jobs and get good grades. They both work around the house and make $3 for each job they do and because of my income, cannot earn more that $20 a day from me. But I tell them all the time that they need to overcome their disabilities, fears, etc because one day I will not be here, nor my ex-husband. So to make them realize what it feels like to be poor, I gave up a good salary and now live on a pension which doesn’t last to sustain us through the month. I have retirement savings in a 401K but refuse to access it so that they can feel the pinch, and as a result I feel it too. I mean we scramble around to find change money in the house to buy necessities in the last few weeks of the month. I’ve been doing this for about 6 months and it’s beginning to make them see the light, I believe. My son will be starting a new job soon and my daughter is following suit. To the outsider world, relatives included, my kids do appear to be spoiled (and I guess I have spoiled them as they grew up) and sometimes I feel like they are loggers around my neck. At the same time, I believe they are both good people. I wouldn’t say they are leeches but I’m sure they appear to be to others. I just hope we can all be free to be like you and your husband. one day…

    1. Janelle, Thank you so much for counting as one of your inspirations, we are so honored! We have a special needs young adult in our family as well and I am in constant awe of my BIL and SIL and the amazing life they have created for our niece. There’s a saying that parenting doesn’t come with a manual, and we all have our struggles – of course – but parents of special needs kids are my heroes. Your commitment to your family is honorable and we applaud you!

  8. A long time ago I decided that no human’s opinion mattered but God’s. If He was angry or offended, I’d better pay attention. Other than that, everything else is personal opinion which has no credibility at all. For crying out loud, have you seen some of the things Steven Hawking has said? Jeez-o-man!!!!

  9. Thanks goodness you wrote this! I’ll keep it bookmarked as a pep talk, because I’m terrified of getting mean comments too! Stay strong! -Susan (Ageless GlobeTravels)

    1. YAY! I thought it was important to write about it because I thought it might help folks know that they aren’t alone. Soooo… a) I hope you never need to use the pep talk and b) if you do, that it helps!

  10. Good on you! Those sorts of attacks out of nowhere can be really disorientating, but the best thing to do is check to make sure whether or not it’s merited and if not, just move on.

    Haters gotta hate, as the Internet meme goes, and often what people say reveals much more about their own unhappy internal state than anything you said.

  11. Wow is all I can say. Chin up, I think yyou two are great. Love the language aND how you are making it! Keep it uo!

  12. I think you did the right thing. You turned to a couple of trusted people (professor friend and your SIL) and asked them to tell you the truth. I personally like sarcasm. And I am the queen of it. Don’t try to take my crown 🙂 Now if I could just get those adult kids to leave my home……

  13. I’m sure I will probably behave the same way you did when you received the hate mail. Either way, I feel sorry for that person, they must really have a crappy self-esteem, why else send hate mail?

  14. I’M an emotionally bankrupt, shell of a person. You’ve got nothing to worry about.

    I don’t know if a blog worth its salt is going to offend someone as much as even saying the “sky is blue” is going to offend someone on the Internet.

  15. Nothing to worry about. You need to be more trusting of your own instincts. And you definitely need to be confident in your opinions. Write what you believe in, not what you think people want to hear. A little hate mail is just that…hate mail. Wear it as a badge and la

  16. I read the post in question and found nothing upsetting about it. My son graduated college in May, and his “allowance” (getting on his feet, finding a job with no rush, get a good one…) ends next month. Thanks to the ACA, he is still on our health insurance for 3 more years. I agree with you, and am very happy to “cut off” both of my children, it is time for them to sail away on their own ship. I don’t see them as parasites, but if he continues to ask for money past the cut off, I will call him one!

  17. I went back and read the post that you linked. I liked the post but I have to say – I felt frustrated with the tone of many of the comments. Comment after comment is geared toward “anonymous” – that’s not dialogue. That’s not debate – that’s agreement. Which is fine, but it seems like something could have been done to stop the hate toward the hater….So now, I’ll wait and hope people don’t send hate my way through comments 🙂 And I do love your site.

  18. Hi Gypsy Nester,

    I loved your blog, and love the snarkyness. I would have to say that you really must have hit a nerve with your reader, they have probably secretly thought what you had the courage to say, topped off with the fact that they apparently have no sense of humor! Keep being your snarky self and reminding us find humor in life! Kudos to you! 🙂

  19. Opinions. Everyone has one (at least, some I do think have a few) but I read the original post and thought it was spot-on and funny as hell.

  20. Read the first post. Loved it. Read anonymous comment. meh. Just want to say. Yay, your first hater. Gotta love putting it out there. I call it “extended adolescence” you call them “parasite children.” Either way, it’s an epidemic. It’s funny, the public school system forces kids to learn to read and write and go to school when they turn 3. They should be playing and having fun. We get them out of school and there is no pressure in forcing them out into the world to earn their own keep. I think we’ve got it backwards. jmho. 🙂

  21. I read the ‘offending’ article. Congratulations on a refreshing, honest and entertaining piece of writing. Get your rhino-skinned jacket on and give us some more of this fabulous stuff.

  22. Congrats you have arrived! I’m a little shocked someone sent you hate mail because it’s obvious you love your kids so much you want them to grow up and move away to have their own lives.

    A million years ago before the ‘net I wrote a letter to the editor of a groovy mothering magazine about why I didn’t believe every mother should breast feed. I got ugly letters for years as a result of this. After the first 20 pieces of hate mail, I just laughed them off.

  23. Your son is right! Congrats on your first hate mail. You’re big time now!! hahahahaha
    I’m so deliriously happy to have an empty nest that my friends think I’m crazy. Your posts make me feel a little more normal.

  24. Congratulations on ‘making it’! Looking forward to my first hate mail too! We can’t please everyone in the world. They’ll get over it and if they don’t – who cares!

  25. I still have two kids at home (though one is leaving in 21 days, not that I’m counting, so I’m glad to find you) and they call the haters “trolls.” Apparently, trolls make it their entertainment to hate on web sites. I’m sorry to break it to you, but your reaction is exactly what the troll wanted. At least you have the satisfaction of knowing you made somebody’s day.

    Keep it up. And may I suggest that David and Veronica’s pair of hearts trumps a pair of balls any day?

    1. Hahaha! Yup. Have to agree. 😉 Regarding the “trolls” – if that was the case, you couldn’t be more correct. Troll, 1 – Veronica, 0. BUT I did learn a valuable lesson – bet they weren’t expecting THAT – BAM! Glad you’re here!

  26. I wrote a post for a mom site about sharing, and I was told I was “raising a narcissist”. I have never gotten hateful comments on or about my own personal blog, so I was really taken aback. I have always cared too much what others think of me, it’s been a big issue for me since childhood. But, it helped reassure me to see that so many others actually agreed with me and enjoyed the post, I tried to focus on that.

    1. That’s a good way to go about it Beth. As with yours, it rarely happens on our site as well. We do have a lot of folks that respectfully disagree – which we love – we like to explore all sides of an issue and value others’ thoughts. BUT the name calling is off-putting, agreed.

  27. It really hurts when someone who doesn’t know you expresses hate when there was absolutely no intention of any serious negativity. I find all of your comments to be full of joy, happiness, love, support,invaluable information, and great amusement! “Take it easy, don’t let the sound of your own wheels make you crazy..”

  28. I too had a hateful comment on my site that inspired a whole new article.


    It’s called “Trolls Welcome.”

    This has been a bit of a kickass week for me as well. Hang in there. I love that your goal is to cheer people on. You accomplish this with aplomb!

    There are, unfortunately, people with zero sense of humor. Pity them, don’t empower them. I’m so glad you are surrounded with loving folks who have your back 🙂

    Keep up the amazing site!

    Chana Keefer

    1. Chana,
      Yes, I am very blessed to have the outpouring of support in the comments here! I was really tempted to delete the hateful comment-and just forget it. But I’m am really glad I didn’t. It gave me the chance to work through it – in my own paranoid way! I love the photo on your post – I’m going to think about it next time someone rears their ugly head! Thanks hon!

  29. Wow, thank you for sharing this. As a relatively new blogger, I’ve also been bracing myself for the first negative comment and have been guilty of over-thinking some of my posts.

    However, in this particular case, I don’t think your reaction to the hate mail is at all unwarranted. I think most people would have been taken aback by the incredibly rude choice of words. Had that person really wanted to make an effective point, he/she could have done so in a much more constructive way.

  30. I don’t have a well known blog, but I enjoy posting. I have prepared myself for haters but so far I’ve only received love. I have to agree with your son’s reaction. Bloggers can’t please everyone, especially those miserable folks who can’t find positivity in anything and insist on making that fact well known. I don’t agree with everything you say, but that’s what makes the world go round. As a brand new empty nester, you have been a great resource and support.

    1. KimberlyJ – Aww thanks! I appreciate your comment so much – it’s great to hear that we have been helpful to you – heartfelt comments like yours can make any of the “bad” stuff melt away! I’ll be sure to re-read it again and again. -Veronica

  31. Which article was it that they were referring to? The one about the “Dirty Secret” is hilarious and I posted it on MY blog today! It couldn’t have been that – could it?

  32. I guess it’s better just to become a bitter, miserable person with no life once the kids leave home. Puleez. I’m an empty nester too, and all I can see is, if this woman (or man) was THAT wrapped up in her children’s lives that she can’t lighten up once they’re gone, can you even IMAGINE how miserable they must have been! LOL Your blog is awesome. 🙂 Susan

  33. I don’t know if I think you’re thin skinned or just responsible. If I had received a comment like this, I would reread the post and questioned myself too. After confirming you said what you meant, that is the time to put it to rest and realize it is the responders issue and not yours.

  34. I know the feeling … just got my first ugly comment a couple of months ago. I fumed for about an hour before saying anything to my better half. When I told her, it was like I’d knocked over a fire ant hill. She was mad. Funny thing is … it was a relative. But … it’s good to have some contrary opinions … and the strong reaction my relative had means something. He just disagreed, which should be okay. Anyway … glad you got yours out of the way … should make the rest a lot easier!

  35. We women tend to be pretty darned thin skinned, don’t we? I know because the Cap Cops scolded me on Twitter, and I suddenly felt like Sister Mary Agnes had cracked my knuckles with a ruler. I love what you do. Next time, remember the ratio of love mail you receive compared to hate mail. I’m sure that will make you feel better. @andreager

  36. I think there are simply sad, sad people out there who get their kicks posting negative comments. Also, these people have no sense of humor, and are probably 13 years old.

  37. I agree with Serena here! Don’t let some person without a sense of humor and probably with no life without her kids get to you! And YES you have made it now! Smile and celebrate!

  38. Wow, I don’t think anyone should call you that unless they really know you…..wait, that doesn’t sound right [ ‘-)

  39. I love my kids but they are s bit stringy if you don’t boil them long enough 😉 Heck with that woman – she’s the kind who keeps them home until they are unable to think for themselves. I am happy my nest is emptying because I want the kids to have a life – not mine – but their own.

  40. I agree with connie, I had 5 boys it took a sense of humor and sometimes tough love to get them to where they all are today very proud of all them but dont want them home like my momma always said you can come visit but u cant spend the night lol love my kids

  41. Whoever typed that one out probably makes a point of spewing off crap like that to a variety of site. Also, there may be a few parents of adult children who want the older nestlings to stay unflegded.

  42. Forgetabout it!!! Anonymous cant get past the words to understand the meaning!! Sad but true,this is the new generation of our children.(and parents) It needs to stop! If it is a mental illness and diagnosed, Hello… “differant story” > duh… Other wise>> Unacceptable!! You hit the nail on the head, peoples eyes need to be RE-opened!! YOU go Girl!!

  43. I could tell this one bothered you. But, your readers can tell you care. I still think you may have touched a raw nerve in that person, which made them lash out.

    I am like you, thin-skinned, but worse! I don’t step out of my comfort zone when there’s even a slight chance that it might offend or push someone else’s buttons. (Some call that a “door-mat”.)

    Your grandfather’s words are wise indeed. Thanks for sharing this painful, growth experience with us! It will pay off with more loyal fans, I’m sure of it!!

  44. I, too, can be a bit thin-skinned. I try to remember what my Gram use to say, “Always be grateful that someone took their time to pay attention to you whether good or bad, positive or negative.”

  45. You should have keyed off the use of the nonstandard English. Here is what Dictionary.com says about “irregardless.”

    Usage Note: Irregardless is a word that many mistakenly believe to be correct usage in formal style, when in fact it is used chiefly in nonstandard speech or casual writing. Coined in the United States in the early 20th century, it has met with a blizzard of condemnation for being an improper yoking of irrespective and regardless and for the logical absurdity of combining the negative ir- prefix and -less suffix in a single term. Although one might reasonably argue that it is no different from words with redundant affixes like debone and unravel, it has been considered a blunder for decades and will probably continue to be so.

    1. I noticed that, too, Diane (irregardless isn’t a word!)! And to our lovely GypsyNesters, that guy had no sense of humor. Your response and the responses of others proved your point. =) No worries, movin’ on Girl! (Says one who would have done the same things you did!)

  46. Simply… they don’t know you. It’s all about intent.. and they just “don’t get it”. Can’t be helped.. and who cares!!!!! Love you guys! Cinda in Havasu

  47. Hey Gypsy Nesters:
    Thanks for the kind comment on my blog. Love your stuff too. Just wanted to share that my hubby and I recently returned from living in an RV for 5-plus weeks. Saw so many things that made me think, “The Gypsy Nesters should see this!” Keep your tales of the road coming.

    MAD Goddess

    p.s. And don’t forget, once the sense of humor is gone, all hope is lost. Feel pity for the humorless who can’t laugh at life.

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