Oh, The Drama: Internet Friendships and Dissociative Disorders

Blog for Mental Health 2015

If anyone on Word Press has received an email from someone who has decided to stop following my blog because “I” don’t care for their friendship and their comments then this is the whole story.

I’ve considered this person a friend until this morning.

If you don’t want to read the rest of this I completely understand.

I don’t want to have to post it.

But I’ve learned that full disclosure is the only safety on the Internet.

This correspondence also serves to illustrate the problems that arise in relationships over the internet and especially friendships with people who have Dissociative Identity Disorder.

I am hyper-vigilant and often seek clarification because I sometimes see danger where none exists.

This is the email I received this morning:

“Rob, just so you are aware, I am no longer following your blog. I received an email that this person liked something I wrote back in Oct. on your blog. I guess people find things to like. It’s nice she felt she approved of that one. Anyways, I wrote her this note asking her not to fav other things I have written as I really don’t think it’s appropriate. Of course she can do whatever she wants. I am not following your blog as I don’t think it’s what I should be doing.

(She wrote the following reply to the person who ‘liked’ her comment)

“I see you have liked a comment I made on Rob Goldstein’s website. He doesn’t care for my friendship anymore, so it’s nice that you liked what I wrote, but unfortunately, he had taken offense to other things I have written. I am no longer following his site and would appreciate if you would not like any further comments. That one was posted a while ago and not sure why it came up for you, but as I said I am no longer following his site. Thank you for your consideration and no need to respond. I am in no way condemning him. It just was not a friendship that he could tolerate. He’s a wonderful inspiration to many!!!!!”

The comment in question was posted to a piece called, “The Executive.”

If you haven’t read that story, it closes with the suggestion that the main character decided to suicide.

Below is an email that I wrote to my friend in which I sought clarification of a comment that she made shortly after I posted “The Executive“:

I wrote:

“Thanks for your comment on ‘The Executive”.

I’ve placed it (the comment) on hold because I found it frankly confusing; especially in view of the narrative.

You wrote: (the following comment)

“The trees in the park have monkeys and they like to swing. You might consider that avenue. If you don’t believe me, just check out the park and you’ll see them. There is one there that keeps complaining and if you hear it, you’d think start to laugh. The monkey business going on in those trees is soooooo funny. Like the other day, the one monkey missed the branch, landed on his rump and smashed the banana he had just started eating. Did you ever hear a monkey curse?”

I honestly don’t understand how any of this is relevant to the story.”

This is the response I got:

“it’s just what occurred to me after reading yours. Rob, I won’t post comments because mine just are not of the usual and they confuse. The comment was just a random thought. It’s nothing.”

My reply:

OK…If you explained the comment to me I could have added a note of explanation. What a rich imagination…but that’s why your (art) work is always so good. (and it is)

The response:

My work is good because of my imagination, because of the many people who influence me and because of practice. It’s good because of editing programs that help me experiment. It’s good because of unknown factors, (because I don’t have all the answers to why it is.) If one has all the answers whether those answers are factual or subjective, one borders on being pompous.

I think though most people, even those who appear like they have all the answers, aye, they don’t. Too much mystery around.

Rob, I don’t write structured lots of times. Things just occur to me and so it very well is confusing. Comments on your blog are read by lots of people and not knowing me and then reading the comments might confuse them. So, I’ll just post the usual ones not that they aren’t true because -They ARE, your writing is fantastic!!!!!!

My reply was in part in response to what I read as an implication that I was being pompous in questioning the comment. I am aware of the possibility that the implication was not intended.

Thank you.

Lest you think I think I have all of the answers, I do not.

But I am keenly aware of what goes on around me, of the effect my actions have on other people, and of the effect their actions have on me.

I do know that despite your intentions, which I know are good because I know you, that many people who read that comment might assume something negative about it, some people would find it ridiculing, simply because you responded to a story that ended in suicide with chimps swinging from trees.

I found it (the comment) funny; but confusing, and wondered if the story had made you anxious.

I have never met you, I have no concept of what your face, and body language look like when you speak…none of these things are available to me when I assess your comments or email to me.

What I do know is that at times your actions are confusing, because it often seems as if you either do not consider how other people might react to a comment or action, or you do not care.

Either way is incidental to me.

My primary responsibility is to protect myself and my work from people who really (do) have bad intentions.

It is also my responsibility to protect myself and my work from actions that might be perceived as bad intentions.

I am not really one to mince words; but I am also not one who goes out of his way to offend other people personally.

I try to maintain a balance between under-reacting and over-reacting.

As I say, I am keenly aware of what goes on around me. I often let people think otherwise because I do not have the time or the energy to nurse wounded egos or to pander to the demands and entitlements of others.

I could have let the comment pass, I did not because the last time I let a comment like that pass I had to spend time responding to people who wondered what you were doing. (My family and my therapist, who wondered if my friend was one of my alternates)

The reason I asked you to clarify is that I would have added a note to the comment which would have spared me the questions.

My primary mission in life is to learn my craft and make the statements in my work that I consider important.

I know that I can feel difficult to deal with but that is because I take nothing at face value.

Even when I seem to not know who and what I am dealing with I am always aware. I never say anything that I would not claim—I often say things to people precisely because I know I am being “primed” for information.

I notice timing, tone of voice in writing, and I act on what I know, not on what I am told to think.

No one has all the answers…but one doesn’t need all of the answers to understand that we live in a competitive culture that is currently very corrupt and that we are using a medium that is even more corrupt because it attracts people who not only think that they are the center of the universe, but are entitled to do as they please regardless of the harm it does…(to other people)

One does not need to understand God to see the reality of (God) in human nature.

There are very good people in the world, and there are bad ones. We cannot possibly know the difference all of the time.

But only a fool leaves himself completely vulnerable in such an environment.

To that end I try to be as fair as possible.


The Response:

I don’t know what the story made me feel
I don’t know everything
I will remember not to put inappropriate comments that are inappropriate because it’s not the place to put them
As for caring what people think
I do my thing
As for you being aware of me
Impossible to judge me
As for me being aware of you
One does not need to understand God to see the reality of human nature.
Not sure what that means

I will not cause you stress or contribute to it
I will stay away from others who perceive me weird or also causing stress
Do not observe me as it’s impossible and I don’t want to be perceived.

Then a follow up response:

Also, Rob, I consider you a dear friend, I’m sorry that I come across to you or better said, You are fearful of people and the things they write or express.
If I come across as not caring, well, then I do. I speak my thoughts and listen and I am aware that because others don’t know me I provide impressions that are misleading. Actually I can provide them even if they do know me. How does one know another? People use their intelligence and their preconceptions of the world and how they have been treated and each person chooses best this way.
Yah, there are people who have gotten screwed up and have screwed others.
I understand that you have the need to protect yourself and that is the reality of you. I understand that because you say it.
I understand that people are very very complicated.
I don’t want to be perceived because it’s a complete waste of time. It’s impossible and will just lead in circles.
I enjoy being enjoyed and not being suspect to ill will.
Rob, I’m rather a free spirit

My reply:

…It may well be entirely my problem…who knows…what I do know is that as much as I enjoy our friendship when it works…it hasn’t been working. And I am frankly not well enough to do the work it takes to figure out what you mean. I can only say that I care about you and respect you. But there is something going on that I don’t understand…

The point is that I don’t have to understand it–all I really need to understand is how it affects me…

One can be a free spirit and still respect the feelings and sensibilities of other people.

You wrote:” If that is perceived as not caring, so be it. Cuz it might be perceived that way. I don’t give a fuck about what people think I’m doing, if they don’t ask directly. BUT, I am aware that my not giving a so called fuck If that is perceived as not caring, so be it. Cuz it might be perceived that way. I don’t give a fuck about what people think I’m doing, if they don’t ask directly. BUT, I am aware that my not giving a so called fuck”

(My reply) That’s a problem for me.

I do give a fuck what other people think; I especially give a fuck when the people who ask me these questions are close friends and family members.

Why should someone ask “you” about why you’re leaving comments that sound like ridicule on my blog. The question is mine to answer: “Why are you friends with someone who “appears” to leave comments that “appear” to ridicule your work?”

It may well be that I’m at a stage in my treatment that makes me especially sensitive right now.

It may well be that there is stress in your life that you don’t share with me.

It may be as simple as the difference between someone who is a free spirit in the libertarian sense of the word and someone who isn’t.

Understand that I am not saying that I don’t care about you; I’m not angry or hurt or any of that.

In truth I am in a world of pain as I go through my treatment that I don’t discuss, broadcast, or even fully understand.

It leaves me so exhausted that I have little energy for anything else.

I think we need to let each other go our own ways right now.


The Response:

Well if a friendship has not been working i was not aware of that. When people don’t like or want to question something they could choose to get the answer from the source. Since I don’t know these people they ask you what does she mean etc. I guess then you have to ask me or figure it out or just wonder.

Of course I have stress. I don’t live in a world without stress. I don’t know what being a free spirit is in the libertarian sense. I just know that if I am confusing then that’s not good. I know that when ppl can’t relate they get confused. I am private and being analyzed is not fair indirectly. If that’s a problem then you are correct is giving breaks. I don’t understand breaks but respect that sometimes it’s not good to be friends.

My reply

Sometimes people go through things that can’t be shared. The analogy I make is it is like being in a coma. Perhaps what I need is time to be alone and think.

I’m tired, very pained..and I don’t want to feel responsible for deciphering another person’s intentions.

I will repeat that this experience of feeling confused and overwhelmed may well have nothing at all to do with you.

But the subjective is a valid reason to make a decision.

I think I need time alone…both in real life and in SL.

I am making this same decision regarding people in real life…relationships in general are not working for me.

I suspect that this is a good thing if it is temporary.

You’re not being analyzed…I’m being analyzed…and the question on the table is what I am looking for–what do I want from the people in my life.

I enjoy your mind, your talent, and your intellect.

But until I can answer the question of what I want from my relationships with other people it’s best to put them on hold.


The next email is the one that I found this morning.

I had no intention of dropping this person as a friend. I suggested a break in correspondence because I am stressed and I have been feeling overwhelmed. It is a strategy I use for protecting relationships.

I thought that I had made it clear that I am stressed by my treatment and that I am hyper-vigilant.

As I review the correspondence I can see my hyper-vigilance. I won’t say what I see in the responses
because at this point I feel angry and betrayed which always induces an irrational trigger response.

The correspondence is as is except for clarifications in parenthesis. As for the distinction between a “free spirit” and “Libertarians” I see the following distinctions: I define a free-spirit as someone who questions and follows his or her own intellectual and creative path — I associate not “giving a fuck about other people” with libertarianism. I may be wrong, but I’ve seen very little that negates this definition.

What I will say is that I am sorry that my friend decided to drag other Word Press members into a private affair that has nothing to do with them. Even one person is too many. I consider this action a violation of my boundaries and trust.

This was a private exchange until my friend decided to make it public.

Only my friend can explain why she made this choice.

What I do know is that I cannot preserve a friendship by myself.




23 thoughts on “Oh, The Drama: Internet Friendships and Dissociative Disorders

  1. (This comment apparently was transported to another sim…) I empathize wtih being hyper-vigilant and the sometimes impossible to know situation of “is it them, or is it me?” The amount of energy that takes…. When one writes about mental illness one also attracts people with their own issues. This can be great, with a sense of community, understanding, discussion and belonging but it can also be very hard, as in a lot of work, to tread nicely and respectfully around other people’s needs and issues while also taking care of yourself. It take a lot of energy and there’s only so much energy to go around. Take care of yourself first, that’s one of the least selfish things in the long run. :::hug::::

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you.

      –I am constantly struggling to contain the part of me that always thinks that it is in a fight for its life…This has been a horrible week for me…after five years I’ve attached to my therapist, and she went on vacation. I hate to think that I’m going through this much emotional sludge because “Mommy Freud” is having fun without me…but I think this year her vacation raised all kinds of fears and anxiety.

      …I’ve also had a huge blow out screaming fit with my partner this week.

      Being in twice weekly therapy is rough…I mean that in a good way because I know I’m very lucky to have psychotherapy…

      So there are a lot of factors affecting my judgment and I think that had there not been an email informing me that some unknown third party had been dragged into this discussion I would have gotten past it; and have acknowledged my part in the confusion; because it’s there to see…

      And I can see myself objectively when my emotions settle down…perhaps If I’d said that instead of using language that sounded like I wanted to end the friendship, it would have worked out differently…

      But then…I’m not responsible for the choices made by someone who lives on the other side of the world…

      As I said…I don’t understand the intention, but the part of me that mobilizes when threatened felt the need to make it public because it was made surreptitiously public and I was informed after the fact…

      And that rings all kinds of bells.

      And of course boundary and control issues.

      I forget where I read this but when I read it I thought yes!

      “Don’t blame me for having DID. Blame me for the choices I make. I’m the one who has to live with DID, I don’t have a choice…but you can walk away…”

      And I’d rather that people just walk away…because I can understand that.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Well–yeah…mostly because it made no sense to me..but there is a lot that doesn’t make sense to me. I’m loathe to give this exchange a “Label”…I think that there are times when the best thing someone can do is go silent…it’s how I’ve learned to preserve my friendships-I’m keenly aware of the difficulties that attend being friends with me…It may well have been a draining exchange for both of us…I’m really not easy to have as a friend…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you…I really hate the fact that this happened. I felt I had to post this to protect myself. Someone has already said that reading it made them feel “dizzy.” I don’t know if that’s because I became somewhat disorganized when I read the email, but that’s how the interaction made me feel.

      The thing is that I can see how I might have done things a little differently…but as you know, I do tell people what they’re getting into when they become friends with me. I do not deny that I get paranoid..and suspicious; especially when it comes to the members of Second Life…And it’s not like I don’t let people know what’s going on with me. My therapy is intense and draining. I don’t want to sound like a victim in this because I’m not…I’m just confused.

      And I still don’t know if that confusion has anything at all to do with this person.

      But I do know that I felt the need to protect myself…and I’ve learned to trust that instinct.


  2. I got a bit dizzy reading that, but my overall impression was that you were being quite careful. I am sorry you are experiencing such a complication, I hope it stays resolved!

    Liked by 1 person

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