Wow. The things you find out about people on Facebook

I’ll disguise any potentially identifying details for reasons that will soon be obvious.

I was lurking just now on the rabbit hole that is Facebook, and saw the profile and feed of a women I went to HS with who was, to put it mildly, a stuck-up bitch to almost everybody.

She had set up a birthday fundraiser to a local domestic violence agency, because she was a survivor of it. Okay, I assumed it was an ex, but it wasn’t; it was her father. She said he was an alcoholic and drug addict who abused the family at every opportunity, and didn’t hide the fact that he enjoyed it. He also had a girlfriend who lived in the basement for several years, and everyone was under threats of death if they told anyone (which makes me think this woman was actually a hostage). His addiction killed him at a fairly early age, and her mother only had freedom for a matter of DAYS before she had a massive stroke that left her permanently disabled. It didn’t take much reading between the lines in her essay to figure out that he almost certainly molested her, and possibly her brother as well.




I would have had absolutely no idea that anything like this had happened to her. She was an honor student and musical prodigy who teaches at our high school, after working in several other cities over the years.

Yeah, I have issues with my parents too, but nothing like that ever happened to me.

Yeah, that’s probably an ‘outlier’

ZOMG, I would certainly hope so.

In the alternative she’s a real con artist who understands that a really glurgy sob story generates a much larger gofundme response. If this goes viral she’ll be overjoyed.

Remember that facebook is mostly performance art for ordinary schlubs. Whatever it is, reality it ain’t.

This is putting too much frosting on an otherwise good cake.

Damn, maybe I “really should Go Get On The Facebook”, as my mom says. The drama on her side of the family might be amusing…

This is the biggest thing wrong with modern life. You just can’t tell, no matter how smart you are, what is or is not true anymore with cases like this. Look at the trump covid saga. Does he have it or is it a stunt? No way to be sure.


Alongside outright lies, Delusions of Adequacy abound on MyFace. With a great many obvious exceptions, it’s little more than neverending solicitations for congratulations, compliments, and approval for unremarkable achievements.
“Here’s a hamburger I ate yesterday! Tell me how good it looks!”
Or the ubiquitous
“Here’s a selfie I just took!” (preferred responses include “Stunning!” and “So cute!”)

I don’t find these stories far-fetched. Bad things happen to children all the time. That your acquaintance would feel particularly moved to speak out about this cause based on personal experience doesn’t seem farfetched, either. Yes, people perform trauma just like they perform anything else on social media, but that doesn’t mean the narrative is false. She could be deeply traumatized and seeking validation by oversharing.

I got the impression that she could not talk about her childhood until her parents were both gone, and that the story is true. Why would anyone make up something like that, anyway?

In any case, her life could have turned out VERY different, that’s for sure.

This story reminds me of something I’ve been trying to keep reminding myself, which is: you never know what sort of things the person next to you is going through. Whether it’s your boss, your sister, the clerk at the convenience store, the guy in the pick-up with truck-nuts hanging off the back … we all have our demons.

Being chased by truck nuts all day sounds pretty traumatic; no wonder teh guy’s a wreck.

Seriously though, your point is well taken. When your own life is going well it’s easy to assume everyone else’s is too. Only when life craps in your punchbowl do you start to notice how many other people share that problem and countless others unseen and perhaps unremarked.

I don’t think most people make up abuse stories. I think other people feel uncomfortable acknowledging such stories, in the same way that some people feel uncomfortable acknowledging death.

I wish I understood what makes some people transcend their traumatic backgrounds and other people spiral into self - destruction. I’ve often wondered how I got away with having a stable and loving relationship for 18 years and have mostly had drama - free friendships when my mother has destroyed almost every single one of her relationships.

I think social support has a lot to do with it. In my own life, I had a loving aunt and grandmother in my corner. I had school administrators who went to bat for me. I had other ways of being modeled to me.

Maybe your friend had some social supports in place - or found them quickly after escaping her childhood home.

Why not? People lie all the time, about anything and everything. I’ve know people that, if they told me what time it was, I’d confirm it before I’d believe it,

I have thought about revealing the story of my life here, for no gain other than getting it out of my head, and getting feedback from some posters here who I view as well-balanced and fair, because when your life is horribly abnormal, it’s often difficult to recognize normality. What seemed like a Wonder Years type of home - and neighborhood - were actually dark and frightening.

I am 60 years old, and I did need to wait for both of my parents to be dead before I “went public” with the worst of it, mostly because I hoped right up to the end that my father and I would be able to have a positive relationship, and he never would have accepted that his father had done the things that he had done. I needed to wait for some former childhood neighbors to be dead because I don’t need them coming after me citing libel, because if it was true then “Why did she wait so long?”

I waited so long to say this much because when I was 11 years old I told my mom what was happening to me at my (paternal) grandparents farm she responded with “IF that’s true, then you need to take it up with your grandmother.” Yeah, 11-year-old girls don’t make that kind of thing up.

I will probably never open up and let those secrets out, in large part because I do not want to have the veracity of my life story questioned. Life certainly can be horrific, and sometimes the horror goes on and on. I do what I can to be happy, and to enjoy my children, grandchildren, but I do not believe that I will ever truly escape the shade of my childhood.

Children who are raised in “families” like that are far more likely to end up homeless, runaways, drug addicts, prostitutes, etc. than in a respectable career like she’s had, that’s for sure. Her musical talent probably gave her an “out” from the nightmare that was her home life, and the life-or-death struggle to hide it from outsiders.

Many years ago, I found out from an outside source that a man at a church I attended when I was a teenager molested pretty much all of his younger female relatives, and while he never did anything to me, nor would I have believed it had I heard the story at the time, it totally explained a lot of things about his children. Among other things, all of them (including their son, who denied being abused by him or knowing about it) made really disastrous decisions when it came to picking spouses.

Sometimes it can be healing to tell your story, and other times it can be beating a dead horse into the ground. When I first started dealing with my trauma I would tell anyone who would listen because I was desperate for validation I could not give to myself. Early in my history on this board I did make a detailed personal post about my childhood (in the Pit, to show you how clueless I was) and I was accused of lying about it. I could not stand the skepticism because it so closely mirrored that of my family. I was in my early 20s and just beginning to sort through everything.

Compare to now (I’m 37), I’ve had a lot of EMDR therapy and time to process and I don’t give AF who believes me or not. I know what I went through and can validate my own story. By the same token, I don’t feel as compelled to revisit it in painstaking detail as I once did. It was a long time ago.

I really wish that kind of peace for you.

What I really want to say to this, I can’t say outside The Pit.

So instead, I’ll point out that this is a Facebook birthday fundraiser to raise money for a local domestic violence agency, and not a GoFundMe. Seriously. Improve your reading skills.

Well, hold the phone. There is a lot of diversity among abuse survivors when it comes to life outcomes. It’s something of a stereotype that we all end up on skid row. There are probably plenty of “normal” people you know who have been through similar things, but you don’t know because they don’t talk about it.

Very true, and there are plenty of “normal” people who went through terrible things as an adult, whether they had experienced profound trauma or not, before they got their lives together.