When a Reader Hates (Or, What to Do When a Reader Sends Hate Messages)

3 min read

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Dealing with hate messages
If you have any amount of presence online, you better be prepared for random weirdos attacking you seemingly for no reason other than to be shitty to you.

I used to think that you needed to be a millionaire to be a victim of hate emails (which I’m not; a millionaire, that is). Turns out, I grossly underestimated some people’s need to take out their frustrations on other people.

For example, just the other day a woman emailed me with some very colorful words such as “liar,” “unethical,” etc.

So, what happened?

“How Dare I Review a Tool That I Personally Do Not Use?”

Last year, in January 2022, before ChatGPT was a thing, I reviewed an AI writing tool called Writesonic. AI writing was still a rather novel concept at that time, and needless to say, I was tickled by the idea of coming up with entire articles on a topic in just seconds. So, when Writesonic was more than happy to pay me to write a review on my website, I jumped at the idea.

But, I’m not just a content creator. I’m a writer! And that piece of my identity is why I write my own words.

So, recently, when I wrote that I don’t use AI to write my blog posts, a certain reader lost her shit and felt compelled to email me.

How dare I review an AI tool and then claim I do not use AI to write my blog posts? This can only mean two things. My business is unethical and I’m a liar.


A classic case of gaslighting

She gaslit me so hard that for a couple of minutes there I had to wonder, wait, am I a liar and is my business really unethical? Because I would review an AI writing tool and yet not use it to write my own blog posts???

But of course, that is not the case.

I mean, I hate eating Jackfruits. I find their smell, texture, and taste simply disgusting. But I also recognize that these fruits are full of nutrition and some people actually love this weird fruit.

So, Jackfruits are nutritious.

And also, I do not eat Jackfruits.

Both statements are true.

But saying both are true doesn’t make me a liar, does it?

And if I decided to make six figures selling Jackfruits, that wouldn’t make my business unethical, would it?

Whew… Glad I sorted that one out.

Some people can’t stand it when you’re happy/successful

I grew up with and around narcissists — people who gaslight you and feel the need to put you down whenever you think you’re finally doing better.

I thought leaving home and getting away from these people would be enough but obviously that’s not the case. Even now, as a blogger, I come across these people all the time.

Not in person maybe, but they manage to find me anyway. My email address is publicly accessible, so of course, who’s to stop them from sending me a hate email full of colorful words? Not as if I can do anything about it.

But I also happen to carry a lot of trauma from my childhood from these gaslighting narcissists. So, even though I know I should just delete these emails and promptly forget about them, I get upset instead, and depending on the severity of such emails, I may even spiral into full-blown anxiety and depression.

Is it jealousy that compels them to type up such hateful words? Is it persistent ignorance? Or something else entirely? Or do they too, like me, struggle with a myriad of mental health issues, which, instead of making them kinder, make them cruel instead?

What to do when you become the victim

There’s always a human being on the other end. Remembering that helps me forgive and forget… after a while 🙂

I don’t usually have a whole lot of compassion for unapologetic abusers, but these abusers are people too. Not that it exempts them from their bad behavior. But still, humanizing them helps me move on from my own issues a little faster. Usually.

In any case, I write this as a reminder:

Readers, do not send hate messages to people you follow. Internet hate has never accomplished anything. Your hate isn’t activism. Do not confuse the two.

Bloggers, learn to take criticism but also understand when someone is abusing you. Constructive criticism is one thing, and abuse is a whole other thing. If you feel like you’ve been abused, gaslit, or some such nonsense, know that the problem lies with them, and not with you. Do not even interact with them. Ignorance is best because these types of abusers tend to be narcissists and narcissists thrive on attention. Do not give them the attention they desire.

And of course, if hate emails turn into threats, seek legal counsel pronto.

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