Shiny, Happy People Holding Hands

Okay, I have something to say. I am on social media. A lot. I use it for research for the book I am working on. I also use it as networking for non-profits that I serve through. It’s a lifestyle for me at this point. I love connecting with folks who have like minds and interests but I also love bantering with folks who have completely different ideals. I feel like I learn more from them. Maybe I teach them a little, too.

Often I see beautifully filtered pictures of two people smiling happily together. Maybe it’s a married couple, maybe they are just dating. Doesn’t matter. They are together. They are in love and are on fire for each other like never before. Oh, except last week, right after one of them caught the other cheating and put their clothes up for sale on Facebook Marketplace. Three weeks before that, one of them posted screenshots of texts they got from “the other woman” with the hashtag #youcanhavehimbitch and #imsingleandready.

If you are on social media very much at all, you have seen this type of thing go down. It happens. We all know that most the time these people are just mad at each other and blowing off steam. They aren’t about to get divorced or break up. You will see them holding hands at their kid’s football game in 8 days, smiling lovingly at one another with a hashtag that reads #stillinlove and #familyfirst.

Look, I am not hating on these people. They are real. They are gutsy. They are pissed. I get it. I am not going to sit here and say it has never crossed my mind to out someone on Facebook when they have pissed me off. It’s a passive aggressive form of humiliation. It’s normally carried out when the person who is posting feels like they have no control over the situation so they want to do what will hurt the most. It’s a cowardly form of confrontation. It’s a cheap shot.

But if you don’t already have enough reason to publicly humiliate your loved one, you have those types of haters who don’t help the situation.  The ones who can’t stand to see someone happy. The one who “got off” on the fact that you and your husband/wife/babymama/daughter/mother were bickering because, let’s face it, misery loves company. Oh, you are happy now? Yeah, that’s fake. Can’t have that.

Yep. Those folks. They are the ones talking about how people never post the real stuff. FAKEbook, I think it is called? FAKEbook is when you only post the positive stuff about your life and family and skip all the ugliness. Know what? YOU SHOULD.

Publicly humiliating your family members by passive aggressive posting does not a strong family foundation make. Have you ever thought about how your kids might feel when they see this, “Well, he did it again with some nasty ho, #singleforgoodthistime“? That’s pretty rough stuff for kids to handle anyway. Top it off with the fact that now all 589 of your friends and 78 of theirs know that their dad cheated with a “nasty ho” and that’s a kind of shit-covered cross to bear. The fears this can set in motion are fears kids shouldn’t have.

No one needs to know that your mother-in-law borrowed money from you last week and hasn’t paid you back even though she is now on a cruise. Deal with her directly. Humiliating her on Facebook is not only undignified and childish but it can put strain on your relationship with your spouse. Besides, would you want all of your indiscretions put on blast? Think about it.

I know, drama is fun. It’s entertaining, as long as it’s someone else’s. I will be the first to admit I am nosy and like to see crazy stuff on Facebook go down at times. But at the heart of it, it makes me sad. Sad for kids who see their parents exploit each other’s mistakes, most of all.

If you want to post funny or not-so-funny stories about your own failures, by all means! Little jabs to your significant other about leaving her socks in the floor might be ok if they aren’t really embarrassed by it. You normally know what will make them feel like crap, so don’t post it. Reserve the really dirty stuff for embarrassing your damn self.  I will happily tell you I was walking through the yard yesterday to make sure the gate was closed and I slid in a big pile of dog crap. I was barefoot. That’s real. But I don’t need to post for the world if one of my kids screw up big time at school. I promise you, they feel bad enough without worrying that kids in school, their parents, grandparents and mail carrier got the 4-1-1 on their slip up. I also greatly appreciate that my wife doesn’t post every time I snap at her when I am in the throes of PMS. Lord know she doesn’t have the time for all those posts, anyway. Families need to be able to trust each other with their ugliness.

We always hurt the people we love the most. It’s inevitable that some of your greatest pain is going to come from one of your closest friends or family members. That is just how life rolls through. But we don’t have to sell them out. When I see nothing but happy family posts I don’t see perfect-looking families who are frontin’. I see families who are gracefully protecting each other. I see people who know that they make mistakes and move on, but their secrets are safe with each other. Of course, you may speak to trusted friends and family members about your familial woes. That can be healthy as long as they are objective parties. You don’t need acquaintances and strangers weighing in on your dirt because they will still be weighing in long after you clean it up.

To have a strong and healthy family, we have to be able to make mistakes and be forgiven. Our slates have to be wiped clean. That’s just how it works. This is so hard to do sometimes. It’s definitely a purposeful act of discipline to “forgive and forget.” Carrying around the poison of hurt and anger gets really heavy. We are human and we have to have someone there that will unpack our suitcase of ugly and put it away. It’s much harder for people to pick up and move forward when 589 people (and whoever they told) know your weakest moments; not to mention the reason they know is that the one that is supposed to love and protect you is the one who exposed you.

So post those get-back-together pics (without the break-up mess.) Post that picture of you and your sweet son hugging after he got out of jail for the 3rd time (rather than posting his mugshot and charge list.) Post that picture of you and your best friend having a blast at karaoke even though you hated her last week because she left you out. That’s love. That is protection. That is family; and there is nothing fake about that.

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