Donnaleigh's Lessons



12 Tips for Creating Boundaries with Internet Meanies

Posted by Donnaleigh on February 2, 2013 at 2:20 PM

“Evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of any relationship

is your responsibility.

You do not have to passively accept what is brought to you.

You can choose.”

― Deborah Day

Shnit Happens

When you are online, sooner or later it happens. You come across an Internet Meanie. Or two. Or three. Facebook and online forums are the playgrounds of the world, and while they can be great fun, they also can be energy-sucking, depleting, and even at times frightening when we suddenly witness an online attack.


Luckily, most internet forums like Facebook have a wonderful feature that “real” life lacks: a *DELETE*  button, or block & ignore features. These work great. Let's talk about this feature and its impact on our personal world experience and how we define ourselves by our boundaries.

12 Tips for Dealing With Internet Meanies

1) Don't take it personally.

Recognize that these people were like this a long time before they met you online, and they'll be like this a long time after they are done with you. A quick look back through their blogs and social network posts will typically show what their personality is like. Scan back on past postings and often you will find a string of rants, complaints, soap box run-ons, and righteous statements. Understand that this behavior typically has little to do with the people they are talking about and a lot to do with the person writing the rants. Choose not to take those things personally. Like who you are, recognize your personal ethics. Mold your own behavior in a way that makes you feel you are doing the right thing. If anyone interprets it differently, that’s okay. Their life is not about you. 


“Don't Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.”  ~Don Miguel Ruiz


2) Keep your world clean.

What some people refer to as “politics” is usually nothing more than bad human behavior and our response to it. If you personally like to keep your world cheerful and bright, when you see negative energy pointed at you or directed at another person, you do have the right to keep your world clean. Malicious behavior = an earned *DELETE.*  Just clean the proverbial house and move on. If someone pooped on your living room floor, would you let it sit there? And sit there still longer? Point taken? It's your right to be able to clean your carpet.


“Boundaries aren't all bad. That's why there are walls around mental institutions.”  ~ Peggy Noonan


3) Recognize your priorities and where you place your energy. 

I’ll share mine. For me, my family is my priority. The internet is not my priority. I have fun on the internet, I learn on the internet, I even would say it's a blast to be on the internet....I love to pop in and out of it during the day. But if the internet were to be down for a week or a lifetime, I may be mildly inconvenienced, but not panicked. If anything happened to my family, however, we are talking a different story. So...all in perspective, if you have a similar priority structure, recognize that the Meanies have no real impact on your personal life or what you hold in true value.  I had a situation this week where we had a big health scare with one of my parents and I was at the hospital for some time with my dad and then tending to my mother who needs full-time care. When the internet doo-doo happens, which of the two do you think is where I find my focus is important? Piles of emails fell back, things online went unanswered, and I took care of family and myself. I had little time for myself. If someone is offended I didn't answer their cranky email, guess what? I have no time for it or another adult yelling at me. Time to clean the poo off the rug, so to speak. Recognize your priorities and what you choose to worry about.

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”  - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


 5) Ignore The Rants.

If the Meanie assumes people are doing multiple things behind the scenes and they rant about it, fine. They will use their imagination in whatever ways they typically do. Remember, it usually has little to do with who they are ranting about, and a lot to do with how they manage their own thoughts and imagination (and yes, worry does = imagination).


"Most of our assumptions have outlived their uselessness."  -Marshall McLuhan


6) Experience Ageless Wisdom, Timeless Comfort.

I will admit it. I am a woman of "a certain age."  In my early 40's I took what I call "a comfort pledge." I chose to no longer wear uncomfortable clothes or cramped shoes to satisfy what society expects. I wear what makes me feel comfortable while still fitting the appropriate dress codes of where I work and go. I choose this attitude in my life as well: my house is comfortable, and the people with whom I surround myself....are comfortable. Create comfort in your space.

If someone feels uncomfortable to me, they’re going into the proverbial Goodwill bin with my pointy stilettos. I just don't need that energy, and someone else can have it if they wish. Hey, if the shoe fits...let them enjoy it. At this point in my life, I realize how much of what I think is controlled by what I allow to surround me.

“If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were?”  -Jodi Picoult, Nineteen Minutes


7) They are not your responsibility.

There is no need to feel a great loss when the decision comes to delete someone.  You are not eliminating a life, just eliminating their presence from yours. They can (and will) continue to do whatever behavior they wish to do online without you. And nothing you will do will change who they are. They are who they are, with or without you or me, and adults don’t need babysitting. They can do their shtick without as large an audience. They will find new acquaintances and hey, maybe they'll be a good match and enjoy each other. Mazel tov.  The more power to them. That’s what we’re looking for online, right? Good energy matches. Their happiness is not contingent on your presence.

Choose not to let other people's psychological messes become your responsibility -- it's not your job. Stand by your friends, but when you come across fakes or cons or internet acquaintances who have issues or are just plain mean, you can let them go elsewhere and “do their thang." They don’t need you to continue. Any negative energy subsequently directed your way can be donated to the proverbial Goodwill bag and not reside your own personal closet. Choose to keep your environment healthy and positive. If you fear deleting someone will irk them, please see Tip #8.


 “It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”  ~ Bruce Lee


8 ) Eliminate Guilt Over Your Boundaries.

It is not natural to have thousands of  "friends." Know that there are online people we accept as "friends" who are not our "friends" and who do not have our best interest at heart. When we are exposed to an unnatural number of people, we will meet a huge cross-section of people, some of them who WILL be emotionally unhealthy. Personal boundaries are the most loving form of self-respect. Feeling guilty over creating a boundary? It's OKAY to honor yourself in the same way you would protect another person. We're so used to helping and protecting others that sometimes we forget to help ourselves. 

How many times have you been afraid to delete someone because you thought it might offend them? Do you feel guilty eliminating them, even when they cross certain boundaries? We've all been there. How far you let someone push before you decide to let go indicates what kind of personal boundaries you set for yourself. Respect your personal boundaries. Give it a good think before deleting if it's someone you think may be having an off day, but if there is a malicious pattern... *Delete.*  If deleting them ticks them off, send them a silent  blessing and silently wish them a nice day. You need not apologize for expecting kind behavior or respect. You needn't feel guilty for their behavior: that is THEIR self-work. Remember, their behavior is less about you and more about them. Each of us can only change ourselves -- not others -- and self-work is a serious challenge for each one of us.

 "The worst guilt is to accept an unearned guilt."    ~Ayn Rand


9) Avoid Rubber-Necking Syndrome: Check In With Your Energy Responses.

If you’re avoiding deleting someone because you feel you neeeeeed to see what they’re doing, beware of “train wreck” mentality:  when you can’t look but you can’t look away. Note how this impacts your personal energy and how you feel after you read the altercations. Does it make you feel good, or does it make you feel tight, constricted, and darker? Consider how long you carry this energy with you and how it impacts you.  If it bothers you, ask yourself why you feel compelled to watch when something hurts you after you witness patterns. There may be something you need to work though in learning about yourself.


"Respect for self is the beginning of cultivating virtue in men and women."  - Gordon B Hinckley


10) Keep Your Goodwill Donations To Yourself.

There is no need to announce or share when you delete someone. If you have a close friend and you feel it helps to talk, do talk to them about it privately. But there is no reason to pass on the negative energy on your public page that this person initiated in you. You needn’t tell the person you deleted them, and you needn’t tell the world, either. Bless them, create the boundary, take a deep breath and begin to accept a better, lighter, brighter environment for yourself.

"Never explain -- your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway."

 Elbert Hubbard


11) Support their targets.

This tip is not so much for the attacked but for those witnessing one. If you see aggression aimed at someone, do send the recipient of that energy a private message of support. When someone’s energy is brought down by an attack, help them retrieve themselves and offer a friendly hand, even if it’s just one sentence to offer a gentle hug or smile. There may come a day when you need friendly support if something unexpected happens to you.

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”

― John Holmes


12) Defining Your Boundaries: Take a Personal Inventory on What you Accept


How far will you let someone go before you delete or create a boundary? Do you wait for them to do something personally to you, or do you watch how they treat people in general and make a decision? All of this defines what you consider important and value in the use of your time and energy. Make a list if it helps you to see it tangibly in writing.


 Want to learn more about yourself?


Today, draw a tarot or oracle card and ask yourself:

"What am I learning on the internet about personal boundaries?"


I will share with you what card I randomly pulled. I decided to use a deck I've not used in a long time. I pulled out a purple pouch from my tarot shelf, not remembering what deck was inside. It was the Motherpeace Tarot. I reached into the bag toward the middle of the deck and randomly pulled out a card. The card I received gave me a good chuckle:

Hey! This 4 of Discs looks like she is locking a door or creating a boundary!

I looked into the Little White Book that came with the deck and it said:

"Gaining control of your doorway -- who comes in and who stays out."

Well isn't that a fine how-do-you-do!

Want to learn more? Draw another card....

Here's wishing you a lifetime of healthy and positive boundaries.

The life you have left is a gift.

Cherish it. Enjoy it now, to the fullest.

Do what matters, now.” 

 -Leo Babauta




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Categories: Life Experiences as Seen through Tarot