Dear Afraid of Ridicule,
First of all, thank you for reaching out to us for advice. I too have seen those pages, and have written about them before in my very first advice column on this page. I agree with you that there are many places on the internet that are not support pages and are not healthy places to seek advice. No one will ever be able to make me understand why in the world anyone thinks that ridiculing another human being is entertaining. I don’t think that those pages are anything more than an excuse for people who have their own insecurities to feel better about themselves. I believe the people who run them and engage in them to be bullies. Plain and simple.
However… those internet pages are not going anywhere. Though we have made great strides in battling the stereotypes that some people like to put on the military spouse community… some of them will never go away completely. There will still be people who just can’t seem to grasp that no group of people are ALL a certain way. They will never get past that bully mentality. Nothing we do or say will change their minds.
But we can change how WE choose to react to what they do. The reality is, there are a ton of places for military spouses to get real support. There are many, many spouses who want to be-friend other spouses in a genuine manner. Here at Military Spouse we know that you CAN find a great support system… because we see spouses who are helpful, kind, supportive and amazing every single day.
I am so very sorry that you have had those experiences. But you are giving them way too much control over your life. Sure, it is hard to take ridicule from another person. But please remember that the negative things someone may spout off about another person (you), especially someone they do not even know, says nothing about you…it speaks VOLUMES about the other person.
Who cares if someone thinks it is dumb for YOU to ask a question about trash pick-up? If they make a nasty comment it really just makes THEM look hateful. It really doesn’t matter if someone lumps YOU into a military spouse stereotype simply because you are a military spouse. That way of thinking just makes THEM look small-minded. And if someone makes a rude comment about a support sticker on YOUR car, why let it bother you? It is just making THEM look like a mean-spirited bully with too much time on their hands.
But all of that is easier said than done. First things, first…you must get a handle on the anxiety you are experiencing. There is no reason for you to suffer through that when there are resources available to help you. It is worth bringing to the attention of your doctor as soon as you are able. If you are not comfortable going that route, you can go to www.militaryonesource.com and contact them about finding a counselor in your area to talk to. Calling them is 100% confidential. You can also call your Tricare region directly and ask for a mental health referral. You do not have to go through your doctor to get this approved.
You can turn this around, and you deserve to live your life without being over ridden with anxiety and worry about what someone else might think. Get some help with the anxiety, keep looking until you find spouses who ARE supportive, and stop allowing internet bullies to have any control over your life.
I am wishing you all of the best of luck! And as always, we invite you to be an active part of our Facebook community, join us on Twitter, Pinterest, and browse all of our online resources here at militaryspouse.com for resources, information and support written for, by and about the military spouse!
If you run a military spouse support site that does not allow internet bullying and pride yourself on being an example of the diverse, compassionate and amazing military spouse community we know and love… please leave a link to your page or website here in the comment section.