Blocking the Truth

I was blocked by somebody on Facebook this week.

Mind you, that’s different from simply being unfollowed or unfriended.  By blocking someone, you prevent them from seeing ANYTHING related to you, even things you’ve written on public pages. A blocked person can no longer search for your profile or contact you via private message.

You’re dead to them.

In truth, “blocking” is a great tool if you run into a child predator or potential ax-murderer.

But what other reason could a person possibly have for so dramatically cutting me off?

The irony this time was that my last conversation with Blocky McBlockerson* had to do with censorship.

(*name has been changed to protect the cowardly)

6-25-16 Private Message with Sarah (Edited 1)


Me: I’m baffled by anyone who thinks discussing things is a “distraction.”  If…your philosophy about sexuality is wrong, then deleting comments keeps others from seeing the truth..

Blocky:  Go ahead and discuss it on your page.  I don’t enjoy debate. It takes too much energy.

Me: Someone who knows what they believe doesn’t shy away from explaining themselves.   In my opinion, the least loving thing you can do for a person is withhold the truth when they’re honestly seeking.  A philosophy that doesn’t pass the test of BOTH the heart and the mind isn’t worth having.


At this point, Blocky decided to try a different approach. She never explained why she liked the ridiculous meme she had shared (and why I was wrong to suggest that adulterers and pedophiles could use the same meme.)

Instead, she opted for self-pity.


6-25-16 Private Message with Sarah (Edited 2)


Blocky: I guess I just don’t measure up. Fortunately, my faith allows for people to be whoever they may be and still be of use.  Maybe in a few years, after a few life experiences, you’ll be less rigid in your judgment… If you were my kid and you wanted to talk about what Mom has learned or believes, I’d be happy to talk.  That’s not what this is, and I’m not interested…

Me: I’m not your kid. But I am your sister, am I not? It’s true, you may just choose not to discuss certain things on Facebook. You may have people in “real life” who are allowed to question the areas of your faith that don’t make logical sense. But—again—people who have answers for my questions usually offer them.

That’s when she got really upset!  And that’s okay.  I don’t necessarily believe that being upset with each other is a bad thing. In fact, you can’t have relationships without being upset sometimes…

Blocky: In my experience, people who ask like you do NOT have questions, they have answers. So…your like-minded inner circle, would be the places that your questions/conclusions should be shared. They are only agitation in my little corner. So cut it out… An honest, face-to-face, heartfelt exchange is fuel for my soul. But confrontational, argumentative debate is an energy suck that I can’t afford…and with that, this and any future conversation (in this forum) is over. My boundary has been reached.

But that last bit is the problem for me.

Saying, “That’s it. I won’t talk with you” and offering no explanation for why strikes me as downright contradictory.

So I told her so.

Me: If we were sitting face-to-face, having a heartfelt exchange, I would confess that I don’t know how to move forward. I’m completely stumped about how to have a relationship with a person like you, without being both rejected AND accused of only associating with people who agree with me.

I already said it’s possible that Facebook just isn’t your preferred place for theological discussion. That’s fine. But it’s the only place I have to hear other views…

How do I break free from my “like-minded circle,” when I’m unceremoniously barred from circles like yours? Regularly?

It’s frustrating to meet person after person who has a problem with the WAY I talk….and never wants to address the crux of my points.  You say you’re dropping out of this conversation, but I hope you’ll reconsider. I hope you’re not putting up a boundary between yourself and a God-indwelt member of your spiritual family every time relating with one becomes a challenge…


And that’s when she decided she needed to make sure we never talked again.

During a conversation about the importance of hearing other perspectives, she essentially stuck her fingers in her ears and yelled “lalalala!”

It’s astounding.

But I’m afraid that blocking ourselves from confrontation is becoming a Standard Operation for Christians.

It seems that “tolerant” Christians are happy to have coffee with gay people or support the unwed mother… They’re happy to get messy being the hands of Jesus to the tax-collectors. But, when it comes to loving other Christians, they need BOUNDARIES.

(Love sinners–unless they’re arrogant, I guess?)

At least two church leaders recently unfriended a relative of mine, over disagreements about racism.  And the former “Youth Director” of my childhood church dropped into a pretty mild discussion on my page about marriage, before burning our bridge.


Meanwhile, I’ve been bantering with Atheists on my dad’s blog for weeks–and they just keep coming back for more. 

They’re mean and frustrated and they keep threatening to leave me wallowing in my ignorance…

…but they can’t help returning.  They come back over and over, like moths to flame.

I remarked to my dad, “It’s like the Gospel is a bug zapper.”   The lost souls are relentlessly drawn to the light, even though it shocks their flesh.

It hurts.

But they’re compelled…as if they sense on a subconscious level that truth is waiting.


What’s happening here, Christians?

Is there more hope for the rebellious pagan than for the half-hearted members of our own churches?

Have we grown so attached to our religion that we must block anything that threatens it?

If we’re so sure we’ve found the truth, then why do we need to protect it like a glass sculpture?

Iron will not sharpen iron if we keep burying our swords. Over and over, I see Christians making “tolerance” and “diversity” into gods–then cutting off the brothers and sisters who try to warn them.

 That’s not tolerance OR diversity, brothers and sisters. And I believe I’m well within my right to point that out.

Are we family, or not?

Are we interested in the truth, or not?

And what does it say about the things we believe, if we come undone when an arrogant, pestering little sister holds our feet to the fire?

6-26-16 Private Message with Sarah (Edited 3)6-26-16 Private Message with Sarah (4).PNG

44 thoughts on “Blocking the Truth

  1. tildeb

    Blocking, banning, censoring, moderating, editing… the list goes on. And it’s not just in church circles but ubiquitous and a growing problem I’ve been yelling about for quite some time now throughout the ‘tolerant’ Left… including us non believing ‘moths’. I’ve argued long and passionately that the free expression of ideas is a fundamental necessity to seek out what is true, that we harm ourselves from gaining insight when we block access to those with whom we disagree.

    I don’t know about you but I can’t remember ever learning anything from someone who parrots me; I learn most from those who challenge me and my opinions, to use the ideas of others to help me see something from a different perspective or knowledge base (which doesn’t mean I have to agree, but it does afford me the opportunity to move outside of my own perspective and see issues and ideas from different angles). And that’s a valuable process and not an event. It’s my experience that the gift of insight often comes from the least likely source, the least likable source, the most disagreeable source, the source that sometimes annoys me deeply. And it is a gift that can only be given if one is paying attention. To block or censor (the online equivalent of today’s ‘dis-invite’ stupidity) is to cut one’s self off from these sources and tacitly endorse only echo chambers.

    As I’ve said many times now, the most effective and polite form of ending an online conversation or argument is to stop commenting, to leave the offending comment dangling, to not respond. That’s fine. This practice allows the comment to either die a natural death or be addressed by others if they so choose. If one encounters a comment that is really bothersome, my advice is to simply leave it alone and, as an administrator with rights to many different sites from stables of writers, this has always been my position and one I have to argue about all the time. Disagreement is GOOD. That’s how we flesh out differences while, at the same time, articulating our own thinking and opening it up for scrutiny. I have changed my opinions many times from this process and prefer to hold ones better informed than the previous ones. And I have others to thank for that improvement. But I would have to have a pretty sizable ego to think my improvement is complete!

    Someday, and perhaps in a completely unrelated topic or thread, that banned or censored commentator may indeed make a significant contribution… if not to one’s own understanding then quite possibly to some people in the readership. I don’t think the administrator has the right to use some personal sense of being offended to decide for the entire readership what they can and cannot read. And if we’re not writing and commenting for the readership, then what are we doing writing stuff online?

    We are foolish to ban or censor or even moderate a person for this bit here because we will never know what we’ve lost over there… unless our site is dedicated to a particular theme and the roolz clearly indicate that only related commentary will be accepted. And that temptation to control others is at its heart a deeply fascist urge we must always battle. The alternative is to capitulate our best interests to our sly and seductive urge to be own little self-aggrandizing tyrant.


    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      First-time commenters always go straight to moderation, because I was attracting some robots. But once you’re approved the first time, you’re always approved.

      Thanks for the thoughts, Tildeb! 🙂


  2. Sarah

    I wonder if through this person setting a boundary about your self-admitted (if I understood you correctly) arrogance, condescension, etc. God is trying to show you something. I wonder if it’s just not the thing you want to see (I think it’s hard for anyone to be shown our weaknesses). Maybe the tone of how you’re interacting is creating barriers between you and others, and God is challenging you to question the barriers you create. It’s sort of a self-sabotaging logic going on: “Well, it’s not my fault I’m not able challenge myself by listening to the perspectives of others, because they don’t let me. Really it’s THEIR fault!” When really if you changed your tone, they would likely engage a lot more. Maybe God is challenging you to really listen more, and adjust what it means to “seek Truth” to involve more listening and less debating. Slowly I’m finding through a lot of trial and error that TRULY showing love through telling the truth involves a lot more love and a lot less self-righteousness (which can soooo easily feel like Truth). So I’m not saying you’d stop speaking up, but you’d spend a lot more time reflecting on how to do that. I agree dialogue is important, but you seem very quick to blame others for not “doing dialogue” the “right” (your) way. I find usually if I’m frustrated by an attempt to connect with others, at least some element of it means I need to sit with myself (ugh this can be so difficult and often takes me a long time to get to the heart of it) and I’m maybe not aware of it yet. It seems to me you could even see it as a gift that this person is pushing you away in this manner, because she’s taking the time to explain her reasons. Like I said, maybe this IS God working through others to teach you. Any community there are expectations of how we treat others. You seem to be saying here that she owes it to you, as a sister in Christ, to put up with your crap. Maybe you owe it to her to reflect on how you treat other people. She seems to be engaging with you about how you’re acting, and I think that’s as far as her responsibility goes.


    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      Thanks for reading, Sarah!
      There’s no doubt about what you say. God uses things like this for my good. Just as he used my postpartum anxiety. Just as he uses natural disasters and sicknesses and the deaths of martyrs and–literally–everything. I have conversations with God about my tone all the time. And, believe it or not, there are times I take it down a notch. 😉

      But, at some point, I’m not responsible for the filter on other people’s ears/minds. At some point, my brothers and sisters need to take responsibility for what they HEAR and not blame me for their interpretations or reactions.

      At some point we have to stop talking about etiquette and start talking about doctrine.

      I wouldn’t want to be the only one learning lessons here.


      1. Sarah

        True, about everyone learning lessons, but given your limited information/perspective on this other person (who it sounds like you don’t know personally that well), maybe setting that boundary with you means something significant in her life. If God is teaching you lessons that you may not see coming, may not particularly want to see, etc, then the same would apply to what interactions means in the context of another person’s life. This is a guess, but I have a feeling part of what is off-putting (for lack of a better word) to her is that you seem to assume that you know what another person needs to learn. (I realize I risk sounding very hypocritical here, as I struggle with that sometimes myself and I don’t know you so I’m not sure how this is coming across. Hopefully my tone is translating the right way over text.)

        I’m not sure what you mean by being responsible for the filter on the ears/minds of others. It sounds like this person WAS being her own filter by setting the boundary with you – she was being assertive from what I can tell.

        The role of the internet for social interaction is an interesting topic. I like your point that it allows us to communicate with people we wouldn’t otherwise, but there are so many downsides (the biggest in my opinion: lack of eye contact, voice intonation, and other body language that is so crucial for full human communication – see my note above about how I can come across as condescending without even having that tone in my mind… although admittedly sometimes I AM being condescending so that’s an area of growth for me). Of course I say this to you OVER THE INTERNET (clearly I agree with you that it can be a useful tool!) but I’ve learned (the hard way) to limit conversation about difficult topics, even with people I know very well in person (I can only think of one person I’m close to who is the exception). What’s tricky sometimes is knowing what is a “difficult topic” for someone. For example, I’m hoping this isn’t one for you, but I wouldn’t really have a way of knowing.


      2. mrsmcmommy Post author

        A couple of things.
        1.) Saying, “I realize I risk sounding hypocritical” does not absolve you from the hypocrisy. If it’s wrong for me to make judgements about someone I “don’t know very well,” then you have no business commenting here. It reminds me of another, earlier interaction I had with Blocky McBlockerson. She made the statement that everyone who wasn’t directly involved with the Target debate between transgenders and worried parents needed to mind their own business.

        I asked if that included her own posts, since she was neither a parent nor a transgender.

        But, as I told her then, and I’m telling you now: what happens in public is everybody’s business. So I don’t mind the social commentary. I only mind being told I have no place commenting on her social commentary.

        I’m happy to have you here, sharing your opinions. Just, please, leave off the hypocrisy that tries to reason why certain Christians may deserve to be cut off. I don’t plug my ears, and I expect the same favor.

        2.) As I’ve already explained, I can and do allow God to teach me things through interactions with his obstinate children. I’m open to the Spirit’s instruction, if He whispers that a certain situation calls for a change in tactics…a softer tone…a thousand parentheticals to explain (“I DO mean this and I DON’T mean that, and I hope you’re not mad!!!….”) I take that approach sometimes. And there have been times I apologized to both God and the person I offended, when I lashed out selfishly, rather than in the Spirit.

        But, again, conversations about tone and style never end. And, though it’s easy to blame the internet, it happens in person, too. A subjective critique of my “voice” (whether written or face-to-face) is a perfect way to change the subject. It’s the perfect distraction from the meat of an issue–and the perfect excuse for one person to write off the other.

        So, I’m not terribly impressed by the suggestion that perhaps it’s all really MY fault at the end of the day. It’s not my fault that some people are more concerned with the package than the contents. And–at the end of the day–the Truth is true, regardless of how the presentation makes the other person feel.

        So, bottom line: anyone who make statements on social media ought to be prepared to defend them in the same place. Otherwise, I’m going to call that person out for BOTH the hypocrisy and what appears to be dancing around the main issue. Even my atheist sparring-partner (above thread) has agreed that censorship serves no purpose except to justify bad ideas… like Jeff Brown’s…


      3. Sarah

        My point about hypocrisy, though, was ALL about tone. Because there’s a difference between being genuine and self-deprecating (what I was attempting by acknowledging my own areas of growth) and being condescending and arrogant (usually involves avoiding emotional vulnerability), while speaking the same truth or Truth. I’m not talking about etiquette, I’m talking about how to have a genuine interaction with another person that is constructive. Just as people use emotional defenses to distract, people also use intellectual defenses. What does it really mean to have a meaningful connection or interaction with another person? Part of it involves showing each other a certain level of care and concern. (I THINK that’s what Blocky Person was hinting at when she said you’re not her daughter. There’s a sense of genuine care there that was missing from the online exchange. I’m guessing though.)

        Of course you’re right that misunderstandings and/or conflict can happen in person, but I personally find they happen a lot less often and the nature of the conflict is different.

        It’s an interesting point about what happens in public being everyone’s business. I agree with you that if she wanted what she puts on the internet to be private, she should make it private. But I also think that someone can say “Okay, I’m done having this conversation with you.” It’s like any sort of consent – you can say “I’m not okay with this anymore” because you’re a human being with a right to self-determination. We can’t know another person’s emotional or spiritual state, and although I’m sure some people wall off in a self-defensive way, maybe in the long term they need to do that so they can slowly grow without essentially having a mental breakdown. And particularly if you are breaching certain social tenets of being genuine and caring that make the interaction hurtful or lopsidedly vulnerable.

        Practically speaking, and again I say this from personal experience and learning the hard way, I’ve found it’s a lot more constructive and effective to really build a relationship with someone in order to have difficult conversations. It’s the nature of neurobiology and tons of research related to attachment. There’s a saying in counseling that “slow is fast” because people are much more able to listen to a new or different perspective once they have a sense of trust with another person. This is extremely frustrating, especially for people who are more “left brained,” but I’ve found that I grow a lot by finding patience and empathy within myself to build the relationship first. Clearly you’re already really good at the intellectual, left brained side of things because you naturally gravitate towards it. It’s a strength you have. I’m in a similar boat, although I’ve been forced to work on the right brain element a lot in the last few years and it’s been really helpful to me (not pleasant most of the time, but definitely better off for it). You make the point that you’re just as interested in the growth of others as you are in your own growth (I believe you), and that means making a huge investment in others by building the relationship.

        Like I said, I know I’m risking sounding hypocritical because we have no relationship and maybe this is a difficult conversation for you (obviously I don’t know you well enough to figure that out and it would be risky to try to guess), but because you’re so straight forward I think it’s likely you will let me know when you decide “Okay I’m done with this conversation.” So to address the hypocrisy issue, do you think we can agree that you’d let me know if you started to feel the dialogue was less than genuine?


      4. mrsmcmommy Post author

        To answer your last question, yes. You can trust that I’ll always tell you what I’m thinking. 😉

        I don’t think you’re being “ungenuine.”

        But I do think you genuinely don’t understand how little I care about “genuine.” lol.

        Again, the truth is the truth, no matter the source. And we can be genuinely right or genuinely wrong…so genuine isn’t super helpful. I hold myself accountable for listening to a person’s opinions, even when their tone rubs me wrong…and that’s why I don’t let others quit over “tone,” either.

        I should clarify that I agree with Tildeb above: it’s totally fine to not respond to a comment (if you’re burnt out). But LET THE CONVERSATION BE SEEN by others. In an open forum, it allows third parties to pick up where you left off. OR, at the very least, other readers can judge the results. If my argument was a new perspective, then the reader will benefit. Or, if I really do seem pushy and antagonistic and all-knowing, then that will be obvious, too.

        I included the screen shots of the original conversation because I’m confident that I was not rude, and I’m happy to let others judge for themselves.

        Finally, you may consider your tactics to be “constructive.” But I think it depends on the job God has given you to do. If success means to avoid ticking people off and make them WANT to hear when they’re wrong, then yes, I need to change my strategy. 🙂 But I think it’s more complicated than choosing our moves based on how the other person might react.

        Sometimes the other person’s reaction is out of line.

        So, though I recognize I have certain responsibilities, is there ever a sense that the other person should “toughen up?” Though I need to be aware and adapt for right-brained people–is it ever their responsibility to adapt for me?

        That’s a dance I’ll probably be learning for the rest of my life.

        But–the fact remains–you can’t build a relationship, either quickly OR slowly, if you cut off that person’s voice at every turn.


      5. tildeb

        Sarah, you write, “But I also think that someone can say ‘Okay, I’m done having this conversation with you.’”

        So, what’s wrong with simply not responding? Doesn’t that say very clearly what you want the banning to mean?

        Banning on account of perceived tone is much more equivalent to saying ‘I’m at a loss how to respond maturely and reasonably with your opinion/argument/point/criticism so I’m going to claim you have a problem with your tone and so I’m now justified to bully you into silence.’ Such an act is also an admission of fear: a helplessness to do anything other than get rid of the ‘problem’. And I think the rudeness of that action is far, far greater an intentional insult, usually a churlish and childish act of vindictiveness than anything anyone can actually say, or even – heaven forbid – how it’s said.

        Now, here’s the point that I think apologists for banning fail to grasp: where is the condemnation for committing this rude, bullying, and intolerant act of banning?

        Well, in your case you seem determined to skip that bit and go straight to being a member of the Tone Police while claiming your advice is itself meant to be godly and loving. Sorry, Sarah; I don’t buy it for a second. I think what you’re re really trying to sell (and I’ve followed all your comments) is the kind of emotional manipulation so common in tribal thinking: reminding people it’s really more important to go along to get along than dare to stand up for the principle of a free exchange of ideas. You just wrap up this manipulation in piety but it’s still nothing more than appeasing and excusing the actions of the bully while blaming the victim for some perceived tonal offense that somehow deserved the very harsh treatment.

        You might want to think about that… you know, before you’re banned not for what you’ve said, of course, but for how you’ve expressed yourself!


      6. John Branyan

        Tildeb! You realize that you’re singing the same song as mcmommy and me? You’ve tipped your hand here. You are not the ardent fundamentalist you try to portray.


      7. tildeb

        In the same way a broken clock can be right twice a day, I have found the same is sometimes true with religious people!

        Seriously though, I always stand on what I think are well reasoned and ethical principles. Banning for tone – or excusing the banning – I think is usually unprincipled bullying and I will stand side by side with anyone who thinks it’s almost always a poor choice. Let ideas stand or fall on their merit and not by the dictates of those glamoured by self-inflated puffery. That’s how fascism in whatever guise is stopped: by people refusing to go along to get along.


      8. John Branyan

        In order for a broken clock to be useful, you gotta be able to tell time. That’s what we’re gently trying to teach you atheists how to do!

        We are in total agreement on this subject. Here’s to finding more common ground in the future.


      9. tildeb

        Well, to keep the analogy relevant to our disagreements over the descriptive value of theological claims about reality, I keep telling you the accuracy of the analogue timepiece is not going to be improved by adding more sand.

        Besides that, I think you’ll find that whenever you agree with me, you’re absolutely correct!

        Liked by 1 person

      10. mrsmcmommy Post author

        You’ve got a comment below from Sarah. I don’t know whether you’re following the whole post–so I don’t know if you’ll be notified, since it’s a different thread…


  3. Sarah


    When did I say people have to respond versus just end the conversation by not responding? When did I advocate for banning versus not responding? I was wondering outloud how we have constructive conversations with others, not focusing on how to shut out people. There are people I choose not to be friends with on social media, or I don’t follow their newsfeed, or I don’t comment on things they post, because I know it won’t be constructive. If someone was insisting on engaging with me after I told them I didn’t think the conversation was purposeful for me anymore, I would block them. It’s my “space” and I can say “I don’t want to engage with you anymore.” I think there are kind and unkind ways to do that, and of course context matters.

    I have zero interest to debating about Amanda’s interaction with this specific person (Blocky Person) because a) I have no idea what was said before this conversation and b) I think it’s usually a two way street and I’m sure Blocky Person was at fault some (being judgmental instead of just saying “hey this isn’t working for me”) and I’m sure Amanda was at fault some (being condescending or whatever) blah blah blah. That’s usually how life is. So yes, right brain emotional defensiveness is just as bad as left brain defensiveness. I never said otherwise. The problem is that we can’t control what other people do, so we should probably focus on how we can make the best of a situation. You can get mad and demand someone act different, but I doubt that turns out well the vast majority of the time (it hasn’t for me). Then you choose if you want to deal with their particular version of defensiveness, and if it doesn’t feel worth it to you, you say “hey I’m done here.”

    As far as “policing”… you can question my motives until you’re blue in the face, I’m the only one who knows them, so I’m not sure how that’s a purposeful debate for me to get into. I think we need to build relationships with people (that means caring about tone and a bunch of other stuff) if we want to have in-depth, constructive interactions about difficult topics. I think both overly emotional AND overly analytical thinking has it’s defense mechanisms (“manipulative” whatever word you want to use). See my point about left versus right brain defensiveness both being equally unhelpful. I’m not going to get into a debate on why it’s important to build relationships unless you have a solid background on brain development and attachment research, because it would be a waste of your time and mine. (I’m sure there are tons of topics that you would not want to discuss with me because I don’t know much background on them either. I really don’t mean to be snobby, I just know from experience it’s a waste of time.)

    I have a feeling we’ve maxed out on the constructive potential of this conversation, given everything I said above. I’m not “offended” or “tone policing,” I’m just observing where we are with this.


    1. Sarah


      You are exactly right. I am being practical about how we connect with people. I think if supporting people as they grow is important to you, then you deal with the frustration of it. It’s the nitty gritty of human interaction and human growth.

      I totally get that you don’t care about being genuine. I’m just pointing out it might benefit your cause more than you think. See my post to Tildeb about neurobiology and attachment research. Worth looking into if you’re curious.

      I agree with you that God gives us different strengths and purposes in life. It seems like you feel that you can use your left brain analytical strength to get people thinking about different ideas, even if they are turned off by your right brain interaction. That’s probably true to some extent, but I do question how effective it is. I say that from my experience, not as someone with divine or scientific insight into it. (It would an interesting research study… I wonder how they could set that up, sounds tricky but maybe feasible…)

      And of course they “should” adapt to you too (so many benefits of left brain analytical thinking!!!), but you’re not going to convince them of that without building a relationship first. As you’ve seen.


      1. mrsmcmommy Post author

        You asked Tildeb, “When did I advocate for banning vs. not responding?”

        The answer is, when you say things like, “If someone was insisting on engaging with me after I told them I didn’t think the conversation was purposeful for me anymore, I would block them. It’s my “space.”

        It’s pretty clear that you advocate for blocking/banning…

        So–what am I missing?

        How is marking your “space” and inflicting consequences to people who don’t follow your rules anything other than policing?

        And how can you come here–pretending to be a neutral party–and then try to build your argument around “You’re not going to convince people…as you’ve seen.” You know as well as I do that it isn’t MY fault I didn’t convince “that Blocky person.”

        And for you to be the one saying I need to learn something from this is a bit like a husband slapping his wife and saying, “Next time I tell you to stop talking, you’ll know I’m serious.”

        Sheesh. You’ve got nerve.


    2. tildeb

      The topic under review is the idea of banning and blocking. You seem quite willing to suggest there is fault on both sides. I am saying that’s not the issue and trying to make it into the issue is a form of manipulation.

      I always find it annoying when some people pretend there is a reasonable middle ground between conflicting points of view. Very often, there isn’t. Banning is an excellent example; it is either/or. There is no middle ground half way between being banned and not being banned and pretending that by assigning shared blame a middle ground can be magically poofed into existence is not productive but a nod to the virtue and reasonableness of banning (neithe rof which I think is the case). I think this positioning is a disservice and amounts to hand waving towards improving two-way communication. I would also think that that disservice should be obvious but, hey, some people want to feel like they’re holding a higher ground between argumentative sides by pretending there is a wise middle path. As an atheist who has had to contend with crowds of ‘butters’ (I’m an atheist but…, or I’m an agnostic, but…) , I’m all too familiar with the whiff of sanctimony that accompanies all such faitheists..

      Look, it’s okay to be wrong. It’s okay to be right. It’s okay to change states. That only happens when the opportunity becomes available, when the reasons become known, when we become .aroused (in the biological and sexual sense) and motivated to engage with such topics. Because people too often invest their identity with their opinions and beliefs, sometimes this process may seem to be a personal attack, a questioning of character, an intention to harm, an abuse or absence of a respectful tone. Banning on this basis (usually hidden by other rationalizations) is purely selfish and self-serving. Always. It is an end to opportunity, a closing of a door, a rejection of potential, a loss of a perspective, usually for the worst of reasons and not just over this issue or that but for ALL issues FOREVER. That’s why I advocate to use banning only in the face of threats of violence where any semblance of reason has evaporated and the risk is not worth the reward.

      I happen to be quite interested and think myself literate with all kinds of neuroscience and child development knowledge. Your reference to Ainsworth’s attachment theory for young children developing emotional resilience is very important but I can’t see how it has much bearing on banning and other dysfunctional adult interactions you seem determined to keep from legitimate and public criticism.
      You seem quick to judge the value of interactions. Have you spent any time actually thinking about what I said?


  4. Sarah


    I think I misunderstood. I thought he meant that I was saying “block under any circumstances” and you all are meaning “blocking at any point.” I was trying to clarify that there are very specific circumstances in which I would block someone, and the process involved getting to that point.

    I think I also misunderstood what you mean by “policing.” If having boundaries with people is policing, then I do indeed support policing (in certain circumstances). It’s so bizarre to me that you don’t think you should ever block anyone on social media (meaning it would take me so long to understand your point of view) that I don’t think it’s a good use of time for you to explain it to me.

    I probably do have some “nerve.” I think you’re also assuming the worst about my intentions, which goes back to trust and us not really knowing each other. I don’t think there’s any way to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t want to listen (so it’s not really your fault), but you also admit yourself that you are condescending and don’t care about being genuine. So by your own self-admission, you’re partially at fault for things not going well. I was using your own assessment of the situation as a reference point.

    I’m know I have things to learn, but your metaphor seems unnecessarily antagonistic. I do apologize if I said anything that was hurtful in this conversation, because that was not my intention and I’ve tried to be open about my own flaws in this area.

    Best wishes to you.


    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      The fact that we “don’t know each other very well,” and that we now won’t have much opportunity to fix that, is a result of YOUR actions. There was (and still is) no reason to keep me from speaking in your “space”–except that you’ve sanctified the practice of allowing others to express themselves only on your, strict terms…

      But, nevertheless, I’m genuinely open to dialog here whenever you’ve got the energy. (I used that word, genuinely, just for you.) 😉 And, in the most emotionally-vulnerable way I know how to be, I wish you all the best as well.


  5. Sarah


    Attachment theory has greatly expanded since Ainsworth’s work to include adult attachment and how it affects adult functioning. It’s really interesting stuff, and you’d probably really like it if you’re already interested in the topic.

    In short, I don’t think it’s selfish to protect oneself emotionally from the commentary of strangers on your own social media page. We disagree on this and I think trying to sort it out in this forum is not going to be productive. I do like your point about separating ourselves from ideas and being more okay with being wrong/right/in a state of change — easier said than done of course, but a great goal and attitude. I can tell you have really well thought out ideas on this subject, and I mean no disrespect by bowing out of this conversation.

    Best wishes.


    1. tildeb

      Before you bow out, would you mind terribly submitting a link here (if that’s okay with the admin) for adult attachment? I know nothing about this further work (which is always exciting for me to encounter something I was unaware of) and would appreciate if you could steer me in the right direction. Thanks to both of you in advance.


      1. Sarah

        Oh man there are so many options. Alan Schore has written a TON about interpersonal neurobiology. He’s very scientific and research oriented. Then there are lots of books oriented toward mental health professionals, like David Wallin’s Attachment in Psychotherapy. Then there are tons of “self-help” type books on adult attachment that usually focus on attachment between partners, but also how adults can explore their attachment in how they relate to their children (Dan Siegel is best at this in my opinion – he also does research on child/adolescent development). Really, you can just search “adult attachment” and/or “interpersonal neurobiology” and find the type of book you’re in the mood for. It’s a huge field, so if you find one book that’s not your style, there are definitely other options out there. Enjoy! It’s very exciting research that has taught me SO MUCH about myself and how I relate to others (still a lot of learn, of course).


      2. tildeb

        Thanks for those. I’ve read some of Schore and other modern psychopathology papers but, to be honest, I’m not overly thrilled with either applied psychiatry or applied psychology. I am, however, quite interested in the neurobiology of child development and so attachment theory naturally piqued my interest. The extension of the theory into resulting behaviours and effects of adulthood, however, is sort of like testing the delta water to yield information of it headwaters: it’s ripe for inserting whatever you want and making it appear sciencey. The channeling of neuro-circuitry over time is greatly affected but not necessarily determined by earlier development. Later learning also plays a huge part.

        So I’m confused why you might throw in this idea that knowledge of attachment theory is somehow necessary in order to explain why your policing of tone matters. One can have all kinds of varying quality of relationships without knowing the first thing about attachment theory, but emphasizing the need to police other people’s tone because of attachment theory is a new one. Methinks you may be trying to use neuroscientific scattershot to give the appearance that your urge to police the tone of others under the guise of supporting healthy communicative relationships is somehow better informed than anyone you seem willing to accuse of sharing blame for being banned.

        Again, be reminded that there is no middle ground when it comes banning so I think of it as a principle of honest communication: one is either willing to risk being offended (and offending others) to speak honestly about whatever or one is not willing. To pretend one is is willing only to change one’s mind when the topic becomes uncomfortable is craven. That’s where the blame belongs. Blaming the person banned for the banning is blaming the victim no matter what tone, no matter what offending words and/or ideas the victim presented. Losing sight of that is losing sight of the principle at work.


      3. Sarah

        You’re right, adult attachment has to do with childhood attachment, but also experiences as adults. I’m not denying that. (For example, as adults our primary attachment becomes our partner, which is why so many adult attachment books are about connecting with one’s significant other.) In fact, that’s the entire hope of counseling/therapy. The brain is wonderfully plastic, so even into old age we have the opportunity to grow and change (Dan Siegel has an amazing story of a man in his 80’s who learned how to be empathetic with his wife through practicing basic “right brained” skills like observing the emotions of others through facial expressions). A basic concept of attachment (both adult and child) is empathy — thank goodness for those mirror neurons that allow us to develop empathy in the first place. For a lot of people, because of their brain state, it is very difficult for them to access their higher thinking (prefrontal cortex) because their lower brain (reptilian brain as they call it sometimes) is dysregulated. This is the basis for trauma, but applies anytime someone is very upset (imagine someone who is very upset saying irrational things). Research shows that if our lower brain is not functioning right, there is much less activity in the upper brain. In other words, in order to talk to people rationally, we often MUST figure out how to calm them down emotionally. PTSD is a great example of that, but really anytime we are stressed out, it applies. Some very interesting research has been on the stress of poverty and how it affects our bodies and brains.

        Since you are really interested in child development, Bruce Perry has done fascinating research on pinpointing which parts of the brain are under developed (so to speak, I’m sure it’s more complicated than that), and then tailoring his work with kids to help those specific parts of their brain. I’m not a huge fan of Perry because he provides so few free materials (his trainings are crazy expensive), but he has some books out that you might like if you haven’t read them already.


      4. mrsmcmommy Post author

        Psychology is a fascinating topic. (Child psych was easily one of my favorite classes in college.) So, I don’t mean to be thick…

        But I still don’t understand why you can’t unblock me on Facebook and allow me to challenge the things you present as true?


      5. tildeb

        Thanks for that, Sarah. Because i have some interesting developmental issues of my own (and synesthesia runs in the family) and a brother who suffered severe brain trauma, I’ve always been interested in neuroscience and, if I were a younger person today, I would head down neuroscience for a career. (Doige has a pair of wonderful books about just how recent is the understanding that it is our brains and not our eyes that see, our brains and not our ears that hear, and so on.) How we think determines what we think, and mind is what the brain does.

        With this in mind, I would be remiss in not recommending Victoria’s site about religion’s effect on the brain, how it affects childhood development, and some of the ways and means religious belief is tailored to be transferred, and so on. It’s a rich site with tremendous links… for those brave enough to follow the science and put aside their immediate suspicion.


  6. Sarah

    (I started a new reply because these replying to replies threads confuse me… I apologize if I’m causing any confusion.)

    Amanda, I admire your persistence even if I do not admire your approach. I’m going to try one more time to explain my perspective. I thought I reached a point yesterday where it wasn’t worth it to keep on, but I woke up with a slightly different approach in my mind, so here goes.

    Let’s use the metaphor of exercise. The type of exercise that works best for my body may not be the same as what works for your body. Sometimes maybe we can share an exercise class, and maybe other times we need different classes or types of exercise. Sometimes people need to limit exercise because they are sick. It’s not really a good idea to just work out one part of the body (just like being too left brained or too right brained can cause trouble), but we also each have our strengths that we try to capitalize on.

    Your strength is being very left brained (I think you agree). The way you best exercise your brain is through quick-witted (you probably have a great sense of humor), snarky, contentious, etc etc etc. You get the point. Not everyone’s brain works like yours. Interacting with you in this way is not helpful for everyone. They do not find insight through exploring ideas in this way. Maybe they explore ideas better through reading books, or articles on the internet, or conversations with people in person, etc etc etc.

    It doesn’t mean that the way you exercise your brain is WRONG, but it does mean that forcing your way of learning/growing on others is unhelpful. And to state that others need to think and grow the way you do is just unrealistic, as you have experienced through people blocking you or refusing to engage. You try to force this on others, and they are telling you “hey I’m not benefiting from this” but you are really focused on your specific mode of learning and judge them for not thinking the way you do. The irony is that you’re the only one who seems upset by this. The people who are not benefiting from your form of interaction just block you and move on with their lives. I was attempting to explore how you could engage with people but use a different style. You weren’t into that conversation. Point taken.

    I hope this better explains my perspective. If not, fair enough. I am someone who is sort of in between left and right. I used to be a lot more left-oriented, but I’ve been doing very right brained work for the last 5+ years. I’ve found that tapping into both my left and right brain have vastly improved my personal growth. I think in addition to you being able to interact constructively with more people, you might find out things about yourself and your beliefs. I have gotten to the point in this conversation with you where your confrontational style puts up more roadblocks than creates opportunities for growth. There are millions of people in the world, and as a mother of several kids I’m sure you are very aware of how limited time is. We have to choose where to put our energy so that it’s most constructive in our lives. So far, this interaction has not been very constructive for me, and that’s no insult to you, it’s just my experience of the situation. I haven’t had a conversation like this in … years I think. So it was worth a try and valuable information for me. I appreciate the learning experience.


    1. tildeb

      Also, I think it’s really just a palaver to allocate offense related to communicative tone to left and right brain styles. Yes, we have bicameral brains, but we use both all the time. And the irony is not lost on me that religious folk (who often say they experience a mystical revelation and mistake the voice from their ‘better half’ of this two hemisphere brain to be an independent divine causal agency whispering universal truths and insights into their metaphorical ear) are speaking of them as if their communicative style derives from either one or the other!

      In the spirit of insight and an offer of reciprocity, I suggest My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor (a neuroscientist who suffered a stroke and describes the perceptual changes in detail) that demonstrates the ‘religious’ component when the brain undergoes change (in this case through damage). We can duplicate these kinds of experiences not only by magnetic interference but even by meditation and prayer. Now that’s some pretty interesting hemispheric work… presuming no one takes offense and bans me for saying so!


      1. mrsmcmommy Post author

        Tildeb: are you saying that a woman had a stroke which turned her into an atheist??? lol. Just clarifying.

        For the record, we’re in total agreement about any Christian who uses intuition as if it’s EQUALLY as reliable as talking-it-out from a logical perspective–especially when they have to shut people out in order to keep those intuitions from being disturbed.

        They claim that human interaction is messy and they claim to understand the importance of free speech. But they fully support creating safe zones where speech is limited. They claim that selfishness is bad and we have certain duties to consider others; yet they invent these “self-care” sacred pillars, built on psychology pop-“science,” which allows them to excuse all of that. They determine a good, “successful” interaction based on how good they feel afterward. AND, they start throwing up boundaries (i.e. walls) to protect THEMSELVES when their bad ideas are threatened.

        You are 100% correct to be frustrated by “religious folk” like that.

        But, I guarantee, when Sarah suggests I’m “the only one that is bothered” by her censorship, she’s wrong. Most Christians who have read this post agree that there’s no reason to cut someone off completely unless your immediate, physical life is in jeopardy. To say “I’m tired of exercising now…therfore, you’re never welcome in my gym again” is inexcusable.

        Christians have no right to make truth-statements without allowing someone else to question them. Because, if their God is big and true, He can handle it.

        If the person claims the unrestricted right to post religious memes–without “debate”–then I have no respect for them.


      2. tildeb

        I have no idea of Jill Bolte Taylor is an atheist, agnostic, or a follower of some religion; her experience and knowledge as a neuroscientist having a stroke over many hours means she brings to the experience a great perspective. She reports on it and that’s what aligns with many religious experiences. I don’t think this is a coincidence but an intriguing avenue for further inquiry.

        It’s not just religious folk who ban; I’m particularly critical of those who claim to be liberal or on the Left who are using fascist tactics and presenting them as if socially necessary… things like banning, self-censorship, dis-inviting speakers, safe spaces, excusing fascist behaviour in the name of support for culture, tradition, ethnicity, race, gender, and so on.

        To be fair, however, my experience is that sites by religious folk implement banning typically when challenged. They certainly are far more heavily moderated than non-religious sites and far more heavy-handed maintaining admin control – as if they were the filter through which their readership relies on. This is concerning, too.


  7. Sarah

    Tildeb: You’re right that I’m oversimplifying by using the terms “right” and “left” brain. The brain is so complicated that there are often shorthand terms used, but that doesn’t mean the entire topic of how neurobiology affects communication is irrelevant. Just because we are always using both sides of our brain doesn’t mean all parts of our brain are functioning equally well or are fully integrated with the other parts of the brain. And certainly how our brain works affects how we communicate with others.


  8. Pingback: How to Empower a Young Girl | Cultures at War

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