By Alecia Rice
Q: My Facebook friend unexpectedly blocked me without conflict or explanation. So, I can’t even contact her to ask why. I’m hurt and don’t know how to process this other than getting mad.
A: Dear Blindsided,
Social media engagements can be emotionally tricky to navigate, especially when a friendship has gone sideways.
I know it’s hard, but it seems that you’re left with only yourself to process this one. My suggestion is to sit with the blindside energy—to work with how you feel about it—instead of concentrating on her actions. Once we’ve felt that sting, we can begin to work through our feelings, and separate from being angry at her seemingly brash, unexplained actions by trying to consider other reasons she may have felt resigned to blocking instead of communicating.
When we’re hurt, angry or disappointed with someone that we’re friends with on social media—or even not still friends with—seeing their name pop up unexpectedly can trigger the emotion over and over again, especially if we share common friendships. Even with a benign action like commenting on a mutual friend’s post, their name is still in our face and vice versa.
One can start with less permanent actions like snoozing, but other than the more dramatic action of blocking, there doesn’t seem to be an elegant way within the settings to keep names or comments from showing up on mutual friends’ posts. While I know it’s painful for you, maybe it’s what she needs to practice self-care. She possibly felt that she didn’t have a less drastic option to keep her uncomfortable emotions at bay when your name would pop up, so she blocked you so she wouldn’t have to be triggered.
We’d hope that people would be mature enough to communicate with us by giving us a heads-up so as not to blindside us while possibly taking a piece of our confused heart with them. But, many are afraid of potential conflict and don’t have the conscious maturity to do so. If they’re mad or hurt, they’re in pain too and as imperfect humans, we sometimes make desperate emotional choices to remove others from our energy field to just make it go away.
Q: My relationship with my sister-in-law is strained. She often makes offhand comments about my home, appearance or children. This irritates me to the high heavens, and I need help. — Irritated SIL
A: Dear Irritated SIL,
It’s not easy to take criticism from someone we love and have a good relationship with—let alone from someone we don’t.
I consider relationships like bank accounts—emotional bank accounts. Hopefully, relationships have had mostly positive engagements (deposits) with fewer negative ones (withdrawals). One generally needs many deposits to build up the emotional account so that when the withdrawals come, there’s something to draw from. When more withdrawals have been made than deposits, it can cause tension and strain within the relationship because not enough good has been put in to counterbalance the bad. It feels like your relationship with your sister-in-law may have more withdrawals than deposits, and it would be great to change that, if possible.
You certainly have no control over how your sister-in-law engages, but you can try to make it better. First, check yourself to consider how often you make deposits in your relationship with her. If you can do better, try to do so by offering sincere compliments, being supportive, helping her do things and being as authentic as you can.
Check yourself for strands of truth that she highlights. Take ownership of them. If you don’t like them, change them, but don’t blame her for having the courage to be straight with you when it’s true. If you need to vent, try to find a neutral third party that isn’t invested in this relationship. Venting too often to your husband could exacerbate the issue, thereby causing more strain between the three of you.
You can also consider sitting down to have an honest conversation with her. Tell her that your relationship with her is important, but it seems that she’s often disappointed with you. Try to have an honest conversation because sometimes people don’t realize their tone or how often they’re making withdrawals.
Should the relationship fail to improve, you might need to set boundaries to keep the offending actions at bay by either seeing her less, giving her access to less information, or even, flat-out drawing specific verbal lines in the sand for self-protection.
Alecia Rice is a Spiritual Alchemist and a personal advisor for those ready to unravel their issues with conscious choices. She offers grounded perspectives for energy management and sage insights in columns, videos, and podcasts. Visit www.AskAlecia.com for more information. Submit personal questions and quandaries to firstname.lastname@example.org.