Escaping negativity. I can do that. Just let me set up this website blocker.

Commenting on one of the chapters of A New Beginning that I shared last week, a blog reader told me she likes to read my stories (and serial stories on other blogs like it) to escape from all the negativity in the world today. I told her that was the very reason I was sharing my book in progress on my blog. Not only do I use the story to escape from the negativity of the world, but I want to give others something a little lighter to focus on too.

Last year I deleted my Facebook. Four months later, I added it back to manage my blog page, which I had been managing from a “ghost account.” Here I am again, around the same time I deleted it last year, and I’m ready to delete it again. I won’t delete it again, however, because it is the only way my son currently communicates with one of his friends since I have a Messenger Kids account for him.

Since I don’t want to cut off their main way of communicating at this time (we live 40 minutes away from his friend so we don’t see him every day and this lets them video chat), I’ve instead set up blocks on my computer to remove the temptation of wasting my life away by scrolling on an inane site that often makes life worse, not better.

And yes, I do have that little willpower that I have to set up blocks to keep me off social media, or at least off Facebook. I don’t actually visit other social media sites. I loathe Twitter even more than I loathe Facebook and Pinterest is completely useless and stupid to me. I infrequently use Instagram. I used to use it two or three times a day but haven’t done that since sometime in the fall, I think it was. I finally got sick of caring about whether people cared about what I cared about.

As for Facebook, I get addicted to that not by being on it hours at a time, but by checking it briefly several times a day when I am avoiding doing other things – like packing to move and facing all the emotions with that and facing the reasons for my continuing lack of friendships. When you have spent the majority of your downtime for almost a decade logging into a stupid social media site to do something other than what you should be doing, it can be a hard habit to break.

It’s pretty much a built-in reflex now to wake up and type “Facebook” into my computer each day, which is sad and pathetic. I don’t know what I’m looking for on there anyhow. I never feel better after logging off Facebook. I almost always feel worse and even lonelier than before.

(Incidentally, I don’t click the app on my phone because I haven’t had the Facebook app installed on my phone in two, maybe even three, years.)

Instead of distracting me from loneliness, like I always think it will, being on Facebook fuels my sadness over my lack of friendships because I can see all of those former friends on Facebook, living life and laughing with each other and not caring at all whether I live or die. Yet, each day I believe the lie social media creators like Mark Zuckerberg have drilled into our heads — if you’re not on social media, you’re missing out. In reality, sadly, I am missing out on social media and off it, but maybe someday I will be in the inner circle once again. Like when I’m in my 70s and sitting in a sewing circle.

In the same way that checking out my former friends on Facebook is unhealthy and needs to stop, checking out the latest news about all kinds of bad things going on in the world today is also unhealthy and desperately needs to stop. That’s why in addition to blocking social media from my browser, I have also blocked news sites. My husband works in news, so if a bomb goes off somewhere or some politician gets shot, he’ll let me know. I don’t need to keep reading all the negativity about viruses and nuclear threats and wars and screaming politicians day after day after day. I can create enough negativity within my own mind without all of that. A person can only take so much of that before their mental health starts to be affected negatively.

Like I have done before, I am replacing social media and news with anything I can escape into. Well, not anything – not illicit sex or drugs – but I mean, entertainment or hobbies. I’m blogging (obviously) and often about stupid things (obviously).

I’m writing (books and blog posts).

I’m taking some photos (sometimes anyhow).

I’m reading books.

I’m watching movies.

The bottom line? I’m escaping as much as I can but I know that I can’t escape the bad of life forever.  (I went to check my weather app today and there were articles about that virus when on there!!) If I could live in my bathtub with bubbles and a cup of hot peppermint tea and book for the rest of my life, I probably would at this point.

So, how about you? How do you escape from the stresses of life? Good books? Good movies? Dumb movies (or is that just me?)? Hobbies? Let me know in the comments. If it’s something illegal or dangerous to your personal being, please don’t share here. Just get some help. 😉

Tuning out the ‘Negative Nellies’ in life

What is the deal with everyone being so negative these days?

It seems like the moment someone gets excited or hopeful there is someone to rush in and dump a bucket of cold, hard reality on them to make sure they think of the cons of it it all.

I call these so-called “realists” Negative Nellies.

And yes I do picture Nellie, Laura’s nemesis from Little House on the Prairie, when I think of the term “Negative Nellie.”

I know about Negative Nellies because I am a recovering one and sometimes I still slide down the negative rabbit hole. I find I’m more prone to stumble into the negativity mire after I’ve been looking at the national media or social media and, no, I do not think that is a coincidence.

Prime examples of negativity in my family’s lives recently are related to the selling of our house and trying to buy another one. Instead of being happy for us we’ve had comments like: “ooh. Wrong time of year to sell a house. Good luck with that.” (Where the “good luck” wasn’t actual well-wishing but more like “yeah.. like that will happen…”); “Did you make an offer on that house? You should have waited until something better came along.”;  and “You’d better make sure you move to a good school district or somewhere with good internet service because you’re going to have to stop homeschooling your child and put him in cyber school or he’ll never succeed in life.”

Unsolicited advice and negative comments about homeschooling are not new to me. They are usually passed down to me in passive-aggressive ways, under the guise of “trying to be helpful.” Each time the advice is given as if I asked for it or brought it up, which I didn’t.


The challenge for all of us is to figure out how to tune out the negative people we encounter in life. Sure, we can just cut them out of our lives, which I have done with a few people, but doing so just quiets the negativity for a short time and we will have to deal with it again and again from someone else.

alison-as-nellie-4If the negativity is chronic, as it was in the case of at least one person no longer in my life, then, yes, it’s necessary to step away. But if the negativity is only on certain issues then I try to just let the person go and shut them down with statements such as “Thank you for your advice. I will take that into consideration.” Or “you’ve given me something to think about” (even if that “something” is wondering why I still talk to that particular person.)

People who sound negative don’t always mean to be negative. Sometimes they feel they are offering cons of a situation to help in your decision making (even if you didn’t ask) or sometimes they are trying to be realistic because they don’t want to see you hurt. The problem is that many Negative Nellies don’t tell you they are concerned for you or want to help, they just blurt out their negative opinion and make you feel depressed and deflated.

Then there are the Negative Nellies who aren’t concerned for you at all. They’re concerned for themselves. Maybe they don’t want to lose the role you play in your life because it will inconvenience them in theirs. For example, maybe you’re not a close friend but you serve some purpose in their life, like watching their children or taking them to work or being someone that makes them feel like a savior so they can fix you and feel superior. So if you suggest you’re going to change that situation they like then they are going to morph into a Negative Nellie in an effort to manipulate you into not doing what will inconvenience them.

It is this last group that is important to recognize and steer clear from as much as possible. Unfortunately, the Manipulating Negative Nellies can be the hardest to recognize because, one, they use charm and passive-aggressive behaviors to attempt to hide their negativity and two, some of them may not even realize they are doing it. It’s also hard to shut the Manipulating Negative Nellies out because they seem like such people at other times in our lives. They aren’t as overtly negative as the grumpy-pants Negative Nellies.

As someone who only now sees some of her past behaviors falling under both brands of Negative Nellies, I don’t recommend clean breaks immediately from the people in your lives who fit this description. If they are someone within your family, for example, or a longtime friend, try to understand their motives for being negative first. If, however, the manipulation and negativity continues for no apparent reason, either let them talk but ignore them, or distance yourself from them as much as possible, removing their opportunity to even offer a negative opinion.

And if all else fails, push them down a hill in a wheelchair into a pond.