Friday, 14 March 2014

Dealing with an online Facebook stalker


I know.

This isn't my "normal" post material. But I DO think it is important to share with you all, on the basis of learning about individual privacy and how to protect it. For everyone and especially fellow mom / mum bloggers who may be reading this blog. Someone has to be reading it, right?!!!! You may not even think it applies to you or has relevance. But it does. I felt the same as you: that this shit doesn't happen to me. If it IS happening to you, or someone you love...I can't stress enough: Get IMMEDIATE help and advice.

I have been dealing with, although "dealing" is a strong word and not entirely accurate. I have "coped" is a better description. I have had / still have an online stalker since 2011. I knew this person, I met them in real life. My stalker has got more IT savvy as the years have gone on, but he is still a twat.

Unfortunately being a twat does not automatically ban you from using the internet. Twats can use it. And cause great harm. End of the day though, they are still twats and they will mess up eventually. It just will take time, patience and a bit of work.

I wanted to share this post mainly because I have learnt some things I wanted to let you know about. Quite frankly I am sick to death of how many times I am asked "How do you know it is him?" or the times I let things slide because I thought he would give up. You know..... get bored and maybe get a REAL life.

It's the same with internet trolls. You think they might get bored.

Stalkers are one thing and trolls are another. But NEVER feed either. YOU are worth more than that.

1. Seek help and advice IMMEDIATELY. And I totally mean that. I waited three years of my stalker's up and down stalking routine before I sought help. You know what I was told when I did? I quote: " We cannot believe you waited so long to tell us." TELL someone now. In particular law enforcement. Don't wait to "get proof" or "build up evidence." You are just wasting time and losing evidence.

2. NEVER think they will get bored and move on. You are underestimating how crap their life is. They have NOTHING better to do. Their life, no matter how crap yours may seem at the time, is infinitely worse. Or they wouldn't be bothering with you. Remember that. ALWAYS. That is the number one mantra that should be going through your head. Their life is worse than yours. Their life is worse than yours. Don't feel sorry for them though. They MADE that happen. You didn't. You are better than them.

3. DO NOT EVER try and "make sense" of it. There is no sense. They are up the wall barking mad. You are not. Do NOT give them hope, do NOT try and "be nice", DO NOT try and empathize, do not try and "defend your position." Do not try and reason. You are trying to reason with a mad person. Success rate at that? Zero.

If you break up with someone and you make it clear in a SINGLE message you do not want to be with them, that should be enough for some people. By the time you send message 2 about not contacting you, and they still do? They are breaking the law. Make it CLEAR and don't beat about the bush. Use both your names in the message, save it, screen shot it and date stamp it. If you don't know how to do this then ask Google. Different laptops have different settings but normally a combination of the prtsc key and alt can do it. Or take a picture with your phone of your laptop. Get the date and time from the right hand corner of your screen included in shot.


4. Online Stalking is ABUSE. They rely on you being too scared or concerned what people will think to report it. Or what they might do. Or who they might talk to,message and tell stuff to. Especially relevant if you have been in a relationship, but my stalker didn't care about that and tried to destroy virtual strangers businesses. I ALWAYS tell my children, who are becoming internet savvy: I don't care WHAT someone says they will do, why you should keep quiet, or what you have done, or what "evidence" they are using against you. Like we don't know what grown ups do?!!! Or like we would look. I accept what my children...or my best friend/ mother/ boyfriend says to me, or tells me they are being blackmailed with. WITHOUT question. I don't need to view the "evidence." The fact that someone thinks they have "something" against someone they can use to abuse them is enough for me to know. NORMAL people DONT DO THAT. I repeat: NORMAL PEOPLE DONT DO THAT.

5. TELL EVERYONE. Break the "circle of fear." Stalkers thrive on that. Generally stalkers "know" you. Or think they "know" you. But, guess what? YOU knew enough about THEM to not want them in your life. You do not have to go into detail, but tell people. Communication is key. If someone doesn't listen or understand, then they are twats who are putting you in DANGER. My stalker liked to Facebook friends request all my friends and family. Then friends of friends. Then anywhere I "liked."

The new Facebook upgrade that is being rolled out slowly means that, unless you start to seriously look at your privacy, that person will potentially be able to see and most importantly SEARCH DIRECTLY FOR:

a) your photos taken by you
b) pictures of you taken by others that you are tagged in
c) pictures that you have liked
d) pictures you have commented on
e) pictures of you that others have commented on
f) pictures your friends and you have commented on (or liked)
g) pictures of friends of yours
h) photos by friends of yours
I) photos your friends have liked
k) Your friends
l) friends of your friends

The list is pretty extensive. It goes on from there into what people who may know you/ your friends/or live LOCALLY have done. TELL EVERYONE you have a problem and ask them to close their friends list. Make sure you are not tagged. Dont comment on other photos. If a Facebook "friend" won't do that, then believe me, they are opening up their friend list to abuse by your stalker. Happened to me with my stepsister. An internet stalker will spend HOURS and DAYS friend requesting anyone in the hope they get to "mutual friend" status. I once worked my stalkers requests out roughly. And I don't have many friends, but that worked out to be about 6000 people he has interacted with, via friends of friends.

So.

Set your privacy levels to high.

Screenshot EVERYTHING. IMMEDIATELY. The second it happens.
(My stalker likes to friends request me from fake profiles, then write messages on the fake profile wall. Then delete them.)

Make sure your friends and family understand how to screenshot and what you need in a shot. You need your friends name visible and the stalkers profile, date and time. Screenshot any of the friends the stalker has managed to become friends with to show you are mutual friends, and the links back to you.

Report but DO NOT BLOCK them on Facebook. That may seem strange BUT your stalker wants to know you have seen it. They want to control you and force themselves into your life. If you block them they can't see your profile anymore. So they know they forced you to make an ACTION. So they will do it again, from a new profile. And again. And again. Much better to have them sat there wondering if you saw it or not.

You also want to be able to SEE their profile. That profile builds up your evidence. Screenshot and photo EVERYTHING. Work out the links between people he has requested and yourself. Look at the friends list on the fake profile. Do those people geographically link him to somewhere, via schools they went to, places they work?

Take photos of the stalkers real page, or copies of emails if you suspect who it is. Some stalkers will try and deny they have access to the internet. Make sure you keep emails if you had a relationship and note the TIME they were sent. My stalker likes to do his stuff between 10pm-2am but has also made the mistake of doing things on his REAL account during that time, or during a period of sustained abuse. I don't know of many 24hr internet cafes. And if I did, I bet the IP addresses, even if dynamic, will be coming from the same sources.

If you know where the real life stalker comes from, try searching on Google for the fake profile name with the same location. Your stalker is probably causing trouble to others as well. They may have mentioned it on THEIR page and left that public.

If you want to keep having profile pictures and cover photos on Facebook, as I do, make sure you remove comments or Likes from others. Or your stalker will have their names. Keep up with your admin and remove pictures from public view as a profile or cover picture when you change them. No point giving them more than YOU decide. To see how other people view your profile, go into your page on Facebook and click on the little down arrow on your cover photo. Next to activity log. Then select "view as."


Go to law enforcement NOW if you are having problems. I don't care if you think you seem silly. Or over reacting. Or melodramatic.

If you have a blog then set a site meter, you can track all IP addresses. Use Google analytics.

Make sure your friends protect their friends. Facebook should not be a number gathering exercise to prove how popular or liked you are. Protect your friends, family and identity. Check your friends list is PRIVATE.

Remember you are not to blame. It is abuse. And I know you know who it is doing it to you. I wouldn't need to ask you to prove it to me.


xx



Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The Top 10 inappropriate, yet brilliant, kid's books...

In anticipation of World Book day this Thursday, I read a book last night.

It wasn't what I was expecting.

At all.

All kudos to the writers, as I really had NO idea where it was going.

Gracie had brought home a book from school called "The Mouse Box." Sounded innocuous enough. Quite sweet even.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Two kids find a dead mouse. They are sad. They would like to have a funeral for the mouse.

So far okish. Important to learn about death. In a subtle and tasteful way.

My brain wasn't really paying attention but my mouth kept reading. After a while I really wished it hadn't.

The children's sister sees them holding the dead mouse (this part reminded me of my previous post about Gerry the Gerbil and the Curry Tsunami. Except their mouse is dead. Gerry was just acting.)

The big sister isn't very happy and tells them they need to wash their hands. The children still want to bury the mouse, so they start to look for a box. They go up to their sister's room and see she has an empty chocolate box. They put the dead mouse in the box. Unfortunately they then leave this box unsupervised. Big sister goes into her room, sees the chocolate box, gives it a shake and thinks she has some left. So she decides to take them to school. To share. Which was nice.



It didn't go down well. Not surprisingly when she is offering dead mouse carcass as a treat. What I love the most (spoiler alert) is that when the kids come to bury the mouse and can't find the box, they don't give two shits about where it might be and decide to just bury a tree instead.

This got me to thinking about inappropriate kids books. Some of which we have at home, as they add a touch of "joie de vivre" to my parenting life.

So here is the Not Quite Supermom run down of the most inappropriate books for kids. (in no particular order)

1. That's Disgusting, Pittau and Gervais



We have the whole series at home, That's Dangerous, That's Disgusting and That's Mean. Always a joy to read.

2. Who pooped in the park?

I bet they haven't included the time when X Mr G left his very own nature trail in the local park having drunk too many beers at a day at the rugby and then catching the train home. I know. The reason for divorce is making more sense now.

3. The House that Crack Built- Clark Taylor


I love the positioning of "Click to look inside" a crack house.

In a similar "vein":

4. My Big Sister Takes Drugs- Judith Vigna

Closely followed by:

5. I wish Daddy didn't drink so much- Judith Vigna


AND....

The night Dad went to Jail


Poor old Dad seems to gets a really bad rap.

6. The Muffin Muncher- Stephen Cosgrove


Dad doesn't get the blame in this one. Or the next one:

7. Games You can Play with your Pussy- Ira Alterman


Although. Maybe if Dad has been to Thailand he may have seen the games you can play. Like Ping Pong. Mum only seems to get to go to Iceland.

Maybe Mum shouldn't be buying so many treats while in Iceland:

8. Maggie goes on a Diet-Paul Kramer

Taking joint place. And probably related:

9. Cooking with Pooh


Pooh Gets Stuck- Isabel Gaines


10. Whose Bottom is this?- Wayne Lynch

Again you get to "Click to LOOK INSIDE." Kind of like a really rank "Through the Keyhole."




Saturday, 1 March 2014

Oh, to be a Disney Princess..just for one day...


"When the raindrops keep tumbling,
Remember,
you're the one who can fill the world with sunshine."

Snow White

One of my rays of sunshine just turned, in her words: " A whole hand plus one."

Mr G (maybe that should now be X Mr G) and I, decided to take her for a Princess makeover at the Disney Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Harrods, London. It was a long shot that she was going to get with the programme, as what she lacks in princess style tendencies, she more than makes up for in Light Saber and Nerf gun capabilities. She is, most certainly, the Disney Princess for a new generation. There is no waiting around for a handsome prince (she will just accost them and make them her boyfriend at breaktime in the playground), no beautiful dress (it lasts about 5 minutes on..then it is too itchy and annoying) and her hair is the epitome of Tangled.

Despite using more leave in conditioner, hair masks and wide tooth combs than Rapunzel ever did.


Still. We thought it would be an experience.

I had the whole "have I done enough as a parent" middle class debate with myself before we went. This was mainly due to the fact that there are four tiers of packages available, ranging from the "Royal" Experience at £1000, to the "Courtyard" Experience at £100 per child. Clearly the Feudalist system is still alive and kicking in Great Britannia. I very nearly convinced myself that I needed to pay the extra £300 to make the jump from the "Crown" Experience at £200 to the "Castle" Experience at £500. Then I decided the last thing I need in my new home is more Disney plastic shite everywhere. Seriously. I would only end up paying some "serf" to come round and clean it up twice a week. And you just can't get the "serfs" these days.

With the benefit of hindsight (it really is an amazing thing) I am glad I plumped for the modern equivalent of being on par with the Church. I don't really like the Church, then AND now, but it was a damn sight better than having my daughter flounce around in a pink frilly tutu. Or maybe they have their packages confused. I'm not sure.

All "jesting" aside...it was a really good experience. This is what the male contingent of our party thought:


And this is what the Princess thought when she was having her hair done:


That, my friends, is her expression of shock.

She was very pleased with the results though. Probably not as pleased as her wonderful "Fairy Godmother in training" was that the hair style the Princess chose covered up the massive chunk of hair the "X Mr G" chopped out as it was so Tangled. It's the lumpy bit sticking out in the photo at the back.


But the amazing "Fairy Godmother in training" did EXACTLY what was described on the tin, with a charm and efficiency I wish I had every day when getting my Princess ready for school. She really was the Fairy Godmother I wish could appear every morning. This is the result:


For all my slightly sarky comments, my daughter was made to feel like a Princess for the entire experience. If you arrive earlier your child gets given a pager and you WILL end up browsing the adjacent Disney store beforehand. (FYI you can buy all the Disney plastic shite in there for less than the upgrade price.) Every member of staff in the Disney store stopped and spoke to her, as did the staff in the Harrods toy department after. She didn't quite get the Harrods doorman with the umbrella opening the door on our way out, but that was possibly because some glamorous blonde "real princess" was making her way IN and he was otherwise occupied.

For the record, the next day I took her horseriding. She fell off. Into a MASSIVE puddle of cold wet mud.

So it just shows. One day you can be sat on your throne like a princess, and the next day lying down in a puddle of mud and horse shit wondering what went wrong.

I feel I am teaching her well. Not quite supermom style.




Friday, 14 February 2014

Rise of the Supermom

Well.

I'm BACK! Missed me much??!!!

It's been a tumultuous few years. In that time I have varied between having my head under the pillow trying to block out the constant stress, my nose stuck in a glass/ bottle of wine (never a great idea), my fingers tapping away on a keypad while I tried online dating, and representing myself in court during a really quite vicious divorce battle. That ended a year ago and I have recently moved to a place all of my very own. And it really is true. There ain't no place like home.

Clearly I have done other stuff too...like get a full time job, rediscover my identity, search my soul, reassess the relationships I have, not only with myself but all the people close to me, work out my goals, go on my first singleton holiday, take the kids on the first holiday abroad as a single mum, start going to festivals and just RECONNECT with the person I want to be and the mother I want to be to my kids. I think, in hindsight, its been a worthwhile few years.

I have been so blessed in so many ways. I have amazing children who I have started to really SEE as the amazing people they are. I have fantastic friends and family who stuck by me when it seemed I was losing my way during my journey. And I have ME. I have done things and achieved things I didn't know I had the strength to. I have been strong, weak, crazy, smart, foolish, bitter, impatient, brave, messy, proud, ashamed, impetuous and cautious. I have been a walking contradiction. I have blamed and been blamed. I have felt that my heart was made of stone, yet breaking with the weight of emotion. I have felt like I was the only sane person in a world full of lunatics. I have felt I was the lunatic in a world full of sane people. I have felt that I have been the only one who could speak the truth, yet my voice was barely a whisper. I have had days when I had courage and days when I had nothing but complete fear and doubt in myself.

I think that's pretty NORMAL don't you??!!!!

I was tired of "holding it all together." I was sick of appearances showing everything was "perfect" when in fact things weren't. I was worn out by trying to be Super anything, as that doesn't exist.I coped through humour and the power of writing. That is why my blog was so important to me. It was my outlet. My voice in my world that said "find the beauty and joy in the imperfections."

It just took time to realise that.

I'm still Not Quite Supermom. But I am good with that.

My washing pile is slightly bigger than it used to be though. And I don't even THINK about ironing.


xx



"You were born to be real, not to be perfect."

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Thrifty little bugger!!

Well...it was my BIRTHDAY recently...and i have to say I had the best birthday for quite a number of years. Let's just ignore the extra year it puts on my age (not helpful for dating...but hugely helpful in a "know more about the world way".... mustn't grumble...)

What really made it for me, apart from spending an amazing weekend away with my children, was just quite how thrifty/ ingenious/ resourceful my eldest son has become.

Behold...my Birthday card

drumroll.....



Superb work. Now, THAT is how men multi-task...clearly it becomes evident at a young age....


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Bored Games

Every parent knows the importance of sitting down with your children and spending quality family time playing board games. Sometimes difficult because, lets face it, board games for children can be pretty BORING. And they mainly end in tears. In my case normally mine as my frustration level reaches maximum. Or i get beaten.

Its also quite difficult to find the time to sit down and play when there is sooo much to be doing.

Which is why I have cunningly devised a scheme whereby everyone is happy.

Its called "Real Life Supermarket Jenga"




Ideal for keeping the kids happy while out shopping.

Am sure it will take off.

Incidentally..during the same shopping trip I also happened to notice that the staff are clearly bored as well...



Brilliant!


Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Down on the farm...

Ah.

Joy.

The school holidays are finally upon us.

Cue lovely days out and happy contented children running around giggling. Or in my case..constant fights, messy house and children telling me they are boooooored.

In order to head off the boredom complaint i decided to plan an itinerary of "things to do, people to see, places to go." So hopefully when creating their path of devastation and chaos, my children do this at OTHER places..and not in my house. See. Thinking ahead.

So i gathered up a handful of leaflets for local attractions so we can have some fun days out..hopefully in Supermom style combining fun with education. I was quite excited to pick up a leaflet for Old Macdonalds farm park and started leafing through it to see exactly what was on offer for us on a grand day out. However...when i turned to the centre page of the leaflet I got a bit of a shock. I did wonder whether it is only me who notices this type of stuff. But SLAP BANG in the centre of the leaflet...pretty much a centrefold picture was this:





HOW
did they not notice?






Tuesday, 19 July 2011

I love flatpacks...

i went to Ikea.

Lucky lucky me.

After the mandatory meatballs and counting of pregnant nesting women ordering their husbands about and measuring things i took myself down to the warehouse bit and purchased a few lovely flatpacks to spend the rest of this year assembling.

Having opened a carton and withdrawn the instructions from the little plastic bag containing twenty thousand small screws of which i will always have at least 10 left over and panic about the safety of the structure i have just built...i sat down to read said picture instructions.

I was immediately struck by just how ACCURATE they are....






THAT is EXACTLY what i looked like...except with more hair and a dress on.

Uncanny.



Wednesday, 9 March 2011

you learn something new everyday...

My lovely adorable eldest son just had a school trip to learn more about life in Britain during the war. On his return he was asked to write a newspaper article. All very educational.

So educational in fact that even my jaw dropped in shock at what i learnt whilest reading the article in a room full of parents waiting to see the teacher. Then i had to do that tricky task of trying not to laugh uncontrollably at an inappropriate time. Here is the best bit...and the most educational...





A few thoughts ran through my brain.

1. No wonder the children "where amased what the money was like". i think i would have been too...
2. How did Miss Prince his teacher find out it takes 12 penis' to make a shilling. Maybe she needs a pay rise
3. Well done to my son for being able to spot fakes. He will be very useful to me when trying to purchase designer handbags on Ebay.
4. we need to work on his spelling as i cant have him going through life thinking thats correct..although it is tempting..


A+ for effort i think



Wednesday, 19 May 2010

election time

You may NOT have heard about it but we here in the UK had an election recently..I know..probably passed you by bit like it did me..
However, I did decide to vote and took the children for a "family outing" to the polling station.
They were dead excited and got dressed in their very smartest clothes. Felt a bit bad building it up to them...when all you actually do is put a cross on a piece of paper and pop it in a box.
So...
on the way I decided to play a game.
Notquitesupermom: "I know kids...when we get to the polling station lets tell everyone we are voting for someone really funny..like the honey monster or Tony the Tiger...you know..lets just say someone really funny who hasent got a hope in hell of winning."
Ryan: "we could say we were voting for Gordon Brown. That would be funny"
Notquitesupermom: *first time in her life....speechless*

When did my 8 yr old become so politically savvy???
I feel old.



 

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