A bitter irony

Yesterday, after two years of a prolonged smear and abuse campaign I took the decision to finally delete my Twitter account.

Social media plays a big part in my online life, it is an extremely useful tool in many respects, I use to keep up with the latest news, views and developments, both in terms of the world at large and the more niche Catholic community. It helps me in terms of formulating column ideas, as well as providing a useful medium in which I can disseminate my views and contribute to a wider debate.

I have always commented under my own name in order not to be summarily dismissed as a faceless troll – such is the disbelief expressed by those encountering an orthodox Catholic mindset for the first time, the instinctive reaction is that the commentator must simply be trying to provoke a strong reaction.

My hope in using social media was to present an image of an ordinary faithful Catholic woman, a wife and mother, not some theological genius, but to demonstrate that loving God and leading a happy and fulfilled life were not mutually exclusive, but that the latter would automatically flow from the former. I also wanted to dispel the dour image of orthodox Catholicism; when I first started commenting from a Catholic position online, some people equated my lifestyle to that of a joyless puritan or membership of a bizarre cult. It was assumed that I didn’t drink, wouldn’t appreciate bawdy humour, wore shapeless floral dresses obliterating any hint of feminity and subjected my children to hours of forced bible study and corporal punishment.

As people got to know me, the dissonance grew, they couldn’t reconcile the picture of an outwardly normal woman with beautiful children, with the crazed extremist bigot of their imagination so instead picked on my weaknesses or any perceived flaw to pull me to pieces and indulge in character assassination, build up a different monster, in order to de-humanise and dismiss anything I had to say.  Had I been of an unprepossessing appearance, their job would have been made a lot easier. We shouldn’t fool ourselves that we are any different to the Victorians, most people prefer their monsters to manifest repellent physical characteristics and I guess that’s why a lot of the abuse that’s come my way from the odd alliance of self-professed Catholics and a particularly bitchy gay man, has focused on my appearance, with the Iggy Pop jibe, or the gay man happily preening that his hair is natural whereas my is “rank, dyed” and my face is “chubby and tangoed”. We see the similar phenomenon with the demonisation of ‘chavs’, with the uniform of Burberry and excessive weight or dull appearance being symptomatic of a perceived moral failure.

In a damning indictment of twenty-first century attitudes towards mental health, I’ve been horrified and amused in equal measure to note unqualified people whom I’ve never met diagnosing complex psychological disorders from which I allegedly suffer in order to qualify their disdain.

It seems that I can do nothing to avoid the false accusations and spite. Back in February 2012, a gay man invited  a huge Twitter storm my way after doing the passive aggressive trick of using a full stop before my handle, misrepresenting my stance on homosexuality and gay marriage to all of his four thousand followers. The level of abuse was like nothing I have ever seen.

Since then, he has not stopped. He monitors my feed on a daily basis, when I had a locked private account for personal use with friends only, he complained about it and trolled responses, despite having a similar account himself, he engaged in baiting and accusations about my alleged sock-puppetry, insinuating that I was this blogger and tweeter, used this as justification to out and taunt me about my former bar job (information which he would have only got from a third party), made tweets which I perceived as threatening, asking to see copies of personal messages that I had allegedly sent, saying that many people would like to see ‘those from Miss Holier than Thou’, mocked my pregnancy with his friends describing it as breeding like rabbits, a pun on the tweeters username and a nasty slur,(I lost the baby) my mental health and my appearance. He took issue at two tweets that I had made in January to someone else (he had been blocked) screenshotted them and sent them out to all his followers out of context stating that they were all about him, inciting yet more abuse my way. He mentions my handle and my name, then sneakily swiftly deletes tweets to deny his actions. I have a screenshot of him admitting to deleting his tweets because he “wouldn’t put it past her to allege harassment”.

Back in August he sent me a nonsensical self-aggrandising email about how I ought to apologise to him for talking about him, (I hadn’t, although I had expressed regret if he had felt hurt as a result of reading my feed) copied it to a professional associate whom he believed to be sensible and said that if I did not apologise he would write a blog expose about me. He tends to write many of these blogs about those whom he doesn’t like. This threat has been repeated again this week “I shall write a blog about this good Catholic wife and mother”, if accounts he doesn’t like mention him or upset his friends.

This guy has engaged in discussions about my abortion and whether or not I was culpable and the level of guilt I must be carrying around, he has discussed whether or not I am still excommunicated, whether or not my marriage is still valid and my children illegitimate as well as made several hurtful remarks about my appearance and accused me of child neglect. Using his locked account he has disrupted conversations, meaning people suddenly tail off accusing me of homophobia. On checking what prompted a discussion about abortion to descend into vituperative insults about homophobia and hopes that I have sex dreams about orange-haired lesbians, it seemed that his locked account interjected into a conversation I was having that had nothing to do with him. In addition in the past few weeks he’s used my handle (despite being blocked) to misrepresent my position on vaccination and complain vociferously about a re-tweet he didn’t like, got his followers to express hideous sentiments to me and then launched into a character assassination about what an evil person I am and how everyone knows about my online activities and how I am hated. In a discussion with another Catholic about a wholly unrelated topic, he couldn’t resist getting in my handle, blaming me for the conversation, before being reminded by a third party that they had initiated the thread.

It’s telling that any abuse that comes my way always seems to be as a result of this tweeter and yet in an act of sheer projection anyone such as Eccles who may pick him up on his behaviour or abuse is deemed to be my doing.

He’s been joined in this endeavour by another woman who has relentlessly spent since July engaged in an activity that can only be described as vampiric, feeding off my timeline on a daily basis, using my handle, my name and commenting in depth on every aspect of my life, right down from her opinion on my pregnancy to whether or not we ought to get a new puppy. By her own admission she regularly  screenshots my tweets in order to keep them for her records, so she can prove what a malevolent character she believes me to be.

I locked my account in order to deprive these people of their source of obsessive stimulation and to give myself some peace only to find that those who interact with me are also subject to attack.

Over the past two years I have been accused on no evidence of repeatedly being behind several anonymous accounts and told to prove my innocence and that my reaction “can you tell me why you believe this and provide some proof”, is abnormal. I have had one manic poster engage in a three week Twitter spree in which she posted manic stream of consciousness rants and blogposts and who still two years later, has convinced herself that I was part of a huge conspiracy with “The Left” (consisting of Helen Lewis, Owen Jones, Sunny Hundal, Ellie Mae O’Hagan, Medhi Hasan and errr, Toby Young) to smear her and deliberately endanger her daughter. She sent streams of emails to professional associates and wrote blogposts insinuating that I was seriously mentally unstable and a danger to my children. The police described her activity as alarming but felt that it was not in the public interest to prosecute. Other lawyers felt differently but one cannot force the CPS and being exhausted and heavily pregnant, suffering from pre-ecclampsia, I wanted to minimise the stress. Subsequent to being given a platform as a Telegraph blogger, she has deleted many of these fantasies, so at least there have been some small graces, but the idea that I would deliberately conspire to threaten or cause harm to a small child is extremely hurtful.

She has been joined by a ragtag coalition of people who dislike me for one reason or another, be it professional jealousy or dislike of my views and they have done their best to spread poison and undermine my personal and professional reputation, with  letters  written in green ink to as many people as possible, together with libellous, malicious and spiteful tweets, which has intensified as they’ve realised that they are not gaining any traction.

In recent months, I have been trolled and abused once again while pregnant, threatened (the threat was followed up) by complaint letters if I did not tweet disassociations from accounts that others did not like, been parodied in a blogpost by a deacon in Holy Orders, been too frightened to attend a Catholic bloggers’ Guild meeting that I desperately wanted to go to due to intimidatory tactics, all whilst pregnant and recovering from the loss of a baby. The threats came the weekend that we were preparing to bury our baby, my miscarriage described as an excuse. In addition I’ve had my maiden and former married name outed on the internet (information that would have need to have been obtained by paying the records office) and had my personal life outed and picked over in excruciating detail while being subject to libel on a daily basis. There have also been many false accounts, including one which took a personal photograph of me breastfeeding one of my children, which made reference to my abortion and previous marriage and used that as evidence of what a terrible Catholic woman I was. Whoever was responsible for it obviously had a good grasp of grammar and language and experience of setting up false accounts, but very poor knowledge of Catholic theology.

Even deleting my account has prompted speculation that I have been ordered off the internet by my bishop (to whom I am not answerable) or other agencies as the extent of my online activities has become known. This is incorrect, I took the decision yesterday afternoon, after yet another morning of accusations and responsibility for an Eccles blogpost being laid at my door.  It is being crowed about that no-one is sticking up for me or mentioning that I have been bullied off the internet. The reason being that none of my friends want to give these people the satisfaction and were hoping that I might come back.

Once again, I have never ever commented or engaged on the internet using any other name than my own. For the terminally hard of understanding, I am not Eccles or anyone else.

But it’s clear that the bullies will not leave me alone to use social media, either to interact with my friends, for work purposes or most importantly the New Evangelisation.

It’s impossible for me to be able to use social media without daily libels, abuse and harassment all stemming from the same group of people. The police tell me that my only option is to sue for defamation, they have expressed sympathy with the huge amount of undisputed trolling and harassment from the same few people, but said that as a semi-public figure I need to expect it.

It’s easy when it comes from random strangers, but when targeted personal abuse that tries to poison and undermine friendships, it makes social media an untenable and poisonous source, as well as risking my equilibrium. Two years of knowing that one is being stalked, that everything is being screenshotted and saved, just in case it can be used to undermine our family in some way, two years of being built up into some sort of two dimensional cartoon monster, of being accused of deeds of which I am wholly innocent, of being called a psychopath, of being called ugly, of attempts to interfere in my work, of any upset being laughed at, of being called “professional victim and martyr” disparagingly when I complain is enough. When I was pregnant, one of these people posted that I was too vain to take the correct medication for their diagnosis of  ‘schizophrenia’ and various alternative meds were suggested which wouldn’t make me put on weight. It was claimed that I was faking pregnancy and sites were linked to with fake bumps. When my husband was putting the baby’s tiny body in the casket, threatening letters were being sent because someone didn’t like an online video that I posted of my daughter singing the Salve Regina. I was described as a ‘dangerous pyschopath’ and the Catholic equivalent of Katie Hopkins. All for posting a video of my 9 year old singing a traditional Catholic chant using a sock puppet like a ventriloquist’s dummy, something that she did entirely spontaneously which caused a lot of merriment and mirth.

What makes me cross is that famous figures like Caroline Criado-Perez are treated seriously with random tweeters prosecuted for sending abusive messages and threats, whereas those who have done their best to destroy my reputation, both online and offline and have gleefully revelled in their public bullying and contempt, wallowing in any distress or ‘meltdown’ are free to find another target. I have been told that I endangered my own baby’s life by using Twitter, it’s been likened to a pregnant woman entering a smoky pub and blaming the smokers -if I don’t like the heat get out of the kitchen and yet following one parody post from Eccles, which doesn’t name any individuals and could be about a number of people, they have a fit of the vapours, snatch back their victim mantle and seek to invite further scorn upon my head for a post which I didn’t even write by a writer whom I don’t know!

One day I will tell this extraordinary story in full, together with screenshots, it would make a fascinating dossier for future archivists and sociologists, documenting the spread of internet communication, but I think it’s also a cautionary tale about how the internet is not a disembodied impersonal medium but an intensified microcosm of human weakness capable of fostering vituperative and vindictive vendettas of epic proportions.

There will be those who say that the abuse is a measure of my success and impact, no doubt this is true, but it is coming at too much of a cost to us as a family, I have to put my children first. I am at the stage where I am seriously worried about their safety, combined with various comments and insinuations that I am guilty of severe child neglect; at one stage someone remarked that there was no danger of their being overfed. So-called ‘liberals’ alleging that a  ‘dangerous Catholic homophobic mother’ is neglecting and/or endangering her children could have dreadful repercussions.

The bitter irony is that I will resurrect my Twitter account in the New Year,  however it will be under an assumed name.  It’s ironic, that for the first time ever, I’m forced into taking the very action that I have repeatedly been accused of.

41 thoughts on “A bitter irony

  1. Hi Caroline, I have not read all of your blog post yet, but it all sounds very familiar as I have come across the same behaviour in facebook forums. Twitter is especially virulent, however, due to the fact tweets are broadcast to everyone on the planet, not just friends and forum-members, and because ofthe character limit which promotes snarky, bitchy comments. What I have found incredibly helpful in these online confrontations is having a small team of orthodox-minded Christians with which to strategise and seek support in a confidential facebook group. It is surprising how helpful it can be just to be able to call up one or two allies when one is swamped in a discussion, and being accused of sockpuppetry, homophobia, misogyny, racism or defence of paedophilia. I don’t know what kind of support you have had from Catholic Voices during all this, but our ragtag group of keyboard warriors would gladly speak up for you when required, and we all use our own names, too, because we are proud of what we write. Anyway, just a thought prompted by all this. I think leaving twitter is a good move. It is no coincidence that twittering rhymes with chittering.

  2. Hi, Caroline

    You have had a great deal to put up with for at least as long as I have been following you. When I read that you have, finally, decided to delete your Twitter account, I felt a wave of relief wash over me. And then I read that you are intending to rejoin in the New Year under a pseudonym.

    Why?

    Really, why?

    You can keep up with what is happening in the world without it. If there are some people you cannot live without following…. Take a month off and, at the end of it, have someone take your pulse to check that you are, in fact, still alive. I think you will find that you are!

    You will not be able to conceal your identity for long. Seriously, stay away from that cesspit. Use Facebook instead. At least when you block people on that, they stay blocked. They can say whatever they want but you will not be confronted with it. Give yourself (and your family!) a rest!

    With best wishes as always

    Ruari

    1. Hi Ruari

      The thing is Twitter is the quickest way to pick up on breaking news, which is obviously important for me, I use it on the go on my mobile, and also a good way to interact and have a bit of banter with friends.

      Obviously I do speak to my friends offline too, but on a good day, Twitter is like a bit of pub banter and shouldn’t really be taken all that seriously.

      The problem seems to be that some individuals have become obsessed by it and thus have used it to make my life intolerable and take conflicts into real life.

      I should imagine that if I do set up a pseudonymous account it will also be locked, but I suspect you are correct in that pretty swiftly I’ll be rumbled and the abuse will start over again, so you might be right.

      But thank you so much for your support.

      Best wishes

      Caroline

  3. Caroline,
    Here we are once again – being driven away from proclaiming the Good News that God loves each and every one of us on this planet. Yes, even the trolls!
    I wonder when the evil one will stop using his minions as a mouthpiece and just come out and declare the evil attacks on you and other Christians are just that, evil!
    The word of God tells us that the time is coming when the evil one and all his minions will be subjected once and for all to the mighty wrath of the Lord God Almighty. I pray that day will come soon and that we will be on the right side!

    May the blessings of the Most High be upon you and yours, and I pray that Michael and his angels will protect you from the onslaught to come.

    Vinedresser x

  4. Oh Caroline, this is just nuts. The Internet access at university is bonkers (I can get to Twitter, but for the longest time it wouldn’t let me connect fully…), so I haven’t been able to communicate with you in a while. Goodness, this is horrible!
    I know at least parts of this, since I got pummeled too by at least one (I think two, actually) folks who’ve had a pop at you. Nothing compares to what you’ve been through, though, and you already carry whatever is in your past. No need for anyone else to bring it up, except Jesus Christ, the Just and Merciful Judge.
    The Daily Telegraph…sigh. Only Tim Stanley is worth reading on there.
    And you know what? We’re all terrible Catholics in one way or another. We sin, a lot. The difference between you and the rest of the lot is that you admit it while others use it to torture you. (BTW, I don’t feel bad saying that. A priest I know was slandered and otherwise assaulted verbally, but he solved the problem by calling people out at the pulpit. So if anyone feels I’m judgey or in the wrong, tis their problem.)
    Prayers.

  5. I have not read it all. But I get the gist.

    Just wanted to tell you I love your emails. God bless You and keep you Strong. Please continue to be courageous Susan xxx

  6. The inherent danger in relying on Twitter/Facebook etc. is in their addictive nature and the substituting of virtual reality for real life. In effect, it’s a withdrawal from the richness of direct interpersonal relationships which need time and direct investment to mature and to bring their mental and spiritual rewards.
    Aside from blogging, which at least empowers you to moderate responses, social media is not the forum for reasoned debate. It’s little more than the instant gratification of a high sugar hit, unecessary for survival and very often positively harmful to wellbeing. Give it up. It will liberate you and your family; the best gift you could give to yourself and to them.
    Best wishes.

      1. I really like that analogy too, it’s both highly evocative and accurate.

        What I need to do however, is figure out a way of keeping in touch with breaking Catholic news, which is really essential in terms of media advocacy.

    1. You’re writing is excellent Caroline, not personally a fan of twitter and agree with the sugar fix, far too time consuming and a constant distraction and time-sucker. All things in moderation and with some balance. I look forward to reading your blogs in future. I would highly recommend daily prayers of protection when you are under such attack, which always comes when you do God’s work. http://www.larrycummins.ie/Prayers_of_Protection_Deliveran.html

      God Bless

  7. Disgraceful! They’ve shown themselves up for what they are. Political extremists of either colour are equally unpleasant. And I will miss your real friendship.

  8. So sorry that you have been driven to this. I have a little experience of this, which is why I deleted my FB page and don’t do twitter; still, I have been accused of being other bloggers. The tactic is always the same and always aimed at women. These people are despicable cowards who ought to be seeking help; it is they who should be deleting their accounts.

    Rest assured, you are an inspiration to many of us, and may God bless you and your lovely family. Jess xxx

  9. Sorry to hear about your troubles – I like and value your commentary enormously. Hope you and your family have a blessed Christmas. Tim Stanley (of the Telegraph)

  10. Sending you prayers Caroline and will miss you but hopefully they will now leave you in peace. May the Light of Christ continue to burn brightly in you and may His Love be with you and yours now and the years to come. Pax! p.s. I am still kinda bummed I couldn’t pull out enough of my anglophile self to be accused of being you 🙂

  11. I’m sending you love and prayers. I would question whether you “need” twitter or access to constant news for media advocacy if it comes at such a price to yourself and your family. Your first calling is wife/ mother not media advocate and if these people attack you through your children, you are not weak or letting down the church to protect your family. I pray you will have the peaceful, restful remainder of advent and Christmastide you need. May God be active in the hearts and souls of your persecutors. L x

  12. Caroline, I can confirm that I am not you, or anyone associated with you, and indeed I have never even met you. Of course I have given you some support by e-mail and Twitter.

    Apparently my writing a blog post saying that there are people around who bully other people was very offensive, as various people claimed to recognise themselves in the post.

    God bless.

  13. Wow. What is scary is that these people are influencing others and are walking around free!

    What goes around, comes around, Caroline. They will get their comeuppance, one way or another and they will probably be better for it once they’ve had a taste of their own medicine.

  14. I would agree with the comments above. I have never had a good impression of Twitter and your experience just confirms it.
    Would you consider instead, a Facebook group where you and other bloggers could post articles using assumed names perhaps? I would friend it

  15. I’m gutted you’ve deleted your Twitter account, I honestly thought there was a possibility for peace, love, harmony and reconciliation between Catholic folk.

    Feel very foolish now.

    I’m not blaming you by the way, I completely understand why you’ve taken this decision, just feel sickened and empty by it all…….

    1. Thank you so much Stuart that really means a lot.

      I am absolutely delighted on hearing your news about being admitted to the Catholic Church.

      My deletion is not meant as a warring gesture but to give me a modicum of peace. Having talked it over with family, friends and colleagues who have been incredibly supportive, what is clear is that tweeting under my own name is going to be impossible as there are just a few people who are determined not to leave me alone.

      I’ve found 3rd party conversations are interrupted, even an innocent one about confession & examination of conscience, had a blocked person interjecting that “some people’s consciences don’t need examining, but defibrulating and the services of a medium.” It may be mere banter but given it was made by a man who calls me a sociopath and a hellbound evil harridan who has no soul, I am finding the constant darker edge combined with relentless fixation of a tiny few is really beginning to affect my own peace of mind.

      I think the UK Catholic community needs to ask itself why, unlike the USA, our Twitter is so dysfunctional. Maybe the next Guild Meeting ought to address effective use of social media & support strategies.

      One thing that is glaringly obvious is that people need to stop obsessing with others’ content & activity and simply get on with their own online business and ministry. If one doesn’t like someone ignore them instead of tweeting about why one doesn’t like them 24/7.

      If my departure prompts a rethink, peace and a re-ordering of Catholic Twitter then that wil be a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

      Don’t be discouraged. It is disappointing but internecine squabbling is not confined to Catholicism but all niche communities. Feminism has exactly the same problem online.

      God promised us the Church would never be in error but he doesn’t say anything about individuals. Twitter is a medium that focuses on self-identity and so it is can’t be surprising that much of this is about the sin of pride.

      Wishing you and your little ones a happy, peaceful and blessed Christmas Stuart and thank you. Out of all the comments yours is the most treasured.

      Caroline & family xxx

  16. What I found extraordinary in all this, and a real indication of the madness of your detrators, is the way that my Twitter account and my donkey blog (centred on the lives of four animals in Spain) was supposed to be a pure invention of yours! These people are nutters. What makes them dangerous nutters is when their frenetic lunacy gets into other people’s heads by sheer attrition. They must be reported and banned.

  17. Another small voice of support from someone who has enjoyed and benefitted from your tweets and your blog. I hope you and your family have a blessed and peaceful Christmas.

  18. Ruari’s comment turned out to be extremely prescient.

    After a break over Christmas I set up an account to tweet under the radar using the name of my puppy, in order to still be able to interact with friends and be a part of the online Catholic conversation on Twitter.

    Within the period of 4 days, the account was discovered, two persistent adversaries used the handle to attack me, one taking an umbrage at a comment that I had made (which I stand by) regarding his online behaviour and the other launching into her usual diatribe.

    The man was audacious enough to accuse me of harassment because I had made a comment to a third party and used my handle to tell me that he would consider it harassment if I was to refer to him again.

    I found this threatening and asked to be left alone (after all if I were to comment upon any third party such as a celebrity it would not be considered harassment) whereupon he pounced on my response which begged to be left alone and cited it as harassment!

    He then took a screenshot of a tweet I had favourited and circulated it to his followers, claiming that the act of favouring a tweet of someone in my timeline constituted harassment!

    Shortly afterwards he wrote two blogposts about my account (which had a tiny number of followers) and then a parody account of my puppy account was set up by someone!

    Twitter then suspended my puppy’s account as it had been reported for spam, despite not violating any rules, and I noted yet another former attacker had attempted to follow it.

    Upon waking up late in the night to see to both the baby and the puppy, I was alerted to the fact that the woman who has spent the past six months obsessing over my main account, had launched into another diatribe about me, employing her usual trick of writing a stream of invective, subsequently deleting her tweets and had a conversation with the LGBT man mentioned in the post above, in which he accused me of mental illness and said that he had been watching my new account and that I was suffering from schizophrenia and needed psychiatric assistance.

    The irony is that this man operates 3 separate twitter accounts, one public, one private and one for his dog and seems to have nothing better to do than monitor my online activity and make spiteful accusations about my mental health as a means to discredit me.

    These people repeatedly talk about wanting online peace, wanting to be left alone, talk about how peaceful it was when I left Twitter and the big glaring obvious irony here, is that it is them monitoring and stalking me. I have not attacked them, their ‘peace’ such as it is, comes from the fact that they had nothing to feed off and comment upon when I deleted my account.

    If they truly want peace then they ought to leave me alone, stop monitoring my twitter feed, screenshotting it and inviting others to join in, stop publicly alleging that I have mental illness, stop their running 24/7 commentary on me, stop attacking my appearance, stop attempting to dredge up and discuss details of my past, stop alleging child neglect and get on with their own lives instead of focussing on mine.

    It is truly disturbing case of cyber-harassment. My real life friends are on Twitter and we find it a really good way to interact and keep in touch as well as by telephone and other methods, but it is clear that a tiny group have become obsessed and won’t leave me alone and are determined to make life impossible for me and attempt to affect my professional reputation.

    Repeatedly publicly accusing a mother of 4 young children of mental illness, whom they do not know and have never met, is reckless, irresponsible, reeks of gaslighting and is a deliberate attempt to cause a breakdown. No mental health professional would countenance such an approach, the internet is not a diagnostic tool for such matters and frankly the man who has sent 140,000 tweets and has at least 3 separate twitter accounts from which he tweets every single detail and minutiae of his life, ought to remove the glaring log from his own eye before accusing me of Twitter addiction. Once again he has engaged in his usual trick of tweeting calumnies then deleting all evidence.

    I am frightened and alarmed to have become the object of such fixation. That my pregnancies and the death of my unborn baby have proved no barrier to repeated vile bullying and attempts at intimidation speaks volumes about the mindset of these people.

    This is a situation which requires much prayer and fasting and Ruari was right to predict that I would be discovered and the abuse would continue.

    I enjoyed using Twitter as both a social and professional tool, however as I said in my original post, for the safety of my family and my own peace of mind, I have to concede that it is no longer safe for me to use other than as a conduit to my blog.

    1. I’m sorry my forecast turned out to be accurate, Caroline.

      Tell you what: I’m having a Dry January – well, most of it; I’m starting for real on the Epiphany but I’m getting into practice today. I’ll leave the booze in the cabinet and you can leave Twitter untwitched.

      We can offer each other mutual support and encouragement, and a helping hand if it looks line a stumble is on the way. If we both make it to the end of the month, you can be reassured that you can live without Twitter and I will probably be able to get into that suit I bought in 2012.

      We could then celebrate in or own way; me with a bottle of wine specially reserved for the occasion and you with an orgy of Tweeting!

      Or maybe we could both continue on our slightly modified life paths…?

      Best wishes, as ever

  19. Sorry the ‘puppy account’ didn’t work out. I didn’t think it would disguise you completely (I guessed it was probably you!) but I did hope that a combination of its gentle silliness and the goodwill which ought to follow a New Year might have calmed everything down.

    God bless -and as Eccles says, courage! (Hope Basil isn’t too bruised by the experience.)

  20. Sometimes, which I learned from personal experience via AOL chats…is to be careful of what you say about yourself. Sadly, there are others that are in need of help ( mental & spiritual) in this world. Padre Pio stated that about half of those with mental issues are of the demonic ( possession or infestation), which could apply to social mediums such as twitter with attacks on Catholics & others that are attacked that uphold God’s words. I am unsure if what I wrote will help, just be careful and pray before tweeting.

  21. From a great distance away in the mostly sunny Costa Blanca (but today raining), I have observed the way in which you have been treated. Like Eccles above, I can only conclude there is no explanation but simply evil at work.

    I encourage you to continue your online activity and ignore the nasties who work as a team to plague you. Easier said than done. You need to listen to those around you who urge you not to look at the things written by the crazy people. You have support: use it. The answer is not a puppy account: the answer is to stay with your own identity, your own Twitter handle, your own immense ability to inspire others, and let’s see these idiots off. A few humorous jibes from people like Eccles, Spock and myself and the bullies start whingeing about ‘victimisation’, so we know they are softies. Stand firm and act together: they behave like a pack of wild dogs, but the high-pitched bark-buster of satire operates at a sound level they find unbearable. See them off.

    And if a certain bishop doesn’t take action soon against a certain man in “good standing” who needs a shot fired across his bows, it will reflect as badly on the archdiocese as it reflects upon that man’s office. Let the shepherds act to protect the sheep.

    Happy New Year, Caroline. Be fearless and stand for the faith.

    Brother Lapin

  22. I follow all of this objectively and at a distance but my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family,Caroline. Most sane people can see the activities of some of your persecutors are fuelled by ungodly motives ( or ungodly substances – it’s hard to tell really) but bitter life experience has told me that some people really really don’t see the beams in their own eyes until it is too late. So stay in there and ignore those who are psychologically feasting on your distress. God bless.

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