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Is It Time To Take a Break From Facebook? When Facebook Is ‘In Charge’ Of Your Self-Esteem

Posted Oct 08 2012 5:50pm

I know somebody whose whole life is dictated by Facebook. She shares the minutiae of her life from what she eats, to the person in her office who is wearing on her last nerve, to the constant changing of her relationship status, to monitoring mutual friends of exes and their profile pages, to worrying about how she’s perceived by her peers, to ‘reconnect’ with shady exes, to blocking and unblocking – exhausting. No she’s not a teenager – she’s early 50s.

Back in the ‘olden times’ (pre-Facebook et al), you’d have had to go on Friends Reunited or your alumni site or yes, attend your school reunion to see people who under ordinary circumstances, you might have taken little interest in. Now you can be connected to old bullies and compare yourself at a click. The ‘childhood sweetheart’ who screwed you over? No problem – you can be exchanging catch up stories and suggestive messages within minutes while their spouse is in another room.

In the ‘olden times’, if you wanted to know what your ex was up to and who he/she was doing, you’d have to be hanging around outside of their work or home, making a nuisance out of yourself with their friends, or you’d have had to hire a private investigator. If you both wanted to keep in touch, you’d have had to make a hell of a lot more effort and it would take a lot more than the crumb interaction of a ‘like’ for you to convey your so-called interest in them. You never had to watch an ex start up their new life if you didn’t have to (i.e you didn’t work together or live closely) – now some of us choose to persecute ourselves by watching our ex have a great life through status updates and spying on their new partner? Why the frick would we do this to ourselves?

I hear from people who have had near meltdowns because they’ve ‘liked’ something an ex has posted on Facebook or vice versa. “What if they think I’m still in love with them?” or “Does this mean that they want to get back together?” Really? You got all of that from a ‘like’? I’ve heard similar about “Hope you’re well…” messages. Yes, really.

In the ‘olden times’, if you were suspicious of your partner, you’d have been looking for receipts in their pocket/bag, going through their stuff, or donning a wig and a mac to follow them around the place. Now, just get on Facebook and monitor who they’re friends with and then flip out at every friend you don’t approve of, likes, photos etc. You then find yourself being reduced to grilling them and trying to explain why you’re so upset or keeping your prying to yourself and torturing you.

The truth is, you would not have to spend all of this time on Facebook over someone if you had more going on between you in real life.  

If you’re logging into their Facebook or demanding that they defriend people, you’re ignoring signs closer to home that all is not well in your relationship. You would not be doing these things if you felt secure in the relationship. What are you going to do? Monitor all of their internet activity forever more?


Viewing the problem as being a Facebook issue is the problem.

The actual problem is the other issues that you’re not acknowledging or are excusing or even blaming yourself for that are prompting you to be all over Facebook like a rash in the first place.

Facebook has its fun element but it’s not real life and it’s certainly not a reflection of who people are. It’s a multi billion dollar business that makes money out of advertising and the ‘data’ from its billions of users as well as other services. It might be ‘free’ but it’s not ‘free’ in the pure sense – you pay your price in data, privacy, and possibly your sanity/self-esteem.

It’s a casual relationship that you’ve started to get very serious about and it’s one-sided.

If your self-esteem is taking a bashing every time you go on Facebook, the problem isn’t so much Facebook – it’s about your potentially fragile and conditional relationship with you. Facebook then represents a torture device that becomes like a virtual ever-changing reflection of all your negative beliefs and your sense of self is shifting depending on what you read on there. It’s time for you to come off Facebook.

Just like dating, if you can’t use Facebook with your self-esteem and reality in tow, don’t use it until you can.

The connections made on Facebook don’t reflect real connections in real life. You have to put a hell of a lot more effort in to make substantial connections. I know people (and yes some of them are assclowns) who have thousands of ‘friends’ on Facebook who barely have two friends to rub together. How much attention does one person need? Some people are running harems on there – Sycophants Are Us! All of these people competing for a narcissistically inclined show-off’s attention.

If how you feel about you is dependent on how much validation you’re getting on a social network that doesn’t seem to mind changing the terms and conditions and messing with the privacy settings from one month to the next, it’s just not worth it.

I would take a break and evaluate what it is that Facebook has tapped into. When you’re a perfectionist and you believe you’re not good enough or you’re prone to comparison, Facebook is like crack to a crack fiend – you know you shouldn’t, you get your hit and then feel woeful afterwards.

If you tend to believe everything and have been caught out by Future Faking and Fast Forwarding, you may not have realised yet that some of the people that are triggering your anxiety use Facebook for peddling a fake self.

Facebook is Those Who Doth Protest Too Much in action. The more I see a couple make soppy declarations to one another on Facebook, the more I know that they’re putting on a show. When your exes new partner makes some big declaration about how ‘amazing’ they are and yada yada yada, it’s marking territory, it’s putting the message out there. Most people don’t chat out all of their business on Facebook anymore so it’s either oversharing which would indicate that they’re insecure or it’s overstating.

Recently a friend of mine has had to come off of Facebook because her sister was passive-aggressively winding her up. She felt instantly better and while she misses the fun, it’s not worth her peace of mind and she’s only going to return until she feels emotionally able.

Facebook isn’t a person and has no more power than you give it. If you feel a certain way it’s because you are using Facebook to judge you.

You would be better off defriending or at least hiding people who aren’t your friends and focusing your efforts on real life and you instead of fakery. Why are people so afraid of defriending? They don’t know about it, but aside from that, it’s your Facebook and your boundaries! Ultimately whether you use Facebook to build your self-esteem on approval or to detract from it with persecution, neither of them are healthy. It ends up becoming a comparison site for how ‘great’ peoples projected and illustrated lives are, and in the end, aside from the fact that perpetual comparison creates perpetual dissatisfaction, we’re also all just outsiders seeing ‘the show’ and we don’t really know what’s going on (unless they’re oversharing) and really, ultimately have far better things to be doing with our time and minds.

Your thoughts?

About the Author:

Natalie Lue is the founder and writer of Baggage Reclaim and author of the books Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl , The Dreamer and the Fantasy Relationship and more . Learn more about her here and you can also follow her on and Twitter - .


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