Why I Made My Tweets Private

The short explanation: I was tired of being stalked by a paranoid, neurotic, and vindictive old woman.

How To Make Your Tweets Private

Shame on you! You obviously didn’t take my Lynda.com course about Twitter where I explain how to do this. But since you were nice enough to come visit me at my blog, I’ll give you the simple steps here:

  1. Log into Twitter.com.
  2. Go to https://twitter.com/settings/account. This is the Account Settings page for your account.
  3. Turn on the Protect my Tweets check box.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Save Changes.
  5. Enter your password if prompted and click OK.

That’s all there is to it. From that point on, the only way someone can see your tweets is if they follow you — and they’ll have to get your approval to do so. While I don’t normally recommend doing this, it’s a good solution if you’d prefer to control who can see your tweets.

I just made my tweets private. It was the only thing I could think of to get my husband’s girlfriend — if you can use that word to refer to a 65-year-old woman — to stop stalking me on Twitter.

How It All Began

It’s been going on since at least November 2012.

Flushing Fish
I think the tweet text makes it pretty clear that the fish was already dead when I tried to flush it.

Back then, while I was cleaning my fish tank’s glass cover, I managed to get a cleaning solution in the water that killed four of the five fish in there. I removed the fish and attempted to flush them down the toilet. Unfortunately, the fish were large and they wouldn’t flush. For some reason, I thought that was funny and took a photo of it, which I shared on Twitter.

Well, my husband’s girlfriend decided that my flushing of a dead fish was evidence that I was destroying my husband’s property — namely, his “exotic” fish. (Nevermind that the fish tank was mine, purchased before marriage, and the dead fish were just tropical fresh-water fish costing about $5 each — if that.) She apparently convinced my husband and his lawyer that they needed an expedited hearing in front of the divorce judge to stop me from doing whatever it is they thought I was doing. They demanded an opportunity to inspect the house and remove his personal possessions so I would stop destroying them. She printed out 25 pages of my tweets — the vast majority of which had absolutely nothing to do with my divorce — and submitted them as “evidence” of my wrongdoing.

This is when I realized a few things:

  • My husband’s girlfriend was in charge of my husband’s side of the divorce. It all came from her; I had confirmation of that later by means I’ve promised not to disclose. My husband certainly didn’t read my tweets (or my blog) and he knew the fish were mine.
  • My husband’s girlfriend was paranoid, neurotic, and likely as delusional as my husband had become. What else could I think? She read a tweet about a fish being flushed and decided it was evidence that I was destroying my husband’s property. Seriously: WTF?
  • My husband’s lawyer was not giving them sound advice — or, if he was, they weren’t taking it. After all, if he’d read the 25 pages of tweets, he’d clearly see that there was nothing in there to indicate that I was destroying anything belonging to my husband. They’d simply look like idiots in front of the judge.

This kind of backfired on them — as so many of their court actions did. My husband was given a date and time to come to our house and retrieve any of his possessions that he was worried about. That meant moving a lot of crap out of the house that he would probably have preferred leaving right there. It also prevented him from accessing the house later, as he tried in May, because he’d already used up his only court-approved opportunity to remove possessions. Oops.

You think she’d learn her lesson. A smart person would. But no: she continued to watch my tweets and attempt to use them to harass me throughout the months the divorce process dragged on.

Show Me Your Weakness and I’ll Exploit It

I have to admit that once I knew she was reading my tweets, it was difficult not to taunt her. She had no life — that was clear — why else would she be so obsessed with what I was tweeting about? Despite my heartbreak over losing the man I’d loved for more than half my life, I had a great life and I tweeted every detail.

I didn’t work much throughout the winter and spring and I traveled a lot, making multiple trips to California, Florida, Las Vegas, and Washington. I shopped for a whole new wardrobe after losing 45 pounds the previous summer. I met new people home and away and did all kinds of things with them. When I was home, I had a steady stream of house guests in the house they supposedly couldn’t wait to get back into. They’d insisted on dragging the divorce on past the original January trial date by asking for a continuance — I made the best of the situation by having a great time while I was stuck there. I tweeted all winter and spring about my activities, making sure I mentioned every fun thing I was doing, knowing just how much it would get under her skin.

A normal person would have stopped reading the tweets. But she’s not normal. She’s obsessed. I accused her in January of living vicariously through my tweets. She read that one, too — I saw it later as “evidence” in court.

She was stuck with my sad sack husband, directing his divorce because he lacked the balls — or moral integrity — to do it himself. I was enjoying real freedom for the first time in nearly 30 years, doing whatever I wanted without having to look at his sour, disapproving face.

And, of course, I packed.

More Tweets in January

The tweets came up again in January when she attempted to get an Injunction Against Harassment on me. I fought it in court. More tweets submitted as “evidence.” I don’t even think the judge looked at them. Why should he? Pages and pages of my usual blather — those who follow me on Twitter know what I tweet about — all copied in triplicate as “exhibits” for the court. I could only imagine what those photocopies cost — law firms charge through the nose for everything!

They showed up with their lawyer. Three of them against me. I won. They had no case.

Another court action backfires on them. Another few thousand dollars wasted fighting the phantoms of her delusions.

The Ceiling Fans

Ceiling Fan Tweet
I really couldn’t resist. Note that I didn’t say here that I removed the ceiling fans; I just insinuated that I did.

When the divorce trial was finally over the other day, I admit I did send one last tweet intended for her consumption, one last thing to really piss her off. The ceiling fan tweet.

During personal property negotiations, she’d listed the ceiling fans as something I must leave behind. I still remember the discussion my lawyer’s assistant and I had about this demand. It went something like this:

Me: She thinks I’m going to take down the ceiling fans?

Her: Apparently so.

Me: Why the hell would I do that? They came with the house. What the hell am I going to do with six southwest style ceiling fans in Washington state?

Her: She’s just trying to get under your skin.

Me: All she’s doing is showing how stupid and petty she is. I don’t want the damn fans.

Of course, she also demanded the curtain rods. But in the final agreement, the curtain rods went to me. I took them, with the curtains — admittedly, mostly for spite, although the ones in the living room and guest room (which were the only ones I really wanted) will look nice in my new home. And although the ceiling fans were not on the list of the items they could keep — after all, I considered them part of the house — I didn’t take them. I just tweeted as if I might have. The ceiling fans had become a running joke with my Twitter and Facebook friends and I knew they’d enjoy the tweet.

Because my husband had refused to inspect the house with me present, it would be at least 36 hours before they could get in to see what I’d left behind. I’m sure her blood pressure was red-lining the whole time, thinking about those ceiling fans.

Sadly, she didn’t stroke out.

It’s Over. Really.

In my mind, the divorce was over. Everything was in the hands of the judge. We’d settled the personal property and I had come away with everything that was mine and the joint property that I wanted, leaving behind far more for them than I’d taken for myself. (My lawyer’s assistant thinks I gave too much away.) I had finally moved out of my house. I was back in Washington, living where I’d spent the previous five summers, working, playing, having a life.

My husband’s girlfriend, however, wasn’t finished with me yet. She just couldn’t let go. She just couldn’t stop harassing me. I guess that when you spend so many months catering to an obsession, it’s hard to call it quits.

I blogged about the latest hilarity here. No need to repeat the details in this post.

It does, however, all come down to tweets. She built her delusion about my ownership of property in Washington on her interpretation of my tweets. Apparently, plain English isn’t good enough for her. In her paranoid mind, she believes everything I’ve written contains a coded message. She reads my tweets and interprets the code she believes they contain. The result: “facts” to feed her delusions.

(A mutual friend of mine and my husband’s can’t wait to meet her. She’s an amateur psychologist and thinks she’ll have a lot of fun trying to figure her out. I’m looking forward to her report.)

Although I made it clear in a recent email to a bunch of people that I think her obsession with my tweets is evidence that she’s sick, I seriously doubt whether that’s enough to stop her from obsessing. And frankly, I don’t want every little thing I tweet about to feed her delusions and get her running to her lawyer to bother mine.

It’s over. I’m free. I shouldn’t have to deal with her crap anymore. Hell, I shouldn’t have had to deal with it in the first place — and I wouldn’t have if my husband was smart enough (or man enough) to rein her in. The only way to break her of the obsession is to take the object of her obsession away from her.

So my tweets have become private, at least for now.

12 thoughts on “Why I Made My Tweets Private

  1. Wow. It’s bad enough that your heart was broken, but then to have this insecure, toxic sociopath follow your every move is just too much. I think you’re handling it really well. Really appreciate your sense of humor about it.
    Years ago I was in a serious relationship with a man who I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. He ended up dumping me for someone else. I was hurt and disappointed, but I moved on. Never bothered them. Didn’t try to communicate with him. The ties were cut as far as I was concerned. What was weird was that his new girlfriend became obsessed with me. Through mutual friends, I would hear about her badmouthing me. We never even had met! In her delusional mind, I was some kind of she-monster who was going to try to steal the man back. Thank goodness this was all pre-social media. She would have been a real nuisance then. It took awhile but when she saw I wouldn’t “play” in her messed up game, she backed off and left me alone (turning her delusions on someone else no doubt – people like her are addicted to this kind of drama).
    They got married and then divorced a few years later.
    Go figure.

    • It sounds to me like my husband has been hooked by the same kind of nut job. Women who are so insecure that they need to fasten their hate on other women.

      I’ll admit it — for a while, I would have taken him back. I still love him. But the past few months has shown me what a spineless liar he is. Pitiful! I’m an idiot for even thinking I want that back. She can have him!

      But she apparently still feels threatened and is cooking up all kinds of stories about me. The property investigation story I linked to is classic. I wonder if anyone will finally understand just how completely whacked out she is?

      I’m hoping that with my tweets gone, she’ll settle down and leave me alone.

  2. Unbelievable silliness, that’s for sure. I think making your tweets private is a good idea for now… unfortunately. :-/

    • Laughing at it is the best I can do. It’s gone from tragic to annoying to just plain funny (in a sick sort of way). Each day I wonder what’ll come next. One thing’s for certain: they’ll never give up. I’ve become the focus of their sorry little lives.

    • She’s not following me. She reads my tweets on my timeline on Twitter.com. No other way to block her or anyone else from reading them.

      (Oddly, this comment went to my spam bucket. Not sure what that was all about. I rescued and approved it. But it means that Akismet thinks your email address or IP address is a spam account. Keep that in mind.)

  3. Unfortunately I am sure this web site will be the next line of attack. The old lady in question obviously hasn’t got a a life. Doesn’t she realise what a wonderful source of almost daily humor she generates for us twitter and blog site followers?
    Is this the end of our old hag updates? No more chuckles over what your removal men declared over her dress sense?
    In all honesty I think your mutual friend will have a field day analysing this elderly cuckoo. Will you blog the results for a chuckle please?

    • Oh, she’s already printed out plenty of blog posts. They run long — lots of paper to photocopy! Back in January, she tried to get a judge to muzzle me, but he reminded her that this is America and we’ve got a little thing called the First Amendment. Funny, but I didn’t start blogging with both barrels until after that little dance in court — which, coincidentally, is how I found out how old she is. That really shed the light on what was going on: the whole mommy thing. Some people just can’t leave well enough alone.

      I really prefer not to write any more about my divorce — at least not here. The Divorce Book is in progress and although about half of includes blog posts currently found on this site, the rest will be brand new stories I haven’t told yet. The Garage Fiasco will appear there. The book is my way of recouping some of the legal expenses of fighting them. They cost me a ton of money and the book will help me get all of it back.

      I guess it’s safe to say that if they leave me alone, I’ll stop blogging about them. But if they continue to harass me, I’ll continue to report it here so we can all have a good laugh at their expense.

      And yes, I will definitely share my friend’s analysis. I’m sure most readers here would enjoy it.

    • In all honesty, I don’t think they will give up. They’re just not smart enough. And every time they try to rain more shit down on me, I’ll be sharing it here.

What do you think?