help! i cant stop looking through my ex's social media :(

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jupitersrings
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help! i cant stop looking through my ex's social media :(

Unread post by jupitersrings »

hey, so, ive dated about three people and each time we broke up/cut contact i have had this nasty habit of continuing to check their social media. recently its gotten me into some trouble and i just... cannot continue like this. i keep doing it, even when i make promises to myself, i just... don't have the willpower to stop. i have a tendency to do it especially when i already feel bad, mostly to make myself worse.

help! how do i stop being a creep???
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Re: help! i cant stop looking through my ex's social media :(

Unread post by Michaela »

Hi garfieldfan and welcome to Scarleteen!

I first want to acknowledge that it sounds like a difficult time for you right now. I want to assure you that this is not an uncommon thing for people to experience after a breakup at all, so you're not alone. Are you aware of what tends to make you feel the urge to check their social media? Better understanding the triggers can help you come up with a plan of what to do proactively to replace that behavior. For example, a trigger could be something like feeling lonely and a behavior that could replace that could be texting a friend or reading a book.

This may also be something that takes some time of trying out different things to figure out what feels right to you. There are some other ways to approach this as well if this technique doesn’t sound beneficial to you.

Could you say a little more about how it got you into trouble recently?
jupitersrings
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Re: help! i cant stop looking through my ex's social media :(

Unread post by jupitersrings »

hello and thank you! :-)

i think so? sometimes i just get overwhelmed with the urge to check up on what other people are doing. i guess it mostly comes from a place of wanting to know if im on the minds of people who used to care about me, but it rarely works out well. loneliness is definitely a factor, and sometimes im able to repress the urge and do something else but lately its just gotten... extreme. paranoia and anxiety can also be a trigger but mostly it comes from missing people and wanting to see if theyve thought about me or regret their actions towards me, even when most people don't post the inner workings of their mind on, like, pinterest lol.

it got me in trouble because my ex had a plug-in on their laptop that allowed them to see when other people had checked their profile, and a close friend shared that i was looking at it with them as well without my consent (suffice to say i am not friends with that person anymore lol.) they began leaving passive aggressive messages to provoke me into becoming *more* paranoid, which only led to me checking it more often. ive also been checking on my now ex-friend more than i'd like. its only been about a day but i've had this habit for ages and i just want to be done with it.
Last edited by jupitersrings on Wed Sep 28, 2022 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: help! i cant stop looking through my ex's social media :(

Unread post by nicole »

Hi jupitersrings,

I want to let you know that you are not alone in this, as I completely understand where you are coming from. I am so sorry that this situation has escalated to your ex seeing your activity on their profile and your close friend sharing your actions with them. I think that you did the right thing by not continuing that friendship, as your friend should not have done that, especially without your consent. With this, I can totally see how this has led to more paranoia, which follows with now checking more profiles.

I have had a very similar situation to your's. It was not even checking my ex's profile, but also checking their current partner's profile. I know how much harm this causes and it can get quite exhausting keeping up with all of these people. It was not beneficial to my mental health, so I took the time to thoroughly block everyone that I was checking on. Since then, I completely forgot about these people, so even if they were unblocked, I could really care less about them. While this was years ago and I have since moved on in my life, I can definitely see how this could have played out if I did not block them initially.

Now, I do want to ask if you are seeing anyone for your anxiety and paranoia. While we are definitely a resource to help you out in this situation, we are not necessarily professionals. I am a psychology student so I have long ways to go until I am certified to be a counselor or clinician. I am glad to see that you have taken the steps to distract yourself by doing other activities to avoid checking these profiles, but I know that anxiety and paranoia is very tricky. At the moment, greatest advice is to block or mute these accounts. Additionally, you mentioned that loneliness is a factor in this, can you expand on that? Do you have any friends that you see frequently enough, like in or out of school or extracurricular activities? When I was experiencing a situation that was similar to your's, spending time with friends basically saved my life.

I hope that my response resonates with you in any way. Please let me know if you have any more questions or concerns. I am happy to help! Take care.
jupitersrings
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Re: help! i cant stop looking through my ex's social media :(

Unread post by jupitersrings »

hi nicole!

it's good to know that other people understand where i'm coming from, i've always known this was a problem of mine but those recent events have just... really made me realize how badly i need it to stop. my ex was never supposed to find out about it and i understand they were upset because of their own paranoia but... it's only made *mine* worse. it doesn't help me and is pretty much emotional self-harm. i've even caught myself looking through current-friends profiles, even if i'm completely over whatever issue made me want to look in the first place.

i've blocked both those people and have managed to get through the day so far without looking but i have the urge to very often. though i guess the first day is always the hardest lol. along with that, though, blocking/muting people does not always block their profile from *view*, and if i can still find the profile i will tend to look at it when things get rough. right now, if i get the urge to check, i'll try to scroll through social media and hope that i get distracted enough to forget the urge haha. or i'll straight up ignore it.

i am trying to get a therapist right now. i have one i see on a tri-monthly-ish basis but i've realized that seeing one regularly would be really helpful. as for the loneliness, i've struggled with isolation since i was a kid, and making/maintaining friends has always been really difficult for me. i'm in a handful of clubs at school (i also started attending a different school this year so i dont know anyone) and some of those seem promising but: a) i've been missing a lot of class due to mental health issues b) i have undiagnosed autism and that makes socializing... Very difficult c) i don't have much in common with most people who seem cool in my classes. i joined our schools dungeons and dragons club and that seems promising but its going to take time to get close to the people there :') i have some online friends who i can trust but they also tend to be really busy haha. my sister and mom have been helpful but they're also pretty occupied with their lives.
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Re: help! i cant stop looking through my ex's social media :(

Unread post by Emily N »

Hi there!

You have a strong understanding of the negative ways the social media checking behavior is affecting your life, recognizing that is a really important first step. And now you’ve taken a second step by blocking them, so you should definitely feel proud of how far you’ve come already :)

What is you relationship with social media like in general? If it something that is important to you to keep in your life, is there a way you can be more selective about what times you go on social media? Or choose which social media sites to visit and which to avoid? That might help some with the accidentally running into their profiles, because I know if takes a lot of focus/restraint to not check on things.

I’m glad you have some support from a therapist, but totally agree that having more regular access to therapy can be helpful for anxiety. But I know that can be easier said than done unfortunately. I really commend you for being on top of your loneliness by trying out new clubs in a new school (that’s a lot to process!). You said that some of the people you rely on in your life can be pretty busy - but I’m sure they also really value spending time with you. Even if you can’t hang out synchronously, are there ways you like to connect with people when you’re not able to be in person?
jupitersrings
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Re: help! i cant stop looking through my ex's social media :(

Unread post by jupitersrings »

thank you! i'm really trying, haha :')

social media is definitely an important part of my life, especially with the aforementioned undiagnosed autism. i can't reach my online friends without it and therefore it's pretty difficult to restrict my access to it. that would also keep me from reaching out to people who i trust and thats... pretty undoubtedly a bad idea for me i think. mostly my problem occurs when i look through the following lists of mutual friends or whatever but i've mostly been focusing on avoiding looking at that stuff all together.

also yeah for sure! i enjoy calling with my friends online, especially playing video games or watching videos/shows together. that ex-friend was my best friend and we used to hang out for hours on call and it's definitely feeling a lot... more isolated lately, but i've been keeping in touch with other friends and making little group chats with people i don't talk to as often so that i can expand my circle a bit.

thank you all for the advice, i've gotten two days without checking it and i know that they're gonna be the hardest, so here's hoping i get through it all relatively painlessly lol!
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Re: help! i cant stop looking through my ex's social media :(

Unread post by Heather »

Hey there, just piping in to introduce you to a term that might come in handy as you're looking for ways to manage this now and in the future: hypervigilance. Compulsively looking at socials in this kind of situation (or period!) can be a manifestation of hypervigilance. Here's a good explainer on it to get a sense of if this is some of what's going on with this: https://www.healthline.com/health/hypervigilance

Just learning to pause when it happens, rather than doing whatever it is we do in being hypervigilant can go such a long way. That pause can look a lot of different ways. It could be literally pausing, and maybe closing your eyes and taking some deep breaths, grounding, and reminding yourself of where you are and what limits you're trying to keep for yourself in checking up, or it can look like distraction: like having other things on hand to do and doing them when the urge strikes.

It's hard to change these ways of being and reacting, hats off to you for working on it for yourself!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
jupitersrings
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Re: help! i cant stop looking through my ex's social media :(

Unread post by jupitersrings »

i just had to take a moment after reading through that, woah... that really sounds like me. i'll def be looking into that more, thank you all for the help and advice! <3
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