Me and My Shadow

A lot of what we share here will make more sense if you understand the history involved.  So here goes …..

Does anyone honestly think it’s a coincidence that my hobbies are photography and genealogy — and our alienating parent’s hobbies are photography and genealogy?  Imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery, so let me say, I’ve been feeling pretty flattered for many, many years.  🙂

As anyone who knows me can attest, I’ve been interested in genealogy for decades.  Well before computers came along, my husband and I would be visiting courthouses and cemeteries in search of information about our families.  After his granddaughter was born in 2001, his ex-wife gave me information about her family so I could add it in to the family tree I was putting together for the newest addition to the family.  Here’s one of her e-mails to me.  I’ve redacted the information she shared, since it gives a lot of details about living individuals.  But you get the gist…..

Irishgirl355 email

I joined on November 25, 2000.  I guess our alienating parent thought I was having too much fun with all of my genealogy, so she decided to join herself on January 16, 2002.

Ancestry membership dates redacted

We had a tree on — and, of course, our alienating parent had to post several there as well.  (One wasn’t enough?)

We also had a tree on, through our Family Tree Maker software, and our alienating parent posted one there herself.  Unfortunately, she ran into a little trouble when she decided to use that forum for her own personal observations and comments, as you can see from this e-mail we received from the Customer Service Department in 2004.


This also shows that this particular aspect of problems with our alienating parent have been going over for over ten years now, sad as that is to say.

I’ve been a member of Find a Grave for 13 years.  Our alienating parent didn’t join that group until almost two years ago.  Wonder why it took her so long?  lol!

Find a Grave redacted

When I joined the website called Geni on December 6, 2012, we knew it wouldn’t be long until our alienating parent joined too.  And she didn’t disappoint!


She provided a link to “Geri,” which actually takes you to her page on “Geni.”  Not quite sure who Geri is …..

We’ve touched on the whole photography website situation in an earlier post.  We signed up for that website in 2001 and are still members.   Our alienating parent joined in 2007 or 2008 and didn’t last long.  We also have a photo page on Flickr, which we joined in August 2007.  When our alienating parent left the first website, she joined Flickr and once she realized we also have a page there, couldn’t resist making comments about how I was “following” her there.  Check the date our alienating parent joined and you’ll clearly see that I was on Flickr first …… just like all of the other websites.

And the latest is:  I created a family tree via The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding in September, 2012.  Guess who just created one there herself?  Have I mentioned that I’m going to take up skydiving?   And we’ve got a pool going to see how long it takes OLF to start a blog here on wordpress.  Want to get in on it?  lol!

I’m trying to make light of this situation but, in actuality, it’s more than a little disconcerting.  Is someone so obsessed with what I’m doing that she’ll follow me from website to website to website?  That alone is enough to scare me.  There are hundreds of thousands of things out there that our alienating parent could take an interest in, and she chose genealogy and photography?  Like I said at the beginning of this post, I don’t believe anyone thinks that is a coincidence.  I’ll close this post with something I found about imitation, which hits very close to home:

“Having a copycat can be flattering and even somewhat amusing, at first. However, after awhile, it becomes outright annoying. I mean honestly, what normally adjusted woman imitates another woman constantly? There has to be some sort of imbalance there.”

This blog hasn’t been created to insult or put our alienating parent down.  It has been created to point out that there are some valid issues which we’re concerned about, and this is one of them.   There’s well documented evidence that links imitation with depression, anxiety and a drop in self-esteem.  Given our alienating parent’s history, it’s not surprising that she feels the need to imitate others.

But, on the other hand, I should be permitted to enjoy my hobbies without this constant inter-action with our alienating parent.   We have had no contact with her or her family for several years, but she keeps popping up on websites that I’m on.   I could be wrong, but I think that’s exactly why she keeps joining the same websites that I’m on.  I know she’ll scoff and say:  don’t flatter yourself!  But what other explanation is there for a person who has no interest in genealogy to suddenly join all of these genealogy websites?  And the same is true for the photography websites.    To make certain she continues to have this contact with me?  We have statcounters on many of our websites which show exactly how much time our alienating parent spends looking at our various postings.  But that will have to wait for another post …..


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