Becoming a victim/survivor of work-related emotional abuse was a surprise to me. I was ill-equipped to truly notice any red flags. When it happened, I had no idea how to respond to it or how to recover from it.

Now, sometime after it happened, I’m trying to re-connected pieces of my pre-abused self, I decided to open up about my personal experience of being abused and humiliated — both emotioanlly and intelectually. This post is my first attempt to get my head around how it all happened. I broadly refer to a couple of instances of emotional abuse* I experienced in the space of several years.

I always believed that being a hard worker provides you with some sort of ‘bullying immunity’.

If you just overwork yourself, stay an overly enthusiastic can-do person, a bully would not bother to pick you as their target. I was wrong. …

I take it all in — #covid19 updates, stories, graphs and most importantly — information about disinformation.

I scroll through stories of disbelief, pain, and fear.

I try to get my head around the figures, models, and possible futures.

In the end, I know nothing.

I do nothing.

I have nothing to say.

After nearly a decade of scrolling, sharing and liking, I decided to delete my Facebook account at the beginning of 2019. Although it felt quite liberating at first, my Facebook withdrawn syndromes have been complex. My current relationship with Facebook can be described as complicated.

I miss you but I hate you, Facebook.

My Facebook break-up feels like an ongoing drama with an ex, who takes away their share of friends and send you drunken texts after a night out (e.g. “we need to talk”, “let’s meet up”, and “ things will be different this time…”).

I set up a Facebook account in my early 20’s. “You don’t exist unless you’re on Facebook” — a friend told me while setting my account and agreeing to all terms and conditions on my behalf.

It was a sunny Friday afternoon in Edinburgh. I was getting organised for my PhD party which was about to take place later that evening. On my back from my local supermarket, I was carrying bags filled with party snacks. The bags were quite heavy and awkward to carry, and the bus was delayed. As I found my spot at the bus stop, I dropped my bags and continue to worry about the party ahead of me — have we got enough snacks? Do we have any vegan options? What if someone is allergic to nuts?

Concerned with my first-world problems, I did not pay attention to other people waiting for the bus — until a massive giant appeared in front of me. His physical presence was so overwhelming that I have no choice, but to notice him.

There is a digital war within the Polish migrant community in Scotland. Our digital war is full of passion. We wave our digital flags, post memes, quote statistics, and share videos clips. We fight each others Polishness or lack of it. Some of us propose that those who are not Polish enough should be hanged, burnt alive or/and even exterminated in gas chambers. We are united in our disregard for those who do not fit into our criteria of Polishness. We block. We hate.

Xeno-racism is a form of racism. Xeno-racism is not only, “directed at those with darker skins, from the former colonial countries, but at the newer categories of the displaced and dispossessed whites … It is a racism that is meted out to impoverished strangers even if they are white” (Fekete, 2001). In recent years, xeno-racists have become more visible thanks to two things — social media and Brexit. Digital forms of xeno-racism have had a huge impact on my self-identity. After all, I’m a Polish immigrant in the UK, whose identity and economic value have been in the spotlight of…

In 2018, misinformation was picked as word of the year by Misinformation is defined as “false information that is spread, regardless of whether there is intent to mislead” (, 2018). Of course, misinformation is not the only term that can be used to describe our information related confusion in 2018. Don’t forget about echo chamber, confirmation bias, filter bubble, conspiracy theory, fake news, post-fact, post-truth. Most of these terms — as well as the associated confusion as to how they differ — describe our struggle of living in the digital age. …

Christmas is supposed to be loving and care-free family time. We are meant to be grateful for the time we spend together — gracefully dining around the table while laughing away our existential aches. Spiritually, Christmas is also meant to be a special time. We may accidentally tap into our inner wisdom and infinite sources of gratitude and compassion, and as a result, spread love and peace in 2019.

However, what happens when one’s Christmassy wisdom get contaminated with bits of misinformation? What happens when fake-news and self-proclaimed scientific expertise emerge at the table? As a digital literacy advocate — should you fight back or stay silent?

Should you fight back in the name of humanity or stay silent as a symbol of compassion and forgiveness towards your misinformation oppressors? I decided to fight back. I presented my…

Chronic pain is boring. Nobody wants to constantly hear about the same thing over and over again. How can you re-tell the story of your uterus in both an exciting and convincing way? As a chronically ill female patient, is it your responsibility to share information efficiently — without sounding hysterical or emotional? Could playing the role of a nice and well-behaved patient, improve your chances of getting better treatment?

As an endometriosis fighter, I have been asking these questions over the last few years. My situation is particularly complicated as I’m not only a female patient, but a migrant…

Alicja Pawluczuk

Dr Alicja Pawluczuk (AKA hy_stera) writes about digital humanities, feminism, and social justice → +

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