“Let me tell you how insecure I am”: the online dependa phenomenon.

Drama. Online drama. Adult drama. Adult online drama. Milso drama. Dependa drama. This is a post that is LONG overdue.

A friend of mine is a well-known fitness professional. She has an online following that reaches almost 100,000 people. Today, she announced that she is handing-over the reins of her social media accounts to her moderators. She no longer wishes to deal with the stalking, bullying, and drama from other ADULTS.

What is it about social media and the internet that reduces adults to the mentality of a middle school bully? Why are we so emboldened to become mean people online? Are we so insecure and immature that we cannot control ourselves? Do we really not have anything better to do with our time?

Part of becoming an adult is learning to live and let live, yet adults are so emboldened by social media that they think their opinion should be heard, no matter how awful or mean their opinion is; nor do they care if their opinion is harmful or hurtful.It’s sick.

This poor online behavior extends into the “milso” (military significant other) community. There are Twitter accounts that exist for the sole purpose of humiliating other milsos. There are Facebook accounts that are places where milsos gather to ridicule other milsos. Milsos call others “dependas” (a woman who marries a military man for the benefits and steady paycheck) and publicly make fun of her appearance, her photos, or her feelings. These milsos do not personally know the person they’re humiliating, they don’t know their life story, and yet they become hell-bent on belittling and humiliating the object of their hatred. This behavior is straight-out of middle school, yet milsos of all ages participate in it.

A friend once told me that every time I hear someone make mean comments about another person’s appearance, I should mentally preface their comments with, “Let me tell you how insecure I am.” I now imagine milsos saying this as they go “on the attack”.

At first I was shocked by this side of the milso community. There are mean people in EVERY community, and I met mean military significant others well before I started this blog and attached it to social media accounts. However, in a community like our’s, I think that it’s important that we lift each other up and help each other through troubled moments. We benefit from struggling and succeeding together. I learn so much from every milso I meet, including those who have been through fewer deployments, have been married for a shorter amount of time, and, yes, even those mean milsos. Each of us bring something important and worthy of attention to our community. Our varied life experiences make us better friends to each other because we can truly help each other.

I think that very few of these mean milsos understand that they can get their significant other into hot water with their mean behavior. Many of the mean milsos hide behind “anon” (anonymous) accounts. Very little is actually anonymous online, and it is easy for the military or any other organization to ascertain our identity from an anon online account. In the words of a very wise friend, a good milso has a neutral bearing on her service member’s career; a bad milso can (and eventually will) damage her service member’s career. One or two missteps isn’t a big deal; a personality issue or an ongoing issue becomes a problem for the service member’s career.

I challenge my fellow milsos to reach out to another milso today and lift her up. Remind her that she has something positive and worthy to share. Make her feel good about herself and her place in this world, and remind her that you are her friend. It is very important to be a good neighbor in our military community.

One comment

  1. Thanks for a great blog. I’m a fiancé of a service member and don’t have any idea on how it’s gonna be one’s I become a navy wife. Your blog somehow gives me enlightenment. We’re going to be married soon so i am trying to prepare myself as early as now with regards to the new environment im going to hop into , losing my job here and many more… so many questions in mind that somehow seeks answers one step at a time…. i plan on becoming a good milso though … i know how tough their job is and i would want to give my full support to my future husband.

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