I've had an epiphany. I don't actually need to stay out of any personal confrontation - I just need to not be unfair and not pass general judgments and not take sides in any black-and-white ideological schism. What I can and in fact want to do is express my personal feelings, impressions, and thoughts on certain bloggers and their actions. I don't have to do this. But, by coming out honestly with my feelings, I hope I can ensure that I'm not fake in any online conversation from now on. If people take offense, they can challenge my reactions, or refuse to engage me in conversation again, or shout curses at me. That's perfectly acceptable in my book. My biggest fear right now is being fake.
These are the people I've had emotional reactions to:
Charity: I was horrified as I read her original offending comment. It sounded exactly like the evil narcissistic voice inside my own head, which is usually directed at myself. When she came out as one of our own, I was terrified. I thought it somehow meant I could, as an ACoN, one day do something horrible like this, and, during this initial shock, anger directed at Charity felt like it could possibly be directed at me. At this point, the comments made by Caliban's sister, although they weren't worded as I would have liked to see them worded, placated something inside me.
But I later grew and realized I'm never going to do something like this simply because I don't have any desire to, and if I ever did anything so hurtful I would certainly NOT want others to offer me instant forgiveness and welcome back and we love you and let bygones be bygones and let's forget all about it. I would want anyone I hurt to express all the anger they felt like expressing, so I knew exactly where we stood. I certainly encourage my children to do this, so why not my friends?
upsi: My respect for upsi has been growing exponentially throughout this thing. I have gone through her writing on this entire big topic several times, and each time I end up admiring her more. Authentically expressing her feelings, period. No judgment, no writing people off, no instant forgiveness. Just being herself, really. I want to be upsi when I grow up.
Jonsi: I'm just going to come out and say it: Jonsi sometimes scares the hell out of me! Her occasionally snarky, incisive, cursing posts and comments are often way out of my comfort zone. Sometimes I feel she accuses people of infractions too easily - for instance, Caliban's Sister really could have deleted those replies by mistake - it's conceivable. I've tested it on my blog. We can never know what was in her mind when those comments disappeared.
But I have grown to trust Jonsi's honesty and her instincts. If I needed someone to assess whether a person was trustworthy, honest, and real, I'd take her as my personal investigator and buy her a beer or three for her trouble.
And if I translate what she says into more polite discourse, I get very useful and trustworthy information. For instance, "narc" or "bitch," translated into "this person is narcissistically defended to the point where it might not be wise to trust him/her, or impossible to engage them in authentic conversation" are helpful and usually rather accurate.
Caliban's Sister: As I said, CS's calls for peace initially really placated something inside me. And I've always enjoyed her clear, intellectual style, and her insights about her family. I usually tend to feel comfortable around polite, civilized, calm people. I was still very unclear on the whole mess when I left a couple of neutral comments on her Nobody's Straw Man. The first was to the effect that I still saw us as a community, and communities of adults, unlike narcissistic families, don't have to present a united front, and can fight. It was meant to apply generally to the whole fight in the whole community, but she responded by maintaining that she didn't demand anyone to present a united front. I hadn't implied she had, so I retorted, briefly, that she was among my favorite voices out there, to which she replied in a way that made me personally feel like it was understood that this meant I had now taken her side. This was the main reason I deleted my comments.
I also deleted them to see what would happen to the rest of the thread, and I tested this on my blog, too. When the author of a blog decides to delete a comment, the replies to this comment disappear as well, and the author is only informed of this in small letters at the bottom of the page. It is conceivable that CS's deletion of Jonsi's comments was an accident.
I didn't enjoy the feeling that I got from CS's subsequent comments and posts, in which she seemed eager to gather polite and civilized followers who were offered protection from the nasties. It could be my own fleas feeling this, as CS has already inferred once - in my family, we had to be nice and polite all the time. No anger or any other expressed emotion. We were better than other families who fought. We were civilized. Some people, I suppose, felt their parents' rages when they read Jonsi's aggressive comments. Quite honestly, Jonsi's comments shocked me too. But I felt my family's stifling atmosphere in CS's long, sweet, nice ones.
I didn't like that CS removed upsi's and Jonsi's blogs from her blog list right in the middle of the fight, it seemed to me. It seemed sudden and rash and so easy. I didn't like what I read between the lines of her next posts: In ACoNS Blog for Different Reasons, she basically implied (with "Some people blog to find new bonds with others--friends who will leap to
their defense whenever they've received insults, genuine or imagined") that upsi and Jonsi and possibly Q (or who did she mean? who else could she have meant?) blog to rally a herd of blind supporters, which, frankly, I haven't noticed. If any of these people have "blind supporters," it's not because they went out of their way to collect them, and to claim that this is anyone's primary motivation for blogging is unfair at best and a projection at worst.
When Jonsi posted her scathing, swearing, brutal, but analytical, honest, and open attack on her, Caliban's Sister posted What Makes Me Feel Stronger, in which she allegedly writes about her NM: "She wrote me a letter that was over-the-top full of projections and crap
that was really about her, and not about me at all. I had changed the
game on her, and she went ballistic. I finally saw her for what she
was. My reply to her horrible letter, which was full of fabrications,
slander, hypocrisy and twisted thinking, was simply this: I could not
disagree with you more. But you're entitled to your opinion.
Instead of "rebutting" her point by point, I told her I completely
disagreed with her construction of me, but that she could think what she
Translation: Jonsi is just like my mean, projecting, narcissistic mother. She can write her long lists of lies, but I won't even dignify them with an answer.
This is still engaging in the fight, only in a covert way. It only seems safer, nicer, and more polite.
I sometimes have behaviors like these, and don't like them, and want to change them. In many ways I'm similar to CS. I'm not writing CS off, like I'm not writing myself off, but in order to remain honest and open, I need to point these things out. Otherwise, I can't continue to engage CS in conversation without feeling like a fake hypocrite.
Q1605: Q is a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped... no, wait. Right now, he seems to me like a cute bunny wrapped in dynamite and heavy armor and barbed wire. Or something.