Thursday, October 25, 2012

It's Personal

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 liked."

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.

26 comments:

  1. PA, this is brilliant. Truly brilliant.

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  2. I'm laughing my ass off about what you wrote about Q. That may be the most dead on thing I've read in awhile.

    And btw, it's really inspiring to see you growing stronger and self-aware. It's something I hope to do more of.

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  3. Heard a good Dave Mason song yesterday, oldie but goodie. "There aint no bad guy, there aint no good guy, there's only you and me and we just disagree". And that's Okay.
    Love your post!

    Q' Sis

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  4. I don't know if the way you described me is good or bad but it doesn't bother me.
    If I have blind support, they are deaf and dumb too.
    Good post. Honest.
    I'll take one honest post over an encyclopedia of half truth's.

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    1. Thank you. A translation of what I said might be: I'm not sure what to make of you, but something tells me there's a sweet guy beneath that rough.

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  5. Haha. I am sure there are those out there that are asking yourself why you never see Q and Q's sis in the same room at the same time.
    Well there ya go.

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  6. Isn't that weird! We posted at the exact same time, if I was a figment of your imagination, I don't think that would be possible, for one thing it takes me 5 minutes just to get through the Bot Test, LOL.

    Q's Sis

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  7. Speak your truth PA.

    One thing I will say is that after noticing that Caliban removed me from her blog list, I waited a while until I decided to follow suit. It felt like a petty thing for me to do and still feels petty, but after everything I just don't really want to be involved with her stuff anymore. She can go her way and I'll go mine, and if we comment on the same blogs I'll just steer clear. And who knows maybe that will change.

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  8. PA,
    I read your "Ready to Kill" post and then this post and what popped into my head immediately was: "Well helllllllllloooooooo PA!" Your voice in these two posts is SO strong, so smart, so courageous - SO YOU!

    I love that you're feeling strong enough to fight back the emotions that were making you feel stifled and post what you think, how you feel and how it effects you.

    I also think your view expresses perfectly a whole bunch of important points.

    Woo hoo for you!
    Love,
    Vanci

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    1. Thank you, Vanci. Today, right after I published these two posts, I had a distinct feeling of bursting out of a shell.

      Love right back at you!

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  9. I'm sitting at lunch rereading your posts and comments, and when I read that you feel like you are bursting from a shell, I got tears in my eyes. I have known you for a long time it feels, even if it's only been a couple years, and to know that you are feeling grounded in yourself, confident in your feelings and perceptions, and safe enough to talk about those things really touches me. I picture you like a blooming flower! This whole thing has been stressful and has brought up umteen ACoN issues to talk about. I just have a feeling of joy seeing that you are coming home to yourself as TW always says. I'm about to cry again! xo

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    1. Now you got me teary-eyed, too. Hugs!

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    2. Dammit, you two, now you've got me crying too.
      Love,
      Vanci

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    3. Yay! Not teary eyed but grinning with happiness for you.

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    4. I just have to say, for someone who is sometimes scared of me, you've got balls PA. And that's some kind of awesome.

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    5. Know what? Real PA is actually not scared of you. The moment I hit "publish" on this post I knew you weren't gonna bite my head off for what I wrote about you, simply because I knew I was honest. You don't get offended, you simply get enraged by BS. Which makes you safer for me than many other people. I like my BS pointed out to me, thank you.

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    6. "Real PA is actually not scared of you." That, is even more awesome.

      May I have permission to use your thoughts about me in my own blog post about my personal self-reflections? I feel that your points are valid and are some of the things I've been attempting to address about myself.

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    7. I feel like I live for honesty, even when it's painful and it's about me. How the heck else can we begin to change if we aren't willing to hear what others think of us? I mean, at the same time, we can't change everything about ourselves just to suit the desires of others (that wouldn't make sense either), but sometimes when I'm doing my own self-reflecting, what other people say really hits home.

      "...because I knew I was honest." Even if I disagree with someone, or if what they are saying hurts, I feel comfort and security in knowing the truth. I don't think we can do anything with lies, distortions, or inauthenticity. But truth? That's something we can always have a dialog about.

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    8. Jonsi, feel free to use anything I've written anywhere on your blog.

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  10. PA, I have been watching this conflict go down for days now. I've struggled with it a lot. I felt, like you that I was being forced to pick a side and I think that came from an implication that "if you are not with me, your against me." And frankly, I didn't feel like anybody was faultless in the situation. I didn't think there was a clear cut "you are right, you are wrong" decision.
    And so your post today, spoke beautifully of some of what I was thinking about the conflict. I appreciate you communicating your thoughts so beautifully and allowing me a way to let others know that I'm feeling the same way.
    Because frankly, I didn't really feel like I needed to speak up to this point. I didn't have anything I felt would contribute to this conversation, and by "jumping in to comment", for me personally, it felt like it would just be for the sake of getting involved. And everyone seemed to be perfectly capable of speaking up for themselves and their opinions. This isn't like Charity where someone ambushed, clobbered, and abused someone and then headed for the hills. This was two groups of adults dealing with conflict.

    After Charity, I've been working very hard on thinking and digesting all the information before jumping into the fray. I've learned a lot from this episode and I appreciate the chance to see things and work on things (privately) that I needed to.
    I don't expect anyone to grab hands and hug after this or rush to "unite" and I imagine that this will continue to be divisive for some. But I want to continue to learn from everyone, until I determine someone or something has little to offer me and then I'll move on (or I determine they are dangerous to me).
    Thanks again PA. Your courage and strength inspires me that, maybe somewhere down the road, I'll also get to that point of healing. Congratulations on a new milestone.

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  11. My lunch time was too short to comment. Congratulations on speaking up for yourself and what you are feeling about all this. I discovered several things about myself too. Thank you for sharing your perspective. The image of q1605 as an armored covered bunny is going to stick in my mind and I am glad q is ok with it. Glad you found your voice.

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I encourage comments!!!