Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Getting slimed....

If I had to make a wild guess, I'd say most of us have trouble with conflict.

I know I do.

But it also makes me grow. More than I thought possible.

Here's a very, very brief summary of what happened: I told someone that we are not a good match as friends. I wished her well, told her several positive things about herself and encouraged her to stay well.

Still, there were some personality characteristics that made it impossible for us to be friends. Sometimes it's important to admit that to people instead of walking away or disappearing. In my opinion, it's closure. It's honest. It offers everyone the opportunity to wish each other well and move on.

She wrote a message back that was horrible, accusatory and negative. She accused me of being a person who is "grossly afraid of intimacy" and went on to tell me all my perceived character deficits from her perspective.

If I'd walked away for a while, I probably would have stayed walked away. It was obvious she wasn't going to wish me well and let it go.

In a momentary fit of anger, I slimed her back. I fell right into the trap. I should have known better and didn't.

Still, I learned a lesson from this. I know I have a bad temper and that is not how it should have been done. I own it. I screwed up. There is no sense of satisfaction in it. It was wrong action. Period.

The person immediately began gathering her allies, writing public messages intended to bait me into blowing again. The three of them, like circling vultures, began picking at the bones of my private information, using it as a whip to wound me. The whole thing, objectively speaking, said far more about them than it did about my wrong action.

I didn't bite again. I let it go.

Here's what I learned: I have the right to simply say "These are not the kind of people I choose to know."

When I look around, I am surrounded mostly by positive, sensitive and mature people. My personal friends, I mean. They're truly good people.

There is nothing that requires any of us to compete, overcome or win. As Marianne Williamson says, we can be right.. or we can be happy. We can walk away without losing face. In fact, I believe we gain face by choosing our battles the way they should be chosen ~ which is based on some larger principle than being annoyed or pissed off.

Even though these people tried to goad me into a reaction, I noticed that I had none. I did chuckle a bit about the fact that I was commanding so much of their energy that they would send veiled messages intended to pick at my personal scabs but beyond that, nothing. I didn't feel bad for them. I didn't feel superior to them. I didn't feel anything... except a vague sense of having gnats flying around my ears.

I'd have to give them the power to affect me in any way .. which I won't.

These are people I simply don't choose to know.

I'd rather stayed focused on the positive, the wholesome and the uplifting. If anything, this incident has taught me that I have to consciously choose that and act accordingly.

Lesson learned.



heartinsanfrancisco said...

We all need to learn this lesson. Fighting tit for tat is the result of ego which has its own agenda and benefits no one, really, including the one in whom it resides.

Sometimes the best response is no response because it puts the onus back on the perpetrator. What we give energy to grows, so the reverse is true as well. That to which we give no energy turns inward and atrophies, as it should, because hostility is never a constructive force.

Well done. You lightened your own load and freed up energy for more rewarding pursuits and people.

slouchy said...

We can be right... or we can be happy.

I like that.

Negative energy can suck the air right out of a room (virtual or otherwise), can't it?

Anonymous said...

Yikes! But you are right, it never pays to atke that bait. I'm so-o-o-o-o slowly learning to walk away.

Anvilcloud said...

Good for you. I think your initial reaction is evolutionarily normal: ie defending yourself against an attack.

ewe are here said...

Ahhh, a lesson I learned the hard way once as well. But I did manage to pull it together, much like you, and tell myself I simply didn't know them anymore; they weren't worth the negative energy.

Sometimes walking away is the only way to stay sane.

Olivia said...

And a very good lesson to learn at that, Chani. And it validates your decision to let go of this person in the first place as a very good one. Excellent! Sounds like high school girls' cliques to me.

I would probably cry (sadness) but accept your decision and then be honored that you chose to be upfront with me.

I also do not think that you are afraid of intimacy, at least in the context I know you, and via your writing.

Good for you, and happy moving on, with your friendship circle lighter and cleaner and truer!



Carla said...

Sorry you had to experience that, it's never fun being slimed. I too was recently slimed by someone who I thought was a good friend. She got nasty publicly on Facebook. So far I have not reacted, but it wasn't easy.

alejna said...

Oh, that sounds difficult. I'm glad that you were able to free yourself from that relationship.

"I have the right to simply say "These are not the kind of people I choose to know."
Well said.

Deodand said...

Isn't it funny how people leap to their own defence, even when it isn't necessary? She felt you were attacking her, so she countered your light tap with a nuclear bomb. This happened to me in a way that endangered my life, so after that I decided that some things are better left unsaid.

Anonymous said...

life is a continual learning process, especially because some lessons require re-learning...

Suki said...

I hope to be able to do that some day - especially without letting things fester inside even when I seem to laugh them off.

Leann said...

Now THAT was a lesson worth learning.

LittlePea said...

Taking control of your own power. The power to give energy to a situation where nothing but negative would have flourished. It's hard to recognise when to let go and that it is is the healthiest thing. Especially when one's feelings are hurt. Glad you were able to. Can't say I'm always able to :O)

justme said...

I love this....especially since it's my first reading of your page! i got directed here from little pea! Thank you for this great entry

ConverseMomma said...

I sometimes have a hard time with this. I walk away, but end up feeling guilty or wrong for having the feelings I did. But, I think it is important to remember that we are allowed to choose who we love, or who we like for that matter. I don't want to make anyone love me, and I don't want to feel forced in to caring for someone eles.

Blogging really has forced me to look at my friendships and myself, and I realize that I am a really great person and friend, and I do not have to waste that on people that are not worth it. And, they should not feel any sense of urgency to "waste" themselves on me.

I feel sorry for those women's waste, but happy you could distance yourself from it.

Defiantmuse said...

I have a very hard time walking away. I also tend to have that bit of me that wants/needs to "have the last word". I've been in a similar situation as the one you find peace I had to do what you did...learn to simply. just. stop. Stop engaging, stop giving it my energy. Tough lesson to learn. And I'm not sure I won't have to repeat it. least there is an Awareness that is coming through.

PeterAtLarge said...

AND... remember METTA! Send goodwill, even to those we dislike, or who hurt us. Perhaps even especially to those we dislike. It helps.

Blog Antagonist said...

I was once in a very similar situation. I had this very strong compulsion to "win". I was not going to let them best me. But eventually, I realized, that walking away *was* winning, because I left all the invective and negativity behind. I really learned a lot from that experience. It's hard, I know, when one is being attacked, not to retaliate in kind. But good for you for not allowing yourself to be engaged again.