Friday, October 10, 2008

Disturb the Sound of Silence

Silence is golden. Or is it? When a society stays silent in the face of wrong, bad things happen. Consider the Holocaust. Millions of people murdered. Billions turned a blind eye. If you asked those people if they agreed with the philosophies and actions of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich, most would have said no. So, why did they stay silent? To keep their own peace. To keep the ugliness of what was happening there from spilling over into their space. They took the position that it wasn’t their fight. It wasn’t their business. They didn’t want to hear about it, and they certainly felt no responsibility to stop it.

Oh, they vow NOW never to forget. They vow NOW never again. But it is simply too late for those millions of people who paid with their lives – slow and painful deaths in many cases – who watched as their loved ones died, while people remained silent.

Silence in the face of wrong behavior is detrimental on much smaller scales, as well. Consider the matter of incest, or if that offends our senses, an alcoholic parent, someone in a family suffering from an eating disorder, or perhaps someone with a violent temper. There is a stated or unstated agreement that this is private family business and not to be spoken of in public. Too often, though, it also isn’t talked about in private, within the family. The offended feels invalidated, while the offender feels empowered. There are no consequences for their behavior, so why should they not continue? Those who are remiss to speak out actually enable the behavior by creating an environment where these actions can continue. And so they do continue. The consequences play out in the lives of the individuals involved in a variety of ways. The directly offended may become isolated and withdrawn, develop their own inappropriate behaviors as a way of coping or lashing out, or, at the least, it may hinder their ability to develop healthy relationships outside the bounds of the walls holding in their pain. The bystanders don’t learn proper coping skills. They often feel guilt for not intervening, but may not feel that guilt or express their remorse until the situation has spiraled out of control for either the offended or the offender – or both. They wait until they no longer have the ability to do anything about the situation. Ironically, they also often become champions for outside causes, defenders of the underdog, or those unable to speak for themselves, even becoming involved in preventing the same behavior that has found residence within their own family. The offender, not having learned that certain behaviors are unacceptable will continue, often escalating thus giving themselves even more grandiose feelings of power – both imaginary and real, as they master the art of manipulation utilizing their weapon of choice. In the case of eating disorders and other self destructive behaviors, the consequences for the offender can be life long struggles and ultimately early death.

Silence can also be destructive to other types of group dynamics. Consider these quotes from Eviatar Zerubavel in his book, The Elephant in the Room:

“Silence, as the saying goes, is consent. By remaining silent about wrong behavior we normalize it, essentially enhancing its perpetuation by implicitly encouraging potential offenders to regard it as morally acceptable.”

“By enabling such collective denial, conspiracies of silence prevent us from confronting, and consequently solving, our problems…”

“Co-ignoring the elephant in the room requires a major collaborative effort on everyone’s part and is therefore socially exhausting. Not surprisingly, it can also generate a lot of tension. Indeed, the thicker the silence, the deeper the tension that builds around it.”

“Thus, ironically, partly in an effort to preserve group solidarity, conspiracies of silence often undermine that very solidarity by impending the development of honest, trusting relations that presupposes open communication. Indeed, in an attempt to “protect” groups, they often make them become somewhat dysfunctional.”


Hmm. The elephant in the room …

A perfect analogy for what is – or rather what is not happening in the anti-KK community right now. There is a member of that group who has once again contacted others with the intent of riling emotions and stirring up discontent directed at one or more other members of the group. It has been brought to our attention. It has been documented and her behavior has been publicly challenged. Yet the group remains silent, ignoring the elephant in the room. It certainly isn’t a lack of awareness. The hundreds of hits to my blog attest to the that. Solidarity is being damaged, not by the open charge of misconduct as some would claim, rather by a willingness to sacrifice that solidarity and trust by allowing this misconduct to continue unchecked and without confrontation.

It is like hearing the banging of the headboard and muffled cries behind the closed door, yet rolling over in your own bed, burying your head in the pillow to muffle the sounds so you can get to sleep, undisturbed.

Honestly, I simply don’t understand this. It really seems that people are willing to sacrifice the one (or the few) in order to keep peace in their own little space. What happens when they come for you?

Yucky, I feel so very bad that you seem to have been deemed to be an acceptable target. You say it doesn’t matter, but I know better. It matters, because YOU matter.

Silence like a cancer grows …

(edited to add: You, as an individual, know if this applies to you. If it doesn't, it doesn't. If you aren't sure, ask an objective friend.)


Barbara B said...

Excellent post, Prudentia. Yes, if you ignore it, it will NOT go away. By achieving their victory, whoever is responsible will simply continue that particular behavior pattern.

Nancy Ellyn said...

I'm just afraid of saying anything anymore.I wish I had never brought this whole mess up. I'm afraid I've made people mad, hurt people's feelings and I don't want to hurt anyone. I feel like someone is trying to hurt me, and I don't know why. All that strange blog activity last night freaked me out.

Magicsmom said...

Great post, Prudentia! Those who have assumed, posted, and been wrong need to step up to the plate, retract, apologize, do whatever it takes to make it right. To those who have been wronged and hurt, my sincere sympathies, and if I were you, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting to be vindicated by those who wronged you.

I don't want to make light of anyone's anguish, but please let me put this situation in proper perspective: My 38 year old sister in law has 2 wonderful children aged 10 and 2, and also has stage 4 colo-rectal cancer, my aunt has stage 4 breast cancer that has now spread to her brain and is inoperable, I was recently diagnosed with a serious and dangerous disease that can kill me, a dear internet friend of mine lost her husband Monday in a rollover car accident on their way home from vacation, and my oldest and best friend lost her 35 year old niece this week to an unknown cause. People have lost their life savings this week and are having to come out of retirement to pay their bills. There really are bigger issues than these high-school-like antics.

Prudentia said...

Magicsmom, I am so sorry to hear of all the loss you have been experiencing as well as your own health concerns. Our prayers are certainly with you as well as those you love who have been affected by these tragedies.

Yucky said...

{{{Prudentia}} You are so kind! Thank you! What a powerful piece of writing.

I know there've been times in the antiKK community we've discussed this sort of thing, and for those of us whose childhoods or other times in our lives were shattered by abuse -- regardless of the abuse, whether physical, sexual, emotional, involving alcohol or drugs, violence or any other evil -- a way to deal with that is to pretend everything's ok.

It gets to the point where you even pretend that to yourself. Certainly you pretend that to the people outside the family, or outside the relationship.

I never understood though, until about ten or so years ago, when I finally read "Adult Children of Alcoholics."

Those same principles in the book apply to adult children of any dysfunctional "family unit" or relationship such as marriage -- and in an online community such as the antiKK community at LCF. Pretending everything's ok, ignoring Mayberry's little stunt, hey, that's totally understandable. We all have to pick and choose who we're going to go out on a limb for, who we're going to defend, and so I get it. I've done the same thing, myself, and it's not something I'm proud of but I do understand.

"Adult Children of Alcoholics" (and subsequent study) explains that the "pretend everything's ok" reaction is typical across not just families, marriages, and communities but also whole societies at certain times, as you pointed out in your blog entry here.

It's typical, it's understand, and normal -- and it's dysfunctional.

You preface your writing on this topic with The Sounds of Silence.

Well, a big thing I had to learn in my life is, never suffer in silence. I was joking about this just a few days ago with somebody, and I said, hey, if you're gonna suffer, suffer loudly :) Make a lot of noise.

Obviously I've learned that lesson a bit too well, 'cause I am a really noisy person :) I rant, rave, yell, squawk, and I make no pretense about how I feel, what I think, regardless of the situation.

But as a friend, renowned for her calm rational and logical mind, recently reminded me, not everybody feels comfortable arguing.

Not everybody feels comfortable making a lot of noise when they're upset about something.

And I just have to accept that as a fact, and as the right of other human beings, to choose their own behaviors for their own reasons, instead of expecting or demanding that they behave the way I do.

Mags pointed out how trivial this mess is. And she's right. And you're right too.

Thank you for your friendship and for feeling that I matter!

As far as standing up and speaking out in defense / protest when somebody's being criticized, or treated in a less than nice way -- I've been on the giving end of that sort of thing as well as on the receiving end. Maybe this current situation is just Karma come round to bite ME in the butt this time.

Hey, I don't like it but if that' the way it is, that's the way it is.

I've ranted about it, gotten upset about it, but not nearly as upset as I've been in other situations.

Maybe I'm not too upset, because it's Mayberry who's accusing me, and I also believe (and remember, this is just my honest opinion) I believe she's the one who wrote that "paid sleuth" comment at Nancy's blog.

Mayberry made it entirely clear, not too long ago, with that Martina's Martini stunt, what her intentions are. So this new attempt to accuse me of crap I'm not involved in, comes as no big shock or suprise to me.

If somebody else had accused me, somebody I thought was a friend, then yes, definitely I would be way more upset.

Whenever I've ranted about somebody, expressed criticism of them or something they did that I felt was wrong -- Becky, Christin, Cutie, and Morgan are the only ones who come to mind (if there were others I assume somebody will refresh my memory) -- whenever I reanted at or about them, their friends leapt to their defense, and didn't keep silence.

But the thing is, I never made up lies about any of them, never went behind their backs and accused them of doing something I knew they hadn't done.

Every time I had a rant about somebody it was because I honestly believed what I was ranting about. And I did it openly, and noisly -- it's not my style to sneak around and whisper, I have a huge fit and everybody knows exactly what I think and why I think that way.

If anybody has knowledge to the contrary, speak up. Goodness knows my memory is not 100% reliable but to best that I can remember I have never -- ever -- made accusations I knew to be false the way Mayberry has done.

But! And I just realized this, this morning. I have to accept the fact that it's POSSIBLE that Mayberry really does honestly believe I'm the person who left those comments at Nancy's blog about the Mr. Rebates thing. Maybe that really is Mayberry's opinion, and maybe the reason she's accusing me is that she honestly believes I did it.

It's possible that that's her honest opinion.

But then why would she say that she "knows" or has "proof" that I did it, when the FACT is that she does NOT know nor does she have any proof whatsoever.

The reason I know she doesn't know, and the reason I know she doesn't have any proof is, I didn't do it.


She's made the accusations, now let's see the proof. If she, like Morgan, refuses to exhibit the proof, then quite simply there is no proof. End of story.

Now, to Nancy I just want to say, to the very best of my knowledge, let's just face that fact that we don't KNOW that whoever left those comments at your blog about the Mr. Rebate thing intended anything other than to express their honest opinion about your promoting the Mr. Rebate thing. Ok? That IS a possibility. We just have to accept that, that is IS possible, that the person was just ranting about their honest opinions, and nothing nefarious about that whatsoever.

We also have to accept that fact that is IS possible that that person just simply doesn't like you. I don't know why, ok? I am just saying that it's a POSSIBILITY.

Same goes for the recipe thing, though like the Mr. Rebate thing why anybody would object to that isn't something I can understand having a fit about, but hey, I have had fits about stuff that other people didn't, so that's just the way it goes sometimes. We're all different, we all have different opinions and feelings about different topics and different people. That doesn't mean there's anything sinister about it, or that the person is working for Heidi or that you're being attacked or whatever.


Now, you mentioned the "strange blog activity". People who have experience in that topic, and know way more about it than I do, have assured you it's NORMAL, and that there's nothing "strange" about it in any sort of nefarious or sinister or evil way. Ok? There are billions of people in the world with billions of computers and 24/7 the internet search engines are churning out hits for billions of topics. Ok so maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration but you know what I mean.

Who KNOWS what "Mission Medusa" or "Medusa Mission" means. Google it yourself and try to find out, please, instead of getting yourself so upset and making this situation even more confusing than it already is, I am BEGGING you. {{hugs}}}

You wrote about Medusa on your blog, ok? People all over the world for a myriad of reason are googling something about Medusa and some of them click on your blog -- that is NORMAL. Ok? Nothing sinister or evil or intended to hurt you or anything like that. It's just the way search engines work. When I had the Yucky blog I started freaking out because after I posted a rant about I think it was Christin I started getting FLOODED with hits coming from drug and porn sites.

I thought it was intentional, but wiser and calmer and more technically educated people assured me it was NORMAL, and had nothing whatsoever to do with any conspiracy or plot against me :)


Ok, so that's my very very long-winded verbose rant about all that. Oh the drama! oy. Now I see why people would get so exasperated with me for getting so upset and dramatic about stuff -- well, hey, live and learn, huh. I'm slow but I'm finally starting -- maybe! -- to learn. And I hate to see you going through the same thing I've done so many times myself.

Please, don't be like me! Ok? Please, be wise and and calm and cool. If you don't, you will look back on all this someday with embarrassment and real regret.

Think about what Prudentia wrote about the Holocaust and consider the enormity of that tragedy compared to the tragedy of somebody leaving snarky comments at your blog or not replying to your pm. Think about what Magicsmom wote about the tragedies in her family, the deaths and the heartbreak of loss, and compare that to this situation at your blog. Perspective.

Ok? Way, WAY too often I have lost any semblance of perspective.

I get all bent out of shape and have a huge emotional reaction to insignificant crap like these creepy little stunts Mayberry pulls.

And I forget to laugh about it. I forget to make fun of myself, for being such a silly person. I forget to remember we are all just in this mess of our own choosing, for whatever reason, and we're just not all always going to get along with each other. That's just the way it is. We can enjoy the ride and learn as we go, or we can make the experience miserable by getting all upset about crap.

Your choice.

PS to Prudentia and also to BarbaraB and everybody else who has been a friend through this mess -- thank you! I appreciate you guys so much!

Medusa said...

Mayberryfan must be wearing teflon.

Is there no one at LCF/FWK willing to call her on her accusations and scandalous lies about Yucky?

There's a wolf in the henhouse but the Ducks are ignoring it. Heidi must be laughing her ass off.

So sad...

Lora said...

I invited myself to the anit-KK party only a few months ago after reading Christin's story. I wanted to be a part of the "duck brigade" taking Heidi's website down. Everyone was so determined and supportive of each other in this fight. What happened? What went wrong? It seemed as soon as the counter-suit claim was filed everything has stared unraveling!

Let us have the last laugh and not Heidi, ok?

Yucky said...

Am posting a copy of this here, in case the Little Tappyfoot Guy refuses to approve it at LCF. This is a reply to Magicsmom's post # 963, page 33:

[QUOTE=Magicsmom;10982779]I've gotten into it a fair amount lately about opinions and whether or not people have a right to express them. I don't think we can pick and choose who has that right. If you give it to one person, you have to give it to everybody.

The irony is that the [U]same crowd[/U] who literally STOMPED the tar right out of me for calling someone out about her comment about NancyEllyn now wants someone to call out Mayberry. What for? Mayberry has an opinion, and she expressed it. What's to call her out for? Doesn't she have the same right as the person I called out for saying something [I]really nasty[/I] about NancyEllyn? If someone calls out Mayberry, is the "she has the right to express her opinion" crowd going to stomp on them the same way they stomped on me? Of course they won't. They are the ones who [I]want[/I] Mayberry called out. Am I the only one who sees the hypocrisy in this?

You can't say that someone has the right to make a really rude accusation toward Nancy, but that Mayberry doesn't have an equal right to make a really rude accusation toward Yucky. Most people think Mayberry's wrong, but clearly one or two agree with her.

I do agree that if you want to reserve the right to say something really obnoxious or accusatory about someone, you'd better put on your big girl panties and own what you said. Own that, and own the reaction it gets, because you stand a pretty good chance you're going to offend someone. It is what it is. If you're going to make a rude accusation, be ready to be wrong, and if you're wrong, be ready to take some heat for it. After all, you stand a 50/50 chance of it.

All that aside, whatever happened to apologies? Whatever happened to retraction? In a polite society, it's what people do. You accuse someone and turn out to be wrong, you apologize and retract what you said. I guess in the information age, we don't have to be polite anymore.

ETA: Just so people don't get confused, I want to clarify that the rude comment about NancyEllyn, my calling out of that individual, and then my [I]getting[/I] called out in return did not happen here at FWK. Since what happened at Prudentia's blog was brought up here, I decided to address it here. And no, please don't ask me to repeat what was said about NancyEllyn. It was bad enough seeing it once.[/QUOTE]

{{{Mags}} hmmm ok I see what you mean. When Run said that Nancy did this to get attention, you feel that Run didn't offer that statement as an [B]opinion[/B], right? You feel that she offered that statement as a [B]fact.[/B]

And that you feel that it was [B]not [/B]a fact, because you feel that Nancy did [B]not[/B] do this to get attention.

Therefore, you feel that Run made a false accusation and should apologize and retract the statement.

Truly I don't [B]know[/B] whether Run was expressing an opinion or stating what she believed to be an actual fact.

My [B]opinion[/B] is that she was stating it as an opinion. But hey I've been wrong once or twice :laugh: so certainly I could be wrong now also.

I'm truly sorry you feel that those of us who disagreed with your assessment of Run's statement "literally STOMPED the tar right out of" you."

I certainly didn't see it that way. To me it's just that several people were all expressing their honest opinions and emotions about it, and unable to agree. If nobody cared, they wouldn't bother saying anything about it, and certainly wouldn't have felt strong emotions about it.

To repeat, I don't know whether Run's statement was offered as an opinion or offered as a statement of fact, but in my honest opinion it was an honest opinion :p

As far as Mayberry (and whoever else) saying that I'm the one who left those comments at Nancy's blog -- my honest opinion is that she/they offered that statement will full knowledge that she/they were making a false accusation.

But I have to acknowlege that I don't know that. It's [B]possible[/B] she/they were simply expressing their honest opinion.

However ... Mayberry (I'm not sure about the others) phrased it to convey in no uncertain terms that she "knows" I did it, meaning that she possesses some sort of evidence which will prove that the accusation is true.

Am I understanding this correctly? If not, please let me know.

If I'm understanding this correctly, that Mayberry possesses evidence which will prove that the accusation is not fale, then I must insist that that evidence be published for everyone to see.

If the evidence is not published, then it does not exist, and Mayberry is making false accusations. Again. (She previously falsely accused myself, Medusa, and Prudentia, of having investigated Trista and during that investigation getting "Martina's Martini" -- Trista's ex husband -- involved. Mayberry has never apologized for making those false accusations.)

I know how it is, using what somebody else did as an excuse for my own bad behaviors. So I understand Mayberry making these false accusations now just as she did regarding the Martina's Martini thing -- she's upset at me for being upset with herself and Jo for being upset with myself and Prudentia, yadda yadda yadda.

Mayberry is using what I did, to excuse for her own bad behavior. I was pretty upset about it at first but ya know what? I'm far from saintly myself, and besides I think I've done way more than my fair share of semi-hysterical over-the-top ranting these past many months :rolleyes: so though it would be ever so yum to get an apology and retraction from Mayberry, Jo, Morgan, Vox, and anybody else who knows darn well I had nothing to do with the mess at Nancy's blog, I'm not gonna be too boohooish if I don't get it.

But I do expect to see the alleged proof of my alleged whatever. If no proof is provided, that means there ain't any. Period.

Ball's in your court there, Mayberryfan. :kicking:

Prudentia said...

Yucky, one major difference I see between what you have done (and done a few times, eh?) and what Mayberryfan has done at least a couple of times now ... you don't have an agenda to what you do. You react to a particular statement or series of statements, or an ongoing conversation. But you never target someone and then set out to fabricate circumstances in order to enlist the indignation of others. And that is what Mayberryfan has done and continues to do.

Lots of people react with emotions, and you've had to list to me defend them many times ;) But I will never defend someone with a vindetta who, lacking evidence, is willing to fabricate it in their attempt to undermind someone else's credibility. That is BS and I'll call it every single time I see it.

Even if it makes me unpopular.

Magicsmom said...

If Mayberry's intent was to cause MUCHO trouble, she must indeed be quite pleased with herself because she succeeded in that. So what about it Mayberry? Why don't you silence your naysayers and come up with some proof? Or is it that you have no proof to come up with? Or is it that you think you can get away with making accusations without any proof? Which is it?