You explained this beautifully, Jewels.
It doesn’t matter what the topic is either.
Your response is a welcome relief from insanity.
In this particular situation, the thing happened EXACTLY how you outlined, only it blew up even bigger because a story was written about those who dared disagree with person A.
Person A responded to a post.
One person (call them ‘person B’) replied that they didn’t like the tone taken by person A, that person A’s response made them uncomfortable and stated that their definition of “pro-choice” means that a person saying they are pro-choice respects other people’s right to choose REGARDLESS of their reasons for the choices they make or the choice that is made.
Other people responded that they agreed with person A.
Other people still expressed similar concerns to that of person B.
Some people expressing similar concerns to that of person B were highly critical of person A’s response to the OP. Some showed anger with their words.
Some people expressing similar concerns to that of person B were sad, they expressed sadness, some were bewildered, they expressed that and so on…
Behind the curtain
There was a story being written about person B. Person B was evil, making trouble and trying to hurt poor person A.
This story was only shared (IN PART) one time publicly. The rest of it, including the defamation of a respected member of the community, was distributed via back channels — private notes, emails, etc.
The story made up and being sold to others via back channel was nothing short of pure, unadulterated hysteria.
It went like this:
“Person B has never paid attention to me before, so I don’t even understand why they commented on this post.”
“Person B only replied because someone TOLD them to.”
“Person B is out to get me because I disagreed with someone or said something offensive and a different person that person B likes was the offended party.”
“Person B is dangerous and scary.”
“Person B has a HAREM of women who follow him blindly and agree with everything he says, that’s why they didn’t like my post. It had nothing to do with my words.”
No, I’m not kidding.
I wish I was.
This has been going on for like two months now. Someone new comes along and opens up this gapping hole, agreeing with person A and admonishing everyone who doesn’t. Worse yet, they all seem to imply the same thing:
Anyone who agrees with person B:
“Cannot form their own opinions because they are part of person B’s HAREM”
“Is also out to get person A”
“Only ever disagreed with person A because person B told them to”
“Probably told person B about person A’s post and asked person B to step in on their behalf”
“Are part of a group that likes to exclude others because they are mean and clique-like catty people”
<insert other deeply insulting things about anyone who agreed with person B here>
Meanwhile, see if you can work out how people who agree with person B are both following him blindly AND notifying him of person A’s post / asking person B to speak up for them simultaneously.
I can’t wrap my brain around that level of looney tunes.
Most of the time when several people in my life start saying similar things to me about a particular behavior, something I’ve said or way that I’ve acted, I pause.
I try to understand what they are telling me. I try to see if I think there’s any truth to what they are saying. I validate their feelings (whether I agree with them or not) and I talk about ways to keep my relationships with others on solid ground despite any disagreement.
Usually, if multiple people are saying a similar thing, it isn’t because conspiracy. As the saying goes,
“if you meet an asshole in the morning, you met an asshole, if you meet an asshole in the morning, afternoon and in the evening, you are the asshole.”
I guess some of us aren’t familiar with the concept.
Anyway, BLECK! So stupid and annoying and old, OLD OLD! It still makes me angry when a new person starts implying those things I listed above because those implications are about ME too. I agreed with and continue to agree with person B, I was saddened by person A’s response to the OP.
But person A was my friend. So when I spoke up and said I was sad my expectation was that person A would try to understand how I felt and talk with me to modify communications / compromise to help us both uphold our rights and boundaries. Instead person A tried to take advantage of our friendship and tried to manipulate me into parroting her opinions, tried to bully me into agreeing with her and when that didn’t work, she lumped me in with the ‘worthless, cliquey and mean-girl harem squad’ led by person B.
THAT IS NOT A REAL THING.
It hurt me to be devalued and dehumanized that way. And I’m sick of new people being used as agents of this menacing behavior.
Thank you Jewels. Evidentially I needed to vent about this thing.
Feel free to ask questions, it may help me heal to open up about it some more.