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Best of intentions, worst of results

I am kind. Core deep and covered in blood, guts, layers of fat and tattooed skin, my kindness lay. It is nestled around the vertebrae of my spine, double helix within my DNA. My heart is an open and beating vessel whose first inclination leans toward kindness. However, I am learning as my years progress and my face settles into something less beautiful and more wise, that kindness is not the Gemini’s twin of being a doormat. However, it seems that some others maintain that illogical, algebraic formulation. Looks something like this:

kindness+ 2(purity) -inherent dickishness = doormat.

So, should behavior not fit into that known quantitative equation, the math suddenly doesn’t add up.

Anyone who knows me well, knows a few, simple hallmarks of me as a person. I am that person who will take your late night phone calls. Well past the point of my own exhaustion, just to make sure you are okay. I am the person who will send a random gift, have a texting marathon, email in between my clients, facebook chat, Skype into the we smalls until we have hammered out the details, set you right or at least made the dark a little less hopeless and a little more littered with stars. I mention this, not to herald myself or to ask that you send me “World’s greatest friend” mugs in bushel. I mention this simply to say, that of all the things I hate about myself, my ability to be a friend is not one.

It shocks me when I am blindsided by hostility. It shouldn’t, unfortunately as I wear the shiny scar tissue of the raped and the beaten.But still, even in the face of unspeakable violence and unspeakable violation, that kind heart of mine still expects kindness from everyone first. I give it first, I expect it first. Expectations are not for doormats. Doormats just lay quietly, expecting nothing and receiving less.

I expect. I suppose that, in and of itself rips my inherent kindness clean out of me as a fish on a hook. I suppose, that makes me an asshole.

So, recently, when I shared an opinion, privately with someone, closely related to a project they worked on for a very long time..when she told me she was okay with what I had told her in kindness; but more importantly in truth, I believed her. Because I err on the side of truth, always delivered in the kindest way I can muster. I expect that is what I would get in return. That’s not what I got. What I got was a message saying we were fine, then a very big, very public, very well publicized blog post regarding our private conversations and the resulting diatribe that I had somehow told her she was surviving wrong.

Words I had never thought and never said. However, I had clearly communicated inĀ  way that made her feel less than human. I was mortified. Not only that I had, even for a second, made her feel badly, but that she chose not to talk to me about it. Privately, just like I had spoken to her. I was absolutely defensive and upset and sickened. As anyone with kindness would be. Yet again, when I spoke with her privately about my feelings, I was disregarded. Immediately, her facebook lit up, calling to yet another audience to speak publicly about what I had brought to her with the absence of outside eyes. Then, she blocked me. Happy to deride my intentions and reactions (without naming me, but there was no mistaking that she was speaking of me) without the benefit of me being able to defend myself.

In essence, in saying this, I am airing my dirty laundry. Highlighting the inequity that kindness and truth telling affords you in a digital arena. But I am also just laying myself bare. I feel, I bleed, I hurt. My kindness, my friendship, my authenticity, is just that. Authentic. I do nothing as an affect. I say what I mean and it is my naive expectation that you are the same. That you are reaching your hand toward mine, not just your words on a screen to my words on a screen. Pixels aren’t assholes. Pixels aren’t best friends. People are.

I am a person and when you are cruel it pains me. I am a person and when you do not handle me with truth, wrapped in kindness, it batters me. Not in a delicious, ready-to-be-deep-fried kind of way, either. I expect kindness to my kindness, it would be life changing if you began to consider, delivering.

30 Responses to “Best of intentions, worst of results”

  1. TigereyeSal Says:

    This really sucks.

    That said, your first and last paragraphs read like poetry that should be said aloud, through a microphone. And if your face is becoming less beautiful and more wise, it must have been rock-ass gorgeous to start with.

    It is so unfortunate that your friend felt she had no option but to lash out. Only someone with very few resources would lash out: a third grader, a cornered animal. We expect better of our friends.

    I can hear how surprised you were to find you had touched a nerve, and how bewildered you were by the response. These are absolutely not the hallmarks of someone who set out with cruelty as their intention.

    I’m sorry you are having to deal with this.

  2. Juli Says:

    This could not be a more timely post for me, after I just had a public meltdown in which I lashed out in a cruel attempt to hurt someone who hurt me. I am sorry this happened to you, and I hope things can be mended between you and this other person. I think feelings can be baffling for most of us. I know that in my particular situation, I told the person that I was fine “not upset”, and only became upset later. My feelings do have a tendency to evolve, which is a source of frustration for people who know me. But at the same time, I do have the right to change to my mind. I never never want to hurt someone, and the only time I ever resort to this sort of behaviour is when I’ve fallen off the deep end. It hurts me. I prefer to be a doormat. I prefer to talk privately. And I will go on that way, trying in my little way to address things as they come up, but often feeling let down because other people aren’t perfect, or they take advantage of my doormat nature. Which does make me an asshole, I know. Anyway, eventually, my feelings erupt, and I’m like a little teapot boiling over. I have issues, and I’m working on them. And n addition to our confusing feelings and previous scars is also this strange online life and public sphere that has made our reach larger than our little communities. It is both wonderful and fearsome, and despite our best intentions, we can fall short as we try to navigate through this place.

  3. christine Says:

    I’m so angry that someone hurt you so. xoxo

  4. Dawn Says:

    well yuck

  5. Sybil Law Says:

    Not cool. Not fucking cool at all.
    This person sounds toxic, anyway. Maybe a constant need for attention, always the victim, definitely deceitful…
    Fuck them.
    You may feel bad for what might have been a misinterpretation of your words/ intent, but you tried to amend that, and were rebuffed in the most callous, pathetic way.
    It speaks volumes about both your characters.
    As in, you HAVE character, and they don’t.

  6. Brian Says:

    Um . . . I know both of you, I believe. Saw something this morning that might, having now seen this, been directed at you (?).

    This changes things . . .

    Do not give in. I know that whatever transpired, it could never have been intended as hurtful. Stand your ground, even if in your own mind. And if this blows up, I’ve got your back . . .

    Sad . . .

  7. TJ Says:

    Ah, the internet. It’s filled with the finest of assholes around. You, Christine, are NOT one of those assholes.

  8. magpie Says:

    you are a dear, and a lovely person, and i’m sorry someone stepped on you. ((hugs))

  9. Brian Says:

    Sad about the blowing up thing. It hurts to watch.

    How can I help? Is reconciliation possible? If either of you need a safe forum to work this out, I offer TCoG. Not sure what I could do, besides be a friend to you both as you sort this all out . . .


  10. Jennifer Says:

    I love you, and you are one of the kindest souls I know. *Because* you are one of the kindest souls I know. Here for anything you need.


  11. Sayre Says:

    We are sisters under the skin. I have been on both sides of that equation – neither side is fun. Luckily, the other person and I forgave each other and are life-long friends.

  12. TwoBusy Says:

    I can’t believe anyone would treat you that way. I mean, treating anyone that way… obviously, not cool. But you? Really? You?

    No. Nonononononononono. Not acceptable. Not justifiable. Not close to okay.

  13. Laurie Says:

    This upsets me so much.

    You ARE kind. And sometimes the people preaching evolution need to step back and keep sweeping their own doorstep when they feel tempted to lash out, especially in a passive-aggressive way.

    I’ve always appreciated you and your forthrightness, and I’ve never known you to offer your opinion from any less than a place of assistance and suppport. We could use more of that in the world, in my opinion.

  14. Deb Says:

    It’s so frustrating to be misunderstood and then to be lambasted for that. The hardest part is having no control over it. Sending a hug.

  15. Maria Says:

    When I see things like this happening, I wonder…. the Internet is great and has so many wonderful possibilities, but then social network sites seem to encourage some very “mean girls” behavior.

    I don’t “know” you. I only know what you write about here. But the fact that you bare yourself so openly tells me that you would be considerate of someone else doing that and would not deliberately hurt them. I don’t know if this is a situation where time will make things better, or if maybe this person just doesn’t need to have a place in your life. I do know that when I have been blindsided by similar situations, I tend to blame myself first, even if that isn’t right. I hope you don’t do that, and do not internalize another persons problems or issues. You are the kind of friend that people are lucky to have.

  16. Jess Says:

    I’m so sorry. I know how much this sort of thing hurts. I hope this person can see what she’s done at some point.

  17. Chibi Jeebs Says:

    I hate this so much because you flat out don’t deserve it. As TigereyeSal so eloquently put it, “These are absolutely not the hallmarks of someone who set out with cruelty as their intention.”

    I also feel partially responsible since we discussed this privately and NOTHING that was shared was in the least bit “unkind” – maybe stinging in that way a dissenting opinion can be, but ABSOLUTELY not unkind.

    As others before me have said, anyone who knows you would KNOW this was NOT meant maliciously AT ALL.

    I’m so sorry, love. :(

  18. Slow Panic Says:

    what is wrong with people? so sorry this happened to you

  19. KJ Says:

    I know both of you from fb & I don’t want to get overly involved so that’s not my real name on there. Call me a coward.

    I wasn’t there for this battle & don’t know what all went on but I’m going to guess your the reader in the article the other person published. If I’m wrong, then I’m really lost. But I read that article, then yours, then her fb update on how surprised she was by your reaction and I have to say, with respect to evryone, that I didn’t read that article as an attack against you at all. I also think that was one line in a whole piece that had nothing to do with you but with people feeling judged in their recovery and how its not really judgment on the part of people doing it. That was my takeaway but of course I’m not you.

    I think to do this blog post though, you slammed her a heck of alot more than she “slammed” you. If those were your words to her, then who wouldn’t have at least a second of feeling hurt? But she didn’t write a whole post about you, but about the whole issue of people who who think everything can be prevented.

    My thoughts.

  20. flutter Says:

    nowhere in this blog post did I say that A) I was upset that she wrote on VU or B) that she slammed me.
    Without poetry, here is why I was upset:

    I was upset with myself that I hurt her feelings. I was upset that I clearly hadn’t communicated in a way where she felt like she could tell that to ME. I was upset that she didn’t give me a head’s up that the post was coming so I wouldn’t be blindsided, regardless of whether she named me by name.

    I was upset that in the middle of our conversation, she blocked me and then took to fb calling me names.

    I think I am justified in feeling all of those things.

    Further, I am upset that in some way I have presented myself as some unreasonable shrew to the point where you, mystery commenter, felt that you couldn’t even use your real name.

    So, seeing as how that is clearly the case, I can’t imagine that you would want to choose to continue to know me on facebook or anywhere else, am I right?

  21. meno Says:

    Hoo boy, the internet can sure kick up a shitstorm like nothing else. Don’t know what’s going on but i am sorry that you were hurt.

  22. Jaded Says:

    Exactly what men said…

  23. Shawna Says:

    i’m so sorry that you’re hurting. i’d hazard a guess though that she’s hurting too and that her methods are not that different than yours, working her shit out on the internet, without identifying you, because something you said triggered something that she may have intially thought was fine and then later thought differently. well, it happens. these misunderstandings suck. there’s no way around it. they suck. i hope your heart feels better soon, that the sensation of being attacked passes and that you can move forward being the beautiful you that you are.

  24. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios Says:

    Don’t know the details of this but…

    I’ve had this same experience. Later I learned that the person in question did this over and over again to other “kind” people. That this person preferred a world view that revolved around seeing attacks and victimization where others saw normal social interaction and acts of kindness. It’s sad, but I realized no act of kindness and friendship was ever enough for this person. All the outreach and care and money and words and favors were never going to be enough. I just let it all go.

  25. Chrisor (ynotkissme) Says:

    This is so disturbing to me. I’m sorry you had to go through that. I’m a nice person too but not as nice as you. Things that have happened to me (like this but somehow different) have soured me on so many things including intimate friendships. I still treat people kindly at first and naively trust everyone until they give me a reason not to. I didn’t have time to read the other comments so hope I’m giving a different perspective. First you have to realize you did nothing wrong. That doesn’t make it hurt any less. The fact that this person turned on you and didn’t give you a chance to explain or defend yourself, is unconcionable. Whatever this person’s reasons (real or imagined) for behaving this way, don’t spend anymore time letting this person hurt you. The people on social media (& IRL) who know you, know you are not the type of person to be judgemental or mean. Your reputation and past behavior speaks for itself. It just bothers me that this person who did this to you will probably go on to do this to others in the future. :-(

  26. Barnmaven Says:

    I’ve had the experience more than once of having something I said misinterpreted by someone and then had that person take their perception of what I said to others and make a mountain of crap out of it, and it really sucks. In some cases I’ve been able to recover that friendship and in others I have not. Over the years I’ve tried to learn to accept that sometimes these outcomes are simply a part of life – unavoidable, sucktastic, painful – and that I can just accept that its going to hurt for a bit and move on. But I still have to work through the pain of it, and its really damn hard to let go of feeling defensive and wanting the people who heard the “wrong” version of my words to know that wasn’t what I really said or really meant. Its hard to lovingly release those people without sounding bitter and angry about the way I felt they hurt me.

    I suspect its equally as painful for the person who did not understand what you were trying to say. Likely they felt judged and defensive and reacted accordingly.

    I hope you have some healing and peace around this painful issue.

  27. A Mother's Thoughts Says:

    What an unfortunate situation. It is so easy for words to become misconstrude, which make some circumstances so unpleasurable. I hope that the miscommunication is resolved. You are a divine writer. Your words flow like poetry. Sorry that you are in so much pain right now.


  28. Jocelyn Says:

    Ugh. ugh. uuuugggh.

    Cyberspace (do we still call it that sometimes?) turns these dynamics into something almost more hurtful than a “real-life” kerfuffle…it’s almost like we’d rather have the person come up to us and lose it–but when it happens online, it’s strangely breathtaking, managing to combine feelings of injustice and defensiveness and bewilderment into a whole new beast.

    I am ugh for you.

  29. Painted Maypole Says:

    mean people suck.


  30. Emily R Says:

    I’m just catching up. That was completely horrible behavior. And you can trust that I’ll always tell you when I’m pissed at you… if that ever happens.

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