15 June 2024

Retrospect via Social Media Melodrama

 There's been some drama on the clock app and I am fascinated. If there is drama, I usually scroll right past it.  Life is too short.  My clock app is set to topics like dogs, writers, libraries, wanderers, photographers, and the such.  I've designed it so that the feed provides a peaceful activity.


One of the people is a creator who I used to follow then her socials changed to a focus I wasn't interested in so I stopped following.  It just wasn't pertinent to me anymore, that's all.

So then yesterday, someone was on my FYP feed in a weird shower cap thing and said "So, I'm not friends with X anymore..."  For some reason, probably the shower cap thing, I stayed and listened.

As I listened, her story was feeling familiar. Like, it felt like I knew the person she was talking about. I didn't investigate any further though, because it's not my drama.  It just felt validating that someone had the same experience as me.

Then today, someone stitched her video and it was the woman I used to follow.  She is part of that friend group and is also no longer friends with X.  Her telling of the story was much more detailed and whew, change the names and I really had lived that story.

Then this afternoon, ANOTHER WOMAN stitched the stitch and was all "ME TOO" and she told her part of the ongoing story.  All of their stories complimented each other in facts and behavior AND added layers to the situation of being friends with X.

Again, I'm all THIS WAS MY LIFE years ago and thank all the gods it isn't anymore.  

What had happened was the X person had a few bad episodes in their life and the friend group rallied around her, just to get destroyed by this person.  X was the victim and there was no discussion otherwise.  There was no other possible option or outcome. Then X proceeded to divide and conquer amongst the friend group so everyone was fighting and nothing was X's fault. Ever.  They were the victim.  Everyone was mad and hurt with everyone else.

AND THEN, the saga continued with screenshots and voice messages and rebuttals; including have a blog post mispresented and used as "evidence" of being a terrible friend. (happened to me) A story about how a birthday was ruined because impossible standards are set and friends were treated like ungrateful and disobedient servants. (change birthday to wedding and probably also a birthday and it happened to me)  I'm telling you: I could have written this whole situation.

This felt so familiar.  It was sadly a relief hearing someone else having this experience.  I recognize that in posting this drama their intention is self-protection and full-disclosure to their followers. BUT I wonder if they realize or considered what a cathartic thing to share with others who have had those same experiences. I wish I had the self-awareness and mental health to deal/cope with the situation back then the way they have.

I wrote about my experience way back in 2009-ish. To summarize: this person is one of the reasons I no longer drink.  This person not only manipulated me but others as well, and took zero personal responsibility.  They damaged relationships. They sh*t talked about me to whomever would listen, including my bio-family.  

The family seemingly took her side and that's one of the reasons for distance there.   Example: my mother told me once that I just "Need to get over it, apologize, and be friends with X again."  I told her that I was not ever going to do that, because they needed mental health help and when I offered to support them in working through that, they told me to F*ck off. So I didn't feel the need to reconcile.  Also, that they had lied and manipulated about so many different people & situations that all trust was irretrievably broken.

And guess who came to the next family gathering.  Yeah.  And all the others following.

Example #2 of how similar this situation is: X bought me tickets to an event "for my birthday". 

Pause: I tried to write this paragraph style, but I'm just going to make a list. It got too confusing.

  • They didn't tell me what it was until I got to their house, which was forty-five minutes away from my house.  It was supposed to be a great surprise.
  • It was a comedian whom I hated, HATED, and trust that there was no mystery about how I disliked them. (she is now universally disliked, to give a hint)
  • Next it was announced that we were riding with two "friends" from their work; both of whom I had never met.  
  • The show was in Canada.  They were rude at the border, which is a big deal because that can create consequences at future border crossings and I was crossing regularly.   
  • We did not stop for dinner. 
  • I sat by myself, which was a gift because X was animatedly "interacting" with the comedian as the show went along. 
  • The others drank before, during, and after the show so yes, one of them did drive us home drunk. 
  • We did not stop for dinner.  I had a happy meal on the way home at midnight after I left them standing on the sidewalk in front their house

Yet, I was ungrateful and my consequence was radio silence for a while.  Hindsight: I should have just gotten back into my vehicle and gone home at the start.  When a person is in that kind of situation though, you feel guilty and obligated and justify that maybe it will be fun...  You all know the drill, we've all been there.

So, anyway, I could go on and on with examples. It was bad enough that it still feels terrible.  Eventually all of their lies and manipulations were discovered and I severed the friendship.  Actually, I had backed away and gone quiet in an attempt to let time take care of the situation.  It had an opposite effect though and they just ESCALATED.

They say that they ended the friendship and were the victim. They "anonymously" one or two mean girl comments here on the blog, which I deleted without comment. They talked about me to my family and others, including being "iced out" and glared at functions we both attended. And of course, the required long email listing all the things that I had ever done wrong, most of which were false.  No accountability, no self-awareness, and frankly just craziness.

Anyway.  That's just context, it's not the focus of this post.  

What was cathartic watching this online drama unfold was not only that someone else had that same experience.  It was watching the dawning realizations and recovery afterward.  The "Why did I put up with that?"  The "Why didn't I SEE this behavior sooner?"  "Why did I make excuses/accommodations/forgiveness for this person for so long?"

The answer is a bit trite: When you know better, you do better.  You have stronger boundaries, you have more self-awareness, you own your mistakes, you tolerate less. 

You stop making excuses.  "I know, but..." is not a phrase that should be used when explaining or justifying any kind of relationship.  "I know but we've been friends a long time" "I know, but they can be kind  or funny or generous or..."  "I know but they aren't like that usually/when alone"  "I know but I could have handled it better"

Because sometimes the fun friend, the crazy friend, the long-term friend is just the unhealthy, unsafe, and not-really-a-friend, friend.  A person should feel BETTER after spending time together, not exhausted.  

If you have been in this kind of situation then you understand.  I hope that it gives solace that someone else has experienced it and been able to work through it successfully.  

Or if you're in it now, reread or print out the last few paragraphs to support you in making different choices.

If you're curious: the drama on the clock app, the creators are Sensible-Amber. Megan Rose, and Abby. 

1 comment:

Morningstar said...

Looking at this through the lens of similar people I've known in my life, I wonder if they bought two tickets by accident, or bought them for another friend who couldn't come, and thought it would be just so perfect to pass the spare ticket off on you because of the timing. People who pull that sort of thing are often so chuffed with themselves for their "perfect solution" that they aren't actually thinking about the recipient's needs or preferences.