Madeline Laughs takes a peek at the Past

by Madeline Laughs

burning man from the airI’m not a total douche.

I’ve made that remark a couple of times lately. I make it because I don’t think I’m the end-all, be-all of information and insight. I constantly go back and check myself and never make the mistake of thinking that just because I made the discovery once, that it’s written in stone.

I also like to think that sometimes I’m wrong.

I don’t want to be that person that goes through life thinking I’m the only one that’s right about something, especially if it’s a bad something.  

I felt enough time had passed that I might be able to look at them a bit more objectively. Not all of the members were that bad, but the ones leading the group at the time, were true sociopaths.

If you think dealing with just one sociopath is a challenge, try dealing with more than one at a time. Try having all of them on the attack and humiliating you any and every way they can. That will certainly teach you a thing or two about what kind of stuff you’re made of. It taught me a great deal about myself, and about the people I surround myself with.

When I made the decision to make an exit from the group, I made it a grand one. I decided to out them in an email and copied everyone who had ever been a member of the group, as well as current members. It was not pretty and not one of my proudest moments.

In hindsight, I never should have wasted my time. It fell, as you can imagine, on very deaf ears. They hear worse than I do and I’m legally hearing impaired and wear 2 hearing aids. No, they didn’t hear me because they weren’t listening, but many people in the group heard me and responded to me privately.

Yes, they responded privately.

That alone should have been a red flag for me to pay attention, but I didn’t. I was just so relieved that someone was in agreement with what I felt and suspected that I took every bit of it as someone that was listening and did hear me. But they weren’t really listening.

In other words, they would tell me they supported me, but when they were in the presence of the group…they supported the group, but not me.

Nice, huh?

How long would you have lasted trying to balance all of that toxic behavior?

Okay, I can’t say that I blame them. Once again, why would anyone purposely want that kind of venom pointed in their direction? It would have been great if they had taken it as the opportunity that it was and turned it around, but they didn’t and that was their right.

I can tell you that my head was reeling from the onslaught of it. When they finally stopped trying to publicly humiliate me and decided instead to freeze me out, they really gave me some relief. After that there was only the occasional drama to contend with, but for the most part, I heard nothing more and I was fine with that.

When you are dealing with a sociopathic personality you will find that the best way to make them move on and leave you alone is to call them out on their behavior. They can only refute and disparage the truth for so long before other people start taking a look at THEM. When other people started wanting to know why they are attacking this person with insults and bully tactics to silence her, they got very quiet and took their vendetta underground, where it belonged.

But like I said, I’m not a total douche. Maybe I was wrong in my assessment. There are good people in that group and they genuinely love being a part of whatever something it is.

Maybe I was the problem?

So I decided to wade back in, not to the deep end, just the shallow end (pun intended) to see if anything had changed.

Here’s what I discovered…it’s still the same basic group dynamic. There are some new members, but they don’t seem to get the platitudes the original members do. The same we’re so much better than the rest of the world attitude is the general undercurrent and the private jokes that only they get are still prevalent.

On the surface, if I didn’t know any better, they look like a charming and very loving group and I’m sure they think they are too. Anyone looking for something larger than themselves, could stumble upon them and think they had finally discovered what the world should really be like. They paint a truly gorgeous picture of a bunch of people that are accepting and open and ready to take you in and love you to bits.

And they will, for the best part.

But because I know better and because I have been on the inside, I see something a little different. Unless they have undergone some intense group therapy with a professional counselor, which I doubt, they are still the same as they ever were.

They will eventually tear you to bits if you rebel against them in any way.

There is a competitive, back biting that they were all guilty of and I don’t think that will ever change. When I was in their midst and could hear some of the heinous judgments being passed around, even about some of the members I felt were above being judged, I would walk away from the chance encounter or the private lunch, wondering what the hell they said about me when I wasn’t right in front of them.

Oh trust me, I eventually got to hear everything that was said about me behind my back. The passive/aggressive element of the group had no problem telling me everything once I decided to walk away from them. I guess they figured the leaders had stopped listening to me anyway and had given the order to freeze me out, so they could speak freely with no worries of getting into trouble for sharing. You could almost hear the glee in their voices!

Out of a group of about 50 people that pass through on occasion, there were the dirty dozen that lead and control everything that happens. Other than those 12 people, the majority of the group is great. The majority of the group is mostly unaware that I ever had a problem with any of the rest, or that I ever existed as a member.

Out of that dozen there are 4 that are true, dyed in the designer wool, sociopaths. I mean, they are scary people!

There are 5 that are merely lemmings and do whatever the leaders tell them to do. I feel sorry for those 5 people sometimes, but mostly I think they deserve whatever treatment they get because they will never leave the group. It’s a place they feel safe, even though the rumors about them are more disgusting than anything they ever said about me.

That leaves just 3.

These three are the most interesting.

One of them is the closest thing I’ve ever witnessed as being an empty box. A constantly dry well that needs filling up on a daily basis. Even on the surface there is not much there that might make you want to stick around if you’re healthy, but in the group, this person thrives. Go figure.

The other two are some of the biggest gossips I have ever seen! No one is immune! They talk about everybody and they know what everybody is saying about everybody else! In fact, they were the ones that confirmed all of the dirty gossip I had heard, but wasn’t sure of…and then some!

Out of all of the original founding members…not one of them still exists. They didn’t just fall away out of disinterest or life. They were all systematically eliminated and excommunicated, disparaged and denigrated, by the leaders you see today.

Everyone else is crazy, but the group is sane.

I wondered if any of them had ever really liked me.

I wonder if any of them really like each other?

I waded back in and took a peek. I had hoped that perhaps the nostalgia of being a part of that group would sway me a little. I had hoped my feelings would soften a bit towards them and what they put me through.

I wanted to be wrong.

I wasn’t wrong, but I had softened enough to realize that they do have some worth in the eyes of society.

Whenever I get the feeling that I’ve stood on my soapbox a little too long and have stopped being realistic about my newfound belief system, this is a good reflection for me to check myself and to remind myself of how I got to this place I’m in right now.

I’m not puffed up with pride or self congratulations.

I am simply grateful to be free of all the drama and the bullshit.

I am also not alone. I am not the only person that was a victim to their outrage and self righteousness. There are many of us. I am just one of the few that is strong enough to put it into words so that anyone can take a look at it.

Here are all of the past posts I wrote about being a part of that group.

When a Group goes Bad

I was a Monkey and didn’t know it

Thanks for the Push

Dear Trudy

How to know you’re a BULLY

We are NOT Monkeys

Her Empty Box

The meaning behind The Private Joke

I don’t want to ever imply that I am the end-all, be-all when it comes to information, insights about people’s behaviors or the human condition, but I am all of that to myself.

I’ve made some bad decisions and have gotten involved with some questionable people over the years and I have no one to blame for any of those mistakes, but myself. The good part in all of those connections I made, and those bad decisions I executed, was that I did carry away quite a bit of good for myself.

I was able to muddle through the public and devastating humiliations and still hold my head high. I realized that instead of dwelling on the negative, I needed to appreciate the lessons and benefit of having survived everything.

I’m not saying the group is all bad. They really aren’t.

They provide a necessary shelter for a lot of folks. They provide a nurturing that perhaps some of them desperately need. They give those people a sense of belonging to something larger than just themselves all alone. They do bring a lot of beauty into the world and as a creative and highly motivated group of individuals they do have worth.

For that I applaud them and wish them well.

Not long after disengaging with this group of folks I did have the opportunity to put many of those lessons to work for me.

I participated in a grant writing exercise that landed myself, and many people that had also suffered at the hands of this same group, in a place of honor and grace. Between all of us we pulled off one of the most successful and largest art installations in the history of an event.

It was our pain and memories that pushed us to do everything in a way that was the opposite of how we had been treated and the end result was outstanding. I am still very proud that all of us have that moment in time to look back on. It was liberating and validating in it’s own way for each of us.

There were many severed ties and heartbreak moments throughout, but I did walk away with the best of it. That’s how I would like to close this post.

Whenever you feel like you might be off on the wrong track about the changes you’ve made in your life, just take a look back now and then. You might soften with time and be able to forgive the people that hurt you, but that doesn’t mean you have to forget it.

Until next time, I am Madeline Laughs and I enjoy being able to help you take a look at yourself and not feel bad about what you’re seeing. We all have worth.

About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
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8 Responses to Madeline Laughs takes a peek at the Past

  1. Regyna Longlank says:

    Thank you Madeline. It’s been a rough couple of days and your words are like salve on my soul. I’m feeling a little bit tiny today, just a little girl in a big big world, and it’s good to have friends who know your heart somewhere out there in all of it. All of the rush and the wonder and the fright.

    One of my good friends is in the hospital right now, he had a stroke. He’s only in his fifties. Another of my friends spent most of the week on the floor in so much back pain he couldn’t function. I’m feeling my mortality today, the fragility of us all, and I am missing that feeling of invincible youth. Thankful for my strength and health am I. And I spent a lot of the morning feeling like I made a mess of things and there is no way to fix it now. I’m trying to encompass all of it but some spills out, I can’t contain it and I just have to cry.

    It’s not even really that I’m sad. I just get tired of carrying it all. And I don’t know what else to do about it. Crying helps me relax I guess. But it does feel a bit like giving up.

    I hate it when things turn out badly and people are no longer friends. It makes me sad. I guess it’s not as tragic as some things, but there is a tragedy to the end of love, of friendship, of support. Even when it has to be.

    I want to fix things, to make them better. Wave a magic wand and go back to the way it was, only without the stupid parts. I don’t think it works that way. I used to think time could fix it. I know that’s not true now. Some things can’t be fixed. Some things are just broken.

    I love everyone. I really just want us all to hold hands and skip around. I do. I realize that it’s dorky and unrealistic and it’s not going to happen. Not with this group, not with any of the others I’ve lost, and for very good reason. Feelings are something we can’t control. I’d like to say I could be the bigger person, let it go and move on but it would be a lie. I’m still hurt. And I don’t want to be friends. I don’t want to work it out, I don’t want to talk about it and I don’t want to know why or whatever. It doesn’t mean I don’t care. I’m just not going to go there.

    It feels odd to say that. It doesn’t feel like me. And I hate that. I hate that other people were able to push me so far I had no choice but to act. I hate that I chose to act in ways I’m now not proud of in some cases. I wish it could be another way. Authentic and honest and real and some other way that still felt like me. Since I don’t know what that is I will continue to do nothing. It’s the only thing that’s worked so far.


  2. Wow – sounds like you really had to put up with a lot of crap! Good thing you got out of whatever it was, sounds toxic.


    • LOL! I probably did put up with a lot of crap, but I’m sure if you quizzed any of those people involved they’d tell you I gave them a lot of crap to deal with too. I am slowly learning how to choose my battles wisely and that battle was fought in stupidity and futility. They like the way their group functions and if I didn’t like it all I had to do was go away. They weren’t interested in my opinions or observations and they proved that by changing very little of the ways they continue to treat people. So the best i can offer is that if people don’t approve of their methods then all they have to do is not participate.

      I’m still too much of a crusader though…so I might not change the way I deal with people like that either LOL! I’m still going to call them out!


      • I’ll have to head back over to your blog to understand more of what happened. I don’t think what you did was futile if it involved you standing up to people. Besides, you might turn out to help others who have gone through the same things. I’m amazed that groups continue when they turn on people within the group simply because they call others out on things, unless they simply aren’t interested in growing as people at all.


      • You hit the nail on the head! Maturity and responsibility are not strong attributes in that group. In fact, one little known fact was they needed people in the group that had jobs and money in order to keep many of them afloat by paying dues.


      • My gosh, that’s sickening and possibly criminal!


      • Regyna Longlank says:

        It is important to say what you see. And that can feel really good. But yeah. Staying there and continuing to say it when no one is listening seems like a waste of time.

        I for one tire of banging my head against the same old wall over and over. I’m getting old, I’m tired, and it’s boring. I want to fight the good fight, I’m down for the crusade. It’s just getting crowded up there.

        I’m not sure how much more I can nail to that thing before it begins to collapse under its own weight. And then where will we be? All in the same kettle of fish, that’s where.

        Your muddled metaphor for the day. Enjoy!


  3. Yes, that was a tough day for both of us. It ended with a fabulous phone call and some wonderful exchanges of the sister love we have for each other and for what we have gone through together. One of these days, we’re going to conference with you too sisterbabe!


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