I have always been a huge supporter of people being able to tell their side of a story. I encourage folks that are being beat down and bullied to speak out and let others know what they are going through and their perspective. I think this is healthy, but most of all, it is cathartic for the person on the receiving end of a shitload of toxic behavior.
I wrote a post not long ago entitled Telling Your Side versus a Narcissistic Smear Campaign (if you press on the underlined text, you can read the whole post yourself) where I talked about the differences in two behaviors. Telling mutual friends that there is a problem and your side of the story, especially when you feel they will eventually be dragged into the fray, is not a crime. It’s also not a campaign to gain favor for yourself. It is simply making someone aware that this is happening and that you have very definite boundaries.
Someone that is on the campaign trail behaves like this:
- Initiating contact with mutual friends to ask them to join their campaign against the victim.
- Asking friends to choose sides or to spy on the other friend and report back to them is a definite giveaway that this person is campaigning.
- Continuing to escalate the attack by widely posting insults and jabs in public online forums in an attempt to engage the victim.
- Actively seeks out and befriends or engages anyone the bully might perceive as being an enemy of the victim too.
- Continuing to campaign against the victim long after the victim has stopped participating.
- Eventually assuming a pious posture while claiming the victim deserves to be treated poorly.
Asking that friends choose, or posturing that they are being victimized themselves therefore the friend must be on their side or be discarded, is also a campaign technique. When someone backs you into this kind of corner, choose to be discarded to avoid the drama of being their loyal friend. If you choose to be in their corner, you are choosing to hurt another human being that has done nothing to hurt you. Someone hellbent on revenge or malicious intent has no scruples and really doesn’t care how many innocent bystanders they involve when they are on this kind of mission. A real friend will never ask you to behave this way.
Make no mistake, it is okay to tell your friends about what is happening to you when you feel they could be in harm’s way, or involved in the campaign.
I personally do not like to warn or inform people when something like this is going on, but I will when it reaches a certain point. It’s embarrassing to have your own friends deceived into believing lies about you. It’s equally embarrassing when your friends love you enough to want to intervene, thinking that what the campaigner has told them is true, and your real friend only wants to make the situation better for both of you and gets involved. That is the most hurtful of all…when the campaigner lies to get to you through your own friends.
Anytime I have ever shared my story, I am strong in telling my friend, “I’m not asking you to choose sides or not to be friends with that person. I just want you to be aware of what is happening so you aren’t caught off guard or surprised when they approach you. How you handle your friendship with them is your business and I respect that.”
Can you imagine going through your adult life, constantly creating the drama of a narcissistic smear campaign, in order to have friends? Who among these loyal friends (and I use that term loosely) will you be able to trust? I can tell you that anyone that behaves with this lack of boundaries, does not trust anyone. They see everyone as an enemy and only use your loyalty as a weapon in their battle to seek love and respect through a delusional sense of self importance and entitlement.
Never be afraid to talk about what is happening to you.
In my post entitled Get over it, Stop talking about it and Move on I touch on a subject that bothered me for quite some time. When people start asking you to be silent, you need to take a look at them and ask them why your silence is so important to them.
It is not just my responsibility to speak up, it’s everyone’s responsibility. You have the responsibility to NOT remain silent and I strongly suggest you start using it. People who keep quiet because it’s socially acceptable turn all of that hatred inward and slowly wither and die…quietly. That’s just wrong.
You don’t have to be bitter and hateful to share your truth. You just have to be willing to share it.
I’m not bitter at all about what has happened to me. I feel empowered! Grateful and enlightened. There are days when I regret the time I wasted, but it has led me to this place of strength I’m in now and that is awesome! If someone wants to label me “crazy”, then I dare them to do it with any kind of credibility. Now that I know what they are, I dare them.
I refuse to give them that kind of power over me again.
You can share your story and you do not have to be accusatory, hateful or victimized ever again. Allow your friends the benefit to support you with respect and love. After all, they’re your friends because they bring something good to your life, not because you both hate the same person, right? Do you think hating the same person makes that person someone worthy as a friend?
Isn’t that kind of sad?
I talk about this kind of behavior in a post entitled The Enemy of my Enemy is my friend.
It turns out there is an ancient proverb; The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Don’t get carried away. Just because it’s an ancient proverb, that doesn’t make it right or healthy. Essentially this means that an enemy will seek out your enemies to band together against you. Back in the olden days this kind of behavior was used in wartime. Today this kind of behavior, when used among regular citizens and civilians, is simply twisted.
If the only thing I have in common with someone is the mutual hatred of another person, then I have nothing in common with them.
If I can’t go to the movies with them, or laugh at something funny they tell me, or sit and have lunch, knowing we will have lunch again one day, then why would I even pursue someone under the pretense of my hatred for another human being?
If I can’t trust them enough to make good decisions about the person that is campaigning against me by telling the person not to involve them or ask them to choose sides, then is this someone I would even want to be friends with?
If I can not trust them to respect my personal space and privacy by refusing to share my social media posts or gossip about me, then is this someone I want to be friends with?
You think about your own answers to those questions and tell me what you conclude.
At some point in your life you have to decide what is important and healthy. Seeking revenge and gathering people around you based on your hatred of another person, is not healthy. That kind of behavior will never be important to me, and it will be something I refuse to participate in.
If you want to have good friends, you have to be a good friend.
It’s that simple.