If I get warned that someone has harmed my friends, I’ll be on my guard and probably won’t engage the creep on any level. I’m a firm believer that if someone tells me, “Hey, that guy is a murderer and he tried to murder me and he’s murdered people I know.” that I don’t have to let him murder me too before finding out it’s true.
Besides, isn’t the fact that they murdered your friend enough for you to ask the murderer what their problem is? Why did they murder your friend?
Or to ask yourself why you like the murderer so much that you’re willing to overlook the pile of dead bodies?
It’s something I seem to struggle with. You murder my friend, then don’t expect me to stick around.
…but that’s me. It’s obviously not how everyone reacts though.
I have realized that some murderers seem to be very likable. I call them malignant sociopaths.
I’d also like to point out that there is a HUGE difference between being privately warned by a friend about someone, and seeing the person’s reputation publicly trashed on social media.
Recently I was placed in an awkward position. A friend came to me and told me the travesties committed by someone that I was friends with. I could actually hear the anger in their voice as they plodded through transgression after transgression. They repeated things over and over again, as if to drill them into my brain. I finally had to ask them to stop repeating themselves. I was getting the message loud and clear.
That shoe, was on my other foot now.
What was I going to do?
I remember those days years ago when I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to convince people that this guy I used to know was a sociopath. The more I postured about the horrid details of his daily life, the more I got to hear those awful words, “Well yeah, but he’s never done anything like that to me.” People would say it to me almost like it was a plea for forgiveness. Oh please Katy, forgive me for continuing to be his friend on Facebook. Oh please, don’t make me ignore him. Don’t ask me not to laugh at his jokes or stop believing his lies. Please?
What was I supposed to do? I couldn’t just cut everyone out of my life, could I?
So I stopped reminding people what a monster he really was and just got on with my life. Eventually each one of them had their own tangle with him and they fell from his life like drops of rain. I never recovered the respect I had for some of these folks and allowed my connection to them to lie dormant until it ceased to be anything at all after a while. It was difficult for me to maintain a semblance of normalcy with folks that claimed to be my friend, and yet refused to defend me to someone they admitted they knew was a sociopath too.
I didn’t understand this at all.
What I did understand was that in order to protect myself from the horror of being subjected to someone like this in my future, I needed very strong personal boundaries. Those boundaries and the blood, sweat and tears that built them, are the stuff that has kept me sane and mentally healthy these days, despite the knocking of evil on my door on the odd occasions.
I don’t make it a habit to write people off. When that happens in my world, it’s got a lot of history behind it.
Since experiencing what it feels like to be on the receiving end of the monster talk I decided to do my own investigation, but more importantly, I reassured my friend that this was not someone that I would probably ever be super close to. In fact, this person is merely an acquaintance and not someone I even have conversations with. I dared never utter the curses of “Well yeah, but he’s never done anything like that to me!”
Everyone has their own perceptions, but when the person is rotten to the core, very little is leftover to redeem them in many ways. Once I know the monster has hurt my friend, I don’t need to put myself in harm’s way just to prove to myself that the person is rotten, or not.
So the next time you’re privately approached with warnings, always heed what you’re being told. Know yourself well enough not to get sucked into the soap opera and look to more positive and mentally healthy relationships in your life. Leave the drama behind.