I've been thinking of the recent conflict with RO. It is a reflection of another conflict I had with WitchDoctorJoe in October of last year. Yes, I was over the top in both conflicts. I get that but sometimes what what appears to be a cause is really a symptom.
Normally, I don't mention names of folks in my life when I post about them here. However, since both discussions were very public, I see little reason not to in this case.
In Joe's case I was prepared for the friendship to end. Basically, because I'd seen him end close friendships many times before. Sometimes for reasons I could understand. Other times, I was utterly clueless as to what the offense was, even when he explained to me thinking it was obvious. I was a bit proud of myself for spotting this and not getting to involved emotionally in the relationship. Being aware of the patterns of others is a handy skill to have. Though, I've always been a bit saddened because I've always respected Joe.
The common thread begins here. A few months before Joe had told me that he thought that I and all ceremonial magicians were "doing it wrong." Now, it doesn't matter how he meant that. I could have taken in wrong. He could have meant something specific that I missed. He could have meant it just how I took it. Whatever. What matters is that I heard someone I respected telling me that he felt I was doing it wrong. I wasn't aware of any emotional hurt at the time but that isn't unusual for me. Sometimes, I have a delayed emotional reactions.
So, when Joe posted something about his take on things. I got all over him. I was over the top.
In RO's case, I set him up with a post after he had one of his famous chew out sessions with one of his readers. I had thought this reader was my friend the Druid and that set me off. Especially, because the question the argument was over was a good one that I had asked of myself. It turned out, it was with someone besides my friend. Regardless, it was one more RO chew out session and I had had enough. Regardless that isn't the point. The point is in this question: How did I go after him? Answer: Religion.
A couple months before, RO told me that Christians get to be with God through Jesus Christ and everyone else that didn't follow Jesus would forever be further away from God and "they deserve it." RO now says he must have forgotten a smilie after that statement. Maybe he did mean it. Maybe he didn't. It doesn't matter. I heard it. There were other incidents were similar hurts and insults were directed at me in IMs.
Later, when it was time for the relationship to end, I hammered him on religion. Again, I was over the top.
I've posted about my conflicts with my first group. One of the things that drove me nuts was their insistence that no one was Wiccan but them because they were traditional (which means either Alexandrian or Gardnerian) and all these eclectics had no idea what they were doing. It drove me crazy then on its own merits. This conversation took place every time we met. People would come from England and still that same conversation had to be repeated. Eventually, they also told me by word and body language that everything I did was wrong, eventually using the word "delusional".
My issue with Christianity, RO aside, is the attitude of its zietgist or egregore, I'm not sure which word applies or if it should be another, that all others are essentially doing it wrong. It is Christian or its bad.
The opposite is one of my favorite things about my GD teachings. No other method is wrong. It just isn't ours. In fact, folks are seriously encouraged upon joining to find another path if the GD methods don't work for them.
Naming a thing is a big part of the picture. Now I know that when someone tells me that I'm doing it wrong, I just may blow up at them months later. It may be better to have that conversation fully expressed at the time the utterance is made, instead of allowing whatever suppression has happened in the past. I'm not really sure. However, being aware is half the battle. Being aware gives someone a choice in the matter rather than a pre-programmed habitual response.
This sort of realization isn't a cure. It is a step. To me, it is the biggest step in the process. More steps will need to take place until the issue goes away completely.
A Tangential Thread
It was actually the incident with Joe that was one of the pivotal moments in my recovering from the obsession. Joe ended the friendship. Something I had never done with anyone. I noticed he did not die.
I am usually tolerant of another's faults. I will get rid of someone from my life because their personality grates upon me. However, I generally don't ditch friends for displaying poor behavior. To me, that is when true friendship kicks in. Anyone can be a friend when you're at your best. True friends support you at your worst.
Joe's ability to end a friendship had an impact on me. In fact, it sort of gave me permission to do the same. At some point, I removed the primary actress in that drama in my first group from my Facebook. From that small act my internal healing began.
The cataclysmic event with my first group began when someone in the group instigated a sexual relationship with me. I fell in love even though I was aware the relationship would not last. She ended the relationship by throwing a surprise orgy in my house and fucked a room full of men and women while making it plane I was not to touch her. I didn't respond in the moment to that because she used the authority she had over me in the coven by explicitly invoking her rank. And, I was simply too shocked at the events before me.
That night felt like I was being sexually molested.
Needless to say, I was crushed. My mind left me that night so many years ago. It only recently returned.
My reaction was not positive but even in retrospect, I do not think it was out of line with that level of betrayal and meanness. There was a council meeting, which is sort of trial. The woman who did this lied repeatedly, often and obviously. Two people who were there would admit to this privately but not publicly. For reasons that have never been explained the result of that trial was that I was publically revealed as the wrong doer in that situation and exiled for a period of 90 days. I was literally told at sentencing that I would not be told why. I did eventually rejoin the group but left not long after that. To this day, no one that was involved in that group or who attended my trial has ever admitted that the woman in this case did anything improper by ending a relationship by throwing an orgy.
Given that I used the word molested to describe the emotional feeling of that night and the group knew that I had been sexually molested by my mother, their standard excuse for my pain was that it had to do with my mother and nothing at all to do with their own actions.
Before I state the common thread here, I must make it clear that on a scale of 1 to 100 as far as molests go, my mother's abuse ranked at about a two. Most people that go through that suffer much worse than I ever did. I can not imagine what they have had to deal with.
My reaction to my mother's actions was to cause her to stop but then I made excuses. She had recently been dumped by my father after nearly twenty or so years of marriage for a woman merely a year older than my sister. She refused to allow a divorce due to her Catholic faith. She was in huge emotional upheaval and lonely. While that was likely true, I pretended there was no crime as I could see the psychological cause. No harm. No foul. That part was not true.
In the case of the prior group, I had to stay in contact with them for various reasons. While I tried and have been told succeeded in hiding my negative feelings for these people when we met in the other groups, the various people that knew the story pretended the perpetrator did nothing wrong. My public silence aided in that cover up. Though, I had little choice. Had I made a stink of it in public I would have lost the next round in the political game. In short, my friends played the role I did as a teen pretending a horrific act didn't happen, made excuses and hid from obvious facts.
The seemingly small act of removing these people from my Facebook friends list somehow was enough to break the thread of excuses. They can express or comfort themselves with their 'innocence' all they like. They can live in denial, if they so choose. It doesn't matter anymore. The ability for me to click that remove button came from Joe's ability to end our friendship and a little astral link breaking by the Helpful Deity.
The thread that linked my former groups actions to my own so many years prior was subtle and only revealed once the obsession ended.
The cycle of religious conflict for me will likley be ongoing. However, by naming things, by being aware of other things, by refusing to wholly blame the other but accept my own part in things, it will get better. They already have to a large extent.
Despite the seriousness of this post. Life is that damn good.