The Pressure to Silence

In your life you will meet many people. You will form relationships despite your best efforts because this is part of how we, humans, are wired.

People form biomes – interconnected, interdependent networks of emotion and physicality.

There will be times when you encounter grief and conflict with one or more of your wonderful fellow people. Often these are avoidable and mutually contributed to. Sometimes they are not. Sometimes you have injustice perpetrated upon you or you perpetrate upon another. Either way a rift forms.

The best advice is to move on. When you have been willfully hurt it is appropriate to pursue justice. Vengeance on the other hand hurts the vengeful as much (and sometimes more) than the one upon whom it is wreaked. One should avoid vengeance at all costs.

Should you be the one who perpetrated the injustice the best way forward is to acknowledge it, apologize sincerely and accept the justice that must be laid upon you.

More often than not we do not accept any of these things. Those who perpetrate injustuce find ways of making it seem they are the victims; victims become consumed with thoughts of vengeance.

Throughout all of this lines are drawn and teams are expected. “You are either for me or against me…there is no other option“. It is the rise of the terrible choice, the false dichotomy that says:

If you choose to continue to associate with Person A whom I now despise than I will despise you.”

The psychology behind this mindset is simplistic and emotionally driven. It is based on the idea that if my friend(s) continue to connect with the person who hurt me they either A. do not believe I was really hurt or B. assume I deserved to be hurt.

These options fail to recognize that relational breakdowns are frequently complex and filled with shades of grey and mutual responsibility. These options also suggest that the hurt individual, when they cannot directly affect the perpetrator will instead attack others associated with the person by proxy.

It is a radically unhealthy cycle that never ends well (if it ends at all).

It is also radically unfair.

There are many times when a relational breakdowns occur. There is no evil one and there is no good one in most of these circumstances despite our passionate and somewhat horrible desire for their to be such.

To hold your friends and family to new requirements that they no longer associate with the one you now despise is unrealistic and will create relational stresses for yourself that could lead to grim isolation.

While you may feel that other’s association with your new found nemesis is a judgement on you; that somehow people assume you are lying or they do not trust you; in reality your friends have not had your experience and never will. It is selfish to hold the people around you to your relational experiences.

Of course where there is physical, psychological and/or sexual abuse one would hope our friends would surround us and leave the perpetrator to justice.

However where there is a mutual falling out between two people – they may choose to walk separate paths but how other mutual acquaintances interact with these two is up to them – no one else.

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