Thursday 30 October 2008

Owning Up To A Mistake- An Apology To The Blogosphere

This blogger is going to put his hand up to a huge mistake.

Once upon a time this blogger was stupid enough to make a phone call to another blogger at the request of that blogger.

They ended up talking. They agreed they'd meet one day. The whispered sweet nothings to eachother.
It was all total fantasy.

This blogger stupidly told the other blogger about his past.

As time progressed, he discovered she had a nasty side. She'd fall out with other bloggers and expect him to take her side. She'd e-mail all his commenters and say she was 'in a relationship with him'.

She ruined blogging for him.

As time progressed, he was in a cleft stick. Because he'd already seen she had no respects for secrets told her. He'd seen that when she fell out with an online friend she'd had for eight years.

So he had to tell her everything she wanted to hear.

Because he knew that if he blew her off, she'd publish his past online.

He didn't take it too seriously. He figured it would fizzle out.

But in the meantime, he had to keep her sweet.

And most of the time, to begin with, it seemed OK. He kept an open mind about her. But in time, she became a burden to his life. She just could not refrain from publicising her connection to him.
Till one day, she started e-mailing one of his female friends and the two women got into a row.
And then she went too far. She published a post naming him as her man and telling the other girl to back off.
So he disavowed her.

At which point, things spiralled out of control. She could not see that he did not want her, because she couldn't keep her mouth shut, that the reason he wanted her out of his life, was the fact he couldn't trust her.

She couldn't see that every time she told someone they were 'in a relationship', he felt degraded and humiliated in front of that person.

He tried ways to convince her they should completely end contact. She wouldn't listen. She kept alleging which led on when all that had actually happened was that he found her too much to handle.

He was damned either way. Whatever he did, he would be humiliated by her. She would either tell other bloggers she was 'in a relationship with him', or tell other bloggers he'd been in gaol. And he wasn't sure which humiliated him most.

Eventually, at the request of his flatmate and his best friend, after she had rung and harassed his flatmate, he barred him from calling him and barred her on IM.

But he couldn't stop the mails.

If he didn't stop reply to the mails, she'd try to comment on his blog. Or comment on blogs he visited, telling the owner of the blog he'd been in prison.

This went on for months. There wasn't a night he didn't get mail from her and he had to respond out of fear. Fear of what she might publish. And he had no one to turn to. Some nights he actually broke down and cried.

Because she just didn't get it. She'd tried to create rifts between him and other online friends. She'd refused to keep the contact between themselves a total secret. He didn't want her, because she was too strident, too self centred and had no regard for his wishes.

She couldn't keep her obsession with this 'relationship' away from blogging. She couldn't help herself but go round trying to make everyone aware that he was 'her' guy. And that made him ashamed, thoroughly ashamed. Because he had no wish to be publicly associated with someone who behaved like that. And that, in itself, was why he wanted never to hear from her again.

Nothing he told her was good enough.

He just wanted her to go away and leave him alone. He wanted it to be as if they had never spoke.
But he was frightened to go to the police. To him, the police aren't friendly upholders of law. He doesn't want police anywhere near him either. His encounters with the police have not filled him with confidence in them.

And ultimately his biggest fear is 'Would my blog be what it is, if people knew my past?'

She held that over him, as she tormented him with e-mails, night after night after night.

In retrospect, I made a mistake.

I should never have humoured her.

The first time she contacted another blogger and said that we were 'in a relationship', I should have cut off all contact then and let her publish and be damned. Then so much horror would never have happened.

I put my hands up to that. I allowed myself to be ruled by fear. I allowed myself to be driven like a frightened rat into a maze I could not escape from.

In doing so, I only prolonged the agony.

I should have stood up like a man and just let her do her worst. Let her publish the fact I'd been in prison and whatever unpleasant slant she chose to put on it, rather than keeping responding to her, hoping to fend her for one more night, put off the doom well I worked out a way to get rid of her.

Because I didn't get rid of her.

And I let people down, I truly did. No more so than Phish, who I hope can find it in her heart to forgive me. But I let down others too.

And I let my readers down. Because I didn't give them the attention they deserved.

So much evil has entered the sphere as a result of this, and it could have been prevented, had I just stood up and let her do her worst long, long before I had to tell you all anyway.

I forgot to put the boiler on last night, which meant I woke up this morning to no hot water.
And I ran the shower, but I did not have time to wait for the hot water to come through. Eventually, I realised I was going to have to brace a freezing shower. In a freezing flat.
And it occurred to me, that that was pretty much what had occurred with this woman. I had not faced the cold shower of prison coming out, because I had kept hoping for the warm water of her just going away of her own accord.

I do not apologise for anything this woman thinks I did to her, I did nothing wrong there. She tortured me non stop, forcing me to try and work out on a daily basis what I had to say to her just try get a breathing space from her. If she had been a human being she would just have let contact stop and agreed to act as if we had never spoken.

But I do owe a lot of other people an apology for unwittingly dragging them into this. I owe an apology to my fellow BP members for having their time wasted with this petty feud, for allowing a blogwar to erupt in which they wanted no part. Nor did I, but it was a performance of Hamlet in which I ended up the Prince. Apologies too are deserved to all those poor readers of mine who had their blogs trolled by this woman. An apology is due especially to one of the very first bloggers I visited, for believing lies this woman told about her and treating her unfairly as a result.

Apologies are due to to my blog advisory team (they know who they are) for ignoring their requests to 'just ignore her'.

Apologies are due to members of my own family for bringing this woman to their homes, for putting them in a position where they had a strange woman bawling at them on the end of the telephone.

But most of all, I owe you an apology for lack of faith in you.
All of you.

Because it didn't matter, did it?

I served time for Ecstasy, so what?

I should have braved that cold shower a lot sooner.

I made huge mistakes in how I tackled this woman. Once I had decided I didn't want contact with her- which was actually months before I tried to put this into effect, I should have been decisive about it. She would have published for sure, published my past. And maybe it would have affected ratings a little for a month or two. But ultimately, it would have been a minor glitch.

You lot have proved that. Because you all stuck by my through the worst.

I really do love my readers. I don't want to get all Hallmark moment with you, but I'm amazed by the tolerance, understanding and compassion you have showed at times. How you've borne through it all, how you still come, how you don't judge me.

And I'd like to thank my fellow Blogpower members too, for the stirling support they have given me within the Blogpower Community.

I didn't have faith I'd get through it all. But I have.
And I owe that to so many of you. I do.

How can I NOT have faith in humanity, when it has been proved so conclusively to me that people are basically good. If they weren't, I wouldn't still be writing this post on a blog that registered the most hits it has ever registered this month.

At times I can be very volatile, I realise that. From supreme arrogance, to angst ridden lovesickness in the space of a couple of posts. But I am me, and it touches me so many of you can see through all the negatives that have been thrown in front of you, not to mention some of the slurs and who choose to stand by and support this blog in it's many different aims and objectives.

So yes, I concede a lot of heartache all round could have been solved if, back in early August 2007, I'd simply rung her up and said 'I don't want us to ever talk again. I don't want to discuss it with you, but it's mainly because you can't keep your big mouth shut', then hung up, changed the phone numbers, blocked the IMs, not answered her e-mails, put up comment moderation, and let her run a series of posts on how I'd been to gaol and just bided the storm.

And just totally not responded, except by running the series of posts I actually DID end up running about my time inside.

Still, no use crying over spilt milk.

For not following that course of action, I offer a full apology.
And for the effects not following that course of action has had on others who should never have been dragged into this.

I would like to thank so many of you for so much over the last year. Chances are, most of you reading this have a right to expect thanks of some kind.

Thanks for the comments. Seriously. Every single one.

And one last point.

There are two bloggers out there whose lives are seemingly driven by an inability to let this go. I understand that. I understand why as well.

I also understand neither of you ever will.

But I have a choice now, and I will take it.

If True Love is unconditional, than so too is forgiveness. Christ might will say 'If you forgive only those who ask it, then where is the hardship in that?' Because I am only too aware that my forgiving the pair of you will change nothing your end. You will both continue, I know that. The forgiving is for me, the forgiving is about me seeing your posts in my reader and just ignoring them, about seeing your ISPs turning up multiple times on my sitemeter and ignoring it, about seeing your trolling comments on blogs I visit just to direct attention to posts you have written about me and just rise above it. It is about me refusing to give into sentiments of hate, refusing to allow this blog to be demeaned by such ignoble sentiments, it is about me saying 'This isn't the way I want people to behave towards eachother in the world I want this blog to promote'.

So you are forgiven. Not just for what you have done, but for what you will continue to do. Your existence will not be acknowledged by this blog. This blog wishes peace upon you, but how you find that peace is a mystery only you can solve.

Life is too short to waste on moments of venom, rage and anger.

It states on my user profile 'I love my friends and life's too short for enemies'. It was right when I wrote it back in January 2007, it remains right today.

To my friends and those who have stuck by me in a way that has been truly inspiring, I am amazed by you all, I truly am.

To those who do not choose to consider themselves as such, well.
I wish you peace all the same and pray to God you find it.

And you didn't any of you think I'd fail to find an appropriate Depeche Mode track now, did You? ;)

Love you all!

Joe (Crushed)



Anonymous said...

This is an optimistic post.

You are absolutely right. Forgiveness is essentially a unilateral thing. An individual thing. Dwelling on hurts, real or imagined, intentional or accidental does most of the harm it does to the person doing the dwelling.

I guess it’s something like trying to attack someone by drinking something radioactive and going to sit next to them. It may do them some harm but it is guaranteed to eat you up inside and do you the most harm.

I figure if you let it go, then even if others are mean to you, at least you only suffer the actual meanness, not what your hate/resentment is doing to you, and you only suffer it when they do it, not again and again while you dwell on it.

Anonymous said...

There's a lot of wisdom in forgiveness. Resentment is mostly composed of illusions but now is not my time for me to preach. There's also a lot of wisdom in divesting yourself of reputation. I have finally learned to truly not care what anyone says about me and the result is a major contributor to freedom and peace!

Anonymous said...

Obviously, I know none of this nor have in anyway been effected. But I had a very similar experience. My girlfriend and I had just broke up and this "she" had befriended both of us. So we both kept her around longer than we should have to avoid her telling anyone what we had said. Fortunately we (my ex & I) realized what was happen and fessed up to each other and cut her off. However, it was simpleyr for us.

I'm just saying let yourself off the hook. We all fuck up morew than we would like...

My two cents.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I get this loud and clear. I grew very close to one blogger, but he never hurt me. It was a nice friendship. But I had people who didn't like our relationship as they saw in the blogosphere and I got trolled and got stupid emails.

I did have an online war with one guy when I first started blogging. We ended up friends--both of us had to apologize and both of us were wrong. Even my husband had to get involved.

I'm very careful now as those emails and comments can really hurt.

But nothing I went through is like this--wow. YOu'll be able to forgive. You are a good person.

Anonymous said...

We'll I'll drink to that! Good post crushie

Anonymous said...

You are such a Catholic, Crushed. Redemption through confession? How about, "They are forgiven who forgive themselves". Get up of your knees and get on with the revolution.

Anonymous said...

Moggs- Well, optimism is all about the glass half empty idea.

I tried to explain to someone online recently why the glass half full outlook actually makes more logical sense, but it was less convincing than when I do it in RL. Not sure why.

Basically its do with assumptions of the unknown. A bit like Schrodingers cat. The glass is half full, until you know otherwise, if you get my meaning.

Yes, it is a unilateral thing, that's the point. I actually did try to do it in a post a week or so ago, but I wasn't quite there.

It's hard while you still feel anger.
I think the real point of forgiveness is reached, when you really do pity. When you realise that they are already punishing themselves. Their own hate and venom must be pain enough to bear.

I actually saw two examples today of them continuing all this and The spasm of annoyance was momentary. I really just felt pity for them.

FWG- Its the principle that you can't actually change what happened.
Sometimes it doesn't matter how the milk got spilled, there's still a stain on the carpet.

There's reputation and reputation. You can be respected without being respectable.

Ultimately, yes, you got to stand by what you believe in, not what you think others want to hear you say.

Peace and Freedom are the words on the wind that is starting to blow...

Bud- It was one of those things that was a problem, simply because she insisted in publicising it. In RL, it wouldn't have been a problem.

But hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

It's true.

It was a big fuck up, yes. I'm prone to fuck ups in some ways. One of my favorite sayings in Rl, which perhaps sums up my somewhat tongue in chek arrogance is 'On the one hand I'm probably the cleverest person I know, but by the same token, I'm also the stupidest'.

Its true. Reckless is my middle name. When God was giving out reck (what is reck? anyone know?) Nobody evebn told me there was a queue going on.

Enemy of the Republic- Well, this problem began in my early days of blogging. Fortunately, I have so many nice blogging friends to counteract this that my experience of blogging has still been a very rewarding one.

I have a blog policy now to cover all events, even the most unlikely.

I think yes, one of the things I hasted most is how much hatred you finfd yourself doing.

I actually don't like hating people. The thing is you try not hating them, then you still find you kind of still hate them for making you hate in the first place. It's bloody hard to get out of.

This is the problem with online things methinks. Buttons are too easy to press at a distance. Its a bit like the atom bomb in that respect.

I think I can finally forgive, though its not been easy and I think some of my blogging support team, as I kind of see them have ben driven to distraction by my rising to the bait. Fact is, I'm quite temperamental, so I'm easily baited, especially if I see things online AFTER I've come back from the pub after a few ales...

Forgiving is for me, but its also for those who matter to me on the sphere as well.

Kate- It IS a hard business, this whole forgiveness thing, no two ways about it.

But we live in a society that continues to breed hate by having an eye for an eye mentality. Christ got that. We still don't.

I mean, I actually had to live within the confines of a self contained system entirely built on the concept of hate and vengeance. Some people call it a criminal justice system. It's no such thing. And when you actualy have to deal with the consequences of what it does, you realise that the point is right; two wrongs don't make a right.

Problem is, when you think you've been wronged, you think they do.

Which is why we're in Iraq. Someone had to have the shit kicked out of them, and a few nutters in some caves in Afghanistan, just wasn't revenge enough. More Muslims needed to pay.

It's 'I'm hurt', feel my pain.

But maybe we need to find other ways of showing people our pain.
Or maybe we all need to get better at understanding other's pain. I don't know. I'm getting a bit philosophical on this one.

After Claire had her abortion I said in anger at one point 'God may forgive you, I never will.'

Now think about what a stupid statement that was.

The wise forgive but never forget.

Paul- I am quite Catholic, in some ways. It surprises people to know I still attend mass, though fairly irregularly it has to be said.

A lot of people on hearing a lot of my beliefs say 'How can you claim to be Catholic when you don't believe in an afterlife, don't believe was actually the son of god and don't believe the deity to be personal?'
Not to mention my Marxism and Free Love beliefs.

But there are times when I guess my sympathies with some of the deeper principles of what is, in fairness, a fair more complex faith than most people realise, does show.

They are forgiven who forgive themselves, I like that. Very Nietzcheist.
And true, of course.

Revolution's coming :)

Anonymous said...

I've recently begun to read your blog. I thought this particular post came from someone who insists on bearing a positive outlook towards Life and absolutely loved the fact that it came from someone so obviously mature.

You're a winner in my eyes, Crushed.

P.S.- I absolutely understand your POV re the "criminal justice system", especially in re 2 wrongs not making a right. I'm sure you'd have read Vivien Stern's "A Sin Against the Future: Imprisonment in the World", which aptly highlights the problems with imprisonment as a means of reform and/ or punishment. This system is wrong and MUST be changed.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I have enjoyed reading your blog more since you have opened up about your past. Not only for purely voyeuristic reasons (your posts on your time in jail were some of my favourites), but also since it seemed to take a weight off you, and let you write about things with more ease.