Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Belief

  

“If you feel like I've abused you in any way (or if I do so in the future), please do the community a favor and let others know.” ~DrSlashBlight


A person, well known to the local scene, has vocally and publicly created an atmosphere of fear, heavy handedness and intimidation. Has made vocal and written threats against people’s safety. Has threatened to “out” people. Has constantly violated expressed personal limits of others. His own statements about people who have done nothing except disagree or voice their own fear of him have been documented and heard by anyone who cares to listen.

People seem to be quite willing to believe that this behavior is an aberration. Mostly because their experiences with this person are quite different. People offer encouragement to the person who is now acting with such threatening behavior and creating such fear. People send wishes for this person to “get better soon”. People refuse to stop and think that what this person has done is not very much different from any “red-flagged” person everyone is warned about. His anger. His lack of self-control and judgment. His disregard for expressed personal limits. His animosity and his rage. And his blame of others for all of it.

I’ll have to admit that I find it odd that there is so much support for a person, whose unacceptable behavior is well documented, witnessed by so many, and whose own words and actions have provided the evidence. A person who has caused so much damage in recent weeks that it’s difficult to find someone who hasn’t been directly affected by his behavior.

I’ll admit that I find it odder still that people somehow think that this person deserves to be welcomed back once he is “well”. As if they’ve never considered the next time he feels thwarted in his “mission” or desires. As if this person, the one they now are seeing, isn’t the one that’s been there all along, under the guise of the “good guy, white knight, savior” persona. As if the self-induced problems he’s having, either by failure to treat an illness he knows he suffers from, or from ignoring every single person who has tried to help him, should get him a pass.

I get it. Nobody wants to kick someone when they’re down. Nobody wants to believe that the people they think they know and have in the past trusted, could actually “be like that”. Nobody wants to be the bad guy to stand up and question whether this person should ever be in a position of authority over others or ever to be trusted again to be left alone with any “poor innocent young submissive”. Nobody wants to be the first to say “why are you making excuses for someone who has done so much damage?”. Nobody wants to blame someone for a mental illness. The tendency towards forgiveness is a strong one. And forgiving someone you think you know is even stronger in its pull.

I called this person a friend at one time. I don’t like to think that my judgment was so flawed as to overlook all of those “red flags” and “behavioral warning signs” that were probably always there. I don’t want to second guess myself about someone’s behavior- whether self-induced or not. I do not want to be the one to think that someone I liked at one time could behave like this. My experiences with him in the past were much different. I rather liked him most of the time. And even when the first whispered allegations come to my attention, I discounted them because I thought I knew him. He was a good guy and if anything, suffered at times from an overabundance of enthusiasm.

But how much of any “good behavior” in the past should get a pass for his behavior now? How many times have people complained about all of these “well known scene leaders” who get a pass simply because they are “well known”, a “leader”, or haven’t had an overt history of bad behavior? Why is this one different? If one instance of bad behavior is enough to cause someone significant trauma from any of these “well-known scene leaders”, so much so that every one of us is spitting mad when it happens, what happens when someone has more? Why is this one different? What happens when an aberration becomes a pattern of abuse? And why do we turn the abuser into the victim? How much of the fear that many now feel, and many have now voiced just not count against all of his good past behavior?

There comes a time when all of the well-wishing and wishing-it-was-different has to come to an end. Now is the time to stop thinking of this person as the victim. He is not the victim. The victims are those he has harmed by his own actions and words. The victims are those he has made afraid, has intimidated, has threatened, and has sacrificed in his quest to become a hero. The victims who are remaining silent, for their own safety. And because they don’t wish to become the next target.

While I too, wish him well and sincerely wish that he is able to recover something of his past self, I have to face the reality that the Buddy I knew is gone. The one that may return will always be tainted by his behavior now, and I will always be afraid of him.

So Buddy, as you requested, here is my notification to the community. I, and others who I speak about but never speak for, am afraid of you. Please do us all the courtesy of removing yourself from the scene. When or if you’re ready to come back, you’ll have to prove that your words are not just what we want to hear, but what we can believe.

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