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[This is an edited version of a post that I put up earlier, but have friendslocked in order to create a freer space for discussion. I'd like to still have this piece of thinking publicly visible; thus the repost. If you are not on my flist and think you should be for that discussion, contact me.]

If I'm a conscious ally of anyone on the internet, it's people who grew up in dysfunctional or abusive families. I'm in private correspondence with a fair number of people in that situation in the fannish community, loosely construed.

Of course, different people deal with such upbringings differently, but a non-trivial number of the people I correspond with have PTSD from various childhood situations. Most of them have triggers around verbal or physical violence, or both.

A good number of the people who learned as children* that verbal violence leads inescapably to physical violence find $THINGFails to be trigger-rich environments. When the $THINGFail discussion sweeps by them on the way to some other target, they tend to be shaken, sometimes for days on end. When they are even arguably the target of the $THINGFail, the reactions are much worse. People freeze up, or lash out, or do both in alternation. People break, and don't heal afterwards.

Now, I am aware of the term "tone argument", and I think it's an extremely valuable conversational tool. It's a good description of one way that people's experiences and perspectives can be devalued because they cannot maintain some idealized emotional detachment about matters that affect their lives. It's a diagnosis of a conversational ill that damages both the discourse and the people participating in it (for clarity: the ill does the damage, not the diagnosis).

Unfortunately, as implicit permission to be as angry as you like in the debate, it's also the doorway to triggering a different kind of damage. Not everyone can put their "big girl pants" on and suck up whatever tone gets used in these discussions; some people find themselves dropped into the middle of PTSD episodes because of them. Nor can everyone apologize when challenged by a large crowd†; some people are too busy reliving earlier abuse.

These people don't tend to put their hands up and say, "Wait, stop! I'm triggering here!" either. One doesn't admit weakness, frailty, vulnerability in the midst of these things. That's another lesson from being abused: showing weakness is just an invitation for the hurt to become more targeted, more effective, more damaging.

And it doesn't go away when the storm passes, because this is the internet. The hurtful words are still there, and if one triggered when they were written, one triggers again when rereading them, or even considering rereading them. For some of my friends, there is no way out of the maze except to leave the community altogether. Some have. Others have considered it.

Basically, there is a difficult balance to be struck between those who would pay a cost for suppressing their anger and those who would pay a cost for encountering it unbridled. My concern is that, in the standards of discourse that currently operate, that latter cost is completely off the books. People don't pretend that anger is easy to deal with, but they do assume that it's possible for everyone because it's hard but possible for them. And that is simply not true.

If the essence of privilege is not understanding that the world looks different to people different than you, then the fact that the tone argument (loosely construed, in other words, any mention of anger) is an automatic derail is a privileged protocol. But there's not even a name for the privilege of not having PTSD.

I don't have a solution to this. On bad days, I wonder if that cost to our larger community, our occasionally dysfunctional family of fandom, really matters to everyone. Maybe people think it's OK that voices are lost to the choir, not because of what they say but because they can't take the protocols of discourse. There's certainly a whole lot of "don't care" out there right now. On good days, I hope that the commonality of our goals—equality, free discussion, truth, hope and love—will somehow prevail.

Until then, I'm still supporting the lurkers in the e-mails.

Nota Bene: You may think you know who this is about. You're probably wrong; not all of my correspondents are otherwise-known associates of mine, and few of my closer friends have discussed this matter with me in these terms. This could describe anyone who has melted down, freaked out, or frozen up in these sorts of discussions.



* Or, indeed, later; some people encounter enough abuse after childhood to end up with PTSD.

† Even a friendly, kindly crowd bent on explaining rather than accusing can be overwhelming and upsetting; it's like standing in front of a fire hose. And the outliers, the already angry, and the plain old griefers who gather like vultures to these conflicts can seem representative when one is under the dogpile.

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
trinker
Jul. 17th, 2011 02:25 pm (UTC)
I'm upset by this post of yours...I didn't encounter it until today.

There's a huge elided group here. People whose childhoods were abusive and resulted in PTSD, and are also among those on the disprivileged end of Fail at the same time. I have more than a doublehandful in my immediate flist. Myself among them.

What of them? Why is the sensibility of those who are otherwise privileged but suffering from PTSD privileged over those who are disprivileged and dealing with PTSD? I can only think of one person we have in common, you and I, (Arachne Jericho) who might be on the side of those who are supportive of the Tone Argument.

I think this dichotomizing of PTSD vs. systemic disprivilege is highly problematic in its erasure of an overlapping middle, and further upholds institutionalized oppression. And is at odds with your general approach to the world from what I've read of your words in other places.


Eh. I'm probably serving no purpose except to upset myself and annoy you.

*sigh*
evilrooster
Jul. 17th, 2011 02:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, I think that the free-floating anger damages people on both sides of the otherwise-privileged divide, for all values of privilege.

But I also think, seeing the internet communities I see, that the more traditionally disprivileged have a lot of support within the broader community. Which, for absolute clarity, I think is an important and wonderful thing. I thought my record on that matter spoke for itself, but let me explicitly affirm it here if you're in any doubt.

But I also think the privileged but deeply hurt need support too, and the damage that they have sustained is still damage. Denying that, and shunning them, is not an approach I'm comfortable with. I'm not keen on throwing people on the trash heap because their particular flavor of brokenness isn't the one we're currently protecting. And I do feel that there's been a fair strain of that from time to time.

This is really an "embrace the power of AND" post, not a "let me tell you that my option on OR is better than yours."
trinker
Jul. 17th, 2011 07:24 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry I left you thinking that I'd come to police your expression, or something. I came because I recognized your usericon from seeing it at G+, associated with the name I'm more familiar with, and wondering, without any preconception, what you might be saying in your journal.

I was hurt and dismayed to be excluded from the calculus - as an abuse survivor on multiple levels, diagnosed with PTSD, and definitely, definitely, definitely someone who has issues with being faced with anger...

And I think your comment *again* excluded me...because I'm traditionally disprivileged *AND* deeply hurt...but the argument is always couched as "non-PTSD disprivileged vs. privileged-but-PTSD". And I know off the top of my head that more than a few of the active people who speak up on a regular basis about privilege issues are also disprivileged-and-PTSD ... and ... "speaking up about privilege bothers my anger-related PTSD so badly, please only talk about privilege in the most careful way possible" isn't the most frequent response. (If you're curious, the one I know of is, "what really sets off my PTSD is people with privilege-but-PTSD asserting their privilege to dismiss my complaint via the Tone Argument". Alas.)

Am I misreading you that badly? I don't know how to read what you're saying here as something other than silencing, and I'd really like to figure that out. Despite my ...despondent... tone in the last sentence of my original comment, I wanted to talk to *you* because I know you as someone thoughtful and articulate about difficult topics.


Finally...and this link is has trigger warnings all over in the cut-tagged version in my journal: http://trinker.livejournal.com/339201.html I don't expect you to click, and that's not because of any snark, it's horribly triggering...but maybe a little bit of understanding why I get so very sad when PTSD is brought up as a reason for the Tone Argument. (Jura V jnf 12, Ivaprag Puva jnf ubeevoyl, cnvashyyl xvyyrq va n ungr-pevzr orpnhfr bs uvf creprvirq enpr - By people who justified it by a collective stress disorder, in effect. Is this essentially Godwinizing? I don't know.)

I'm willing to keep talking if you are, but I don't wish to be hounding you. I speak up about this because it's a "can I consider certain Internet-spaces and conventions to be a place where I can interact with any small hope of safety at all?" issue for me. Loscon, for example, is a place that I was willing to interact in because Steve Barnes was there. I've left more than one community (in many cases, quietly) because PTB essentially made it safer to be (unintentionally, status-quo-normally) expressing privilege-blindered normative bigotries than to speak up about them. And made "WHY DO YOU BRING IT UP LIKE THAT" as a rallying cry by *anyone* a reason to dismiss what I say...when I can see and know that I did say things as politely and mindful of the lack of intentful hurting involved.

I have many, many hours of support for my friends who have PTSD issues. Just...not when they're using it to bolster institutionalized awfulness against me and others. Ugly thing, institutionalized oppressions - they perpetuate by getting otherwise decent, loving people to act in ways that support them, for reasons that look like anything other than the institutionalized oppression.
evilrooster
Jul. 17th, 2011 09:54 pm (UTC)
I can't really see any way that I'm going to be able to address your concerns, to be honest. I feel like I'm lost in a morass, and every time I try to clarify, it turns out that I've just stepped on another land mine. I also feel like you are bringing a whole bucketload of assumptions and preconceptions and previous experiences to this discussion and blaming me for them. (It doesn't help that I feel that I'm being silenced with the tone argument in another forum. Right now, today, for trying to make space for civility in political discourse. So I have my own set of assumptions and preconceptions, and I admit that you're smack dab in the middle of them.)

My view, as I said in the post, is that the tone argument is a useful tool in some discussions, but that it has been used as a club. It has damaged people. So what do I do? Do I dismiss it entirely, because it can be used as a club? Or do I try to deal with the people who are using it as a club? I'm not so hot on the anger thing myself, and most of the contexts where I've seen it used as a club have been exactly the ones that you couldn't pay me enough to wade into.

Or do I go around the fringes and try to pick up the pieces, patch up the wounded, and try to support the fragile, particularly the fragile whom I see being otherwise unsupported?

My basic statement, of which this is one facet, is don't tell me there's anyone I'm not allowed to love.

But beyond that, I don't have the spoons for this conversation. I suspect this means you'll regard me as problematic and the spaces I control as unsafe. I'm sorry if that's the case, because I care as much for you and the places that you get hurt as I do for others. Even though I know you have friends that will patch you up and keep you going, whereas the people in the private version of this thread...well, they didn't.
trinker
Jul. 17th, 2011 10:16 pm (UTC)
I think there's some very polarizing language being used in all sorts of places, and it makes it very, very difficult to have a conversation about the nuances within this...and so everyone ends up addressing the edge cases they see on the other side. Or their own.

I'm sorry you're having issues elsenet. I have tried to bring forth my point based on spaces and discussions we (you and I) have actually shared.

I'm not fond of ad hominem attacks or defenses.

Still, I know that in venues where there's been no policing of my tone on other topics, my discussion of systemic racial issues is seen as hugely different in presentation, no matter my efforts over the years at speaking in accessible ways. (I've recently gone back to look at what I was writing over 10 years ago...and the major change is that I don't feel utterly alone in what I say.)

Who says one can't love someone?

I'm sorry for the people who felt unsupported, and glad they had solace.


I've ended up beyond hurt and into angry at what looks to me like being told here that most places are safe for me and not for people who are privileged-except-for-PTSD. And we're evidently speaking past each other, because I see you defending something which I am not assailing, as well as what I am questioning.


I'm not arguing for normalizing screaming kzinti attacks, but I note the discussion always seems to be based on the idea that I am. That being strongly opposed to the Tone Argument is about support for flaming.


[...redacted, as I feel anything I say in closing will be seen through a filter contrary to my intent. Wishing you joy and fellowship and whatever measure of peace and spoonfulness as possible for you. Which is what I wish for myeslf and others.]
evilrooster
Jul. 18th, 2011 08:00 pm (UTC)
OK, now I've had some sleep.

I have tried to bring forth my point based on spaces and discussions we (you and I) have actually shared.

I'm not really a LJ native; as you can probably see from my other entries, I mostly use this as a repository for poetry and pastiches I post elsewhere.

It occurs to me that you may not have realized who I am elseweb, or where we have actually met. I'm one of the moderators of Making Light, and I recall that you came by once during a difficult and fraught discussion (my September 11 post last year, in fact). From your comments at the time, you felt at home and safe to speak freely there.

You've also participated in at least one of my annual Dysfunctional Families Day threads. Again, I'd point out that that requires a substantial amount of work to make a place where people are safe to talk.

(I am not outing you; these are all posts you have made under the name you are using here.)

Surely, given my track record, you could have read this post a little more generously? I look at what you've written, and I can't see how it comes out of what I've written without some filters that I didn't put in there.

I've ended up beyond hurt and into angry at what looks to me like being told here that most places are safe for me and not for people who are privileged-except-for-PTSD. And we're evidently speaking past each other, because I see you defending something which I am not assailing, as well as what I am questioning.

I can't see, I still can't see, how my offering comfort and understanding to people who are damaged by the amount of anger in so many of our conversations means you are excluded. You brought the presence/absence of [non-PTSD] privilege into this conversation. I was talking about hurt and anger and costs we don't count. I didn't challenge your distinction at the time, because I was overwhelmed and exhausted; not my best time for dealing with feeling stalked and accused.

But now I've had some sleep. And I challenge it now. I don't care if someone is privileged or disprivileged. And, as I said above, I see the value of the tone argument. But I wish we, as a community, would honestly count its cost, too. If we stare it in the face and understand it in our hearts, if we weep for our brothers and sisters who pay it and still decide it's worth it, that's one thing. But that's not what I see. I see people being told to suck it up, privileged and disprivleged alike, and I don't like it.

Guess what? That includes you. I don't like what anger does to your PTSD. I don't like that we're not paying attention to that effect on you. If you need support to deal with that kind of damage, I'm here or on Making Light. DFD exists for a reason, and it extends far beyond people's birth families.

Also:
I'm not arguing for normalizing screaming kzinti attacks, but I note the discussion always seems to be based on the idea that I am. That being strongly opposed to the Tone Argument is about support for flaming.

I wonder why that comes about? If it's consistent, then maybe there's some other approach you could try, or perhaps it's simply a broader perception based on other experiences of the people you're talking to. I know my first encounters with the tone argument did not convince me that it wasn't cover for one side to flame while the other was supposed to just sit there; a more nuanced understanding took some time to come to. Maybe your other correspondents haven't seen its value yet.

Who says one can't love someone?

The makers of lists: the people one shouldn't go to conventions with, the people one shouldn't engage with, the people one shouldn't read or speak to. It's very Mean Girls, and it feels like it's intended to hurt.
trinker
Jul. 18th, 2011 08:39 pm (UTC)
I don't feel outed...and I was aware of who you are, as I said, because I saw the usericon here that I recognized as seeing attached to the name I knew from ML. I'm...fascinated by your perception of my comfort in the 9/11 thread. I'd characterize it as being hypervigilant and trying to speak of important issues while being constantly triggered, because if I don't, very few people do - often, nobody at all (there). This is not self-aggrandisement on my part...but observation and accounting before I ever chime in.

I'm not a regular there, despite the presence of dear friends who are, because it's not a safe space for me...unless I compartmentalize hard, and leave off talking about the (utterly unwitting, for the most part) microaggressions that go by unchecked. (It's *hard* to notice these things when one isn't part of the disprivilege group under ... erasure/mischaracterization/etc. -- I say this as someone who tries to be aware for the sake of others, and does not bat 1.000 there.)

I've read all your DFD posts, and appreciate that you do that. I haven't spoken up there about how it intersects with discussions of privilege for me, because it feels like a derailment. (My PTSD has roots that cannot be separated from toxic systemic privilege issues...I wish I could separate them, but I can't, and I don't think it's a lack of willingness on my part.)

My PTSD? thankfully it's not being triggered on a daily and intimate basis anymore, but the wider world is full of triggers, which are valorized. (Yeah, I know...rape culture, fatphobia, glamor-culture...too.)

The thing I see underlying what you're saying is the idea that it's possible to make privilege not matter. That's not the same as working to minimize the effects. The latter takes acknowledging it, and admitting that sometimes, it means sacrifice. I don't say this lightly. I don't think it's right or possible to demand this of others, but when one's support of a privileged-in-some-vector group means pain for others, I personally think honor demands acknowledging that one is getting that benefit as the result of someone else's pain. Not only "cui bono", but its reverse.

I notice a huge disparity between people who support the Tone Argument and people who don't, and it comes down to whether one perceives the Tone Argument as the first defense against valorization of flame wars.

The use of the Tone Argument (especially the If Only You'd Be Nicer, You'd Get Your Point Across) in discussions of race especially reminds me of badly formed ideas about how the abused should deal with abusers. (Yes, that's highly polarizing...but when the "people who speak up against the Tone Argument are Mean Girls and hurtful" trope is already in play...)

"Until you are angels, no justice for you!" is a vile standard. You know?

There's a whole lot of victim-blaming in the current incarnation of systemic race-based ugliness. I'm sorry the lists hurt. I wish it wasn't necessary to mark off safe spaces like that. But I'm reminded of being beaten for daring to show fear and speak up about feeling threatened by someone who was supposed to love me. I could have avoided those by pretending everything was fine...which was what was wanted of me. But I'm stupid and stubborn that way. I figure my only saving graces there are a long fuse, compassion, and a willingness to walk away and close the door firmly.
evilrooster
Jul. 18th, 2011 09:21 pm (UTC)
I find it somewhere between strange and creepy that you think I think it's possible "to make privilege not matter", and are already off judging me on that basis, when that concept is nowhere in my universe or my words.

And how you conflate my comment about the Mean Girls and lists and my discomfort about the tone argument? After mincing my words finer than they go previously, now you mash them up?

Then the guilt by association between the Tone Argument (whose invocation I've seen at least as often as "I GET TO YELL AT YOU AND YOU CAN'T TELL ME TO STOP" rather than "You're wagging your finger at my tone to avoid listening to my content") and the abused/abusers thing? Do you know I was sexually abused as a child, or is it just a shiny lucky guess on your part? Because it's a pretty icky thing to say. Much worse than anything I've said that you've taken so thoroughly amiss.

I think you would be wise to close the door and walk away; you haven't exactly covered yourself in persuasive glory here. If this is how you deal with people in conversation, I can see why you find it hard to find a place to be comfortable. My private space -- and my LJ is my private space -- is probably best put on that list of places that you don't feel at home.
trinker
Jul. 19th, 2011 04:58 am (UTC)
I'm sorry we're talking past each other and trodding on each other's sore spot.

I had no idea about your abuse history, and I regret inadvertently causing you further hurt by my phrasing.

I'm only here to apologize, and I will indeed be maintaining safe distance for both our sakes.
tablesaw
Jul. 19th, 2011 05:05 am (UTC)
If this is how you deal with people in conversation, I can see why you find it hard to find a place to be comfortable.
Oh, for fuck's sake.
evilrooster
Jul. 19th, 2011 06:31 am (UTC)
Oh, for fuck's sake.


That's a reasonable summary of the entire interaction.
evilrooster
Jul. 17th, 2011 02:44 pm (UTC)
I am also prey to the uncomfortable feeling that you came looking to see what kind of person I was, because I didn't express the right degree of removal in a particular flocked conversation elseLJ.
marydell
Jul. 21st, 2011 11:39 am (UTC)
I want to read all of this conversation and see if I can be any help in interpretation, but I don't want to skim so I'm going to do that a little later today - but I can say this: for people who do a lot of LJ (which includes me and Trinker), clicking through to the journal of every user in a conversation and reading a little bit of it is SOP. It's a way of making sure you know something about the person you're talking to before you start a conversation, which is helpful particularly in discussions touching on identity issues. If you're not used to it, it feels weird and personal, but it's similar to ML's "view all comments by" function/habit.
marydell
Jul. 21st, 2011 04:47 pm (UTC)
Ok, I think I may see why you and Trinker are coming to this from different angles, and bumping into each other a bit. Let me see if I can share some of my own perspective, because it may be useful.

I have PTSD. When I was an adolescent, there was an older person in my home who was a problem for me. In addition to other things, this person liked to provoke me into losing my temper. They had an investment in creating a sense of me as unbalanced and incapable of reason. I believe this was so I would appear to my parents as an unreliable witness. For me, being accused of irrationality is super triggery. Whereas people being angry with me, as long as they're not near me physically, is just a little uncomfortable.

Here is what I think: different types of traumas produce different triggers. When abuse is happening in secret, it is very often accompanied by strict controls on expression. And it's often accompanied by repeated denials of what is happening: "that didn't happen, you imagined it."

For physical abuse survivors, and emotional/verbal abuse survivors, angry words can be particularly triggering, for the reasons you say up above. Even moreso is being accused of doing something you didn't do, since this is very very often an abuser's excuse for doling out punishment.

There's another layer, in which people who are abused are often subjected to mistreatment and insults specific to the non-privileged categories they belong to, and in line with stereotypes about those categories. A lot of us struggle with our memories of bullying at school; for a black person who was bullied, chances are hearing or reading the N word will bring back some of those memories, because bullies will choose whatever insults are closest to the bone. Women get told we're weak and overly emotional all the time, so "if you can't take the heat..." type comments will resonate with a lot of people who had that as an element in abuse they've endured.

So when we talk about racism, sexism, ableism, there is almost no way for a person with abuse-related PTSD not to be triggered, no matter what style of discourse they are employing, or what side of any given argument they are on. And the triggers of the various people in the discussion are often going to be in opposition to each other. And for some people, the oppositions in triggers will be orthogonal to the oppositions in the argument.

Unfortunately we can't all anounce our triggers at the beginning of a conversation, because doing that requires trust and an assumption of good faith on everybody's part; two things that no PTSD-having-person I've ever met has any extra of. More unfortunately, for internet conversations about racism to be useful, they require some degree of moderation & control of discourse (triggering!) and some degree of emotional overflow & expression of anger (triggering!) and a lot of people come away from those conversations very bruised.

I don't have a solution to this either. But I don't think approaching it as a division between having-PTSD and not-having-PTSD is accurate (which is how I read your statement But there's not even a name for the privilege of not having PTSD). Thinking about it in terms of the different kinds of traumas we've endured, and the ways that different traumas can produce different triggers that become fractal when they cross into other people's triggers, might be a way into navigating a little more safely through these types of conversations, or exiting them more comfortably when needed.

Thanks for letting me think all this through in your space.

[ed: fixed markup]

Edited at 2011-07-21 04:49 pm (UTC)
evilrooster
Jul. 21st, 2011 08:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Mary Dell. I think that's an interesting and useful perspective.

I tend to class myself as "not having PTSD", and indeed, I do not think I do. I have a very small set of triggers, which drop me suddenly and quite intensely into an extremely unpleasant place indeed, but I've never found it needful to go to a doctor about them. They're just a bad hour or two every few months, usually. I have the social and emotional resources to deal with them (and that is privilege, and I know it).

Aside from that, without triggering, I find myself intolerably upset by certain kinds of anger and aggression. That's the gift of the family legacy of Asperger Syndrome, which is a completely different tangle. Unfortunately, many of the discussions of privilege and various forms of discrimination are conducted in precisely the manner that sets me off completely. It's one reason that I don't participate in, or even read, such discussions at length, even though careful sips and glances show me there's a lot going on in there.*

Calling out the Tone Argument is one of the ways that those conversations maintain precisely that level of aggression and tension that makes me unable to even read them for lengths of time. Since I haven't read enough of them for a fair sample, I can't say whether my impression that a Tone Argument callout is an automatic trump. I'd be more comfortable if I'd seen any examples of someone else saying, "No, that's not the Tone Argument, because..." or otherwise defending people who can't deal (not won't deal, as in to lazy to do the work, but really-o, truly-o cannot).

RaceFail was a complete nightmare for me. An overwhelming force and quantity of passionate people, all of them with seemingly infinite time, energy, and appetite for conflict, tearing through my flist like a tornado. Even though there were some really neat things written, realized and decided then, the anger was and is intolerable to contemplate. I can't be in the same conversation with it. That's when I realized there was an entire side of the internet, of the community and causes that I care about, that I cannot be any part of.

It's scant loss, I'm sure; I'm just an overprivileged, oversensitive white woman. I cry and stuff.

But, as I observed at the time, there is no passion as unquenchable as the ire on behalf of another. In my case, I'm hacked off that so many people I'm fond of were thoroughly, comprehensively, and extensively triggered at that time (and again and again, since.) So without opposing the evolution of a better consensus in society, without even opposing the concept of the Tone Argument, I wanted to put a cloak around a few badly hurt people. It's really the role I'm best at in conflict: empathizing, and picking up the pieces.

But I broke out of my strong preference for not getting involved in these things to say a couple of things in that flocked thread, for what seemed to me good reasons. And for that, I get a taste of exactly what I dislike most about the whole thing: someone who comes into my space and unloads a whole pile of aggression, anger, hurt and misinterpretation at me. Followed, by the time I get my feet under me enough to push back, by a supporter jumping in to say "yah, boo!"

Screw it. Let the movement go on without me. I'll keep picking up the pieces when I see 'em, but it's email only for any offers of help from this point forward.

-----
* It reminds me of the very excellent video games in the Portal series, which are clever, funny, brilliant, and written with a motion engine that leaves me hopelessly nauseated in about ten minutes. If you're that way inclined, be warned that they're also intensely triggery for certain types of emotional manipulation. Fair warning.
evilrooster
Jul. 21st, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC)
(And I am aware that my entire position can be considered the Tone Argument on a meta level. I guess that's why I find it such an exasperating trump card: it's a way to invalidate my entire ability to exist in the community.)
(Anonymous)
May. 13th, 2012 02:01 am (UTC)
I apologize for replying to this anonymously, but: Yes, this. I find myself feeling much the same way about all this. And I really appreciate you stating it so eloquently.

I find it very painful that I cannot say this sort of thing (and that is an "I personally cannot"; perhaps someone with better words could) without hurting people like Trinker, whom I definitely do not want to hurt. But if I can't say "I exist" without hurting them, better not to exist.

Which is, I guess, why this is anonymous.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 23rd, 2011 05:09 am (UTC)
Hi. First, thank you for this post, and thank you to the commenters and to you for the civil tone, even when coming from hurt, that i see here in these comment threads. I am posting anonymously because i think the group that started $THINGFail is emotionally abusive in its tactics, and deserves be shunned, and i do not in anyway wish to engage them. At all.

$THINGFail is on my radar thanks primarily to one friend of mine, who reads you here and in Making Light, who has PTSD that has been triggered big-time by $THINGFail. What tiny, tiny, tiny bits of $THINGFail i've read i have read due to her, and two others here on LJ, who on rare occasion post links to bits of it.

I see that the group that, from my POV, started it --and not without cause, i do admit -- is still very emotionally abusive in their tactics and not worth dealing with therefore. I had hoped that in the 20 years since i last dealt with members of that group, that the group might have evolved, and it has some, but not nearly enough. Emotional abuse is NOT acceptable in my world, no matter how worthy the end goals may be.

I've been happy to support my friend in her trauma from reading $THINGFail. Because of her, my attitude toward the group that started it has softened dramatically to be merely that they are emotionally abusive and ought be shunned, though now with firm conviction instead of merely the anger they fairly consistently espouse. She helped me overcome that that i might help her deal better with what she was experiencing. We have both grown from the whole experience in many positive ways.

I think your † footnote is particularly apt.
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