Tuesday, February 28, 2012

When is friendship simply a word for abuse?

Some unpleasantness that took place recently on this blog has made me begin to ponder a few things about the nature of the relationship with an individual I have known for some time. I have been conflicted about what to do or how to describe it.

In the past I considered this person a friend. I was as close as I could be to a person as I was to this person. A trusted confidant and a good councilor.

But lately this individual appears to me more unstable. These days it seems whenever anything of substance is discussed this person becomes hostile, personally insulting, and at times even incoherent. The accusations that have been hurled at me are done so at the drop of a hat, and when countered, this person then wails for being countered.

At what point is a friend no longer a friend? At what point does the present outweigh the past? When does one realize that it is time to simply cast off someone who seems only capable of hurting you?

When I look at the broken friendships in my life I can see that by and large I was left behind. I was the one cast off, and I felt that I did not deserve it.

But I also know that holding on to a person who no longer uplifts but simply attacks is no friend. Friends do not insult or demean. They help, they are honest and charitable in doing so.

I have more questions than answers. The life of Faith is one that calls us to put God before even those we care about the most. I have had to walk away from those I've cared about in the past. I am ultimately better for it. But it is one of those mysteries that haunts me at times.

When there is abuse, there is no longer friendship. When truth no longer exists in a person, there can be no trust.

I ask those who read to pray for me. I have much to discern in this matter.


mcarlin said...

(If there was a way to make this post private, I would do that. I don't feel right switching it to email, because it's part of this blog discussion.)

Has it even occurred to you that, but for the last few paragraphs, I could have written the same post word for word? Do you not see the mirror image?

What about the long term cultural pattern? To me it must be the same as two friends, one of whom lived in a Slave state and one who lived in a Free state. It must be the same as a muslim child and a catholic child who went to school together in 70s Yugoslavia. We're carried helplessly by our cultural divide into regarding each other as unstable and abusive. I regard you the same as you regard me, and I feel the same pain for doing so. I wish I did not think you so.

I don't tolerate your very strong form of catholicism any more than you tolerate my irreligiosity. I can tell you that, if you were not extremely religious, I probably wouldn't think of you as unstable or abusive. I can separate your personality from your perspective and where it has taken you. Before letting you cease being my friend, I must ask you to do the same.

If one simply... ignores the most extreme form of catholic teaching... one doesn't see me as unstable. Irreligious people, religious people, sunday catholics, almost all see me as a reasonable and stable person. They might disagree with me, but they can box that disagreement for a moment to regard me as a person with good judgement and good morals. You can't do that to me anymore. Why not?

CatholicGuy said...

" I don't feel right switching it to email, because it's part of this blog discussion."

While it is motivated by your behavior I was attempting to keep it anonymous. That you seem to want to hash this out in public only makes that harder.

There is a fundamental difference between the conflict of ideas and the personally insulting tone you have taken these past years.

"They might disagree with me, but they can box that disagreement for a moment to regard me as a person with good judgement and good morals. You can't do that to me anymore. Why not?"

Because you do not. You have no regard for truth. The most recent exchanges have proven that to me.

You have impugned my personal integrity multiple times without the slightest hint of evidence. You have applied numerous double standards, holding me to the highest standards of behavior that you don't hold yourself to.

You have no regard for the truth. The most recent exchange about Mennonites on the Facebook discussion is just the latest illustration.

In short, I can't trust you. And all you have done is be abusive. The others you discuss with you may box in the disagreement. Not with me. Your anger spills out over and over again. Your latest outburst against my parents on a public forum was just the latest of these childish antics.

I don't trust you. You have no regard for the truth in little things, and you lash out against those who have strong convictions because you have none yourself, at least ones which you will defend publicly. I could respect a Muslim child, because they would stand up for their beliefs. You lash out in the most vitriolic language and then whine when countered.

Friends don't do what you do. They uplift. They enlighten. They build up and seek correction in the spirit of charity.

You do none of these things. I have kept my silence on these issues in the past out of the spirit of our friendship. No longer. When you misrepresent or outright lie, I'm going to call you on it now. If you are acting like a jerk, I'll call that out too.

You have abused our friendship for long enough. The well is dry now. All you do is attack and demean. It doesn't take a Catholic view to see that.

mcarlin said...

I've read these comments. I'm posting so you know I've digested them. If you could leave them up for a little while, I would appreciate it.

Other than this little blurb of acknowledgement, I'll leave your comments as the last word.

mcarlin said...

Ending on a better note.