Getting Support : For the Geeks
Regarding this site
from Jules - Monday, March 03, 2003
accessed 1361 times
I didn't know where to put this, so I'm putting it in my own geeky section.
Since I can now talk on this subject without constant harassment from one particular person, as he has guaranteed that he will not be back, there are some things I would like to clarify. I have already stated these opinions to this individual in various places, but since it was not all in one place, I want to make this clear for the record and to anyone reading bits and pieces of disjointed threads.
1. Abusers in the Family.
Firstly, there is an entire section on this site (Creeps) dedicated to naming people who committed crimes against children in the Family. I personally accept sole legal liability for this section (and for this entire site), because I feel strongly that these people should be named. I donít excuse them, and I believe they should be held accountable for their actions. This includes second generation adults who abused children.
If thereís one thing I hold dear itís that we ALL have the right to our own opinions and beliefs. I would never demand that anyone forgive the people that have wronged them, nor would I ever demand that they continue to be angry at them. I try to respect the right of otherís to their beliefs, especially when they differ from my own.
The Family is an authoritarian, isolationist and fanatical group. Aside from actual crimes committed against us as children, we all did things and had things done to us that were wrong. We all defrauded people of money and goods (aka fundraising, provisioning), owned illegal pornographic materials (aka the Letters), may have participated in smuggling, money laundering, tax evasion, etc. I would be shocked to learn of anyone who took care of children who never hit them. As kids it was demanded of us that we rat on each other, enforce the nonsense rules the adults cooked up, and contribute towards our own exploitation. It was fucked up. As on the outside, people did what they felt they had to do to survive.
There are some of my peers that I trusted as friends who hurt me deeply. I ended up on the streets in Canada because of the betrayal of people that I trusted and loved. It hurt and I was angry for a long time. I was recently contacted by some of these people who apologized for what they did. I had not thought about it for so long, but it was interesting for me to see from my reaction that I was over it, and not angry any more. I have forgiven them. This is my personal path, and I respect that other people have different ones. I would never demand that someone forgive someone else, and by the same token no one has the right to demand that I donít forgive my peers who hurt me.
There are some people I donít personally care to hang out with. There were some people I didnít like very much in, and there are some people I donít really like on the outside. Iím not friends with someone just because we are both exmembers. This site though is a forum for all who share our upbringing, not a popularity contest.
3. Emotional Turmoil.
I think that all participants and readers of this site would agree that for those of us who were hurt by this group and are now struggling to move on with our lives, the topic of the Family is not easy to discuss. Since I left 8 years ago, up to the launch of this site, I have mostly stayed away from exmembers besides my personal family, and anything much to do with the Family at all.
Much has evolved from this web site that I never expected. At this point, I find myself much more embroiled in issues to do with the group than I ever wanted to be. It triggers the same turmoil in me as in everyone else. When the site was first launched I would have nightmares every single night of being trapped back in the Family. I have learned to deal with it somewhat by now, but things still upset me personally on a regular basis.
My reason for creating my being the one to create this site is simply because I have the technical skills to do so, (well I know thatís debatable, my code is often crap). I donít think I have anything anymore worked out than anyone else, and I am frequently un-objective. To be honest, I think itís unfair to expect anything more from me. My own opinions are just that, my own opinions. No one has to agree with me.
4. Flames and the Trailer Park.
A number of people have contacted me and said that they are intimidated by the bullying that happens here. Itís difficult enough to interact with people from our past and to talk about difficult subjects without people attacking other participants. The Trailer Park is an attempt to remedy that and still give room for free speech. To be honest, itís a pain in ass for me and I am very uncomfortable even going into this area. Itís a tough call sometimes as to what is a flame or not, and I really donít like making judgement calls like that. It was the best thing I could think of though, and I am open to other suggestions.
Without some change here though, this site will become like some FG exmembers websites, with a very small number of aggressive individuals posting insults back and forth, and an embarrassment to other former members. That to me is not worth the time and effort.
While people have the right to their own opinions, as Nan has stated, that is balanced with not infringing on the rights of others. Since the principle here is that of equality, and that since we have all lived through these things, our opinions are of equal validity, the right of one person to their viewpoint cannot infringe on the right of another to their own.
Reader's comments on this article
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Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 09:04
Jules, brace yourself for some of my patented ďbackhanded butt-kissingĒ.
If you are in a bad mood, do not scroll down!
I warned you!
Need some coffee? Cigarette? A shot of something? Have to tinkle? Ė This would be a good time.
Seems anyone raised in TF should have enough skill in compartmentalizing to keep from taking personal responsibility for insecurities and social dysfunctions manifested in a group of people who can be readily expected to have just such problems.
Donít take it so personally, Jules, you get your identity all wrapped up in this site and itís an incredible amount of dedication that you show here, (I honestly donít know how you do it,) but I must say I donít think itís healthy for you to allow it to touch you personally the way it does. Those who insist on broadcasting their emotional issues on this site are primarily looking for commiseration, but their defeatism and hopelessness causes them to settle for conflict because for some itís the only interaction they trust themselves with.
Just because you coded this site doesnít make any of it your fault, just block it out, you canít take responsibility for everything, you do your best and thatís all you can do. Some people are going to be assholes forever, and nothing anybody says to them will change that. Some will only be that way temporarily, and nothing anybody says will change that either.
Sometimes I watch ďTeletubbiesĒ for a few minutes, itís relaxing and cute, everybody smiling, happy and getting along, no bad words or violence, but I quickly get bored and change the channel to where people are crashing cars and killing each other, having bad attitudes and doing a lot of terrible things. Why? I donít know for sure, but I do happen to know that I am not alone, and this seems to be the case with a lot of people, I know that programming isnít on television just for me.
I donít know if any would agree with me, but I think part of the fun of this site is the unpredictability of human nature and the way the median intelligence level of posts and replies here varies so much from day to day. It seems that shortly after the raging free-for alls that started the trailer park died down, the more intelligent and cultured participants here found themselves with very little to say to each other. Things are picking back up now, but may get out of hand again soon, and I think we should all just expect it, roll with it, and try not to feed the trolls.
(reply to this comment)
| From Jules|
Wednesday, March 05, 2003, 18:28
PJ, thanks for your comments.
You have a point about not taking responsibility for things beyond our control, also that the unpredictability and diversity here is what makes this site interesting. I do agree with you on that.
You lose me though when you compare interaction that is mutually respectful to the Teletubbies. Weíre not talking naptime, hugs and cookies, just that people keep sexism, racism and inflammatory insults off of here (or if they really must indulge, keep it to the Trailer Park). The issue is not intelligence or culture, which are rather subjective values anyways, but that of inclusion.
Donít yell at me, but Iím going to pull the gender card. Litigation attorneys excluded, confrontation and intense aggression is very uncomfortable for many women (although certainly not all). Granted, as Joe said, many of us have anger issues, but this is not a therapy group, itís a public web site. If the conversation here became strongly religious, and anyone who expressed a differing opinion was ranted at for their lack of faith, the same result would occur. A small number of people who share the same viewpoint would be left to pat each otherís back. If this site caters to only the most outspoken and aggressive participants, people who do not have the same level of antagonism will no longer feel comfortable in participating here.
I donít take responsibility for peopleís behavior. Whatever the reasons for the rage, well, thatís between them and their therapist, and frankly I donít really care. I do however take responsibility for this site. To host a web site for some sort of community, I believe you need to be accountable to that community. For example this site is designed to protect peopleís privacy. People have the right to interact safely without their ďreal lifeĒ identity being disclosed or connected to their past, and thatís something I take responsibility for in the design and structure.
Perhaps I do get my identity wrapped up in this site. Iíll have to think about that one. A lot of it too is probably just being in freaking Canada in freaking March. Around this time every single year I start to despair of spring ever coming (itís been snowing since November) and whine about the snow, the cold, my miserable life and how Canada sucks to anyone who will listen.(reply to this comment)
| From PompousJohn|
Thursday, March 06, 2003, 08:28
"Litigation attorneys excluded, confrontation and intense aggression is very uncomfortable for many women"
So how to you explain Charity, Zola, CZ and (sometimes) Stella? The only difference I have ever noted in men and women being more or less inclined to confrontation is that women tend to be more sensitive about losing and will quickly try to play on the pity of bystanders if they turn out to not be as tough as they claimed before the confrontation. (this is based on my own limited experience with a limited number of women)
ďjust that people keep sexism, racism and inflammatory insults off of here (or if they really must indulge, keep it to the Trailer Park)Ē
The trailer park is not and has never been an issue for me. I was only pointing out that you shouldnít let these things bother you like they do. You donít let yourself get worked up over things that go on in real trailer parks, so why concern yourself with the comportment of virtual trailer trash?
ďIf this site caters to only the most outspoken and aggressive participants, people who do not have the same level of antagonism will no longer feel comfortable in participating here.Ē
It is my opinion that all web sites with discussion forums cater to exactly this group, as does society in general. There are 546 registered users here, and yet every day we hear from the same 20 or so people, with someone popping up every now and then to tell us how theyíve read for a long time but never posted. This is the same in every discussion group Iíve ever heard of, the ďlurkersĒ far outnumber the contributors.
Well really the only thing I meant to say was ďcalm down, itís really not that badĒ so I probably should have kept it to that.
P.S. I donít think the next Ice Age is due Ďtill next year, so stop worrying, that snow WILL melt.
P.S.S. OK, there is one more thing I wanted to mention.
ďPeople have the right to interact safely without their ďreal lifeĒ identity being disclosed or connected to their past, and thatís something I take responsibility for in the design and structure.Ē
In theory I agree with you, however when someone is calling out another by name and taking issue with their ďreal life identityĒ and subjecting them to public scrutiny because of it, donít you think they should be required to furnish the same amount of personal information about themselves as they have chosen to make public about the other person? In my case for example, nobody who knows me would make the kind of accusations about my character and my behaviors in the group as what was being said by some who donít seem to be posting here anymore, so now a lot of other people who havenít met me are adding these aspects of my personality as described my Random Commentator/Monk/- - to their subconscious picture of me. That is just really not fair, and itís sad that while anonymity provides a cozy place for shy victim types to hide in, it also serves as a base of operations for all manner of scoundrels.
This also indirectly relates to another thing that was a little distressing for me to see, it was a long time ago that I saw it so maybe itís been taken down, but someone was mentioning two girls by name and claiming they were engaging in sex with adults at age 12. Now the person was making an important point, and I happen to know that what he said was true, however I think as far as actual names are involved (they were just first names, but all the same) it should be up to the victim in such a case to decide whether they would like to step forward and be named personally.
Ok, Iím out of coffee now, so Iíll let this rest for the time being.
(reply to this comment)
| From Jules|
Thursday, March 06, 2003, 13:30
Oh John, what a way you have with the ladies. The rewording that constitutes an apology, the patronization that is back-handed compliments, I don't know, some back-handed bitchslapping is actually looking pretty good about now. :p
Thanks for the concern, but I'm not upset, just a bit depressed, which has more to do with winter here I think than anything else. Living on a Caribbean island (so jealous...), you may not be aware of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which affects a majority of people living in northern climates. I go through this every year around this time and try not to make any major decisions during the last months of winter. It can be remedied easily enough with a trip to my therapist, pharmacy or favourite vacation spot.
I said that this was a generalization, but the link between aggression and gender is both biological (testosterone in men) and social ("be a nice girl") and is well documented. According to studies, when confronted, women will react with fight or flight, as do men, but the exhilaration is not there. They often feel guilt and internalize the conflict, making them uncomfortable. Anyways there's a ton of research on it which I won't get into here.
You are one of the most arrogant and ostentatious people I have ever interacted with (not that there's anything wrong with that), so to judge levels of comfort by your own is not very objective. Just because something feels good for one person, don't assume a good time is being had by all. (Why do guys do that? :p)
Regarding privacy, I agree, participants have the right to control over their own information and what is disclosed about them. I don't read everything on here, so I think I missed this specific example. If you find it, let me know.(reply to this comment)
Tuesday, March 04, 2003 - 22:10
Maybe we can put something on the front page that says "If you have anger issues, click here for a list of anger management classes in your area" I know I have anger issues, a lot of us seem to.
(reply to this comment)
Tuesday, March 04, 2003 - 20:46
Well said Jules. This site has helped me a lot to put many issues into perspective and to think through touchy subjects. I admire your courage in putting it together.
(reply to this comment)
| From mex|
Wednesday, March 05, 2003, 13:30
I have been on my own for two years now, but abandoned the fam six years ago choosing to have no contact with people in or out of the cult.
Prior to finding out about this site, my view of ex members was a small group of angry, resentful losers who would sit around bashing the fam yet did nothing to better themselves, what I found on your site though, was a large group of angry, resentful, people who enjoy taking pokes at the cult as a form of sport (or at least that is how I see it), what I liked the most was that the majority was leading decent successful lives.
Your web site has given me hope, yes lifeís a bitch, we all hate the fam, but it is now you who choose to fuck up or better your life.
I thank you for this site, and wish everybody who is moving on the best at what their doing.
(reply to this comment)