I wrote a guest post on one of the Support Group blogs that went live on July 22nd. I am now wishing that I never wrote it. Or at the very least, never agreed to having them post it, because really, that whole love and loyalty to my support group that I spoke about in it, the whole finding light in the darkness and a home, has been shattered beyond repair.
It all started coming to a head on July 26th when one of the moderators was let go from the parent company (PC), without warning, without any notice. PC turned our little group completely upside down. It was handled very badly in my opinion. A person who never participates in the group, is not part of our family, swoops in and basically says “trust us it’s for the best” but fails to give any explanation or even forewarning. Trust is not automatic. It’s earned. And for someone to come in and say that, how can you expect us to just say “ok” and go on with our lives? Really? In a caregiver support group, where change is really NOT ok. We have to plan. Our whole lives get upset when change, especially drastic change, upsets the balance we so carefully curate.
We, the group members, spent the remainder of the day and night trying to process it all and get PC to understand that how they handled this situation was incredibly bad. While our words to them seemed to have fallen on deaf ears, and probably nothing will be done to get our mod back, SHE KNOWS we love her and fought for her. SHE KNOWS the truth of it all and SHE KNOWS that we can see through the tip-toeing around, the changing stories, and the excuses.
That incident tore my loyalty in two. While I loved my support group family and those who started it, how can I remain loyal to the parent company who disrupted our family and refuses to speak the truth or acknowledge the fact that they handled the situation very, very wrong?
There have been other incidents prior to this that the majority overlooked. A particular individual would be nice one minute and rage and lash out at someone the next. I have been on the receiving end of that rage several times. While I do my best to remain calm and nice in my replies, the line was crossed several times. I eventually stopped responding. But sometimes the moderator had to step in because I am trying to change my self-image. I am trying to stand up for myself and not let people walk all over me. I am trying to face my fear of confrontation. I do remember one time, though, she crossed the line so far that I ended up stooping to her level and I regret that. After that incident, I blocked her for a while. It was nice and peaceful. But being the type of person I am, who thrives on helping other people, I unblocked her and just watched. I watched her go from nice to snapping people’s heads off in a matter of seconds and nothing ever got done about it.
We were a support group to help others deal with caring for their veterans. When this individual first started her seemingly random attacks at people in our group, I asked the moderator if anything could be done. They said they handled it behind the scenes. But she was allowed to remain. Her attacks still came. One day, one moment, she would be nice and sweet and generally want the help or give help. The next day or moment she’d flip. I get that she may have her own issues. I get that the loudest, most cruel person, could very possibly need the most help. But to attack the people who are trying to support you is NOT the way to go about it.
The moderators always asked for tolerance and acceptance. Well, Tolerance and acceptance works both ways. But apparently not many people see it that way. We ALL have done our best. All of the people who I have spoken with about this individual. We have all TRIED to be nice, accept her, offer a shoulder but what do we get in return? Snapped at, bullied, and abused. And from our perspective, the moderators continually took her side. In essence, they spit in the rest of the group’s face.
I stood up for myself and others in the group. I spoke what everyone else was thinking. I gave my honest opinion. MY PERSPECTIVE. And what do I get in return? For voicing my opinion on a subject, for voicing my perspective where the moderator asked and stated that there will be no judgement, no criticism, I felt both of those. I will not back down on my stance, nor will I give in. I will not stop fighting for MY FAMILY. To allow this toxicity to continue in the group, has made it unsafe for me, for anyone. I will no longer support the support group or the PC. I cannot tolerate bullies, in any form.
I was told that “Perspective isn’t truth.” I don’t see it that way. Perspective is truth to the one who perceives it. Truth is always relative. You have to be willing to see things from multiple angles. And I believe that this is what is wrong with today’s society. No one is willing to budge in their views on anything. Because I voiced my perspective, and it didn’t mesh with hers, then I was belittled, judged, and criticized. There was no compromise.
I WILL NOT BACK DOWN! That woman’s anger, her rage, and her cruelty poisoned our community, our family. And they allowed it to happen. Over. And. Over. And. Over. Again. We tolerated enough. I was not going to allow it any more. I wanted to save our community. To save our family and make it safe again. How can it be safe when someone bullies you in the group? When someone verbally abuses someone else in the group. I can’t stand by and watch that happen anymore. The group is no longer SAFE.
All I know is that I’m done. I’ve said everything I can say and they will not budge. They’ve hurt me to my core. My heart breaks because I really loved this group. Before I found this support group, I was utterly alone in the world. I did not think anyone would understand me and I went to a very dark place. When I found this group, I found Beth, I started understanding and things were getting better. I started helping people understand that what they were going through, living, and feeling, that they weren’t alone. No one should ever feel like I felt before this group.
I haven’t felt this hurt since right after my son was born and Iost yet another friend to some random reason. And I haven’t had a friend since. When I open my heart up again, this is what happens. Always. It has hurt my soul and trusting anyone new is going to be so hard again. I know I will come back to it. I always do. But right now I am grieving.
I am honest. I am true. I am loyal. And my greatest weakness is that I believe every one should be, too. I am thankful for the support group and the PC, to allow me to meet new people and connect, with people who truly understood me. I am thankful for that. But it has changed. for me at least. And I have to stand up for myself and not get walked all over any more.
I need a new home. If you can recommend one, please let me know. I cannot go this caregiver path alone again.
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I was going to suggest the same thing as Lexa did…you and the people from the group that seem like good, non-jackass people…just form your own group. Don’t let someone else’s bitterness and negativity get you this down. You have enough shit to deal with already! Walk away and pray that this woman gets the help she really needs. Take Care Jamie!
Your pingback showed up on our website, so I wanted to make sure you have a voice on the website, so I left it there. And I also wanted to address your concerns.
As the Director of Her War, Her Voice I would be more than willing to remove your blog, should you want that done. I certainly would not pull it without your permission, nor would I make any assumptions without giving you a chance to talk to me about that.
As the Programs Manager of Courage Beyond, I did want to say that the decision to remove someone as a CB employee was one that I support 100% and would have done myself on the HW side had she not chosen to quit without discussing anything with me while I was away on vacation.
I believe very strongly in supporting women and holding all of us to standards in behavior, and I have been saddened to see how people chose to handle a decision that was right.
However, I can’t expect people to know that. I can’t expect anyone to understand given that it is imperative that our ex employee also be considered as well. I simply will not give the reason someone no longer works with us because it is no one’s business.
I will, however, gladly talk to you about this publicly at the point that you tag my website and make accusations as well.
I have been in Courage Beyond’s Trench Talk since it’s inception. Because I am on of the founders. What it means to me as a person goes incredibly deep as I fought to keep it around when it nearly closed. I supported both mods through every emergency ( along with another CB employee and all of the HW team) and have made sure that counseling has always been available, working many times through the night with TT mods to make that happen.
To imply that we do not take our jobs seriously is very upsetting to me. And to state one side of the story regarding my mod’s work is also something I take seriously.
I will stand up for my mod 200% because I have been there from the beginning to see every exchange. Every word that has been thrown around.
And I don’t agree with your actions at all. Or your words against other people.
You can’t make threats and it not cause destruction.
I also believe if you want to take CB and HWHV to the mattresses, then we need to make sure both sides of that story are out there.
I understand you are hurt and you are upset. And I will also always support you, Ladyjai.
But hurting someone else because you are hurt is simply not okay. To discourage distrust in an organization and defaming publicly without fully knowing any details is harmful and hurtful.
I am more than happy to have any discussion you would like to have. And I would highly prefer that you actually talk to me. Not just tag my website. I have no problems at all discussing anything but how an employee was let go. That is private and personal.
If you would like to chat, my door is always open. I won’t, however, let you talk about my mod.
Bring that to me from now on.
Good for you for standing up for what you believe in! As if there aren’t enough problems, it sound like this woman is adding to them. But there are people like that. Almost every family or group has one. Their bad attitude poisons them and no one has the guts to say anything. Perhaps you and other upset members should leave and make your own group.
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There are a few of us who did leave that night. And we have our own group. I’m sad that I will miss out on more friends, but maybe that will come later.