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Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys. Wednesday September 30, 2015

My friends are getting a divorce.

Well, not literally. They are two Facebook friends. So far as I know they have never met. But oh, the venom, the bitterness, the hatred...

And dammit, I'm in the middle; in spite of never having met either of them myself!

Look, I got dragged in, okay? A writer I know (Jocasta), invited me to join a group promoting a certain cover model, a muscled young man we'll call Zack.

Over time, that group became close. Probably too close. We shared too much. We supported each other. But the focus was this particular model. When personal affairs meant Zack walked away for a while, there was a lot of grief and anger in the group.

Well, I'm guessing that all of us have at some time felt the need to walk away, to lock ourselves in that dark room, to cease involvement. It doesn't mean we don't love our friends anymore. It just means we need to hide under our stone for a while. I wasn't going to unfriend Zack just because he wasn't playing with us every day like he used to. I emailed him every so often just to say "Hi." Occasionally he'd even answer: "I'm fine. Just dealing with things. Thanks keeping in touch."

Meanwhile, I supported Jocasta through her problems with administrative support and legal wrangles with her publisher.

Then Zack came back. His modelling career took off. Without Jocasta's help. And that's when the smelly stuff really hit the fan.

Oh it's hard when two people you care for (because as humans we're programmed to care) behave badly. When they throw written punches at each other that make you wince (remember the ammunition we'd given each other in the group!). When they accuse you of "enabling" the other simply because you will not commit to them and unfriend the other.

My husband and children think I should walk away from them both. They have a valid point. But, I have tenacity in my DNA: once you're on my "friend" list, you have to fight hard to get off it. I have been known to come and find you twenty and even thirty years later!

So it's taking valuable emotional resources from me. I hate it. Maybe I should walk away. I'm not going to. I do care for them both. Even when I want to bang their heads together.

One day they'll both reach calmer waters. They will have moved on. Maybe have even forgiven the other for whatever sins that other has committed against them.

And I will still be friends with them both.

That has to be worth it – surely.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Laura Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 6:24am

Hi Mary, thanks for sharing your experience with us. I do not envy the position you find yourself in! For me, I need a few certain things in my life in order to feel...balanced: security, good communication with my wife, a little physical activity, that kind of thing. Balance has been hard to come by over the last 15 years, so when I find it, I try to do the things I know will keep it going a little while.

One of the biggest enemies of my mental health is Drama. I hate it, and I avoid it at all costs. Anything that steals my energy, frustrates me, overwhelms me - in short, anything I can't control - sucks the life right out of me and throws me in a tailspin. Thankfully, I've gotten pretty good over the years at keeping a safe distance from mean people, people with big egos, people who always think they're right, and people who take a lot more than they give. I don't know about you, but I need to take care of myself (not anyone else) and I need all the brainpower I can get!

Bottom line - I ask myself a few questions to keep myself (or get myself) on track: "Am I acting or am I reacting?" "Is ____ really worth it?" "Is this going to help me, or is it going to hurt me?" etc. I believe we know, in our gut, what the best decision is for us in almost every situation. Call it instinct. If we do what we honestly believe is right, then everything will be okay (eventually!). Oh, and we should never second-guess ourselves; we know what we need.

Laura :)

Mary Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 8:45am

You're right. I know you're righ, and I wish I had known that these people id drama before I got involved. But - there you go. hind sight is always 20/20!

Frankie Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 8:55am

Laura your questions are great - thank-you! I shall be using these ... Frankie

Milliecat Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 7:54am

Thanks for this Mary - I'm sure it will resonate w lots of folk. It's never a pleasant place to be. As someone who can mostly see both sides of the story it is hard to take sides. Sometimes though keeping both friends means you lose both as neither of them want someone who see the other side as OK as their friend. Confused already. As these are on line friends .. At least you won't bump into them in the same shop at the same time - never a good moment - all the best with this situation.

Mary Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 8:45am

Love the idea of bumping into both of them in the local Tescos! Thanks Milliecat.

Lilly Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 8:12am

Hi Mary,
It's great that you are sticking to your values and not walking away from either of them as it's their issue not yours. You're remaing true to yourself despite what others may want you to do. Other peoples drama doesnt affect me and sometimes friends need someone who will listen. Everyone has their own personal boundaries though, what we will and won't tolerate and when our line is crossed, I agree with Laura.., we do what we need to to protect ourselves. I state my case, then "close the door". Maybe it's not good for me. In one or two cases I'm holding onto resentment, but I choose not to engage with people unless I have to who arent good for me, simple.

Moodscopers are helping in all sorts of ways. I'm trying not to "feed the wolves" but giving them my energy or thinking time. I'm trying to "De-shrimp my house" (love that! :))by reminding myself not to think about them in my home.

What a good friend did for me the other day was helped me get those into perspective. Not to focus on the small minority, when most people are lovely. Instead of giving the few power (like referring to one as "my boss" my good friend said, 'You mean "one percent"!'
It's another beautiful day. Love and light to all :)

Mary Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 8:47am

Hi Lilly, Thank you for that. Yes, the vast majority of my friends are relaxed and drama free. Thank goodness for that and thank you for giving me that perspective.

Hopeful One Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 8:15am

Hi Mary- Oh my word!I did not know life could become so complicated.In order to keep my life emotionally uncluttered I keep three pigeon holes in my mind for the people I greet and meet (I mentioned it in a previous post) They are Trobba*,Trobba Not and No Trobba. People in the Trobba group are kept at arms length( only greet ,no meet or sometimes no greet or meet!))Trobba Not( don't bother only greet but no meet) and No Trobba( always greet and meet and keep close). Simplistic, I admit, but it works for me and stops me spending emotional energy for little or no return.

* from the novel" Ridley Walker" by Richard Hobben

You like a joke I know so here goes

A client went to the dentist's for a check up.Piano music was playing in the reception.She was waiting to be called in but after waiting ten minutes, the elderly lady sitting beside her said,"Can you believe it?A waiting room jammed with people, and there he is playing his piano."

Not my best but should get a smile.

Mary Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 8:48am

Always a smile from you. Thank you.

Frankie Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 8:55am

Hi HO Made me smile! Thank-you Frankie

the room above the garage Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 12:03pm

HO please say "I'm here all week" :-D

Hopeful One Thu, Oct 1st 2015 @ 8:26am

Thank you guys.

Dawn Thu, Oct 1st 2015 @ 1:57pm

I like your Trobba idea Hopeful One. I am just learning about the 'Trobba' people at age 50! I have kept myself a little sheltered. I will adopt your system xx

Frankie Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 8:57am

Morning Mary

A timely reminder for me; how to be a good friend whilst remaining detached ... as you so rightly say, tough but definitely worth it! Thank-you.


Tim Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 9:39am

Great title. Great sentiment. You're certainly not asking Moodscopers whether to stick with J&Z; your mind's well made up! And that's how it should be. How about some Paul-Ine admonishment "in love"? I've tried that in past decades. Doesn't often work. But, deep down, folk know where you're coming from. And we ARE "called to be faithful, not successful". Tell them firmly and judiciously the errors of their ways, be they misjudgements, prejudices, gun-jumping ship, displacements. We all do it. Help them to avoid living to regret it. Peace.

Tim Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 9:45am

That was supposed to be "gun-jumpings", not "gun-jumping ship" (whatever that may be: images of trigger-happy press-ganged cabin-boys firing their cannon before the command, or fleeing overboard at the sight of an Armada. Ahh, the joys of predictive sex!

Mary Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 10:04am

Love it Tim! Predictive Sex! Second giggle of the morning!

Debs Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 11:29am

Ha!!! I just laughed out loud!! I love the idea of predictive sex (as a single mum I take what I can get, predictable or otherwise ;-)) Thanks for making me smile a big fat smile! xxx

susan Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 10:50am

"So it's taking valuable emotional resources from me". Red flag, Mary!! You come first! If you can lovingly and emotionally detach with kindness and leave them to whatever it is they're locked into, it doesn't mean you can't stay friends. It is a process and all will unfold and can be assessed at a later date. Just take good care of yourself. Will be interesting to look back on it all in a few months. xx (can't decide on a new name:))

Peter Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 11:02am

Hi Mary. I tend to agree with lilly, if staying friends with both is in line with your core values then that indicates the both to follow. Being in true to yourself will ultimately only make you untrue to others will it not? Please let me know what you think - I'm new to adding my thoughts to the moodscope blogs but I'm liking the interaction already. All the best peter

Mary Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 12:07pm

It took me a couple of readings to work out what you were saying there Peter, but yes. First be true to yourself. Absolutely. It's great to have you on board Peter (thinking about Tim's ship-jumping cabin boys)

Debs Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 11:26am

Hey Mary - drift up out of yourself and float into the atmosphere out beyond the earth. Look down on you and your friends and what do you see? Zoom forward five generations and what do your childrens childrens children tell you to do?

Sometimes the best kind of friendship is the one where we let go of it for a while. The space you give them may provide your friends with something to consider that helps them grow as a person. And give you the space to breath and be Mary - kind, compassionate Mary who is a friend to herself as well as the world around her. Some of my closest friendships have had big gaps and those gaps have been the best thing that ever happened to us. Sending love hun xxx

the room above the garage Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 11:50am

I think I want to marry Tim.
Love ratg x.

Mary Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 12:03pm

Hey - you just want the predictive sex! ;)

the room above the garage Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 12:01pm

Marydoll, I agree with Susan, if it's taking your emotional resources you need to remember to 'fit your own oxygen mask first'. Hard but true. Have had a different but similar situation in the past involving a friend who needed and needed and needed and I gave and gave and gave. I learned the hard way. And if you fix people, they can't learn to fix themselves. Love ratg x.

Debs Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 12:06pm

RATG - if you fix people they can't learn to fix themselves - love that ;-) You are a wise owl xxx

Mary Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 12:08pm

So right - both of you! But - I have loyalty and fidelity running through me like a stick of Brighton Rock.

Lex Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 1:14pm

Love never fails... Mary, but I don't think love has to show up and get dirty every day. Perhaps some distance can help. Kind of leaving the door open but not standing in the doorway?

Mary Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 6:49pm

Lovely thought - never failing, but failing to get down and dirty every day! Appreciate it Lex, my dear one!

The Gardener Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 6:30pm

I touched on Mary's post subject yesterday in a reply to Frankie's post. I am old and very wary of 'social' media, you can say the wrong thing so very quickly. When the only way of falling out with someone was by phone (too expensive) or by letter - by the time you'd got to the stage of finding a stamps and committing it to the post you'd calmed down. What happened to counting to ten? The worst thing we did was cross people off our Christmas card list. I remember my mother-in-law, terribly proper, brought up by a Victorian grandmother, cutting someone in the street, I was shattered. With FaceBook you get 'best friends' (remember school?) far too quickly - then nastiness comes if you want to 'unfriend'. To me, it's a maelstrom, sucked town into a whirlpool with all the other 'friends' looking on. Perhaps it's my generation, but I've only ever disliked three people in my life, and that was because of the harm they did to others, but I hope I was never rude to them. Seems a bit priggish - I've had 4 days absolute hell with my husband - apparently the next 'stage' with Alzheimers. I took him to the chiropodist - my husband was rude to me in the waiting room - I must admit to storming out (no witnesses) then in the lovely September sunshine I met, talked to, shook hands or kissed many acquaintances, some going back 30 years. I know in their villages there are near blood feuds, usually over property, but I don't think it 'spills over' like Mary's case. Few of them know how to use computers anyway! I am going to cook a good meal, watch something beautiful on TV (no quarreling soaps). Very 'pi'. For those of you brewing up sharp answers on Facebook, stick the thing in a cupboard for the night. Or even, as I said on the post 'Worrier or warrior' take a poker to it. Have a diplomatic breakdown. Peace, goodwill and joy to you all out there.

Mary Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 6:48pm

Yes indeed. Very sane and sensible advice. So pleased you received balm for the rudeness inflicted on you by the stranger who used to be your husband. Sending you supporting thoughts and hugs.

The Gardener Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 8:11pm

Little extra thought on communications. I have just wrapped up my church robes exhibition - and looked more carefully at the glorious workmanship (some 200 or more years old). The women who did their work would would have been the 'tops' they would have worked in workshops - imagine the gossip! In India like women had air-conditioning - their hands had to remain un-sweaty. They were also fed - meant they weren't 'squiffy' and made a mess of the work. These places were their 'Facebooks' because if you live on the pavement as did many we saw social intercourse is a wee bit difficult. and so to bed. Who said that? Nite-Nite

Bearofliddlebrain Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 8:40pm

Oh Gardener, I do feel for you and the desperate days you have with your poorly husband. It must be such a strain on your own health. I agree with you that Spacebook and Twitter etc can be so devisive. Things can be written in haste and no, no one seems to 'count to ten and breathe' any more! I read in the paper at the weekend that a woman has been found guilty of bullying at work because she 'unfriended' a work mate....aargh...what's the world coming to???!!!! N nite and sweeter days ahead I hope ....Bear x

Bearofliddlebrain Wed, Sep 30th 2015 @ 8:36pm

Hi Mary,
Think you've had all the great wisdom in the above responses....and a joke from HO thrown in to boot!

Sometimes, peeps need to vent their feelings...and unfortunately it comes out too quickly when it's on Spacebook or a late night email after a few glasses of beer/wine/pick anyalcoholicdrinkandfillinthespace!!

You just need to remember this is their fight, not yours...keep out of it and let the children play...
Giving both 'friends' the same option of 'take me as I am or leave me' means you should be able to be friends with both, their choice. Maybe if they see you are taking the high road but you expect to meet them on the way, then, whether they are there waiting - is up to them.
(Soz if this doesn't make sense!)

Bear x

Eva Sat, Oct 3rd 2015 @ 7:19pm

Hi Mary, its taken a while for me to process this so that I have something useful to say, but finally - my mum gave me a bit of advice which I use - choose your battles, not every fight has to be fought. If they mean enough to you stick in there, if they don't, don't!

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