93: Compassion

“The greatest defense is being who you are.”

Mark Nepo

The Book of Awakening

May 14

FB_IMG_1521032330978.jpgOver the weekend the Troll Patrol visited again and sent me some editorials with the same tired themes. One of them tried to follow my Twitter account.


It’s sad when I think on it.

C is moving on. I’m moving on.

However, nearly six months later two sixty-something-year-old men continue to sit in their garages and read my posts, spend hours critiquing them, gossiping like school children, and writing self-absorbed and self-aggrandizing emails and comments to me. They repeatedly attempt to dissect and trivializing my perspective, feelings, experiences, and heart. Six months later they manufacture opportunities to become relevant again in my story of betrayal, secret-keeping, and escalating series of lies.

A betrayal that had zero impact on them.

Which is why I’m ignoring them. They aren’t relevant. They were only relevant because I responded. In reality, they offer nothing new, insightful, original, or useful in their fan mail.

I know C.

She’s been done with them for months, which might be why they keep escalating and trying to reassert themselves into the drama. They’ve tried intimidation, piling on, rumormongering, and high-school heroics. I fully expect them to show up at the door of my apartment in YoYo Town with torches and pitchforks looking for Frankenstein’s monster.

I feel bad for them. As C and I move on it becomes obvious to them they never mattered to C or me. I lived with C for five years and with her for seven. I know what she thinks of both of them. They are simply lances for an angry matador. A roll they have gleefully embraced.

She has every right to be angry, disgusted, fearful, resentful, bitter or anything else she needs to be – although I wish she’d be less vengeful and spiteful. What I did was wrong and I am close to where I knew I’d be when she discovered my betrayal. She also knows I’m not dangerous or going to harm her. I hope someday she will speak with me about her hurt and fears.

I know who I am. I know what I did. So does C even if she is too bitter to see it now.

The difficulty is as the Troll Patrol have actively sought me out as a convenient target for their own jealousies, insecurities, and damage I lost my focus.  Especially early on. Too often I’ve responded defensively; because that is what people do when they are attacked – they fight or flee.

Clearly, I don’t flee well.

My writings and responses are then cherry-picked by the trolls for new conspiracies to fuel their confirmation biases, ghost stories and the demeaning and childish attacks.

FB_IMG_14089130058720912Clearly, they have brains and time to spare but I’ve come to appreciate they also have a great deal of pain in their personal lives.

They were both betrayed at different times in their lives by women, men, strangers, mothers, and family.

In many respects, they live, like we all do, with their own failures. They each carry the scars of their own battles including lost marriages, infidelities, and secrets. They don’t see me. They simply see a safe target for them to focus their pain on today.

The trolls also don’t see C. They see an object they desire and an opportunity in which to ingratiate themselves to C. The trolls see a desirable Queen in distress and selfishly look to fix a problem they only imagine exists. That is why they work so hard to imagine me a Villian and C the victim. The bask in playing the Heros.

But I’m no Villian. This isn’t an episode of Shameless. Betrayal isn’t a crime. Betrayal is simply one more human thing humans do. We all carry our own secrets, lies, and hurts. We all wear a mask of our own making. When I remind myself I’m no better or worse than others I start to have compassion instead of anger at the bitterness and pettiness my betrayal is still being met with by two angry and bitter old men sitting in their garages looking to avoid their own failures.

The reality is hurt people hurt people.

The trolls hurt for reasons having nothing to do with C or me. Their fear of facing their own hurts causes them to lash out at me. I cannot help them and I need to focus on having compassion for them.

After all, they are just people too.

Today’s reading from Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening summarizes best my thoughts on the trolling.

Or at least the principles I’m trying to apply today.

How often we are drawn into opposition with one another. Certainly, there are times that conflict is inevitable. There is only one parking space. There is only one donut left. There is only one job in view.

But most of the time, on the inner plane, there is plenty to go around, and it is more a game of see-saw: to keep myself up, or to keep my sense of how I see myself up, I somehow feel the need to put you down.

It’s only diverts me from my path and sucks all my energy into a battle that often doesn’t matter. In truth, no amount of rearranging the world will make us feel worthy. The only response to adversity or misunderstanding is to be more completely Who We Are – to share ourselves more. Otherwise, we are always reacting encountering, and never being.

Just look at the flowers and trees. They do not suppress each other. Even when crowded, they show themselves and grow in all directions and so make it to the light.

Mark Nepo

The Book of Awakening

May 14

However, to be clear, the last doughnut is mine. Some things – and people – are worth fighting for.