The Toxic Dump: My (Other) Toxic Story
The Toxic Dump is dedicated to the unedited chapters, traits, and tools of Toxicology that were left on the cutting room floor.
This section was removed from the book because it was important I only include the most significant stories from my personal experience. Again, I wanted this book to serve as a communal memior. Through the editing process I removed all of my toxic stories except for the beginning and ending in order to not have my voice shout over the chorus of others.
But jump into this tea.
It is extremely enticing to participate in the negativity. Especially if it is directed toward you. Trust me, I know. I have been on the receiving end of a not so subtle subliminal status. A person in which I was minimally connected attacked the character of both myself and friends with juvenile name calling and callous criticism.
What did I want to do?
Embarrass her of course. Fiercely and publicly. I wanted to write a monologue destroying her character, her maturity, and anything else along the way. Would it have been right? Depending on how far I took it, yes. If nothing else, it would have provided for an afternoon’s worth of good chuckles for our mutual friends.
But… I did none of those things. Not because I'm so righteous I can always be the better person, but because I refused to embarrass or align myself with her juvenile antics. There is a reason why personal business is called personal. Your anger, your disappointment, and your issues are not owed to the world for their evaluation. You have the best opportunity to truly fix a problem without the questionable input of others.
What I did do was attempt to contact her off the internet. Unsuccessfully, since she refused to answer my calls. Although she managed to continue to type vigorously *insert eyeroll*. Again, verifying that this had absolutely nothing to do with me directly and everything to do with her need to feel confident behind her computer screen. I felt like it was a matter that needed to be addressed, but I did not believe that it was matter that needed to be turned into a movie premiere for popcorn eaters.
Was my inability to completely ignore it toxic? There was no need for me to converse with her at all. Realistically, I was not seeking common ground, I wanted to admonish her in the proper fashion and dismiss her to tend to her wounds. She was not a friend nor someone I would see any time in the future, so her existence and opinion were of no concern of mine. Yet, that did not prevent me from needing to put her in her place. It did not stop me from wanting to remind her that this conversation could easily play out differently in person, if she wanted to be so bold.
Although I had enough restraint to refrain from airing out all of our dirty laundry, I didn’t take the highest road possible.
Should I consider it a toxic tie?
Or maybe I will just accept it as a toxic dream deferred?
It was a lose/lose situation, no matter what I did or said.
The trickiest issue while dealing directly with social media messiness is when mutual friends or acquaintances get involved. I think I deleted/blocked at least three people after the situation above.
Why? Simple. They knew that there was animosity between she and I, and instead of remaining impartial, they opted to enable her by liking and commenting her statuses. So, they choose the wrong side. I do not just mean the wrong side based off opinions because everyone is entitled to those. It was not what they said, but their participation that got them the gift of goodbye. Their alliance and the assumptions were all justified in their eyes. However, the decision to do so in a public way was not a matter or justified action, it was toxic. It was pouring gasoline on an already burning bridge, and I refused to be associated with any of it.
Sure, I received angry messages afterward. Questioning why I would go to the “extremes” of deleting or unfriending them over a status. I could listen to their side, I could entertain the idea that there may have been some error, but I didn't. Their words and intentions were visible to all that choose to read. They were just unprepared for their actions to carry consequences outside of what they expected.
These are the difficult decisions you must make in order to free yourself. These were women I had known for years. I did not lightly or rashly decide to distance myself. But when my instincts said: this is not okay. I listened.
Listen and respect what you have to say. The internet has desensitized people to the point that their electronic personality is either an exaggeration or a ghost of their true self. Be the person that you truly are when you are evaluating any conflicts you encounter online. I imagined the same scenario playing out in person and laughed. It would never happen. But they showed their cards and I had to play the game accordingly to protect myself from pain, discomfort, or risk of desire for retaliation. This is a determination you will have to make if you are involved directly or indirectly in an online situation.
What do you want to be associated with?
How are you defining yourself?