Off Topic

Collusion — do you? Do you collude with others? Basically, it’s gossip; but it’s a deeper, more personal level of gossip — much more powerful and damaging. It’s within. It’s all about you — and isn’t it always?

This is a subject I’ve been wanting to discuss ever since reading many personal stories about it online from a woman who started the conversation on her blog. It’s not just women, though, it’s sadly one of the many social behaviors engrained in them from birth.

Jealousy. Talking “behind someone’s back.” Yes, it even happens online. In fact, over the years I’ve seen some of the ugliest behavior toward eachother online. Perhaps it’s the anonymity…how much uglier then is that? Much.
I’ve read it described as a way to distract from your own problems, your own dis-ease, your own “shortcomings.” It’s addictive.

When you “dislike” someone or your perceived characterization of them — why? What do they stir in you? It’s all about you. Good way to distract yourself, I guess. Focus on them. Gossiping/colluding is a grasping for power and control — for hierarchy…A false power, of course.

You are the victim of your own reaction to them.

Much worse, I think, is faking the “niceness.” I mean, sure you  should be, “nice”; but, again, it’s only covering up your discomfort with what this person, this situation is bringing you. There is something there, a “lesson” maybe, you need to learn, and covering it with pleasantries serves only to perpetuate it.  I guess, maybe this is why I’ve always had trouble with “The Secret” Law-of-attraction thing-a-ma-jiggy (in part, anyway.Too much nonsense swirling around that one). I mean, it sounds all flowery and light, but, it also sounds sort of…disengenuous…? Maybe that’s it. I don’t know; I do get the gist, maybe just not the method. Forcing the niceness is denying your inner lessons, those signals going off — good or bad — that are making you dislike this person you “can’t stand.” Shouldn’t we be facing those instead of feigning? Phony. Phoniness is sometimes blaringly obvious; sometimes not. Sometimes misconstrued; sometimes true.

So colluding with others makes you/us feel better for the moment. It’s like eating that cupcake. Feels good for that brief moment, yes? It’s covering up some awful detox that you don’t want to go through. And so you “feed it” to shut it up, to shut it down. And you have others there to say, “Yes, go ahead. You deserve it! It’s okay. My GAWD it’s just one cupcake!” And my favorite turnabout — “you don’t HAVE TO BE PERFECT” as if that now gives persmission (to basically hurt yourself). And it also is making a judgment about others (those “perfect people” we all hate) , and the person is using this as a manipulative tool, many times because of their insecurity and perceived shortcomings. Surely makes them feel good when you “fail” too…but I’ll not go there for now….
or  “Yes, she is soooo annoying.” “He is just rude!” “She just wants attention. Look at her!” “Did you see what he…??!!”  “Well, I heard…”

It’s all connected.

What I ask myself when I feel like gossiping is, “What is it about Me that makes me want to make this person look bad to others?” “Why do they ‘get to me'” and why do I let them?” There are many ways and reasons. I’m sure you can think of many.

I think one of the saddest reasons is to do it to make friends. Sounds so silly, but is it not true? A sick way of bonding with your buddies is to get together and gossip. How ugly.
Let’s not discuss anything real; let’s just distract and focus on someone else. Feed that addiction. Judgment. Judging others and by standards we don’t even keep ourselves. Shame, perhaps. So let’s project those “failings” onto others.

And then a disempowering bond begins to tighten between/amongst colluders…you must dislike who I dislike, right? I mean, IF you’re my friend, my “enemies” will be your enemies, you will join in and nod about “that person,” right? Cause if you don’t, you’re sort of…suspect. Maybe you’re not “loyal,” after all. Maybe you’ll be pushed out of the cool-kids group we’ve got going here.

The above is the worst to me.  It’s ugly. It’s shameful. That’s why it’s the worst to me, because I’ve done it. I’ve caved to colluding with my best friend for fear…(there’s the first clue: anything based on fear) …fear of not being understood, fear of her reaction if I didn’t… Maybe some of it is normal “growing up ‘stuff'”; but we all know it’s not something many grow out of.

And when you get caught up in it, you’re sort of trapped. You have to follow along, even if you disagree. It’s like a gang. It’s like Sonny and Fredo Corleone (okay, you knew that was coming at some point).
I think the times that have felt the worst and made me feel thoroughly self-convicted have been the times I — whether or not induced by others — have judged someone and was wrong. It is worse, though, when you’ve been colluding with others and gossiping about them, only to discover this person did not deserve it. Actually, no one “deserves it” or we all do. What do you do then? If it was only within yourself, it’s easy to fix, right? Well, not really…But what if you like this person and  all your buddies don’t? When you discover you and they are wrong…what do you choose? What have you chosen? Most often, it seems, we choose our “friends.” Isn’t the true power in standing up and saying to the group you don’t agree? Or maybe just stop the colluding. Don’t participate. Yea, that’ll make you popular, right? Brave? Not really; it’s just right. It’s the right thing to do. But, please, let’s not play the martyr role; that’s a whole other drama, though certainly related. Rather than having to “stand up,” why not just NOT participate in the first place?
As they say, get yourself a group of real friends. Good luck. Truly, I believe there are very few people who have more than a few true friends they can be real with and NOT collude. Persons they can tell the truth to, even when it hurts. Persons they can LISTEN to without judgment, without colluding with when they oh-so want to. And when your friend is in pain and grieving and, yes, “trashing” an ex-love or someone who stabbed them in the back (because pain is normal afterall; no, I’m not being contradictory here) when they are in that place, can we just listen? Can we comfort without judging and colluding “to make him/her feel better” because that’s a reason we do it, right? Just be with them. If it means just hugging them in silence, letting them ramble and purge it all out, then isn’t that more of a friend?
And then sometimes, when you don’t “collude” or agree or egg it on, the person in pain — do they feel betrayed? Do they feel you’re not “on their side”? Sometimes, I guess. But, I imagine, when it all calms down, the real friends won’t see it that way. At least, this is what I believe we should strive for amongst ourselves: not to expect our “true friends” to collude with us, because it’s disrespectful to our ‘selves’ and to eachother; and not collude with others when we see it happening (’cause we do see it coming), and just…walk away, don’t participate, don’t nod, don’t agree, don’t “egg it on.” Are you not DIS-empowering your friend by keeping him/her IN that negative space when you do collude and nod and agree? How does this really help them/you/the situation?
Maybe, after the purging, we can look together at how this all happened. “How did you/I get into this mess?!” Let’s talk about THAT. No blame, just truth. Track it down. Let’s get serious about the origins of how it came to be that I/you are in this situation.

Sure, it’s not easy. I know.
And, honestly, in the end, do you ever completely trust these people? These fellow colluders? Is your friendship stronger? Truly, is it?

Have you ever seen when someone does just walk away. You sort of know why, even if they don’t say it. I guess many won’t notice it, or some may see it as “rude”; but I have to tell you, I have the utmost respect for those individuals. It’s not about not taking a stand; that’s another situation; and it’s not about denying or ignoring situations:  it’s about NOT colluding and not trashing people, not participating in hurting others with WORDS. Because words are weapons. They are. They just are.

So, again, I ask, “What does this say about me?” Because it is all about “Me.” How can we begin to change this — this collective “colluding” we do in our socializing (because it’s ingrained and EVERYwhere. Do our children have a chance?) enmasse? One person at a time, one day at a time, one situation at a time…right? I guess that’s the only way anything gets done– do it yourself 🙂

Respect your and your fellow beings’ selves. I’d much rather have self respect and the respect of others than have their collusion with my drama.





  1. Barb (kneecap) said,

    January 15, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    great post. thanks for sharing

  2. poxacuatl said,

    January 15, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Ah, cool. Thanks for commenting. I didn’t expect this post to be so lonely, lol. I try not to post stuff like this, but it’s just one of those things that comes and you feel like writing…

  3. January 15, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    don’t be shy about posting stuff like this. good stuff.

  4. poxacuatl said,

    January 15, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Ha! Thanks, Barb. But if I start on this road, I’ll then be spouting off on politics and run this blog into the ditch 😀

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