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February 2018



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Family, Friends, and Community

[I've done a little editing for clarity]
A while ago I posted about my lack of community. And a couple of people commented back about family, friends, and social circles. I just want to clarify that family and friends are not the same as a community.

I do feel that a few people I considered friends did betray me but I would not have left that community over a personal matter between ex-friends. My close friends stood by me. I feel that the community as a whole betrayed me not just a few individuals.

I have come to see that I have betrayal "issues". I can disagree and fight with people a lot and still be friends with them as long as I don't feel that I am betrayed.

I give trust quickly and very easily, but once my trust is betrayed I don't give it back. I don't think I "hold grudges", to me "holding a grudge" means being angry and wanting revenge. Loss of trust is different, "once bitten twice shy" is not a grudge it is a wise precaution. I remember those people and situations that have betrayed me and try to avoid them in the future.

I have a family. Both my parents are still living and they are good parents. I know they love me, and they are willing and able to help me out when I need help. I have four sisters. I am closer to some than to others but blood is thicker than water. I wouldn't describe my family as close, but we are dutiful and loyal, we respond to the ties of blood.

I have friends. A healthy person has many levels of friendship, and I do. I have a few very close friends, more semi-close friends, and a whole lot of acquaintances of various levels. I also have different spheres of friends: distant friends (people I am always happy to see but haven't seen in a long time), LJ friends (who I have never met IRL), festival friends (who I only see once a year at most), other situational friends (people I know because we are thrown together for other reasons). I am categorizing because I like to categorize. But generally when I interact with people I don't think of them by category I just have an internal sense of how close I feel to them based on our entire history of previous interactions.

Community is something else.

A community is not a circle of friends. A community is a larger group that includes people who do not like or even know each other.[The word community is also used to refer to any collection subjects having one unifying characteristic. I acknowledge that definition exists but it is not the one I am using.] the word community seems to have two forces acting on it. It is larger than any single group (that might be within it) but smaller than any larger group (that it might be within). [I think my basic objection to the "circle of friends" is that is too small of a group. A community is a large group I'm thinking at least 50-100 depending on what sort of community it is.]

A single Coven is not a Pagan community. A Pagan Community must include autonomous individuals or groups (directly effected by) (actively engaged with) each other as Pagans.

A community is not a single institution. For instance a university is a business organization of managers and employees. But the university community includes the managers, employees, students (customers), their service providers and families. The community is not just the institution but the people (directly effected by) (actively engaged with) the institution.

A Community Organization is an institution that has as it's purpose the serving the needs of all the people who share a common characteristic (a community), regardless of their membership in the organization. i.e. Jewish Community Center, Gay Community Center, Women's Community Center.

(I feel that this is true, and I can't think of any contradicting examples but I would be willing to rephrase if I have erred.)


(B)ut once my trust is betrayed I don't give it back. I don't think I "hold grudges", to me "holding a grudge" means being angry and wanting revenge. Loss of trust is different, "once bitten twice shy" is not a grudge it is a wise precaution. I remember those people and situations that have betrayed me and try to avoid them in the future.

I have pretty much the same reaction, except that I DO hold grudges. I think that if more people would calmly and quietly refuse to socialize with those people who abuse and betray others' trust, that we would have a much more civilized society. Sometimes people make mistakes. But many people seem to make a habit of betraying the trust that others have placed in them, from spilling some minor gossip to spending money that was placed in their care but not for their own use. As a society, we do not punish these people enough.


It seems I'm a bit more forgiving than you. I really only feel betrayed when I believe that the person intended to hurt me.

I tend to agree with Miss Manners that you can't complain when other people can't keep a secret you couldn't keep from them. I always thought that my friends wouldn't believe lies about me and I wouldn't care about the people who would. But when things happened I was very hurt to find out how few friends I really had.

If I thought someone stole from me I would be careful around them with my possesions but I wouldn't feel hurt or betrayed. People don't generally steal to be hurtfull, I think people steal to fill a need, not necessarily a need for the object that is stolen.

I'm not a big fan of punishment. I don't see how it helps.

I understand many of your points.....

But I fail to understand how it is a community as a whole that can betray trust. There are many members in a community, and as you said, there may be some that you will not like. I would assert that there would also be ones within it that you could not trust in many ways.

However being part of a community means its members should be trustworthy about WHATEVER particular aspect makes it a community in the first place. As a member of beautiful_curves, for example, I would never tell someone there that they should get on a diet! The gay/lesbian center should support women and men in their relationships with family, friends and lovers. But I would not expect everyone in one group to handle issues with the other group.
If MANY members of a community are not supporting you, then you definitely have to leave. If a couple of people betrayed your trust within a community to those outside the community, they deserve your scorn, and THOSE responsible should be cast out!

I wish I knew more, since I have had occasion to be betrayed in a very public fashion. But if you tell of this betrayal elsewhere in your writings, I have not looked back far enough. I would hope to never betray someone's trust in any way, even here in LJ.

Re: I understand many of your points.....

It was a long time ago and I have grown tired of retelling the story.

Basically one individual chose to use a community event and a community tradition to publicly "punish" me, on behalf of the community, for my behavior toward another community member. I hold the community responsible because they let him do it. I can see that they could not have stopped him before he did it because they didn't know about it. But they did nothing afterward. He had decided that he had the authority to pass judgment on me "for the good of the community" and they let him. I don't even blame the twit he was "avenging" I don't doubt she honestly felt that I had wronged her. But he had no right to do what he did, he did it in the name of the community, and the community did not disassociate themselves from his actions. He betrayed my friendship but the entire community betrayed my trust. They let a wrong be done in their name.

It occurs to me that when I say I trust someone I mean that I trust them to behave in a predictable manner. If I know someone is unreliable I don't feel betrayed if they behave unreliably. If I know someone is a gossip I don't feel betrayed if they pass on things I tell them.

Re: I understand many of your points.....

OH....now that IS one case of the individual setting himself up as the punisher, and everyone else letting you take it. Didn't anyone else have any balls at all? --Sheesh-- Sounds like you're way better off without such a lame group. Nobody should be the be-all, end-all of everything in any group. Is not healthy.
YOU said "I tried to make myself a family." I merely commented on what was said.
Oh.. that was something different. I got engadged and then my fiance dumped me. That really sent me for a loop.

Communicating in writting is very difficult. I didn't mean this post to be critical of you. I am just trying to clarify my own distinctions. In my experience close friends are not family. I usualy like my friends more then I like most of my family. On the other hand my friends don't pay my insurance bills, my family does.
Eh. *waves hand dismissively in air* Distinctions, shminctions. Different definitions of family. Somebody said once "Family is when you go there, they have to take you in." *checks Google* Nope. "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in."---Robert Frost

To me, home=family. Just because people are your blood kin, that doesn't mean they are family, and vice versa.