Family Nature

The Big Blow-Up

I have belonged to an online mother’s group for about 6 years. Over this time the group has met in person off and on; at times we’d meet weekly for a while, at other times we’d get together for a potluck but through all of that it was, and still is, a very active on-line community. That group of mums were a huge support system. They helped reinforced my attachment style and let me know there were other families like ours out there – a lot of other families like ours. I learned more from this group of mamas than any other source. I was given support on every topic that I ever needed: breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering, tandem nursing, nursing while pregnant, co-sleeping, VBAC, coping with birth trauma, the death of a loved one and all kinds of other advice, parenting or otherwise. This group was a lifeline for me.

My kids are getting older. My oldest just turned 8 and my youngest just turned 2. Slowly but surely my need for this mums group has been fading. I no longer have a great need for support in the same way that I did when I was a new mum. My needs in this regard have changed; instead of breastfeeding and babywearing advice I’m looking for advice and support for issues that I face with my older kids: school issues, positive discipline, and dealing with peer pressure, video games and other older kids stuff. So I feel like I’ve been growing apart from my mum’s group for a while now but I’ve had a hard time letting go of this group of mums. A few I know well in real life but most are just on-line friends. Even though the mum’s group discussions generally surround baby-years stuff, I still looked forward to “seeing” the mums on-line.

Last month, there was a big blow-up on the mum’s group. While people remained civil and sort of respectful the topic was so gross that I just couldn’t take it. Something came up that was so irreconcilable, so outrageously offensive to me that I left the group. Thinking about this blow-up kept me up at night, was on my mind every waking moment and had me ranting and raving to Mr. FN like a lunatic.

I consider myself a person who is open to just about anything. I try to be respectful of other people’s beliefs and above all try to always keep in mind that what works for me does not work for everyone. People do what works for them, what feels right for them, what works for their family; I call it their family nature. But some things just go too far.

Here it is: the idea that we attract negative energy; the idea that we invite chaos into our lives; the idea that we all have the power to heal ourselves of anything.

I think a positive attitude goes a long way. Generally speaking, if you’re a good person, with a positive outlook, you’re going to be happier that a person who is negative all the time. I get that. It makes perfect sense.

Can I manifest a pen with positive energy? I don’t believe that I can. Can I manifest a life partner? Nope, not me. Can I manifest wealth and prosperity? I doubt it.

Can I attract disease? Can I invite violent crimes upon myself? Can I, with positive energy and enough belief, cure myself of a birth defect? No way, no how, no frackin’ way.

If you believe these things, then that’s okay with me. Some people with these beliefs are wonderful, happy people and I think that’s awesome. I think it’s fabulous that you think you can cure yourself of any ailment. I think it’s great that you don’t have any regrets because everything is an opportunity to examine yourself. I think it’s wonderful that you are a positive person. I am not being sarcastic, I’m really glad this works for you.

Where it all ends for me is when people tell me that I can cure myself of any ailment; that I created the experience of a horrendous assault and invited it into my life; that any person has the means to heal themselves of anything. No thanks, it’s not for me.

What’s arguably worse than that is the idea that because I don’t share these beliefs, I am somehow a lesser person. I can’t heal myself because I don’t believe that I can. It supposes a superiority that I can never achieve because I do not share these beliefs. I am less evolved; I am less enlightened because I do not believe this. I have not yet achieved some higher status; I am on a lower path.

I don’t really know enough about The Secret, Abraham Hicks, and Buddhism to make any judgement about them. For me, it is more about certain people’s interpretations of these and their need to convert the rest of us.

So that’s it. That’s why I left the group. I could not post on that list knowing that if I needed support for something, that a handful of mums would be thinking that I invited negativity into my life; if I had some kind of health issue, that some would think that I just don’t believe enough to heal myself, or that I brought it on myself; that if I was having a hard time with something it was my own fault. Even though it is only a few people who think this way, it changes the whole group; it is no longer a supportive group for me.

Its okay, on to bigger and better things, I say. Together with another mum from that group, I started a new mum’s group. It has some mums from that old list (quite a few mums that left that old list, and some who are on both), plus a bunch of other mums. It is a group that focuses more on kids of all ages, not just babies.

But, of course, there were a couple of people who thought it was mean for me to start a new group. Someone felt the need speak up and say that a new group was unkind. Glaring obvious to me is that this person did not feel the need to speak up on the list when a whole bunch of people were REALLY upset and offended about the kinds of things that were being said and when the people who were saying these awful things just wouldn’t stop. But my new group is mean. Really? Mean and unkind for starting a new group because the old group wasn’t working for me anymore? Mean and unkind for starting a new mothers group among the millions of other mother’s groups out there? Mean and unkind for starting a new group which anyone is free to join?

*Sigh* I guess sometimes you just can’t win. I’m moving on.

Photo by kevindooley via flickr.

2 thoughts on “The Big Blow-Up

  1. TheFeministBreeder

    I hear you! I’m actually publishing a post this week on a similar topic – not about a blow up, just about other people pushing their ideas on me, and me trying to learn to let it go. I wish people would just understand that what works for SOME doesn’t work for EVERYBODY. We are all individuals. As long as what we’re doing is well thought out and purposeful, then we’re all doing the best we can.

  2. Amber

    I like the idea of thinking positively and being optimistic. That works for me. But it works for me because I see how being that way can give me the freedom to DO SOMETHING. It all falls apart for me when you start talking about how the mere power of your mind can alter reality. Because it’s just not true that those of us who have it good (and I count myself among them) are somehow BETTER than others. That we have earned our position. Then it crosses from looking on the bright side to blaming the victim, and that’s not cool.

    I’m sorry your group fell apart. And I hope that you find a new community that’s more suited to where you are, right now.