The following Guest Post was submitted by Forum Member Laith:
Drama within any community can be toxic. Whether the afflicted community is “online” or “offline” really doesn’t matter, drama seems to ooze in where ever there’s a gathering of more than two people. A recent outburst in the Demonolatry community comes to mind. It stemmed on an event that happened before I became a part of the community, but it’s sticking in my mind now. The following is likely unnecessary, but this is how I see things at the moment.
Drama’s effects are slow at first. Someone made a comment that you don’t agree with. It’s nothing more than a paper cut. It’s annoying, but you pay it no mind. Before anyone realizes what happened you find that paper cut, something that was no big deal and could have easily been rectified with a bandage and some antiseptic, has started suppurating. It’s now an untreated staph infection.
I can’t fathom why people don’t just pour peroxide on a small cut before it gets so bad. It stings at first, but eventually you can move on like it never happened. The alternative isn’t that easy. You’re looking at hospital bills, medication, possibly surgery, and eventually a scar. Sometimes those scars are so prominent that they won’t just “disappear” after a few years. Sometimes the outcome is a lot worse and someone ends up dying from an infection that would have easily been treated before.
What I’m trying to say is that it’s far easier to apologize and try to mend hurt feelings early on rather than trying to ignore them and just hope things can be better later. People have an innate ability to learn from their experiences and avoid making the same mistakes twice. It goes deeper than emotions and sits at a very primal, psychological level. You can tell a child not to do something because they’ll get hurt, but they won’t know not to do it unless they experience the pain first hand. Once they learn that doing something is unpleasant, they won’t do it again.
On top of that one needs to realize that the phrase we’re told as children when someone makes fun of us, “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me”, is moot in the real world. Emotional pain is more memorable than physical pain for some people. Once someone hurts your feelings, you won’t be as inclined to trust them in the future unless you’re masochistic. Sure people can change and maybe things will improve, but if you didn’t try to make things right early on there’s always that possibility that people will remember the scars they bear clearly. There will be such a lack of trust that you might find yourself with another festering cut.
The best way to prevent hurt feelings and drama is to avoid people altogether. That’s not really an option since people are normally social. I will admit that removing yourself from online drama can be effective but for drama that occurs “in the flesh”, you can’t just close your laptop and be done with it. A more feasible solution would be to think before you speak. Don’t seek out arguments, and especially don’t make the situation worse by turning to expletives or what I call the dreaded “I” word: “ignorant”. Calling someone ignorant when they disagree with you feels like the most abused word when someone’s attempting to insult someone else. I won’t go into that right now; maybe another time.
In the end, just remember that respect can be more easily lost than gained. Keep the Courtesies of the Sorcerer in mind and you should be fine. If it’s hard to do there are a plethora of Demons out there that can be invoked to help find your inner balance. I know I need to work with Marchosias again soon, myself.
I wish everyone a wonderful summer! May your magical workings be successful, and I really hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed writing it.