Friday, July 8, 2011

The Empath Community and I

About four years ago I was looking up the word Empath, hoping to find a place where I could meet other people like myself. I did that periodically over the years I've been online...usually to no avail. But this time I came across a place called Empath Community.

It's owner embraced me, as did it's members. And after sometime, it felt like a second home and my connection with those people much like a close nit family. We laughed together. We cried together. And we learned with one another through study and sharing. Even now, years later, each and every one of those people, from owner to lurkers, still mean a great deal to me for what each of them, in turn, offered to me by way of friendship, compassion, understanding and friendship. They were my teachers and my guides along the road of self discovery that I walked. And quite a few of them were the inspiration for many of the blogs on EP.



I became a moderator of this forum site, not to long after I joined. And soon after that, I began to write the many blogs here on Empathic Perspectives, though at the time it was a group on Empath Community instead of a blog site. As I grew in that position, of moderator, I began to steadily work with more and more of the people who came onto that site with question after question.

While there in the capacity of moderator, I witnessed fights amongst members, flame wars, heated religious debates, people attempting to play messiah to all of the wounded folk who came to EC, spammers, witch hunts, horrid apathy and ultimately, to many other negative things to mention in one blog. I also witnessed compassion, like I'd never seen before, deep abiding friendships forged out of common interests and needs, and so much love, that it would either rot your teeth (for being so damn sweet) or it would melt your heart because it was so warm and welcoming. More than once in my years on that site, did I find myself in tears, awestruck by the amazing energy that encompassed the site and it's many members.

In the background of all that was happening on the site, I was stretching myself thin emotionally...ultimately to my breaking point. Each new menace on the site took it's toll on me. Sometimes I felt like I was drowning in the needs of so many and I wanted so very much to help each and every person. But it took emotional exhaustion for me to realize that I couldn't be all things to all people and still remain true to who I am. So I left both the moderator position and the site itself.

About a year later, after witnessing much deterioration on Empath Community within it's chat room, I again took the job of moderator. I did it to bring some order back to the site and to give people some peace of mind. This meant, to some degree, that I had to be a hard ass, which left some members asking me, where was the old Misu who seemed to give without reserve, because she didn't exist anymore. Of course, I had no real answer for them except to say I had grown and changed. And that I was important to me, as well as, all of those members seeking help.

The journey this blog is taking you on has now come to a time that is very recent, very close to the present, where I found myself once again suffering from emotional exhaustion and burnout. Doing the moderator thing was like going through the motions most of the time. But after all of those years of caring for this forum site and deep friendship (or so I thought) with it's owner, I was summarily dismissed as a moderator with comments like my judgment was impaired. Accusations were laid to bear, as well, and judgments made, despite what I said or how honest I was. And because of this very traumatic incident, I broke down.

Now any reasonable person might ask how one can break down from stuff that happened on a forum site. And that would be a fair question. But anyone who has dedicated their time, willingly without expectation, to something they love and/or are passionate about, will tell you the same. You become emotionally invested in that experience. It is, in a way, an extension of you.

As things began to escalate on the site, I was banned. And then I was brought back with the offer of owning Empath Community, with the stipulation that I would have to endure public humiliation on the same site I was being offered. Upon my refusal and the establishment of new moderators on site, I was again banned from site, being told only that I was no a good fit for Empath Community.(the irony of this never ceases to make me laugh)

So from that time to now, I have been, for the most part, unable to write while I was nursing my broken heart and healing. But I getting better now and I feel more apt to be able to write. I also feel it necessary to say, that despite what happens publicly or privately, we (the writers of EP) will keep learning, growing, and sharing our many different perspectives with each and every one of you.

5 comments:

  1. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. Good to hear you're doing better, and I hope to hear from you again. I miss ya!

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  2. I miss you...I've had to take a 'walk about' away from writing, computer, and online life as well. I'm finally going back to my 'garden' and cultivating it - but what happened over at EC hurt us all on one level or another - you ...most of all.

    People and things come into our lives in many ways ...but always for either a season, a reason or a lifetime. EC was a 'season' for me - and my leaving was for a 'reason'...hopefully the friendships we forged there will be for a 'lifetime'

    Hugs'nhippy flowers,
    ~Alisa

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  3. I ran a forum for abused people for a while, and experienced very much the same things. I have also spoken to other forum owners and operators who have also dealt with the abuse and bullying which often emerges in these places.

    It's a helluva job to do, and you do it because you care about others, but the predators which lurk in these places do so much more damage than ones in the real world do because they sneak attack.

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  4. As a fellow writer on E.P.I second Misu's Opinion

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  5. (Anna/Fox)
    Aww Misu *hugs* You are missed. Hope you are doing well. Things did get crazy, and I had to smile at some of the things you mentioned experiencing..the good and bad, I feel like I could check every one of those off a mental list and recall a time of seeing those things. Crazy good and crazy bad. xD
    I still think of you from time to time, remembering that spider with humor and spice.
    (Okay, and yes, I do realise this is like a 2-3 month gap..but..er..yeah.)
    I'm terrible at wrapping things up (Huh, maybe that's why I ramble..Ooo) So I'll just say.. "They comin' outta the woodwork!! =O" xD (Ah I do miss the old chat..) Take care! <3

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