Annie – I don’t believe you.

by Milla

I need more tools in order to improve communication with the people in the social scene around me. And in the end: Tools mean nothing if there's no will to reach an understanding. Words end up empty and without meaning if we hide the feelings they are spoken from, if we hide and mis-project the needs we wish to satisfy with our words. -- Communication tools and technology do not help, if we speak nothing of the fears and hurt we wish to avoid.

I saw Annie – a woman with experience of having a three year long intimate relation with Dani – online on Facebook. I tried once again to ask her about a statement she wrote in an email exchange with me last summer, when I was going through crazy hell, trying to contact Kelly and Katie about Dani’s emotional and psychological violence within close relations.

We had a short chat. It was clear that Annie didn’t want to speak with me. And also that she didn’t want to go into the reasons for why, stating that I am a “lovely person” but that I have “nothing of interest” for her.

It ended with me asking her when she would have time to speak with me, and her answering “next summer”. Somehow I don’t believe her. So I decided to express what I feel about this way of communication by writing a blog post, and then send it to her. I already tried to talk with her about this for 6 months, and I don’t think that she’s being honest when she’s saying that a year is what would be the appropriate time for her between Question and Answer. This type of dismissive comments I’ve seen many times before by people who wish to stay clear of accountability. I hear status quo and ‘business as usual’ speaking when there is no trust between the persons making agreements on how communication could go on sometime “later on”.

The chat we had:

Milla >

hello?

Milla >

i don’t feel comfortable with the way we, human beings, so easily ignore one another over electronic communication (for me it feels the same over internet, as if the person would be right in front of me)

Annie is offline.
Annie is online.

Milla >

so it’s difficult for me to know if i’m being ignored. or if it’s some tecnical thing happening..

Annie >

milla, i am ignoring you, yes, because the matters you hang on are out of my interest and i feel i have nothing to do with them

Milla >

okay

message clear. thank you for your honesty

and once again. thank you for your support during the time when i was was feeling really mad and self-hating about being intimate with dani.

you should continue warning women around that guy.

it was good that you told me.

so. you are not interested in me as a person?

(i’m not understanding what i’ve done that you don’t like.)

you can also state clearly if you don’t feel discussing it at all. if you don’t feel like explaining what you mean.

Annie >

milla, i like you, i think you are a lovely person.

but the problems you hang upon are out of my interest

Milla >

dealing with sexism?

going to the cop15 in denmark

fighting with confusing decision making structures within the anarchist scene?

and so on.

quitting drinking.

trying to do positive things?

what kind of problems?

Annie >

fighting the anarchist scene or whatever scene instead of making a better person out of myself.

Milla >

the reason i contacted you now, was cause i didn’t understand something you wrote to me before.

so this is related to you and not a scene (unless you would see yourself as a part of a social scene)

Annie >

alrite

Milla >

so if i ask you about that, then i guess it wouldn’t be out of your insterest range

allright

Annie >

go ahead

Milla >

copy pasted from an exchange we had this summer

“hey
i have no time to reply now
but no problem about telling others whatever i told you

still
i think this circle you are somewhat caught up in, it might be dangerous.

please try and don’t disguise your own sorrow about daniel. this effort to help other women – rthis is great, but i think, you might need to take your own time as weel to work it out, what happened to you.

this is not something you should have prevented. but neither is it something you should keep carrying. so i say, be rather a fragile, kinda brokenhearted, but smart and imporving woman, rather than a warrior against a power that has hurt you.

take your time for yourself, you are worth it.

i will write more detailed later on.

i don’t understand what you mean with this

so i say, be rather a fragile, kinda brokenhearted, but smart and imporving woman, rather than a warrior against a power that has hurt you

Milla >

could you explain?

Annie >

i meant that being a warrioir against sotheing you are not over yet –

– this is a means of avoiding your problem, instead of working it out.

Milla >

i still don’t understand what you mean.

for me it’s always good with practical examples.

could you give some practical examples of the thing you want to express i’m not over. and what it is i’m avoiding.

Annie >

well i can’t give you any better example than your own position.

but let’s: you are runnig out in the battlefield with your leg bleeding

stating that you are going to save everyone else from the abuse that hurt you

but actually this is only making yourself believe that you are powerful

in real you are worsening you own situation

Milla >

[should we use talking stick “-” to be passed on whenever someone is finished with what they want to say? and short comment/question “%”? would you be okay with that?]

Annie >

well milla i just don’t have the time and the energy for such conversations that need this sort of meditation

of, moderation

Milla >

between us?

it’s a regular tool. in order to get a more equal talk happening.

it’s not very complicated.

most ppl say it feels better using it.

more fair.

Annie >

i see, but this is not equal. you want this conversation and i don’t

Milla >

you think i’m lovely

but you also think that you know what i think and why i act and what i want

that’s not very fair.

Annie >

yes you are, but i don’t spend my nights with everyon i like.

Milla >

we haven’t talked that much.

and you don’t know what i want to say or what i want to ask about.

Annie >

it is. i make the decisions of my time. i don’t chat beacuse i don’t have the time for that.

Milla >

i’ve tried a few times already to ask about the statement above

Annie >

this is something you have to find out, i can’t give you more explanation.

Milla >

that from my point of view (my feelings and my lived reality) expresses that you wish for me to take a submissive stand.

Annie >

milla i don’t want to continue this conversation

Milla >

when would you have time to talk with a lovely person?

Annie >

next summer

Milla >

Annie is no longer online. The following message was not sent:

see you then (send as a message)

What feelings and needs make us stay connected? What causes communication to break off?

My thoughts and feelings about relating with Annie, and about relating to what we said in this chat:

I guess I’m more and more dropping the fear of hurting other people with what I do or say. To put it more correctly: I’m dropping the fear of getting projections and defensive reactions coming my way – and me being told I should understand or know why others feel hurt or angry. I know there is no perfect communication, and unless rules are stated clearly and are based on a shared agreement, I will continue stepping freely over the invisible threads trapping any exchange of words between two human beings within pre-set cultural boundaries.

In the chat above I never felt comfortable, cause I felt all the time that I would not be listened to as an equal. And that I would get no explanations for the thoughts expressed by Annie. As well as not be given any space to speak from my own reality.

Most of what she said felt like projections to me, since the statements were really vague and unclear – I had the feeling of speaking to an oracle, and that I could choose to either fight, and force the communication to understand her reality or just give in to any random interpretation of her words that would fit my own reality (I prefer getting real, since my own interpretation is not satisfying to me).

The whole communication felt really unsatisfying since it seemed to me that, Annie had already made up her mind on what she could get from a talk with me. It was clearly stated from the beginning that she was not interested in anything from my own perspective, since she told me openly that she’s choosing to ignore me because she can get no personal development from speaking with me. It felt really fake that she was saying that I’m lovely person, without telling me any reasons for why (apart from that we’re all loveable I guess) and at the same time she was serving me one excuse after another not to have an equal exchange:

At first she tells me that she’s ignoring me because she’s not interested in any problems that I might have, and that she feels she has nothing to do with that. [1) i am ignoring you, yes, because the matters you hang on are out of my interest and i feel i have nothing to do with them“]

She then states that the reason she ignores me is nothing “personal” cause she “likes me”, it’s just that i happen to want to talk about the “wrong topics”. [2) “i like you, i think you are a lovely person. but the problems you hang upon are out of my interest“]

I try to get clarity in what the “wrong” topics for her might be, and I talk about the problems i try to deal with including — finding more positive ways of living; not drinking: dealing with sexism; dealing with muddled decision making structures within the anarchist scene. She says that she’s more interested in working on herself and not the scene, and this is her reason for not having any interest in speaking with me. [3) “fighting the anarchist scene or whatever scene instead of making a better person out of myself.

I then try to make clear that my reason for speaking with her is because there are things that I don’t understand from our communication last summer. She had ended her letter with saying that she would write more in detail on the topic that she’s opening up, but later she said she didn’t “have time”. In this conversation she tries to avoid explaining herself by stating the same thing again. [4) “i just don’t have the time and the energy for such conversations that need this sort of meditation“]

She tells me mystical things about my way of relating to maddening oppression and abusive social relations – she says that I’m running out on the “battle field with a bleeding leg”, stating that I get an ego-boost by having a Savior complex, living with a fake identity, not taking care of myself. She doesn’t see that my way of existing – confronting instead of silently taking in abusive situations – is a way of expressing open self-care and self-love. And that I do not believe we can avoid harm by pretending there are safe spaces to hide. She gives me her “bleeding leg” theory, but renders me no space to speak for myself instead she dominantly cuts the conversation short – after I had checked if we could use a talking stick as a communication tool to make this conversation more fair – instead she cuts it short by saying that I’m forcing her to have this conversation, and that she doesn’t have time for this chat. [5) “this is not equal. you want this conversation and i don’t“; “i don’t want to continue this conversation“; “i don’t chat beacuse i don’t have the time for that.“]

I ask her when “a lovely” person would get time to talk with her. Her response is “next summer”.

Annie I didn’t feel safe or treated as an equal in the chat we had above. Since you said that you are interested in working on yourself, I guess that that also involves working on how you relate to other human beings in your social circles. Am I correct in assuming this? This blog post is therefor an open request for you to not leave me hanging with the questions that I have until next summer. At least not without us working out a communication structure that would feel comfortable and safe and meaningful for the both of us.

I’m willing to wait with having this conversation with you in the summer time if you give me some sensible reason for why I would have to wait a whole year (!) before I can talk with you about this. Otherwise I have no reason to trust that you would actually take me seriously and not once again tell me that this is something you have to find out, i can’t give you more explanation.”

More on the communication we had above. I will take a quote from you in order to express how i feel about it: “this is a means of avoiding your problem, instead of working it out.

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