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Catharsis

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Did you come here looking for super gossipy posts about someone who done me wrong? Well, they’ve been removed. I know what a lot of you might be thinking: “But Jenny, I had a problem like that with someone else, too! Those posts really helped me!” I know that a lot of you are thinking that, because a lot of you said that. And here’s what I’m going to tell you:

Write about it.

I’m not kidding. Write about what happened. Write about what those people did to you. Write about how unfair it is and pour all of your pain, all of that burning, poisoning grudge into it. Do it, then let it blow away. You don’t have to do it publicly. Do it privately. Burn the notebook. Delete the file. Because it feels so, so good. Just hear me out, and you might want to give it a try (and thank you to Em, who gave me this idea in the comments).

When I hit publish on that final post this morning, my fingertips tingled. It’s cliche, but I really did feel a huge weight lift. Grudges and unfairness do seem to have mass. Due to the events I talked about in those posts, my entire writing career has been tainted by that anger and hurt. And tonight, I get to let that go. And from here on out, I don’t have to think about any of that. I was walking around subconsciously trying to prove to myself that I was better than she had made me feel. And now, that need isn’t there. I remember what it means to actually write because I love it, and not because a toxic person has unwillingly duped me into a mental competition. It isn’t a matter of forgiving someone you can’t forgive. It’s just refusing to let them be a part of your story. Removing them from the narrative (in the theme of the post titles).

The mushroom post on Monday was oddly prophetic. Maybe I stumbled onto that forest for a reason. It’s a metaphor. All of that past, all of those horrible things? They’re just the dirt I had to struggle up through, and those posts were the downpour that cleared the way. And the way I feel about writing, and myself, and my friends, that’s the mushroom.

This has been a weird week. And it’s only Wednesday.

Bring it on, Thursday. I’m ready to look forward.

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127 Comments

  1. Lyn Never
    Lyn Never

    I have no investment in all this, though I am generally Team Jenny if I need to choose a side in something because I’d want you with me in a fight in an alley, but this did feel like a thing you needed to get out more than a thing that necessarily needed to persist forever. It seems like something that affected you extensively, which isn’t fair, but was a whole lot more about someone else’s issues, and nothing you could have fixed no matter how you tried. Ad astra, going forward, and I hope you don’t have those shitty voices in your head anymore on the way.

    October 5, 2016
    |Reply
  2. This is the very best thing ever. I thought the other posts were. But I was wrong. This feeling of freedom is the best thing ever.

    Thank you for helping remove her from my narrative, too. No matter how many times I yell, “Goddamnit, Trout!” (and we both know that I will–likely, often) I love the fuck out of you. Big and much. Now and always. /end mushiness

    October 5, 2016
    |Reply
    • You were the one most affected by Erika and probably (most assuredly) had the hardest time breaking away. It’s been a long, difficult journey, and I applaud and admire you in heaps and bunches.
      Never judge yourself by what others think. You are amazing, and I love you.
      Now, get back to writing fabulously!

      October 5, 2016
      |Reply
      • It suuuuuuuucked, and it was hard. But plus-side, I’m in a way better place, way healthier, and I’d like to think, wiser. 😉 I’m so glad you got out when you did. I love you, too, and I miss you like crazy! *HUGS*

        October 7, 2016
        |Reply
    • Alex Kourvo
      Alex Kourvo

      Awwwww, nice.

      October 6, 2016
      |Reply
  3. jo
    jo

    goddamit! i havent been able to go online since monday so i missed the ending 🙁
    oh well…
    thanks for sharing your story, and helping those of us who have similar people in our lives know that we are not alone!

    October 5, 2016
    |Reply
    • Brandi
      Brandi

      Yeah, I was looking forward to how everything ended. I was really invested in this story so I’m sad I missed the end.

      October 5, 2016
      |Reply
    • Nim
      Nim

      Same here. Oh well. 🙁

      I’m happy that Jenny has found closure.

      October 5, 2016
      |Reply
    • Erin
      Erin

      For those who missed the endand absolutely have to know. There are still cached versions online, which I won’t link to because that somewhat defeats the point of them being deleted.
      Step 1: Google “get cached version of a website”
      Step 2: Google the missing post title to find the URL of the last installment (I imagine this will only work for the next couple of days)
      Step 3: Combine the results of 1 and 2

      October 6, 2016
      |Reply
      • Promise
        Promise

        Just wanted to let Jenny know that the posts are no longer available as part of Google’s cache or the Wayback Machine. AFAIK, the only way they’re still out there in internet land is if someone saved them.

        October 6, 2016
        |Reply
        • JennyTrout
          JennyTrout

          Wow, that’s really weird. I wonder if they only keep wayback machine stuff for a certain amount of time? Or if it’s because I just unpulbished them, not deleted them? Because I can get posts on this blog from years ago (non-removed ones) on wayback.

          October 6, 2016
          |Reply
          • Promise
            Promise

            PS – I only went looking to learn how to find stuff that’s been deleted. Never knew how to do it before.

            October 6, 2016
        • Promise
          Promise

          Ooops. Never mind. They’re there. Just took a bit more digging. Wow. The internet really doesn’t forget anything ever.

          October 6, 2016
          |Reply
          • Mona
            Mona

            Where did you find them? I so badly want to read the ending!

            October 6, 2016
          • Mona
            Mona

            Actually, now that I think about it, it’s okay. I should respect Jenny’s wishes and let it go as well 🙂

            October 6, 2016
  4. Rachel
    Rachel

    Good for you! I’m happy that you not only removed this person from your life but that you’re able to move on from it completely. Keep on truckin’ Jenny!

    October 5, 2016
    |Reply
  5. Glad I caught the last installment before it came down. I got really invested in that story. But taking it down is probably the right decision.

    October 5, 2016
    |Reply
  6. lol
    lol

    This is so hilarious and passive aggressive. Congrats on making yourself look just as bad as “Erika,” if not worse. Bravo on trashing someone up and down in public for weeks, then deleting everything because you feel better now.

    You’ll be back to your normal insecure existence within days. Trust me.

    October 5, 2016
    |Reply
    • Maggie
      Maggie

      You seem nice!

      October 5, 2016
      |Reply
    • Matt
      Matt

      Trust the likes of a coward like you, hardly!

      October 5, 2016
      |Reply
    • Ash Moore
      Ash Moore

      Is this Erika? 🙂

      October 5, 2016
      |Reply
      • Dueces
        Dueces

        Probably. Lol

        October 6, 2016
        |Reply
    • dekadarling
      dekadarling

      To me she seems like someone strong enough to realize that she didn’t want to stay stuck where she was. She had some pain she was carrying around for years. And had been showing it to people in little bits and glimpses. Eventually she decided to show it in all its stinky glory (because pain can be both stinky and glorious) and through showing it, realized she didn’t need to keep holding onto it, how ridiculous it is to keep dragging a stinky mess of someone else’s bad behavior around everywhere and has put it down and walked away from it.

      When people have a heart pain, they tend to keep regurgitating it until they don’t need to anymore. They don’t need to leave it sitting around for us to poke through it and go “oh Jenny, look how fetid this rejection you’ve been holding onto is. God you were so right to try and keep swallowing it down.” No, they need us to hold their hair out of the way, offer them a glass of water and then either help them clean it up or pretend it never happened while they clean it up themselves, depending on their personal preference.

      But you do you and keep swallowing down your own bile. It doesn’t show or anything.

      October 5, 2016
      |Reply
      • lol
        lol

        Yeah, there is a huge, huge difference between venting about someone privately, and dissing them all over your public blog. That seems to be what you are not getting.

        October 5, 2016
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          Nothing stopping “Erika” or anyone else from giving her version on her own blog. And if she considers herself above that sort of thing, bully for her.

          As to keeping these things private, isn’t that what families tell kids to do about mommy’s pill addiction, daddy’s affair with a neighbor, or Uncle Humbert’s recent traumatic babysitting gig?
          To hell with letting it fester and slapping a big yellow Smiley-Face sticker over it. Too many of us grew up pretending everything was Fine, Fine, Fine.
          BTW, I seriously doubt that anyone who already likes “Erika’s” work will stop liking it because of any of this. As for Jenny, either you like her work or you don’t.

          October 6, 2016
          |Reply
          • Jass
            Jass

            “Uncle Humbert’s recent traumatic babysitting gig?”
            Lol! I see what you did there, and I like it!
            (And agree with the post)

            October 6, 2016
          • drmaggiemoreau
            drmaggiemoreau

            Erica isn’t her name. She’s completely anonymous and free from retribution. Jenny didn’t call her names, she reported her relationship as candidly as she could. I liked the posts, because they really outlined the dynamics of toxic friendship.

            Personally, I got a lot of satisfaction out of directly airing my grievances with the person who was bothering me. I sent a letter, and tried to basically say “Here’s some things you do that bother me, I’m sure there’s things I do that bother you, let’s mend old wounds, friend!” I was tired of the double standard, the fear of cringing whenever she said something or did something awful, all of it. I was tired of the Missing Stair, and it was time the missing stair got told. I wanted some accountability, some chance to reset the relationship.

            I don’t think people should repress all sorts of things in the goal of respectabilty or keeping the peace. What you end up with is a very fragile sort of peace or stasis.

            October 6, 2016
          • JennyTrout
            JennyTrout

            Actually, drmaggiemoreau, I did name names. At the end of the last post, I revealed who she was. And no regrets about that. I may feel a lot lighter and like I’m moving on, but I’ll always find it unacceptable for a homophobic bigot to make money fetishizing gay men. If enough people saw her real name and are out there warning others, I can’t feel too bad for her. Especially considering how I watched that homophobia play out with regards to Bronwyn’s sister.

            October 6, 2016
          • lol
            lol

            Again, there is a difference between working through issues privately, for yourself, and slamming someone on your public blog. The former is understandable and human. The latter is wanky as shit, and is going to turn off a lot of people.

            October 6, 2016
          • JennyTrout
            JennyTrout

            Great point, LOL, why don’t you go work your feelings about this out privately?

            October 6, 2016
        • Jenny Trout
          Jenny Trout

          Blink twice if someone is holding you hostage and forcing you to read this blog. We can help you!

          October 6, 2016
          |Reply
        • Alisha
          Alisha

          That bitch caused Jenny both personal and public shame, and negatively affected her career. Absolutely nothing wrong with putting the truth out there about the experience!

          October 6, 2016
          |Reply
          • Tara
            Tara

            Oh, I agree that there’s definitely a point to venting about someone, and even going ‘hey, a head’s up, this person has been very frustrating to work with’ and I am sure several people appreciate the head’s up.

            I just find it cowardly and ridiculous to do a five part series about this person, with drama and tantalising cliffhangers, and then pretend to be over it and the better person by deleting it. Either publicly shame someone and stand by your words, or keep it for yourself and vent at close friends.

            October 6, 2016
        • Dueces
          Dueces

          Why did you waste you’re time reading it all if it upset you? Why even get on to comment? What do you think you’re passive aggressive commenting (because you’ll most likely never meet Jenny in real life to try and deck her for her posts) will accomplish? Nothing, so don’t worry, It’s ok, you’ll be back to your normal insecure existence within days. Trust me.

          October 6, 2016
          |Reply
        • monkey_b
          monkey_b

          Imo there’s nothing “wrong” with criticizing someone on your public blog. It might be immature and petty, but whatever. Most things are.

          What made me uncomfortable about this “blind item” was that it wasn’t blind at all and in fact a public shaming. Jenny has a far larger base, bigger platform, and louder voice than this woman. I think the word “bullying” is often overused, but to me, bullying is when strength (whether it’s found in numbers or in platform) is leveraged against someone in a weaker position.

          I don’t think Jenny is horrible or a bitch, but I just think….ehhhhh. I wouldn’t have done it. But I’m glad she’s taken it down. I gather that she and Bronwyn both feel better, and this “Erika” won’t have to suffer the aggressive consequences of public humiliation. Not many people deserve that.

          October 6, 2016
          |Reply
      • Jenny Trout
        Jenny Trout

        The vomit scenario is what Em did on that last post, essentially. I was really grateful for the suggestion. Bronwyn and I talked about it, and what a revelation it was, in terms of like, oh, this doesn’t have to be a thing anymore.

        October 6, 2016
        |Reply
        • Wendy
          Wendy

          “The opposite of love is not hate— it’s indifference.”

          October 8, 2016
          |Reply
        • dekadarling
          dekadarling

          I didn’t read the comments on the Erika posts so that was a nice coincidence. I’m glad you’re feeling better. I look forward to seeing what you do after your hiatus. Enjoy your break!

          October 10, 2016
          |Reply
    • Dueces
      Dueces

      You really think enough people read this and it affected “Erika’s” life negatively? Even using her real name at the end, no one has said it in their comments, we still refer to her as Erika, and with how many people commenting they “missed it” clearly not enough saw the end. That womans life isn’t changed from this, and the whole point of a blog is to say what you want. Regardless of the content people reserve the right to say whatever, that’s the beauty of the internet. Also for someone so quick to talk crap themselves, I find it intriguing that you would read it all. Almost like you don’t want to admit that you enjoyed the drama yourself, that you’re insecure and miserable like you say Jenny will go back to being.

      October 6, 2016
      |Reply
    • frolik
      frolik

      “This is hilarious and passive aggressive”, said the person posting anonymously from the internet.

      I bet you’re the most insecure, passive-aggressive person you know. And you’re just sick of it, aren’t you?

      October 6, 2016
      |Reply
  7. I enjoyed the series because it filled in so many gaps of what happened. I know you started in response to the attacks on Bronwyn, but I’m happy there was a second, unintended consequence. I released any resentment and hurt a long time ago by deciding I was worth more than her machinations. Goodbye, Erika. Wouldn’t want to be you.

    October 5, 2016
    |Reply
  8. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    There’s a director I worked with in the ’90s who almost tore me and a few others to shreds, despite all the credits we’d racked up on our resumes. I guess what stunned us was how willing she was to make HERSELF look bad if it would sabotage us. Usually, if a director hates you that much, you either get dropped from the cast or not cast in the first place. This one did things like accusing some actors of chewing the scenery, warning others not to be “distracting” when they played their reaction to whatever her pets were doing–then once she’d terrified you into near-paralysis, she’d talk behind your back about how inhibited you were or how you weren’t physically “free.” If she really despised you, she gave you no direction at all–just let you blunder your way through while she concentrated on making her particular favorites shine.

    I’ve never dared to write about it, although I went on an acting spree after that one season, auditioning for anything and everything, church basements, grad school scene nights–just to get the taste out of my mouth and reassure myself I could still “do it.” What stunned me about her is what stunned me about “Erika”–that there are directors who will sabotage their own actors, editors who will sabotage their own writers, even if it hurts their own production/publishing house. I’m just used to cast & crew/editorial teams covering for each other even if they poisonously hate each other, because if you don’t, we all look bad.

    Thanks, Jenny, for letting me know you went through it too, If there’s a lesson, it’s that we shouldn’t blame ourselves–either for causing the misery, or for not rescuing ourselves from it sooner. We’re not evil people who brought out any malice that wasn’t already there, but we’re also not wimps because we gave them second and third chances instead of standing up to them sooner. Sometimes, it just takes time to tell which people we really do have to give up on.

    October 5, 2016
    |Reply
    • drmaggiemoreau
      drmaggiemoreau

      Good God, it sounds like you met the female version of Stanley Kubrick. I’m so sorry that happened to you.

      October 6, 2016
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        Didn’t Kubrick was awful to work with, although I’ve heard the stories about Hitchcock. At least with those two, your abuse came from a certified (if certifiable) genius! This one…not so much.

        I actually met the Great British Acting Coach she got HER training from when he gave a talk at my grad school. When my friend and I told him we had worked with her company for summer season, he repeated her name, and said “Ah, So-and-So! Such a DEVOTED little acolyte!”

        My friend thought he was saying something nice, but I’m 1/4 Yorkshire, and I believe that’s Brit for “pathetic little berk.” (Native Brits, please correct me if I’m wrong here.)

        October 6, 2016
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          *Didn’t KNOW about Kubrick. (Sigh.)

          October 6, 2016
          |Reply
          • drmaggiemoreau
            drmaggiemoreau

            Kubrick was incredibly cruel to Shelley Duvall on the set of The Shining, to the point where her hair started falling out. He made her do a scene 127 times, the world’s record for most consecutive takes with dialogue. He isolated her from all cast and crew, and forced them to ignore her. He didn’t warn her in advance of script changes and plot points. He verbally abused her in front of everyone, to the point where she literally ran out of tears.

            October 6, 2016
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            WHY on earth?

            October 6, 2016
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            Never mind, found it here: http://moviepilot.com/posts/3930056
            I don’t believe Method Actors/Directors should force THEIR method on anyone else. If that’s how you want to prepare, fine, but other people may have their own methods. Dustin Hoffman did this to Meryl Streep during “Kramer vs. Kramer.” He also tried it on Olivier during “Marathon Man,” and Oliver said drily, “Why doesn’t he just ACT?”
            Seriously, do you have to murder someone to do The Scottish Play?

            October 6, 2016
  9. Ange
    Ange

    I’m glad you took them down. I read the posts and I own that but it felt very high school and wrong. Like, by now with what you have achieved in the community you should be above that. Kudos for rising above.

    October 6, 2016
    |Reply
  10. Alison
    Alison

    Ok, but, it’s not fair to post the conclusion to a four part story, then delete it before everyone could read it. If you decided to just stop posting, that’s one thing, but you put it up, then took it down. And I missed it, and I am all bummed out now.

    October 6, 2016
    |Reply
    • Angelee van Allman
      Angelee van Allman

      Meeee tooooo

      October 6, 2016
      |Reply
      • Cara
        Cara

        Easy fix: just google “jenny trout blind item.” The last post is in the first few results. Click the arrow next to the green url, below the title. Click “cached.”

        October 6, 2016
        |Reply
  11. Angelee van Allman
    Angelee van Allman

    But! *whines* I didn’t get to read the end! And I read your blog every day! Dang it!
    Yeah yeah, cool for you and all that (sincerely, I love you, I’m glad you got what you needed *hugs*) but DANG IT unfinished story for me. Poo.

    October 6, 2016
    |Reply
  12. monkyvirus
    monkyvirus

    Honestly I think it’s kind of BS I got to read 4 part to a story that will never be finished (cached version of the main page on that day exists but not the post, or I’m a derp who can’t computer). I guess I’m glad it all worked out for you and hey it’s your blog but I can’t say it didn’t irritate me a hell of a lot.

    I dunno why I’m posting, I guess a lot of people are like “good for you” and I think you should know some of your other readers don’t appreciate it (especially as some of us miss posts because we don’t have time to check a blog daily but catch up when we can).

    Sorry if I sound like a jerk 🙁

    October 6, 2016
    |Reply
    • A hint in time
      A hint in time

      Links from cached pages don’t automatically go to cached versions of the link. If the linked page has been deleted, the link will just take you to a 404. When you’re looking for cached pages, use the URL of the specific page that you want (i.e. the permalink).

      (I understand that this may get deleted if Jenny wants to put this whole thing to bed and I apologize to her if that’s the case. I just figured that caches have already come up and there’s no further damage in tips on how to use them.)

      October 6, 2016
      |Reply
      • JennyTrout
        JennyTrout

        No, actually, I’m sitting here writing the stuff about cached pages down in case I need it in the future.

        October 6, 2016
        |Reply
        • A hint in time
          A hint in time

          Oh, good. Yeah, the idea is to be exact when you’re looking. At first, I just looked at the cached version of your page. That showed the link and the URL thereby, but actually clicking it left the cached mode and went to a 404. Using the URL of the link itself worked perfectly. Revealed the comments, too, which might be useful if you need to save evidence of dickishness on a site that has native commenting.

          October 7, 2016
          |Reply
        • Wendy
          Wendy

          It’s very good advice for suddenly deleted fanfiction as well.

          October 8, 2016
          |Reply
      • Tara
        Tara

        The internet NEVER forgets, and all the parts are still available via cached pages.

        I personally find it rather cowardly to spend a week+ building up rumours and pettiness, doing the full reveal of ‘Erika’ is and then deleting the whole thing. Have the guts to stand by the thing you wrote, or don’t bother putting it on your public blog.

        October 6, 2016
        |Reply
        • sorcha
          sorcha

          How very self entitled we all are, for people who haven’t had Jenny’s life or experiences, offering up opinions on what she should or shouldn’t have done in regards to these posts.
          Her choices are hers to make, as your choices belong to you and no one else.
          I’m sure your judgements and actions have always come from a place of calm, logic, and reason, and you have never felt furious enough with a person who mistreated someone you loved to reveal the pettiness of their own behaviour, even if it made you seem petty or judgmental in any way.
          After all, Tara, you don’t seem to be the kind of person who makes personal, judgmental remarks about others just because you don’t like the way they do things.

          October 9, 2016
          |Reply
          • Tara
            Tara

            “you have never felt furious enough with a person who mistreated someone you loved to reveal the pettiness of their own behaviour, even if it made you seem petty or judgmental in any way.”

            I have ZERO problem with Jenny doing that.

            I’m just eyerolling at Jenny’s ‘oh it feels so catharthic to let it all out, I’m gonna delete the whole thing’.

            October 10, 2016
      • Promise
        Promise

        That only works if you know the title of the post.

        October 6, 2016
        |Reply
      • monkyvirus
        monkyvirus

        Well I did find it in the end but I luckily I had written down the post number when I foudnt he cached main page yesterday and hovered over the link. Not sure anyone else will find it easy to do anymore.

        So it’s 10876 if anyone wants to know, in the interest of fairness I think all the blog readers should be able to track it down if they want.

        October 7, 2016
        |Reply
        • Thank you!!! I found it. Now this is cathartic.

          October 7, 2016
          |Reply
    • Hekateras
      Hekateras

      I know what you mean. I did get to read part 5, but I’m still miffed at it being deleted. If i hadn’t read it, I’d be even more miffed now. Personal catharsis is important, but reading through someone else’s experience is cathartic, too, and by taking it down so quickly, Jenny denied the catharsis to those of her readers who were on the edge of their seats for the rest of the tale and related to it, only to fail to catch the last one. ^^;

      October 6, 2016
      |Reply
    • I’m annoyed too. No less because I apparently missed out the ending for not checking this blog religiously. Just very disappointing.

      October 6, 2016
      |Reply
  13. Em
    Em

    What a fabulous post to wake up to. And a really constructive way to burn off someone else’s negative energy. Love it!

    Enjoy your life-mushroom high x

    October 6, 2016
    |Reply
  14. ella
    ella

    I’m glad you found the means to purge all that ugliness you felt and can now move on. And that’s more important than letting people down because they missed the last post.

    October 6, 2016
    |Reply
  15. mydogspa
    mydogspa

    I was actively reading the story and rooting for Jenny to get the frack away from Erika, was so happy when she did. What hit me, though, was when Jenny named Erika. It stunned me, I thought that had gone over the line as, personally, I thought it wasn’t needed.

    I didn’t know how to reply to be supportive for Jen and at the same time say I thought it went too far.

    But all fixed now. Jen, I hope it helped. You don’t need people like that in your life, especially when you have a supportive team here that love you every day. We’re here to help.

    October 6, 2016
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I don’t think those two things (being glad I got away but also disappointed that I named names) necessarily have to be separate. It’s a choice some people wouldn’t have made, and I totally knew that at the time.

      Maybe if people hadn’t shown up in the comments saying, “Yes, I had a similar experience with this person,” or “I knew who it was from the beginning,” I would feel different, but it was a bit of a pleasant shock to see that it wasn’t an isolated case, people do see through her even if they’re not saying so.

      But I can see where that would make people uncomfortable with me, and all I can really do with that is roll with it.

      October 6, 2016
      |Reply
      • mydogspa
        mydogspa

        In the end, it doesn’t matter about what I thought. What’s important is that 1) you got away from her and 2) you were able to free your mind of her bad influence to the point where she can no longer control you. And that’s all that matters.

        I’m sorry you had to go through all that, and that it took so long to heal from it.

        If we can be supportive in any way, let us know.

        October 7, 2016
        |Reply
  16. Tenko
    Tenko

    *slow applause*

    October 6, 2016
    |Reply
  17. Pansy Petal
    Pansy Petal

    I sent hugs to Bronwyn yesterday. Today I send them to you, Jenny. *hugs Jenny* I have been writing negative stuff like this for years to get rid of it. But, I was missing the step of destroying what I wrote after. An important step. I am still hanging on to way too much. Even if it is no longer internalized, I am still holding onto it. Thank you for the reminder. I am off to burn and delete.

    October 6, 2016
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      What’s funny is, I didn’t delete it. I just unpublished it because it was easier than looking around for the place to delete the posts. But it’s not THERE on the blog when I look at it anymore, and I don’t have to ever go and look at it again.

      October 6, 2016
      |Reply
  18. Atrista
    Atrista

    Good for you! I’m glad you shared this entire story. I’m very glad you named Erika in the end. I’m also very glad that you decided to delete it all.

    I was happily surprised to see the real name at the end of the last post. I didn’t think you would do it, and I was afraid of the possibility of reading one of this woman’s books without knowing. I think your decision to delete it all was very wise and healthy in the long run. I can imagine that it would’ve become a burden to keep seeing those posts in your blog forever. It’s good of you to deny her that too.

    Happy healing, and thanks for standing up for your friend.

    October 6, 2016
    |Reply
  19. terri Czarski
    terri Czarski

    Glad you got it all out. My former method was to write the thing that was tearing me up out in longhand on nice paper. I would then shred the paper and either add it to potting soil for my plants or mix it in with the compost for the summer garden. I have been fortunate to not have to do that lately. Good thing since my hands are increasingly arthritic.

    ONWARD!

    October 6, 2016
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Maybe I should write the story of that theatre director on toilet paper…. 😉

      October 6, 2016
      |Reply
  20. Lily
    Lily

    Damn, am I glad I obsessively checked your blog for updates. I JUST managed to read the conclusion, and it was SO SATISFYING. I was desperate to know who “Erika” was. Sorry to rub it in, anyone who missed it.

    October 6, 2016
    |Reply
  21. Two years ago, in August, I made the conscious decision to remove a toxic, manipulative individual from my life. This person and I had a decades long “friendship”.

    This relationship, of course, didn’t start out as the godawful, soul-crushing, gaslighting nightmare that it became. If it had, I would have run the fuck in the opposite direction. Even I, Brightside Barbie, doomed to look for the best in everyone, would have said, “Nope!” and kept on moving.

    A few weeks ago, Jenny Trout, one of my utterly amazing BFFs, stumbled across some shadyass Vaguebooking about me and snapped. The results of this were five blog posts that detailed years of emotional abuse at the hands of the individual I jettisoned from my life. Jen was pissed. And while she may not always stand up to defend herself, she’ll defend the fuck out of the people she loves and the ideals she believes in. I didn’t ask her to write those posts. She did it because she felt it was the right thing to do. Very much like what I’m doing here.

    If you’ve never dealt with an emotionally abusive manipulative person – or if you’re not the type to to get conned by them – that’s awesome. *high fives you*

    If you have, like so many of the people who’d commented on Jen’s posts, then you know how incredibly insidious and harmful these people can be. You know that the gaslighting techniques they employ can break you the fuck down until you begin to doubt everything around you—even your own thoughts. Hell, especially your own thoughts. I won’t go into all the gory details about how this works. That’s not the point of this post. There are tons of great resources out there if you find yourself in a relationship like this. This blog, https://afternarcissisticabuse.wordpress.com , is a great place to start. But please be aware, those of you who’ve dealt with these sorts of relationships may find it triggering.

    But to illustrate just how damaging this behavior can be, I’d like to share something. About five or six months after I was no longer speaking to the person Jen wrote about, my husband, who’s known me since I was 15 fucking years old, looked at me and said, “There you are. I’ve been missing my girl, and I didn’t know how to find her.” That broke my goddamn heart.

    The reason I’m sharing this is because now that Jen has chosen to remove the five posts detailing the wild ride that was our life with this toxic person, there are readers out there who are upset. Some are upset because they didn’t get to read the last installment before they were all unpublished. Some were upset because they feel that Jen isn’t standing by her convictions by keeping the posts up. Some were upset because those posts that detailed this person’s behavior could have “real world consequences” for that person.

    I get that it’s frustrating to be really into something and find it entertaining and never be able to see the conclusion. But good news, it’s cached out there somewhere, folks. But I understand internet caches as well as I understand imaginary numbers and algebra, so…I’m not the person to help you out with that.

    To those who feel like Jen isn’t standing by her convictions, let me tell you what those posts accomplished for the two of us. And probably for Carol, too. Having those experiences laid out before the cold, unblinking eye of the internet did something amazing. It gave us both the courage to admit that this shit actually happened. This is the shit that shitty people do to others under the guise of friendship. It gave other people who’ve experienced similar shit solidarity recognition and understanding. It gave Jen and I those things, too. But when Jen unpublished those posts, it gave us both something more. It gave us the feeling of finally being fucking free.

    No matter what Jen and I have accomplished professionally, even after this person was no longer in our lives, those accomplishments were always tainted with the remnants of her voice in our heads and the echoes of her words in our ears. Trying to explain how detrimental that is in a way that someone who hasn’t been through this shit can understand would take months, and TBH, I’m not willing to to devote any more headspace to this person than she’s already had.

    But, what I would love for you to understand is that really talking about these things, getting them all out of our heads, and then flushing them, finally felt like we were free of it all. That the garden of self-doubt that this person planted in our heads and carefully tended had finally gone fallow. I wish I could somehow translate our happiness sense of wellbeing to everyone to provide a glimpse of how amazingly beautiful and freeing that felt. For the first time, I was no longer worried about running into this person at the grocery store—a likely prospect since we live so close to one another. Just the realization that I wasn’t afraid of running into her in public was huge. That’s just one example of the power of releasing this.

    So for those of you who felt like Jenny wasn’t standing by her convictions, I realize there’s nothing I can do to convince you otherwise. But I hope you’ll consider that choosing to unpublish the posts wasn’t about convictions. It was about freedom from something that’s haunted both of us for years. Basically exorcising a demon—minus the priest and the holy water.

    And finally, for those concerned about the real world consequences those posts may have had, I have a question. Why are the real world consequences of income loss more important than the real world consequences of having one’s mental health maliciously chipped away for over a decade? I’m not sure how money is the most important thing here. Sometimes there are consequences for being a horrible person. Sometimes those consequences involve people no longer wanting to read your work.

    Additionally, some people may not have a problem if a homophobe profits by writing MM romances. Some people have a huge problem with it and would prefer to vote with their dollars.

    Like most writers, the written word is my and Jen’s medium for figuring out our shit—both reading and writing. Sure, we talk a lot, too. But like many writers, I think we process better through reading and writing. I don’t know how Jen felt writing them, but I know that reading them felt like amazing therapy.

    One of the things I love and admire most about Jen is that what you see is literally what you get. There’s no public persona—there’s just Jen. And I will be forever grateful to her for standing up for me, and more than that, helping me stand up for myself.

    October 6, 2016
    |Reply
    • Suzy
      Suzy

      My first thought when people posted about consequences for Ericka was, how about the consequences you all experienced. She purposefully sought to damage someone she knew who was struggling mentally. Was she concerned about what that could do to a person? Would she feel badly about her part?
      Let’s flip the scenario a bit. If this was a boyfriend/ girlfriend/ spouse doing the manipulating, gaslighting, mental destruction would anyone be concerned about their real world consequences? I suspect the answer is, no. I know mine is.

      October 6, 2016
      |Reply
      • Charlotte Stein
        Charlotte Stein

        This.

        Tbh, I’m shocked that people are actually debating whether Jen was “bad” for posting what was essentially just a report of terrible things that happened to her and her friends. It smacks very much of a) blaming the victim, b) “well you’re the real racist for calling me a racist” and c) the “be nice” way of silencing people who’ve been seriously hurt by something.

        Unless Jen is lying (and I have no reason to believe that’s the case, nor would I advocate for such a position), this person actively tried to exacerbate a worsening bout of mental health problems. She clearly attempted to sabotage the careers and lives of a number of people. She emotionally abused these people, then attempted to put the “blame” on them for things that had gone wrong. Not to mention the homophobia.

        IMO, Jen had no reason to “rise above” detailing her own abuse, and the abuse of her friends. I wouldn’t even use the words rise above in this context. Saying what happened is basically the smallest thing anyone can do to do in response to something like that.

        And as for punching down…I’m not sure why that phrase is entering into things when at least half of the people spoken about are on exactly the same level as this person and were fearful of saying a word about it.

        You’re supposed to defend people in a more precarious position than you’re own. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I find it weird people are suggesting otherwise.

        October 6, 2016
        |Reply
        • Hth
          Hth

          Thank you so much for this. Maybe I’m just a heinous bitch, but I simply don’t understand the position that Jenny was somehow out of bounds or on thin ice by telling her own story about abuse that happened to her. Telling your own story is a key part of being able to digest and comprehend your own abuse and fit it back into your larger life story in the best way you know how. As far as I’m concerned, it’s permissible, *but not required,* to do so in a way that protects the anonymity of your abuser.

          I didn’t think that was a particularly fringey position, but I appear to have been wrong about that.

          October 6, 2016
          |Reply
          • Hekateras
            Hekateras

            One last point:

            Victim-blaming, as I understand it, involves blaming the victim for the fact that the abuse happened. (The typical “what was she wearing” etc.) Nobody afaik has been saying Jenny deserved or did something to invite the abuse. What’s been questioned is the ethics of her retaliation. And questioning that is fair, and does not in any way imply or suggest that she was somehow responsible for what Erika did to her in the past.

            Victim blaming is not the same as concern for the perpetrator’s rights or the justness of the punishment delivered to them. (If that were true, then the basic principles of the justice system such as prisoners and the convicted having rights would be considered “victim blaming”. Which is nonsense.) And that’s what this is. I’m questioning the justness of the punishment delivered, or rather, the fact that it tries to masquerade as a just punishment when, as I said, it a) makes no sense given that it’s been deleted; if raising awareness of her actions was so important, why go back on your word there? b) like Monkey_b aptly said, it comes across as more revenge, or “catharsis”. All I’m saying is that this comes across as hurting someone because they hurt you and your friend. Which is understandable, but it’s disingenuous to claim to some sort of moral high ground there and pretend it’s about justice and punishment, when it’s delivered in such a manner. Not when”petty” is in the very title of these posts. (Just because you lampshade something doesn’t negate the thing you’re lampshading.)

            October 7, 2016
        • monkey_b
          monkey_b

          Were people really debating if Jenny was “bad” for writing this? At the time of posting, I was the only naysayer questioning her behavior, and I actually find her to be a (mostly) decent person. Which is perhaps why I was slightly troubled by what I found to be an unsavory series of actions.

          Don’t get me wrong, “Erika” comes across as an unreliable, power-hungry bitch. I simply questioned whether, were that 100% true, that alone would warrant a public shaming and sabotage of her career and livelihood.

          I mean, right? Do you see what I’m saying?

          Anyway, it’s all a moot point now that it’s been taken down. But I just wanted to give voice to the fact my criticisms weren’t borne out of victim-blaming.

          October 6, 2016
          |Reply
          • Charlotte
            Charlotte

            Well considering you’re still here and now debating it with me, I’d have to say yes. And I’d also have to say that your criticisms ARE victim blaming.

            I mean you’re still calling it a public shaming. And a sabotaging of her career. Which makes Jenny a sabotaging shamer, instead of a victim.

            It makes it about how bad Jenny is for saying anything. Not how wrong the things she’s complaining about are. And it puts the onus on Jenny to respond to abuse in the exact way you see fit.

            October 6, 2016
          • Tez Miller
            Tez Miller

            THIS. When people defend the abuser/harasser/bully instead of their victims, they support the perp. Apparently they can hurt everyone they want, but the victims aren’t allowed to warn people about this person? Which only enables the person to commit more harm to people who didn’t know about their history. Shaming victims into silence only punishes them further.

            October 6, 2016
          • drmaggiemoreau
            drmaggiemoreau

            Any consequences Erica recieves are a direct result of her actions. If, for example, her publishers find out that she goes to a homophobic church and is actively engaged in their rhetoric, then it’s her fault if they cut her contract or people decide not to give her money. She was the one who chose to profit off of and exploit gay romance while espousing hate for the LGTBA community. Jenny didn’t have anything to do with that. That’s all Erica. Jenny is the vehicle for exposing Erica’s Ericaness.

            Secondly, Erica has screwed a lot of people over, financially and emotionally, and that’s ok? She gets to fuck people over, and on top of that, the people she hurts aren’t allowed to say “Hey, cut that out”? How is that ok, but calling them out is The Worst Thing In The World?

            October 6, 2016
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            THIS!
            On the other hand, if Erika’s church tosses her out for writing gay porn, I won’t feel terribly sorry for her there, either.

            October 6, 2016
          • monkey_b
            monkey_b

            @Charlotte: I think you misunderstood my meaning. I was curious if people (read: plural) were actively engaged in debating Jenny’s character, because by my last count, there was only *person* (read: me) critically assessing her actions. You can critique the behavior without critiquing the person, as I was doing.

            Anyway, that’s beside the point. This seems objectively like a public shaming to me. I’m curious why you don’t agree. That doesn’t mean that Jenny wasn’t wronged by this woman (she apparently was) — I suppose I just don’t think the behavior warranted this level of punishment. But hey – that’s me. Public shaming makes me cringe every time and I’m sympathetic. If this “Erica” had written an extremely public screed airing Jenny’s dirty laundry and denouncing her character to a large audience, I would certainly be up her in comments section expressing this very same opinion.

            @drmaggiemoreau: If all of those allegations are true, I suppose you’re right. Although I still question the motivation behind ruining someone like that for personal satisfaction or revenge (aka “catharsis”).

            Secondly, absolutely no one said Jenny’s reaction was “The Worst Thing in the World”. Let’s not create straw men. It is a totally normal and common reaction (particularly these days), and it also happens to be one that I find questionable/troubling. I think that’s ok. Why do you think doxxing and dragging get such a bad rap? On some level, we must understand that exposing a person’s identity to the public at large and opening them up to judgement, ridicule, harassment, and scrutiny in a way where they’re unable to defend themselves isn’t the greatest thing.

            Telling her to “cut that out” can be done all sorts of ways that don’t involve what I just illustrated. That’s all.

            Again, I’m just ONE person, and I’m not Jenny’s mama. She did what she wanted and that’s fine. I just found it unwarranted and it managed to elicit some of my sympathy for “Erica”, which I assume was the exact opposite of her intent.

            October 6, 2016
          • drmaggiemoreau
            drmaggiemoreau

            Monkey, we’ve hit max nesting, so I’m addressing your second comment. You’re not the only person objecting to Jenny’s behavior, as I believe someone named LOL is disagreeing with her as well.

            A lot of these posts parallel stuff going on in my life. If you confront an Erica or say “I don’t want this person to keep doing bad things to me”, their supporters say “But why can’t you be NICE?” without applying the same standards to the Erica. It’s incredibly frustrating to see someone treat people poorly and yet you suffer all the emotional consequence.

            I think public shaming is more about whipping up public hatred about a person, while these posts were an object lesson in toxic people. People were coming to the comments to say “Wow, I knew someone like Erica, I had some long term effects from this person,” not “Let’s get her!” I think the difference between Jenny’s posts and public shaming is the difference between pointing out a potential fire hazard and screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theater. One is a warning, the other is deliberately stirring up fears to destroy someone. Erica has a large scope of influence, and can hurt a lot of people. According to the last post, she psychologically tortured people and got a kick out of using people’s mental illness and personal vulnerabilty to hurt them with. I personally think that Erica’s behavior is dangerous, and according to Browyn Green’s comment, Erica’s predations were ongoing as of the first blind post. Erica has recently been making veiled insults in public on her Facebook. This isn’t an old story, this is a recent battle, and Erica fired the first shots. I think Jenny is defending herself and her own, which is admirable.

            Doxxing is more about dropping several private details about someone to really fuck their life up. Telling people her social security number, permanent address, home number, boss’ name, et cetera, is doxxing. Saying “Hey, there’s a dangerous person with a public profile in X community” is warning the unaware. Cliff Pervocracy has some good thoughts on the matter.

            Even though Erica didn’t sexually harass someone, she deliberately and maliciously toyed with someone’s mental health in such a way that it could have contributed to a mental health crises.

            It does unnerve me that Erica got named, but I don’t think creating a culture of cushiony protective silence around her does her or anyone else any good either.

            October 6, 2016
          • drmaggiemoreau
            drmaggiemoreau

            I can’t get the Cliff Pervocracy link- but if you go to The Pervocracy and search for “Naming, Shaming, and Victim Blaming,” you’ll find the article. Cliff lays out a cogent argument for minimizing danger in a group with a person who’s harming the group at large.

            October 6, 2016
          • Hekateras
            Hekateras

            @Monkey as well as those defending Jenny here:

            I’m going to try to articulate why this puts a bad taste in my mouth as well. (And for the record, I consider the deletion of the posts a moot point in terms of how it does or doesn’t affect “Erika”. Accessing caches isn’t something everyone knows how to do but it is a pretty basic internet skill, even if Jenny deleted the posts on this very page showing/linking to how to do it.)

            First of all, there’s a certain disingenuity about what the nature of this series of posts has been. If it’s a public shaming and call-out post meant to raise awareness of “Erika’s” actions, including but not limited to her bigotry when it comes to homosexual romance, then why delete the posts? If it’s something meant only for venting and personal catharsis, why reveal her name? On that note, stringing readers along on what they believe is a cathartic, anonymous story they can relate to, and then doing a bait-and-switch by naming the perp and thereby involving the reader (an uninvolved third party) in the drama and getting them tangled up in all this dirty laundry.. Well, it’s slightly unpleasant. Reading an anonymous story allows me to sympathise and relate while maintaining a distance, reading a name forces me to take sides in a conflict I want no part of.

            However, here’s the main reason this makes me uncomfortable. Many of the people defending Jenny here have mentioned victim-blaming and how being “neutral” in a stuation where abuse is happening means supporting the perp. I know and agree with this.

            However.

            Nobody seems to have mentioned how common and easy it is for abusers to make themselves out to be the abused.

            Before you grab your pitchforks: I’m not accusing Jenny of anything. I’m naturally inclined to believe her and trust her account of things.

            But let me tell you about my own “Erika”, who was similar and yet significantly different.

            My experience with her was mostly (but not exclusively) online, but even so, it was deeply unpleasant. It started out as a friendship over a shared fandom hobby, something a lot of other people were involved in as well. Mutual friends, basically a small tightly-knit social circle. We were both fairly popular in our group and the content we created enjoyed a lot of success. However, she was very easily upset if she perceived herself as being neglected or not being the center of attention. And one day, she snapped.

            What followed was an out-of-the-blue “callout” post not entirely dissimilar to this series. Well, I say callout, really it was a call to arms for a witch hunt. She cited alleged awful things I’d done that were part spun out of context, part made up entirely, part things that weren’t objectively problematic but that bothered HER and that she never gave any indication bothered her, but that I’d gone “too far” with anyway. This was an RP, and communication is key in RP. What she’d done was basically crucify me (a newbie to RP, on that note, while she was experienced) and call on everyone to kick me out of the group, out of nowhere, because of how I’d “been acting”. After she had never given a single indication that she didn’t like how our plots were going, or didn’t like my RPing style.

            This “callout” post spun into a months-long drama involving multiple posts like this. Every single one of them directed from her to me was invariably filled with hateful bile, and much like this series, decidedly lacking any real receipts or references to something that could be objectively checked (and instead referencing things like private Skype conversations or livestream chats that were long since wiped from the record). The posts were also typically dramatic, filled with references to how she was physically crying or close to throwing up, the pleasant occasional vague suicide threat that was clearly for attention adn sympathy-fishing (and eventually even drove her own clique members away because they got fed up with her shit.) What’s most interesting, though, were the immediate reactions from the rest of our group, and from other people not involved in the group (since this was done on a public platform and both of us had plenty of followers).

            You know how I just said that being ‘neutral’ on an abuse situation helps the abuser? Yeah, I’ve experienced that first-hand. The reactions from the other members of the group, people I liked and trusted, were hurtful, to say the last. There were a couple of lukewarm ‘this is pretty harsh’. Some of those who’d been personally around for some of the events she cited (and knew how out of the blue this was, how she’d given zero sign that she wasn’t happy with how things were going) criticised her lack of communication. but most of them seemed to agree it was good to “get it out of her system”. Not a single one of them at the time actually addressed how shitty it was of her to turn on me and publicly bash me to the entirety of that small fandom based on issues she had on me in person, that could be resolved maturely and privately with a few conversations, and make me out to be the devil, how there was no going back from that in terms of group dynamic and people feeling comfortable in it. How it was, plainly and simply, stirring up drama.

            As for the people uninvolved in the group at the time, they tended to side with her too. Why wouldn’t they? She was so very often vocal and expressive about what an awful person I was, while I tried to avoid answering her whenever possible (since she always replied with even more dramatic responses, not addressing any points or arguments but going off on wild tangents about even more awful things I’d done, often taking the liberty of calling me out on behalf of other people, people I KNEW didn’t have a problem with what I was doing because we actually communicated about it).

            So yes, it was ugly. And something that’s still hurtful for me are the people who were my friends (and in some cases still are) who, for the longest time, maintained a “neutral” stance, and imagined they were actually being neutral. In one case, someone who was being neutral only realised what was happening when my “Erika” tried to use her for a shitty stratagem against me (basically Erika tried to use my friend’s character to godmod my character out of transparent pettiness and spite). Only then did she realise that by remaining neutral, she’d supported “Erika” to the point where Erika considered her an ally in what she was doing to me.

            So suffice to say I’m very keenly aware of how neutrality can help the abusers.

            But. Like I said above.

            Abusers can be skilled manipulators. They can excel at playing the victim, very convincingly. In my case, people I had friendly relations with stopped talking to me for a while because “Erika” had them convinced I was awful, and later confessed to me about it and how they’d believed her. I don’t blame them for not making the effort to get my side of the story (and thus involve themselves more deeply), but it’s still hurtful and unfair to me. It’s disturbing how easy it is to poison someone against someone else with your words alone.

            And when that happens – when there’s someone trying to publicly shame someone else, and maybe the person defends themselves or tries to shame them back or maybe they don’t – when that happens, who the random observer sides with has nothing to do with the facts, it has nothing to do with ethics or trying to really do the right thing. They’re TRYING to do the right thing, but in the end, they can’t help but be convinced by whoever is more eloquent. It becomes a matter of platform, of eloquence and charisma and skill of evoking an emotional response in the reader, than a matter of what objectively happened. (Which, in this case, gives Jenny the clear advantage.) And if the reader/unvinvolved observer is interested in making a more informed, just decision about who to support, they have no choice but to go digging through someone else’s dirty laundry and involve themselves further (after the initial public shamer slung that laundry at them against their will).

            I’m not playing the victim or supporting the perp here. I’m acknowleding the limitations of what I, as an uninvolved third party who’s gotten involved with this against her will (by means of the “it’s an anonymous venting story nvm it’s not” move), who’s been given no factual info on what happened beyond personal accounts and sometimes thirdhand gossip and hearsay, can really know. And therefore, I’m abstaining from forming an opinion on it, and voicing my view on how public call-out posts like this that cite no objective sources are uncomfortable for me. I don’t want to be the person supporting the perp, but I don’t want to be the person buying into the bullshit allegations against someone else, either. (Which… I don’t THINk is the case here. I really do believe Jenny. But I can’t really KNOW, and that is what bothers me.)

            I hope that made sense. I think it’s been clear from this series that the story is very emotionally-laden for Jenny, and that’s why the motivation and purpose of the posts has seemingly been jumping to and fro. It’s complicated, I get that, I’ve been there, though my relationship with my Erika didn’t last anywhere near as long. To summarise in one sentence, dragging someone through the mud based solely on one person’s word over another makes me uncomfortable. If you want to make a true call-out post, I will be more comfortable supporting it off the bat if it has more objective receipts. Because abusers can make themselves out to be victims, too. It’s not very hard.

            October 7, 2016
          • Hekateras
            Hekateras

            An addendum to those who might be wondering if my Erika’s allegations against me were true: She was an awful enough person that even those of her friends who supported her throughout the whole thing eventually cut ties with her. She’s the kind of person who always needs someone to blame for herself not being good or popular enough or fulfilling her own expectations, and after I (and some other friends, this drama basically split the group in half eventually) ran for the hills, she eventually turned on her loyal clique as the scapegoats.

            However, if you found yourself wondering at all if my allegations are justified and maybe I really was as awful as she was describing: congratulations, you’re blaming the victim. See how complicated this is?

            October 7, 2016
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          Maybe we’re focusing too much on the friendship or former friendship angle. Because if someone posted on Yelp, “Don’t work with this editor” or “Don’t work for this company,” wouldn’t we consider that legit if they backed it up? As much as we value our friendships, the core of this group was an acknowledged wish to be professionally published writers, so someone who sabotages other people’s efforts to do exactly that qualifies as a professional hazard. Even the EPA has to label those.

          It doesn’t even matter if the sabotage was deliberate or “Erika” is tortured by unconscious compulsions, and I’m willing to concede that she is probably in a great deal of pain herself. The point is, she’s done destructive things. Yeah, I think folks would appreciate a warning.

          I wish someone had told me BEFORE I joined that the Evil Theatre Company that even one of the Evil Director’s supposed pets hated her guts and only agreed to do the one show because she wanted that particular credit on her resume. I might have done the season anyhow, because there were credits I wanted on MY resume, but I would have been better prepared when Ms. Evil tried her mental games.

          October 7, 2016
          |Reply
          • Promise
            Promise

            Exactly.

            I’m glad I am one of those who knows who Erika is IRL because I can now make sure I don’t buy any books that she’s written.

            October 7, 2016
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Bronwyn: I did not know about the “vaguebooking.” There were some comments in some posts about Jenny defending you, but I didn’t get the reference, although I had thought “Erika’s” comments about your family were ignorant, to say the least. If I understand this correctly, “Erika” made some nasty hints about you without spelling it out, so Jenny wrote her posts and named names–at least temporarily. This didn’t come out of the blue on Jenny’s part.
      Worrying about “Erika” is like saying, “It all started when Jenny hit her back!”

      October 6, 2016
      |Reply
      • @ViolettaD The Vaugebooking was actually done by Maya on Erika’s, behalf. That’s one of those things Erika excels at – getting people to address issues, or perceived issues, for her. It’s a handy skill since it then gives her complete deniability if the handling goes south. Her history of this is incredibly extensive, and if I’m honest, pretty impressive. Seriously – how does that even work? I think that post was simply the last straw for Jen.

        October 7, 2016
        |Reply
    • Em
      Em

      Wow, Bronwyn, what a powerful response.

      So glad to hear you and Jenny have both found peace with this. (And glad to have been a tiny part of that.) It takes remarkable strength and courage to recover from the million tiny cuts inflicted by a toxic relationship. Thank goodness you guys had a nurturing friendship to see you through the darker days.

      Hopefully you can bear your battle scars as medals of survival and walk away from her inevitable implosion without looking back. Like Bruce fucking Willis!

      October 6, 2016
      |Reply
      • @Em Thank you both for your kind words and help in getting the ball rolling in that direction.

        TBH, I don’t know what I would have done without Jen in this situation–or most situations, really. 😀 She’s an amazing person and friend.

        Also, I think everything I do from now on will be like Bruce fucking Willis. Cleaned the toilet like Bruce fucking Willis. Made tacos like Bruce fucking Willis. Walked away from bullshit drama like Bruce fucking Willis. Yeah…I like the sound of that.

        October 7, 2016
        |Reply
    • Crystal
      Crystal

      A possible real world consequence would be an internet witch hunt. They happen, they spiral out of control, and they’re very, very ugly. It’s potentially a lot more serious than “income loss.”

      Yeah, it probably won’t come to that. There probably won’t be any disproportionate and terrifying consequences for Erika. Or for an unrelated person with a similar name. Probably.

      Look, I’m not unsympathetic to you guys, Jenny and Bronwyn. I really am sorry that you suffered from your association with a toxic person, and I understand how very serious and long-lasting the effects can be. The catharsis that you’ve both experienced is important, and I’m so glad for you that you’re feeling better about the whole thing.

      The likely consequences of the not-so-blind item: a few people speak badly of Erika, a few decide not to buy her books. Soon, the whole thing is mostly forgotten. But when Jenny decided to write that series of posts, and when she named Erika, she risked kicking off an internet witch hunt. Don’t pretend she didn’t.

      October 9, 2016
      |Reply
      • Anon
        Anon

        And, I mean, it’s not exactly the first time Jenny has sparked an online witchhunt.
        Does anyone remember the African American author Who wrote that erotica novel.

        October 9, 2016
        |Reply
        • Jenny Trout
          Jenny Trout

          Hi, Kevin! How’s that contract with Ellora’s Cave working out for you?

          October 10, 2016
          |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        I still think it would be more fun to make “Erika” the semi-disguised villain of her next novel…or three.
        When Dickens wrote”Nicholas Nickleby,” no fewer than half-a-dozen irate men presented themselves at his publishing offices, each one accusing him of basing ignorant, abusive Wackford Squeers on HIM.
        You’d think people wouldn’t be so ready to acknowledge that sort of resemblance….

        October 9, 2016
        |Reply
  22. sephigruen
    sephigruen

    I missed the last one and now I feel bad for wanting to know what happened.

    October 6, 2016
    |Reply
  23. shadowy figure
    shadowy figure

    i love you jenny

    October 6, 2016
    |Reply
  24. May La Nee
    May La Nee

    I’m glad to read that the sun is shining again for both you and Bronwyn.

    This post of yours… There are three people who have done me wrong (never on the scale of your pettiest blind item), entirely unrelated to eachother in every way, and every time anything related to them comes up I have to actively not-tell the person I’m in conversation with then just how terrible [one of the three] is.
    Writing about it seems like a pretty good idea. Though knowing me, I’ll want everyone to read it and agree with me but because I kinda terribly wronged one of them in response to her wrong-ing me, I’m not sure if writing it all down will do what it’s supposed to.

    October 6, 2016
    |Reply
  25. Tez Miller
    Tez Miller

    If you need a name, I’ve posted it here. It’s a photo of her name from Goodreads. I didn’t type it out in case she has a Google Alert.

    Now you can blame ME for sharing the name 😉

    October 6, 2016
    |Reply
  26. Amanda
    Amanda

    I’m really pleased that you’ve been able to make peace with the whole mess and drag yourself out, and that you’ve been able to move on. <3

    I was one of the people who read the last installment before it was unpublished, and I was looking for your erotic fairy tales online, but couldn't find them. Are they available to buy/download please? If so, could you please point me in their direction?

    xxx

    A

    October 7, 2016
    |Reply
  27. Charlotte
    Charlotte

    @monkey

    My opinion on what constitutes public shaming is completely irrelevant, in the context of a post that documents years of emotional abuse and homophobia. How I or you define it has no place here. It’s not up to us to decide how someone should respond to abuse, or to suggest consideration should be extended to the career of the abuser.

    In fact, doing so is a pretty common derailing and/or silencing technique.

    And an effective one, if this is anything to go by.

    October 7, 2016
    |Reply
  28. rateltje
    rateltje

    I couldn’t help but laugh when I googled her twitter account and found (via a link she’d shared) what her “twittascope” was: “You could lose face in an emotional exchange where your integrity is questioned.”

    http://m.twittascope.com/?sign=6

    October 7, 2016
    |Reply
  29. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    I don’t know if I’d destroy any diaries rants people come up with. Maybe use the notes to create the villain in a future book–suitably disguised as an 18th-century brothel keeper or evil harem guard to avoid lawsuits.

    October 7, 2016
    |Reply
  30. Adrianne
    Adrianne

    I’m so glad you two are free from that. I had a similar (slightly less dramatic) version of this in college, and wow, it seriously screwed with my head. I had nightmares for like a year afterward. Actually, I saw a photo of this girl’s family on FB randomly last week and had a horrible dream about her and her mother. I broke off contact almost five years ago.

    And that freedom? It’s come to me in increments. But how sweet it is. I don’t have to fear redheads in the grocery store anymore. And maybe soon I won’t have a nightmare after seeing a family photo online.

    Congratulations on achieving an emotional Mt. Everest!

    October 7, 2016
    |Reply
  31. Charlotte
    Charlotte

    @Hekateras

    “Nobody seems to have mentioned how common and easy it is for abusers to make themselves out to be the abused.”

    Probably because most people here aren’t interested in heavily implying that Jenny is lying. Or in centering their own experience of that one time it was a lie at the expense of Jenny’s experience. I mean, both those things are also pretty common responses to reports of abuse. Usually they’re there to attempt to minimise what’s been reported, derail and silence.

    I’m hopeful that neither you nor Monkey were trying to do those things.

    But unfortunately that’s the result, none the less.

    October 7, 2016
    |Reply
    • Casey
      Casey

      @Charlotte, I didn’t realize until you pointed it out how much Hektera’s comment sounds like “once this girl lied about being raped so now I wonder if all rape victims are lying.” Thank you for helping me make that parallel, because I wasn’t sure what to make of the comment before reading yours.

      @Hektera, that sounds like an awful experience, and it’s unfortunate that it happened to you. It’s understandable that you’d be uncomfortable with call-out posts like this, and be frustrated in what appears to you to be a bait-and-switch. However, it does seem like your personal experience is causing you to give more credence than is warranted to the idea that Jenny is lying. We don’t have definitive proof about this, but Jenny names several others by name, and at least two of them are in this comments section thanking her for what she’s said. It’s no longer a “her word against Erika’s” situation. Also, we have the benefit of getting to know Jenny (to an extent; I am aware that we’re not best friends with her or anything and see what she chooses to share with us, as it should be) through some extremely personal blog posts and her insights on the abuse in other fiction/social media. If you can hold up what you know about her with the idea of someone lying about another’s abusive behavior and convincing others to corroborate that lie . . . then I suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree. To me, though, that doesn’t fit with her other posts. You’re right that we can never know for sure, but I think we can make an educated guess.

      Also, Erika made fun of Stephen King on her FB page. This obviously proves that she is a horrible person. (Kidding! Mostly. Sort of.)

      October 7, 2016
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        It would be wrong to post false reviews slamming Erika’s work without even reading it, just like bogus Yelp posts. It is NOT, however, wrong to choose not to read it.
        On the other hand, anybody who wants to check out Erika’s fiction to see how it compares with Jenny’s can always do so. Sheer curiosity might drive up books sales for both!

        October 7, 2016
        |Reply
    • Hekateras
      Hekateras

      @Casey and Charlotte: First off, I don’t think it takes lying for your version of the story to be inaccurate. It doesn’t take someone being a cold, calculated liar deliberately setting out to deceive people to make their account of something inaccurate. All it takes is an extreme difference in perception and interpretation. From the emotionally abusive and manipulative behaviour I’ve seen and experienced in different people, I don’t believe many, or even most of them truly knew/thought what they were doing was abusive. It’s just instinctual behaviour to them. But that’s going off on a tangent – I just wanted to clarify that I don’t see it as a matter of “Either Jenny is telling the truth and is 100% accurate or she’s a lying liar who’s deceiving people with lies”.

      That said, I’ve stated twice in my post that I, personally, do believe and trust Jenny’s acount of things. I will say it a third time. (Note that nowhere in my posts did I use the word ‘lie’.) My personal opinion on whether or not she’s being accurate isn’t the point here. What makes me uncomfortable is the disingenuity of presenting a revenge piece meant to lash back out and retaliate against her (while venting years’ worth of anger) as this moral calling-out thing. It’s difficult to buy into the alleged motivation of this as a catharsis piece, especially when the actual motivation stated for the series changes several times, often in contradicting manners. This was a post series triggered by Jenny’s anger at the most recent shit Erika pulled. This was a post series meant to call out a problematic author who’s hell to work with and is a homophobic writer of M/M romances. This was a post meant solely for her own personal catharsis and getting it out of her system and venting and sharing her experience. Those three motivations, that I know of, are not fully mutually exclusive, but they don’t exactly fit seamlessly together, either. And I don’t think there’s anything “wrong” or condemnible about any of them. I just don’t buy into the “yay, catharsis, positivity! good for you, Jen! this was 100% positive and great and fair and just!” hype.

      Further:

      It’s not just “one abusive person I met who happened to be like this”. Playing the victim is a common, common abuse tactic. There are different extents, but it happens to many people, because it’s such an effective way to destroy someone’s self-worth. We’re trained and socialised to listen to other people if they tell us we’re being selfish, or that we’re being assholes, and abusers game that for their own gain. The person I encountered happened to also favour the format of grandiose, emotionally-laden venting posts. I wanted to share that experience, that parallel, because this is a comment section, and I’m commenting on my own experience with this.

      I don’t consider the comparison to rape accusations accurate. Accusing someone of a crime is never done lightly (and indeed false accusations for any crime are rare), but it’s comparatively easier to accuse someone of being an abusive asshole and a bigot of a human being, with the consequences more negligible both to oneself and to the accused. So I don’t consider the situations to be directly comparable. I do think that if multiple people come forward accusing someone of rape, they ought to be listened to. Because accusing someone of a crime and publicly slamming someone for unethical but not grossly illegal behaviour are different things, and have different dynamics.

      Public shaming and callout posts are ethically complicated – I don’t think that’s a controversial statement, right? I’m one of the people who disapproved of how Jenny conducted herself in this whole affair, and it looks like all of us so far have different, if overlapping, reasons. I tried to explain mine. I explained what it reminded me of, uncomfortably so, and how at odds it was with the way this post series was being presented to the public – as something positive and uplifting and cathartic rather than as something ugly but human and probably necessary. Of course, far be it from me to judge on Jenny’s behalf what is positive and uplifting and cathartic for *her* – but when the last line of that post series is an ‘I regret nothing’ gif, and the next day the entire thing is deleted, it sends conflicting messages, to say the least.

      October 7, 2016
      |Reply
  32. Genia
    Genia

    Who the f*ck cares? Jenny’s a boss, you’re reading her blog, she can write what she wants. I found the whole series gripping. I was stunned when I saw Erica’s real name, and admire Jenny’s big ole’ balls. Jenny, you rock! Don’t let those sh*ts get you down, haters were reading your blog all along anyway.

    October 7, 2016
    |Reply
    • Hekateras
      Hekateras

      That’s pleasant, it really is. Apart from LOL, (*one* person) who was only here for a few posts, afaik nobody has personally attacked Jenny here or qualifies as a “hater”. What Monkey and I have done is discuss the ethical implications of this post series. The fact that you’re jumping in to be rude on her behalf with strawmen about how we just hate her, and how it’s her blog and she can do what she wants (which… no duh? but kind of low-hanging fruit as rebuttals go), does not do this post series any favours, it just makes the place look like an echo chamber. Which, to be clear, I don’t actually consider it to be. I admire the fact that Jenny has engaged even with some of the people more on the fence about her decisions in the comment section. I hope that the criticism of me, an internet stranger, did not cause her hurt or offense.

      You can breathe freely, though, I’m going to stop commenting on this now. I don’t feel I’ve fully successfully explained my position on this, if it left anyone with the impression that I just “hate” Jenny or that I think she’s “lying” or can’t be trusted, but continuing to try to do so isn’t doing anyone any favours. Good day.

      October 8, 2016
      |Reply
    • Tara
      Tara

      “admire Jenny’s big ole’ balls. ”

      …What balls?

      October 10, 2016
      |Reply
  33. Em
    Em

    Re: Blog Hiatus

    Sad times. Your Grey recaps have been my snarky stepping stones across shit creek whenever I’ve found myself up to my ears in life crap and paddle-less.

    Selfishness aside, I hope some time away does you the world of good. Take care x

    October 7, 2016
    |Reply
  34. Bryn
    Bryn

    @Jenny (regarding Hiatus)

    I hope you get some time to breathe and reset and to enjoy your freedom from that toxic person.

    Thank you so much for all the work you do on this blog, and please take care of yourself.

    I look forward to reading your blog again whenever you feel up to coming back to it. In the meantime, rest well!

    October 8, 2016
    |Reply
  35. […] me. Well, five things, actually. Blog posts she has since deleted, for her own reasons, explanation here. I know who she’s referring to, and I’ve known for months, possibly longer than a year, […]

    October 8, 2016
    |Reply
  36. You are awesome and wonderful. You should be really proud of yourself, because you’re clearly making a healthy decision. I’m sending you mental hugs and rainbows, I hope you feel better!

    October 12, 2016
    |Reply

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