Bringing in the opinion, perspective or suggested threat of another person into the dynamic of an interaction is known as “triangulation.” Often used to validate the toxic person’s abuse while invalidating the victim’s reactions to abuse, triangulation can also work to manufacture love triangles that leave you feeling unhinged and insecure.
[17:15, 08/07/2021] Claire [audio]: So, I think Yasmin needs to be curtailed a bit, if I'm honest. Some of the shit that she comes out with is a little bit over the top and definitely triggering to some individuals. In the past, I received quite a lot of messages from her, and then I shut it down really rapidly, and again she started messaging me the other day, like... And, I've pretty much made it clear that I don't want to talk to her... So I think it's a sort of pattern of behaviour from her... You know, and threatening to commit suicide because someone's hanging out with someone else is, you know, is actually just horrendously coercive, controlling behaviour... I think, I think Yasmin really has some issues going on right now and clearly needs a lot of professional help and obviously we need to be sympathetic towards her but we can't also let her damage any other members of the group or upset other people, basically. And I know she causes a lot of drama, so... My opinion is maybe a temporary ban. Or, you know, offline chat with an admin or something, but, you know, that is my two cents.
I was going to speak out for Yasmin at this point but I did not feel comfortable doing it in the 20s & 30s Organisers WhatsApp group because the reception seemed pretty hostile. Now I wish that I had. 12/07/2021
It is disappointing to see that, yet again, blocking seems to be the standard, default response. 2 years ago, I was in a similar situation to Yasmin. I posted suicidal messages on the board of EleFriends, which was paradoxically a social network set up by MIND for people who were experiencing depression and anxiety. As a result, my account was suspended. Thus preventing me from accessing the help and support from the network that I desperately needed at the time. In an ironic sense, a network that was specifically set up to assist people ended up preventing me from accessing support.
Yes, I know that the 20s & 30s group might not be the "most appropriate arena" for suicidal messages (for the record, I am not on the West London group so I did not see the messages). However, there is a reason why Yasmin chose to reach out on there. For her sanity and wellbeing, her reason must be validated and respected. Even if the conversation needs to be transferred to a private arena.
There are several ways in which Claire "downplays" or invalidates Yasmin's experience.
How can Claire have the authority to speak on behalf of other people's emotional wellbeing by saying that the things that Yasmin says are "triggering" to some individuals? The word "triggering" has become overused in the context of this WhatsApp group. To the extent that it loses its clinical meaning. How can Claire attest to knowing what is going on in other group members' minds to make such a blanket generalisation? What messages has she received from other members to draw her to this conclusion? Describing Yasmin as "over the top"? Is that not a socially imposed projection?
It is actually extremely concerning to see Claire's response. Yasmin clearly reached out to her for help and support. Claire "shut it down really rapidly" and made it clear to her that she did not want to talk to her. This is the worst possible thing that you can do to someone who is walking out of their life.
It might have taken Yasmin a lot of courage to open up to Claire about her struggles. Sometimes, it is difficult to know who is the best person to trust or who might have the time, energy and capacity to help others (despite their best intentions). Especially when one is under considerable psychological stress and uncertainty. Which is all the more reason for having a group and a support network. I know that Claire might not know how to handle it on her own but she might have asked for help.
Notice Claire's use of the word "sympathy" as opposed to "empathy".
It is bad enough that Claire "shut down" on Yasmin. But criminalising Yasmin for reaching out - describing her as "coercive" and "controlling" and accusing her of damaging any other members of the group or upsetting other people - is taking it a step too far. If anything, it might prevent someone from having the courage to speak out and perpetuate the cycle of depression and anxiety to continue.
Blocking, disarming and preventing someone from the help and support that they need might only have the effect of alienating and isolating that person more from the community. Driving them to suicide even more. There is a cycle that needs to be broken. A communication barrier that needs to be overcome. Yasmin has raised a cry for help. She has done her best. She needs is a listening ear, compassion and understanding.
What would I have recommended? Talk to Yasmin. Find out what is going on. Engage with her. I have been in her situation before and I know how important it is to feel able to reach out when you need to. She needs empowerment with more channels and more options. She needs a support network. She needs help in understanding and getting to the bottom of why she is thinking or feeling the way in which she is.
It is quite unsettling to see such a delicate situation behind handled in such a hostile way. My concern is less about Yasmin and more about the way in which Claire has responded.
[17:08, 08/07/2021] Sam L: Hey folks, got a bit of a tricky situation atm. Yasmin (who's in the West london group and general group) has apparently been getting quite obsessive with one of the newer members of the group, and is threatening to top herself atm because she's hanging out with someone else. (She also seems to be acting quite recklessly in a number of ways recently in general). How should we handle this situation? For now I've advised the person who's been receiving messages to just ignore her for now
[17:15, 08/07/2021] Claire 20s & 30s [audio]: So I think Yasmin needs to be curtailed a bit, if I'm honest. Some of the shit she comes out with is a little bit over the top and definitely triggering to some individuals. In the past, I have received quite a lot of messages from her, and then I shut it down really rapidly, then she started messaging me the other day, like... And I have pretty much made it clear that I do not want to talk to her. So I think it is a sort of pattern of behaviour from her. You know, and threatening to commit suicide because someone's hanging out with someone else is actually just horrendously coercive, controlling behaviour. I think Yasmin really has some issues going on right now and clearly needs a lot of professional help so we need to be sympathetic towards her but we cannot also let her damage any other members of the group or upset other people, basically. And I know that she causes a lot of drama, so... My opinion is maybe a temporary ban. Or, you know, offline chat with an admin or something, but, you know, that is my two cents.
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I have been recommended to acknowledge and process all that I have been though, where it all started from how it has affected me.