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On The Failure Of A Respected Mentor

February 17, 2016

For the last two years, I have aspired to become a member of an organization which I had a lot of love for. I showed up. I did the work. I continued when concerning things gave me pause and frustration.

About a month before I was scheduled to officially join their ranks, I walked a way. The decision was hard. It hurts. I hurt. I had no other choice. 

An incident happened with one of the senior members of the organization, which caused a lot of upset with the pending new members. I requested a meeting with the new members and the head of this organization. Part of the request was that we were able to meet and have a conversation without the problematic senior leader present, because that person made many of us feel unsafe and unable to be honest. Effective conflict resolution involves giving people the space to be heard, so the actual problems can be discussed, then addressed calmly. 

My request was met with a visceral response that left me stunned. The tone implied that *I* was the problem, that my request was unreasonable, and that I needed to get with the program or leave. “We don’t talk about people behind their backs.” “This is how we do things…if you choose not to do it our way, then you choose not to be a part of us.” I was hurt. I was angry. I was disappointed beyond measure. I felt unwanted and like an ultimatum had been issued to either fundamentally compromise myself, or go. 

So, after much tears and prayer, I walked away. I found out afterward that the same leader who said “we don’t talk about people behind their backs” proceeded to then speak about me to the rest of the group. When called out about the breaking of the rule, this leader then justified that they were allowed to talk about their experiences and feelings, so the rule didn’t apply to them. 

To date, this leader had done absolutely zero to attempt to correct their harmful, hurtful, and hypocritical behavior. I am of the opinion that this person has justified their behavior, has placed the blame on me, and is not going to wait for me to come crawling back. It will never happen. I did nothing wrong. I was not unreasonable. Refusing to enable bad behavior and a broken process is something I am known for.

This hurts. I have many friends in this organization, who regularly post about how wonderful this organization is. It, frankly, makes me want to scream. The very core beliefs that this thing is supposed to be founded on were ignored at the whim of someone we all had great love, trust, and respect for. I am cast out because of it. I do not feel safe in attempting to reach out, again, to try to find resolution. I do not feel welcome. I am disappointed, disillusioned, and frustrated. 

I am at a loss. 

Until Next Time,

~Rose

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