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An Internet Story for Our Time

Can venting angrily on the Internet lead to heart disease? Carol Tavris discusses some research that points to a significant correlation between our negative language patterns (such as anger, hatred, and aggression) and health risks such as heart disease. Dr. Carol Tavris is a social psychologist and coauthor, with Elliot Aronson, of Mistakes Were Made (but not by ME).

The story that follows is prehistoric. It involves a once-famous columnist, a letter (the written kind), the U.S. post office, an apology, and a moral.

The columnist was Russell Baker, who had written an essay that I, in my self-righteous gadfly-in-training youth, regarded as a sarcastic dismissal of what was then called women’s liberation—the movement for mere improvements in education, work, family life, reproductive rights, and so forth. These issues were important to me, so I wrote him a letter, full of what I thought were equally sarcastic, witty put-downs. I failed to sleep on it overnight. I mailed it.

Baker returned my letter to me— edited. I’d irked him, and he had written all over the margins with sparky annoyance.

I replied, apologizing for my rude tone and explaining what I’d meant to say.

He replied warmly, and ended, “Could this be the beginning of a beautiful and civilized correspondence?”

At the time, researchers in many fields, from social psychology to epidemiology, were rapidly dismantling the “catharsis hypothesis,” held by millions of therapists, group leaders, teachers, and parents who believed that it was important for a person’s mental and physical health to ventilate their anger. (You can still buy bats and dolls to use for this reason in the privacy of your own home.) This belief stemmed from a misreading of Freud, who thought that aggressive energy builds up in us like steam in a teapot, and will boil right over in disastrous ways if not “let out.” However, they missed part 2 of Freud’s argument, which was that the “letting out” part should be sublimated into constructive activities, such as creating art. Freud would have been horrified by the many therapists who were handing out bataca bats to violent teenagers and to quarreling married couples with instructions to pound away.

Alas for Freud and the catharsis contingent, it was turning out that the mindless ventilation of anger, especially if done in an angry, aggressive way, makes people angrier, turns up the heat in an argument rather than reducing it, and rehearses and prolongs grievances rather than getting rid of them. Indeed, by the 1980s, antagonistic hostility had been identified as a strong, independent predictor of heart disease.1 There are a few conditions under which the angry expression of anger is cathartic—that is, makes the ventilator feel better—but the crucial two rarely occur at the same time, at least on this planet. They are:

  1. your expression has to be quid pro quo— you can’t use an AK-47 to retaliate against a water pistol, or vice versa, and
  2. your target either listens in silence and does not reply, or says, “Yes, you’re entirely right; thank you. I’ll change my behavior/attitudes/political views right away.” That is, there must be no negative consequences for the ventilator.

All that catharsis research would have predicted exactly why trolls have proliferated like crabgrass on the Internet lawn: When comments have no negative consequences for anyone who posts them, you can be as mean, stupid, vindictive, and insulting as you wish— while complimenting yourself, as I did in my letter to Baker, on your brilliant takedown of the opposition. No one knows it’s you, and there usually are no consequences for you.

That’s why, as I was contemplating yet another outbreak of ugly insults, this time on Yik Yak, I was delighted to discover that perhaps there are unexpected consequences. I came upon a research article with the irresistible title, “Psychological Language on Twitter Predicts County-Level Heart Disease Mortality.”2 “Oh, thank you, Mr. or Ms. God I don’t believe in!” I said to myself.

Of course researchers cannot investigate the relationship between “psychological language” and heart disease by asking thousands of individuals to kindly provide their tweets and cardiovascular history. But the relationship can be studied at a community level. Communities, like individuals, vary in risk factors for heart disease, including cohesiveness, stress levels, safety, and rates of smoking and drug use: the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) maintain health information and mortality rates across the nation. Moreover, social- media-based “digital epidemiology” has been providing scientists with a faster and deeper understanding of public health issues. Google has used search queries to measure flu trends and rates of other illnesses, and some studies have used Twitter to track ailments from Lyme disease to depression.

Accordingly, Johannes C. Eichstaedt, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, and 12 colleagues decided to track language expressed on Twitter and see if it correlated with age-adjusted rates of death from atherosclerotic heart disease (AHD). They gathered a data set of 826 million tweets—from 1,347 counties for which at least 50,000 tweeted words were available and for which the CDC could provide health and mortality rates from all causes. Twitter had provided them with a 10% random sample of tweets, and although the Twitter users themselves could not be identified individually, many reported their locations in their user profiles, so the researchers could map tweets to counties.

The investigators then analyzed the tweets, using established methods of inferring emotions and other psychological states through language analysis. For example, the frequency of the word hate ranged from 0.009% to 0.139% across counties. But, realizing that words can be used ironically (“yeah, I sure hate ice cream”) or negation (“I don’t hate you”), they used clusters of semantically related words to extract major factors: hostility and aggression (frequency of words such as bullshit, bitches, fuckin, shitty, pissed, motherfucker, asshole, idiot, etc.); hate (jealousy, hate, haters, bitches, nasty pieces, liars, despise); optimism (dreams, achieve, goals, perfection, reaching, possibilities, challenge); positive experiences (wonderful, friends, good, great drinks, good company, laughs, fantastic, enjoyed, hope).

The results could not have been clearer. Language patterns reflecting negative social relationships, disengagement, and negative emotion—especially anger, hatred, and aggression—emerged as the strongest risk factors. In fact, the correlations between angry Twitter language and heart disease remained significant even after the researchers controlled for income and education. Language predicted AHD significantly better than did a traditional model that combined common demographic, socioeconomic, and health risk factors including smoking, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.

Skeptic magazine 20.3 (cover)

This column of “The Gadfly,” by Carol Tavris, appeared in Skeptic magazine 20.3 (2015).

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And now for the caveat. Have you thought of it? “The people tweeting are not the people dying,” the researchers remind us. Twitter users tend to be young (median age = 31), too young to have developed coronary artery disease. Moreover, at an individual level, there are numerous risk factors for heart disease, from heredity to physiological reactivity. But our physical and social environments influence how we behave, the levels of stress we feel, the degrees of cohesiveness versus alienation we feel—all of which influence our health. “The language of Twitter,” the researchers conclude, “may be a window into the aggregated and powerful effects of the community context.”

Moral of the story? The next time you’re angered by idiotic, vituperative trolls, don’t respond in kind. Let them get the heart attack one day. The rest of us can take a lesson from Russell Baker and pursue a beautiful, and civilized, response. END

  1. Tavris, Carol 1989. Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  2. Eichstaedt, Johannes C., Schwartz, Hansen A., Kern, Margaret L., et al. 2014, “Psychological Language on Twitter Predicts County-Level Heart Disease Mortality,” Psychological Science, 26, 159–169.

This article was published on November 18, 2015.


22 responses to “An Internet Story for Our Time”

  1. awc says:

    Oh Our Big Brain

    I look at this from a big picture perspective.

    First, even if it is true, there is causation. The technology genie is out of the bottle.
    Humans by nature due to evolution will pursue technical advancement regardless of consequences.
    Regardless of the warnings brought forward by scientists working on atomic bombs we (as a race) still have and developers them. And we know the outcome of their use.
    I fear this maybe just one of many technologies that will have both positive and negative cosequences.

  2. Kennwrite says:

    This is an excellent commentary on ‘venting’ primarily because of the witty use of humor, a bit different from the typical Skeptic articles … .

  3. kindofskeptic says:

    Yes, I liked this article. It has a certain resonance with me. I follow a number of internet forums because they can provide insight into their particular subjects.. The policy on posting I have developed is, for the most part, not to. Mostly, it serves no useful purpose. Based on sometimes annoying experience, I restrict myself to the occasional (hopefully) constructive post. …errm, hang on a moment, do I want to post this?

  4. Charlotte says:

    I enjoyed the article and would have loved to have shared it on Facebook. Many on Facebook possibly could understand and hold back on the hatred and sarcasm spewed there daily. ;) I also really liked Tim Callahan’s comment above.

    • Tomonori says:

      OK both, thanks. I’m now tnnikihg about this in great depth. There seem to be two separate reasons that the existence of god is not within the realm of scientific skepticsm; Firstly god is supernatural. However psychokinesis, clairvoyance et al are also supernatural but clearly are within the realm of scientific skepticism.Secondly the presence of God is not testable by science. However as far as I am aware the claim The Earth is being visited by extra terrestrials is also not testable by science but, as mentioned in the article, skeptics certainly are concerned with the area of UFO’s and aliens and presumably therefore their existence or otherwise..Don’t worry I’m with you on most of this I would just like to be crystal clear about what qualifies and why.BTW, It’s amazing how many skeptics do actually ponder the existence of god

  5. Toby says:

    I really enjoyed this article! I just placed an order for her book, “Mistakes Were Made…” on Amazon. I look forward to reading it!

    • Rio says:

      Jimeno, Wiki excerpts on fbiiifsaaillty; All gathered data, including the experimental or environmental conditions, are expected to be documented for scrutiny and made available for peer review, allowing further experiments or studies to be conducted to confirm or falsify results. In the mid-20th century Karl Popper put forth the criterion of fbiiifsaaillty to distinguish science from non-science. Falsifiability means that a result can be disproved. For example, a statement such as God created the universe may be true or false, but no tests can be devised that could prove it either way; it simply lies outside the reach of science.A field, practice, or body of knowledge might reasonably be called pseudoscientific when (1) it is presented as consistent with the norms of scientific research; but (2) it demonstrably fails to meet these norms.Science is also distinguishable from revelation, theology, or spirituality in that it offers insight into the physical world obtained by empirical research and testing. For this reason, the teaching of creation science and intelligent design has been strongly condemned in position statements from scientific organizations. The most notable disputes concern the evolution of living organisms, the idea of common descent, the geologic history of the Earth, the formation of the solar system, and the origin of the universe.

  6. S C Losh says:

    I end up talking to my car a lot when I’m angry. It is very patient.

    • Jake says:

      Yes, your kitty is more angry than my Aunt’s cat. But, did you notice he had one eye open in the picrtue? That’s so he knows when to BITE!

  7. Ray Madison says:

    Most neo-Darwinists are nice people. And ignorance is not a sin.

  8. Tim Callahan says:

    A few years back I was active on a number of the jref (James Randi Educational Foundation) forums. After a while, I found I was spending an excessive amount of time arguing with trolls who hid behind internet tags, though I made a point of using my real name for the sake of honesty and transparency. Eventually, I decided to stop posting on or reading posts on jref. I found I had a lot more free time, was a lot less antagonized and, in the end, didn’t miss whatever intellectual stimulation may have gone along with the antagonism of dealing with trolls. Considering that I already have hereditary risk factors for heart disease and even had to undergo quintuple coronary bypass surgery in 1999, I think I probably helped my heart a lot by abandoning jref.

    At the same time I was essentially wasting time on jref, my wife, Bonnie, was posting on an innocuous internet chat called “I can has cheesburger?”, which is largely based on cat lols. The long term effect of my seemingly scholarly disputes and discussions on jref amounted to a waste of time and considerable aggravation. Meanwhile, Bonnie made friends on “Cheeseburger.” They shared deeper problems, such as going through cancer treatment, financial problems related to aging, etc., and their friendships deepened. Eventually, she visited many of these internet friends in road trips across the nation, converting a virtual community to a face-to-face one.
    When it comes to heart health, her cat lol internet chat, resulting in multiple broad and deep emotional ties, was vastly superior to the detriments to my health occasioned by my involvement with jref.

    When it comes to venting as a release of anger, one might be well advised to understand that it won’t work for social and political views: The jack-asses whose opinions so antagonize us will still be there when we’re done venting. Also, when our venting antagonizes the other party, it leads to and endless round of strike and counter-strike. One way around this is to frame one’s anger in a responsible manner, such as: “When you do (or say) _____, I get really angry. This is what makes me mad.” If this works, and the other party acts to change their behavior, it’s a win-win situation. For example, if someone who disagrees with my environmentalism calls me a “tree-hugger” and that annoys me, I can call them on it in a firm but civilized manner. If we can drop derogatory, emotionally charged, slogan-oriented crap, such as “tree-hugger”, we can still disagree and argue without popping an artery. If the other party just uses this as a way to harass you – in my case, if he goes out of his way to call me a “tree-hugger” to purposefully antagonize me – the best thing to do is simply not waste time with him. Cut him off completely. In this regard, consider this bit of ancient folk-wisdom (Proverbs 22:24, 25):

    Make no friendship with an angry man, and go not with a ferocious man, lest you learn his ways and get a snare to your soul.

  9. sittingbytheriver says:

    Anger is a basic and natural human emotion, and I think venting anger can be Very healthy. i’m talking about using one of those nice bats to beat on your sofa, or do some heavy housework, or hit some balls into the net. Physical and/or emotional release. And i think the pressure cooker theory, that unexpressed or unacknowledged (unprocessed) anger can generate greater physical and emotional problems for you down the the line, is valid. Just don’t take it out on other human beings, OK?

  10. bad boy scientist says:

    Another factor which keeps the trolls trolling: if you get into a heated exchange online and decide to offer an olive branch, your actions may be seen as a sign of weakness online and you may lose status within that forum. In fact, if you are not a participant in the argument and attempt to cool down the rhetoric you may seem to be a weakling who cannot handle confrontation.

    Jungles are lucky that they do not have to live by the law of the internet or they’d be littered with blood and corpses: go for the jugular or go home.

    • Fernando says:

      that we should fogvire and forget’. Even if this were actually possible, we are certainly not required to even attempt anything like it if they are unrepentent and likely to offend again on the same serious way. We are entitled to say within ourselves something like: whilst I have handed calling you to account over to God, and whilst I pray that you will see the light, understand what you have done and repent, and apologise so that we can safely be reconciled, I now know you and what you are like, and I choose to guard my heart and the hearts of those under my protection, and (for the time being anyway) to love you in absence.By doing this, as well as protecting ourselves (we are not called to continually cast our pearls in front of swine’) and giving ourselves time and space for our own healing, we give those who have done us wrong the chance to experience that we no longer seek their company, but at the same do not carry any resentment towards them. If it is God’s will that we should be reconciled to them and resume an active friendship, then this course of action can have a powerfully positive challenging effect. If it does not, then it is better that we let them go and enable God to give us something/someone else instead.We hope you find this reply of help.God bless and guide you.

  11. Jack T says:

    It would seem that those with a lot of hostility or anger problems might be the sort of people who would have heightened risk of cardiac problems. While the article itself makes no cause-effect association, only noting hostility as a predictor, the editor’s lead in:

    “Can venting angrily on the Internet lead to heart disease?”

    may be a valid question, but to ask it as the lead into the article as though having some bases in the article or summary of the research seems a bit misleading.

    • Bender says:

      I’ve enjoyed rndeiag your posts on Breaking Amish, but I have to point out a flaw in this particular post. You assert without a doubt that LIM can’t be real because people can’t speak with the dead as if you know the absolute truth about this. I respectfully point out your post about the truth. The only truthful statement you can make with certainty is that you don’t believe people can talk with the dead. You really don’t know for certain.Keep in mind that your own beliefs have altered and changed over the years, and have undergone numerous permutations. That’s normal we all do that if we’re searching. Perhaps someday you’ll come full circle and believe in God again, but in a different way than when you began. Or maybe you won’t. Either way, it will only be what you believe just as others believe different things based on their own personal experiences. That’s all any of us has when it comes down to it.

  12. Desiree Lourens says:

    Anger, according to neuro-psychoanalysis- is one of the 7 basic emotions we’re born with, so it seems to me that we can avoid the angry trolls spewing hatred directly.

    But what about reading articles that trigger the innate anger within, such as stupid laws,corrupt government officials stealing from state coffers, child abuse, or other subject matter that really can’t be avoided if you want to participate or be a participant in the world?

    I’m curious whether a person’s susceptibility towards genetically inherited diseases is also influenced by this kind of anger? This would be a very interesting thing to know.

    • Tanayut says:

      I suppose that may be true (and a litlte snotty) Snotty? I don’t think so. It’s a plain statement. Perhaps I don’t wrap my direct statements in flowery sentiments in an attempt to avoid sounding snotty’, but I do not add anything in way of pretense to them, either. if you begin with the elimination of religion from the purview of skepticism. So, what reason do you have for doing that? I didn’t. When I discussed the panelists, I was talking about their affiliations with a movement, not a question. The hypothesis that a god exists is not testable, but there are many religious claims that are (e.g., that prayer heals). Religion does not have protected status’, nor is anyone telling people not to critically analyze anything. The issue of testability is basic science, which it is clear that you understand given that you note that it is not appropriate to hold a conclusion with certainty. However, your claim that my argument includes straw men assumes that you are typical. I only need to go as far as the comments of Daniel’s post on the diversity panel to see the arguments I’m opposing. But here is the problem: Skepticism isn’t just about debunking or confirming, it’s about analyzing every claim about reality to find out whether or not one is rationally justified in accepting a proposition as true or likely true. Skepticism is not about rationally justifying positions. Skepticism is about determining what is likely to be true through scientific inquiry. Science is empirical. Reason is often necessary, but reason alone can tell us nothing because it requires us to assume that the premises we start with are true. Without observations of some kind, there is no science. That’s the bottom line and that’s all I’m going to say about it in this forum. If a reader is interested in why science is restricted to empirical testing, I can suggest some reading material, but a course on the philosophy of science is in order. There are any number of untestable superstitious claims that aren’t being given this special protected status. Name one.

  13. FreudWas says:

    Even if you don’t respond in kind, or in kindness, just reading hostile comments can effect blood pressure and put a damper on the day, even if for a while.

    • Lipe says:

      Ten Tips for Managing Conflict, Tension and Angerfrom Clare Albright, Psy.D.To be a safe and predictable posern for those around you at work and at home, it is essential that you are able to maintain your composure when you feel like your buttons’ are being pushed. This strength will help you to achieve your goals in business as well as your goals for your posernal relationships. 1. Share negative emotions only in posern or on the phone. E-mails, answering machine messages, and notes are too impersonal for the delicate nature of negative words. What feels like a bomb on paper may feel like a feather when delivered in posern. 2. Pepper your responses with the phrase, I understand . This phrase will support your goals when the tension is high and you need to find common ground to form compromises or agreements with the other party. 3. Take notice when you feel threatened by what someone is saying to you. Resist the temptation to defend yourself or to shut down the other posern’s communication. It will take this kind of discipline to become an open, trusting communicator. 4. Practice making requests of others when you are angry. It is often much more useful to make a request than to share your anger. For example, if the babysitter is driving you crazy by leaving dirty dishes in the sink, it is better to make a request of them than to let your anger leak out in other ways such as by becoming more distant. 5. Try repeating the exact words that someone is saying to you when they are in a lot of emotional pain or when you disagree with them completely. This mirroring technique can keep both the speaker and the listener centered’ in a difficult conversation, especially when the attitude of the posern doing the mirroring is to gain understanding of a different point of view. 6. Take responsibility for your feelings to avoid blaming others. Notice when blameshifting’ begins to leak into your speech. I feel angry when you are twenty minutes late and you don’t call me is much better than, You make me so mad by being late. 7. Learn to listen to the two sides of the conflict that you are in as if you were the mediator or the counselor. If you can listen and respond in this way you will bring peace and solutions to the conflict more quickly. For example, in response to an employee’s raise request, you might say, On the one hand I understand that you really need the raise, and on the other hand I represent the company, whose funds are very scarce at this time. Is there a way that I can work on your compensation package that does not involve cash? Here, the mediator’s point of view can look for the creative compromise that takes into account the limits and the needs of both parties. 8. Take a playful attitude towards developing the skill of emotional self-control in high conflict situations. You could view maintaining self-control in a tense, angry converstion as an athletic feat. You could also view developing this skill as similar to working out at the gym with weights the more that you use your self-control muscle the bigger it will grow and the easier it will be to remain calm when tension is great. 9. Wait a few days to cool down emotionally when a situation makes you feel wild with intense feelings, such as rage. As time passes, you will be able to be more objective about the issues and to sort out the truth about the situation more clearly. 10. Make a decision to speak with decorum whenever you are angry or frustrated. If you give yourself permission to blow up, people will not feel safe around you. They will feel that you are not predictable and will carry shields’ when they are near you. The fear and walls of others will not support your goals for success in relationships or at work.Dr. Albright is a Clinical Psychologist and Professional Coach. Anger management: Tips to control your temperFrom MayoClinic.comSpecial to CNN.comIf you find that your angry outbursts are negatively affecting your relationships with family, friends, co-workers and even complete strangers, it’s probably time to change the way you express your anger.Here are some tips to get your anger under control: * Take a time out. Count to 10 before reacting or leave the situation altogether. * Do something physically exerting. Physical activity can provide an outlet for your emotions, especially if you’re about to erupt. Go for a walk or a run, swim, lift weights or shoot baskets, for example. * Find ways to calm and soothe yourself. Practice deep-breathing exercises, visualize a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase to yourself, such as take it easy. You can also listen to music, paint, journal or do yoga. * Express your anger as soon as possible so that you aren’t left stewing. If you can’t express your anger in a controlled manner to the posern who angered you, try talking to a family member, friend, counselor or another trusted posern. * Think carefully before you say anything so that you don’t end up saying something you’ll regret. * Work with the posern who angered you to identify solutions to the situation. * Use I statements when describing the problem to avoid criticizing or placing blame. For instance, say I’m upset you didn’t help with the housework this evening, instead of, You should have helped with the housework. To do otherwise will likely upset the other posern and escalate tensions. * Don’t hold a grudge. Forgive the other posern. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to behave exactly as you want. * Use humor to defuse your anger, such as imagining yourself or the other posern in silly situations. Don’t use sarcasm, though — it’s just another form of unhealthy expression. * Keep an anger log to identify the kinds of situations that set you off and to monitor your reactions.You can practice many of these strategies on your own. But if your anger seems out of control, is hurting your relationships or has escalated into violence, you may benefit from seeing a psychotherapist or an anger management professional. Role playing in controlled situations, such as anger management classes, can help you practice your techniques.Keep at itIt may take some time and intense effort to put these tips into practice when you’re facing situations that typically send you into a rage. In the heat of the moment, it can be hard to remember your coping strategies.You may need to keep something with you that serves as a reminder to step back from the situation and get your anger under control. For instance, you may want to keep a small, smooth stone in your pocket or a scrap of paper with your tips written down. With due diligence, these anger management techniques will come more naturally and you’ll no longer need such reminders.July 18, 2005 -For me, posernally, working out a little bit always helps. 420 does too .. heh. Good luck!Edit: Oh yea! Pray too, it really does help.

  14. Joel Carlinsky says:

    The theraputic venting of anger as well as other emotions is still in use as a major component of orgone therapy, developed by Wilhelm Reich, a student of Freud, in the 1930s. Orgone therapy, also known as Reichian therapy, though originally identified with the political Left, has today become very popular with the Far Right and several recent books by orgonomists have been endorsed by well-known right-wing politicians and comentators. One especially worrisome aspect is that the political theories of orgonomy have been advocated by some senior police officials as essential reading for police.

    While Reich is generally regarded as having been debunked, the connection between the increasingly aggressive, strident and antagonistic political theories of the current-day Reichians and their theraeputic practices in treatment of individuals needs to be examined.

    For examples, see:

    • Archi says:

      . HOWEVER, Woman B claimed she had never said anhiytng to A about my wife spreading the rumors and that she was simply concerned about her. She was sorry, apologized, but understood if my wife didn’t trust her as a friend. My wife was hurt, but choose to forgive woman B and move on and attempt to repair things with woman A.The next morning, woman B went to A and told her what my wife had done to her. Woman A was concerned about the accuracy of the information she was getting from B. Woman A asked her again if she was sure that what she had said at the party was true, including the party about my wife telling many different people and maliciously attempting to start the rumors. B said this was all true again, and that my wife was really upset with A and wanted to bring her down with what she said.A week later, my wife tried to talk to woman A to apologize for what was said. Woman A would not even look at my wife. She said she was done with her as a friend. She explained that woman B had come back to her to tell her she had been talking about her AGAIN, and she reiterated about the fact she had been spreading the rumors maliciously and my wife wanted to hurt woman A. None of this was true. Woman A called my wife a slew of fowl language in front of me, in front of dozens of her close friends and in front of many of my wife’s friends. She stated that she was lying because woman B had said these things to her twice, and that she wouldn’t lie.My wife is woman A’s boss. Woman A is letting this effect her work. Woman A has cut off all communication with my wife outside of work. Woman B is now completely avoiding my wife entirely as well as woman B’s husband, who is a close friend of mine.My wife forgave them both for what happened. Several weeks has passed. I have a hard time forgiving these people and wanted them to ever be back at our home. They were both very good friends of my wife’s and now she feels alone and isolated because her two best friends destroyed their friendship. I even lost a close friend. The collateral damage goes very deep, since these were mutual friends of almost everyone we know.My wife wants me to move on, but I have such a hard time with that. My wife was trying to do the biblically accurate thing to hold a fellow sister in christ accountable and her other sister in christ; who was not a new christian, but a strong one, threw it in her face. She broke her trust not once, but twice.I just think she doesn’t need to be friends with these people if this is how they treat their relationships. I don’t feel comfortable having them around my home if this is what they choose to do.What do you think?

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