Can You (Still) Focus On Me?

In the previous post, #thethingiwrote was how trauma competitions disguised as venting sessions ultimately minimize emotional impact. This post is a continuation, where I'm breaking down a couple of other lazy and/or unhealthy practices that can permanently weaken emotional bonds.

Refusal to be physically present 

Technology increases connectivity where it counts; meanwhile, we use it as an out for not being there when tech just isn't good enough. Stop texting, and say what you need to say face to face. To take it a step further, when you do decide to grace your loved ones with your presence, put your phone down. Bonds weren't built with distractions, and they can't be sustained with you letting them get in the way either.

Here for a good time, not a long time

Let's say you're a rider for someone, the same support is expected from them, but they're nowhere to be found during your darkest hours. Hold up, that's a violation. Respect is a tricky subject since individuals set their own limits, but if you find yourself in a position where your "rider" disappears when you need them, it's illogical to fix your mouth to say they respect you, because the evidence says otherwise. Don't let anybody care about you quietly.

This stage isn't big enough for the both of us

Purposely engaging in jealous, melodramatic, or overly competitive behavior to deflect attention away from someone else and onto yourself, is narcissistic at best and Machiavellian at worst. Why is it so hard to let someone else shine? Why the need for rude comments or sabotage? What makes you think someone wants to be close to a person like that?

Emotional bonds can and do break. Bonds are not hard to maintain. Let me repeat myself, bonds are not hard to maintain. But, my guess is that societal attitudes and technology will be the cop out for those who say otherwise. Emotion-based relationships take WORK. If you can't maintain the bond, move out the way so someone who can, will.

Can You Focus On Me?

Person A asks to talk about an intimate issue with Person B. Without absorbing anything they just heard, B brings up their own irrelevant personal issue, to compare and minimize the trauma of A. "You think that's bad? When *I*......."

B doesn't know how to listen to understand, only how to listen to make themselves relevant. In fact, B does this every time A tries to open up and emotionally connect. A now feels unsafe sharing their experiences because of the invalidation they received from B. What's this an example of?

Gaslighting?! How? 

Person B is subconsciously teaching Person A that their feelings aren't real or don't matter. A will begin to wonder if they're oversensitive or unable to handle themselves. Whole time, B might very well be more messed up than A. Continuous redirection of focus from someone else to yourself is insecurity at best and narcissism at worst. 

By competing for the title of "Most Traumatized", it sends a clear message that B has a diminished capacity to care about others. To make matters worse, in the future, B will probably accuse A of not being more emotionally available, not taking into consideration why this is so. People can't open up to you if you can't let something be about them for once, for like 20 minutes...

Since you were looking for ways to connect this to your romantic life anyway, I'll do it for you (bloop, I know how y'all are). 

Being your significant other's peace is not as hard as you pretend it is, lazy. Being their peace is about fostering a safe place to express thoughts and feelings free of judgement or risk of having that vulnerability thrown back in their face. Peace is trust. Not bomb cooking, spotless cleaning, dick splits, or A1 stroke game. On second can be that stuff too, but mostly, it's emotional security.

Think back to the last time you made yourself open up to someone. Did they listen actively, then shower you with support or optimism? Or did they remind you that your problems aren't real, and pale in comparison to theirs? Recognize when you're being gaslit - and call them out on it. It's not always done with malicious intent; sometimes we get carried away with our own problems, and confrontation can improve the relationship. Now, if they try to gaslight you for speaking up? I can't tell y'all how to think, but psychological manipulation is a good place to draw the line *to me*.

How I ended up writing this in the first place:

I owe it to my big bro, AP. He's got this dope clothing line and we usually end up have deep talks in the middle of a selling event. This time, he re-posted a Tweet that touched on the topic of turning trauma into a competition, and our resulting conversation led to this blog post, so yayyy thanks!

You Can't Cheat Growth

There you are, hunched over in Plato’s cave grabbing at the shackles that once bound your hands and feet. You know what the world looks like. You can envision the warmth of the sun on your face and the breeze on your neck. You have the incredible ability to be as free as you can imagine, and this is what you choose?