The First of Likely Several Angry Tirades about Feelings September 23, 2013Posted by Gina in Skepticism and atheism.
Writing about what is going on with me these days is difficult to do coherently and concisely. In the coming weeks, I will likely only be able to muster fragments that will perhaps give you insight into my head and my process. I am unpacking 25 years or so of consciousness and pain and scars. Hopefully, brighter days are coming.
I am angry about the emptiness of words.
Or rather, I am angry about the empty way people throw around words and phrases that should be packed with truth and meaning. We’re taught this early on in our lives. When you say hello, ask how someone is. It’s the polite thing to do. You don’t have to care or even want to know, but the other person should believe that you would like to know.
And then you hear people whine about if you ask a particular person how they are, “They will tell you EVERYTHING. Jeez, I didn’t actually want to know. What an annoying jerk!” Why do you ask if you have no actual desire to know anything about how that person is doing?
But there are countless other examples of this. Take, for example, the sentence, “I am here for you”.
Some people mean this when they say it. I am lucky enough to have 5 people in my life who mean that. How do I know they mean it? They show me. They swoop in when I am sinking and do their best to lift me, to help me work through the feelings, whatever is needed. They sometimes ask how they can help, but mostly they know me so well that they know what I need or what would help without me telling them. It can be as simple as wrapping their arms around me and helping me ride out the badness.
But many people say this because it’s what you’re supposed to say when people confide difficult things. They say it, but they don’t know what it really means. When they say it, it translates to, “See? I am a good friend/family member!” But if it is not followed by any action, any actual effort to be present and to help lighten the load that the afflicted is bearing, then it is empty and ultimately hurtful, because you likely won’t follow through with anything.
For instance, I am currently dealing with some major Emotions about my biological family. Recent communications have resulted in my making the decision to not speak to them anymore, at least for quite a long while. Why? Well, there are a bunch of reasons, but there are too many to enumerate here and it’s painful to speak about them at length on here. But it was revealed that none of them knew how depressed I have been for years, and all of them suspected that they have been “losing me for a while now” and my recent communications served as a “final blow” to my relationships with them. Everyone ignored my rather obvious depression and watched as I drifted away and chose to do nothing, because doing would require effort and possible discomfort on their part.
But they claim they are there for me and always have been.
In addition, they have gaslighted me about my experience growing up and in recent years and have made statements about my being selfish and inconsiderate. I am the black sheep. I am the bad one.
But…they are here for me. Every message has contained this sentiment. Well, I call bullshit.
Another loaded but often meaningless thing people say is, “I love you”. All of the communications claim this as well, but I think that people say this without knowing what that really means.
People tell each other that they love each other because we’re supposed to love our family. We’re supposed to love our partners. But I think it loses its meaning when there’s nothing there to back it up. How do I know I love my people? Because when they are happy, I am happy, even if what they are happy about scares me (new relationships, being far away). Because I try to be as available as possible for them for when they might need me, and if I fail in knowing what they need, I take the criticism and learn from it so that I can offer better care the next time. Because envisioning my life without them is a bleak and desolate landscape that I want no part of. This is because my life with them is bright and full of potential. It is full of potential for long term happiness and continued blossoming into the people we want to and can be. I love them because their presence, the people that they are adds to the person that I am. To say that you love someone when it is conditional or simply a sentiment that requires no action or growth on your part is meaningless and ultimately hurtful.
What I’m saying is that lies hurt, even the vague societally approved lies of everyday language. Happiness, I think, has a lot to do with trusting the people close to you because trust in the people around you results in feeling safe and we cannot flourish unless we feel safe in our intimate lives. Trust cannot be attained with the use of empty words. A thin veil of care does nothing but give way immediately when pressure is applied, and the person needing care will fall fast, this time knowing that you were not prepared to follow through with your claims of love and presence.
I’m going to go look at pictures of otters now.