- Mental Health
Growing Stronger Inside by Using No One for Emotional Crutches
Playing a Chronic Victim
To avoid anything that could look like boasting, I'll just say how I consider myself to be a fairly self-disciplined dude when it comes to the ways how I am handling my own emotionality. Even at those beginning stages of that emotional self-reliance I was seriously questioning the usefulness, or the very sense in sharing our crappy emotions.
Now, I know, here I seem to defy one of the basic traits of being human, if not the whole cultural paradigm of human mutuality, since the very definition of closeness implies this "being there for one another".
"For better and for worse" is even that part of our vows given at the wedding, and then it stretches to all meaningful relationships, whether romantic, friendly, or familial. And yet, as you may soon agree with me, something is not quite right there, especially when people get themselves into some kind of addiction of whining, complaining, playing victims---while expecting from others a constant flow of emotional support.
Let's face it, folks, they may show their willingness to "always be there for us", but in all honesty we might be just burdening them with something that we should be taking care of by ourselves.
Others' Empathy Doesn't Fix It
The mention of emotional self-discipline might sound like a ruthless "drill of suppressing" what we feel, while it is actually far from being the case. Quite on the contrary, since such a disciplined person is always going proactive and willing to do something about the causes of those lousy emotions, they can squarely face their true feelings, not suppress them, not run away from them, and not constantly try to make them someone else's business.
For, those who are letting it all hang out usually making a melodrama for everyone to watch, don't really know what is truly behind those emotions, while being too busy feeling sorry for themselves in their privileged status of someone too precious and delicate.
All those bad emotions are bound to subside once that we give them our full attention with an intent to fix the source of them. Moping around and just passively wallowing in our misery will prolong them---with no outside help being effective, except for a superficial satisfaction of getting their pampering and comforting attention.
"Why Do You Do It to Yourself?"
Such an attitude was in its making long time ago starting with that support of ever understanding and supportive mommy whose job it was to protect us, even from our own feelings, since we were too young to rationally handle them ourselves.
It's a part of parental love, and it's beautiful---except that so many of us forget that the time comes when no one is obligated to "change our emotional diapers anymore". Unfortunately for us, and for all mankind, so many don't want that support to be over, bringing into their adulthood a need for any kind of surrogate mommy and daddy.
Then it became a strong trend and a parameter of a good relationship---"how much we can count on others to offer their shoulder for crying". Whole professions and institutions are created to cater to "our soft side"---be it a shrink, a priest, or a social worker of some sort; anybody to understand our emotional mess.
All right, maybe I picked up too much from Erhard Seminars Training back in seventies. Namely, when an attendant started whining about their "unhappy childhood", or their "not being understood", Werner---or the instructor would bluntly tell them: "Why are you being such an asshole to do it to yourself?"
Yes, there were tears, and more than that, as those closed settings also got to be called "no-piss seminar"---but at the end of two weekends people came out transformed and responsible for their attitudes and emotions and the whole package called life.
Begging for Attention
I would obviously make a very bad psychoanalyst. Especially when I think of that mantra-question that's so typical for their therapeutic procedure: "And how does that make you feel?" ---which then opens the dam with a long string of complaints that only gets cut when the good doctor looks for the last time at the clock.
I hope I don't really have to emphasize it, but I'll say it anyway: none of this includes those tragic moments of a sad loss or misfortune when we all need those close to us to be at our side for an emotional support. I had to say it, just in case if everything said here would paint me as a heartless s.o.b.
With that behind us, let me continue by saying how those complainers and "professional " victims" will use ears of anyone who instantly didn't change the subject upon hearing an introduction sounding like: "Life is a bitch".
It could even be comical if it was not so annoying how they tend to hold everyone, especially those of some authority responsible for their emotional diarrhea---I guess that's the medical term for that diagnosis.
Now, O.K., Werner Erhard, don't you dare use your favorite mantra question on those demonstrators and rioters out there demanding their president to step down. Those good people probably know what bothers them, as he must have done something unforgivable that no other leader ever did.
No, they are certainly not folks who would create an epidemic of hysteria---if only he was just another run of the mill lying politician caring for his career and not listening to their wishes, any of those that they must be immune to by now.
Except maybe for one or two in that unhappy crowd who would fit my descriptions of emotionally unstable folks who are just using social media, or joining those on the streets to yell and discharge some of that accumulated private misery.
Those are basically the ones that I mean here; those who think that it's the whole world's duty to listen to their tantrum-like ranting---with a chronic whining being the other side of that coin.
Victims Victimizing Others
Well, there is almost always---and I said "almost" for the record---a mixture of something immoral and psychological in excessive displays of negative emotionality. In that respect, even people like Adolph Hitler or Charles Manson could be viewed under the magnifying glass of a compassion---with a strong possibility to find something neuro-pathological in their brain technology of reasoning.
However, the level of their being emotionally messed up doesn't justify that downright evil aspect of it, so we tend to strip them of entitlement to our sympathy. I like using such extreme examples to make more obvious a phenomenon in human behavior.
In an incomparable smaller form and version---but similar would apply to those whiners who are victimizing the people of their life by dumping on them their emotional trash which was not caused by a misfortune but clearly by their attitude.
Indeed, it so often swells up into something morally unacceptable. The expressions like "drama queen" must have been originated by people who were victimized in such ways.
We could trace a part of the blame in our general cultural paradigm encouraging such folks to do such a "normal" thing as "sharing their emotions, because "keeping them inside would turn them into a time bomb just waiting to go off"---as those experts would make us think.
All sorts of "high philosophy" masquerading as good psychology has been invented by those learned professionals who completely left from sight something like an expected emotional maturation in every person.
Indeed, if we could grow out of a childish habit of lying to parents about our siblings hitting us, what's preventing us from growing out of blaming the destiny, and the world, and god himself for our feeling crappy.
So it became a cultural trend to enjoy those soap operas that we could identify with, read those mushy novels, and watch those tear-jerkers in theatres. What are we really feeding in ourselves?
When you open your eyes to what's happening in the culture all over the world, you can't but get a little "cultural shock" facing the popularity of feeling crappy. Here I just read how in Buenos Aires shrinks of all kinds are so popular that practically everybody has one.
Small wonder that so many folks find it "normal" to victimize their parents, siblings, friends, and coworkers with their own version of something that is so damn popular everywhere.
Really, try to share something like a "chronic good mood" and you are instantly called a weirdo. Interesting, isn't it.
A Poor Investment in Relationship
I said it in much more detail in another article or two, but in the context of this theme let's repeat how the mainstream news media are not doing anything useful for the emotional health of the public. Did you know that the word "republic" comes from the Latin "res publica" meaning "public matter"?
Well, that's what their job boils down to, as they make us believe that we have to know about every sneeze and fart released by every politician, or celebrity, or other public figure, domestic or foreign. So some of us just imitate the general trend by boring people to death with their perturbations of all sorts, from bad health to misbehaving kids and problems at work.
Once when that pattern sets in, it doesn't even matter anymore what makes them pissed off. I remember a Christmas party at my home when I had to ask one of my guests to leave, because he simply couldn't stop ranting about every problem imaginable---which literally gave my wife a headache. Well, the dude was a true definition of a jerk.
So, all in all, maybe it could be a good and even enlightening idea to tell such people what they are doing---in any tactful way possible. For they may not be aware of the fact that people are not "eager to be there for them" every time when they are feeling crappy---but rather just tolerating their emotional tirades.
After all, no matter what relationship we may be talking about---except the one with our shrink--- it's a lousy investment in it, and some folks may even appreciate being told to correct it.
Of course, not all of them, but those are the ones that usually don't matter much, and without any guilty conscience we can always feel free to change the subject when they start their pathetic story.
I hope these few words may inspire you to put those chronic whiners in place---one day when they become too much even for your size of patience.