Not too terribly long ago, someone asked me what I was afraid of. He was asking from a context of war — something I know about only academically, never having seen one, but have an interest in because, well, I think it matters — and the question, coupled with recent suggestions that I need to allow myself to “be more vulnerable” just got me to thinking: what am I afraid of? Because apparently this is holding me back in relationships and may be a fundamental problem for me, if recent events are to be believed. So, in the interest of trying to work that out, and with the understanding that I won’t be talking about the larger issues, like war and pandemics because everyone’s afraid of those things, here goes:
I’m afraid of liars. Because you don’t know what they think, what they believe, or what they’re capable of. And that makes them prone to be irrational actors who can, at any moment, throw a monkey wrench in any well-laid plan.
I’m afraid of cruelty. I don’t understand it. I separate it from what appears to be cruelty but is actually self-defense. Cruelty to me is unprovoked and happens because the person inflicting it simply enjoys it. It causes a lot of damage and is generally non-productive besides providing amusement to the sadist.
Even more than cruelty, however, I’m afraid of those who stand around and watch cruelty and do nothing. I hate the look in their eyes, rather helpless and ashamed, because while they don’t condone what’s happening, they prefer not to call it out as ugly and unnecessary. Those people are somehow both pitiable and infuriating. And they cause so much conflict within me personally that my heart just breaks to see them.
I’m afraid of people who feel so out of control that they attempt to control others by manipulating feelings or withholding affection (or even more basic needs) so that one becomes nearly dependent on them. They are dangerous people because they misunderstand a basic truth: there is no such thing as control. The best you can do is treat people well and hope they stick around. Anything else, even if it lasts, becomes a dark game of co-dependency. And people are broken by that kind of thing, either by becoming hard and controlling themselves, or by becoming controlled to the point of inertia.
I’m afraid of watching people I care about be hurt or put down because of something I may have done, or some influence I brought to their door. I’m afraid I can’t protect them when someone tries to hurt them. Worse, if that person is someone I let in the door.
That’s the short list. And here’s the secret: I’m not really afraid of any of those things. I’ve been negotiating all of that stuff my whole life, just like everyone else has. But I say it because if you need a reason why I don’t want to let you in or give you much time, you can call it my fear or my inability to be vulnerable if that’s what makes sense to you. The truth is, I’m vulnerable all the time. I let people wreck me, I give them the opportunity to do that, or not. And when — if — they do, I make a judgment and maybe close a door. That’s not fear of being vulnerable. That’s giving a chance, getting a result, and then acting accordingly. Basically, I can’t continue to think there’s something broken about me (fear of being vulnerable) because I opened up the emotional door and you didn’t do good things with trust.
In short, I’m not afraid. I just know how much I can let you in.
Okay, I have a thing later that I’m fighting not falling asleep to attend, so I need to get this wrapped up and get ready. Y’all have a good weekend, okay?
The 47 traitors letter is fascinating. I tend to agree with Steve Hayes — it has already been effective. Although, the argument that Obama will take it to the UN and have it ratified, thereby leading to a dropping of sanctions against Iran by European nations, thereby making the letter ineffective, is well taken. But I think it signals something greater to Iran and the world: the US Congress is not in the tank. You can misinterpret that for some political reason like they just don’t like Obama, but I think most understand that it’s more about national security. And I believe the world is listening. Because, look, this is true.
This is also true. We are a cynical nation, as we would be given the divisiveness of the last 7 years, but there’s hope out there. People are watching us. And there’s a reason that the bastions of liberal news are suffering under the weight of promoting failed policies and cynicism. So, good for Cotton and the 47 “Traitors” for still believing.
You guys know narcissism fascinates me, so this study was of course an interesting read. I’m not saying you shouldn’t encourage your kids and praise them for their accomplishments, but I think treating children like they are “better than” — indeed, requiring they think that about themselves — is generally creating some pretty nasty adults. It’s true that narcissists can become very successful. But they will also always be that asshole boss that breaks people’s spirits and makes creepy decisions that benefit themselves over the health of their business or relationships. Ebenezer Scrooge is an archetype for a reason. Why not raise people who have a healthy sense of accomplishment and encourage others in their own? Seems like even a stupid question to ask, frankly. But all this talk of self-love (which I think is what leads up to really crappy writing like 50 Shades of Grey) makes me want to read this.
Sorry Netflix. You helped foist this crap law on us and you will suffer more than the rest of us. Your bottom line is going to hurt. I have little sympathy for you.
Hillary and her emails. Seriously, I get why people are tripping. But it’s not surprising and she will get through it and run. Will it haunt her? Maybe. But here’s the thing: The Twerp taught me one very important thing about life and people — some people like weasels. They respect them. They want them at the top. That is Hillary’s base.
Americans trying Southern food for the first time goes pretty much as expected.
I made this. Pretty good, but probably needs a little more oil in the recipe. A little dry. Tasty, though.