I know I've said this before but I was thinking about what I said last night about how revolutionary work requires us to learn how to relate differently and the whole influencer therapist thing and like, I think what feels dangerous to me is that people are *trying* to get at interdependence and struggling. On the one hand more and more people are talking about boundaries which is good but the message I think a lot of people internalize about them is dangerous and low key narcissistic.
Like the idea that you can tell if someone is dangerous or toxic by the way they make you feel. Like how do people reconcile that trauma affects the way we experience relationships at the same time we think we can trust our feelings alone to tell us who is safe or not? We have to get good at deciphering behaviors to better understand others. Do you know how common it is to get your feelings hurt when someone you like sets a valid boundary with you?
Versus, say someone who has spent weeks love bombing you, saying you're their perfect soul mate, etc and then suddenly stops talking to you or gets cold and distant- which is a known early abuse tactic for one, and even if it's not abusive it's at least evidence of some pretty serious issues that need to be sorted out.
The boundary thing goes the other way too- that it's actually not a sign of an abuser that someone has their feelings hurt when a boundary is set. I've experienced people being apparently receptive and understanding when I set a boundary only to turn around and disregard said boundary to the point that it appeared deliberate. I've also experienced someone getting upset when I set a boundary only to show me afterwards that they fully respect it.
The ideal boundaries are flexible too- it's okay to negotiate around them.
What's strange to me is that on the one hand we have these short, punchy instagram memes talking about toxic people and boundaries in these super reductive ways, we also have them talking about conflict in ways that appear to encourage deference over engagement like talking about how to listen, how to apologize, yet not talking much about what it looks like to engage around issues.
Whether or not it's the intention, I've often seen that people look at these memes and apply them to reinforce a double standard- the instructions to apologize are for other people, the instructions around boundaries and how to tell who is toxic is for us. This isn't even going into interpersonal division of responsibility and how flat these wellness memes are at getting at that.
In case no one has told you this before: you don't have to apologize every time you hurt someones feelings or offend them. Unless you were trying to be an asshole (and you need to be honest about that), if you were acting out of your integrity and stand behind your choices, those feelings are on the other person to sit with.
I think this is where I'm starting to understand the "anti-woke" people a bit more now- in that we've taken things that are true like the fact that people in privileged positions absolutely need to be listening to people who are targeted by systems of oppression and incorporating that into our praxis, and weaponized it into something that has created an environment where people are getting called out for asking questions or for holding nuanced, albeit researched and thought out views.
But I've also seen more and more leftists getting fed up with leftist community for stuff like this. I firmly hold my analysis and values that capitalist imperialism needs to be abolished and has its roots in anti-Black, anti-indigenous white supremacy, patriarchy and ableism, and that I and everyone who benefits from this system needs to be engaging with this fact every day of our lives.
What I've been coming to reject lately is that say in my case, men owe me deference and if they don't give it to me they are just another shitty dude who is talking over femmes, or that it's toxic masculinity. Maybe it's just the flavor of leftist culture I've been steeped in that led me to feeling that way but if the growing number of "anti-woke" leftists are any indication, I'm not alone in that.
It requires that we take accountability for our beliefs and behaviors- in that we're accountable for standing by the choices we've made from integrity at the same time that we're accountable for the beliefs and behaviors that do not line up with our integrity. It requires that we're HONEST with ourselves about that and accept that every human thinks and does shitty things, we're no exception.
Interdependence in a nutshell is our ability to know ourselves well enough that we can engage in a way that stands up for things we really stand by and at the same time can be flexible enough to compromise when compromising doesn't cost us our integrity. And we need to know the difference between compromise that costs us versus when we're digging our heels in being stubborn bastards.
@wetpaper hey! just wanted to say this was brilliant, I loved reading this thread and really resonated with so much of it. You made some really great points and outlined them so well, so thanks for taking the time to write all this out, it definitely made me think a lot more deeply about those subjects
@wetpaper this is really well put, i am already compiling a list of friends i want to share this with. thank you so much!
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