- Art by Sergiusz Wiaderny!
- 1:08 P.M.
- Mood: warm (and crampy).
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” -H.P. Lovecraft
This quote is subjective, I’m sure, but I find a lot of truth in it. At the very least, I feel that the top emotions that are strong enough to invoke action in even the “laziest” people are fear and urgency. I guess it’s not really a surprise that those emotions would be what gets people a-movin’. They come directly from our fight-or-flight response, and they’re what’s known to have kept a good majority of our ancestors out of harm’s way.
We’ve known for a while that we’re basically fear-powered beings, and there’s no doubt that different news sources, social media, magazines and newspapers alike have hopped the fuck onto the fear train. They know all the right things to say to make us feel like our lives are coming to an end, even when talking about an incident that doesn’t directly affect us. Remember the U.S. Ebola Outbreak of 2014? I was scared as hell about that! I’d already read “The Hot Zone” by Richard Preston when I was a kid, and got to that very last sentence in the book that said that Ebola “would be back” (don’t judge me, I was a nervous child! Still am). Any news source I looked at made it look like it was a huge pandemic that was spreading across the U.S. at rapid speed, and that everyone was at risk! In reality, however, there were only several isolated cases that were all under control before anything could get out of hand. And then, it was gone. I was mad as hell after I figured that out. That’s when I knew that all these sources were willing to take advantage of our fears for buys and views.
So, now, I’m noticing that one of the biggest things that society focuses on is relationship status. Of course, it didn’t take long for social media giants to soak that shit up. Whether you’re part of a dynamic duo, or enjoying the single life, there are articles out there that are pandering to you. To be honest, I think that’s a pretty cool thing. We do need to be open about relationships with others and ourselves, and be aware of what’s healthy and what isn’t. But, there’s something that I’ve noticed more with online articles and videos about being in relationships: “Why *insert negative trait here* can RUIN a relationship!”.
I was actually browsing through YouTube the other day (as I normally do), and I ran across a video on Psych2Go’s channel that basically ran parallel with that idea. Me being as protective of my relationship and as paranoid as I am, I took a look at that video so that I would be in the know on what to avoid like the plague if I wanted my relationship to continue lasting. Of course, the video made some really good points on the importance of giving each your partner space, and how it can help to maintain individualism and stave off unhealthy co-dependency. But, in the midst of watching this and reading through the comments, I realized something: sources that target what could “kill” a relationship not only bring on unnecessary anxiety about the state of a one’s relationship, but they also generalize what makes one up.
This actually makes me think about what I talked about in my last blog post. When we fear the end of something, we’ll do anything we can to stop it from happening. As a result, we tend to cling. Lo and behold, there are articles all over the place that tell you that if you do just that, your relationship is doomed to fail instantly. I guess articles like that are trying to come across like they mean well. But, just like a backstabbing friend, all they’re doing is increasing a sense of fear and urgency in you, which only perpetuates the tendency to anxiously cling.
On top of that, with the rise of awareness of narcissism in the mental health community, you’ll find list after list of signs that your partner is a narcissist. From those lists, it’s pretty much in the fine print that if your partner has more than one of those signs, your relationship is toxic, and it’s time to bolt. That’s a panic attack waiting to happen for those who are quite attached to their relationships.
But, what if I told you that you don’t have to be worried about any of those things, and that your relationship actually isn’t headed for disaster?
Because, I mean, that’s exactly what I’m getting at. I know everyone’s heard of that quote about not fixing something that isn’t broken. Your grandparents have never failed to utter those words to you in their crotchety, old person voices. As much as it’s overused, that quote very much stands true in this situation. I’m sure that you were perfectly content in your relationship (with a few blowouts here and there) before running across a headline that said that “this one thing” was ruining it. That’s because there is absolutely nothing that’s ruining it, my friend.
Just like the people in them, relationships come in many different flavors and dynamics. What one person isn’t willing to put up with in one relationship, another person is in another relationship. What it all boils down to is how much a relationship holds the two C’s: communication and compromise.
Relationships inevitably have their ups and downs for one reason or another. But, that’s not to say that the articles you’re finding on Facebook know enough about your relationship to pinpoint why you’re having those problems. Contrary to popular belief, seeing your S.O. often doesn’t mean you’re making him or her want to see less of you. Being clingy doesn’t always mean you’re pushing your person away. The fact that your partner is a narcissist doesn’t mean that the relationship is now deemed “toxic”, okay? That’s just the truth of it. The people that you interact with online aren’t licensed psychologists, man! They can’t properly diagnose anyone as being anything. Regardless, some couples love seeing each other all the time, and it works for them. Some people love being with someone who’s clingy because it helps them feel even more valued. A narcissist can be well aware of how he or she can be, and be willing to keep those toxic traits under wraps. The only thing that could potentially result in a relationship gone wrong is being passive aggressive, and being unwilling to make a comfortable (or sometimes uncomfortable) change.
If something’s bothering you in your relationship, don’t automatically get wrapped up in fear that it means that your relationship is ending. Being new to the world of relationships, that’s the trap I fell into time and time again. Try to have the courage to talk about what’s bothering you, and trust that your partner will understand. From there, if your partner hears you out, make sure to give them room to voice their feelings, as well. There may be something that’s rubbing your partner the wrong way that you haven’t noticed, so you need to make space to learn about it. From there, be willing to work out a compromise that benefits both of you. Whether it be realizing that there are problems that you’re willing to live with (that can happen, too), or deciding to work on the traits or actions that bother one another, settle on something that gives the relationship more room to flourish without stifling one another. That’s all it fucking takes, guys. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to come to terms with this.
Hey, your person loves you to pieces. Stop worrying about those imaginary reasons why they shouldn’t, and relish in what you’ve got right now. It’ll be worth it, and you could very well live happily ever after. Time will tell; Facebook articles will not.