Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Love is an abusive relationship

And now to play the devil's advocate: a loving relationship is based in abuse. The most loving relationships merely admit it, and strive to cope with those differences. Sure, we can tout altruism, but a look around the globe's events on any given day prove that isn't true. It would seem to be a conceited and a sociopathic measure to claim you felt the pain of others deeply. Oh, how great one must be to have empathy that extends beyond the self and onto others. To understand another's pain is one thing, but to feel it? At that point, you've arrived at the supernatural.

Though I wish there were a way to beautify this statement, the simple, hideous truth is that causing pain to others is the most effective way to inspire their sensitivity and communicate your distress. It can come in a way that's physical or mental, and both are as lethal. How often do you really feel someone's pain? Maybe when it's your mother. If we truly felt a tenth of another's pain, how would that work out? You'd have wounding emotional stress just to hear of someone's break up, or vomit to hear of a good friend breaking their leg. Instead we can go with our stock lines like, "Yeah, I hear that, man," or "The dawn is darkest before the day." It's impossible to be effectively apologetic for an experience that is not yours. The best one can do is acknowledge your burden while adding as little superficial sugar as possible. When your friend's been diagnosed with terminal illness, don't offer them Splenda, it's likely what caused it to begin with.

Is it simply tranquility that we want? I take it we love the idea of moving forward. Nothing's more tantalizing than the idea of purpose. Actions are second nature when you have purpose. Auto-pilot engages when you have purpose. If you know a song will end it's easier to get in the rhythm. And when it comes to a relationship would you rather rock the boat or be dead in the water? We want it both ways, but you can't have peace and a pulse at the same time. Freedom will always create little frays, no matter how ideal an environment people can collectively bring about.

There's always so much talk about sensitivity, as if it would be a coverall solution. Perhaps change the phrasing first. Acknowledgment would be a better word. Acknowledging someone's hurt I'm all for. Welcoming or wanting to take on someone's pain is a sign of mental sickness. When morals are preached, sensitivity and ego are often mentioned in the same breath. But if killing your ego is noble, that implies ending your self-sensitivity. Surely, if it's the proper thing to do it applies to everyone. When everyone's egoless and insensitive, it's no longer an issue. Yet, an action without a reaction amplifies tension. An action without reciprocation will harbor resentment. If you're making strides to be nice and the other party isn't, that creates an imbalance, dictating you're being shafted and thus equality's thrown out the window therefore creating more conflict, rocking the boat, and creating more waves. It seems that waves are the natural state.

Love is fun and wonder tempered in turmoil and abuse. The problem with utopian ideals and perfection is that it ultimately means a stagnation that will correlate closely with death. What do you do when it's done? Have a "Now what?" moment and return to the haze of confusion. The romantic voice from the void always beckons, "But don't you want to see what happens?" as she lies by your side. And, "Yes, I'd like to see this pointless charade through," whether it's a relationship or any living moment. But I'd add, "Longing for you is just as good as having you." That's how the desperate tango of the modern relationship is formed. You're hurt, I'm hurt, together we're slightly less so, although the feeling is fleeting.

How pain comes to play is that like everything else, it's a form of communication. If you can forgive quoting the psychopath from Seven, "If you want people to listen you can't just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You've got to hit them with a sledgehammer." This ideology would entail those who commit society's most heinous acts are also the most emotionally deprived. Another quote I'm fond of says, "If we could read the secret histories of our enemies we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm any hostility." Notice Longfellow mentions disarming hostility, which is a proper stretch from disarming entirely. He says stand firm for what you believe in, but discard your need for wrath and vengeance. And it stands true, the most depraved villains of our society are often victims of sexual or psychological abuse. Nothing can louder scream "I've known pain," than the ability to afflict it on others as if it were a normality,  and without regard to its potential impact.

Whether we're the worst amongst us or any average person, there's no way to remove ego entirely from the equation. That's what this argument is about, voiding the pretense of selflessness. Even if our greatest pleasure is to give, it is still done in the name of our own well-being. The words selfish and selfless carry little weight, since the sane among us I assume have similar ideals. What they really represent is "smart and sustainable" vs. "stupid and unsustainable." An oil company dumping toxic waste into the ocean to save money isn't selfish so much as it falls under "stupid and unsustainable." Now, in the real terms in which selfishness can be applied, the ones based in merit, hard work deserves the extras it earns. The idea that someone living sustainably should be obligated to give more just because they've earned more is the most selfish thing I've heard of.

So why can't we be selfish and say although others are the best thing worth living for, ultimately what makes us alive and conscious is our ability to act and live for ourselves. Empathy should be redefined. Empathy in the form of sensitivity is a defensive measure, and defensive measures gain no new ground. Instead empathy should be redefined as merely doing good, emphasizing that beliefs mean nothing without actions. No prayers, hope, or Hallmark cards but actions. No bullshit, just straight down-the-line sensible, reasonable acts perpetrated by self-interest, not by pity or misguided grabs at superiority. The basic hypothesis asks, what if people were honest with themselves about what they wanted and why. For the most part I believe the answer would be the same: for fun, wonder and gratification. The study, I assume, would reveal that life's unpredictability, chaos and pain is swayed more in your favor only by doing good, and excludes any conceits of kindness as an altruistic behavior.

If it's all reduced to points it's no wonder life and love often resemble a power struggle. Like a game of points, the cliche goes, the best defense is a good offense. Hope and sympathy are necessities but do nothing without inspiring action. A million private prayers don't make up a single hug. The only way to reconcile ailing interpersonal relationships is not destroying egos, but admitting them. Confessing any little mental transgression and taking the pain in steady waves will always trump waiting for withheld truths to become a tsunami. The sooner we realize why we're hurt, the sooner we won't be, and the less likely we'll feel inclined to hurt back.


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  2. You are in good company on this side of the boat. Truly there are a few people whose relationship issues are more horrendous than the one you may be reasoning that you have. signs he loves you