Social media has some amazing benefits. It enables us to connect beyond our reach. It allows us to gain visibility that might not have been available to us before. It offers us a place to learn and be exposed to many things. One thing I am sure many of you have noticed is the amount of mental health professionals gaining traction with their messaging and saturating the audience with knowledge to propel their growth and development forward. In the insta-psych realm, we see many repetitious terms being taken and utilized into our everyday conversations describing and rationalizing our behaviors, depicting our relationships, and fulfilling the human need to label and categorize. My goal today is just to provide some perspective and raise your awareness around some of the common words we see as we swipe.
A boundary is a limit or space between you and another individual. These are standards we set out of self-prioritization and self-preservation when people infiltrate our own values and principals. But what I see in the overuse of this concept is people using boundaries to cover up spite, as a method of fighting back, and as attacks. Really getting to know ourselves to our utmost capability helps us differentiate and create the boundaries we need. However, implementing boundaries as a response, and reacting to other’s behaviors with “boundaries” muddles this word and its intent. Boundaries are not venom.
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that makes you question your beliefs and reality. As complex human beings there are times where we have all gaslighted an individual. When we deny truth’s we gaslight others, as it often leaves them to question their own realities. And many of us have done this (myself included). This word sounds so harsh, and we want to label all the gaslighter’s as bad guys, but we need to look inside ourselves and reflect on if we ever committed this crime ourselves.
This word has become so overused that so many people believe they dated a narcissist. Here’s the thing, people can have narcistic tendencies and not be a narcissist. Just because your ex exhibited a trait or two, does not classify them as a narcissist. Relationships have their ups and downs. People fuck up. And most of us are trying to do the best we can with the tools we have been dealt. So, think about this before you go labeling your ex as a narcissist.
We live in an interdependent world fueled by us connecting with others to foster positive feelings of connection. Real codependency looks like individuals that self-neglect in order to stay in relationships or have a tough time being alone. Now, many of us can neglect ourselves at times for one reason or another, but when we habitually do this, is when we are facing issues with codependency. Codependency isn’t necessarily a bad term. It is a neutral term that when dialed up too high causes some problems for the codependent individual(s).
5. Attachment Styles
I remember when I first learned about attachment styles in relationships, I was beyond fascinated. This information is incredible and gives us so much insight into our patterns and how we show up with people. Do we chase partners that shut down? Do we run when people get close to us? All powerful questions to ask ourselves. My concern is that we take this attachment style and mold into our identity. “I am an avoidant attachment so I won’t deal with this drama” or “I am an anxious attachment so I will blow up his phone until he calls me back”. This work is meant for progression. We learn about ourselves and then we make changes or get help to evolve and do better. This is not just to create another label for ourselves, excusing our behavior and chalking it up to an attachment style.
6. Emotional Unavailability
None of us want emotionally unavailable partners, right? Of course not! But this is another buzzword we are quick to label someone as. But did you know there are times in your life when it won’t be easy to be emotionally available to others? How about extreme grief with the loss of a loved one? A bad car accident? Severe trauma? Loss of the job? There are so many things in life that may leave us low on the emotional availability scale. And that’s okay. This doesn’t always mean that we don’t have the capability to love or that this person can’t be in a long term committed relationship. Life is very gray. Things change and they eb and flow. As do our emotions, our states, and the way we show up for loved ones.
7. Red Flags
Red flags are simple. These are behaviors that should be noticed and reflected on. There’s nothing more. If you run from every red flag you see you will be eternally alone and very winded! A red flag gives us information. Points out behaviors that may not jive with us. Or, they give us opportunities to lean in deeper and explore the why? Perhaps the guy that didn’t text you one night, was dealing with a family issue he didn’t want to discuss with you. Use these as opportunities to explore the individual, the behavior, and how you feel about the behavior, then take a step back and be objective versus jumping to conclusions. There are no precautionary steps we can take to save us from hurt or disappointment in relationships. What we can do is get clear on who we are, what we want, what we will tolerate, and be self-assured that we are strong enough to overcome and manage whatever we have to along the way.
I wrote this is all to help shift perspective.These concepts are real things and I am beyond grateful we are raising our awareness.What are your thoughts? Please comment below or share if this resonated with you.