Letting Go of “Unlikeability”

You Have Been Good Enough All Along – by @tlkateart
 
 
You may have recently seen some discussions about a post online stating that trauma survivors are “fundamentally unlikeable.” I hope it has not been too derailing to your healing.
 
If it has been derailing or activating to you, it may help if you can step back mentally and see the statement for what it is: a cognitive distortion arising from PTSD. It is also an expression of internalized ableism.
 
Remember, when you have feelings of depression or anxiety, your feelings are understandable and deserve compassion. AND–you also do not have to buy into the cognitions or judgments that arise from these feelings!
 
In Radical Acceptance, Tara Brach talks about the “trance of unworthiness” that is engendered by trauma. This is also called “SHAME.” This kind of shame is the deep sense that one is fundamentally unworthy of love. (It is different from guilt, which is a pain from hurting someone and a motivator to do better next time.)
 
In my experience as a clinician and also as a trauma survivor, shame is pretty well universal among trauma survivors and it is easy to get sucked into. But you can remember not to buy into it. You do not have to buy into internalized ableism.
 
If someone dislikes you because you have trauma symptoms, that has more to do with who they are than who you are. If you feel unlikeable because of your trauma, that has more to do with trauma symptoms than with your actual likeability.
 
Another important aspect of this is that you do not owe anyone a performance of likeability. You yourself may want or need to be liked, for your own reasons: psychological, social, practical, or safety reasons. But likeability is not something you owe to others. You don’t have to be likeable for the sake of others’ comfort.
 
 
You are not a burden, you are carrying a burden
 
You are not a burden, we are lucky to have you
You Are Not a Burden by @tlkateart
 
 
You might also find it useful to listen to the following meditation from Tara Brach*: Healing Shame
 

(Note: Dr. Brach uses “toxic shame” vs. “healthy shame” to refer to what I would call “shame” vs. “guilt.”)

 

You are already fundamentally likeable, just as you are. ❤️

 

Holocaust Remembrance Day

There is a reason we must remember, and that is so that we may see and avoid allowing genocide to unfold again:

 

New York Passes Landmark LGBTQ Equality Legislation

New York State Bans Dangerous Conversion “Therapy,” Protects Gender Expression in legislation passed today:

Pennsylvania is NOT among the states to have passed a statewide ban on conversion “therapy.” Only 18% of our population is estimated to be protected by local bans in our state. Check out the maps on this site for more information:

 

map-conversion-therapy

 

 

Instead of “Privilege,” Think of Game Settings

The classic John Scalzi discussion of how the emotionally difficult term “privilege” can be explained with a gaming metaphor. All models may be wrong, as they say, but some models are useful. And this model has held up as very, very useful:

Mikki Kendall on the Gamification of Hate

It’s one thing to disagree with someone online, perhaps even exchange heated tweets or emails. But the form of bullying that essentially uses crowdsourced harassment as a form of entertainment (“for the lulz”) is especially pernicious: sending threats, piling on, doxxing– the function is terrorism: scaring people into “staying in their place.” Just as in offline harassment, online harassment is disproportionately directed at those occupying marginalized statuses, (which others may not even recognize).

Targeted harassment is not simply about disagreement:

“[Harassers] don’t have to listen to me. They could (as I do) use the tools at their disposal to block everything that annoys them, bores them, or angers them. They could make podcasts, blogs, or videos about their beliefs and leave the people they disagree with alone. If this was about defending some ideal, or espousing some particular ideological difference, then that is exactly what we would be seeing happen.”

Once you’ve been a target for internet harassment, it doesn’t just go away. It can pop up again ad infinitum when you least expect it:

“There is no life after being harassed if you’re a marginalized person speaking up on the internet.”

Read Mikki Kendall’s original essay here.

 

 

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