Sometimes I think one of the toughest choices you can make publicly is to call out false binaries.
That’s what comedian Trevor Noah recently did on his show where he was specifically talking about abortion saying that just going down to catchphrases like pro choice or pro life was reductive and took away conversation and nuance to views. And people got enraged on Twitter (both Republicans and Democrats).
To be fair, people get enraged about a lot on Twitter and off Twitter now.
But rage by itself? It’s just rage. If you want change, you have to go after action. Carrie had a post about this on her own Facebook where apparently her call to action over a political issue wasn’t what one of her local acquaintances wanted from me.
So he turned his rage about politics into rage at me for not being rage-y enough.
Yes, Carrie is still processing this, while Shaun just called him a f-stick and got over with it.
This weekend, one of the many things that were trending in the world of Twitter conversation was the new book of an American family therapist, Terry Real, entitled, “Us: Getting Past You and Me to Build a More Loving Relationship,” where he argues it is because we’ve created “a toxic culture of individualism.”
We have not read the book and honestly, the fact that he’s a celebrity therapist who counsels people like Bruce Springsteen, makes me want to not want to read it. Springsteen wrote the introduction.
But all the book reviewers at all the big papers are.
He has two big terms in the book THAT WE WANTED TO MENTION:
- Adaptive child
- Wise adult
He defines them both in an interview with the New York Times’s Maggie Jones (no relation) as:
“Wise adults are present-based. They’re not flooded with the past and can see things clearly. They have the capacity to see the whole of the relationship. They have the capacity to stop and reflect and choose.
“When we move out of our prefrontal cortex, out of our wise adult self, we are in our adaptive child self. We get trauma-triggered, and the adaptive child — the things you learned to do as a kid because of emotional neglect or violence — part of us comes in and takes over. One of the bitter pills here is that the adaptive child part of us doesn’t want to be intimate. It wants to preserve itself. It’s about me, me, me. You-and-me consciousness is an adversarial world in which one loses and the other wins. It’s a big power struggle.
“By repeating the same adaptive child move over and over again, you get in a dysfunctional relational stance. I’ll give you an example. Angry pursuit is a dysfunctional stance. Angry pursuit is an oxymoron. You will never get someone closer to you by complaining about how distant they are. Controlling your partner, retaliating or withdrawing will never solve your problem. These are the hallmarks of the adaptive child part of you. And the first skill is shifting out of that part of you into the wise adult.”
Whew. That’s a lot of quote right? But to me what he’s saying is that if we want to be good, wise adults with happy freaking healthy marraiges we have to let go of the adaptive child.
We need to think with nuance and empathy, which brings me back to Trevor Noah, right? Because Trevor is also talking about this.
What our culture in the U.S. (at least) needs more of is that movement toward the wise adult, the ability to converse, to think with nuance, to go beyond false binaries, catch phrases and performative social media posts and work towards changing ourselves and our relationships and our country.
Real talks about the mysticism of marriage in that interview and says,
“There may be super placid couples who aren’t terribly intimate, and they don’t bug each other. But usually there are three phases of love: harmony, disharmony and repair. Those phases can occur 20 times during one dinner conversation or span over decades of your marriage or long-term relationship. The harmony phase is love without knowledge. You may have a soul recognition that this is your guy. But you don’t know what he does with his socks in the morning.
“The disillusionment phase is critical. It’s the stuff of intimacy. It’s the collision of your imperfections and how we handle it. Our culture doesn’t equip people to deal with that disillusionment. It’s rough. It’s dark. I’ve run around the country for 20 years, talking about what I call “normal marital hatred” and not one person has ever come backstage to ask what I meant by that.”
And it’s a bit like we aren’t just doing that to ours spouses, we’re doing that to everyone. When we repair our country, we want to look to that repair the way Real advocates repairing marraiges—as a relationship, a group effort, a look to the higher good. Real thinks a lot of this also stems from patriarchy and our separation from nature and desire to dominate it.
He says we have to move away from trying to control everything, but collaborate and to do it humbly, saying in that same interview how all of the world is interconnected. “You’re not above the system, you’re in it. You breath it.”
DOG TIP FOR LIFE
Don’t let other people bite your jowls.
The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License.
Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song? It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.
AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW! It’s taking a bit of a hiatus, but there are a ton of tips over there.
We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream biweekly live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.
Carrie is reading one of her raw poems every once in awhile on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!