“In Most Cases, people do not give a Shit”

Elisa Escalante/ LMSW/ 4-2-2020

“Most people do not possess the capability of listening with unconditional acceptance” -EaE

     Searching, screaming and looking for a way to communicate those issue’s you have been suffering through all alone.  Why is it so hard?  Why are your griefs and complaints often met with judgement, criticism, and conversation enders?  Why does it feel like most people do not give a shit?  The answer is that most people do not give a shit.  That is the harsh truth that you, I and everyone does not want to believe, but so often it is the case. 

     Let’s explore why… it isn’t necessarily “antisocial” tendencies or “narcissism” in our peers and family members.  These are terms for mental “disorders” that society is increasingly throwing around while not actually knowing the official meanings and diagnostic criteria.  Truthfully, we throw them around because they are easy, and easy is comfortable.  Slap the label on someone and that can help justify why “they have wronged you and you are right”.  One simplification that can help, is remembering that if “Uncle Bob” does not want to listen to you talk about your depression/ anxiety, it’s probably because it is a very uncomfortable topic for him and/ or… he does not give a shit. 

     This does not mean that we should give up hope, this does not mean that we deserve to be unheard.  What we need, is to remember that all of this is a potential barrier and silencer, and it never stops.  The constant judgement and deflection we face when talking on emotional pain is the primary cause of us shutting down.  Do not hope that you will be heard and empathized with, for you will be disappointed repeatedly.  Only hope that you can learn to risk the vulnerability of emotional expression because you recognize that there is more to it than just being heard.  It is about practicing your own outlet.  Talk, get it off your chest, do not assume the listener will be open and expressive.  Do not dare wish for it.  Sometimes it is safe to assume otherwise.

    Now, where was I?  Yes. many people do not give a shit.  Humans have a natural selfishness to them; we should not blame them, as we belong to humanity as well. We all tend to have some of the same selfish tendencies.  To put ourselves first is sanity, after all. Some people may want to hide from the emotional talk because they fear their own empathy, they fear breaking down too.  Or they fear you breaking down in front of them, for they will then be tasked with the burden of having to “comfort you”.  Listening is one of the hardest skills to pick up, many cannot do it the proper way. 

     Do you want to test what people value the most?  It’s as simple as a few clicks of a button these days.  Go through social media, notice how few people show attention to the mental health stuff vs how many views/ likes there will be on the latest “ideal beauty fad body”.  Generally speaking, the more hot bods in a picture, the more cherished as evidenced by likes/ follows/ comments. 

     People may not give a shit about all the important things, the things of substance, value, and the things of genuine concern in this world.  Some may prefer distraction, deflection, denial and isolation.  It is okay, for we all have our defense mechanisms.  We are all guilty of partaking in these defense mechanisms as well.  It is hard for most people to care about things above and beyond themselves.  Think about what we are asking for after all.  A more empathic world, a place where humans want to talk and interact about emotions they were trained to suppress/ deflect.  That is intimidating!

     So why engage in emotional expression even when knowing the world may not give a shit about your problems?  First off, what are you trying to communicate?  Why is it important to be heard about a specific topic?  Has the emotional issue’s been building up and festering?  Have you been judged for said topic in the past?  No matter the reason, engaging in emotional expression is for you.  It is about you, not necessarily about the reaction of the receiver.  Quite honestly, most of the times I have admitted to a family member, friend or acquaintance about at least 1 of my 4 mental health conditions, it was typically met with unpleasant reactions.  Examples include strange staring, silence, judgmental punchlines, denial, deflective statements and/ or laughter. 

     As hard as it can be to engage in the vulnerability and risk of emotional expression, the positive result is what it can teach us.  It teaches us, most importantly, who we can and cannot trust in regard to sharing.  It gives us a gauge of who is open to listening vs those that we may only want to have the “silly distracting humor” convos with.  There is value in this knowledge, and it is next to impossible to morph that deflective friend/ family member of yours into a compassionate and empathetic human being. 

     Now, let’s talk about “Freedom of will”.  I ask every client to talk about what this expression means.  Freedom of will, means that we have the freedom to do and say as we please, and to not do what we do not want to do.  Truly appreciating freedom of will, also means respecting that every individual in your life has their freedom of will too.  You have the freedom of will to practice discussing your issues at your own liberty whenever you want, and the person on the receiving end has the freedom of will to not give a shit and/ or insult you.  You then, have the freedom of will to make boundaries with them, or curse them out, or block them off, or just realize they are not emotionally expressive or educated.  We have the freedom of will to express ourselves just as much as other’s have the freedom of will to hide their mental health issues with every fiber in their being. 

     Everyone asks me “Elisa, how do you do it?  How can you be a therapist?  Isn’t it hard to give advice and be ignored?  Isn’t it hard to always see people messing up their lives?”  My answer always starts with the above paragraph’s concept.  I absolutely could never have been a therapist if I did not learn to respect and value freedom of will.  It takes the pressure off and reminds me that my clients, like myself and everyone else, have that freedom of will to decide how badly they want to make changes in their life, and what they are willing to do/ risk to make these life changes.  I am a healing agent, but I have no true say or will over another person’s life, as they do not have power over mine.

     So, people may not give a shit, but we don’t need them to.  What we need, more than anything is to continue practicing our freedom of will, freedom of emotional expression, and the “unconditional other people acceptance” of knowing we may not get what we need on the receiving end, but it’s okay.  It should never disrupt the process of emotional sharing; a million people’s ruthless opinions will NEVER change one simple fact: It is healthier to express and share than it is to hide under the pressure and burden of silence.  They have the freedom of will to not give a shit about our feelings, as we have the freedom of will to continue sharing despite the harsh reactions.  After all, we didn’t get this far in our lives by living in an empathetic world.  People that are already sharing in emotional expressions out loud are extremely brave, and what we teach the world above all, is that it is okay to do so.  Let nothing silence it! 

Published by functionallymentall

Social Worker, Writer, USAF Veteran

3 thoughts on ““In Most Cases, people do not give a Shit”

  1. AGREED, people don’t give a shit, really.

    Most don’t, anyway. Particularly, if the dynamics of the interpersonal relationship aren’t very specifically – intimate. And when they are intimate but still lack basic empathy beyond the hay-roll – there’s an engaged relationship time bomb that is set to ultimately explode.

    Most others don’t care, because the constructs of the predominant paradigm that weighs on all of us – creates our own issues that we are either consciously addressing, consciously avoiding, subconsciously suppressing or FN oblivious of.

    So, to your point – when one is consciously addressing their issues by employing their freedom of will to do so – so long as they remain cognizant that in the healing process: the BENEFIT of the EXPRESSION will most likely outweigh response of its (aloof) audience — then progress is possible.

    And your highlighting this truth Elisa, is important.

    Liked by 3 people

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