The trigger for this article is the latest story from Hollywood, with John Legend sharing a heartbreaking photo of Chrissy Teigen, sitting on a hospital bed crying shortly after losing their baby.
At the real risk of being labeled heartless and insensitive, I think they are emotional vampires. Whatever has happened to our culture that has caused a disproportionate need for support, to the point where privacy has gone out the window? This can’t be a good thing. Private time with family and close friends, extra self-care, grieving – all perfectly appropriate and necessary. Reaching out to the world and baring your deepest heartache to strangers seems to scream a sucking vortex of emotional need that can never be filled. Yet, wonderful people who have nothing to do with this couple try their hardest to “be there” for them. Yes, everyone benefits from loving support, but to this extent?
I love my friends. They really are great; generous, devoted, interesting, and mostly tough as nails. But something about being on social media and being exposed to what they spend their energy on has caused a brain-click.
This is not to say they aren’t good people—they are. But what rents space in their heads are things that – IMO – are hurting them. Like composing elaborate, comforting posts to John Legend. Seeking out tragedy to participate in, somehow.
It’s not just celebrities, either – which is harmless enough, I suppose – but more harm comes from events like this example:
Person A is arrested for DUI. Needs a lawyer for money to fight their corner. On the surface, Person A is a victim of circumstance – single father just trying to make a good life for his kids framed by a ball-busting cop on the ONE NIGHT Person A decided to go out and tie one on. Starts a GoFundMe page. Everyone shares it – please help this poor man. Sounds like a good cause, right? Help a buddy, it could be any of us. However: a quick Google search nets a much deeper understanding of Person A. This is Person A’s 8th DUI in as many years. Person A’s kids are in foster homes because Person A cannot provide a stable, safe home for them. Person A was drinking a beer while driving when he got pulled over, he wouldn’t stop for police until he was in his driveway. After his beer was finished.
This deeper understanding identifies Person A as a bad investment, and I will not be contributing to their GoFundMe. However, many of my friends did. Many went out of their way to be supportive. Seven years later? Person A remains a sucking vortex of financial and emotional need.
I’m watching my friends running dry, seemingly afraid or perhaps just unable to stop giving, stop participating, just drop the rope on this loser. And many others.
So – what is it that makes anyone give until it’s unhealthy? Guilt? Shame? Fear?
I don’t know, but I do stay out of it.
A related example is that our public roads are dotted with memorials to those who have lost their lives. Tragic, of course. But – is this not why we have cemeteries? Lots of people are depressed already. Do we need a reminder – sometimes daily – that someone’s loved one lost their lives at this particular spot? Having one of these at the bus stop I waited at daily eventually made me angry. It was tended to regularly; someone stopped and added flowers, or a candle, or a birthday card. I learned to “let it go” and ignore it, but many people cannot, and feel badly every time they see it, even though they never met the person who died there.
Again, WHY. Why do we do this??? IMO, it’s because of the aforementioned sucking vortex of emotional need. Everyone needs to hurt.
That is harmful.