This blog post revolves around polyamory. For more information go here: Vanpoly, Wikipedia A side note about this is that I started on the journey to healing my traumatic issues from the past as a result of my thought that polyamory might be for me. The two things are quite intrinsically entwined for me.
Imagine if you will. Poly Fredericke and Poly Moog. Poly Fredericke and Poly Moog are having an issue in their poly relationship. They have been poly for years and they have been married for longer than that. They search out on facebook or fetlife any number of poly communities and post their stories looking for advice.
What they get is this:
Poly Albright: I’m so sorry that you two are experiencing this interruption in the peace and flow of your relationship! I hope that you two can work it out! When a lover and I were having a similar issue where we were going to break up I just sat down and wrote down a list of all the things I love and need about them and then compared it to my actual wants and needs and realized that I was totally not being poly enough at that moment! I swallowed my needs and things were like SOOOOOOO much better for our relationship and I feel like my poly was SO much stronger for it!
Poly BigGiantHead: Wow, communication difficulties are so hard to get around. Lets all acknowledge that you guys did the right thing coming to ask for help. When I feel like I’m about to have problems with my partners I just go about doing all the preventative things to avoid having those fights that you two couldn’t possibly go back in time and do. Hope that helps!
Poly Erma: I’m so sorry that you guys are living through negative emotion X (jealousy, inadequacy, confusing thoughts about ethics) but my best practices are Y (not doing those things) and I hope you can find happiness and light.
Poly Albright, BigGiantHead and Erma have immediately jumped on Poly Fredericke and Moog’s post. They haven’t helped. AT ALL. They just talked about themselves and how they do things.
WHICH IS TOTALLY A HELPFUL THING SOMETIMES. If you remember you are relating it back to someone else other than yourself and that other people’s hurts and pains aren’t the place for you to be airing what makes you sooooooo great at poly (in your mind).
I know that these comments are always made with the intent to help, soothe and otherwise be good to each other. But their function is a sad and unfortunate story of how to alienate and put people down whilst trying to uplift them. When all we talk about is the positive… especially in the face of someone asking about how to deal with the negative… Its not very empathetic.
What is our fear about talking about the darkness? Acknowledging it and knowing it is there. Knowing that without it, we can’t properly see or acknowledge our light. The light we spout when we are ignoring darkness becomes toxic fluff that if it dominates will stifle discussion, alienate people and generally bring us down totally unintentionally.
Lets talk about silencing.
You know what gets lost in all the hullaballoo about ourselves and our best practices that we spew at people to try and enlighten them to the fact that they wouldn’t be having problems if they were JUST LIKE US…? People who are having the same problem. People who have dealt with the same problem (though those folks are more likely to interject into the sweetness and light brigade to bring things back to reality) and people who might just be totally ready to sit there and comment back and forth with someone while they ask questions that help a person find the solutions for themselves to their issues.
BUT WAIT. YOU’RE TOTALLY SILENCING ME WHEN YOU TELL ME TO SHUT UP ABOUT MYSELF.
Well. Yes. Sort of. But I am doing this intentionally. Whereas when people immediately comment with poly platitudes they are unintentionally silencing people. And communication is about doing what we mean to when we mean to.