We all have them and they live at a particularly exact address: all over the cerebral cortex, with vacation homes in the frontal lobe and the limbic system. You’ll often find them there, dancing a dancing plague with Oedipus’ and Electra’s complexes, hand in hand with unrevealed-yet Freudian slips and singing out loud tunes of past depressions.
Fears, insecurities, complexes, call them what you may- they’re a constant and they usually
a) come bundled up (where there’s one, it usually has friends- coocoo needs company, don’t it?);
b) are hard to get rid of- if anything, age and a combination of self-imposed “I finally like who I am now, I did two classes on self-discovery, it’s so great to embrace who I am” + a wide array of repeated self-fulfilling prophecies make them fatter, quicker to fire through our neurons and thirstier for those poisonous chemicals that support the whole thing;
c) affect us all- we ALL have them. Like I said, coocoo does need company.
So we know what they’re about. We try to address them by either confronting them straight up (you know, the classic I’m gonna jump out of a plane for my 30th birthday because I’ve always been afraid of heights. And I’m gonna start a support group for people like me, and I’m gonna write a blog about this experience, and I’m gonna throw a party for it because I-was-so-weak-and-this-was-sooooooo-liberating, haters gonna hate but I defeated the fear monster, ohmygodimsostrongnow) or by building smart, fluid, compensatory mechanisms to hide them from ourselves and others. Which is terribly human, and terribly ok- particularly when the result is self- awareness and acceptance that hey, not all of us mortals are perfect (and if we’re not, maybe others are not, either, so let’s play nice with each other, shall we?).
But when the playing nice does not happen, insecurities become more apparent, and we can’t help but notice them (it’s like staring at an ugly wound- it’s gross, but you can’t take your eyes off that damn pus). So here are a few signs someone in your life might have sensitivities towards you that you, the be-the-better-man should try to mind (if you can, that is. Sometimes knowing he/she is insecure doesn’t make it easier to deal with their grouchy, judgmental, unfriendly ass):
1. They like to take the opposite side (don’t be fooled by an affirmation- anything followed by a “but” is nothing but a contradiction in disguise: “yes, but…”)
2. They unassumingly, discreetly remind you how good they are at something. If you admire a new piece of clothing on a common friend, you’ll probably hear “hey, X, didn’t I help you pick that?”- or something along those lines.
3. They take their time introducing you to their friends or making you part of their outside-the-circle activities.
4. They’re askholes. Masked as someone with great intentions and respect for you and what you have to say, an askhole always asks for your opinion, but never follows your advice.
On the same note, they’ll try hard not to ever be in your debt. Whether that takes the form of them insisting on splitting the bill and paying back a gift with another (often more expensive, more carefully picked one) or by never asking for help (when you know they need it, and they know you would give it in a heartbeat), not owing you anything= power.
5. If you ever are so uninspired as to wrong them and fuck up, breach yourself. Doesn’t matter if your mistake is unintentional, if your dog died and you’re depressed, if you don’t speak the language or if you simply thought it wouldn’t be such a big deal- once they see you slip, they’ll prefer to think it’s because you’re badbadbad and will make it a mission to not only point it out, but find other victims of your destroying behavior and be their savior. Game over.
(Now, all of the above are points to look after in people who are close to you, whom you cherish and who care for you in return. If not, that means these behaviors are a pretty clear sign you’re not on the same page, and maybe you should be worried about whether they even like you… just sayin’.)
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