Facebook has been too appalling lately. I miss the sense of experience shared with distant friends, and I miss the news feeds and humor — but the humans are getting me down. A guy who is friends with most of my friends came out as having unmanageable depression and asked for recommendations for therapists in his area. Most of the reply posts are his actual friends giving him shit for being a crybaby wuss, for being self-indulgent, for whining. I only saw his post because one of my actual friends made a snide post about depression being a fashionable bandwagon he’s missing out on.
Is it wrong for a mental health professional to beat the crap out of someone? Answer: yes, because the friend in question has recognized his own severe depression and has chosen to eschew treatment on the grounds that “I’ve got a perfect wife, a big house, and a job that compensates me handsomely. I have no grounds to bitch.” My friend worships strength and has bought into all its fallacies. In the past year, he moved away from all his friends, to a town he hates, and has chosen to stay with his infertile wife instead of moving toward a nameless other who could make his dream of having bio-kids come true. He’s an asshole of the first water and my heart breaks for him. He has a sharp intellect but only slightly more self-awareness than a collie pup.
The Book of Faces is also delivering horrible statements from women I love. White girls spewing out stuff they don’t realize is racist AF. Bernie fans coughing up a whole bunch of misogyny on Hillary (along with the offensive BS about voting for her simply because she has a vagina.) Gay friends making outright yucky comments about trans folk. On and on it goes, and where it stops, I’ll never know, because I’m on a intermittent Facebook fast. When I get tagged I do glance at it briefly, and then I have to leave before I choke on my own vomit.
Part of this is the idiotic pseudo-therapeutic “Purple Clover”-type posts. These are mostly motivational blurbs designed to keep us (especially women) kicking ass and loving life and not letting the bad stuff get us down. A lot of them are fun and nicely cheesy, along the lines of “Don’t Sweat The Petty Stuff, Just Pet The Sweaty Stuff.” Fine and dandy. But there is a regular thread of nastiness, whose effects can be seen in the waxy buildup of thumb-sucking in the comments.
“Share This If You No Longer Tolerate Bullshit” is a relevant example, since the commenters mostly sound like high-maintenance bitches who have zero tolerance for the foibles of others, but expect others to cater to their BS. You don’t get to have zero bullshit tolerance and then post, “If They Can’t Handle You At Your Britney They Don’t Deserve Your Beyonce.” If you can get past the hypocrisy, then wade through the entitlement, there is the booby prize of negatively comparing Britney to Beyonce — and likening yourself to either — especially after the posts about “Don’t Compare Me To Others — There Is Only One ‘Me’ And I’m Perfect At It.” Ugly comparisons are common: “In A World Of Kardiashians, Be An Audrey.” Oh, fuck you. The list of why that’s inappropriate is too long to unpack. And do you really think Audrey Hepburn would be pleased to have her likeness used to sneer at people who might be tacky, but who are essentially harmless?
(Side note: please stop using “classy” unironically. If you mean gracious, gallant, generous, genuine, or good, say so. If you mean tasteful, discreet, responsible, refined, or luxurious, say so. “Classy” is a term used to describe “broads” from Jersey to Vegas who “dress real nice and don’t act too slutty.” It’s a term owned by the Real Housewives of Wherethefuckever and people who don’t understand why the rest of us howl at Ron Burgundy.)
Also irksome are all the people, the throngs of deeply butt-hurt people, on FB or Pinterest or even Etsy, who go into great detail describing the behavior of their exes, behavior well within the normal limits for your garden variety asshole, and then building up this mountain of (what they believe is) evidence for that ex having a clinical disorder: he’s an abusive narcissist. He’s a sociopath. He’s a psychopath. On and on. I’m not saying it’s likely or unlikely, possible or impossible. I’m saying that untrained non-clinicians (problem one) trying to diagnose (problem two) people with whom they have a personal relationship (problem three) for the purposes of justifying their perception of self as “Horribly Victimized” rather than self as “Having Been Rudely Treated By Someone Who Seemed Cool” (problem four) or even asking themselves why they have such horrible taste in partners (problems five through eighty-seven) is itself an indication that the Horrible Victim has a problem unrelated to the ex.
Stitch it on a sampler: CHECK YOURSELF. That doesn’t mean “feast on self-doubt”, “second guess all your choices”, or “indulge in midnight reviews of mistakes and wonder if you’ll ever get your shit together.” It means TEST YOUR LOGIC, against reality and perception. It means IDENTIFY YOUR MOTIVATION, with honesty — and even if you can’t overcome your fears and self-rationalizations and defense mechanisms, you can learn to spot them and figure out why you need them — without despising yourself for that need. It certainly means TEST YOUR VALUES, and if you don’t really know what your values are, you need to work on that before you make any judgments whatsoever.