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Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020 - 7:57 p.m.

I came across this comment in a discussion thread. The context was a discussion of a person who was having some difficulty with their partners wanting hierarchy, but anyway:

“You are absolutely calling the shots and ignoring their feelings, and this is absolutely ok. You get to do that. Their emotions are not more important than your desires, and especially not any sentence that has the word “should” in it. Do things because you want to and they make you happy, not because the people in your life expect it of you. Do not shrink yourself and make yourself smaller to fit in with your partners expectations.

(Also, please consider whether societal expectations of womens behaviour in relationships plays into this conflict.)

I would also draw the boundary that you are done with listening to them and you expect them to do any emotional work needed on this without you.”

I had such a hard time even reading that. The situation was not one I personally related to, but I still had a hard time reading it. So I want to reflect on why. Is it generally right? Is it wrong?

I think I was raised precisely to the belief that others’ emotions were more important than my desires. That the “shoulds” were binding, and meeting expectations was important.

That anyone would have negative emotions because of my desires, and that that would just be their problem...well, that’s fine for strangers, but for family? Partners? No. I learned that it was my responsibility.

I mean, surely it depends on the desire? Or on the emotion? Or does it? What do we appeal to in this? We shouldn’t let someone’s potential anger control us, even from small things, right? Is “if I do X, they will feel angry” ever a reason to not do X? Why should we let any other emotion control us? Pain? Irritation? Jealousy?

But also we don’t just never take other people’s feelings into consideration. I doubt the writer would advocate for that. So...how do you know when you’re being a dick?

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