March 2, 2016

I imply that you imply that I imply that you suck

I made a note on a Facebook event to warn people who have issues with pets and small children that this event is likely to include pets and small children. I tried to word it in a way that would get people to contact me to deal with their concern instead of just not going, or suffering in silence. I got a pretty strong backlash, paraphrased:
"It's worded like an offer to sequester babies away from the party. I feel uncomfortable with phrasings that diminish their personhood, or imply their existence in their own home is a burden on others."
Well, I'm uncomfortable with the implications of this objection!

Don't get me wrong, I understand problems with people considering me a burden to interact with. It's awful. I have a hard time believing in my own worth. I'm continually finding old scars in places I didn't know existed. I don't want to cause that for someone else.

I did reword the note. I wanted to make sure potential issues were resolved ahead of time instead of by last-minute ultimatum, and it wouldn't accomplish my purpose if it pissed off the housemates.

I still resent the implications of this objection.

It tries to provide a protection for personhood by outlining the zone where they cannot be a burden, because, by definition, it is neutral ground to meet all their needs in that zone instead of someone else's. In the process, it runs roughshod over all my attempts to protect my own personhood and respect others'.

When I hear others talk about burdens they seem to treat it as an absolute scale instead of a relative scale. Someone is or isn't thought of as a burden, with some gradation for "how" burdensome. The label clearly matters to people. Being a burden is supposed to be terrible. For the longest time, I thought had to do everything in my power to not be one.

It makes me want to laugh and cry and scream all in one moment when people try to tug on my heartstrings by pointing out how awful it would be if there was no safe, neutral ground to interact with people from. Regardless of whether an interaction is "worth it", regardless of whether I want the interaction or actively try to disengage, it almost always costs me something to interact with people. The most obvious cost is sanity: too much stimulation with no recovery time leads to mental overload and shut down, and this cost is very much additive. The idea of a person who does not come with a cost to burden is *ludicrous* in my experience, but everyone I knew told me it was an achievable standard and failing to meet it was monstrous.

Life started going much better when I decided to to minimize the costs on me and let other people negotiate the costs to them. My neutral ground is the ground I'm standing on. I cannot interact with people as people if they're going to insist that the costs they impose don't count and can't be negotiated. Those aren't agents, those are natural disasters.

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