Burn the Manual Presents: The Power and Cost of Visibility

By | November 4, 2018

When people want to punish those they love nothing works better than rendering them invisible.

Nathaniel Branden in his brilliant work on self esteem and its effects on relationships often highlights the need for psychological visibility. With this powerful ingredient, the ways that persons interact are filled with opportunities for growth and unlimited emotional intimacy. Without this as the cornerstone, relationships flounder and limp along towards demise and upset.

Anyone who has ever been involved with an individual seduced by the inhumane strategy that is domination understands the potency that is “invisibility”.

There are many ways we punish others (not listening when they speak, talking over them and interrupting them and redirecting the conversation).

Whether in the work place or the comfort of your home, the effects are vile, predictable and invite distrust and resentment.

Many years ago, I was summoned into another work meeting or as I like to refer to it : an ambush. Whenever I am asked to have a few minutes to talk it typically means that either someone has screwed up, is about to screw up or we are attempting to serve some serious damage control.

While I am often the go to person when it is crisis time, I am summarily overlooked and quickly forgotten once the day has been saved.

I often tell friends that I am often derided and or ridiculed for being weird, outspoken and too truthful, yet people often rely on my insight to assist them with inviting and managing change.

The one fear that consistently haunts me is that I will be rendered invisible.

As a young child, the misguided and miserable adults often vacillated between invisibility and ridicule and domination.

My family members and other unenlightened folks have spent many years reminding me that my “intelligence” will cause problems.

Several youth get punished for truth telling and pointing out inconsistencies shared by adults that target those who are deemed less powerful.

Young people learn that invisibility can both hurt and provide a place of safety and refuge.

Minorities and those on the “outside” are very aware that when you can be seen you can be hurt. We ask : Is it worth it? What will my family say? Will this cause alienation from all that is familiar and communal?

Too many of us bargain how much visibility is allowed based on where we are and the likelihood of being emotionally damaged. Those of us who have been attacked because our insight and brilliant questioning minds bring attention have learned the consequences of visibility.

Those of us who have fought hard to be ourselves and spent any amount of relevant time developing inner resources (strategies of resistance) understand the consequences involved with fighting to be seen and hold onto ourselves at the same time.

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