Definitions: The Language of Ripping Back

An ongoing attempt to define some of the words and phrases used here, with their contexts. If you see something in a post that’s not defined here, feel free to drop me a line at ripping back at gmail dot com and I’ll take a look at it.

Compersion: Originally used in the polyamory community, to describe the feeling of happiness you find because your partner’s happy, I use compersion to mean the act of finding happiness in anyone else’s happiness. The opposite of compersion is jealousy, whether you covet someone else’s joy for yourself or you’re attempting to sabotage someone else’s success. The ability to be find joy in someone else’s joy or success is a great blessing, and it is a talent we all would benefit from cultivating.

The Cult/culture of Okay: What emotional honesty is seeking to reject. People who engage in the culture treat “how are you” like neutral small talk, and share neither highs nor lows.

Effective Communication: Active listening, speaking honestly, not judging, showing appreciation, asking for what you need and being honest about what you can give. Effective communication is a cornerstone to a good relationship.

Emotional honesty: The act of being honest (with others and especially with yourself) about your feelings, your needs, your stress levels, and your thankfulness. Emotional honesty means rejecting the culture of okay, asking for help when you need it, and telling people when your feelings are hurt, you’re feeling fragile, AND when you’re feeling happy or blessed.

Gauge Check (also known as the Friday Chicken): Sharing the week’s ups and downs, setting goals for the next week, being honest about where we’ve been and where we want to go next.

Hurricane Isabel: My abusive ex (not her real name).  Surviving an abusive relationship feels rather like having lived through a hurricane – this enormous destructive force that leveled the small town that is your emotional and physical life.  Years later, you are still cleaning up the damage – and still finding new damage in rarely-visited corners.  Inherent in my claiming this description is the idea that ending up in an abusive relationship is not your fault, any more than ending up in the path of a hurricane is your fault.  I lived over 200 miles from the Atlantic in central Pennsylvania and my town was flooded by an overenthusiastic hurricane (not, oddly enough, 2003’s Hurricane Isabel).  Every relationship (romantic or otherwise) is a risk, and there are no relationship zones free from potential hurricanes.  The unfortunate thing is that if you’ve lived through one hurricane (my first hurricane was my father), the odds of another one hitting your life is considerably higher.  I have since moved to higher ground and further from the ocean, metaphorically speaking.


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