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Saturday, May 26, 2012

On Invisibility & Responsibility

Apologies for the very late Sanguine Saturday post -- I wanted to complete this one first, and it has taken me this long to get it done.

Over the past little while I've been exploring the concept of invisiblity (in the symbolic, rather than literal, sense). What is it that makes some people more visible than others; and how much of that belongs on which side of the equation?

For myself, I've felt fairly unwelcome and invisible in several layers of my life recently. I suppose unwelcome isn't necessarily the right word, but certainly invisible is accurate. I've had times where I've wondered if I actually even still exist; if I dreamed my half of a conversation or if perhaps I simply forgot to say what I thought I'd said.

At first I told myself I was being silly. I told myself I was blowing things out of proportion and overreacting. I had, afterall, just come back after a bit of time away -- and before I went away, I often felt unwanted (possibly due to things in my own head). However as time went on, I began to speak about it a little with one or two other people -- people who had noticed the ways I had seemingly faded, and gave me confirmation that it wasn't all in my head.

Reassured that this wasn't entirely a case of borderline 'paranoia' or personal misconception due to insecurity etc, I began to explore why it might be so. What is it that I am doing that is leading to this response? IS it something I'm doing? I asked a few people in a general sort of way and I gave thought to their responses, however as they were responding in general terms (my own fault, as I'd asked in that capacity!) it was difficult to see what to apply to my situation and what not to.

Many theories have bounced around inside my head. Some combine both parties; others are concerned mainly with others' impressions/beliefs about me or focus on my failings. None of them have made me happier or bought me closer to a resolution. I wanted to talk to the people concerned directly, particularly the ones who matter most to me, but it's not the sort of thing I want to bring up in a Facebook message, and I haven't managed to catch them when I've been around online in order to really speak about it -- especially since I'd rather speak to as many people at once than deal with going through it individually.

Instead, I continue to theorise, to remind myself that there are people who do consistently choose to have me in their lives (in whatever capacity is possible at the moment) and to remind myself that these people wouldn't make that choice if I were fundamentally flawed to such a degree that I am not worthy of any friendship/caring/love.

And so... I bring this to you, dear blog friends. Have you ever felt this way? If you did, how did you handle the situation? How did other people respond to your management of same? And/or, what do you think makes some people more invisible than others and how much of the 'blame'/'responsibility' for that lies where?


  1. i think that last question, how much responsibility lies where, depends entirely on each situation. not even each person at a given time, but like, every single interaction. there might be some overall thing, but every interaction is unique. and i've given my ideas about why some people might be/feel invisible elsewhere, so....

    yes, i have felt this way. many many times. i've handled it in a variety of ways. i've invited people to spend more time with me (asking them specifically to answer questions, or to go out for a meal, or bringing a specific concern to them for advice; generally letting them know i still value them and our interactions and will actively work toward that). i've told them straight up "lately i'm feeling like i'm almost invisible to you" and had a frank discussion (if you go this route, i've learned that having specific examples of when you felt this way helps). i've consciously made myself a bigger presence in a group by talking more, showing up more, being more vulnerable or sharing more of myself.

    in a way, it's kinda back to the 4 options discussed on my blog, and this is one of those times when the talking part of it is essential, imo.

  2. I have felt this too, many years ago. I acted out instead, hurt myself and others. I find that now though I put myself out there and even if it makes me nervous and anxious, I usually say "Can I ask you something that is worrying me?". I do pick my times and it's really hard but taking that leap of faith has helped me. I often though put myself down first like "I am going to sound so dumb when I say this", you get the picture. I haven't got it worked out compleltely yet or I would stll be in that job where I was bullied and then ignored and my voice was not heard by those who mattered. Good luck my friend :)