When Animals Attack

November 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

When in relationships, I often like to start fights. Not over major issues like politics or pedigrees, but over things like the correct way to fold towels or peel carrots. I guess I get bored, but maybe it’s more than that.

I read this Seth Godin blog post on small differences and caring today and enjoyed the main idea, which was “the squabbling among people who care is the first sign you’re on to something.” He linked this theory back to Freud.

Freud coined the term narcissism of small differences. This occurs when language differs only slightly, declaring each individual separate from another by a “taboo of personal isolation.” In history we can find endless examples of communities with adjoining territories (and other related connections) who have engaged in constant feuds and ridicule over tiny and insignificant differences. This sensitiveness to minor details of differentiation are examples of narcissism of small differences.

Freud says we do this “to achieve a superficial sense of one’s own uniqueness, an ersatz sense of otherness which is only a mask for an underlying uniformity and sameness.”

So regardless of the fact that I search high and low for a boyfriend highly compatible to myself, I seem to start these fights because I don’t like how similar we are? If that is the case, and I’m happy to give Freud the benefit of the doubt on this one, I would assume these fights are a statement of my individuality and independence. I grow tired of having someone around who can complete my sentences and as a result turn a molehill into a mountain.

Wow, people are crazy! And I’m sure the next person I start a fight with is going to love to hear this as my defense for the proper way to select and bag produce at the supermarket. Haha…

PS- Dane Cook’s thoughts on “nothing fights” — pretty funny!


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