Stop Romanticizing Trauma in your 2020 Relationships

It can be fun to view your life as a movie or a novel. The saturated moments when the windows are down, or the perfect person you met at a house party become the plotline with us as the protagonist. Our ability to replay the supercuts of these memories make them the moments we cling to when life feels less cinematic. However, sometimes it is not the happy moments or the quirky personalities we choose to cast in our film, and instead the gray, more damaging ones we choose to cast as our starring role. 

As if 2020 hasn’t been twisted enough, one thing I have noticed this year is the fact that we often have a very distorted view of relationships. As movies go, we often see character development in a two-hour time span. Transferring this to our own lives, movies give us an unrealistic expectation of being able to see the same character development in our friends and partners. 

When it comes down to it, you are not the one with the responsibility of writing or rewriting someone else’s sad story to fit the endings you typically see. Mental illness is often romanticized or falsely represented in a lot of today’s media. No matter how many memes, movies or songs are created, it is nothing glamorous. There is a difference between being there for someone and romanticizing their trauma in a way to add a layer to the plot of your own internalized storyline. 

couple against the wall

Additionally, we often feel the burden or take satisfaction in wanting to “fix” those who come into our lives. Once again, playing off the notion that their trauma or mental illness is movie-esque and we can be the protagonist that saves them. The ending does not turn out like Perks of Being a Wallflower and instead you end up alienating your loved one or becoming consumed in their problems and neglecting your own. Not to mention, it can lead to toxic codependency, instead of each person being an independent unit within a relationship.

Often this need to fix others and make their traumas out to be something you can tailor to your plot may not be based in a cinematic yearning, but a subconscious need to fix the self. Wanting so badly to renovate and fix someone else’s issues is often a strong projection of needing to do the same for yourself. 

Trauma is not epic, alluring nor fixable. Despite what the movies show you, we can do nothing more than accept our loved ones, as well as ourselves. There is nothing romantic about being someone’s therapist when you are supposed to be their friend or romantic partner. Character development does not happen in the span of movie time. Accept those in your life no matter their past and assist them in seeking professional help if needed.

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