People Who Need People….
…are the luckiest people in the world?
Well, really Barbra?
OK, this is going to be sort of rant-y, so feel free to skip, if you’re so inclined, but there’s a point that I want to make today, about people.
People who need people…. to give them attention.
Well, really, there’s a certain particular person that I’m thinking of today who has really done a lot in the last eight months to garner hirself some attention. And I have definitely come to the realization that it doesn’t seem to matter to hir if said attention is negative attention. Attention is attention, and if one has that depth of psychological need (on par with hunger or thirst), and is of that particular mindset, I imagine that any sort of attention seems better than being ignored.
To have such an unhealthy depth of need for the attention of others – even if it garners negative reactions from others – becomes problematic very quickly, for both the person seeking the attention, and for the people that person is seeking attention from.
I should hope that Barbra wasn’t talking about that sort of behavior…but I do have to wonder with lyrics such as:
A feeling deep in your soul
Says you are half now you’re whole
No more hunger and thirst
But first be a person who needs people…
So, anyway. Maybe Barbra does know what sort of people that I’m talking about.
Because this fits, in my opinion.
This person has deep need to connect in any way zie can to others in this community, so much so that I really have to wonder if it does come down to a depth of need so profound that it might as well be conflated with hunger and thirst because it seems so…strong, so all-encompassing, so necessary to hir well-being.
I find myself – where I’m at – watching the drama unfold over and over again concerning this person.
Likewise, I see a swath being cut through several online communities.
I’ve even seen evidence of it moving beyond online. Discord. Rage. Threats.
Just because it’s online, doesn’t mean it’s less meaningful or disturbing.
And when it moves beyond that, moves beyond just ‘discord online’, there’s no telling where it may go.
Indeed, where is it going to go?
This is not the first situation, or the first person like this that I have met, or known, for that matter.
One particular reader of this blog may find this story familiar, because it, too, is about another needy person that we became familiar with in a particular portion of the blogosphere.
Let’s call this person, S.
S. was so needy for attention — and so hungry for drama — that, at one point, S. maintained at least 6 different blogs at this one particular website, and several more elsewhere.
Do I need to also point out that S. took great pains to convey hirself under 6 different user accounts? Or that zie also made attempts to disguise hir writing in such a way on each of hir 6 blogs that your average reader was supposed to assume that each was written by a different person?
And the means by which S would use to claim legitimacy to being 6 different people was achieved by lifting photos (usually of babies or children) from the blogs of others, as well as hijacking the details of others’ life stories.
How did I find S.?
I met hir in person. Zie was the 16 year old romantic partner of one of my husband’s coworkers. I met hir in August 2002, when I was pregnant with my second child.
Little did I know of S.’s personal Internet habit, until that co-worker and zie broke up in February 2003, and I discovered several drafts of blog posts that zie had written residing in MS Office folder on the hard drive of my home computer. Zie had written these drafts during visits to my home, under the auspices of ‘checking (hir) email.’
While S. didn’t ‘steal’ photos of mine to lend legitimacy to claims on one of hir blogs that zie was a single parent to a newborn baby, or put a face on the claim that zie was 30 year old ‘survivor’ who’d just discovered that zie had cancer, but zie did cherry-pick some details from my own personal life to lend legitimacy to the details on hir blogs.
(It’s been said that imitation is the highest form of flattery…but some of S.’s ‘imitations’ were downright disturbing.)
But what did I do?
I tried to help hir.
I encouraged S. to seek help for hir depression, rage, paranoia, and all-encompassing need to be loved, to be noticed, to be a part of a community…a need so profound that it seemed to me that zie would say and do almost anything for attention, almost anything to *maintain a presence* in somebody’s life, in somebody’s community.
Through threats, through lies, through creating drama, through pitting people who were supposed to be hir friends (or former friends) against each other in what was supposed to be a community of people who supported each other, mostly through the Internet – – that is, unfortunately how S. maintained a presence in the lives of hir chosen (Internet) community for almost 8 years.
Almost 8 fucking years.
Because creating a negative presence was better than not having any presence at all.
And I realized in helping S. — or in trying to help hir — that some people who need people…can and do *do* a lot of emotional damage to those around them when they are not getting their needs met.
Some people need people to give them attention. And it doesn’t matter in what form that attention manifests…they just want attention.
They want, they need to maintain a presence…in somebody’s life. In somebody’s community.
So, back to the person that I referred to in the beginning of this post:
How far is it going to go?
As far as they need it to go until their needs are met, I suspect.
And that, my friends, I know from experience, can be a very long distance.