I’ve always been hesitant to post about this because I’m worried people will take it as a personal offense and I just want to say in advance this isn’t “@ anyone” or a callout even
I just feel like emotional consent as a concept is rarely talked about and therefore it’s often breached unknowingly (hence why I don’t never get mad at anyone specific for breaching it), and also I think it’s important I make this post. I didn’t learn what it was till I was older, and most people don’t.
Essentially “emotional consent” is a mutual understanding and willing agreement between both parties when discussing directly emotional or potentially emotionally loaded questions.
I’m going to start with examples, and I know it might feel bad at first if you recognize you do some of them (it’s okay, we all do from time to time), but please keep reading because I promise I’ll get onto alternative dialogues and solution
Here are some examples of what a breach of emotional consent can look like- not all the ways of course, but the major ones off the top of my head:
Venting to someone without warning or established boundaries this can look like starting a conversation by venting, or detailing graphic information seemingly out of nowhere and without effective trigger warnings. This can put people in situations where they feel like they have to respond, even if they’re not emotionally equipped, if they’re busy, or if they don’t have the spoons. Of course, usually this wasn’t the intent of the venter, but still has the same effect. FYI- this includes celebrities, social media icons, and people you admire.
Talking graphically about sex, masturbation, or anything in that range without warning or established boundaries this can look like anything from sharing a funny sexual escapade with your friends, and dirty jokes, to sexual harassment and telling someone hows bad you want to fuck them despite not knowing how they feel about it. Sometimes in these scenarios, people can appear visibly comfortable in attempt to fit in and not seem prudish, or to avoid awkward confrontation. This can also be especially sensitive because this is a topic that can very easily and unexpectedly bring up traumas and insecurities along with the discomfort, and it can perpetuate rape culture.
Using pet-names and romantic implications, even platonically, without established consent this one was tough for me to swallow at first because I love pet names and I love using them platonically to show love. But even more, I want the people I love to feel comfortable and safe around me. Some people have deeper more negatively charged, or more intensely charged feelings around pet names than I do, and I wouldn’t want to subject them to that. Some people are also comfortable with certain pet names and not others. Also things like calling platonic meetups dates, cuddling, and platonically holding hands mean different things to different people, which is important to respect.
Showing people media or sending articles or news with heavy emotional content either without warning, or with the expectation of discussion part of this is about including trigger warnings, and making sure viewing triggering content is optional in spaces and interactions we have control over. Another part though, is the fact that we often expect people to have interactions and discussions with us about emotionally charged topics, including politics, crime, oppression, natural disasters, etc. without fully understanding how this can affect the other person.
Telling someone they’re the only person you feel comfortable telling something to, or be open with this one sucks because it usually (except in cases of abuse) comes out of genuine care and wanting to make the other person feel special. That being said, no matter how you phrase it, it can put a massive responsibility on the person that similar to my first example, can make them feel obligated to help even when they’re not in an appropriate place to.
Expecting people to share personal or intimate information a lot of times we ask emotionally loaded questions because we care about and are interested in the lives of our loved ones. That being said, if we’re not careful people can really feel obligated to share information they’re not prepared to, or don’t want to process at the moment. This can look like “How’s your health been?” “How are you handling [life event]?” and “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
so now the more pleasant part! What can it look like to prioritize emotional consent instead- these correspond in order of initial bullets
Starting vague and asking if it’s okay an example dialogue could be “I’m feeling crappy about [blank] are you up to listen to me talk about it?” I also love to add “or should I try [alternative coping method/talking to someone else right now?]” to the end of that if I have one so the other person knows if they say no I have something to turn to. Another example could be “Would it be alright for me to vent right now? FYI it may include mentions of [possible triggers] so if you’re not up for it right now I understand?” or simply “Are you comfortable with me talking about [blank?]”. Also talking to a celebrity or idol “You really helped me with [blank]. I don’t know if you’re comfortable with detail so I won’t elaborate, but I really appreciate it.” or “You really helped me with [blank.] [An explanation about what specifically helped or inspired you in more detail rather than graphic description of the event.]”
Again! You can just ask example dialogue can include “Can I mention something about my sex life?” “I have a joke but it’s dirty so I want to make sure thats okay with you” “Can I say something nsfw?” “Is everyone here okay with sex mentions?”
Asking still works! Example dialogue can be “Thanks [petname] (are you okay with me using that or would you rather I don’t)” “Are you okay being called [petname]?” “Are you comfortable with [intimate platonic act]?” “Do you want to [intimate platonic act]?” “I’d like to [intimate platonic act] if you’d be okay with that”
Ask/Warn ahead of time or clarify you don’t need response example dialogue “I want to process [news event] but I know it’s heavy so I wanted to ask first” “Jsyk this article contains [possible triggers] so don’t read it if you think it’d be harmful to you]” “Can I ask your opinion on [charged topic]. If you’d rather not, I understand” “[thought or link to article] FYI no need to respond. I just wanted to share.]”
Show you’re appreciation in other ways using phrases that show appreciation but don’t implicate responsibility like “Thanks for being here for me whenever you’re able to” “I really appreciate being able to talk about this with you” “It means a lot to me that I can feel so comfortable and open with you” “Being able to talk about this with you has been really helpful for me and I’m really glad I was ables to.”
Asking with an easy out or optional response examples include “Hey, I know you’re dealing with as lot and grieving right now so I absolutely don’t need a response, but I wanted to remind you if you need support in any way I’m available and have time right now.” “Do you want to talk about [emotionally charged life event] or would you rather talk about something else right now?” “I know it’s hard to talk about these things and I understand if you can’t, but I want to remind you that when you can and want to I’m available and won’t judge you.” “Would venting be helpful or draining right now?” “What’s the best way I can support you, or are you not sure right now?”
Sorry this became a long ass post but I thought it was important. I should also add that the exception of course is therapists and counselors, crisis hotlines, or other people trained and already prepared to cope with these things. but besides that- try and emo responsibly.
If somebody asks me what executive dysfunction is, I’m gonna point them to a web article or suchlike that explains it better than I can.
If somebody asks me what executive dysfunctions feels like, though, I’d say that it’s like waiting for a video stream to buffer or for a web page to load. You could do so many other things, except you’ve only got a few minutes at most to wait, so most of them aren’t worth starting. So instead you read a few lines of an article or check out your tumblr dash or go get a glass of water. You fill time, because most people don’t like to stare at a loading bar for several minutes if they have other options. Sure, you’re doing things, but if anyone asked what you were up to you’d probably just say “waiting,” because you’re really just doing whatever you can to make the time go faster.
Now just imagine that instead of doing this for a couple minutes, you’re stuck in this state for hours on end. You’re waiting for the thing to finish, but every time you check it’s still not done so you just keep waiting, breaking your day down into chunks too small to do anything with. You think about playing a game, but you don’t actually start it up. You get a drink, but you don’t make lunch. You open your word processor, but you don’t actually start writing. You’re stuck in a holding pattern, killing time minute by minute, and by the time you realize you don’t actually know what you’re waiting for, the day is already gone.
It isn’t a matter of being lazy or undisciplined, or a case of making bad decisions. Executive dysfunction is a problem with the organ responsible for making decisions in the first place. When it stops working properly, stops being able to decide between doing this or doing that or doing nothing at all, you end up just going with what comes naturally. You fidget. You kill time. You wait, in expectation of a decision to wait no longer. It may be a long time coming.
-Lance knows this, it’s why he spends hours just just watching Hunk work, keeping him company and telling him that it’s time to go to bed whenever it’s late
-Lately Hunk has been getting ready for the final battle with the Galra, taking inspiration from the trap they created intended for Allura and Coran
-It is a machine that will get its intended target into a never ending black hole, no time loops, no time jumps, just nothing
-And it seems like the machine works because they have experimented on inanimate objects and have tried everything possible to bring them back and once it becomes impossible they know that they can then build one on a bigger scale
-Hunk’s machine works and it will save the day but
-Something goes wrong with the machine, it was something that kept cropping up in the beta testing, it’s a certain screw that just never really wants to work
-And see the only people who know where the screw is and how to fix it are Lance and hunk
-And once you fix it, it’s game over, there no coming back from it
-Lance and hunk both know this
-Before Hunk can even go apologize or go fix it
-Lance is already on his way to the machine
-But just before he gets there, he stops and through the intercom tells Hunk “You are the best damn engineer and friend in this world, watch me make your machine work buddy”
-And hunk is just sobbing repeating “I love you Lance and please don’t do this, I can’t do this without you, I can’t do this without my best friend”
-And now the rest are starting to catch on to what Lance is really doing but by that point it’s too late the galra are gone
- Lance is gone
-And because Hunk is such a good fucking engineer there’s no way to ever get him back
-But you see it’s because Hunk is such a good engineer that he doesn’t give up
-He works non-stop for almost a year trying to get Lance back
-Pidge spends more time on the computer becoming more withdrawn, more obsessive in finding his family, including Lance
-Shiro takes it hard, he feels as if he’s let down his team for not being able to keep them all in one piece, he goes back to being very tense and stiff around the others
-Allura spends days, even weeks trying to find Lance, pinpoint where in all the universe he could be, she won’t say it but she misses his bad pick up lines
-And Coran is just hurt and upset that the young man who would get so homesick and yet try his best and be there for others would give up his chance to see his family and that is what pains him the most
-And Keith just starts spending even more time training, withdrawing from others, trying to act as if though he doesn’t miss Lance, trying to move on, failing to move on
-Hunk just well he needs to get Lance back because what is life without your best friend?
-Who just sits for hours on end just to watch you work and tinker
-A friend who has been there for so long they know what tool you need with a look
-A friend who knows that food isn’t the only important thing to but goddamn we need to find small things that bring us happiness
-A friend who makes you go to sleep when it’s late and you’ve been on a creating binge (the others don’t know but that’s okay the person who needs to know, does)
-A friend who just wants you to succeed
-A friend who loves you for who you are and ask for nothing in return
- A friend who would die for them, for him…..
-What is life without your best friend?
-Hunk already knows and he never wants to live through that again
-Because you see it’s because Hunk is such a good fucking engineer that he does get Lance back
From the DVD Commentary with Julie Gardner [executive producer] and Matthew Graham [writer]
Julie Gardner: I love this finger-in-jam moment. I remember seeing it on the rushes and just loving it.
Matthew Graham: Well that’s how it goes with this show. One minute the Doctor is saying, “There’s a terrible evil in your house and I’m here to help,” and the next minute he’s eating your jam, and being ticked off for it.
JG: I remember at one point, in one draft of the script, there was a big discussion about whether we should see the Doctor and Rose asleep overnight, because they are trapped in this house. And I was very, very keen on that because that’s something we’ve never seen before, and I think Russell and you both said, “Actually, no - we’ve got to keep the energy going, and given what’s happening he’s never going to be off-guard.”
MG: Do you know what, it would have been a really nice scene. The thing is, we probably would have cut it out at this stage
JG: Because you’d want to keep moving. Absolutely. Oh, all these nice ideas that never make it in.