It is my impression that locals in Ireland have a hard time with emotional regulation.

Before you start reading here, know that this is a personal vent. I am talking about my impression, MY FEELING, not the absolute truth. This post is not the right place or time for you to debate with me; don’t insist, or I’ll block you. By all means, debate with me on one of the countless impersonal posts I’ve written. Not here.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I speak from the perspective of a foreigner, born and raised in the so-called “3rd world”. I have no idea if the perception I’ll talk about here is correct or not; if it isn’t, I’ll change my mind in the future. I DO NOT NEED angry commenters telling me I’m perceiving them wrong, or whatever. No, guys, I won’t tolerate that level of gaslighting and invalidation.

That’s because, guess what, I am discussing a feeling. I usually don’t, I tend to write from an impersonal perspective, but this ONE post is personal, FYI, so please respect that. Feelings can be misguided. That’s okay. I could look back on this post from the future saying “oh dear, past Meron, you were super wrong”. And that’s also okay. But do you know what ISN’T okay? Denying myself the right to express what feels true to me at this very moment in time. “Oh but you could just journal, there’s no need to write about your feelings in public”, some will say — to which I’m already replying: maybe others will relate. This is why I share. I don’t share it for the naysayers, it’s for the people who already agree and are perhaps feeling alone. And I’ll say more: I’m keeping a safe place here for them. Hence why I’m blocking the invalidating karens and kevins. I don’t fucking care how many stones are thrown at me, for heavens’ sake! I care about my followers who do NOT deserve to see that.

Maybe my perception will change. Maybe I’ll change my mind, but I’ll do so on my own, not because some entitled brat urged me to. Hard to swallow pill, isn’t it, love? Not everything can happen IMMEDIATELY at your command. Some things take time. So if you think I’m misguided, okay. Let’s see if I am misguided. Give it time. Why rush it? It’s because you don’t truly care about what’s true or not, do you, dear? You care about your ego. And in that case, goodbye. I’m not coddling any entitled people because they’re takers. They wouldn’t GIVE me the same. They just want to sit back, relax, and have ME do all the emotional labour for them. No thanks.

Here you can read my current perception, as of September 2022. Don’t you dare trying to silence me about it.

Almost a decade here in Ireland, and I’m starting to notice that maybe — just maybe — cultural differences go beyond the surface.

Is culture a bad thing? Good? Neutral? I’ve no idea and I’m not discussing that. I’m saying I perceive certain things as “cultural”, but that’s as far as I went. All that heavy load of value judgement on top of that is YOUR assumption, not anything I said. But people have that habit, don’t they? “whoa, don’t call me cultural”. Why? Is cultural a bad word? Are you sure? You’re saying that. I’m not, and neither is the dictionary.

I perceive cultures as normal things that exist. Don’t you? Perhaps the people who get all worked up at the mention of “culture” are the same folks who have a certain resistance to live with diversity; Because when you come from a background like mine, you understand that the place you came from was a melting pot. And that doesn’t make me “confused” just cause I’m not “monocultural” enough. Cultural differences are just… Differences. It’s futile to fight over which one is better or worse, which is your favourite or your nemesis; But it’s also naive not to recognise the fact that differences exist and WILL cause conflict. REGARDLESS of there being or not one “superior” or “inferior” culture. Both can be valid, and still lead to a fight.

Why is that such a taboo? It’s just like personalities and personal stories. “Oh boy I had a raging fight with my partner last night”, who never said that? We all have stories like that. But since it’s a fight with one person, you dismiss it as “personality differences”, keep calm, and carry on. The person keeps being your partner. I know divorce is easier today but nobody gets divorced willy nilly, people try to make things work. But PAY ATTENTION HERE: What if someone said (like I am going to say in this article “oh boy, I keep having fights with the locals here — we can’t see eye to eye”) then suddenly the solution to that is “go home”? So… you’re saying that when the differences are collective, we can’t reach a middle ground like when differences are individual? Why? Are countries isolated now by any chance? Can we even survive without international cooperation? I think not. Even if I do end up going “home”, you’ll meet others. It’s the natural tendency of life, look at Britain: there was Brexit, but are all foreigners gone? No. And new people go there every day regardless. You can be NORTH KOREA, for crying out loud, and you’ll still have to deal with neighbours. It’s inevitable. Treat them like you treat yourself, or die trying to overpower them. That’s why Jesus put that message in the Bible (and mind you, I’m not even Christian, I’m just confident you know the passage).

Sorry for the tangent, but I’m the sort of person who always has to say “before we have this conversation, you have to get really cool about a bunch of things really fast”, and here I am, reminding you of that.

Otherwise I start talking about a topic like culture, and a bunch of random people who don’t even follow me come attack me because [they don’t necessarily realise but] they have a whole load of internalised emotions that prevent them from actually understanding where I’m coming from.

Hence, I needed to make this long intro here. My vent starts below:

Photo by Anna Samoylova on Unsplash

Every wee conflict with locals here feels like a tug-of-war to me.

THEY blow it out of proportion, it isn’t even me. And mind you, I’m pretty much a textbook choleric. It doesn’t take much to irritate me. But when it comes to disagreements with locals here, it tends to be they who escalate things before I get a chance, Lol. Surprisingly.

Who has the rope? Who bosses who? It “be” like that every time.

Whatever I say, they perceive it as “me attempting to overpower them”; whatever they say, it’s attempting to overpower me in retaliation for something that wasn’t even true, it was just an assumption made out of fear of the unknown.

Arrrgh!

Somehow, for some reason which I won’t pretend to know, they seem unable to see any middle ground between “peace” and “war”. They run away from conflict like the plague, but IF it happens, then everything becomes full-blown war. There’s no in-between. Differences are perceived as attacks, even when they could have been simply a quirk, because god forbid I take anyone out of their comfort zones. Mortal sin. Unforgivable.

Yes, call me petty. Call me a gossiper. I don’t give a fuck. I’m being intentionally vague, because I don’t wanna be taken to court for “defamation” or whatever. At the same time, this is a topic that needs discussing. Sorry, not everything can be made comfortable. Some things hurt, and get bigger the more you keep them under the carpet just ’cause they’re taboos. That’s not even me saying, that’s life. One of these things is the fact locals here need to learn to fight more effectively — because, again, life isn’t all comfort. There are fights. Not all of them mean war. Not all of them need to end in a permanent decision about anything. Anger dissipates IF YOU JUST LET IT dissipate; stop feeding the fire you don’t want. Start seeing it as a disturbance that will pass, maybe with some new understanding, maybe not, but like all things it comes and goes. If a lamp breaks in your house, do you move out? No, the entire house is not defective. It was just a lamp.

The second, less important reason, why I’m being intentionally vague, is this: love it or hate it, admit it or not, Irish people, it wasn’t just one incident I’m butthurt over. It wasn’t two. It wasn’t fifty. I’m speaking from a place of “last straw”, I’m not new to the playground. Say “not all” of you are like that all you want — these are just words. SHOW ME with concrete actions. I WANT to be wrong.

And just before I forget: no, I don’t think this has to do with racism. If it had, I’d have said that. I’m not afraid of words. This is probably just cultural though, since I have French, Spanish and Swedish friends who agree with me (mostly just men, but anyway. Go on, attack me in another post using this link. It’s the latest hype here on Medium in case you didn’t know Lol), and they’re white just like most of the Irish.

There’s an all-or-nothing attitude to conflicts here, and it’s a big elephant in the room.

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

I’m saying this is cultural — perhaps there’s a chance it isn’t — because it’s notoriously the Irish. I know a whole bunch of people from many places. I’ve lived elsewhere, in 2 other countries in South America, which I don’t reveal here for privacy reasons but you get the idea. And even there, I knew some foreigners from even more countries.

In my experience, only the Irish find it rude to point out (no matter how carefully) a thing you’re unhappy about or simply not used to [because of upbringing in a different culture] in the friendship or whatever, because it’s “an attack out of nowhere”. Sure. An attack, you say? Let’s just pretend all is grand, like you say, until it’s not, and we mysteriously part ways without as much as an attempt to hear each other out. When you seek comfort too much, the little annoyances you could have voiced or signalled along the way just snowball. They don’t go away.

Nowhere else have I ever been met with this same attitude, or even similar. So perhaps don’t blame me for “judging” or “generalising” — again, don’t take my words here as gospel, I’m just venting, this is emotional, I didn’t do any research. But personal experience, as insignificant as it may sound without statistics, builds up regardless. It’s become a thing I can’t simply “keep to myself” and “cop on”.

In fact, let’s talk about that word. Cop on. It’s an Irish slang meaning “stay rational”, which in practice translates to “please hide your emotions, nobody cares” — which goes to show where the lack of support for mental health services in this country comes from. A cultural bad habit. Because let’s be honest here: it’s ONE THING to expect citizens to “cop on” when they have an alternative place to go. It’s ANOTHER ENTIRELY when mental health services are precarious, perhaps not all families are of easy access (and even if mine was, I’ve cut ties long ago because they’re toxic; they can’t help me “cop on”). So, I’m sorry for not corresponding to your expectations of politeness. Sorry for my inability to pretend all is fine when all is not fine. My bad. It must have been a pretty darn horrid inconvenience for you, local people with local networks of support nearby and handy. Surely there’s no reason at all to empathise with someone like me.

You see, my grievance comes from way before I was on Medium. It’s ongoing and ever present. I’m not talking about “Irish commenters” — in fact most of my audience is in the US. I’m just venting for no reason other than venting. I’m talking about something that relates to that part of my life you, internet readers, do not know about. I have a life offline, face-to-face with local people. I just keep it private. But occasionally, I come here to reflect on it, for lack of, you know, a safe place elsewhere.

…And then total strangers come commenting aggressively, thinking I am “talking about them”. Because of course I am, why wouldn’t I? #sarcasm Self-centeredness at its peak, when you see a person hurting, and you go there and hurt her even further… for inconveniencing you. How charming.

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

“Oh but you’re saying all these things about a group I belong in, I must defend myself”, some would say. Yes, and I totally did that because I have too much time on my hands and nothing better to do, aye? I invented problems for myself just to cry wolf. Sure, gaslighter. I’m not the origin of your problem and (gasp!) neither is you. None of us is to blame. I’m just saying the problem exists. I’m focusing on the present, which we CAN still change. Why focus on something unproductive?

“Oh but you should have tried to seek help” — bold of you to assume I’d find it, or haven’t tried. And that’s ok, I understand sometimes life is unfair. Sometimes you just have to push through with zero outside support, and it ain’t anybody’s fault, and all that jazz. But when I do that, you can’t expect me to behave socially like someone who does NOT have any of my trauma. My “stuff” will come out one way or another. I can’t physically keep it in. You’re not helping me keep it in because I have nowhere else to take this stuff; you’re demanding I keep it hidden 24/7 and that’s not humanly possible.

And if I try to explain why I have trauma… oh, I’m just being a crybaby. I need a thick skin. I shouldn’t have come. I should have stayed with the OTHER people (aka family of origin) who also blamed their problems on me. Blah blah.

You know what? I do have a thick skin. If I didn’t, perhaps I’d already have realised there is no place in this world for me. Perhaps I’d given up trying to simply exist in peace without literally breaking myself to fit inside whatever mould people gave me. If I’m still trying to find this friendly place to call “home”, it’s because I’m still standing.

Sorry for choosing this place to live. I know you’re not annoyed by my foreign-ness, Irish people. I know you’re welcoming. What you’re annoyed by is the fact I tried to rebuild a life here, because that takes looking for the network of support I wasn’t lucky enough to have growing up; and it’s too uncomfortable for you to get me past all our cultural differences so that we can arrive at a peaceful place. It’s inconvenient, and it’s not your duty — you can choose not to help; Yes I get that. I didn’t stay anywhere culturally “closer” to my birthplace because I was literally running away, who in their right mind stays a short distance away from dangerous people with personality disorders? But it is true, it didn’t have to be this country where culturally everyone is super focused on the past and have a hard time making room for the new (regardless of what kind of “new” it is). Had I known that, I wouldn’t inconvenience you. I’d have gone somewhere else. But nothing I do now will change my story, or anything I’ve already built. I do not have a time machine. If I did, rest assured, I’d go back a good bunch of centuries. I don’t even like BEING this “new”, this “unknown” you now suddenly have to deal with. But damnit! Where to even go from here?

The truth is I’m here. You’re here. We’re here, alive at this exact same moment in time, and perhaps (who knows?) even a short distance from one another. Things happened for both of us to arrive here, but we have no choice other than start focusing on what we can still decide from now on. The past is unchangeable; Dwell on it too much, and you forget to live.

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Meron Nic Cruithne

Meron Nic Cruithne

222 Followers

Psychic and spirit worker based in Ireland, friend of the Picts. I don't read minds. I don't change minds. I don't sugarcoat. Take my message or leave it.