On Emotional Capitalism


We operate in an economy of love and care that mirrors capitalism.

One where those who are loved and cared for in the first place receive more love and care and those who aren’t don’t.

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Being loved and well cared for in this society is a prerequisite for being loved and well cared for. Being born with a nest egg of love and care begets more love and care. Being seen as someone who has value and something to offer attracts further investment.

It starts with parents and families  (closed system nuclear families). And even if parents aren’t outright abusive/neglectful, parents have biases based on looks, personality, intelligence, etc sometimes though this is something we are not allowed to talk about. 

Then caregivers and teachers. Other adults and mentors. They all follow suit.

On up through adulthood where people who have been neglected all of their lives continue to be neglected via having less access, etc and receive less.

And the implication all along is that we are somehow to blame for our own neglect. The worst thing in this society is to be unloved and uncared for, as though being born to fucked up parents is somehow the child’s fault.

And there are mitigating factors (looks, intelligence, humor, talent and creativity, ability to comply and conform to social norms and just fucking luck) and people who rise above and those are the inspiration porn stories we tell and get off on and get our bootstrapping demands from.

But they aren’t the whole story or all of the story. They aren’t my story. They don’t take the entire picture into account.

The cared for get cared for and the neglected get neglected. The easy to look at get seen and the ugly (in all of it’s forms) get ignored, dumped on and in, thrown away and left holding it all. That’s us. That’s whiteness and colonization.

It is difficult to recover from without acknowledging this… that this thing that has always been implied to be some sort of character defect and causes me great shame, is in fact, oppression. And my adult life mirrors my childhood in so many ways.

This is the problem with mainstream trauma recovery…. It fails to acknowledge oppression and that many, many people continue to exist in perpetual trauma. How do you heal and recover from what is still happening?  And the implication is that if it is still happening it is because we’re too broken to stop it, to get out of cycles not of our making, it’s all self-imposed, acting-out, and a million other pathologizing labels.

Surrounded by a world that constantly sends the message that something is inherently wrong with us, on the micro and the macro level,  we have no choice but to oppress ourselves and those with less privilege. We drink the poison, we throw ourselves on the grenades, we contain and hold it all and become the objects of contempt when we’re really just the messengers and mirrors.


[Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash]

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