Is Kintsugi anti-recovery?

Discussion in 'That's So Meta!' started by palindromordnilap, Oct 26, 2017.

  1. palindromordnilap

    palindromordnilap Well-Known Member

    So, there have been a few claims of this, but not much in the way of justifications. That's still a claim that needs to be addressed, though, so I'm going to ask for people's opinions on this.
    Basically, do you think Kintsugi or its community is anti-recovery in some way? If so, how do you define that? The "we're not all neurotypical, Karen" thing, being simply detrimental to recovery, something else...?
  2. ZeroEsper

    ZeroEsper Well-Known Member

    This is an interesting question. I thought about it and I want to try and untangle it.

    I think some people consider Kintsugi to be anti-recovery because people who behave badly are allowed to stay. Like, if someone splits and suicide-baits another user, they aren't automatically banned from the site. Which may be seen as being 'anti-recovery' because the person seems to avoid any punishment and, therefore, is just being allowed to act on their mental illness and nothing is done about it.

    I'm personally not in agreement with that just because people behave badly. It's something that people do - even neurotypical people. I think sometimes it can be better for people who are lashing out to examine their behavior later, when they're calmer, because that can help them figure out better A) what causes it and B) what possible solutions might be for this behavior. But that can be seen as coddling someone or excusing their behavior. Maybe sometimes it is! But I don't think that's always the case.

    Like, to use a personal example because I don't wanna speak for anyone else, I learned to handle my triggers better through trial and error. People got hurt. And that wasn't fair to them! At all!! But I started to identify some of the things that were triggering me and gradually, I learned to disengage. The feedback I got that helped me was usually 'if you know you're going to flip your shit, WALK AWAY.' Easier said than done, but with practice I got better. And I HAD to practice - I didn't master that in one go AT ALL.

    But there were a LOT of times I took out defensive anger that arose from being triggered on people that didn't deserve it. A lot of those people forgave me and let me try again to do better. And that was very important because one of my main triggers is feeling like I'm a disposable human who can be thrown away at will. When people told me 'yes, you hurt my feelings, but I know you were also upset, so I'm sorry' I realized that not everyone is waiting to get rid of the burdensome Crazy Autistic (my words to refer to myself, not to anyone else). It was very important for me to consistently get feedback about when and where my behavior was inappropriate (I often at the time think I'm being rational) and to be held accountable. It was also very important for me to see that I'm not beyond being forgiven, if that makes sense. I don't have a right to demand that of someone, and I know that, but sometimes people might choose to do so just because they wanted to.

    That said, I can say from firsthand experience that the common strategy for dealing with bad/unacceptable behavior is 'take everything away from them until they break and don't give it back until they do something you want them to.' My Mother was actually advised to do that with my sister - take everything she liked away from her and leave her with nothing until finally she broke and agreed to behave. Now, that's a really extreme example! I think what you see more often is something like 'I'm going to take this away from you. You can have it back when you learn to behave.' And the thing is - I don't necessarily think that's inherently abusive. I think sometimes it can help the person calm down and realize 'okay, maaayybbeee I went a little too far.' And if they realize that, they may be willing to examine their actions more critically in the future.

    But if someone is being really, really frustrating or lashing out in ways that are really hurtful, I think there's sometimes a tendency to say 'you know what, fuck it, you just can't have this thing ever.' It's often done in situations where people feel like the person lashing out is only going to misuse something that they have. 'Well if you're just going to use that to cause trouble, you can't have it.' And on the one hand, it can solve the problem. The person won't be misusing the thing anymore. But in terms of helping the person, maybe not so much. Because the person is now angry and hurt and feels powerless and maybe betrayed, and even though they know logically why you took the thing away, they're still angry because that seems like too much of a punishment. And while they may know that their behavior was bad, sometimes people lash out without fully understanding WHY or what they were hoping to gain. And if the solution is just 'well, now you've lost the thing you were using' the person probably isn't getting helpful feedback that might inspire them to try and deal with their trauma in a less dangerous way. The argument I often see made in this situation is 'well, they're not TRYING to get better. If they were this wouldn't happen.' Which, again, I can't say I fully agree with because in my experience sometimes even if you're trying really hard, something still happens that sets you off.

    I think that applies to forums in the sense that a person can be abusive online, which probably goes against the purpose of the website they're on. So the easy and most intuitive solution is banning them. But again, that may mean that person is on their own trying to untangle their own behavior even though thus far that hasn't worked out too well.

    But it's a tricky situation because not banning someone means that they can stay and continue to possibly cause harm. The people who are being harmed are angry (rightfully so) and feel like 'this person should be banned because their behavior is unacceptable'. But if somebody outside the situation is trying to judge it, then they often have to weight two sides - do I ban the person and possibly cut them off from a venue that might help them, or do I let them stay and then keep acting out? And that's a hard question and different people have different solutions! Which is why I wish there were more forums like this one but with slightly different policies. Then people who feel like banning is okay can have a space and people who feel like banning should probably never happen can have a space!

    So my answer is: I don't know! This is a complicated issue.
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  3. ZeroEsper

    ZeroEsper Well-Known Member

    In the interest of full disclosure: I have spent pretty much my entire life around mentally ill people (some of whom had SEVERE behavioral problems) and I have inappropriate empathy.

    EDIT: also, I'm coming from a place of seeing a severely abusive narcissist get better. Which I never thought I would see but here we are!
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
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  4. NevermorePoe

    NevermorePoe Nevermore

    It's also a good idea to consider that not all recovery is public, some of it happens behind closed doors, and some people won't be comfortable sharing whether or not they've improved - that can be pretty personal information.
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  5. ZeroEsper

    ZeroEsper Well-Known Member

    True! I think in a lot of cases it shows in the person's behavior, but you don't know entirely how much a person has improved.
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  6. Khan

    Khan why does anyone NOT hate her

    I don't know if this problem is necessarily Kintsugi-specific or Kintsugi-exclusive, but it tends to happen in mental health circles:

    It is easier to keep doing what you're doing instead of changing your behavior. It is much easier to keep doing what you're doing if a bunch of people are validating the shit out of it. When a community of the mentally ill tends towards enabling and/or excusing bad behavior (See: Tumblr-esque "How dare you share small things you do to make your own life more bearable? We can't all be neurotypical!" or "Expecting me to be nice to people? We can't all be neurotypical!" talk), it becomes way easier to engage in bad behavior.

    Let's say I have Noisy Stompy Disorder. It makes me be stompy and loud when I'm walking around at two in the morning, and this is really annoying for the people who live underneath me. It also makes my life more difficult. I could buy soft slippers, I could focus on changing the way I walk, I could move onto the first floor... But let's say I join an NSD support group that focuses on validating noisy stomping as My Authentic Self rather than focusing on ways to help me walk more quietly when I need to get a glass of water at two in the morning.

    If I am surrounded by that community, I may be inclined to be a noisier stomper so that I can fit in with my new friends. I may condemn former noisy stompers, because they abandoned us, a marginalized group, in favor of the quiet tiptoers, our natural enemies. I may stomp extra-loudly at two in the morning, because I am proud of the way I am, and anyone trying to get me to change is attacking my character and identity.

    Let's not forget that Noisy Stompy Disorder affects me and the people around me negatively. I'm just rolling around in that, and my NSD support group is enabling me. As my life gets worse, I am driven further into their arms, because only they could truly understand noisy stompy problems.

    So, all that said, here are some important questions to be asking oneself to avoid some of these pitfalls: How can I better communicate with the people around me? How do my actions affect others? How do my actions affect myself? How can I be a more considerate, compassionate person? What small things can I do to make life more bearable for myself and others? Am I happy with where I am in the world today? If I met me, would I like myself? Would I treat myself kindly?
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  7. rigel

    rigel youve got teeth for a reason, dont you?

    i really think its... in poor taste to say that this place is anti-recovery simply because people who are going through a hard time aren't always model citizens, or are going to behave in a way you don't personally like. its doing those who are trying to recover using this website and its support system & the validation it offers a disservice, i think, to say so, just because the mods aren't really in the business of actively turning away people who are disruptive and clearly acting out, either out of mental illness or other factors?

    wrt what khan is saying, i can absolutely understand how things could easily become an echo chamber for some people. but i also think that not everyone will express every bad thing ever that happens in their life here, nor will they express every good thing, or every step on their road to recovery. i am really hestitant to say that someone who vents about their mental illness here isn't recovering in some way, when theres no possible way for them to record every brain-happening they go through. we only know what they choose to express. and sometimes thats mainly bad stuff. that's not proof of a lack of recovery.

    also i think to some degree, people here will likely tell you you're being an asshole if you're being an asshole, bad mental health day or not.
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  8. spockandawe

    spockandawe soft and woolen and writhing with curiosity

    And I think it's reasonable to say that while this is a good recovery environment for some people, it is the opposite for others. Competing needs, as always, but in an arena where it means those conflicts are going to hit people extra hard. I don't think it's fair to say that kintsugi in general is anti-recovery (and I'm not going to go as far as say we have no people here who sometimes just want an echo chamber), but I think kintsugi can be a good recovery environment for some folks while still making recovery more difficult for others. I'm kind of at a loss for how to design an environment that accommodates absolutely everybody, but I think describing the site as a whole/overall/in general as anti-recovery feels like an oversimplification.
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  9. TheMockingCrows

    TheMockingCrows Resident POTSie potato.

    i think this place is the same as anywhere else at its heart recovery-potential wise if not a bit better in some ways, especially now with things like the caring void and the super privates spaces and stuff as well. namely that it's what you make of it and how you use it. i learned how to own my anger here and went through some pretty rough patches with my brain, but because there was a space for me to scream and make messes and not be kicked out the door (my screaming was very private, but there is always a risk it could have become public if I lost control of that leash and the promise that I'd not be expunged forever for fucking up in that learning process was very soothing to have. it made the stress less just knowing there wasn't a finish line people could point at to get rid of me if something happened and I lost it even if it'd never happen.) before, when i had a very negative thought about a situation I'd either have to hold it in or scream about it semi-publicly. Now there's options to do it even more privately, or ask mods, or even ask random people on the site in a more private way with the support thread.

    i don't use much of this site. i have periods of bouncing around several threads, less of that now but maybe more once i get more used to veering around blocked people or people i don't want to block but want to be wary of, and being social yes.. but still, i don't live my entire life on here nor do i write my entire life on here. but i have, and do, use it to scream and to reach my feelers out when i feel up to it to gain information and insight and kinda ground myself by seeing glimpses of others lives and adjusting what I want to see accordingly if I can't handle it or don't want it near me at all. i don't think i'd be nearly well as i am today if i didn't have access to Kintsugi, even if there are points where I do indeed roll my eyes at a few things. I guarantee you, I roll them at every place and thing where I interact with other human beings at all. i'm pretty sure some other setups and places would have made me an even more bitter, aggressive person because I didn't have those quiet-to-myself options and a solid line to aim my blasts at. i'd be twice as self destructive and probably falling into even worse habits.

    if i want to sit and bask in anger and frustration at the people and places i have blocked, i totally could do that. could drive myself even more crazy, hone in my hate. i could say this place is a hellhole, even, if i sat and made that my experience. could focus only on validation for my faults instead of reading as many sides as I can and seeing behaviors and thoughts that personally upset me or make me happy and realizing I can fine tune myself to gain that upward movement bc it's easier to see behaviors in others than myself at first, then I can recognize it and make it stop or grow. i'm sitting and making my experience about sharing art, talking out my thoughts, asking people for second opinions if my thoughts are pinging me seriously but i don't feel comfortable sharing them in public. at most i do an eye roll and maybe flex my fists in anger. maybe scream. a lot.

    and considering i've had no access to meds or proper therapy for like. 2 years now, this is a hell of a lot of personal change and growth towards the positive.

    eta: i'd been in therapy and on meds off and on since i was about 13 and i'm 28 now, and never had as much as growth as the time i was on this site, for specifics. i was unable to find therapists to actually deal with my problems and the one who unlocked my anger was uninterested in handling me whatsoever once I admitted to her that I was worried because I realized I could lie and she would never be able to tell because she didn't understand me.
    sssso.... tldr: anti-recovery as a whole: nah. anti-recovery to some people: prolly, just like peanutbutter is poisonous to some people and highly important to others diets. anti-recovery for me: def not.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
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  10. Hobo


    Prefacing this by saying I see anti-recovery in this case meaning having some claim to actively helping people recover while failing to actually live up to that. I don't necessarily think KS is inherently setting people back, though it certainly did it my case and I wouldn't be surprised if it was the case for other people too.

    Anyway, not super interested in going into detail about this topic since I hardly bother with KS these days for this very reason, but I will say that I've had multiple therapists gently suggest that KS is sabotaging my mental health and maybe I should think about leaving. I'm pretty sure this place is not a recovery forum, it's a social forum for mentally ill people, despite claims about the former. It might be decent for people with zero real life support, I guess. Or maybe some people get specialised attention behind the scenes. But this place is 95% validation (5% disagreeing over headcanons), with next to nothing in the way of actual strategies for long term dealing with it. The problem with there being no CBT/DBT/meditation etc worksheets, apps or even just basic info pamphlets available for people to show others who might not be aware of these (proven!) strategies for dealing with mental illnesses is just... kind of absurd, honestly. KS could do with a collection of them. I know Kathy did a lot of this sort of stuff and it seemed pretty useful. It's still on the individual to actually work on it themselves, but KS could be doing a lot more than just 'YOU. ARE. VALID.' Validation is a good starting point, but man cannot thrive on validation alone. People can recover here, but good luck if you actually need other people's help to do so.
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  11. Maya

    Maya smug_anime_girl.jpg

    This this this this this this this.

    In my time here, actively venting out my frustrations and my problems wrt my mental health, these things were not suggested to me. Neither was medication. I had gotten it into my head that my particular flavor of mental illness was untreatable by medication from tumblr, so I never sought out a meds appointment, and no one ever encouraged me to, they took my saying "it won't work" to heart and agreed. Lo and behold, I'm on meds now, and a lot of my worst symptoms have lessened to manageable levels if they haven't all but disappeared for the most part, and a lot of real life bullshit has happened since I nuked my presence here and left.

    I feel like a lot of my time here talking about my mental health or abuse history was heavily painted by... I don't exactly have a word for it, but there was a lot of validation and not a whole lot of advice of steps to take next. The most helpful advice I have received to date here is ways to get away from my shitty mom, but even then that didn't come until I asked for it, it was a lot of "same hat" and "witnessed :c" and it just overall was not helpful. Venting is great and all but being given tools to help mitigate the reasons I vent is better, and I don't feel I should have to ask for that on a site that claims to be a mental health support site. There should be something there for me to look at when I come in, a great big resource guide, maybe a post on how to deal with antis, stuff like that, stuff you'd expect to see on a site like this.

    My therapist is not the only one to agree I should have left a long time ago, before the major incident, and as she put it, the problem wasn't so much that the very concept was a massive failure, it was how that concept and the execution weren't lining up with each other in an ideal way. "A place where you can be yourself and make your own decisions" is good and fun, but couple that with the inability to fully curate my own experience in such a place, such as, initially, not having a force ignore option, and it was a massive failing for my mental health, because unlike in real life I had very little control over how I socialized here.
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  12. NevermorePoe

    NevermorePoe Nevermore

    A possible step to fix the issue of not having resources available for treatment might be to have somewhere people can explain their situation and ask for resources, or a thread of aggregated resources, in links and possibly archived as well.
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  13. Hobo


    Yeah I'd have liked to see the latter, but IIRC it's a problem that's come up before and seebs said he didn't want to have that sort of stuff available for reasons I can't remember at this point (or maybe he wanted to but cbf putting it together? There was some reason it didn't get done, at any rate). It was pretty disappointing.
  14. anontron5000

    anontron5000 New Member

    i think a lot of people here were abused in such a way that they're not going to offer advice unless specifically asked. or maybe not abused, but they have mental illness brainbugs of their own, where they're not going to pop in with advice when someone might just want to vent or share experiences.
    in my experience, "i'm having x issue, what are some ways i could resolve it? what is some advice? has anyone struggled with a similar thing?" has always yielded actionable advice on this site.

    i don't think that's an indication of the site being anti-recovery so much as a lack of communication.
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  15. NevermorePoe

    NevermorePoe Nevermore

    A lot of people on here have social anxiety, or just issues forming words on some days. That is part of the reason we have the ratings we do now iirc, it was easier for people without spoons to use for a full reply could still participate in a conversation.
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  16. rigel

    rigel youve got teeth for a reason, dont you?

    yeah and jumping off of that? some people might already know what they need to do. some people just dont like being told what to do out of the blue! they might feel like the other person is trying to be patronizing?

    personally, if im venting, i generally know what i need to do to get out of that situation & am forming a plan/have one already, i just feel like utter shit. i'm not looking for advice when i already know what i need to do. i want reassurance that i can do what needs to be done and that what im dealing with at that moment doesnt reflect me as a person. i dont like being told what to do when i didn't ask, because that makes me less likely to do that thing, unfortunately.

    i think what we're looking for wrt venting should be clear, do we want advice? sympathy? do we just have to say something to get it out of our heads? maybe as a community we could work on that, or encourage others to make it clearer.
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  17. pineapplist

    pineapplist labrat

    i think that the site itself is WAY too varied in the multiple subcommunities to be labelled as "anti-recovery" as a whole, however i think that yes, in some aspects it definitely can be at the very least, guilty of enabling abusive or self-destructive behavior to continue indefinitely.

    i think it mostly depends on the individuals in question, and sometimes (mostly due to the nature of this site and its basic motto of nothing anyone can say makes it right to treat them like trash etc etc) EVERYTHING feels like a constant walk on eggshells. some people might be too afraid to offer advice or ask for advice because it's unclear the response or reaction they'll get in return.

    on a more personal level, it really unsettles me/puts me off to see support or apologizing of uncomfortable borderline-manipulative/abusive behavior especially in vent threads, i think especially in the holler closet/brainbent/is this abuse forums there's a risk of things becoming VERY hugbox-y. it's not healthy for anybody involved.

    overall i don't think the nature of this site and the site as a whole is anti-recovery, BUT the nature of it can lead to things that work against the wellbeing of others.

    i feel like sometimes this site gets into the "pain olympics" mentality which is also harmful as everything is relative, suffering shouldn't be quantified ever and it's hurtful, harmful and wrong to do so. i think in many ways one of the potential purposes of this site being used to help people work through things and aid in helping them make the right choices/be something or someone for them to listen to works out VERY well. however, personally i don't stand for enabling and failing to ever listen or see the other side of the situation no matter how angry you are. the open hostility in some parts of the forums is unsettling and uninviting.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
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  18. Ipuntya

    Ipuntya your purple friend

    kintsugi is definitely more well-suited for those who do not have irl support. i don't go on kintsugi much during college anymore, since i actually have a pretty decent support system in place rn. i'm living with five other mentally ill lgbt people and we all mesh well together, so i'm not experiencing the isolation that leads to crippling depression and my more extreme self-loathing.

    i wouldn't say the site is anti-recovery or that it particularly facilitates recovery. it has the potential for the latter, should it manage to provide other resources than emotional support, but it does fulfill the function of being a crutch for those with no support whatsoever, which is pretty crucial for those who can't obtain any irl and are in dangerous places mentally

    when i am isolated from support, kintsugi keeps me alive and slows the worsening of my condition. i'd be worse off without it. part of the reason i don't think i've actually done much recovering, tho, is bc i am avoidant as fuck, which results in me displaying resistance towards people here or are actually trying to help, which is something no one can do anything about because they cannot influence me directly enough over the internet.

    now if i were someone who was not avoidant, but actively resistant to the steps that would lead toward recovery, then kintsugi could potentially negatively impact my mental health over time. since the site can only offer validation and emotional support, and lacks both the ability to influence me into making the correct decisions myself as well as the resources for me to help myself on my own, i could fall into a cycle of self-enabling toxic behaviors that become more deep-set the more i fall into them as a pattern.

    so while i think there is definitely room for improvement resource-wise, i think a lot of it boils down to competing access needs
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  19. Beldaran

    Beldaran 70% abuse and 30% ramen

    Kathy says she is planning on agregating those materials, it's just a matter of having the time and energy to do so. But the need is recognized.
    • Like x 13
  20. pineapplist

    pineapplist labrat

    also point i failed to mention in my previous post but hobo's quote imo is EXACTLY what could be considered a major problem of the site, but also something that's not kintsugi itself's problem. living on ONLY support and validation for the really awful things that may go on in your life that you want to talk about is something you can only thrive on for so long, but if you're not making the effort to get yourself out of a really bad hole the best you can, a site like this can become a real trap for your emotional and mental wellbeing as you can become pretty dependent on this atmosphere when you have no other support in your life and/or you're not doing anything else to change your situation. mental illness and depressive spirals are what thrive in situations like this if you don't have other things to balance it out. healing does not and can not come from one source, and emotional support is one aspect of it. considering all the drama that goes on here, it can even make it worse if it's your only outlet or option at the moment.

    this community as a whole can go any direction due to the ambiguous nature of the site. whether it is "anti-recovery" or not boils down to a lot of the actions taken by individuals, and the actions and feeling of subcommunities within it.

    personally i feel like a lot of "politics" of this site are taken WAY too seriously, but personally i am much less involved with the community here and the people themselves though i have made a really good handful of friends, and my opinion may not roll with others on here. i think in a lot of instances, most unhealthy things here could be solved by stepping the hell back for a second and taking a real look at the situation before it spirals into something worse and festers in a million threads for all eternity. i don't think i'm wrong in feeling a strong vibe of bitterness here.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
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