Please Don’t MIG Me.
Have you ever gone through a rough time and turned to a close friend for comfort? You just needed someone to listen. You became vulnerable and reached out.
Wellbeing requires connection.
We are made to need each other, particularly during times of stress or sorrow. We regulate our emotions by sharing our feelings with one another. It might be a quick statement. “I am worried about my upcoming interview.” “I am waiting to hear the news from my doctor.” Or we may need to sit and talk for a while. But for many of us it can be difficult to find that ear, that someone that will just be there and allow us to share what is going on inside. We need that connection. It is healthy to share our emotions of joy and sorrow, knowing another is there beside us and cares. Unfortunately, those special friends or family may be unable or unwilling to carry our pain, to sit with us, to listen, to feel. To deal with their own discomfort, they MIG us.
MIG: To Minimize, to Ignore, to Gaslight
MIG is an acronym and a new verb, one that I recently coined.
Why MIG? We need a word that encompasses the common ways that people experience being unheard or invalidated.
From my own experiences, and those shared with me throughout my years in private practice, I have heard account after account of people that have suffered from these various forms of emotional abandonment and manipulation. They seek connection and realize that their closest relationships don’t have room for the more emotionally difficult situations. I have those stories too. We don’t feel heard or validated, and instead are left feeling emotionally alone. Friends and family minimize what we are sharing, or they ignore it and change the subject. Sometimes they question our perception of reality by denying our reality, often called gaslighting. Instead of being heard, we feel shame, regret that we put ourselves in a vulnerable situation, and sometimes even vow to stop sharing altogether. We feel the pain of being migged.
When we share and hear a friend say, “You’ll pull through,” “At least you have a job,” or “You are making too much of this.”, we’ve have been migged. When the response is “Let’s talk about something else,” “You are being so negative,” we know we have been migged. When we are told “That’s not what really happened,” “You need to get over it.”, we have been migged.
Next time you are asked to take a moment and listen, remember that you don’t need to have the answer or fix the problem. What we all need is connection, and that takes others to be present and share in our perspective and the emotions that it brings. We can acknowledge those around us. “I can feel how embarrassed you were,” “I can’t imagine what that is like, but I am here if you need me,” “I am sorry that you are going through this difficult time.”
This is where healing lies, and wellbeing grows.