You learned how to identify brain weasels a while ago. And while they’re learning new tricks – like how to be self-reinforcing – you think you’ve got them managed, if not handled.
They seem small, harmless. Sure, they’re brain weasels, but they’re tiny ones, so why worry about them too much?
Until you turn around and suddenly you are confronted with:
Like Voltron, the little weasels have joined together to make one huge MECHA WEASEL that looms over you. Its giant fist swings toward you…
It’s easy for several little brain weasels to combine into one huge unexpected weasel and take you and your partner(s) by surprise.
If you don’t like the MECHA WEASEL metaphor, you can instead think of it as a connect the dots – er, connect the weasels – picture.
The key thing is that the huge weasel… Well, it’s not even a real brain weasel. More appropriately (though not as funny), you could call it a metaweasel.
An example, and probably one you’ve experienced :
Over the last few months, as we’ve been quarantined, folks have been getting more irritable and are spending more time with housemates than before. One young lady I know became convinced her spouse was “looking for reasons to be mad at her.”
Her evidence? That he’d complained about things that irritated him several days in a row. Things he’d said bothered him months or years before, but just happened to come up again that week.
Another guy I know became convinced that his girlfriend was going to dump him. Similar story and rationale. Nothing new, ongoing issues, but just because they came up again close together, he was sure it was the beginning of the end.
But there was no actual evidence of either, and when these two people ovaried up and asked their significant others, they found that the metaweasel was completely wrong. Hell, most of the smaller weasels weren’t even true.
These metaweasels are second level imagined fears. Because they’re not based in something that actually happened at all (though they definitely feel real), that makes them hard to self identify. When you bring them up – as you should! – they will probably catch your significant other(s) by surprise.
Metaweasels can also show up as an overreaction to one of the component weasels as well. (That seems to happen a lot to me.) The problem weasel might be a small thing, but your emotional force behind it will be that of the entire metaweasel array.
They also have a kind of “gatling gun” effect. When you deal with one part of the metaweasel, the next component brain weasel jumps right into place.
The same strategies for dealing with brain weasels seem to work – with a small bit of tweaking to ensure you also squash each parts of the metaweasel.
Leave no brain weasel unsquished.
Be aware, though, that while the same techniques work, they only seem to work if you realize that it’s really a metaweasel. Without that realization it is vastly more difficult to smash the weasel and keep your conversation productive.
Featured photo from PxFuel