In Brene’ Brown’s model of “B.R.A.V.I.N.G” - the first three things - boundaries, reliability, and accountability are fairly obvious and oft talked about concepts. But V is for “VAULT” really caught my attention.
The skill set she puts in this category goes like this: “Learning how to keep confidences, to recognize what’s ours to share and what’s not. The challenge is to stop using gossip, common enemy intimacy, and oversharing as a way to hotwire connection.” (p. 150 Braving the Wilderness)
These concepts are all ways Brene says we use fake connections to imitate true belonging. When we gossip it feels all connected...until we imagine others gossiping about us. Oversharing feels like intimacy until we realize that we shared with someone who was not safe and the sharing backfires. Common enemy intimacy is when we experience a connective zing based on connecting with others based on who and what we are against. This intimacy is particularly pernicious because it often joins us to people we with whom we share no common core values.
This is why my Republican friends are rightfully upset because their Democrat friends are now labelling them a rascist because they voted for President Trump in the election. My Democrat friends are devastated that their Republican friends say, “Hey, there is no way I could vote for crooked Hillary.” The name calling and the connection each political party feels when they gather together and bash the other is an example of common enemy bonding. Each is making assumptions that the other side believes are false. But here’s the real problem. We are making enemies out of people who are not enemies. This is a problem.
Folks, beware this kind of bonding. It’s indecent.