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The Sinister Undertones of Unconscious Communication

Beneath the surface of everyday conversations lies a labyrinth of shadows where words dance to a tune of hidden meanings and concealed emotions. One phenomenon that glides through our dialogues is the unconscious use of the second person (you) to describe personal experiences. This seemingly innocuous linguistic behavior unveils a realm of shadows where emotions are masked, vulnerabilities hidden, and manipulation festers.


There is the relationship-building statement where you might hear, "You know when you're feeling really down, and you just can't shake it off?" Although this person is likely trying to establish a bond with the listener, these words might carry a weight much heavier than they seem. The statement could be a sign of emotional disassociation, a way to distance oneself from their feelings. An abandonment of sorts. Speaking in second person creates a shroud, separating the speaker from the depths of their despair. This detachment might signify a reluctance to acknowledge their own emotions, creating a barrier between their turmoil and the tale they weave.


This shadowy use of “you” extends to vulnerability as well. Imagine someone saying, "Sometimes you just have those days when you question everything about yourself." Here, the shadows thicken. Speaking in second person turns the receiver into a protector of sorts. The receiver not only accepts this assignment unconsciously by answering “yes”, but the receiver also unconsciously accepts the statement as a new or reinforced belief. The receiver is expected to shield the speaker from exposing his/her fragility. This choice erects a wall, obscuring vulnerability in the shadows, as the speaker shares their innermost struggles without revealing the truth of their inner wound.


A different kind of avoidance slips through the phrase, "You go out with your friends and suddenly you're caught up in the excitement of it all." Here, we encounter the embrace of cultural influence. The speaker adopts the second-person guise to align with collective experiences, masking their involvement, and releasing any responsibility. This masquerade allows them to blend into the shadows of conformity, presenting a false front while concealing their true connection to the narrative. The receiver might accept this unaccountable phrase as congruent to their life as well by accepting the statement.


The second person's use can also warp the fabric of personal experiences. "At times, you find yourself in situations where you're just overwhelmed by stress," the speaker explains of a personal experience without accepting the experience. Here, individual experiences become part of a collective nightmare. The second-person use here makes struggles seem part of a tapestry woven with universal despair. The second-person usage normalizes the statement. This obscures any unique emotions, drowning them in commonality. The receiver here will be accepting that stressful situations happen to them just the same. Saying yes forces the receiver into unconscious compliance. The dream of the receiver is now influenced by a belief that occasional “stressful situations” happen.


A phrase like "You make plans, but somehow you always manage to mess things up," turns the empowered into the messy disempowered. The statement veils the author's accountability, making it easier to dwell in the depths of their mistakes without confronting them head-on. It might seem as if the receiver becomes an accomplice, allowing the speaker to criticize themselves subtly, but in truth what is happening is much deeper. Imagine being the receiver and saying yes to this statement. Saying yes automatically programs your mind to accept this statement as truth because it contained the second person “you”.


In the depths of validation-seeking, another might say, "You work hard, but you never feel like it's enough." These words seek to raise empathy from the shadows. But once again the use of second person alienates and creates false truth. It's as if the speaker reaches out from the shadows unconsciously desiring the solace of commonality, but instead deflects the truth of his/her situation.


Lastly, the second person's use extends to sharing insights: "You realize that life is full of unexpected twists and turns." Here, the speaker shares the statement from the depths of their thoughts or experiences. They want you to identify with and reinforce their dream by accepting their statement as truth. The problem here is that by accepting their statement as truth, you inadvertently influence the unraveling of your dream.


In the realm of communication, the use of second person “you” where the accountable first person “I” should be used influences explorers as they unravel the tapestry of their original dream. This linguistic dance, touched by emotion, vulnerability, and manipulation, warps listeners into accepting disturbing agreements and obligations. It's a dance of shadows that invites us to peer beyond the surface and glimpse the immense chasm beneath.


The next time you're caught in conversation, beware of these shadowy whispers, for they might reveal more than you ever dared to imagine.

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