You just don't know what goes on behind closed doors. Too often we think we know exactly what is the nature of the relationships of those around us. We are surprised to find that what appeared to be a good solid relationship in fact was one that was dysfunctional, and even abuse riddled. We simply don't know what goes on behind closed doors any more.
In this day and age when everything is becoming more and more digitalized and more electronically dependent, it can be even harder to really know what those around us are experiencing. We have lost the great sense of face to face community that we once experienced before the Internet age. Loneliness has crept in to relationships that once upon a time would have never have been thought to have been those riddled with loneliness. Dysfunction can be kept hidden and even dressed up to look like anything but what it actually is, because the smoke and mirrors of that able to be shared online enables it to be kept in seemingly good check.
A wife can become an Internet widow, as night after night, her spouse indulges in lengths of time facing a computer or cellphone screen. In the silence of the home, the greatest of marital tragedies can actually quietly be unfolding to the point of no return, and noone outside the immediate relationship will consider anything amiss.
No one likes to be treated as if they are taken for granted, and unfortunately competing with an electronic screen is becoming more and more common place in today's society. More and more people are waking up to the harsh reality of finding that their spouse actually has an addiction, an addiction that others may not pick up on so quickly, because it is one that from the outside looking on, may seem fairly harmless in nature.
Yet it is anything but harmless. Instead, the addiction to screentime, to be logged in to at least one electronic device as often as possible, is eating away at the core of what keeps actual relationships healthy and safe. The ability to communicate well and engage in quality time, face to face with each other, is being put in great jeopardy, because the online world is deemed more enticing. The addiction to be logged in, switched on, and engaged in screen time has become powerful and sadly, very compulsive for many.
It has become normal to see people constantly with their cellphone always in hand. The addiction to being logged in can seem to not be an addiction at all, until closer inspection is carried out. In reality, on closer inspection, it becomes very clear that the compulsion to be online has a stronghold and it is in fact steadily eating away at many of the close relationships people would choose to have.
We just don't know what is truly going on behind the closed doors of those we are neighbouring and who are part of our extended families. The window of opportunity to escape as often as possible via the Internet has sadly created for many a doorway for relationship dysfunction to creep in. It is a window more often than not opened quietly and often seemingly innocently at the start.
In a time when Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can help us project a desired and orchestrated image before the masses, we have got far more deceptive about hiding what really goes on behind closed doors. The perfectly put together composition of domestic life may in fact not hold as much bliss or peace as is really being experienced.
Behind the scenes, small children may be being bathed while a parent sits alongside, scrolling repeatedly on a screen, endeavouring to keep up with what is the latest news and weather report. Children are seeing and learning firsthand from a tender young age, that what is electronic and able to be held in the hand is far more engaging and more deserving of attention than any other toy.
We are creating generations upon generations of people who are less people focused, and less able to really engage in face to face communication that is healthy and conducive to real relationship. It has become the norm to send texts rather than handwritten love notes. It has become the norm to stay home and watch a movie on Netflix, rather than actually plan a budget-friendly date out with a loved one. It has become the norm to keep the electronic enthroned in a position of significance in our homes and in our relationships.
The nice guy who is always polite can actually prove to be the most addicted of addicts. He can arrive home from work and after dinner be solely focused yet again on logging on. Be it the cricket score, the weather report, from one online site to then another, the journey through the chain of online indulgence can be quickly pursued, until not just minutes but hours of time have been indulged in within the abyss of the Internet.
Just because it is not actual pornography, does not mean it is worth looking at or engaging in repeatedly for huge lengths of time, at the expense of actual face to face relational time with our loved ones. Anything that draws us away, at the expense of real connection and real relationship with those we claim to love and want to spend time with, is not material we should be repeatedly choosing to have before our eyes, before our minds and to which we are committing quantities of time to. What occurs behind closed doors for hours on end, has sadly for many become totally directed by that found through the doorway of the world of electronics and the quick swipe of a finger keen to be always connected to that online.
It has pretty much become socially acceptable to attend family and social functions and have someone sitting logged in and switched in to the wider world of the Web. We have accepted this as the new normal and simply put it down to being part and parcel of being in the Internet Age. Yet, much has often been sacrificed, even if it is not acknowledged until it is in fact too late.
Like all addictions, the addiction and compulsion to be logged on to an electronic device affects the brain's executive functions. Like anyone engaged in any form of compulsive behaviour, those addicted become unaware and desensitised to the reality that their behaviour is causing problems for themselves and others. They develop an immunity to just how harmful their behaviour is to relationships, to fulfilling promised commitments and other real life centred obligations. They can become so disengaged to what is occurring around them, they progressively lose the ability to keep track of time. Memory function can be affected. The desire for instant gratification and for things to be done at the speed of the pressing of a button becomes deemed their desired new norm. Life and its pace can become seemingly less inviting and less engaging, because it does not allegedly compete well with the world and timing offered and experienced via the electronic keyhole.
It is not just the younger generation that have an unhealthy appetite for all things offered via the world of the electronic. It is also being indulged in by those in the retirement years of life. It has become far too easy to plug in and log out from real life, no matter what stage of life we are in. We have become less concerned about what happens behind our closed doors, and more interested in what we can follow and link into, via the windows that our keyboards offer us.
We just don't know what is really going on behind seemingly peaceful closed doors. It is worth surely some considerable serious consideration for each of us to face straight on what it is we are choosing to put our hand to and are prepared to put significant amounts of time in to. If there is a level of electronic engagement occurring that is proving to upset others, surely it is wise to take heed and weigh it up most carefully against what is truly worthy of the use of our time and energy and resources!
What is it that we are prepared to allow into the relationships we engage in with others? Is it healthy? It is safe? Is it wise and actually constructive in nature? Just what is it we are upholding and allowing to be deemed okay and acceptable when interacting with each others? Is it conducive to building and keeping relationships healthy and our own sense of self worth in healthy balance?
It is surely worth some sincere personal reflection and auditing to determine just where we wish to see current, potential and already quietly shattering relationships heading, if the desire to be logged on and linked into electronics is at a level that others are questioning whether it is in fact healthy. The choice to switch on or switch off is a simple one. Being logged in or logged off, is a choice that requires greater discernment and greater self control, being exercised by many.
What is occurring already behind closed doors can be changed in an instant, but the one with the addiction needs to acknowledge it firstly, for any real breakthrough to occur. It takes considerable careful steps to break the habits of addiction and not to fall back into them. Help often needs to be sought at a professional level, when breaking free from any and all forms of addiction. Asking for help is a good sign, not one to be ashamed of at all. May those who need to face up to the path they are on, be prepared to take stock, before those they continually left widowed by their behaviour join the rank of others who also chose to move on for good.