Saturday, January 16, 2010

Being Broken

"They can't break me, as long as I know who I am."

-I'm Still Here, from Treasure Planet

This occurred to me a little while ago. I don't know when I finished the thought, but I do know what it came out to. We say someone is broken, or talk about breaking someone, but it's treated like this thing where you have to go through x, y, and z, and each must be done perfectly, without hesitation, and only by this manipulative mastermind.

And that's not it. Breaking someone is simply what the full phrase suggests: Breaking someone to your will (singular or plural you). If you have a specific idea in mind for what to do to someone else, then yes, you need to be a genius to pull it off properly, at least one in the ways of the human psyche. But you do not need to be up against a genius to be broken. You don't need to be strictly up against anyone. It can just be a group of neutral people who push you, pull you, shape you, until you fit their idea of what you should be.

The easiest way to break someone I've seen is erosion. You have different people in different groups with no connection, and you just hammer and wash and blow across them until they aren't themselves anymore. You're annoying, be like this. You're stupid, leave me alone. You like what? Ick.

And the thing is, once you realize that, it becomes much harder to be broken. Because, whether another person is trying to or not, if you can spot what would break you, you can fight against it. You stand up and you push back, instead of just being pulled. It won't always work--humans are social animals, so we're supposed to listen to the pack--but it helps. Who are you, where are you going, and why do you care what they say?

Tropes (as per usual, thought of afterward) (Oh, and addictive)
Break The Cutie
Broken Bird
Earn Your Happy Ending
The Woobie

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