Non-FIML Bonding can be well-intentioned, but is not practiced with the specific aim of fostering clear, conscious, honest communication with another person.
The kind of Non-FIML Bonding I’d like to introduce here will tentatively be referred to as “Shallow Insight”.
Shallow Insight may be defined as the open, recurring, and oftentimes eager admission of some perceived character flaw, weakness, deficiency, or habit that is never accompanied by any real intention to change. The mere recognition and acknowledgement of the flaw is seen as being socially appropriate or even indicative of deep self-knowledge, and is therefore considered sufficient, poetic, possibly heroic.
This phenomenon can be variously interpreted:
As a cultural vestige of Christianity, with its emphasis on humility, confession of sins, penitance, etc.
As revealing of a human tendency to see ourselves in terms of dramatic narratives. It is an age-old device in drama to present a character as having a tragic flaw or as making a fatal error in judgement. This is a quick and easy way to turn a plot, make a point, elicit sympathy. We have all had so much exposure to this kind of thing – not only in drama but film and literature too – it is no surprise that we might tend to mimic the form in our own autobiographies, casting ourselves as tragic heroes with a sorrowful secret as a central feature of our being.
As an easy way of generating feelings of closeness with another person. By entrusting someone else with highly personal information about yourself, especially if it is embarrassing and/or unflattering, you create a private world with them.
From a modern psychological perspective, as a defense mechanism, whereby admitting to a problematic behavior or thought pattern paradoxically allows it to continue. An alcoholic, for instance, may be able to forestall abandonment by repeatedly admitting to his interlocutor(s) that he is aware of his drinking problem and is disgusted with himself.
As a socially expedient gesture of submission. The psych-stream underlying this might sound something like: “You are right and I am wrong. I am always wrong. You are so much smarter than I am. I admit it. I give you the gift of dominance. Okay? Now, please like me and accept me.”
As a badge of genuineness. “Everything is a mix of good and bad, including me.”