Stop Confessing Your Vulnerabilities

Andrew Taggart
4 min readAug 12, 2020

The Uninvited Confession, The New Confessional

Over the years, and most especially during the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve noticed an unsettling trend: people I barely know or do not know at all will send me letters written in the mode of a confession. Completely out of the blue. The writer will not ask after me or mine, nor will he or she in any way include me in what, time was, used to be termed “a conversation.” Instead, the writer, spilling guts onto the page, will speak at me.

What is readily observable is a profound–nay, shocking–level of self-importance together with an inability to even remotely entertain, let alone consider, the life of the recipient. Who is this one to whom I am writing? What is he like, his life like? Would he like to receive this missive shot, yea, from this here cannon? Does he even know me? At all? Why would I spill my secrets onto the page and then hit send without so much as a moment’s hesitation? Why don’t I see anything even scarcely amiss, let alone ethically dubious, in the whole thing?

Of course, psychotherapists would call this phenomenon “narcissism,” but here is the rub: I can find no other explanation apart from the near-ubiquity of therapeutic culture to account for this rising trend toward the stranger’s gushing vulnerability.