Anger, Insults, and Hurt Feelings

I wrote this quite a while ago.  I think I should listen to myself.  I’ve strayed far from where I was back then.

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I often hear atheists and Christians insulting each other, either as a substitute for arguments or as a supplement. They find it satisfying to try and hurt their target’s feelings, and many members of their audience find vicariously satisfying. In their minds, the target of the insults deserves emotional pain because of something he or she did or said. They think it is just, but what they are really doing when they lash out in this way is revealing something about themselves.

I don’t mean that they are just immature.  That is certainly part of it, but there is more to it. We seek justice when we are hurt. When a person tries to hurt the feelings of another, it reveals that the one on the attack was hurt and is acting out of emotional pain.

Being hurt causes anger, as does seeing the innocent in pain. Anger is satisfied by causing more pain, so by its very nature, anger is hypocritical. It works in combination with pain to propagate itself like a virus. When someone insults you, it is an admission to having hurt feelings. Understanding this, the best response is patience. Unless you are the reason the attacker feels hurt, there is no reason to take anything negative they say personally. They don’t mean it.

To pass harsh judgment on a childlike mind that is incapable of channeling emotional desires is unfair. After all, a penguin can’t be faulted for being unable to fly. It doesn’t matter to them that their whole world isn’t the source of their pain. They only think about themselves. Emotionally, they are no different from young children, and the only thing that will satisfy them is to cause much suffering to others as they can.

Not everyone who casually insults others with little or no provocation is indiscriminate in this practice. In fact, I’d say few are. Only a sociopath would be. Typically, some kind of trigger is required for an individual to become the target of childish taunts by an emotionally damaged person. A difference of opinion on even a trivial issue can be enough. So can a personality traits; a racial, ethnic, or religious identity; a physical feature; or a lifestyle choice. It’s not the same thing as bigotry, but it’s not too different. Of course, the biggest trigger is an insult, whether it was intentional or unintentional. You have to be careful when dealing with emotionally damaged people. If you’ve inadvertently triggered one or more of them, it is very easy to feel the need to retaliate and cause them to feel justified in what they are doing.

To continue radiating unpleasantness, they will sometimes fiercely defend their ignorance by offering excuses like “I’m just a nasty person” or reiterating the trigger and declaring it to be justification for the mistreatment. It feels so good to spread emotional pain, it can be very hard to let go of even the pain. It is psychologically addictive, feeling relief from pain. In fact, relief feels even better than just feeling good.

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I never finished writing it for some reason, but it kinda resonates with what I’ve been going through lately.

An open letter to my parents

(Some names have been altered for the sake of their privacy.  I’ll mark them with funky characters.)

Hi, parents.  I’m writing this to you like this because I know you’ll never read it and that other people will.   I could write more stuff to preface all this, but I don’t want to right now, so I’ll just dive in.

You had too many kids.  I’m very happy to have three awesome sisters, but it was too much for you two.  You handled it very badly.  There were good moments, but there were also many times when we were neglected or abused.  You taught us that yelling is a way to communicate and that physical violence is justified when one is angry.  Worst of all, you know now that it was all wrong, but you’ve never apologized, and  you never will because whenever we bring anything up that you did wrong, you clam up or get defensive.  We can’t talk to you about this, so we can never really forgive you for it.  We all love you both, but we also kinda hate you.  Well, I can’t exactly say that for {{Monique, Estrella, or Sky}}, but it’s true for me.  I could have turned out so much better if you hadn’t used threats and beatings to gain our compliance.

Through your negligence, {{Monique}} and {{Sky}} became the victims of Henry Wolfe’s pedophilia.  They sought your protection, and you failed them.  Through your use of violence to punish us for your anger, you gave me a skewed view of authority, and I’m amazed that I didn’t turn out to be an abuser myself.  You nearly ruined my life, and it will be a struggle to get to a point where I can live a successful and independent life.

There are those who think that you, mom, desire to keep me in a state of perpetual childhood so that you can continue to take care of me and feed your pathological desire to be needed.  You have deep issues that I fear you will never face because you are just too old now and too set in the habits you’ve developed over your life.  You hate {{January}} because she has taken me away from you and is helping me to become an adult.

Dad, it’s easy to see how you got screwed up.  Ten kids in a poor catholic family, it’s a recipe for abuse.  {{Monique}} told me that she once beat your dad at a card game or something and he shoved her into a wall.  What a prick.  I don’t care that he’s dead now.  He was a monster, and he turned you into a monster too.  You still talk about child abuse like it’s a legitimate way to discipline a child.  It’s not.  Hitting a child is wrong.  Using a weapon to hit a child is wrong.

Maybe I’ll write some positive stuff later.  I just wanted to get some of this off my chest.