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.

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