First, I wanna point out that I’m pretty far behind. About 5 posts worth. I keep telling myself that I’ll catch up by writing two posts/day for a few days and then I find myself falling further and further behind. I’m not so far behind that I can’t actually win this thing (you know, it’s just a contest against myself, right?), but at a certain point trying to catch up becomes daunting. And overwhelming.
I’m doing the best that I can to keep that evil little pain in the ass voice in my head that keeps saying it’s not worth the effort to shut the hell up.
I’ve been noticing a trend lately. It’s kind of a human failing, to be quite honest. It’s a sense of entitlement that manifests itself in really shitty and poor behavior. Not just in general, but often turned and aimed at others. This shitty and terrible behavior is usually excused by something and it’s really those excuses that are becoming problematic.
There are some mental and physical disabilities that manifest itself in behaving badly. I know this to be true. I also know that sometimes a person can’t actually control these things, but that’s not really what I’m wanting to write about today.
Today I would like to discuss the behaviors of people who are otherwise healthy and don’t have these illnesses that make them spout out really horrible and terrible things at people with no care for the consequences.
I’m talking about entitled shitlord assholes.
They come in all different shapes and sizes and this doesn’t seem to afflict any one gender more than another (though I would posit a guess that it is likely to happen with men acting badly more often than women). It comes down to just being an entitled jerk. People believe that they are entitled to something and when denied this something, believe they are then allowed to act like total fuckwad toolbags toward anyone and everyone they deem worthy of abuse and harassment.
We see a lot of this in a certain “movement”.
I am all for promoting positivity and shining a light on the good things within the various online communities I’m a part of, but I also feel that denying the fact that bad stuff happens is unfair to those dealing with bad stuff… but I’ll likely write about that another day. Often when the community and it’s members jump into the swirling pool of bullshit and nonsense, people just kind of ignore it. I’ve seen it happen over and over again over years of being on twitter and involved in different communities. I’ve lost friends over it. I’ve been on the receiving end of it. I’ve watched people I care about get shit flung their way for no reason other than where they work or what they’re supposed job title is (or even affiliations).
The thing is, there’s always an excuse. There’s always some excuse that people can come up with for being an awful human being, on the rather rare occasion that they’re called out on being a terrible human being. People, mind you, that are otherwise decent most of the time, quickly turn into the biggest asshole when they believe they have been slighted in some way.
There are those people who believe their words are just “things said on the internet” and thus “shouldn’t be taken to seriously”. There’s no understanding or belief that there are consequences for those words, or real-world affects of being a total dickbag. I mean, how often do we think “It’s just the internet. It should be expected.” and brush off the behavior as if it’s something we should just accept as part of being in an online community of any kind.
The thing is, it shouldn’t be this commonplace. It shouldn’t be the norm. There are ways in which people can express frustration and even anger without it turning into a pissing contest of who can insult the other more harshly or more quickly.
And before anyone decided to say something like “Don’t be so sensitive” or “Just ignore it” or “People are allowed to be angry/not angry”, I would like to point out that these are all methods of controlling and dictating how another person should feel or react. People have this belief that they know better about how to deal with things and assume that it’s the magical solution that others should adopt. They also feel as though people who choose other means of coping are somehow, inherently, wrong in their choices. And let’s be honest, there’s a small part of us that feels like we know what’s best. But that’s not true. We really don’t. I know I don’t.
Any time voicing your “opinion”, “concern”, or “idea” involves the attacking of another person, your opinion, concern, or idea is hugely diminished and less likely to be heard or paid attention to. Because your right to have your opinions, concerns, or ideas heard ends when you infringe on another person’s right to be treated with decency and respect.
There’s more to this story than meets the eye, but it mostly comes down to the fact that empathy, and empathetic engagement, are learned behaviors. Ones that people have to choose to want to learn and be better about. This isn’t about being nicey-nice and pretend like bad things never happen, but understanding that being a fucking asshole toward another person most certainly effects them, even if you don’t see them.
Stop being dicks to each other. Stop believing that you are the only person with the right idea. Stop believing that you speak for the masses, when you really, truly, only speak for yourself. And for the love of all things holy (priest), stop acting like your mental illness, physical illness, or disability is an excuse for treating other people like crap. It’s not.
That’s just you being a dick.
This post is part of the #Blaugust series.
Content Warning: Difficult subjects including but not limited to sexual abuse, losing a family member, feminism, gay rights, etc.
The act of crying elicits a lot of emotional response from others. Some people get pissed at you for being a cryer because they believe you to be weak or pathetic. Other people are emotionally sympathetic and will want to cry with you.
When we started the residency we were warned not to use the time as personal counseling. Put more simply, we weren’t supposed to talk about the really trying and difficult things. On a scale of 1 to 10, we were supposed to keep the seriousness of the roleplaying scenarios under 5 and preferably around a 3. Examples of what I’m talking about are siblings who fight, a parent wanting a child to get better grades in school, a spouse that isn’t keeping the house clean, or a roommate that’s not pulling their own weight. Problematic, but not traumatizing.
After lunch we watched the professionals do a roleplay and then discussed how to incorporate specific methods of eliciting information and asking questions. The sort of stuff that you can know theoretically but is much harder to do in practice (as I’m learning).
The last two days have been a humbling experience to say the least. While I am book smart, it’s clear that I (like many others) have a difficult time deviating from my own norms and behaviors.
To keep us all from sleeping, the professor did a line game. Everyone starts on one side of the room. The professor reads off a statement and if it applies to you, you walk across the room, turn to face your peers, and look to see who is with and not with you.
As you can imagine in a counseling cohort, this included some really difficult questions. To put it simply, it was an exercise to explicitly show us the ways in which we cannot assume *anything* about other people and the ways in which we are more similar than we might otherwise believe.
The questions began with things like “I consider myself to be Catholic.” And one or two people walk across the room and then walk back. “I consider myself to be Protestant,” and after a little more clarification, this equated to Christian but not Catholic. A few others walk across the room and walk back. “I identify as African American.” Two people walk across and joke about not being alone, then walk back. “I identify as multiracial.” I walk across, alone. I joke about it being a lonely walk, and walk back.
The questions grew in intensity to include “I believe that it’s a woman’s right to have an abortion.”, “I consider myself to be a feminist.”, “I have a friend or family member that has been sexually assaulted.”, “I have a friend or family member that has AIDS or HIV.” There were times I didn’t look up from the floor when I walked across. Other times I didn’t want to see those on the other side of the line from me out of shame. Mostly vulnerability.
It was the discussion afterward that really became difficult.
Professor: “What surprised you?”
Me: “How often people were on the other side of the line with me.”
Professor: “What other feelings did you experience when doing this exercise?”
Professor: “Did it change the way you viewed the others?”
Me: “Sometimes I wish I were the only one walking on the other side of the line, because you really don’t want to believe that we all know someone that’s been sexually assulted. And I’d rather be on the other side of the line by myself.”
Someone: “Some of the statements could have been worded and didn’t include ourselves.”
Me: “I think for some of us, we ARE our own family. And we could very well have been walking across the line for ourselves.”
Professor: “When we leave here today, remember who had the hardest time and struggled with some of these, but still were courageous when they walked across. I won’t single anyone out, but it was very obvious for some.”
I was the first to cry. I called myself a cry baby, though I think it made others more mad that I did. Others said they couldn’t look at me because they were already on the verge of tears themselves and if it wasn’t me it would have been them.
It was an emotionally draining experience, but also one that really did bring our group closer together. Tonight is a larger group going to dinner. We’re gonna get some deep dish pizza as a group. The professor made a point this morning to say that he had never experienced a cohort that had been as close knit and willing to help each other as we have been, especially not after the first day.
On the board at the end when we were summarizing the end of day 2, I made sure to include that we were the best group.
And it’s okay now for others to cry cause I took that fear of being the first one away.
This post is part of #Blaugust 2015.