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.
** This post was inspired by @NotAnna who tweeted today about social anxiety. I’m NOT writing about her nor am I going to talk about her. I’m writing about my own experiences, thoughts, ideas, and musings. She is just the inspiration.
I’m going to put a few things down right here at the get go so that there’s no confusion about any of the defintions or meanings about things. This is as much for me as it is for the reader, but mostly it’s for those who have little to no experience with anxiety, social anxiety, and/or introverts.
Anxiety =! Social anxiety
Social anxiety =! Introvert
Introvert =! Anxiety
None of these things are mutually exclusive. You can have none, one, or all three.
When you study to be a counselor you have to take a lot of psychology classes. Included in the very many classes are classes that teach you how to help diagnose varying disorders and conditions. Actually, once you’re at the Master’s Degree level (the minimum needed to be a licensed counselor federally), you take a few classes related to abnormal psychology and varying disorders.
Anxiety and social anxiety seems to allude many people. Many of the fears and worries that people have can be classified as irrational to those not suffering from the illness. It makes no sense for a 12 year old to be worried about tornados or earthquakes in another country. It certainly doesn’t make sense of that 12 year old to have panic attacks over these things, but it happens (I know because I know this kid and their family).
When it comes to social anxiety, people who have it understand each other in a sort of silent way. We get it. Those who don’t or have never experienced it think it’s silly and irrational and completely made up. Yeah, buddy, we’ve all heard your shit before. No it’s not easy to just go outside and make friends. No it’s not easy to just pretend like it’s not there. And it certainly isn’t easy to just “get over it” either. If it were that easy, people who are depressed wouldn’t be depressed anymore (cause lemme tell you, that’s a whole other sort of debiliating mental illness that people misunderstand on the regular).
Social anxiety is more than just being in public. It’s about being around strangers. It’s about feeling like an outsider when you know you don’t fit into traditional societal norms. It’s feeling like no one’s really going to like you and everyone’s just pretending to be your friend anyway. It’s the voice in your head saying that you’re better off staying at home where you can control all of the variables. It’s the rational part of your brain that justifies only have one or two people in your life that you trust with anything. It’s that part of you that is determined to be alone because it’s easier than having to spend your life in fear of fucking something up, because perfection is a totally reasonable expectation. It’s the thought that people are going to discover that you’re a fraud. It’s the idea that you’re really only fooling yourself and no one really likes you anyway, and you’re going to fail. at. everything, so why fuckin’ bother.
These are all thoughts I’ve had at varying points in my life. Some more recently than others, but they’re all still there. It’s like someone wrote with Sharpie on the white board of my brain, in case I ever started to just let it go.
And what’s more interesting is that I go to stranger’s homes, sit with them, and ask them about their bathing and toilet habits. There’s a difference, for some reason, in doing these things as part of my job versus doing these things because I want to.
Being an introvert only really compounds on the problems of being someone with social anxieties. Since I choose to be alone to “recharge my battery” as it were, I find excuses for not being around people. And not being around people keeps the social anxiety irrationalities at bay. And so the cycle continues.
Don’t be fooled, though, these are two very different things that are only related because they play off each other so well that I have a readily available excuse at the tip of my tongue any time someone tries to ask me to leave the comfort of my home to go *gasp* outside.
I suspect there are a million people who’ve written about this. And a significant portion of other people who are better qualified to talk about it. And I can guarantee that you know someone who suffers from social anxiety, you just might not know it. I wish people would simply be more respectful of others. People don’t need to know why someone doesn’t want to hang out or go somewhere.
No, really, you are not entitled to knowing everything about others. You are allowed to be curious, sure, but sometimes you just have to accept that it’s actually okay for you to not know. And if (and when) someone is ready, they’ll tell you. Not when you’re ready, when they’re ready.
So be kind to others. They might be going to war with themselves.
This post is part of the #Blaugust series.