contempt

Pedestals, disability, and equality

When people effusively praise people with disabilities for doing trivial things that we do every day, it can seem like they’re putting us on pedestals.

I think they’re actually putting *themselves* on pedestals.

They think that we have a human need to feel respected. They also think that we’re incapable of doing anything worthy of real respect. They believe that they are nobly twisting reality to give us what we need. They think that we need everyone to lie to us constantly, so that we will be able overselves to fill a false sense of being valued.

They put themselves on pedestals that they can look down at us. They express contempt for us and expect us to see it as a favor. This is an awful thing to do. The things we do matter (even when they are small), and we are all worthy of real respect. 

We should all meet as equals. No pedestals are needed.

Having good conversations on the internet even though it's full of jerks

On the internet, there are a lot of people. There are massive numbers of jerks. There are also massive numbers of nice people.

If you focus on the jerks, you’ll never run out of jerks to talk to. If you engage with everyone who is mean to you, your life will be full of conversations with mean people.

This is true in reverse as well. If you seek out people who want to listen to you, you can have good conversations. If you reply primarily to people who respect you, then your life will be full of conversations with people who are treating you well.

Focusing on people who treat you well is a choice that you have to keep making, over and over again. It won’t happen automatically, and many people will try to push you into interacting with mean people. Some of them will be mean people who devote a lot of time honing their skills at demanding attention so they can hurt people. (Eg: 4chan trolls.) Some of them will be people who basically have good intentions but think that you have to reply to everyone. Some of them will be people who try to draw you into every fight they have.

Focusing on respectful interactions can be very difficult, but it’s worth it.

I think these are some basic principles for how to do that:

Talk to people who are listening.

  • If someone is making a serious attempt to understand what you are saying, they’re likely a good person to talk to
  • If they’re mocking it, twisting your words, or telling you that you’re a terrible person, they’re probably not a good person to talk to

Talk to people you want to listen to.

  • If you think that what someone has to say is worthwhile, they’re likely a good person for you to talk to
  • If you have active contempt for someone and their opinions, you’re probably better off talking to someone else

It is possible to have respectful conversations with people who you disagree with about important things:

  • In a respectful conversation, they listen to what you are actually saying and respond to it
  • In a respectful conversation, you respond to what they are actually saying
  • Neither side makes personal attacks
  • (Explaining why an idea is harmful is not a personal attack. Calling someone who disagrees with you human garbage is.)
  • Neither side engages in language dickery
  • (One or both of you might be angry, vehement, passionate, or heated. None of those are the same thing as contempt).

It’s ok to publicly explain why you don’t respect an idea, or have contempt for a particular person’s worldview:

  • It’s best not to do that as a conversation with that person, though
  • Conversations with someone you don’t respect tend to go poorly (especially if they don’t respect you either)
  • It’s much more effective and pleasant to discuss those ideas with people who want to listen to your perspective on them

tl;dr: The internet is a much more pleasant and productive place if you focus on interactions with people you respect and who treat you well.  Conversations go better when both people in them are listening and responding to content. If someone has contempt for you or you have contempt for them, it’s probably time to find someone else to talk to.

Anger is an emotion, not a moral blank cheque

hello i have a question, do you know how to deal with someone who hurts and manipulates you and then makes you feel bad about it? like, if they say mean things about/to you and justify it by saying ‘i was angry’ but if you are ever mean to them, they get really mad at you for it and say you’re a terrible person?
realsocialskills said:
I think in that situation, the best thing you can do is get distance so that person can’t keep hurting you like that.
Some people treat anger like a blank cheque that justifies anything they decide to do to you in their rage. Those people are abusers.
Anger is not a justification. Things that are wrong when you’re calm are still wrong when you are angry.
One thing that anger does is lower inhibitions against certain kinds of actions. That can be a good thing, if it makes it feel more ok to protect yourself. It can be a bad thing, it if makes it feel more ok to hurt people who don’t deserve it. It’s easier to make certain kinds of mistakes when you are angry and have lower inhibitions against doing things that might hurt others. We all make mistakes in anger, from time to time. 
But those mistakes *count*; the anger doesn’t cancel out the actions. People who treat their rage as a justification for mistreating you are unlikely to ever start treating you better. If someone still thinks what they did was ok once they’ve calmed down, then they *actually think it was ok* and will do it again next time.
What people say when they’re angry counts. What people say when they’re drunk counts. What people say and think always counts. This is especially true if they are very distressed by the possibility that you’ll judge them for saying mean things, but not at all concerned about the possibility that they hurt you by saying mean things.

If someone calls you a terrible person on a regular basis, assume they mean it. Even if they say they don’t later. Even if they say it was just anger (or alcohol, or stress, or exhaustion.) And keep in mind that friends are people you like who like you, and people who dislike you aren’t friends. 
People who regularly tell you that you are a terrible person are trying to make you feel unworthy of friendship so that you will put up with anything they decide to do to you. If they really thought you were a bad person, they’d be trying to get away from you, not trying to keep you close.
The best thing you can do is distance yourself from this person, and spend time with people who actually like and respect you.

barkrubbings:

realsocialskills:

myindustrialvagina:

realsocialskills:

Do you have any tips on how to figure out who is trustworthy and who is not? As in whether or not someone intends to cause harm to you, etc. I find that I never realize I’m being mistreated until it’s too late, and it makes it really hard for me to find good friend, especially IRL. Advice/tips?
realsocialskills said:
Here are some things I consider to be red flags:
Having a strong self-image as not being the kind of person who does bad things:
  • We all do bad things, even awful things, from time to time
  • People who think that they’re “not that kind of person” actively avoid noticing when they’ve done bad things
  • People who deal with one another regularly hurt one another from time to time, and it’s important to be able to acknowledge this and fix things
  • If you’re dealing with someone who can’t bear the thought of having done something wrong, you’re not going to be able to tell them when they’ve hurt you
  • Because they will blow up at you and hurt you worse when you try, or else they’ll cry and convince you that you’re a terrible person for making mean baseless accusations.
  • Either way, it will make it impossible to deal with problems, and you’ll end up tolerating things that hurt you badly
  • I wrote about that some here
Expecting immediate trust
  • Trust is developed over time
  • If someone wants you to talk about deeply personal things right away, and gets upset when you don’t, they’re not respecting your boundaries and that’s dangerous
Asserting that a deeply intimate relationship exists without considering your opinion on the matter relevant
  • Close friendship only exists if you *both* think it does
  • You are only dating if *both* of you think that you are dating
  • Someone can’t just decide that they’re close to you and that you have a deep close committed relationship; you both have to want it
  • If someone considers your opinion of the matter irrelevant, run.
  • I wrote a post about that here 

Wanting you to depend on them

  • If someone tells you that you couldn’t function without them, do not trust them
  • If they want you to fix your life, do not trust them
  • If they think your sanity depends on their loving understanding care, *seriously* do not trust them
  • If they get angry, or hurt, or cry when you don’t do what they want you to do in your personal life, don’t trust them

Being under the impression that they’re doing you a favor:

  • If they think that they’re doing you a favor by being friends with someone like you, they’re not likely to treat you well
  • Friendship is not a charitable act. It is a mutual relationship between people who regard one another as equals.
  • Similarly, when someone thinks they’re doing you a favor by employing you, it will probably end badly

If people you trust dislike them:

  • If you have people you know to be trustworthy, and they don’t like a new person in your life, it’s important to find out why
  • Sometimes they will be wrong, but often they will be right
  • It’s important to figure out what’s going on, and why they think that — then if you disagree that’s fine, but it’s not a good idea to dismiss it without thinking about it

I’ve also written a lot of posts relevant to this issue. It might help you to read through my abuse tag and my boundaries tag and my red flags tag.

myindustrialvagina said:

and also

1) people who suddenly take a shine to you out of nowhere then always need stuff (physical things like money or car rides) 

2) people who cannot deal with confrontation under any circumstances and either refuse to talk to you about your concerns or constantly change the subject or make it your fault

3) people who discuss others esp talking bad about them, because i guarantee they’ll do the same thing to you as well

realsocialskills said:

Yes, although talking bad is a somewhat misleading way to put it. Because people who’ve been mistreated a lot might have really legitimate reasons to say bad things about others.

I’d say it this way:

  • If someone violates confidences without any apparent reason, they will probably violate yours
  • If someone doesn’t seem to respect anyone they talk about, they probably don’t respect you either
  • If they go out of their way to humiliate other people, or talk about others in degrading terms, that’s a serious red flag

Also, if they tell hate jokes (eg: racist/sexist/antisemitic/disability hate/mocking children or old people) or use racial slurs, that’s a red flag for being untrustworthy. (And for being someone who is likely to make *you* less trustworthy for members of the groups they’re mocking).

barkrubbings said:

I’d also add:

  • People who talk in a matter-of-fact/jokey way about what a horrible person they are/how they ‘have no filter’ etc. This is often useful for them so that after they’ve treated someone badly, they can say ‘Well, I told you I was an asshole!’ like it’s a get-out-of-jail-free card. (Of course, there are people who will talk about how crappy they are who just have low self-esteem and aren’t necessarily abusive, but it’s a thing to be aware of that *can* signal bad stuff.)
  • People who seem to have made enemies of many people/everyone in their life. Again this one can be hard to judge. It’s the guy talking about how all his ex girlfriends were [insert slur]. Basically it can be good to be cautious around anyone who constantly seems to be talking about how crappy all these people were and how they’re totally not friends any more. (With the proviso that there can be good reasons why people fall out etc - it’s just a thing to keep an eye on.)

realsocialskills said:

I agree with both of these.

I think having enemies is not in itself a red flag, but *only* having enemies is. It’s really, really common for people to be mistreated by multiple people, especially if they are members of a marginalized group.

But if it’s *everyone*, that’s a red flag.

myindustrialvagina:

realsocialskills:

Do you have any tips on how to figure out who is trustworthy and who is not? As in whether or not someone intends to cause harm to you, etc. I find that I never realize I’m being mistreated until it’s too late, and it makes it really hard for me to find good friend, especially IRL. Advice/tips?
realsocialskills said:
Here are some things I consider to be red flags:
Having a strong self-image as not being the kind of person who does bad things:
  • We all do bad things, even awful things, from time to time
  • People who think that they’re “not that kind of person” actively avoid noticing when they’ve done bad things
  • People who deal with one another regularly hurt one another from time to time, and it’s important to be able to acknowledge this and fix things
  • If you’re dealing with someone who can’t bear the thought of having done something wrong, you’re not going to be able to tell them when they’ve hurt you
  • Because they will blow up at you and hurt you worse when you try, or else they’ll cry and convince you that you’re a terrible person for making mean baseless accusations.
  • Either way, it will make it impossible to deal with problems, and you’ll end up tolerating things that hurt you badly
  • I wrote about that some here
Expecting immediate trust
  • Trust is developed over time
  • If someone wants you to talk about deeply personal things right away, and gets upset when you don’t, they’re not respecting your boundaries and that’s dangerous
Asserting that a deeply intimate relationship exists without considering your opinion on the matter relevant
  • Close friendship only exists if you *both* think it does
  • You are only dating if *both* of you think that you are dating
  • Someone can’t just decide that they’re close to you and that you have a deep close committed relationship; you both have to want it
  • If someone considers your opinion of the matter irrelevant, run.
  • I wrote a post about that here 

Wanting you to depend on them

  • If someone tells you that you couldn’t function without them, do not trust them
  • If they want you to fix your life, do not trust them
  • If they think your sanity depends on their loving understanding care, *seriously* do not trust them
  • If they get angry, or hurt, or cry when you don’t do what they want you to do in your personal life, don’t trust them

Being under the impression that they’re doing you a favor:

  • If they think that they’re doing you a favor by being friends with someone like you, they’re not likely to treat you well
  • Friendship is not a charitable act. It is a mutual relationship between people who regard one another as equals.
  • Similarly, when someone thinks they’re doing you a favor by employing you, it will probably end badly

If people you trust dislike them:

  • If you have people you know to be trustworthy, and they don’t like a new person in your life, it’s important to find out why
  • Sometimes they will be wrong, but often they will be right
  • It’s important to figure out what’s going on, and why they think that — then if you disagree that’s fine, but it’s not a good idea to dismiss it without thinking about it

I’ve also written a lot of posts relevant to this issue. It might help you to read through my abuse tag and my boundaries tag and my red flags tag.

myindustrialvagina said:

and also

1) people who suddenly take a shine to you out of nowhere then always need stuff (physical things like money or car rides) 

2) people who cannot deal with confrontation under any circumstances and either refuse to talk to you about your concerns or constantly change the subject or make it your fault

3) people who discuss others esp talking bad about them, because i guarantee they’ll do the same thing to you as well

realsocialskills said:

Yes, although talking bad is a somewhat misleading way to put it. Because people who’ve been mistreated a lot might have really legitimate reasons to say bad things about others.

I’d say it this way:

  • If someone violates confidences without any apparent reason, they will probably violate yours
  • If someone doesn’t seem to respect anyone they talk about, they probably don’t respect you either
  • If they go out of their way to humiliate other people, or talk about others in degrading terms, that’s a serious red flag

Also, if they tell hate jokes (eg: racist/sexist/antisemitic/disability hate/mocking children or old people) or use racial slurs, that’s a red flag for being untrustworthy. (And for being someone who is likely to make *you* less trustworthy for members of the groups they’re mocking).