Unintentional Jerks

Sometimes you run into people that rub you the wrong way, get under your skin, or you get upset when they’re around, or you just assume that they’re mean, when you could be quite mistaken. They could be unintentional jerks. Someone can come off as mean when the person in question has no intent of malice and idea that you (or others) are perceiving him or her as someone who is a jerk.

People only know what they know, and if you are able to take a look at what might be going on inside the jerk who is upsetting you, you might be able to reconsider your opinion of him or her, re-evaluate your judgment, cut him or her a little slack, and not take their words or actions so personally.

I know when I get intensely focused on a particular thought process or project, I can be less attentive to the real world going on around me. On more than one occasion, I have had an upset, potentially angry person interrupt my train of thought, expressing their dissatisfaction about trying to get my attention “X” number of times to no avail.

They were clearly on the verge of rage, but due to my attention being so focused on what I was working on, I wasn’t as aware as I might have been and missed the series of attention-getting activities escalating to break my trance, until it became an emotional outburst. And I look like an insensitive jerk.

I realize that I might feel the same way if the situation was reversed, and I was desperately trying to get someone’s attention, while they were distracted.

Like when unintentional jerks cut you off in traffic. You get all bent out of shape, but the driver who cut you off didn’t do so to make you mad or cause you to be the victim of any abusive road rage. The offending driver might have just had something else on his or her mind as they were changing lanes, and you might have been in the driver’s blind spot. (I know I have unintentionally frightened or made a few drivers angry in my lengthy driving career.)

Differences in personality or other character qualities might seem offensive because they are incompatible with your personality or style of communication. For instance, using cat personality types, if you were a Cool Cat and an enthusiastic Battle Cat was trying to explain something to you, you might be offended or angry at this jerk’s delivery method. You might feel slighted, insulted, disrespected, or condescended to, even though there is no malice intended, it’s just a difference in personality types.

Another issue might be that of jerks invading your “personal space.” You might feel safe with keeping a distance of arms-length-and-a-beer-bottle from a person you are communicating with, yet the person who’s trying to communicate with you is comfortable with about six inches. You feel like their being so close to you is offensive, and you would otherwise let no one encroach on your personal space, like that unless you were romantically intimate with them. So, you get upset, and you classify this person as obviously a jerk, even though it’s just a cultural difference.

Depending on your personality, someone else’s enthusiasm, or boisterousness might seem over-the-top or offensive (I’ve been accused of this periodically).

Even in conversation, someone might inadvertently become an unintentional jerk by striking a nerve by just making small talk. A simple question about your past might trigger a buried emotional wound and find you getting ready to post up for fight or flight when the person was just trying to be friendly. It is quite likely that he or she had no idea they were treading in sensitive territory, or else they would have never gone there.

Simple questions like,

What do you do for a living?
What kind of car do you drive?
What’s kind of food do you like to eat?
How old are you?

All these questions are normally innocuous, but you can see under the right (or wrong) conditions, these very same questions could seem offensive to some people with particular sensitivities. And you, if you asked them, would find yourself among the unintentional jerks.

You never meant to offend anyone or hurt their feelings, and all of this was nothing more than miscommunication or misinterpretation.

Consider, the next time you encounter an out-of-control jerk, ask yourself if he or she might be an unintentional jerk? And if you might be the one with a little less control than you could have if you were a little more compassionate and understanding?

 

Love Being a Hater

You know what I’m talking about, some people just love being a hater. They get a thrill out of putting other people down, making them feel miserable, or going as far as doing their best to destroy the lives of others.

Why would someone love being a hater?

Haters Just Wanna Have Fun

Believe it or not, haters feel their best when they’re putting other people down. To them, this is the ultimate form of entertainment. The worse they can make someone else feel, the better they feel and the more satisfaction they attain from dishing out their own special brand of destruction.

It’s not uncommon for such a person to suffer from a dark or malicious form of Narcissism, helping them to remain somewhat isolated from the pain they cause and enabling them to extract a sense of joy from hurting others. They are the center of the universe and others are just players for their amusement performing their roles in the hater’s sick drama.

What’s so great about being a hater?

You might wonder why would a hater love destroying others so much? What do they get out of it?

In most cases, you wouldn’t even notice a hater if he or she was not dishing up hot, steaming serving of hate on a regular basis, they would just silently and insignificantly disappear into the background of life. They have discovered that they can easily garner the attention of others and not be taken for granted by making others feel bad. When they spread their hate and discontentment, the spotlight is refocused upon them, enhancing their perception of their own significance in a world where they would otherwise be invisible.

Often, very early in life, they discovered that negative attention was better than no attention, and they carried this perception of life into adulthood.

The haters who love hating feel as though they command the respect of their peers (or potential victims), although this is misinterpreted as respect because in real life others are fearful (not respectful) that they might be the next target of his or her pending venomous attack.

You see this type of abuse in authority figures who lord over others whose lives they can destroy on a whim, whether he or she is in politics, law enforcement, a teacher, a parent, or any of the other positions in life which imbues them with power over others.

Any challenge of their power or authority is followed by their quick and brutal display of power with little regard to how devastating their actions might be to their victims.

This sense of power is the lifeblood of the ravenous hater. Having the ability to hold the lives of others in your hands is almost god-like. The power-hungry hater thrives in wielding the power to be judge, jury, and executioner in an instant.

The craftiest and most stealthy power-hungry haters use misdirection and deception to destroy the lives of others employing a more passive-aggressive method of disseminating their destructive payloads. These are the most difficult hate-lovers to identify, maintaining a meek exterior appearance all the while, making people feel threatened or awkward by claiming their selfless concern was misinterpreted as an insult or threat.

Haters love the acquisition of material goods or financial reward for spreading hate. You see these haters with everything from small businesses to corporate giants who benefit from bad-mouthing and putting down other businesses, organizations, or competitors who might be a threat to their own success.

Anyone can now afford to join the ranks of the most comprehensive lovers of hate due to the readily accessible power of the Internet which can be easily adopted as a method to destroy others quickly, effectively, and inexpensively.

Keep in mind, there are many types of haters who hate for all kinds of reasons. While this may not apply to all haters, this represents those haters who love being a hater and receive the most enthusiastic enjoyment from spreading the hate and hating others.

Dr Jekyll Mr Hyde Safety

Ever wonder why someone who could be perfectly nice, even-tempered, supportive, polite and friendly can suddenly turn into a hot mess of dysfunction, discontent, hateful, or downright mean? Before you start jumping to conclusions about Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), or Bipolar Disorder, consider this person may be practicing a form of self-preservation, a sort of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde safety net, or precautionary forcefield.

People will do the darndest things to protect themselves when they feel threatened or are triggered, and it’s nearly impossible to know what’s going on inside someone’s head. People carry with them a lifetime of experiences, some of which can be quite frightening or painful, and the human psyches will do just about anything to avoid the risk of suffering due to the reinjury of an unhealed emotional wound.

This is a very base survival instinct at work, which if viewed without judgment, would be impossible not to empathetically understand from a compassionate point of view, rather than picking up stones to hurl them, retaliate, punish, or stomp out someone who is simply trying to make it through life in the best way that they possibly can.

To you, looking at the surface condition, you might witness someone with whom you’ve had a particularly peaceful and close relationship, suddenly experience a dramatic change in character, and might become quite abrasive, mean, and/or nasty. Naturally, you recoil because you’ve been surprised by the sudden change in character, but wait, and consider what might be going on behind the scenes before you accuse or defend yourself.

We all have different skill sets and respond to threats differently based on our experience. Some people who have suffered trauma, abuse, have low self-esteem, or have not learned high performance coping skills may have fewer tools available to them to reach for when they are triggered and may act out inappropriately to isolate themselves from a perceived threat… and they may not be very nice about it. You might even think they are being rude or mean.

Some people with low self-esteem will strike out at well-intended friends, or people who are getting close to them, as a way to protect themselves from being hurt. They have a sense of safety and security in being isolated and threatened by being too close to someone, or vulnerable. For them, it is better to be safe, by pushing people away, than sorry (potentially exposing themselves to potential pain).

Others try to manufacture a safe environment around themselves wherein they can safely navigate their lives by maintaining a high degree of control. They have strict guidelines that participants in their life can safely move about within. Step outside the boundaries they have set and expect to be ejected. Depending on the skills they have accumulated at the time, your expulsion may be unglamorous and hurtful. Nonetheless, this person is doing the best they can to preserve their sanity while maneuvering his or her way through life.

Fear is the predominant motivator of these incongruent outbursts. If you are afraid of losing your life, you are likely to act in ways that are not normal for you in an effort to prolong life. The same is true for some people who are afraid to lose their reputation, love, connections, finances, sanity, safety, or security.

Such a person might strike out at you when they are feeling vulnerable or threatened by name-calling, devaluing you, raising their voice, threatening, or right-out total rejection of you. They may try to blame you for anything they might be feeling, falsely accuse you, or even use their influence to discredit or demonize you.

Such a person will feel better not having you amidst his or her presence and not feel much guilt for getting you out of their life, either momentarily, or permanently. To soothe themselves, they will often huddle people around themselves, polarizing them against you, to justify and make sense of their outburst.

Again, do not take it personally. This person is in pain, and they are doing the best they can with what they have, even if they appear to be acting out in a Mr. Hyde fit of rage. Just because they are acting mean doesn’t mean they are a bad person.

Have compassion and empathy for such a person who is trying to make it through this life carrying such heavy weight of burden from their past, anguish, and pain.

May God bless them, and hopefully, they find better ways to live a better life. If not, they are not wrong or broken for doing the best they can with what they have. They are perfect, and we love them just the way they are.