A while ago someone asked me what I thought the most humiliating thing of all.
At the time I didn’t really know and gave some long weaving answer about hypothetical situations etc. But since I’ve been giving it a lot of thought – and perhaps too a lot of time to ferment in my head. It had to be something I genuinely despise. Something which is inexcusably unnecessary and selfish. And slowly something started to take form in my head. It isn’t perhaps the worst kind of all… but it is one which stands out as something I personally feel a great aversion to – rejection with the intent to disempower.
We all get hurt and hurt others now and then – it is inevitable and doesn’t mean anything other than that we’re all engaged in our own lives, trying to make the most of them in whichever way we feel capable of. And when we do sometimes we’re not as sensitive or aware or compassionate towards others as we wish – or ought – to be. Fair enough – it happens, and sometimes it may even take a while to cool down and gain some perspective on what exactly happened and why. Nothing wrong with that.
But to use that indignation to cut off someone else because we don’t like what they’re saying…. to bluntly and entirely deny others the opportunity to express themselves… and berate them even having the nerve to feel as they do… especially while we’re quite happy to go on about our own points of contention and dissatisfaction…. simply to save our own asses and insist on proclaiming the innocence of blind righteousness -that is humanity at its very lowest in my eyes.
The petty selfishness required to treat someone else that way might really come from guilt, insecurity and ghosts from the past. The sense of self-importance may in fact be an expression of a dysfunctional survival instinct. But however it is explained, it changes nothing with regards to its purpose: It is used with the intent to hurt, punish and bully into submission.
Sometimes, it is worth it. Sometimes, it is one of those things we put up with and go through for those we love. We forgive them for placing us in that situation, knowing they need us more than ever at such a time, and we stand strong and loyal,… even in the face of rejection, dismissal and any other unpleasantries thrown our way. It still hurts and humiliates us to be treated that way… but we make the choice that something else is more important than to stand on principle and protest method in that moment. That on the other hand, is humanity at its greatest, I think. That capacity to embrace, suffer and not be swayed from love…
But there comes a time and a situation when it cannot be okay anymore. When it just isn’t acceptable to attempt to use weapons like that for purposes like that on people around us. The fact that they might have long-since earned the right to be trusted, valued and respected beyond what would be offered in common courtesy to any and all isn’t actually all that relevant. Everybody deserves better than this – regardless of who they are.
Drawing the line at such a time is never easy. It is never pretty. And it is – for me at least – as humiliating to have to resort to as the initial offense itself. It feels like failure when there is no other way to communicate with another human being than by telling them that they’re no longer welcome and no longer worth fighting for. It is nothing but loss and a tragic waste of all that it could have been.
For me it is as humiliating to be one drawing the line as it is being on the receiving end. I cannot make myself believe that it is ever necessary for anything to end that way. Even if it is just a temporary measure to give both parties space and time to think things through, it leaves a trace. It taints. It leaves the possibility of it happening again a little more open than before. And that’s the worst part… how easily it can turn into a repetitive pattern of egos stroked, bruised and running rampant. In the end it is actually possible to end up in a place where you almost expect it to happen and you stop feeling the humiliation, the loss and the indignation. You just feel defeated and knew it was coming.
Expecting something like that… knowing that it will happen. Predicting it perhaps even… and knowing that you’re not deemed worth better or more….That’s cruel and humiliating beyond anything I can imagine.
I wonder if there’s truth to what they say about us all being either bullies or victims. I sincerely hope not.