Sometimes you despise a person. Yes, I said the word “despise.” It’s usually limited to people who once held your trust and respect. For some reason or another, though, they lost that trust and respect. And not just by letting you down, but by betraying you in a most humiliating and spectacular fashion. For abusing you time and time again. For breaking massive promises and divulging damaging secrets. For hurting you so badly that the wound seeps and oozes for a long time after the initial cut.
There are people you dislike, on general principles; and then there are people who you despise. As I said, you can only despise people who you know closely unless their actions are so heinous that they reflect on a global stage. So usually it’s a best friend, a relative, a lover, a spouse, or even a child of yours – unless it’s Hitler, a child molester, a mass murderer, or some other disgraced and repugnant world figure.
When it’s someone who was once close to you, and old, dear, friend, you can’t hide the fact that you despise that person. You can try. To keep the peace. To make things easier. Especially if, for some reason, you are forced to have regular contact with the person you used to respect and trust. This happens at work most often or in social circles where you mingle with ex-coworkers.
It always comes out, though, that you despise them. In every interaction. In every sentence spoken. In every email sent. An undercurrent of distaste and malice permeates every interaction. No matter how hard you try it always comes out. So, in order to keep the peace, you make excuses for it – to keep the peace.
“I’m having a bad day.”
“I wasn’t really paying attention; sorry – the other phone was ringing.”
“I can’t really talk right now; my toes are on fire.”
You make up wild, and stupid, excuses to avoid contact, or to mitigate the obvious fact that you despise that person.
And it works. People are so vain that they can’t conceive that someone actually despises them. So they label you as an “Asshole/bitch,” or as “forgetful,” or as “absent-minded” and chide you for what they perceive to be your failings. Thus exacerbating the situation and increasing the negative emotions between the two of you, because YOU know that they are only able to chide you because you are trying to keep the peace.
You begin to suffer anxiety about interactions with that person. Things you might say, or could have said, dominate your thoughts. Your very health is affected and, indeed, your relationships with other people are affected. You form a pattern of behavior that you can’t just turn off when you start talking to other people – people who you don’t despise.
To despise someone is not easy and a heavy price is paid for it.
Why am I blogging about this? Am I talking about myself? No – not really. I don’t hate or despise anyone who doesn’t know it. At least, if I do, I’m not going to tell you (the masses) that! This is just “profound” insight I’ve been pondering this week as I watch other people interact.
It’s amazing, though, how complex social interactions become when one person despises another and tries to hide it.