What’s Hidden Behind The Veil Of Mean Behavior?
In the process of demonizing mean and cruel people, we dehumanize them. Of course, it can be argued that there truly are “psychopaths” and “narcissists” out there who feel no empathy or remorse, but these types of people (who constitute a very low percentage of the population) are not who we’re referring to here.
I believe it’s reasonable to say that most of the unkind people we come across in life aren’t sociopaths or psychopaths, but are in fact normal, deeply wounded people. We don’t take time to understand them because we are greatly repelled by their behavior (and because let’s face it, we’re deeply wounded as well).
We spout excuses like, “So what? Everyone suffers but that’s no excuse for their behavior,” but this is only another way of perpetuating our self-righteous indignation and therefore continuing our own suffering. However, there’s something empowering and refreshing in not getting eaten up by bitterness, hatred, and anger any longer.
There’s something rejuvenating and liberating about taking your happiness into your own hands and understanding that:
All unkind, cruel, and vicious behavior has its root in pain.
If you want to look behind the veil of mean people and bad behavior you have to understand a person’s pain.
You have to be willing to be curious, you have to be willing to be open-minded, you have to be willing to be empathetic – even a tiny bit (as painful and annoying as that is).
Understanding another person’s pain involves disintegrating the boundaries between “you” and “other.”
It might involve reflecting on what you know of that person’s past. It might involve asking your friends or colleagues why a person is behaving the way they are, or it might involve guesswork.
No matter what approach you decide to take, you’ll always discover something surprising: their behavior comes as a result of misdirected pain.
Whether that pain is:
- family stress,
- work pressures,
- a break up or divorce,
- a tragedy,
- triggered inner child,
- something more vague like depression,
- fear of failure,
- fear of abandonment,
- low self-esteem,
- or even a spiritual cause such as the dark night of the soul or soul loss,
… when a person doesn’t know how to deal with their pain they will misdirect it towards others. And that equals pain, multiplied.
But you can break this cycle of pain and you can stop it from impacting your thoughts, your feelings, and life. Learning how to emotionally understand a person is the best way to do that.
How To Liberate Yourself From Anger, Hatred, Bitterness, And Resentment Toward Another
It’s annoying and triggering to realize that our hatred, anger, and bitterness toward another person is:
1. Eating away at our sanity
2. Starving us of well-being
3. Causing anxiety and/or depression
4. Making us feel alone in the world
5. Reinforcing victim mentality
6. Alienating us from joy
7. Disempowering us
Let me be clear:
I’m not advocating becoming a doormat, letting others overstep your boundaries, becoming a bleeding heart, or staying in a toxic relationship.
I’m advocating freedom from hatred.
I’m calling those who are sick and tired of feeling browbeaten by others to reclaim a sense of empowerment through love and compassion.
No, you don’t need to excuse their behavior.
No, you don’t need to enable their behavior.
And you certainly don’t need to bend over backward for these people.
I know this is not easy. It’s a lifelong process.
But if you’d like to experience more inner freedom again, here are some paths:
1. Do some cleansing breathwork
Release your inner rage and disgust through the power of your breath. There are many different techniques described in a step-by-step way in our breathwork article.
2. Purge your inner feelings through intense exercise
Go out in nature. Get some vitamin D. Walk or run it all out. Dynamic meditation is also another good option for releasing pent up emotions.