It struck me suddenly that some people just genuinely treat other people quite terribly. Including friends. I was thinking back to a long time ago when a new friend asked a favour of me. The immediate issue was that I don’t like being told what to do, and also do not appreciate being put into circumstances out of which I can not exit without discomfort. At the time I did it because I thought it a once of, part defining and deliberating this new friendship.
Looking back it is clear that it’s not all it was. It was categorically condescending, and continued to be that after the first instance. It seeped its way into the relationship and became a normative performance expectation within that friendship group that certain people could dictate to others what was to be done. I am glad that even then I had the resistance, however slight, to not go with the flow, especially because I had misdiagnosed the situation.
Yet it is clear that there are people who treat their friends badly as a matter of habit. Clearly, those bitch-bastards are deplorable human beings without any redeeming features but what of the recipients of that brutality? It is my business to ask their culpability for their suffering.
It is oft said that what you accept is what will continue. What is left out of that statement is that the more bullshit you allow, the harder it becomes to reject it. By then relationships between the two parties have been firmly established and the dynamics translated to regular, familiar routines which also affect related and tangent relationships. Especially perception of that particular individual.
I would put money down and say that many, even most, people in such situations know exactly what is going on. There are people, who in their oppression, aid their oppressors. I have seen the peculiar look in eyes which are not smiling but have curled lips below them when jokes about old women are told. Many a time even that courtesy of veiling the power held over them by another is not extended. And yet they remain in that position, bearing day in and day out the shame of being ashamed of oneself, as a result of foreign weaving. Why do we stay?
It is simple; the same reason which holds alcoholics, battered women and unpaid clerks to their sad stations. It is the fear of not being enough to do better if the re-negotiated terms of engagement are rejected by the other.
It is the same reason I haven’t applied for a sing job outside the one electronic attempt about a month ago. The same reason that on Day 9 I found myself again a dancing and singing house nigger, hat in hand and all.
What could the remedy be then? I say stillness! Do not say anything. Do not do anything. Catch yourself before your hand slips back into the old glove. Listen to yourself. Put your hand across your heart and say aloud “all is vel”.