Reasons I believe myself to be a deplorable individual(and why you might be also); potential explanations to behavioural traits (so that, you know, we don’t all abandon each other outright).
1. I think about myself, my desires, my time – in short my own interests, before and as above those of anyone else. This is particularly stressful being an empathetic person. I can see how putting myself before a loved-one would injure them, as it would me were the tables turned. I feel that pain, that becoming inured to the position of second best, it’s awful, yet, I do continue to neglect the feelings of others in response to my own actions both accidentally and on purpose. Why, just this morning I refused to get out of bed, cut out the silent treatment and say goodbye to a very good person, because of my own bedevilled bent on fury in quietude. Knowing all the while that it was both frustrating and saddening for the other person, indeed experiencing guilt and shame while fighting any move toward truce… I also know that were I in his situation I would have probed and probed and probed, “why do you want me to leave? What did I fail to detect in your tone prior, or in which ways did I fail to modify my behaviour or read your signals and respond accordingly?” Instead of feeling impotent in the face of the angry mute’s behaviour, I would assume anger, point fingers, send arrows ; “why didn’t you convey your feelings effectively enough that we’re in this situation now? How can you expect someone to grasp and then assume your position when your descriptions of it are so inadequate?!” You can’t win with me. If I’m in a sulk it’s because you didn’t read me well enough (and resultantly I feel neglected and maligned – for, who wants to feel misunderstood?!) , though were I to be in receipt of such sulkiness it is you who are again in the wrong because you failed in getting me to see your point of view! (On the subject of sulking please see this wonderful article in this gem of an online publication)
2. I look down on those who don’t agree with me. This is an awful trait to have stowed away inside your bones! Being as I am someone who disagrees with a great many people’s views, tastes, proclivities and so forth I should only come to expect and accept their lack of alliance with my own – without pain. I judge and judge and when I’m not judging I fear being judged! I should be able to see (and be soothed by the fact) that people can for instance be members of certain political parties without being inherently evil, since I know they subscribe little to my views on such matters but that I’m nevertheless not an egregious mistake on my parent’s part, that I too have value, as they surely must (despite my belief that I’m somehow deviant, and am presently outlining details of my unfortunate and wicked condition, I can’t deny that I believe my beliefs to be correct, else I wouldn’t pay them any mind!). I nevertheless am unable to shake this petulant, idealistic and holistic “all or nothing” sort of mentality. I am perennially convinced that there’s no good dealing with part of an issue (in this case if a person is partly corrupt there’s no use appeasing and appealing to them and the whole system should just be wiped out, REVOLUCION!). Feeling misunderstood (and feeling sad about this) is no small part of the problem though, I can’t help but think that my contempt of or reluctance to engage with people who don’t share my views lies not in my desire to be above and to alienate people, rather to agree with and forge bonds with them, and when there’s an obstacle in the path of mutual sentiment I can’t help but feel something akin to “well, if you don’t see the sense in X, Y, Z, then, you’re missing a fundamental part of who I am essentially, and we can no longer take this dialogue any further, good day!” But you can’t agree with everyone, so, where does this leave me? Mostly angry and alone though increasingly indifferent…
3. I occasionally begrudge those who agree with me. This next is even less lucid and far less tolerable than the previous; I occasionally disdain or experience inner denigration towards those who share my sentiments, possibly due to some intangible notion that they don’t share my sentiments wholly or enough (whatever enough is!), or perhaps that my sentiments are so solid and correct that voicing assent would only be subscribing aloud to the crudely obvious and utterly pointless. An example: in recent years I have read extensively about micro nutrition, numerous articles and books containing thoroughly peer-reviewed studies from respected (non corporate-funded) physicians (though some of which have family roots in the meat and dairy industries) who feel they’ve no choice but to recommend a totally plant-based lifestyle as the ultimate for health and longevity (as well as being the best diet in terms of sustainability of the biosphere). As a result of this compelling and damning research I have discussed these topics at length with my family, having them fall of course on deaf ears (if people are going to change they have to be personally willing, having ideas forced upon you, especially ones that contradict your whole lifetime of habit, is rarely effective, when the time is right (or running out) people usually seek these things for themselves as I did). So, you would think that I would be happy to hear my father broaching the subject of deciding to eat half a grapefruit every day to “cleanse his liver”, instead of applauding this slight increase in fruit intake however, I merely chide “stop eating meat, that’s the best thing for your liver”. I find it hard to see the positive. A more universal example perhaps is the phenomenon of “I liked them ages ago”, you all know it, you’ve loved a band, or designer, or filmmaker, author, whatever, you’ve been enthusing aloud to your friends, to little or no real interest (certainly nothing to match your own) then suddenly, months or years later, everyone’s telling you about this “new discovery” of theirs, instead of feeling relieved, excited at being able to enjoy and share your love of something/someone with your close friends, you just feel mildly resentful… Far from being merely a juvenile “I was there first” type of response though, I feel this too has its roots in the aforementioned experience of wanting to connect with someone and somehow failing slightly. Whereas in the example of the previous paragraphs where you weren’t being understood properly, here the problem is of not being listened to. Your parents and friends may nod half-heartedly, “yep, sure, shit diet, that’s probably the reason I feel so tired and bloated all the time, maybe it isn’t genetic”, “yeah yeah, thats song’s quite decent I suppose”, it can’t help feeling like a subtle rebuke, a pseudo-approval and agreement of your stance and taste when really your loved ones, the ones who you’re supposed to connect with, are humouring you because they couldn’t really care less (see paragraph 1 and self-interest I suppose, they’re all linked). Essentially, I guess, wanting to connect in some meaningful way - and falling short are the roots to many a harboured grudge, a heated row, a silent resentment. Must. Try. Harder.