My biggest question is: how do we fix it?
People’s past experiences predict how they’ll treat people currently.
People who treat others badly have a history that leaves them with wounds that prevent them from behaving in pro-social ways.
All of these anti-social people (ASPs for ease in the rest of this post)—from sexual predators to KKK members to your verbally abusive aunt to the bully on the playground—have a history of trauma. Their experiences aren’t all the same, and, in some cases, their experiences administered to a different personality wouldn’t even be traumatic.
Given that bad behavior is a result of trauma, we should, as decent human beings, have sympathy or empathy for what has brought ASPs to this point.
But as adults, we’re responsible for taking care of our own baggage, so ASPs are responsible for working out whatever it is that makes them like that; they don’t just get a pass because bad things happened to them.
But as humans, if we’re so triggered by our pasts that we can’t give benefit of the doubt to people or we can’t be open to learning about other people’s experiences, then we’re certainly not in a place to own our own shit and subsequently work to clean it up. So ASPs aren’t in a place to be able to take ownership of their behaviors.
But also as humans, it’s our responsibility to stand up for people who can’t do it for themselves—which means standing up to ASPs on behalf of those who they’re trying to cut down.
This goes back and forth forever.
So how do we give enough love to ASPs for them to feel secure enough to look at themselves, realize they’re behaving badly, and get a damn therapist while not at the same time condoning or enabling their behavior?
I have no answers. But I’d love to have a conversation. What do you think?