Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Patronizing

I used to worry about what people think about me, concerning being different, not "normal", etc (as you know from all my past blogs). Today it affects me less and even less as time goes because I know more and I also stopped to care.

I have to admit though that at a time this whole situation drove me to create my own enemies. Characteristic phrases and ideas even if unwanted they forced me to take a defensive position that could create misunderstandings. For example, phrases like "get a life" or that ancient greek quote which is the only one most greeks recite today as it is the meaning of life, things like that could even make me react arrogantly towards the persons reciting these things because I felt like they were indirectly trying to tell me that I should change and be just like the rest. Well, most of the times this was their real plan imho, but few of the people said these quotes and even ideas of how a "normal" life should be without hard feelings, maybe unintentionally. Even though they were unwittingly transferring a message that I still feel it's wrong in the greater sense, that we are all the same and should act the same way or else we are deviating from what is normal behavior or the natural way of life.

That's why I am still trying to speak of the alternative idea that each one of us is a little or more different and we can't always compare different people and easily claim who is right and who is not. But if I was going to create a polemic today it would no more be against the specific ideas but against patronizing. Even though I wouldn't like to create another schism. I want to avoid here splitting people or attitudes in a "good versus evil" dichotomy. So I will just speak a little about patronizing itself as it had affected me without making a judgment on it's value.



So it wasn't the ideas themselves at the very core that made me sad in my early life. It was a specific kind of attitude that I will call patronizing. I have noticed few things (which although I cannot prove but only feel them) about the people who are into this kind of attitude:

  • They have a great zeal when they are doing it. They talk to me or other people, trying to force all their energy on changing me. Like it is very important in their life that I will change too. Without even knowing me. They are sure, really sure, that there are specific things in life that are right and others that are ultimately wrong. They never give it a second thought.

  • They always transfer a negative energy to the persons they are claiming they want to save. They tell you that something is wrong with you, not only in the obviously bad sides of your life which you know too and you don't need to hear again and again. But also for trivial stuff in my opinion. They invent problems about you where they don't exist and then you feel more miserable for something that is not necessary there. They do more bad to you and almost never good.

  • Most people who do this patronizing, especially the ones who do it with more zealotry, it seems to me they are doing it a little roboticaly. It's like they don't have a wider view that I am a human being with emotions and that I know that there are some things not very developed in specific aspects in my life but it's not that simple. The way they preach me what is right or wrong is like they think I have not understood it yet and it's simply a rational thing. Which is not because if the solution was so simple I wouldn't be here just right now to hear your preaching!

  • Most of those zealous preachers tell me that they were just like me in the past and are just trying to help because they know my position (Which I doubt because everyone is a little bit different. Maybe you were introverted in the past just like me, but was it the same introverted? Or under the same exactly family/social conditions?). My guess is that most people who preach me to change and be "normal" were not (and still are not) normal. If there is such a thing as normal. I'd say they are geeks in disguise. They (maybe under social oppression) changed abruptly to what is considered normal and now they preach to others about it, most probably in order to gain more self-esteem.


In a nutshell, a similar image that resembles those kind of people is the one of a heavy smoker who under a great effort finally quit smoking. He now breaks the balls (ehm.. preaches) of all his smoker friends to quit too because it's bad. It's like he never understand how hard it was initially for him and speaks now in a rational tongue, forgetting that it's not that simple.

I always wonder about these people. Can't they see the wider image? Do they really have changed or out of luck? I mean, if it was hard for them too, they should have brought a good change in their life after deeply understanding what's the roots of the problem that they managed to wipe out and preach others against it right now. Except if they robotically (under social pressure) invented or followed some paradigms in order to change the way they acted or looked and match closer to the image/idea of "normality" most people in society have today. Maybe it would be a bad thing to say, but what I foresee for these people is that they might return back one day to their old situation. A heavy smoker who suddenly stopped his habit and preaches to other people to stop it by using simple useless arguments like "it's bad" is one who would not understand how hard it is. But wasn't he in the same condition? How about that rapid change? If he was he wouldn't be preaching. Did he understood the inner reasons that make smoking hard to quit? Does he remember his past inability to quit? Has he forgotten all these? What does it say to you that he now preaches to others to stop as if it was so simple and rational?

I have a feeling about why some people are doing it. As I said above, they gain something. They feel better with themselves, by preaching to others (and maybe degrading them too). They gain some self-esteem (and suck yours) via the feeling that: 1) They solved their problems, 2) They have control over other persons by helping them to solve them too. I don't say that everyone who tries to help others is doing it for egoistic reasons (Even though I believe it. And egoism is not entirely bad for me) but what essence these people bring to me is that they truly need it. Patronizing is a need. As the feeling of having control or helping others and feeling superior than them because of that is a need for some. This for me is more noticable with the people who do it with great zeal and share some of the characteristic I wrote above.

Somehow the idea that you know what's wrong with people and you are going to change them helps you cure your lack of self-esteem. Everyone does in a lesser or greater degree. I admit I did in the past once or two. But I know it's too absolute the way it's done by some. Why do we always need to find clues of how bad someone is? Why not trying to find the good elements? Maybe it's a basic need for most humans, only those who are taking it to the extreme are getting too annoying and don't help anyone at the end.

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