Monday, June 09, 2008

Deja vu (all over again)*

Another meeting this weekend was cause for serious deja-vu, and more bewilderment about ethics, moral codes, and people's behavior. While not a general meeting, this was a neighborhood board meeting, one of several throughout the year which I and others have been attending just to keep an eye on how business is being conducted.

The deja-vu came when the players mentioned here pretty much reprised their behavior of last fall. The six of us who came as interested parties were threatened with the sheriff -- the host and leader said that he had the right to throw any of us who disrupted the meeting off his property. At least two of us were ridiculed, insulted, and subjected to character assassination, including private business that had no place being aired at that meeting or any other.

I simply do not understand how a person can be so filled with anger and hatred that nothing but venom comes out of his mouth. I have never heard this person say anything positive about anything, and he obviously takes pleasure out of pushing other people's buttons, especially personal ones, and watching them react, and in being just as ugly and mean and nasty as you can imagine a person could be.

It's clearly a power thing -- he throws out a personal attack, and watches as that person reacts -- usually in anger and frustration and embarrassment. And he smiles. I watched him do it.

What could have twisted this man so deeply that he takes such pleasure out of causing others pain and humiliation? According to those who have lived here as long as he has, he has always been this way (and he's no spring chicken).

After last fall's meeting, I said that I was done wasting major time on minor people, and by golly, I have pretty much done that. I did not allow this man and his horrible comments to affect the rest of my day, nor to ruin my sleep. Except for a few moments when my honey was expressing his opinion and things got tense and my tummy sort of turned over, I have been pretty sanguine about it.

As writer Kim Antieau said today, you can change light bulbs, but you can't change people.

I have reflected a bit on his nature and on how bleak such a life must be to live. I know that the good thing to do is to say a prayer for him. But I simply do not understand at all how there can be a moral code by which such people live -- how do they even live with themselves? How could you find anything good or decent or loving in the world when you are so filled with anger and hatred, and behave in such an immoral way?

You either have morals or you don't. I think they're learned at a very early age, and I believe there are people who have none, who live only by a "do unto others before they do unto you" code. What a bleak existence.

The ultimate insult to these people is to be ignored and dismissed. And that's how I've begun to handle it. If I don't fuel their passion through my own response, they get no pleasure (although what masters of manipulation! They will stop at nothing to evoke a response, any response, and it is so difficult not to respond when your words are being twisted, you are being slandered, and your character is defamed so publicly, and of course you want badly to deny the lies.)

Next meeting is September. We'll see how I do.

*from Yogi Berra, who also coined such twists of the language as these. Scary that some of them actually make sense.

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