We impact one another in various ways, both positive and negative. And by that I’m referring to individual-to-individual in terms of the combination of harm and benefit we pass along to others. Divvies up differently depending on the situation or relationship in question. Some folks we have so little exposure to that they only know us one way or another, as someone who helped or hindered on a particular occasion or as someone who wound up having a mighty impact due to one ordeal. But relationships are far more complex than that, and so is the effect we have on one another.
People like to talk about how they’ve been wronged, telling others the stories of something that went down at one frame in time. But that’s not the whole story. Couldn’t be or why would you have stayed together so long? Why stick around after getting your heart broken? Because there’s a lot more to it than that, yet that analysis isn’t typically shared since we’re usually too busy painting ourselves as victims of circumstances. He or she cheated on me. He or she lied to me. He or she mistreated me. Okay. And what’s the rest of the story?
Only the individuals involved really know.
Something else I’ve been thinking about is how toxic people become what they are generally through being exposed for long durations to other toxic persons, especially as they’re growing up. Goes back to what I keep repeating about pain paying forward. Gets in our psyches and manifests in untold ways going forward. Even when you don’t see it coming, even when you might try to repress the compulsions, the inclinations, the bad thoughts and feelings. They find their way, insidiously, to the present. They just do. And evermore toxicity spills forward.
Don’t want toxicity, then think about all the ways in which it’s generated. Goes so much deeper than romantic relationships where it so often becomes manifest. Goes even deeper than the dysfunctional families that appear to set the ball in motion generation after generation. Look at our culture and observe its decay. Notice how it’s made people frantic and taught them that selfishness, even when taken to extremes, can be noble and good. We hear it in the economic talk about how individuals satisfying their own selfish interests somehow wind up promoting the good of the whole society, and if we pay close attention we understand that there are serious limits to that logic. Same goes for following our selfish interests in other ways. Looking out for numero uno can make us blind if that’s all we seem to understand. Because we start to see ourselves as somehow different, set apart, from others we come into contact with, and that does make empathizing a bit tricky beyond surface theoreticals.
This is why I keep harping on the destruction of communities and old-style tribal bonds. Because now too many of us are atomized — we’re scattered off on our own little orbits and view life through alienated perspectives. This is fucking some of us up big-time. But I don’t know how we’re to change the situation when the whole world is being pushed in that direction, from the top-down. I just know that in and of itself is toxic, and it’s impacting us to whatever extents, whether we consciously realize it or not.
So, no, I don’t think I’m alone in this. In fact, I know I’m not. Known too many other people who behave in ways that I now see in myself. Makes me sick. Makes me very frustrated. Makes me wonder if there’s a way out of this conundrum for those who recognize it for what it is. I don’t know.
Happy Easter, fellow humans.