One of my biggest pet peeves is being insulted and/or having lies spread about me. It’s immature, it’s unproductive, and it is one of the sneakiest ways to bully and abuse someone there is. Demeaning names aren’t cute or funny, but what’s more amazing is how people respond when you tell them you don’t want to be abused: lighten up, I can say whatever I want to, I don’t care what you think, this proves you really are [insult]. It’s never called for, no matter how much you disagree with someone or think that they deserve it. I don’t care if it’s Sarah Palin or Bill Gates or whoever – if you disagree with them, why not disagree with them based on all of the facts you have to do so with, instead of lowering and cheapening yourself by using grade school tactics? If you hate them, why not do so while respecting their right to not be abused? Words like idiot, psycho, crazy, etc. don’t prove your point; they make it seem like you’re projecting and lessen your message. I know some people like to have a ‘team’ and like to put down the ‘enemy.’ It’s a means of intimidation, and it helps people feel like they have a ‘side’ that supports them. But when it’s a real person, it’s not a game.
Now of course anyone who has a problem with not being able to just freely insult others whenever/whyever is showing their immature finery, but moreover they’re showing their hypocrisy. If they’re allowed to ‘do whatever they want,’ then why is the person being insulted not allowed to ‘do whatever they want’ (i.e., not be insulted)? Why can’t they ask for it to stop without it being ‘telling someone what to do’? That’s not curtailing free speech or stifling someone’s opinions, that’s preventing abuse. Responding (to an honest plea to stop abusing someone) with defensiveness and passive aggression is a problem. And telling someone that you can do whatever you want to, but that they have to do what you want (i.e., put up with their abuse because ‘they’re entitled to say it’) demeans and devalues another person and their needs. Should we not try to protect ourselves from those doing us harm just because they think it was okay? If we let it slide and just ‘get a thick skin,’ how far will it go? If you really believe someone is, say, crazy, is it appropriate or necessary to call them crazy, or should you not abuse them in case, well, they do have some sort of mental illness that you are provoking? And what happens when your comments have consequences, like in cyberbullying cases? People have lost lives over being called names. It’s not unreasonable to think that calling someone a psycho online would have an emotional impact on them, or that accusing them of doing things they didn’t do isn’t a serious case of libel. And even worse, glib comments about slapping or harming another person; can they ever be dismissed as just immature ramblings when you have no idea how unstable the person is who made them? It’s never good to be paranoid, but how is such a comment appropriate? What is gained from verbally assaulting others? Do we really think that it’s okay when we don’t even know the person, because then they’re not ‘real’ anyways?
I’m always saddened when I see anyone resort to personal attacks, name calling, and put-downs. And while I think people should always be able to speak freely and openly, there should also be consequences for doing so when those words and actions hurt another person. But what is a fair price for someone hurting you? I believe a sincere retraction and apology are appropriate, but how would the abuser gain the maturity to do so if they didn’t have it to avoid the action in the first place? I’m not much for people having rules that they ‘have’ to follow about what to do or say. I don’t believe in controlling people or suppressing their opinions. But the entitlement mindset, the people who think that they can do/say anything without listening to or respecting others… maybe we should look at declaring that a disease. If it is, I wouldn’t call them names; I’d just hope that they get the help they need for their sickness.
[Yes, this is based off of a true story of my ex, who felt it was appropriate to publicly ridicule me and call me 'crazy woman,' 'psycho,' and telling people that I'd harm and use a cat as some sort of pawn. Complete strangers called me a psycho and one offered to 'slap that bitch.' It's one thing to say 'sweep it under the rug,' but there's a point where we need to stop telling victims of abuse to just take it. I don't advocate emotional knee-jerk revenge tactics either, but sticking up for yourself when someone abuses you is the right thing to do.]