What’s the Best Way to Get Fed Up with Abuse?

I chose to delete a comment left on the blog this morning.

I’ve been blogging for close to two years, and I feel very fortunate to have found it necessary to delete fewer than a dozen comments left by readers (as opposed to mere spammers).

It’s almost always for the same reason: The commentator verbally abuses someone — either another commentator, a class of people, or myself.  As I see it, when someone intentionally insults folks, they give up the privilege of posting on my blog.

One thing I’ve known about abusive people for some time is they always think themselves justified.  It seems no one is more self-righteous than an abuser.  That’s true off line and on.  So it probably won’t surprise you to learn most of the people whose comments I’ve deleted have written back claiming I violated their right to free speech.

Surely they think the only reason I blog is to provide them with a pulpit for calling everyone ‘garbage’.

So, this morning I’m waiting to see if the commentator who went by the username “Fedup”  will write back to me about her self-claimed free speech rights.

A tragedy here is that Fedup is someone who was abused as a child.  I think it’s safe to say very few of us lack sympathy for abused children.  But Fedup has — regrettably — turned her experience of being abused into an excuse for becoming a worse person than she could be.

She reminds me of someone I knew a few years ago whose wife and best friend abused him.  Let’s call him “Charlie” to protect his identity.  What happened to him has happened to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide — he discovered his wife and his best friend were having an affair.

Charlie then made a mistake.  His mistake was to allow himself to become bitter and cynical towards all women.  That is, for all practical purposes, he decided he was going to make every woman he came across pay for his wife’s abuse of him.  “I got no respect left for cunts”, Charlie would tell me now and then — and each time he said it, he’d all but clench his teeth.  Then he would tell me, for the hundredth time, how his wife and his best friend betrayed him — as if that justified his becoming a jerk.

I once tried to reason him out of it.  “My first wife cheated on me”, I began, “and I still like and respect most women I meet.  Besides, they had nothing to do with it.  So why be so cynical?”

“I don’t mean to insult you, Paul, but you’re just being naive and stupid about women.  You didn’t learn anything from your wife cheating on you.  Maybe you didn’t love her like I loved my wife.  And I’m not cynical; I’m a realist.”

We went on for awhile, but no mere words could make a dent in his invulnerable self-righteousness.

You might think Charlie would have nothing to do with women given his attitude.  But he was always bouncing from one woman to the next back when I knew him.

Fedup reminds me of Charlie in many ways.  I won’t quote what she wrote this morning because I don’t want to give her a pulpit, but like Charlie, she’s apparently determined to pass on the abuse of her by abusing others.  And, also, like Charlie, she’s not a good listener.  She didn’t bother to understand the comments of the people she was abusing.  Instead, she twisted their comments to make demons of them.  In effect, that means whatever creep abused her has won.  He’s succeeded in making her a worse person than she could be.

I have more sympathy for Fedup being abused as a child than she can probably imagine.  But it’s precisely because I have seen what abuse can do to people that I will not permit even “mere” verbal abuse on my blog.

A sadness of the world is that it is full of abuse. A challenge of the world is to do something about it.  It is up to each of us to say, “It stops here, with me.”  A person who feels their abuse justifies abusing others is not part of that solution — just part of the problem.

6 thoughts on “What’s the Best Way to Get Fed Up with Abuse?

  1. I reserve the right to delete a comment, ban a commenter, de-construct their comment, or just mock them as I see fit in the moment. It isn’t censorship unless the government does it; they are perfectly free to go start their own blog and post all kinds of trash on it.

    And yes, most jerks were victims of abuse sometime back, but it has to stop somewhere.

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  2. Some of the worst people that I have known claim that they were abused and if they were I sympathize with them but you are right in saying that it doesn’t justify their becoming butt heads in dealing with others. On the flip side of that, I can also say that some of the nicest people that I have ever known were severely abused as a child and decided that they would be the ones where the cycle stopped. Hoorah for them!

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  3. Paul, as you mentioned each of us has a choice, whether to turn bitter or abusive. Not all abused children become abusers and not all people who suffer become bitter and angry. I am not being judgmental here because I do feel sorry for these people, as long as they don’t abuse me!
    But I also want to say that not all people who abuse have been abused. They are just aggressive and mean and arrogant. Probably they are like that in real life too.
    I regularly get abusive comments on my blog, mostly on 1 particular post where people abuse those from another region of India, and claim that “their” people have developed certain cities and so on. These comments usually use shocking words against people of other regions. I am quite sure that these people have not been abused, but are simply arrogant and have no respect for others. The main thing is to have respect for another human being, another race, another region, another view. If this is lacking then the person will become abusive at some point and if he/she is arrogant will insist that he has a right to abuse. I have no sympathy for such people and frankly when someone abuses, I don’t even want to know why. I lose my respect for them. Whether they were abused as children or not I don’t know, and I don’t care. They need to keep out my blog.

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  4. As a general rule of thumb: there is no excuse for being a douche. We can sympathize with people for whatever problems in their past or biological issues make them angry, inhibit their self-control, increase their aggressive, drive them to gratify their own ego at the expense of others, etc. But, it doesn’t change the fact that they are being an asshole and should be called out for that.

    That being said, the internet is an ugly place, so you are very fortunate that you have had so few cases of verbal abusiveness. Rage and idiocy are pretty much the chief exports and imports of the internets, so I guess you got lucky.

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  5. @ George: That’s a very good point about censorship. When I comment on someone’s blog, I consider myself a guest.

    @ Simstone: That is so true! It seems abuse can bring out the best and worse in people.

    @ Nita: It’s very interesting that you loose your respect for someone when you see them abuse others. The same happens to me. It is not even a conscious decision, is it? Something just collapses and that’s it — you no longer have much respect for them.

    @AS: At times I have great empathy for people, but that does not mean I always have sympathy. Thus, I might to some extent empathize with someone’s suffering, but that is unlikely to lead me to sympathize with their being a jerk to others.

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  6. I completely “outed” a troll a couple or so posts ago. I had already cosigned the troll to spam. Was that a good idea? Heck, I dunno. Abuse me a bit, okay, a bit more, spam, say the wrong thing (even in my spam folder), you’re outed.

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