Every individual is a complex mixture of good and bad, capable of being a hero or a villain as necessary to serve the immediate purpose.
But some people are chronic mind-game players who’d rather drain the ones that love them than deal with their own shit.
It might be because these people are hurt children on the inside who don’t believe happiness and healing are possible. It might be because they’re so traumatized and they’ve never had a chance to see non-manipulative ways of getting what they want.
Or maybe they’re just misunderstood. Maybe you think this person’s a jerk because they’re not thinking and behaving the way you want them to.
Whatever the reason for hurtful, insensitive, manipulative, and deceitful behaviour …it’s okay to say no to it.
Yes, people who refuse to deal with their stuff and instead suck everyone else’s energy into a vortex of endless need by re-creating drama endlessly are themselves “victims.”
They’re victims of never having been given an opportunity to receive consequences for their crap behaviour. They’re victims of never having had a chance to successfully deal with their own problems. They’re victims deprived of the opportunity to learn and develop past the Narcissistic stage of early childhood.
Some people are just poor, hurt, rotten little spoiled brats. Boo hoo.
Whatever the reason, the result is something that you have to deal with. Because the Asshole in your life will not. There are two reasons for this:
- the Asshole has little experience or skill at accepting responsibility for anything,
- the Asshole has highly-developed deception and blaming skills for everything.
This is a problem for you because people who lack self-responsibility and are skilled at dumping responsibility onto others …will glom onto people who are the opposite. People who love solving problems. People who love to help.
People who have poorly-developed deception and blaming skills.
Thus magically forms a relationship in which one person is always needing to be helped and the other is always doing the helping. It works great …until that difficult, surreal day arrives when the helper in the relationship needs help themselves.
And the Asshole rises to the occasion not by helping…but by taking this opportunity to devalue. To point out everything wrong with you that got you into this stupid mess in the first place, you idiot. What were you thinking?
That’s abuse. And that’s what defines an Asshole.
When you’re wondering if someone is hurting you because they’re an Asshole or just by accident (stop being so sensitive for Pete’s sake), you’ll find yourself wondering things like,
“Is this guy I love someone with exceptional bad luck in life who needs my love and tolerance in order to grow and become a wonderful person …or is this guy an Asshole?”
“Is my friend a wonderful gal who sometimes has a slip due to stress or bad events …or is she an Asshole who puts on a good show most of the time?”
How to Decide
I’ll tell you right now, to save time.
The answer is, this person is an Asshole.
Assholes are not Assholes continuously. They are decent human beings sometimes as much as 95% of the time… as long as things are going okay. But the moment things don’t go marvellously – for them – they offload the pain to you.
Assholes, because of developmental arrest, don’t understand that failures, screw-ups, and challenges in life are the means by which we grow.
Instead, they believe that flaws or imperfections of any kind are unacceptable and they feel they have the right to correct those flaws. Because in devaluing you, they make themselves feel a wee bit better.
We’re all imperfect. That’s the richness of life. But having the idea that this cannot be, the Asshole must deny her own flaws and suppress them, burying them deep into her unconscious …which means that she’ll have to crush those flaws every time they are forced into her awareness by other people. You, being an Important Person in her life, will be the mirror that reflects her own flaws back at her (what psychologists call “projection”).
And this is your fault when this happens. Because, by being in a relationship with the Asshole, you have secretly agreed to take on the responsibility of helping her pretend that she has no flaws of her own, and that every bad thing that ever happens in her life is someone else’s fault.
The name of the game is to help Assholes pretend that they are perfect and that every challenge in life is a result of them being abused and victimized by the world around them. Assholes must
abuse punish you when you show a need flaw because that’s asking for stealing their attention or energy.
(God help you if you point out their flaws)
This isn’t the same as being a selfish two-year-old who has no idea that other people have feelings. Assholes are people who know your boundaries and violate them anyway. Because you have no right to ask them to control themselves.
Because they are better than you.
The answer to the question above about whether the person you love is an Asshole who is nice most of the time or whether he’s a nice person who occasionally slips up, is this:
Anyone who treats you unkindly because he doesn’t accept you for who you are, warts and all, is an Asshole.
You can, of course, give people a couple of chances just to make sure. After all, even Assholes can see reason and drop their mind games …at least in movies. However, anyone who you can’t be yourself around or trust to go gently on your painful spots is, as far as you’re concerned, an Asshole.
Even if he or she is wonderful for someone else.
Wait a Sec…
If what I’m saying is true, it means that half the people you’ve ever loved in your whole life were Assholes! That can’t be right! Surely it’s something about you that makes everyone treat you like crap.
Well, okay, that’s possible.
Here’s a thought experiment to test the hypothesis that you’re somehow “making” the people who love you hurt you.
Think of all the people you’ve encountered in the last three days. Everyone. That’s your spouse, your kids, the guy at the toll booth on the way to work, the lady who renewed your library books, everyone.
Now add up how many of those people were abusive toward you. Be honest here. “He was friendly to the guy in front of me in line, but didn’t even look at me,” doesn’t count as abusive behaviour. Count up how many people in the last three days caused you harm or devalued you.
Was it every single human being you interacted with? Of course it wasn’t. I bet it was only the interesting people that abused you. The people who you wanted to like you.
The reason so many of the relationships you’ve had in your life have been with Assholes is that you have only been interested in connecting with those that match your style of energy game. The Asshole in you connects with the Asshole in them, the sparks fly and things get really exciting. The two of you unite against the world! Up yours, world!
Real love is painful, right? Like a ton of bricks and explosions of fireworks and the sweet agony of passion.
Wrong. Real love is sometimes quite boring, actually. It doesn’t make our day-to-day problems and challenges go away. It doesn’t remove our flaws. Real love just gives us the safety and energy to go ahead and tackle those problems with courage and tenacity.
So, there are basically two kinds of relationships we get ourselves into: boring relationships with people we love, trust, and allow and accept, including their flaws…
…and exciting, passionate, risky, roller-coaster relationships… with Assholes.
Assholes are exciting and occasionally (or often) abusive. Non-assholes are trustworthy and occasionally (or often) boring.
What to Do About It
Fill your life with the latter – the boring people that you can count on and bare your soul to. Let the Assholes entertain you, in small doses. Say no to the rest.
If you don’t want to remove an Asshole from your life, what you’ll need to do is not allow him to get away with being an Asshole in your presence. Be clear with the person. Any abuse or devaluing behaviour of any kind is unacceptable. Allow the individual the growth and learning experience of not being protected from the consequences of his own behaviour.
Finally, accept yourself, including all your flaws. Then you won’t be an Asshole, either.