The world is full of assholes. Here’s what to do about it.
Warning: Colourful language
I don’t care what kind of rose-coloured glasses you sport, the reality remains that the world has just about as many assholes as it can handle. The guy that cut you off this morning in traffic AND then gave you the finger, that guy who makes inappropriate comments every time he takes a breath, the lady at Starbucks who spills her coffee on your new shoes and doesn’t even look back and all the power-tripping buggers with mama issues and well, let’s face it, Donald Trump.
We all know them and we all love to hate them, spending countless hours plotting our revenge, our fabulous comebacks, and how to orchestrate that one thing that will hurt them back just as much as they have hurt you. Hold that thought. Because you and I both know that there is no comeback in the world that is going to make an asshole magically turn into something else, like a gentleman or a saint. And this is the most annoying, verging on infuriating, part of it all.
So if your revenge plots, wickedly awesome comebacks and semi-serious murder fantasies aren’t going to cut it, how are you going to deal with the assholes in your life in a way that actually works?
Well, I’m sure you’ll be relieved to hear that (1) it is totally possible and (2) it actually doesn’t have a heck of a lot to do with them (because frankly, forcing an asshole to change is not quite an impossibility but close to it). Let’s get started shall we?
First things first. We must start by truly understanding what an asshole actually is.
Anatomy lesson coming right up…
An asshole is, anatomically speaking, a member of the sphincter family (yes you can go ahead and say sphincter again – it’s just so fun to say!). But in this case, the very very tight ring of connective tissue is well, how do I say this nicely, full of shit. Hear me out. The assholes in your life, including your own inner asshole – and yes, we all do act like assholes some of the time, are more often than not, super duper tightly wound, tension-filled balls of nerves with a whole lot of shit they have not worked out yet.
Yep, take a moment to think on it and run the current assholes of your life through your mind. Guy in the car? Probably has two kids at home that drive him a bit nutty, a wife who he may or may not love anymore, debt that he could drown in, and a mortgage up to his eyeballs, plus that gambling addiction he’s been lying about for years. That guy at dance probably wasn’t hugged enough as a kid, has had multiple heart breaks at the hands of women and as a result, is sporting a serious grudge against the female gender. That woman in the coffee shop? Maybe she just got out of a twenty year loveless marriage and is smack dab in the middle of a super nasty divorce. And Donald, well, it’s anyone’s guess what kind of shit he’s carrying around. You get the picture.
The thing we need to realize about assholes is that they are emotionally constipated – their sphincter has taken a hiatus and they, for the time being, are stuck with a shitload of emotional baggage that is eating away at them on the inside. Yes, I went a little graphic there, but the point is this. Your revenge plots, witty comebacks and murder fantasies, most likely are not going to improve their situation or yours. Assholes are like lions in the zoo, it’s really best for everyone concerned if you don’t feed them, especially by throwing yourself in the pen. They actually might take a fair bit of pleasure, at this moment, in eating you alive.
I say at this moment, because in their heart of hearts, assholes are not bad people. Nobody is. Are there hearts barred off like Alcatraz? Definitely. Do they have more protective mechanisms in place then the best laid trap? Oh yeah. Do they often take pleasure in hurting others including you? You bet. Do they enjoy it when you react? You can count on it. But, in the end, do they want to be this person? Probably not. And finally, and most essentially, do they know another way? Hmmm…
And that is the crux of the asshole. They find themselves in a pattern of being, a veritable rut in the road. A cemented and imprisoning coping mechanism that is working against even themselves and what they truly want. And you better believe that they hate themselves for it and well, probably a few others. And yes, all that hatred and blame and angst and nastiness, is the shit storm you just walked into.
Time to look at your own asshole.
And by this I mean the part of you that acts like an asshole some of the time. Not that looking at your own asshole wouldn’t be kind of an awkwardly hilarious experience requiring some rather specific mirror placement. But that is an aside. Anyways…
You all have a little bit of an asshole inside of you and I’m not just talking anatomy. I definitely do. Here’s a little quiz to know for sure…
- You have talked about someone behind their back and it wasn’t all sunshine and roses.
- You blamed someone for something even though you knew, deep down, it wasn’t their fault. In fact, it was totally your error.
- You’ve done something you knew was mean or inconsiderate or just not cool to another person and you kinda, sorta liked it.
- You justified an action that was not so cool with something along the lines of “they did it first!”.
- You lied about something to make life easier for yourself.
- You said something, anything, depreciating about yourself. Or thought it. Or felt it. Nope never? I call bullshit.
The truth is that pretty much everyone has their moments of being mean, purposefully hurtful and a deliberate pain in the ass. Because pretty much every one of us has an area or two that is way too tightly wound with some unreleased shit involved. Here’s why…
And I’m going to try not to get too heavy with this. Trauma. Emotional, physical, mental. All of the above. We’ve all experienced it even if we’ve written it off as “normal” or “not-so-bad”. Regardless of whether you own it, your body does, and trauma always leaves tension and pain in it’s wake. It has to. The fact of the matter is that it has an effect. And we’ll get back to that in a second.
Bringing compassion to the assholes
I know it sounds cheesy. And perhaps you’re making that gag gesture with your finger as your read this. I’m totally ok with that. Because the asshole in me recognizes the asshole in you. Yes, I just said that. And I might just be giggling madly but you’ll never know.
Here’s the thing. We are not going to help the assholes of the world by being an assohole back. In fact, it just makes things worse (as good as it feels at the time). And we’re also not going to help them by laying there and taking their crap. Neither of these options are effective. Enter option number three, four and potentially five.
Sometimes, the best course of action is to walk away. Perhaps you already have your quota of assholes in your life and this one is most definitely expendable. And you definitely don’t have the time and energy for this shit. Awesome. In which case, take an about face and let them go. And by let go I mean completely. Completely. If you’re still have revenge thoughts and calling them nasty names in your head then the cleansing process is not fully complete. Do more. Breathe them out of your system. Forgive them. Get a healing session. Whatever it takes. As I like to say, do not spend another ounce of energy on this person. Period.
Sometimes, your asshole is not so easily dismissed. Like maybe they’re your boss or a family member. In which case, you’ve got some great learning on your hands. You’ve just entered a whole new level of compassionate living. Because it’s so easy to love the nice people and so, so much harder to love an asshole who’s intent on making your life miserable. Remember compassion does not equate to being a push-over. It means seeing the truth. Which is, more than likely, that this person is so miserable with their life that they take pleasure in making other people miserable. And that just sucks. Because it makes you wonder what kind of trauma went into creating a sphincter that tightly wound with that much emotional constipation. This is not an exercise in feeling sorry for someone. Instead, it is an exercise in understanding – the sense that even in a small small way you get what is happening for them and how much it must suck. And you feel a sense of connection to that pain they’re experiencing and where it is rooted. Because you can almost bet that it has absolutely zero to do with you.
Remember, boundaries are a must during this process. Boundaries are different from consequences. They lay down the guidelines of how you need to be treated. No ifs, ands or buts. A healthy boundary is fair, crystal clear and completely consistent. A healthy boundary is loving but not to be fucked with.
Sometimes your asshole is yourself. Perhaps your inner critic has been on a rampage and it’s lasted for years. Perhaps you’ve been known to beat yourself up on the regular? In which case, it’s high time that came to an end. We are abundantly terrible to ourselves – we call ourselves names, criticize and judge, and generally terrorize ourselves into action with threats and shoulds. And we pretty much all do it. It’s like the assholes of our past have come to haunt us in our head as our inner voices. Here’s the good news. You are in charge of your own ship. No one else. You get to say who stays and who walks the plank. Your inner critics are just like the assholes of your past, terrified, so full of fear that they bully you into staying the same, staying quiet, stopping that strange behavior. It’s all protection. Little do they know that you’ve got this. So tell them. Share that there is nothing to fear. That you have become a powerful, capable human being who can make your own decisions. Do the work to turn these demons into allies. Get help. Whatever it takes. Your life depends on it.
Ok, this rant could go on forever, but alas, we only have so much time in the day to sit about and ponder the truth about assholes. So for now, let’s call it a day, but don’t fret, there is more to be said on this loaded topic.
And everyone, for the love of God, don’t vote for Trump. No one wants or needs an asshole running the world – it’s just a really really bad idea.