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Over the lunch break, I headed over to the Holiday Station Store of Infamy: the scene of my oh-so-recent event. This visit went without incident, but I was not there without some trepidation and hesitancy.

After a couple of days of looking at what happened and getting some very good comments, somethings have kind of bubbled to the surface. The girl I'll leave out of it, because I can't change her, and it's likely that I'll never see her again (I can only hope). It's my behavior that warrants the analysis that I've been mulling over, because it bothers me so much.

And I think it boils down to content vs. intent.

What I said to her was pretty much inappropriate, yeah. It could be construed as borderline verbal sexual assault, though I think in the technical sense it wasn't anything that could be prosecuted. The content was graphically sexual. But the intent was not. I never had any intention of doing any of the things that I said to her, and my thoughts at the time were not sexual in nature. The content was there because of the battlefield that she picked, because of the inference that I picked up from her comments to me. She wasn't commenting on my weight so much as my sexuality. I wasn't at the checkout with a carton of Twinkies.

My intent was to hurt her, to cause her emotional distress. I wanted to give her nightmares.

And that's the thing that bothers me.

I could have just told her to fuck off, or called her a bitch, or any of a number of things. None of those things would have reached her, or at least not in the way I wanted to. I'm sure she's been called worse, and is probably used to it enough that it wouldn't have any impact.

But I went out of my way to hurt someone else. I went to it to intentionally harm her. I did it on purpose and with malice. I wasn't trying to teach her a lesson, I was out to bring her pain.

Was it justified? I don't know. I think in that circumstance, at that time, to me it was. From the space of a few days away, not so much.

I behaved badly.

What's done is done. I can't change that. Hopefully I can take away something from this that will help me not behave so badly in the future.

In the meantime, I think I need to come with a warning label:

You really don't want my undivided attention.


( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 8th, 2005 07:32 pm (UTC)
Emily's two bit psycho-analysis - today only! Free of charge!
But I went out of my way to hurt someone else. I went to it to intentionally harm her.

Go back and re-read that post. First, she said something hurtful on purpose and you tried to laugh it off and be pleasant about it. Then, she said something more hurtful and you fought back.

Let's pretend it was a physical fight - how could you make an analogous story?

1. She slaps you in the back of the head.
2. You politely let her know that you're not interested in a fight.
3. She hits your kneecaps with a two-by-four.
4. You nuke her from orbit.

Seems fine to me, especially since she refused the first VERY polite attempt to get her to back off.

Christ, how far do you think you should have let her go?

If you had just told her to fuck off, she would have grinned smugly because you're just obviously not as clever as she is. *I'm* a hell of a lot happier with the way it turned out.

If you're really concerned about some character defect and not being able to control your anger, think about how often you've been unable to control anger when it WASN'T warrented. It's possible that there are good examples of that in your life, this isn't one of them.

Why are you worried about defending yourself? Did you deserve to be treated like that or something? Have you ass-raped nuns at knifepoint lately and not told us?
Dec. 8th, 2005 07:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Emily's two bit psycho-analysis - today only! Free of charge!
Outstanding analogy!
Dec. 8th, 2005 08:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Emily's two bit psycho-analysis - today only! Free of charge!
Have you ass-raped nuns at knifepoint lately and not told us?

Not lately.

Dec. 9th, 2005 05:38 pm (UTC)
Well, dammit, I really like reading your stories. If you've been witholding...
Dec. 8th, 2005 07:38 pm (UTC)
Warning label for all human beings:
WARNING: Contents under pressure. Significant design flaws and limitations. Do not push beyond tolerance guidelines as described in social norms and/or common decency. If you don't understand or are uncertain of guidlines, please seek expert assistance and/or err on the side of gentleness and generosity. Variances in performance/reliability may be expected from model to model and depending on a variety of operating conditions and the use/mainenance histroy of the model.
Dec. 8th, 2005 09:02 pm (UTC)
Bill Of Rights
You have the right to go about your life, minding your own business, without having a random stranger inflict their pettiness and cruelty upon you.

You have the right to respond to acts of pettiness and cruelty.

You have the right to continue to respond, escalating as neccessary, if the previous response(s) do not cause the Inflicting Random Stranger to back the fuck off and leave you alone.

You have the right to not feel ashamed or embarrassed afterward, since all you did was stand up for yourself.

I hold these truths to be self-evident. Anyone who disagrees is free to do so, and I hold that decision to be their problem and none of my concern. Or yours.

This bill can be amended to include further rights as appropriate.

You didn't deserve to be treated badly.

She did.

That is all.
Dec. 8th, 2005 10:36 pm (UTC)
Re: Bill Of Rights
So, by this definition, she could have retorted with further pettiness and cruelty, since what he said constituted a violation of HER personal bill of rights?
Dec. 8th, 2005 11:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Bill Of Rights
No, because she was the one who initiated what is, by any reasonable standard, an unwarranted attack. She is The Bad Guy. Rob only did what he did after giving her an easy opportunity to cease fire, to which she responded with an even more devastating barrage.
Re: Bill Of Rights - lexinatrix - Dec. 9th, 2005 06:44 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 8th, 2005 10:33 pm (UTC)
Like I (just) said in the post on the incident itself, I don't think responding in an insulting way was off-base. I am squicked by your use of her sexuality against her.

When you're raised (like many women are) to either cater to men's sexuality or constantly be on the defense against it, your word choice comes across as sexually threatening. And it isn't about sex, really. As I said, I doubt you'd have said the same thing to a guy. Why? Because you wanted to scare her and hurt her, and there's nothing quite as scary or hurtful to a woman as sexual assault or rape.
Dec. 9th, 2005 12:12 am (UTC)
I almost always think that your comments are completely, perfectly right on, but I really disagree with you here.

She made it be about sexuality when she said "You'd never have a chance with her in real life."

I don't mean to say that sexism doesn't exist, or that violence against women is immaterial. I don't think that this woman's actions fall into fear of rape, I think this is more about being accountable for one's own actions.

Why is a horrible, deliberately cruel person afforded the permission to be viscious to strangers, and she should not expect consequences for her actions? Just because she's a woman? I don't think you believe that any more than I do.

I expect that you wouldn't like that sort of patronization, I know I wouldn't.

How about if she said something like that to a woman? What if it was an overweight woman buying Cosmopolitian (and Stuff is just Cosmo for boys)and the conversation was something like this:

A: "You know you'd never have a chance at attempting any of those positions"

B: "You're probably right, but it's fun to think about anyway."

A: You're a fat disgusting pig.

If I were "B" in this scenario, I know I can't physically threaten her and I know I can't say anything that can be interpreted as a threat. Other than that, is there anything out of line?

Dec. 9th, 2005 06:50 am (UTC)
I never said she shouldn't be held accountable. In fact, I support him putting the smack down on her for being a rude prissy bitch. So, no, I don't think he was out of line in what he did. I find myself taking issue with how he did it, however.

I am personally made uncomfortable that he chose to be sexually threatening while putting her in her place. His insults were effective, most definitely, but I believe it was effective precisely because of the history of sexual(ized) violence toward women.

And because these are my personal opinions about my reaction to the words he chose, you really can't dispute them. You can have a different reaction (which you obviously did), but that doesn't really change my mind about my reaction.
(no subject) - mle292 - Dec. 9th, 2005 05:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lexinatrix - Dec. 9th, 2005 05:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mle292 - Dec. 9th, 2005 06:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lexinatrix - Dec. 9th, 2005 06:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mle292 - Dec. 9th, 2005 06:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - magicmarmot - Dec. 9th, 2005 06:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mle292 - Dec. 9th, 2005 06:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - magicmarmot - Dec. 9th, 2005 06:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mle292 - Dec. 9th, 2005 07:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mle292 - Dec. 9th, 2005 06:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mle292 - Dec. 9th, 2005 06:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 9th, 2005 12:50 am (UTC)
And I agree 100 percent with the other individual who just responded to your comment.

Next up, the universe implodes...
(no subject) - lexinatrix - Dec. 9th, 2005 06:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - saveau - Dec. 9th, 2005 07:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lexinatrix - Dec. 9th, 2005 07:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - saveau - Dec. 9th, 2005 08:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 10th, 2005 08:14 pm (UTC)
You asked
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<but [...] else.>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

<<But I went out of my way to hurt someone else. I went to it to intentionally harm her. I did it on purpose and with malice. I wasn't trying to teach her a lesson, I was out to bring her pain.
Was it justified? >>
Is road-rage justified? Is spousal beating justified? Is gang murder justified? I have to disagree with most everyone's response. I do so as kindly as I can, but the question you posed was "was it justified?". I have to say here that, no, your behavior was not justified. Your invoking her behavior as an excuse for your own is a variation of the old "she made me do it" claimed by many a wife-beater. You cannot change her or her attitude. But you can control your own behavior. I think you were angry and uneasy afterwards because intuitively you knew you had acted badly, not because she had insulted you. My advice? Recognize that your behavior was indeed unwarranted (regardless of any buttons she pushed). Frankly, regardless and in spite of her own stupidity, you owe her an apology. It is your behavior that gives you pain, not hers. If you are so fortunate as to see her again, a quiet "I need to apologize to you for my rude behavior", you will win a well-merited peace within your heart regardless of her ability or inability to accept that apology. I know the others who have responded may call my words "crap" but I speak to you truly.
Dec. 11th, 2005 04:53 am (UTC)
Re: You asked
Putting my actions in the same category as road rage, spousal beating and gang murder is classic straw man material.

I don't believe in moral absolutes. I do believe that violence is wrong in just about every circumstance, yet I can concieve of a time when I would be violent and feel justified.

What I did was not violent, at least in the physical sense. It was psychologically invasive, and that is going to be considered differently by different people, but is also kind of out of the realm of what's happening here.

The justification-- in the moment, there wasn't any. It wasn't something that I carefully weighed and chose words. Could I have handled it better? hell yes. Point is I didn't. I didn't act, I reacted. And that has a tremendous amount of meaning to me from events that have nothing to do with this circumstance.

I felt angry afterwards, and it was not anger at what I had done, but at what she had done to me. I was there, I do know what I felt. I did feel upset afterwards, like several minutes afterwards when I was thinking about it on the way home, and only then did I begin to feel the twinges of remorse.

But my initial lividity was at her.
Dec. 11th, 2005 09:52 pm (UTC)
Re: You asked
Violence doesn't have to be of the physical kind. Words can beat down and kill as easily as physical beatings. Your words, regardless of the cause, were expressly violent. You said you intended to cause pain (continued pain, not just momentary) and you certainly did (unless her skin is made of thick steel). Recognize that and own up to it. Every kid in the world who was verbally abused as a child will tell you the damage those words inflicted on his soul.

"My initial lividity was at her."

So! Is your lividity the problem? Or are her words the problem? If it is her words (which were ill-spoken), then why the lividity? Her words are a measure of her, not of you. She could have said, "My isn't today a lovely day?" and they would have been a measure of HER. Instead, if they were as you reported, they were words of critical condemnation. They revealed a critical spirit. But let's also look at what your uncontrolled lividity revealed about you. (Gently, of course, if that is possible.)

Let's take a different tack here. A look at what the words spoke of you. If you had mud on your nose and she said, "Oh, Sir? You have a smudge of mud on your nose", you would have evaluated the truth of her words and if there were indeed mud on your face, would have wiped or laughed it off. Criticism can be a healthy thing. In this situation lividity would not have entered. You knew in your heart that mud on your face is funny and the remedy simple.

When someone criticizes, take a moment to evaluate the criticism. Is it true? If not, let the words fly by. If true, then get past the lividity and evaluate why they are true and what you can do to correct the problem. In this particular situation her (alluded) assessment of your physical body (alas, few of us are of the beautiful) caused you pain. You forget that an assessment of a person's physical attributes is not a true assessment of that individual. Your sensitivity in that direction is understandable, but your defense of that pain is indefensible. Further, your words of defense revealed that her words hit you in another aspect of your life as well, your sexuality, for your words were aimed directly at her sexuality.

All of this brings me back to my original response. Your reaction was unjustifiable (remember, you asked if it was justifiable, I'm only answering your question). It may be difficult for you to accept that, but there it is. You are not responsible for who she is, but you ARE responsible for who you are. Her words were wrong. Yours were worse. A wise man welcomes criticism for he accepts the words, evaluating them for truth. If not true, he discards them. If true, he corrects the problem.

Until you recognize that there are, indeed, moral absolutes, you may never understand what I am saying. Saying there are no moral absolutes implies that you believe that each and every situation must be measured in terms of all aspects of that situation. Each situation is different, therefore one answer will not apply to all. What you forget is that the moral answer to a situation takes into consideration all aspects, many of which are immeasurable or unknown. Hence, we often make the wrong response, even though we hope it is the moral one. In other words a given situation with given aspects will always have one moral response. If, on the other hand, you believe that morality is based on what we (individual and corporate humanity) decide, then there really is no morality and whatever you say goes. You (we) determine your (our) own morality. What I believe is okay is okay with me whether or not it is okay with you. Get enough of "I" together and we can outvote and subdue "you". Or vice-versa. Whoever has the power of "say-so" declares the morality. Doesn't make for a very nice society, does it? Those who believe there are no moral absolutes are bound to nothing, bound to no rules but their own. Why ask if your words were justified? Justified by What? Whom? And Why? Make up your own rules. If, on the other hand, you believe that there is indeed something moral in this universe, you may want to find the source. Tarot cards, horoscopes and online surveys simply don't cut it. They are simply silly ways to expend time and salve the ego.
Re: You asked - magicmarmot - Dec. 12th, 2005 02:08 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: You asked - (Anonymous) - Dec. 12th, 2005 02:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: You asked - magicmarmot - Dec. 12th, 2005 05:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: You asked - (Anonymous) - Dec. 13th, 2005 12:43 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: You asked - magicmarmot - Dec. 13th, 2005 04:02 am (UTC) - Expand
( 36 comments — Leave a comment )

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