My 16th Letter To You
I am writing this to let you know I am thinking of you. I know your mind goes back to that time when that terrible thing was said and done but do you think it is helpful for you to go there so often?
Sometimes people just do terrible things, even though they proclaim to love you and wouldn’t hurt you. They do things, that to others doesn’t seem like a big deal but you know they have placed the cuts so cunningly that it will bleed and bleed every time you put your attention on the wound.
It is so important to remember that, citing a complete psychosis and multiple personality event, there is no excuse for someone being truly awful to you when they know that is your spot, your Achilles heel that they have targeted. I don’t think that hunger, tiredness, age, or fear is enough of a reason to be a complete prick to you or anyone else.
The philosopher, Gabriel Marcel, coined a term for when people are cruel to others, it is called the ‘spirit of abstraction’. What it means is the practice of seeing people as functions rather than as human beings.
People are mean and cruel to others when they feel the other person is not fulfilling their function for what they need. So people lash out when you stop being whatever they needed you to be because they cannot find it within themselves. They label you as something, so you stop being you, and become their property.
The spirit of abstraction is what causes wars. This is what happened when American’s owned people and called them Slaves. To make them an abstract means it is easier to be cruel to them and have them serve a function. The same thing happened when Hitler called people Jews, so it was easier to kill the group, rather than itemised the individual who had hopes, dreams and love in their heart. When we use the term Muslims, to describe an entire segment of our population with no thought of the individual in the group.
Why do people do it? There is a certain superiority in people who engage with the spirit of abstraction. They are usually narcissists who do not understand why your needs would come before theirs. Perhaps they are a parent who cannot cope with their children individuating as they need that child to perform a function for them. Perhaps they are a spouse who needs their partner to only serve their needs and not have anything intrude on this. Perhaps they are a friend who uses the person to serve them in their ego and as their handmaiden. Or perhaps it is coping skills, or money, or support, or cheering up they require from you. Who knows!? But at some point they stop looking at you as a person with a life and your own needs and wants and goals, and see you only as a vessel or conduit to their own happiness.
We forget to look at others around us as fully formed people with a function outside of what you need them to be in your life.
It is a hard one to understand but please bear with me. People are cruel because they need you to do and be something for them and if you don’t, then they lash out. They don’t see you as a person but as a function for their benefit.
But you can leave it, my love. You can say to the person who has been cruel to you, whatever it is you are looking for from me, I cannot give it to you on demand.
If I have gifts inside me that you want then be a better person and perhaps I will bestow them on you when I have finished caring for myself.
If you want my time, then ask me when I am available as I have other things to do for myself.
If you want my support, then ask me if I have room to carry your mental and emotional load for a while but not forever, as I have my own load to manage.
So please don’t think about what happened so much my darling. Not because it didn’t hurt, it did. I know it did. But what they did and said isn’t about you, it is about them. They cannot see you as a person outside of their own existence. Perhaps you have forgiven them but still remember what happened. Of course that is natural, but all you can do it make sure it doesn’t happen again by shoring up against the attacks. Or perhaps you no longer see them because the pain was too much. I respect that. I understand that. You do what works for you.
But don’t take this on. You are not what they said or did. You are not anything other than yourself and that, darling heart, is enough.