Have you ever had an email so misinterpreted by the recipient to the point that it causes an argument? Or gotten into a virtual shouting match on social media with people you have never even met? How about trying to make a point to someone who is completely closed off and defensive of their way being the only way? Have you ever experienced this? Does the experience leave you angry, frustrated, and vacillating between thinking the other person is crazy or maybe you are? You are not alone….especially in the polarized environment we are currently living in.
For those of you who have the belief that you can and will find a way to make the other person see your side of things……I have a brick wall for you to bang your head into. Trust me, that is easier than what you are hoping to accomplish. So what is a person to do and why does this seem to be happening more and more? Has the entire world just gone mad?
For starters, electronic communication has overtaken in person and on the phone methods of communication as the dominant medium. Well, that presents a problem in itself as a full 80 percent of all effective communication is nonverbal. This means that our body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice are big parts of being able to deliver an accurate message. With the rise of the machines, we are suddenly losing a vital part of our human ability to work out our differences by talking to each other face to face. In fact, speech versus text disharmony has now been shown to be a tool in the propaganda box of our political arena. Scientific studies have shown completely different reactions by participants reading, hearing, and seeing the same statement. The way in which we communicate with each other truly does matter.
Even so, conversations face to face seem to be getting increasingly contentious. There is good reasons for comments being made that people seem to be more difficult and unreasonable than ever before. The term being used to describe this type of phenomenon is information gerrymandering. Research indicates that a group loses its ability to reach consensus or compromise when multiple individuals deliberately manipulate the narrative in a divisive way. The debate becomes ultra-polarized and the middle ground disappears. When dogmatic beliefs are held out to be more valuable traits than open mindedness and cooperation, any attempt to overcome emotions with facts will indeed fail.
Instead of losing hope in any ability to compromise, the actual best solution is to become acutely aware of your own responses and feelings. Instead of giving a knee jerk reaction as a response, take a deep breath….or a thousand…and remind yourself that you have no control over other people. This is albeit a tough thing to do, as most of us don’t want to accept our lack of control. Responding with loving detachment and disengaging from the urge to try reasoning actually gives you the power. It’s only through complete acceptance of just how powerless we are to control anything or anyone but ourselves that we can find inner peace. Self care, establishment of healthy boundaries, and loving detachment are the keys to stop feeling triggered and helpless.
More on this: Mind Wars by Suspicious Observers Mobile Observatory Project
This past month, the announcement of Felicity Huffman’s 14 day prison sentence for her role in the college admission scandal sent social media ablaze with comments of righteous indignation. She used her power, influence, money, and connections to cheat her daughter’s way into college with an inflated standardized test score. This sits in stark contrast to numerous legal cases over the past decade in which mothers…usually poor and of color….were handed down sentences ranging from 5 to 10 years in jail for registering their child with a false address to give them the opportunity to attend a better public school. The irony and injustice of these cases spurred a brief outcry from the public that received media attention. And then silence.
Don’t even get me started on the Jeffrey Epstein scandal; the poster child case of a broken system that heavily favors the rich and powerfully connected. The heinous crimes he was accused and convicted of; the laughable first sentence he received; the bizarre circumstance surrounding his most recent incarceration and exit from this world; should make every citizen outraged and embarrassed of our supposed justice system. Why has the mockingbird media suddenly gone virtually silent over this scandal?
Closer to home in Pennsylvania and on a much smaller scale, let me tell you about two separate cases involving individuals charged with a DUI. The first young man was convicted of his Third DUI offense and sentenced to 3-6 months county jail time. He appealed his conviction to the state Supreme Court, where it was upheld. The entire case has taken almost 3 years to wind its way through the system and during that time, this young man has been free on bail pending the receipt of all the Supreme Court case documents back to the original sentencing county. During this time, this young man has been charged with several other offenses including a gun charge in another county and a Fourth DUI just a few months ago. However, he is still driving around illegally and living free on bail while the wheels grind slowly forward. The contrasting case involves a young man charged with his Second DUI offense in the same county. This particular young man had several things working against him from the start. For one, he lives off a fixed social security disability income because he has diagnosed severe mental illness. Due to his multiple mental health challenges, he does not always get the treatment he needs and self medicates with illegal substances. In a moment of clarity, he realized that he needed help to stabilize and found inpatient long term treatment at a dual diagnosis facility. While there, he found out that he had missed a court appearance. Well, maybe missed is not accurate. He told his public defender and social worker that he was self admitting into this long term treatment facility and assumed that they would inform the judge and prosecutor. He found out that didn’t happen when a warrant with his picture was posted on social media and brought to his attention while he was receiving treatment. He panicked and immediately left the facility and turned himself in. His case was heard very quickly by the courts and he officially received a sentence of “Other”. He didn’t understand and couldn’t explain to family members exactly what his sentence meant. He rather quickly then was transferred to two different state prisons and has been incarcerated for close to a year now with no end date in sight, or at least none that he can effectively communicate to his family. A deeper look at these two cases reveals how a person who arguably could be classified as a menace to society with resources at his disposal can receive a different kind of justice than a poor person with documented disabilities.
Change to our current world paradigm is never going to happen from the top down…only from the bottom up. We the people need to be the change we want to see; we need to keep shining light in all the dark places. As our own understanding and consciousness begins to increase, we need to gather together to find our collective power. As the quote from Benjamin Franklin states: “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”
More on this: Our Criminal Justice System Broken Beyond Repair
Epstein, His Victims, and Our Broken Justice System
Written By Megan Jay
Although I personally don’t believe there are many people today who can state that they don’t have some small level of dysfunction in their family, most of us still have family members that are largely reasonable and sane. But when one of your family members is a sociopath, the term dysfunctional family takes on a whole new meaning. The sociopath is the proverbial “give them an inch and they take a mile” types — so don’t give them anything. If you try and reason with a sociopath, you’ve already lost. A sociopath’s ability to charm and manipulate people is one of the hallmarks of their disorder. The sociopath is an award winning liar, gaslighting is second nature, the threat of punishment doesn’t faze them, and they thrive on other’s constant praise. Because the sociopath does not possess true empathy (although they are adept at faking it), their ability to see consequences of their actions is limited to the furtherance of their own agendas.
Once you become aware of this family member’s true nature, you might feel as if you are alone in this recognition. However, even though this person might have more than half of the family fooled, you will quickly find that you are not completely alone when you start distancing yourself from them. When you are forced to interact with this person, remaining emotionally detached and documenting any interaction you have with them are key to keeping your own sanity. Some methods are to keep a journal or paper trail, having a witness with you when face to face interactions can’t be avoided, and save any email or social media interactions. This serves a twofold purpose; to provide back up and strengthen your case should you ever need to defend yourself, and also as a reminder or reassurance to yourself that you are not crazy or imagining everything once the sociopath inevitably starts to gaslight you.
Chaos and destruction are the psychic blood these vampires feed on. Don’t give it to them! Under no circumstances should you allow the sociopath to see you upset, angry or anything but a shining example of joy. No matter what negative emotion you show, it’s like giving crack to a crackhead — they’re going to do whatever they can to get just a little bit more. Your emotions are the fuel that keeps the manipulation going. If you think that the sociopath is going to keep on doing this, forever and ever, completely getting away with it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sociopaths are highly disordered individuals. They can craft a veneer of functionality, but that’s all it is. Eventually the veneer will crack, then fall apart entirely. If you want vengeance against your sociopath — and I don’t blame you for wanting it — don’t worry. Ultimately, the sociopath is a fire that eventually consumes itself. Until then, you need to practice setting healthy boundaries and exercising detachment during direct interactions. Remember this….as badly as you want to “fix” or “heal” a situation that involves a sociopathic family member….you ultimately only have control over yourself. That has to be enough.
More on this: How To Disarm A Manipulative Sociopath
7 Techniques Female Sociopaths Use
Surefire Signs Someone In Your Family Is A Psychopath