This link came up on my newsfeed, and it’s pretty damn cool, so I thought I’d share it. What’s it got to do with self-defence/whateverthehell this blog is about these days?

I know a veritable fuckton of people who identify with their past mistakes/mishaps. The process roughly seems to go as follows:

  • They Did Something Wrong . They’ll be able to dissect specifically every minute details of how and why it was wrong, because their self-awareness is turned up to max.
  • They got hurt as a result.
  • They now classify themselves as “X Who Does The Wrong Things And Gets Hurt, Because Stupid/Weak/Insert-Insult-Here.”
  • They avoid repetitions of the same instance by self-limiting, often by self-flagellating every time they’re tempted to stray towards whatever it was that led them to Make The Mistake.

Tell them that they’re self-victim-blaming and they’ll laugh in your face. Oddly enough, they would also never consider the merest possibility of applying the same criteria to any other living thing. In fact, they’d probably disembowel anyone who did anything of the kind to anyone they love. But it’s ok when they do it to themselves, because reasons.

I think, but I’m not sure, that they’re the diametric opposite of the “Nothing That Happens To Me Is Ever My Fault, The World Is Just Messed Up” people. Those people refuse to acknowledge the merest possibility of their behaviours having any kind of impact on their experiences. Maybe it’s because they think that they’re so infinitely wonderful that things should work out as they wish, or because they feel so utterly powerless that they can’t conceptualise having an impact on the world. I don’t know, and it doesn’t really matter, inasmuch as it leads to the same result: they keep walking into the same sharp corners. I personally find them exhausting.

The “I Never Do The Wrong Thing” people never learn because they refuse to consider that they might have something to learn. The “I Do The Wrong Thing” people, on the other hand, never accept that they have learnt. In a way, it amounts to the same. They never let themselves learn because they never file the learning experience away in their own heads. Instead they turn it into a brickbat to smack themselves with to avoid further repetitions of the same issue.

I’ve got no idea where that kind of behaviour comes from. Shitty parenting? A need to feel a greater level of control over their lives? Fear so deep that it’s part of their bones? A need to identify with the person they were Before It Happened? (Hmm. I just thought of this one, and I think I’ve seen it.) I don’t know.

What I think is that maybe, just maybe, some of them may need reminding that one of the coolest things about living organisms is that we learn. We learn by practicing, we learn by making mistakes, sometimes we learn by getting horribly hurt and that sucks very badly indeed. But nobody, ever, has learnt by looking at one single solitary poor result and internalising it as part of their identity. That’s the opposite of learning. That’s forced self crystallization or something. It’s not useful, it’s not pleasant, and it’s not much of a spectator sport.







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