Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Off Sides

In reading another blog today I suddenly became very weary. I am tired of exposing myself to hate. I typically try to be tolerant of experiences I don't understand and preserve the space necessary for those whose ideas disagree with mine, even if they do so violently. But I am so very tired of experiencing others' hate. What touched me off today was a post that referenced several studies in the psychological community focusing on trauma and/or adoption. This particular post was vehemently against the language used in the abstracts of these studies and dissertations. Unfortunately the studies hadn't actually been read by the author so full critique was unavailable. However, when the phrase "wet our appetite" came up I realized my patience was about to run out.

That phrase has very specific connotations. To wet one's appetite is to prepare for a meal. A meal implies nourishment. In the context of this article the appetite to be sated was outrage. The implication that rage is nourishing is troubling but points a finger at a very unsettling truth.

Rage is pleasant.

Hate is satisfying.

The emotional catharsis they provide assuages the difficulty of the normal daily grind. It's pure Aristotle. I just wish more people were willing to look the horror in the eye and admit that the person they loathe and fear the most is very much like them. It saddens and frustrates me to see how closed people are to one another. Do we really believe ourselves to be opaque? Can I honestly believe that I have nothing in common with the person who calls me evil?

No. I don't believe we are so far removed as that. I am not inscrutable. America's obsession with "reality television" is proof of our desire to be known and understood. It is also proof of our desire to place barriers between ourselves and "the spectacle" that allows us to experience fear, loathing, and righteousness in a confined context without repercussions.

I am weary. Humanity has the chance to be amazing and beautiful. Yet so often that is disfigured.


  1. I hear you. Hatred is so satisfying for the person who unleashes it (at least in the momment)... but so painful for everyone else.

    Something to remember about hatred is that it's root is in pain and powerlessness (or the perception thereof).

    There are times when anger is justified in relation to an unjust situation. There have been some interesting writings about the usefullness of anger and how to harness it in ways that are productive rather than toxic (both for the person experiencing the anger and the people who are affected by the actions and words of that person).

    Anger as an emotion is just that. It is not inherently right or wrong. What matters is how we observe it within ourselves, how we interperet it, and what we do with it.

    If we keep our internal observer in tact and we can listen patiently to what the anger is saying, we can often find what is true and what is not true, and then decide what to do about it.

    Not being able to see the post you're referencing I can't comment effectively, but I do wonder if you may be misinterpereting.

    The truth is also satisfying. For those of us who have been through excruciating pain due to our experiences with adoption, we are desperate to have the world acknowledge our pain.

    Is it possible that the desire is not to be angry.... but to have our pain validated and witnessed by the world? To be seen, understood, and experience compassion for what we've been through?

    for me, when I see acknowledgements of the trauma in adoption, that is exactly what I get out of it.

    Not a free pass to be an asshole and or hate people, but a validation for the trauma I've been through.

  2. I'm sorry you're feeling this way, but I'm glad you wrote about it. I needed some of your reminders today, so thanks.

  3. "Humanity has the chance to be amazing and beautiful. Yet so often that is disfigured."

    I agree. Why do we choose to be grotesque when we could be spectacular?

    I don't know.

  4. Just came across your blog today. It is great to read about the adoption experience from a birthfather's perspective. I look forward to reading more from you! Thanks for sharing.



What do you think? I'm curious.