Yesterday, I found out that Baroness Margaret Thatcher died while I was working on my post for here. I have no real opinion on her; I accept that she was incredibly divisive and that a lot of people were worse off because of her actions as Prime Minister. But I also don’t have all the facts, and I am too young (and too foreign) to have been affected by her policies (Reagan and Bush, on the other hand… ¬¬). While I knew that she was unpopular in some corners, I was not ready for the sheer flaming vitriol from some corners, or the appalling irony that the worst of it seemed to come from pot-smoking hippies (way to miss your own remit, folks).
When I was a teenager, I remember burning with loathing for a former friend who had cast me aside over trivial things. I couldn’t magically afford distinctly different Christmas cards for all my friends (her and another friend opened theirs at the same time to find them the same and weren’t impressed; I was 12 at the time), nor did I worship Bette Midler. I was furious and torn up and bitter to be cast aside so easily, and I didn’t know what to do with the emotions raging through me. My mother looked at me and calmly stated that love and hate were different faces of the same coin, and if I wanted to be quit of someone who had cast me off so discourtesy, why was I wasting so much energy on hatred? Why was I giving someone who was undeserving of my attentions as much energy as I would invest on a loved one? It didn’t make the bitter feelings fade, but it *did* give me food for thought. I still catch myself with a few people that I wish my heart would quit that my loathing was just the coin of my love being turned over, and that these things do take time to pass, but still… to try to not feed that poisonous flame. In fact, one of my acquaintances said this yesterday:
‘…yet they’re actually damaging all the living beings still here to catch the splashback from rage and hate. i just don’t have that in me anymore, even for the people i truly loathe… and i can’t abide seeing the collateral damage left by hate.’
And that is definitely part of the thing — by carrying hatred, it poisons not only the bearer, but those around them. And I think that, perhaps, for those of us with bipolar and a lack of filtering ability, it’s even more brutal to have someone’s ill feelings brutally forced upon our attentions. I’ve got enough troubles managing my own spiking jagged emotions that any other strong feelings forced upon me are an imposition! And it still horrifies me that my unmanaged bipolar meant I was splashing all over people. I know how painful expelled emotions can be on unwary people in the vicinity, and I can only take comfort (a very very minor, freezing cold comfort) that I tried my hardest to minimize the damage as best I could.
So that begs the question — is it selfish to expect people to behave better? Or is that just setting a standard for one’s own life and times that is a completely reasonable boundary to have? I’m definitely not saying that people aren’t ‘allowed’ to have negative feelings, but that I expect people in my life to have a more mature and less vitriolic approach to expressing their concerns (Here is a great example was posted by one of my G+ friends yesterday). It’s good manners, and while I admit that I’m not perfect in that regard either, I certainly cannot see any room whatsoever for the hateful behaviors I saw yesterday. While some might think it hip to hate on public figures, it doesn’t change the fact that woman was a mother, a wife, a friend, and a sickly failing old woman. Would you want someone to do the same to your grandmother? I certainly wouldn’t.
Anyways, I will continue to hold up standards for those that I interact with, because in setting my own territory, I need to take care of me. That it makes the world a less hateful and chaotic place, well… bonus.