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Thread: What do you do with contempt?

  1. #1
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    What do you do with contempt?

    I think I can guess for a few of you:

    @Limes spins it into cocky mockery.

    @Fitz seems very comfortable simmering in it and spewing it out.

    I don't trust my own feelings of contempt. I like to give people the benefit of doubt: I might hold them in contempt now, but if I knew more about them then there's a good chance that I would see where they're coming from and I would revise my position.

    So I disregard my contempt. I suppress it, so much so that I sometimes don't even notice it until it reveals itself in some ugly way, and then I realize: "Oh, on one level... Yes, I do consider this person to be human trash."

    It's definitely related to shame, often but not always: if I see someone displaying some attribute that I try to suppress in myself, I tend to hold that person in contempt.

    Then you get into this circular thing where displays of contempt are themselves contemptuous.

    But at the same time on one level I admire people who choose to honestly convey how they feel.

    I expect very little of people, and when they meet my expectations, I subconsciously hold them in contempt. It doesn't even occur to me to try to engage with such a person regarding their offensive behavior. I sometimes build an edifice of pitiless compassion over a foundation of contempt.

    I feel like I need to get a better handle on this. My relationship with this emotion does not seem healthy.
    Too bad, Lady Une. You were far too lenient.
    As a soldier, yes. But as a civilian I lived an austere life.

  2. #2
    Cooler than Jesus
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    For the most part if I hold someone in contempt, I don't engage with them, although sometimes the occasional remark might come out. Although if I get drunk, all bets are off, but that always just reflects poorly only on me.

  3. #3
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    ^same


    Paging @Blorg and @Robcore for contributions.
    Too bad, Lady Une. You were far too lenient.
    As a soldier, yes. But as a civilian I lived an austere life.

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    Senior Member Lurker's Avatar
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    I actually like or feel neutral towards most people, including those I've fought with.

    When I do feel contempt for a person, he or she damn well deserves it.

    1. Sadistic bullies

    but also

    2. People who say nothing about it

    I look at #1 as pure scum.


  5. #5
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    I first hold myself in contempt, and then instantly forgive myself...then I project myself on everyone that I encounter.
    We're all incompetent, ignorant, oblivious, ugly people...but so what?

    I kind of like Mother Teresa's approach, substituting for whatever symbols we prefer...but to paraphrase her idea...it's basically this: everyone we see is just Jesus in one of his many distressing disguises.

    Contempt just feels like inflated expectations.
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

  6. #6
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore View Post
    I first hold myself in contempt, and then instantly forgive myself...then I project myself on everyone that I encounter.
    We're all incompetent, ignorant, oblivious, ugly people...but so what?

    I kind of like Mother Teresa's approach, substituting for whatever symbols we prefer...but to paraphrase her idea...it's basically this: everyone we see is just Jesus in one of his many distressing disguises.

    Contempt just feels like inflated expectations.
    I mean, I get that that's the idea, to see Christ in everyone... But I feel like my problem is that my expectations are too low. I don't see Christ at all. I don't even see the potential for Christ.

    Eg.

    Person A: *smoking around a baby*

    Me: *has previously classified Person A as white trash does not even consciously register what's happening*

    Person B: "Hey, you shouldn't smoke around a baby! You're better than that!"

    Me: Oh wow, Person B must really respect Person A, because it never even occurred to me that they could choose a healthier path.
    Too bad, Lady Une. You were far too lenient.
    As a soldier, yes. But as a civilian I lived an austere life.

  7. #7
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    I think intervention or lack thereof is not really related to contempt.
    Acceptance of someone exactly as they are is beautiful, and reaching out to improve things is also beautiful.

    Sometimes I do one, sometimes the other...and even on different occasions with the same person. You might let something slide with your partner today, and you might prompt them to change/grow regarding a different matter, tomorrow.
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

  8. #8
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    I think it is probably better to have no expectations at all, than to have low expectations...because having expectations of any sort is a form of projecting, while having no expectations actually allows for both the possibility of acting and of not acting.
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

  9. #9
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    also, the Mother Teresa thing...it's not just about seeing Jesus, but about seeing Jesus in his many distressing disguises.
    Seeing the unconscious person who just reacts to everything according to dysfunctional mental programs as what he is doesn't require contempt or intervention. Intervention, in some cases, is just a loving acceptance of them with all their flaws.

    I have a few great aunts who are nuns with the Redemptoristine order...and they basically just pray for 8+ hours a day...and I think that's pretty cool, whether or not anything spiritual is real or not...I mean, the thought of someone holding me in mind lovingly in spite of my failings and weaknesses is nice...so I appreciate that sort of intervention, because I perceive myself as having been a beneficiary of it.
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

  10. #10
    Senior Member Lurker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore View Post
    I first hold myself in contempt, and then instantly forgive myself...then I project myself on everyone that I encounter.
    We're all incompetent, ignorant, oblivious, ugly people...but so what?
    In different degrees, and for different reasons. As for the "so what," what do you mean? So...some people would slit your throat, and others would not?

    People are not equal.

    Contempt just feels like inflated expectations.
    No. More like failure to meet basic -- hell, any, sometimes -- expectations of a human living among other humans.


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