Sunday, May 27, 2018

Mean ̶g̶i̶r̶l̶s̶ Adults

This movie is one of my all time favorites. It’s funny and completely over the top and yet it manages to be realistic by bringing to light passive aggressive behavior among adolescent girls. In reality, this behavior isn’t restricted to one gender. And there are some mean teens who never outgrow this adolescent state and become mean adults.

Passive aggressiveness is still aggression. Ofttimes, it gets ignored because the aggressor isn’t inflicting physical abuse. But make no mistake – abuse is abuse is abuse. So when we see it happening, we should not remain silent. And this is what this post is about – passive aggressive abuse and calling it out.

When a mature, mindful adult poses a question on their social media profile inviting opinions, they are prepared for a wealth of responses that may not jive with their own belief system. In fact, if this person invites such a dialog, they are likely looking for others input so that they can critically analyze and have an informed debate or discussion. An interesting thing happens when these Mean Adults (M.A.s) come to play, however. They don’t try to engage in discussion; they just get nasty.

I don’t mean to confuse M.A.s with trolls; trolls generally aren’t people you know. M.A.s are people you do know who simply cannot have their belief systems questioned – not even when you aren’t speaking to them directly. Questions as simple as “Why do people who like X support Y?” will be responded with personal attacks like “You hate Y because you are naive!” when no one ever said anything about hating Y in the first place. When the M.A. is softly corrected by way of explanation, they get meaner with gems like “Oh of course you hate Y because your family uses subsidized Z.” 

Pretty soon, full out battles ensue as the M.A. enlists reinforcement to attack everyone and anyone who attempts to support the person who posed the original question. No amount of decency or logic will deter the M.A.s from their goal of diverting the topic away from the original topic because to them, anything that questions their belief system is an all-out assault and worthy of warfare. They will chomp with venom using euphemisms and bestow armchair psychological diagnoses on those who would defend their friend. They will use common abuse tactics such as playing the victim, vilifying the victim, and projecting blame.

Make no mistake: You cannot win a battle with an M.A., but you can call them out for their behavior. I am a firm believer that we should always do so. Calling people names, labeling them as psychotic is abusive (and stigmatizing to those with real psychological disorders) and shouldn’t be tolerated. Until we start to hold others accountable for their behavior, the Mean Adults will continue to lash out and hurt others. And sometimes, that can end very badly for their victims. I, for one, am not going to be silent anymore.

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