• Simone Penn

Some People just Suck.

After a fair few years (33) on G-d’s magnificent planet, I have come to accept an undeniable truth of life; some people, really, just suck.

So many people get away with mistreating one another because we write them off as being “mad”, “crazy”, or “doo-lahli” (as my Step-Dad would say). That’s too easy.

Now, if you’re reading this and thinking: “lord is she talking about me?” The answer is, in fact, no. The people who suck are likely reading this and thinking: “that ain’t me, I’m hot sh**..”

In the words of my current hero, Esther Baila Schwartz: if you’re worried that you’re trying your best, you probably are. This litmus test is good enough for me.

I guess what I’m trying to say is the ego in some people is very very strong. So strong that they don’t even know it’s driving them. That’s my estimation anyway.

The problem with this inalienable fact is that it is completely blind. There is zero warning or discriminatory factors about whom does or does not suck.

It can be the cashier at Pick n’ Pay, the cardiologist about to slice open your family member, a neighbour, a lecturer, or the woman on the other end of the medical scheme’s call centre.

A nice corollary, though, is that some people are just awesome too. There’s always that wonderfully helpful nurse at casualty who pushes me to the front and gets me my 400th non stress test of the week because I’m hysterical.

But that’s far too sunshine-and-roses for this post.

I have encountered highly educated people who suck and ignorant fools who suck and everything/one in between.

The truth is there are a lot of people who think I suck too, which I’m fully aware of and, at peace with.

What I really want to say is that you will encounter people in your life who will baffle you. I certainly have.

I have walked into an exchange of any number of descriptions, with absolutely pure and benevolent intentions, only to be shocked into submission by the unholy reaction of someone who, for want of a better phrase, sucks.

There is a concept in Judaism called Derech Eretz. It’s the way in which we walk with other people. Our overarching attitude towards another. The paradigm that: the way I treat another person is above anything else. I think people who suck probably lack a bit of derech eretz. They certainly lack the concern for how they make others feel. Which is much more complicated than being concerned with what is wrong or right.

Ok. Calm down. I hear you, in the back, frantically waving your hand asking about people with mental illness. Depression? Anxiety? Agoraphobia? No. Those aren’t the suckers either. Well not those with actual mental illness.

I watched a TEDx recently which absolutely validated something I’ve suspected for a while. We can get caught up diagnosing peoples’ misgivings which then exempts them from taking responsibility. If I suffer from NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) then I’m not a jerk I have a mental illness.

Well, no. (Strictly speaking you have a personality disorder).

By “medicalizing” bad behavior we are actually taking away a person’s responsibility to own up to it, to expand themself, to grow up.

In the TED talk mentioned above (https://youtu.be/aHHWgG7dB6A) therapist Ramani Durvasula said something that absolutely blew my mind:

‘...We actually give badly behaved jerks an out when we call it (narcissistic personality disorder) a diagnosis.

If someone is a jerk then they’re a jerk. Disliking a pattern of behaviors doesn’t make it a mental illness.’

One of the first things my psychologist ever told (read: taught) me was this: “there are crazy people among us and they don’t even have the courtesy to wear a sign”. He’s the damn guru.

But there really are. Crazy, narcissistic people, who suck, just waiting to ruin your day. And they don’t even know it.

Ok I’m going down the rabbit hole again.

What I really want to say is that you will encounter people that make absolutely no sense to you. They will walk and talk and act like regular, rational individuals; but when you attempt to scratch the surface they will react. I have no idea why this happens but it’s the pits. So I wanted to write about it.

I’m not entirely sure what the solution is either because I can’t pretend I’m so well developed that these encounters don’t affect me. I can’t stand here and tell you to just ignore them - even though that does seem to be the best strategy.

I also don’t believe that total isolation is a healthy goal. A reasonable level of social selection, yes, but full blown home bound panic doesn’t serve anyone.

I suppose we just have to go into life with our eyes open. And know, this really has nothing to do with you or me. Some people just suck.

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