Hate, contempt, friendship and guilt

Funny thing it took me long to grasp was the notion that when hurting someone purposefully the perpetrator needs to hate first, not after the conflict. That goes only for people he knows personally, had a personal relationship with, sometimes liked, sometimes admired and sometimes loved. I really couldn’t understand this. It was explained to me that hate came before the conflict in order to quench guilt.

A cold blooded criminal might become close to a victim just in order to obtain what he needs but shit happens: the victim is a real person and he might develop feelings for him. And all the way the criminal intent had to be hidden under deceit. The criminal has befriended a trusting person he intends to destroy. That may eat him inside if he is not emotionally dead.

A long time ago I was shortlisted for a teaching position in an American University. There were two of us. I was friends with the other guy. The head of the Center I worked at called me and said: “look, Marilia, I am not going to allow your next semester course on (this and that) because it might give you an advantage in the competition. Let me make this clear for you: I have invested 200 grand on this line at the XX department, I need someone with such and such skills, more specifically, I need so-and-so who is my post-doc. I am the head of the search committee. You don’t stand a chance”.

The only reason I went forth with the application was because my naïve husband believed “justice would win”. I wasn’t the bitch I am now at the time. Today, my husband wouldn’t deserve more than “in your dreams, baby” from me.

Bottom line is: I don’t hate the head of the Center of This and That, he doesn’t hate me and I remain in good terms with everybody. Why? Because even being wrong, ethically very wrong, maybe even despicable, as my husband put it, it was on the table. No backstabbing. I knew exactly what I was in for and I went all the same. I lost. End of story.

What I see around me in our sport community is that a lot of people have somewhat “ethically flexible” agendas. They go on acting publicly as if it was heroic and generous, they don’t come clean with anyone and the amount of backstabbing and sabotage that comes from this snake-like behavior generates true wars.

Follow me: the perpetrator knows he will sacrifice someone he has befriended because the new political arrangements require so. As cold as he can be, he is not a professional CEO, so he can’t handle his emotions. He feels a lot of guilt. So he hates the victim for making him feel this guilty. The victim will have his or her lifting career cut short, he will lose money, friends, he will be publicly harassed, maybe humiliated, maybe maligned and he doesn’t have a clue. The perpetrator hates him even more for his naiveté.

Then the conflict happens. The victim is screwed big time and after a while, he will certainly hate the perpetrator plus whoever he figures was with him (which is not always true, because since nobody has come clear with anything, these are all deductions made under extreme emotions, even paranoid conditions).

The victim may then become the perpetrator of a vindictive action later on. Again, he won’t come clean with his intentions. He will eventually screw someone (or maybe more people) who doesn’t have a clue about what’s going on.

And this, my friends, is the cycle of offense, guilt, hate, contempt, offense, etc. This is what we see all around us all the time. This is what is behind overreactions we never fully understand (and, surprise, surprise, we develop either contempt or partisan sympathy for the overeating person).

It is ridiculously naïve to think there would be a way out of this by controlling illegal or predatory action. We live in a market economy and competition “out there” is not governed by a neat rulebook. These actions are motivated by money, power, both and all the uncontrollable emotional elements that feed them: envy, greed, megalomania, resentment, paranoia, you name it.

It won’t happen, period: the sport will go on being highly contaminated and governed by such forces.

But it wouldn’t hurt to come clean with intentions both for things done and to be done. I wouldn’t mind someone coming to me and saying they need me to write a project for them to be used in something I am viscerally opposed to. I will just smile and tell them my price. We can work out a deal if they don’t have the money upfront. I also don’t mind being solicited to support someone or something, lift with someone and I may even accept it, which I always do making it crystal clear to what extent this support goes (not too far, since I am not exclusive to anyone except myself).

But pretending it is a project that contemplates my interests, involving me, than, once my part is done, start badmouthing me, overeating to anything I do, hating me big time, creating hating teams, fans, counter-fans, little wars, big wars… This is a waste of productive energy for everyone.

This is not one case: I can remember without much effort something like 11 identical situations in the past 6 years in powerlifting alone. And I don’t mean the small ones I easily dismiss.

The only thing this has done to me was make me suspicious of everyone. I mean EVERYONE. Even the person who acts as your best friend today may receive a more palatable offer tomorrow (or a threat) and backstab you.

So: wanna use mafia money to fund your stuff? Good for you! Just leave me out of it and forget me forever. You can keep everything I did – all debts are forgiven. Seriously.

This was not about “you” or “you”, or “you” (and I’ve seen “you” in action in every country there is powerlifting evolving well): your paranoia might make you think it was, but you are no different than the next one. Actually, after a while, even your faces become blurred in my memory and they look exactly the same. I wish this fading away comes as fast as possible for all of us and that we can move on, letting go of the cycle of hatred and guilt.

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