I hate when people look down at me.
The realization that someone has such little regard for you as a fellow human being is so horribly dehumanizing. It can be a friend, relative, coworker, random stranger, it doesn't matter. It's such a common act that many people don't realize they've done it. Then there are those people that do know exactly what they're doing.
Just a glance or an offhanded comment or, worst of all, a well-orchestrated personal attack. Yeah, that's definitely the worst. If it's something that happens in passing, you can often brush it off as just some random idiot. But when it's planned out and delivered with the precision of a smart bomb, it can have a devastating effect.
And sometimes they happen for the pettiest of reasons. "You like that music/movie/book/TV show?" "You went to that school?" "You're wearing that shirt?"
How do you respond to personal attacks like this? In some cases, it's easy. Some attacks can be deflected with a well-timed joke or smart-assed response. I'm typically pretty good at those. But when it's the more subtle, like a look or a perceived attitude, how do you react to those?
What if it's someone you see on a semi-regular basis? If it's a random stranger attacking your character, you should attack back, without question. You'll never see them again. Who cares? But someone you see a lot? And you may share common acquaintances with? That's much tougher.
As you can see, this has been bugging me for some time. I've thought it through and I don't want to attack back in the last example to which I refer. There are a few people that I perceive as doing this to me every time I see them. I don't think they realize it at all. It's just a part of their nature, it's who they are. Anybody less than them, they look down on. Anybody better than them, they come up with something to make them mentally perceive this person as a lesser being so they can then look down on them. It makes me dread meeting up with them to the very core of my being.
It's frustrating as hell because I want to confront these people about how they act, but my hands are tied. It would cause too many problems with all our shared acquaintances. Too much strain. And yet it makes our every meeting absolutely unbearable. At least for me.
I realize that I've done this to people in the past and I've likely hurt them as much as I've been hurt. But I've been making a conscious effort to not do this anymore. I can only hope it's working as this simple act is so overwhelmingly powerful. And when it's done, it hurts. I mean really hurts.