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Rage and respect

devils daughter


Seems to me there are two different kinds of respect that I can feel for people. One is just a basic respect for them as a human being. As in “we hold these truths to be self-evident; all people are created equal. . .” (paraphrased from the USA's Declaration of Independence from Britain)

Another sense of respect is a social status kind of thing. We all have different talents and strengths and people “look to” others for their superior knowledge or power about different things. For instance, I respect my doctor’s knowledge, a surgeon’s skill, and a police officer’s legal power.

Membership in this community means, to me, that everyone here deserves the first kind of respect. We are who we are. We struggle with what we struggle with.

I think that when we didn’t get a good enough reservoir of the first kind of respect in our families of origin, then it can cause unresolved rage. Which can bubble up at inconvenient times.

A catch-22 then appears. When we behave ragefully toward people who don’t respect us, then it can cause them to respect us even less. People disrespect us, so we feel rage, so they disrespect us even more.

Absolutely, positively sucks. For instance, I’ve got a pretty good reservoir of rage toward my sister and the general dysfunctional family dynamic at the moment. Does that help anything? Well, it helps me inside a little. I’m powerless over my family’s disrespect of me but rage FEELS so (deceptively?) powerful.

Another odd thing about rage is that when I am feeling rageful toward someone, then chances are good that I am not feeling respectful toward them. I wonder, is it even POSSIBLE to be respectful toward someone when you feel rage toward them?

Here’s another take on the catch-22 maybe. I want to respect my own feelings of rage, because they are my feelings and I don’t want to dissociate from them like I used to. Then, I didn't feel the disrespect and so didn't understand what was going on socially. That method did keep me from reacting, though, and getting the second dose of disrespect. But as long as I am respecting my rage am I disrespecting the other person? Hmmm. . . Maybe that’s OK sometimes?. . . And sometimes maybe I DON’T want that result.


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