thanate: (bluehair)
I am not the only one who sees this problem:

[regarding a social psychology experiment in which 63 people were asked to give two autobiographical accounts, one of a story in which they were a "victim" of someone else's behavior, and one in which they were a "perpetrator" in which they angered someone else. And we find that as a "perpetrator", people attempt to explain away their behavior, consider it justified or unimportant, or long over, whereas as a "victim", the same people looking at the same types of incidents claimed long-term anger and offense, and a great sense of self-righteous confusion:]

...The incomprehensibility of the perpetrator's motives is a central aspect of the victim identity and the victim story. "Not only did he do that terrible thing; he doesn't even understand that it is a terrible thing!" "Why can't she admit how cruelly she treated me?"

One reason he doesn't understand and she can't admit it is that the perpetrators are preoccupied with justifying what they did, but another reason is that they really do not know how the victim feels. Many victims initially stifle their anger, nursing their wounds and brooding about what to do. They ruminate about their pain or grievances for months, sometimes for years, and sometimes for decades. One man we know told us that after eighteen years of marriage, his wife announced "out of the blue, at breakfast," that she wanted a divorce. "I tried to find out what I'd done wrong," he said, "and I told her I wanted to make amends, but there were eighteen years of dustballs under the bed." ... By the time many victims get around to expressing their pain and anger, especially over events that the perpetrators have wrapped up and forgotten, perpetrators are baffled. No wonder most thought their victims' anger was an overreaction, though few victims felt that way. The victims are thinking, "Overreacted? But I thought about it for months before I spoke. I consider that an underreaction!"


--from Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson

I feel that all thinking persons should read this book. Particularly if you think you don't have to. I feel this so strongly that I intend to buy a loaner copy, to which [livejournal.com profile] fishy1 is welcome as soon as I have made [livejournal.com profile] grauwulf read it. Because even if he doesn't particularly want to, it will save him having to listen to me explain it in detail to him for the next several years.

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