A Guide in Humane Awareness
When you had the experience:
Here is my personal experience in which someone was cruel towards me:
Those who have been bullied, abused, treated inhumanely or with malicious intent know all too well how any cruelty towards another human being is a form of soul murder. The very vital essence of our humanness is somehow robbed when we are subjected to cruelty. But the same loss is also experienced in the person who commits a cruel act. This loss can be expressed in terms of a decline in empathy, that is the ability to identify with and understand another's situation, feelings and motives.
The abused person often suffers from a lack of self-esteem, and the ability to empathize with himself and the experienced cruelty. He blames himself for what has happened. But with good fortune, therapy and maturation he can come to see how he was the victim in the cruelty he experienced.
Sadly and all too frequently, the abused person turns to alcohol, drugs or some other form of addiction or self-destructive behavior that helps him or her to bury the pain of the experience and to try to reclaim the humanness lost when he or she was treated cruelly.
As I have said previously, cruelty is cruelty regardless of its size. The little cruelties we experience also diminish the quality of our lives. While we may not be consciously aware of how a "little" cruelty has affected us, at a subconscious level the impact is being experienced.
For example, when someone treats us rudely, which can be seen as a mild form of inhumaneness or "little" cruelty, we can often slough the behavior off as simply uncivilized behavior depending on the mood we are in and our state of mind. At other times, however, shedding the same rude experience can be difficult to do immediately and we have to work through the experience and deal with the ensuing anger, which is actually repressed fear that we are not deemed worthy of humane respect and decency.
¹ The Stanley Milgram Website
Copyright © Kenneth Hemmerick 2005