I have never felt that I had the ability to hurt other people.
Of course, if I am deliberately trying to hurt someone; if I'm screaming or yelling or angry, that is one thing. And if I very unintentionally hurt someone by blurting something out or saying something without realizing how cruel it is, that's something else as well.
I'm talking about hurting someone with words, with remarks, I suppose. I simply don't feel that I have the ability to hurt people.
And here's why: I see people's reactions as dependant upon their respect for the person or party involved. If a lunatic came up to you in the street and shouted, "You're insane!" you wouldn't pay much mind to their opinion. Therefore, if someone asserts something or states something that is utterly ludicrous about you, it logically follows that you wouldn't be hurt- because you would dismiss that person's opinion. It just wouldn't matter to you- because you don't respect them.
I don't know precisely why it is, but I feel as though people dismiss or would dismiss my opinion if it didn't jibe with their own image of themselves. Now, I have a very healthy ego and my self-esteem is fine, so this isn't something that reflects on me as a person. I just don't think that people would see my opinion as bearing so much weight; I feel like it's clear that they would dismiss it if they don't like it. I'm not happy about that, per se, but I feel like that's the way it is.
Which is why it has never dawned on me that I have the ability to hurt people.
I think it may also stem from the fact that I had a bit of a victim persona in elementary school- I mean, I was the kid being teased and bullied- so I was the one being hurt. It seems logically impossible that I the victim have the power to hurt anyone else. And I think that has stuck with me because I still think that way and really feel that way. I just don't see my opinion as mattering that much to others.
Anyway, this is what I have thought for a very long time- and still do think; it's pretty hard to break the habit- except my friend pointed out that my logic isn't necessarily sound. For example, if someone you really dislike and don't respect at all voices a negative opinion about you, you're hurt- or at least you're angry-because how dare they, that piece of filth, voice a negative opinion about you? They don't have the right, is what you think or feel. You're the one who looks down on them; they have no right to look down on you.
So obviously you can be hurt by the opinion of someone you don't respect, except maybe hurt isn't the right word, and angered is.
So I am very curious: Do you believe that you have the power to hurt other people? Do you believe that your opinion matters that much?
And I suppose, in addition to that, this would be a good time for me to extend my deepest apology to anyone I have hurt or offended without ever realizing that I had the capacity to hurt you. Most people are telling me that I do have that power, and it never occurred to me- and honestly I still can't really relate to the idea- that I did or could hurt someone.