Everyone has a mean person in his or her life. I’ve had one in mine for the past 8 years. To be truthful, it really upset me in the beginning. It wasn’t because anything this person said had validity, but rather it bothered me she could keep doing ferocious things without consequences. I was brought up to think if you did something bad, there was always a consequence. And to this day, it’s overwhelming to me that people get away with doing bad things.
However, at this point in my life, I think it’s funny so much of this person’s existence revolves around being ferocious toward me. Nonetheless, most of you are not at that stage.
We all know what mean people are like — they gossip about you to others, ignore you, say hurtful things, break or steal your stuff, belittle you, set you up to get into trouble for something you didn’t say or do, call you names, imply you’re not as clever, good-looking, well connected, valuable or nice as they are, intimidate you, leave unfriendly or unkind messages about you on social media sites, and break promises they swore they’d keep.
Yet, people don’t seem to want to accept some people are just plain mean. Remember The Hillside Strangler during the 1970s? They molested, tortured, and murdered women, and then scattered their body parts around. I remember the psychiatrists (the “whores of the court”) coming out of the woodwork during the trial saying The Strangler must have been crazy. But, I also remember one female psychiatrist’s interview in a long documentary about the case. When asked about The Strangler, she said, “All I can tell you is some people are just evil.” That’s what people don’t wish to accept – they want to make evil an illness that they can fix. They think if they can fix it, then a) they won’t have to face the mean people in their own lives, and b) they feel in control – i.e. if you can fix someone with pills, you have control over him or her.
Therefore, evil does not exist for a lot of people. Evil is just something that needs fixing. But I’m here to tell you evil is NOT a psychiatric illness. People who put other people in ovens and gas showers, shoot or burn their fellow man, or throw babies up in the air for target practice are evil!
If you’ve been dealing with a mean person at work, in your neighborhood, in your club, or in your family, the best way of handling that person is to not go up against him or her. You can’t win. You’re unequipped to deal with a mean person unless you’re equally bad. Mean people have no rules and no limits. You do. Try to avoid contact with the person. If you’ve tried to sort things out and he or she decides to keep being mean, there isn’t much you can do to influence or change his or her mind. If this person actually hates you or feels like he or she can’t lose face by dawning a different attitude, you don’t have to put up with it. Remove yourself. Don’t listen to his or her taunts, don’t read the crap he or she writes about you, and don’t have any connection to his or her spiteful attitude. Let this person know you’re not going to tolerate it and make a clean cut. Even the meanest person may get bored when his or her target stops responding.
I remember one Star Trek episode (from the original series, which I still think was the best) where a hazy, dusty force took over the Starship Enterprise and caused the crew to get mean and fight with each other. The crew tried to kill it, confront it, and reason with it, but to no avail. Finally, somebody figured out the haze was a force that ate anger and used it as energy to get bigger and stronger. To stop the force, Captain Kirk got on the intercom and told the crew that no matter how much anger they all felt, they should all laugh and hug. The thing shriveled up and went away.
I thought the episode offered a nice parallel to how we should approach meanness. Similar to the Enterprise crew, no matter how much we try to confront or reason with meanness, we can’t. Some people simply need to be mean to feel better about themselves. And there are people like that all over the world.
My advice? Just get out of their way. Don’t take it personally. Unfortunately, karma won’t always kick in and nothing bad necessarily will happen to them. In fact, sometimes they lead long and financially successful lives. That may be hard to swallow, but the quality of your life is more important.
So laugh. Throw your head back and laugh. Let them pound sand and not you.
There’s an increasing population of women who want to date, have sex with or marry death row prisoners. Some women actually find that sexy. So I did some research in trying to understand more about why a woman would be turned on by that.
We all know women are turned on by the bad guys. Most women are turned on by bad guys because we’re biological organisms, we’re mammals, and a bad guy is strong (or perceived to be that way), and able to protect her because he’s dangerous. The worse a guy is, the more attractive he may become to a woman. Remember the musical “Grease”? Sandy is a nice girl and she falls for Danny who is a bad boy rebel. So there’s a huge physical aspect to the attraction; it’s animal. A lot of times the women who seek out these inmates suffer from a variety of psychological problems like depression or poor self-esteem and they seek out the unconditional love of someone who has less than they do to make themselves feel validated.
Women also become fixated with these pieces of scum because of the popularity the media gives them. I mean, Ted Bundy became a celebrity. So did Scott Peterson — it was all Scott Peterson all the time on television for a while. A lot of these women just cannot find love, so they pretend this is love. And a lot of women don’t want to have to deal with a guy every day.
I found some information on some two sisters who did this. Two middle-aged, Christian sisters, Avril and Rose, left long-term, boring marriages for men in prison. One man had been convicted of a string of minor property offenses and the other man had killed his previous wife. His new wife, Rose, said, “I have faith that if you’re genuine with the Lord, you’re a new person. A lot of people have said I should be worried about him because of what he did in his background, which is pretty awful and violent, but I have no fear.” Despite the women’s faith, both relationships ended tragically. A week after his release, the thief blungeoned Avril to death with a hammer. The other husband ended up back in prison after trying to cut off Rose’s ear and trying to pull out her teeth with pliers.
One of the realities of women being attracted to these men isn’t often expressed, because it’s not politically correct, but it happens to be a reality: hybristophiliacs. These are people sexually excited by violent outrages performed on others. These women often send porn pictures of themselves to the prisoners. These women are not necessarily “sit back and just get horny” about violence. A playwright, Veronica Lynn Compton, began a torrid affair with one of the Hillside Stranglers. You remember those guys? They were two cousins who abducted, raped, and mutilated very young women and then they ritualistically displayed their corpses on hillsides in Los Angeles in the 70s. Yeah.
As part of an elaborate defense strategy, one of the stranglers, Kenneth Bianchi, asked Compton to kill a woman using his M.O., because then he could say, “See. It wasn’t me. I’m in here.” DNA evidence was not available then. Only the blood type could be determined from the fluid samples, so he asked her to sprinkle the dead body with his sperm and passed her a sample in a rubber glove. Compton tried but bungled the attempt to murder the woman and the prospective victim got away. By the time Compton was in prison for attempted murder, Bianchi had married somebody else. And then Compton found another sexual, serial killer to romance. One year he sent her a photo of a decapitated female corpse as a Valentine’s Day card.
Vicarious murder is sometimes a motivating factor. It’s easier for these women to overlook the violence that offends all the rest of us if they have seriously considered it themselves. Even while the woman is the creep’s culpability, it is his ability to murder that attracts her. He acted out on his rage. The woman just couldn’t get around to doing that because, “I don’t know, I just can’t…I just can’t murder.” But what a turn on that he can! “I can live in the glow of his being able to let go of that inhibition when I can’t.” Pretty sick…pretty scary, pretty sick.
As I’ve always said, there are always women around to embrace evil. There are infinite numbers of stories you’ve heard of women who stay with their husbands after the husbands have molested the children or somebody else’s children. They will defend them and they will send their own kids off to go somewhere else to keep that man. I remember one call in particular (thank God I cannot crawl through a phone line). She called to see if it was okay now that her husband (the step-father who molested both her daughters severely) was getting out of prison, if she could take him back because she “thinks he’s learned his lesson”. They deny what they don’t want to know so they can have what they want. There’s something sleazily erotic for these women. It’s not just “they’re dainty and scared”. Wow.
I guess a lot of women use these situations as an escape route. It’s tough to be something, to be someone, to build…that’s tough. There’s a lot of failure, frustration, and loss along the way. Success requires a lot of work, and some people don’t want to work hard, so they join gangs and they steal and kill or push dope. And the women gain a sense of power and position by being associated with this sort of stuff. You become important and powerful by proxy.
So, it isn’t about compassion. It isn’t about really believing they’re innocent…they know they’re not. It’s about getting off on it emotionally, sexually, psychologically…it’s about those 15 seconds of fame. It’s about somebody so trapped in a prison he can’t fool around on you. You’re safe and you own him, and all you have to do is show up with cigarettes. It’s drama…it’s sick. It is seriously sick. And I feel the women who do this are evil. Not pathetic, not pitiful but equally evil. They want to make an allegiance with evil because it’s like being reborn with the position and power, the strength and importance and total control. But it’s still evil.
There seems to be a general unwillingness to point out that some people are just evil. I was frustrated when psychiatrist Keith Ablow wrote an essay on foxnews.com espousing the “understanding” of women and men who prey sexually on children. He “formatted” them all as mentally ill.
I was not frustrated when, years ago, another psychiatrist, answering a question about how the Hillside Strangler could capture, torture, and kill people, answered truthfully that “some people are evil.”
Dr. Ablow is dead wrong. Although mental health professionals are trained to see everything through the pink glasses of “kids are bad because their parents are bad,” it just ain’t true. If you are one of those parents with a belligerent, nasty, uncooperative, petty criminal, drugged-out bummy kid (when your other kids are just fine citizens), you should not blame yourself.
We’re all impressed when a kid from a really bad home ends up living a quality life – kind, hard-working, and loving. How come we don’t recognize the opposite: a really great home can produce a bad kid?
There’s no question that parental problems and environment do, of course, impact children, but everyday character traits also have hard-wired genetic components that cannot be remedied by loving parents and a lovely, serene home in the suburbs.
In other words, there are bad seeds. Parents frustrated with those children may possibly aggravate the situation, but they didn’t create it.
So many people call me who are sad about their recalcitrant adult children. In some cases, you parents have earned that, but sometimes, you just need to shut the door on what is an impossible mission.TrackBack URI
On June 30, I posted a blog about “hating” evil. I got the following response from one brave young woman, and I’m making her my guest blogger today:
Hi, Dr. Laura:
I am 27 years old and have been listening to you for as long as I can remember. My mom turned you on in the car. She was a stay-at-home mom, but we did way more than just stay at home. I listen [to your radio program] via Streamlink, so I just heard your commentary on hate. You have made me feel even more right in my choice to hate.
I have a brother-in-law who is a skinhead. He is also a criminal - [having gone] in and out of jail over the years. My sister brought this man into my life when I was 12 years old, so since then, my family has been battling him and his drunken fits and fights with my sister. I grew up opinionated; I have convictions and they are strong, so naturally, we butted heads. But for a long time, I would just get along with this monster for the sake of peace (as my mother taught me).
When I turned 18 and moved out, I saw that I could choose who was in my life. And after an incident at my other sister’s home where I was given the “Heil Hitler” salute, I was done. Done making peace. I found that making peace with this man was to be okay with all the evil he brought into my family. My mom suggested I just be careful of him as if he were a pit bull. I thought “no,” and then was sad that my family would not take the stand I would.
So, any holiday or family get-together, I made it clear that I would not attend if he did. And I missed out on a lot. People were just too scared of what they might look like, or scared that my sister would say no one could see the children, or another excuse I find just as evil as him. He didn’t do anything to me personally, so I can’t shun him. I was very sad that my family had chosen to make peace with the devil rather than stand up to him.
My saving grace was my boyfriend’s family, whose home constantly was a place I could go, and they told me they thought I was doing what was right.
This year, I have been able to see my family on holidays – it took one last fight where my brother-in-law assaulted my dad and destroyed their property. It is sad that that is what it took for my parents and oldest sister to decide that peace was not the way. My sister is still married to him, but is now she who misses out on family events, because her husband is no longer welcome.
I hope she sees his dangerous and destructive pattern and gets herself and her children out of there, but, sadly, I’m not holding my breath.
Thank you for all you do, and for making me realize that other people’s actions need not define my character.
I received an email recently in which a listener asked: “Dr. Laura…I don’t get it. People call and tell you that they have a relative who is bigoted about something or someone, and your answers seem to differ between letting them be and taking them on. What’s the story with that?”
Great question. The callers who tell me they know a relative or friend is hostile, bigoted, or opinionated about something always get the following question from me: “Tell me…do they act out on it? Do they proclaim it in public and insult or hurt people because of it?”
If the answer is “yes,” then that person is to be shunned and, perhaps, hated. I don’t have any positive things to say about Mexican drug dealers who murder innocent people on both sides of the border for power and money. I hate them for the human pain and misery they directly cause. People who decide to take the drugs are just stupid, and they’re on their own. I don’t blame the drug dealers for someone else’s poor judgment.
If the answer is “no,” that person should be commended for having a strong opinion but never hurting anyone in any form because of it. I don’t hate people with stupid opinions or ideas. I just think they’re….kinda stupid, that’s all.
Most people have opinions about other groups of people, both positive and/or negative. So what?…as long as they don’t act out on those sentiments in ways that bring sorrow, hurt and pain to others.
My point is that it is in the actions of a person that we grade them, not their thoughts. I do hate those who kill their children on purpose and then blame it on their “enemy” in order to gain sympathy around the world.
In a nutshell: pity stupidity…hate evil. If you treat them both the same, you border on evil as well.TrackBack URI