Do you Demonize People?

~ 8 Minute Read.

Do you ev­er de­mo­nize peo­ple around you? At­tach­ing bad at­tributes to peo­ple be­cause they are be­hav­ing in a way that you don’t like? Let me show you ex­am­ples that may help you re­mem­ber:

Your room­mate who isn’t wash­ing the dish­es or leaves his stuff ly­ing around ev­ery­where, doesn’t do the agreed up­on chores or gen­er­al­ly seems to be ig­nor­ing you.

The boy- or girl­friend that told you s/he doesn’t want to see you tonight, wants to go out with her/his friends in­stead or is ne­glect­ing you in some oth­er way.

Your mom calls you in the mid­dle of the day with what ap­pear to you as unim­por­tant ques­tions, or your dad who for­got what you are cur­rent­ly do­ing with your life which makes it look like he doesn’t care at all.

The best friend who for­got your birth­day or the name of your new girl­friend again.

The peo­ple on your school project who seem to leech off of your work.

The list goes on and on and on… I found not de­mo­niz­ing peo­ple is a very very hard task and be­lieve it is nat­u­ral to most peo­ple. The an­ti­dote is tak­ing full ac­count­abil­i­ty for ev­ery­thing that hap­pens around you.

I learnt this over the course of many, of­ten hor­ri­bly painful ex­pe­ri­ences, rang­ing from my first re­la­tion­ship to Uni­ver­si­ty projects and the be­gin­nings of Vhite Rab­bit. It seems as if full ac­count­abil­i­ty is a very im­por­tant skill to prac­tice to get more con­trol in life and tak­ing the stress out of it.

I will barage you with a cou­ple of fan­cy sound­ing buzz­words to out­line a step for step process that I hope helps with aqcuir­ing full ac­count­abil­i­ty.

While I may make my sug­ges­tions here sound like facts, I do re­al­ize it’s not al­ways this easy and there are sit­u­a­tions where this does not ap­ply, it is a mind­set ex­cer­cise that you may want to give a shot be­fore you start fight­ing with some­one, who is im­por­tant to you, on an emo­tion­al ver­sus ra­tio­nal lev­el.

First up is


One of the more painful things is to stop deny­ing some­thing. Ac­cept­ing there is a prob­lem with an­oth­er per­son is al­ways the first step to solv­ing it. “with”! It is not the per­son who is the prob­lem. It’s you who has a prob­lem with the per­son.

This is hard in two ways: first, you may like the per­son and it may be hard to ad­mit that they are not per­fect and sec­ond, blam­ing some­one is the eas­i­er route—in oth­er words it means giv­ing away the re­spon­si­bil­i­ty to an­oth­er per­son.

I have a pret­ty rad­i­cal op­pin­ion when it comes to re­spon­si­bil­i­ty of oth­ers on their be­hav­iour. I out­lined it in De­ter­min­ism and Choice.

To help you un­der­stand that it is al­most nev­er the per­son who is the prob­lem, de­ploy


Now you ac­cept­ed there is a prob­lem. Next step is to un­der­stand it. I be­lieve you should al­ways as­sume the per­son prob­lem is not evil at heart. Es­pe­cial­ly if you knew the per­son for a while al­ready, they gen­er­al­ly care about you as much as you care back.

There is al­ways some­thing that makes a per­son do some­thing. There is a rea­son you need to find to un­der­stand why they be­have and the way to do this is putting your­self in­to their sit­u­a­tion and think­ing about how it may be lead­ing to their be­hav­iour.

Ex­am­ples: the room­mate is stressed at his job and is not able to fo­cus on much else, ex­haust­ed from the day. The boy or girl­friend re­al­ized he spent way more time with his friends back in the days be­fore the re­la­tion­ship and has a hor­ri­bly bad con­cience about ne­glect­ing them. Your Dad lives so far away from you that you are com­plete­ly de­tached from his cur­rent life, your mom is not aware of you be­ing busy and her main prob­lems are those that she is call­ing you about. Your friend is just not a per­son who cares about birth­days or may just have too much on his mind! Or the oth­er sit­u­a­tion: it’s not his girl­friend, it’s yours, or he may just have prob­lems with names. The team­mate may not feel com­pe­tent to join or doesn’t know what to do be­cause of it. He may just not have the dis­ci­pline you have or have oth­er pri­or­i­ties in life.

If you can’t fir­gure it out your­self, ask. Most im­por­tant­ly, it’s facts: you will get the oth­er per­sons re­al­i­ty back as an an­swer, you may try to ra­tio­nal­ize it away, but that is not how re­al­i­ty works. In­stead you need to


Things are how they are. Dwelling on that is not an op­tion. I could just as well have used “ac­cep­tance” again here.

I read once that “de­pres­sion is the re­sult of a dis­crep­an­cy be­tween re­al­i­ty and what you want it to be”. While I will not com­ment on the ques­tion­able qual­i­ty of that ex­pres­sion, I find this does out­line how dwelling on such a dis­crep­an­cy will lead to no good.

In­stead, ac­knoledge the oth­er per­sons sit­u­a­tion, even if you may be able to han­dle his or her sit­u­a­tion bet­ter, un­der­stand that the oth­er per­son is not equipped with your mind­set and they would in­stead han­dle oth­er sit­u­a­tions bet­ter than you in re­turn.

Now what. The prob­lem is still there. Just be­cause you for­gave the per­son for caus­ing it for you, we got nowhere. But sure we did, your op­tions are now

Move On or Fix It

Move on means: can you ac­cept the sit­u­a­tion/prob­lem giv­en the cir­cum­stances you now un­der­stand the per­son is in? Can you adapt your per­spec­tive?

Your friend is bad at re­mem­ber­ing your birth­day, so what? Maybe the is­sue here is that you want to feel cared about, but maybe that doesn’t need to be by re­mem­ber­ing your birth­day. Es­pe­cial­ly if he lost his job or what­ev­er ad­di­tion­al cir­cum­stances there may be. Do you re­al­ly need to see your boy/girl­friend ev­ery evening? Is it that im­por­tant that your roo­mate wash­es his dish­es im­me­di­ate­ly af­ter break­fast or is af­ter work okay too?

And so on. Some­time evad­ing al­so works, as in avoid­ing sit­u­a­tions where this prob­lem pops up. Make use of that wise­ly, though, a evad­ed prob­lem is not solved and may pop up the next time you are not able to evade the caus­ing sit­u­a­tion.

Fix it means: if you re­al­ly—and this may of­ten be the case—can­not live with the sit­u­a­tion as is, you need to put in the en­er­gy to change it, it will not change on it’s own. Re­al­ize that if you don’t do it, noone will. And if it mat­ters to you then you are the one who needs to take re­sposi­bil­i­ty for it. I can­not guar­an­tee, but of­ten you may find the oth­er per­son al­so wants to solve the prob­lem you have with them.

Do this again and again, be­cause just be­cause you tried solv­ing it, that does not im­ply you did it prop­er­ly or in the right way.

Yes ac­count­abil­i­ty is a bur­don to a de­gree, but the al­ter­na­tive is agony and a bro­ken re­la­tion­ship to the oth­er per­son. See it as the pow­er of be­ing able to con­trol your life and be­ing in­de­pen­dent of oth­ers.

Writ­ten from heart in the hopes of po­ten­tial­ly spar­ing you the painful ex­pe­ri­ences that tought me what I be­lieve to be em­pa­thy. This mind­set saves what is most im­por­tant to me over and over again.

Writ­ten in 65 min­utes, ed­it­ed in 15 min­utes.