If there was one wish I could have granted for myself and the world, I think it might be to be fearless. When I think of fearless, I don't mean rushing out to slay dragons, I mean having no need to slay a dragon because the dragon does not fear me and I do not fear the dragon. Fearless, for me, means peaceful.
I believe it is fear that separates us. It's fear that drives anger and war. It's fear that keeps us from taking risks that could lead to big things. We lock our houses out of fear. We don't help a stranger out of fear. We don't talk to people because we fear.
Fear works well to alienate us from one another.
I've wondered often why bullies become bullies - why some people become mean spirited - why some people grow difficult to work with. I think it's fear. They are driven by fear of something and it is probably deeply rooted in childhood. They shove the fear deep inside and then it comes out in irrational behavior. I imagine them as a child and wonder what trauma's they endured to condition them this way. What a sad thing!
I enjoy working with dogs - especially young rescues. I know that there is a point that they cannot recover from past conditioning - they cannot overcome acting out of fear. By the age of 2, if they act out in some aggressive way or cower when there is no obvious need, it will not get better over time. If I cannot help them get over fears, fear will grow into bad behavior.
People are the same. While they may comprehend that their behavior is not accepted by most, they simply work harder to justify it. They learn to create bigger and bigger stories. They learn how to tap into our emotional triggers. It may be God, or a danger, or painting themselves as victims/martyrs for a cause. They can be very charismatic and very convincing for those who do not see all that they do.
But eventually they fall apart. These are the people who in their 50's and beyond wind up spending countless wasted hours alone or with few around them to hear their stories. Sadly, the few who stay, are victimized in some way. The mean old man beats his live in girlfriend or wife. Fear keeps her there or some odd sense of being able to save him somehow. The old woman gets a few church people to rally to her aid and keep her afloat without one questioning why she does not help herself. And why is she not spending some of those countless hours in front of the TV helping anyone else? They have internalized the many stories she has told of how she has been a victim and they overlook the irrational ways she acts. But for how long? How sad for all!
Well - I can't leave this on a sad and sorry note. What do we do about these difficult people? I say, be kind to them but keep a safe distance. They will bite you. Let them dig into their deep caves and don't go in with them. They will bite you.
Go out into the world and be fearless. Learn which dogs/people are beyond your reach. If they can learn to overcome fear, they will come to you. If not, they are best left in the cave on their own where they feel safe. If you go into the cave, they will deal with you on their terms. That is not a good thing. Stay in the light!