If your integrity is attacked

posted in: Critical Reflection | 0

I’m angry. I’m sad.

How people can be.

In such a way that it makes your stomach turn. In such a way that it existentially grabs you by the throat.

There are people who will not listen, who will not argue well.

They want to get their way, pump up their ego, indulge their pain on others. I do not know. I’m not a psychologist.

It’s evident that they lose their clarity. Their ability to think logically.

Today it happened again.

My husband responds to a tweet from a famous American actress who thinks rapists should be beheaded. He says that that’s not the solution. The tragedies of death and rape should both be avoided. He says that he has been in court long enough to know what he is talking. She responds that his way of thinking is bullshit. He replies she should treat him with more respect as he always respected her. She may say that his solution is bullshit if she also has a PhD or JD (Juris Doctor) behind her name. To which she replied: I do not respect people who defend pedophiles.

Complete nonsense reasoning: if you are against the death penalty for rapists, you think rapists are good and you’re a pedophile. I’m not going to explain now why it is bad argumentation. It’s just too absurd.

His Twitter timeline exploded and he gets even more sickening insults. Even more absurd reasoning (if you can call it reasoning).

It makes me nauseous. And I realize this is just Twitter. Words on a screen. I know that as a defense lawyer he got death threats frequently. As an African-American he has experienced the most nauseating things.

If you hear it, you think, oh, how awful. If you’re going through it, your stomach turns. You feel the attack on your integrity – on an existential part of you.

You also feel this when people don’t believe it, or or look away.

That happens frequently. What he says is probably not true or exaggerated.
The people who are dear to me, or that I respected, tell me that my husband should dim. He needs to have another tone of voice. He needs to speak like Martin Luther King. He must believe more in love. He should let his ego. He should not be so arrogant. He needs work on himself.

They do not know what they are talking about – or about whom they are talking.

So far I’ve only experienced one fifth of his life. The stories I hear are unbelievable. What he has seen and especially what he has done to preserve his integrity and to keep compassion and respect love for others, and for himself, is admirable.

But to respect and have compassion for yourself is apparently taboo. We all strive “to love ourself” and “believing in ourself”. But when he does it, then it’s not true or arrogant.

It is embarrassing that he gets all sorts of tips that he should “change his tone”, “think differently” or ” dress differently.” And then it will be alright. He’s done it all in his 56-year life. No matter what he did, it was wrong. At one point, he realized: They want me gone. Whatever I do or say, it’s never good enough. They simply do not want to hear what I have to say. They’re trying to make me mouth dead.

Try keeping your compassion and respect for yourself and others then.
How do you maintain your integrity then?

I don’t know anyone like him, actually.
And I’m not saying this as his wife, but as a fellow human being.

What does this personal story have to do with my work?

If I can’t deal with nauseating reasoning and if I can’t deal with possible threatening consequences of my words (or my partner) to I have to shut my mouth  and start packing and leave. That’s not what I want.
“But can I deal with these things?”

I feel the little white girl that was protected everywhere, and who wants to look away. And I can look away, because it won’t affect me. That is my white privilege. I recognize the desire that many have, to hold hands together and radiate the good energy and then the world will eventually be better.

But I know that is an illusion. That is the illusion of the little white girl in me.

Reality tells me otherwise.

If your integrity is attackedIf I want to realize my ideals for a just world with integrity, then I can’t believe in fairy tales. I will always approach and assess issues with nuance and integrity and act accordingly. But not everyone will be happy with what I do. And not everyone will approach me with nuance and integrity.

The only thing I can do is learn to protect my integrity, if necessary.

Sustainability of Self. Body, Mind and Soul.


How do you protect your integrity and how do you maintain yourself in the middle of all sickening insults, difficult discussions and unpleasant situations? If you are someone who is working on ideals for a just and sustainable world, but that makes others triggers and angry, then you will end up stuck in a situation in which you lose your integrity and your self. In the retreat Sustainability of Self, we help you to avoid this. _______________________________________________________________________________

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