Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a talk show host and licensed marriage therapist who was betrayed by a person she thought was a dear friend. It was quite a betrayal; he took a 30 year old private photo of her and modified it on his computer so she was naked and lewd, and he sold the pictures to “Hustler” magazine and got them all over the internet. This is one reason she wrote the book “Surviving A Shark Attack (On Land).” Also, as a therapist on the radio, she has heard a lot of stories that shed light on the darker side of human nature, and her book mentions some of motivations for evil behavior that she has come across.
Here are some excerpts:
“People will try to ruin the happiness of others they perceive as being as happy as they’d like to be. They try to steal each other’s love objects, interfere with their attempts to lose weight or other avenues of personal betterment, give them bad advice in the hopes that other lose what they wish to have, turn others against them because they wish they were them, and on and on….Competitiveness is in and of itself a good thing–if it brings out your best efforts. But it becomes something quite frightening if it brings out the impulse to destroy anything that makes you see yourself wanting…. we have athletes who try to break the knees of Olympic ice-skaters who might beat them for the gold, mothers who actually kill somebody else’s children to make sure their own child gets on the cheerleading squad (both true stories!), a teen lover who pours acid on the face of her adult boyfriend’s wife, and parents who will kill or maim … their own child to hurt the spouse who left them.”
Leaving Dr. Laura for a minute, I’ve come across a statement on jealousy in history:
Says Thomas Sowell – a black conservative columnist:
“Resentments and hostility toward people with higher achievements are one of the most widespread of human failings. Resentments of achievements are more deadly than envy of wealth.
“The hatred of people who started at the bottom and worked their way up has far exceeded any hostility toward those who were simply born into wealth. None of the sultans who inherited extraordinary fortunes in Malaysia has been hated like the Chinese, who arrived there destitute and rose by their own efforts.” (Race and Resentments column – Sowell)
Back to Dr. Laura. She has various categories of bad behavior, of which jealousy is just one. I give her categories below, with some of her examples. Before I do, the following is one last item from the jealousy chapter that struck me: “One ex-military listener had a boss (a chief engineer) who was brutal to her. One night she and the chief stood four hours of watch after having done a full day’s work. The chief overheard her talking to her parents, who were at her home for four days to celebrate her birthday and see the grandkids. The chief told her to go home. After that night, everything seemed to change. Some time later they met up by accident at a bus stop in France. Believe it or not, the chief apologized and explained that she had hated her at first sight…It turns out that the chief was a lesbian and envied her for her husband, her children, and her Naval Academy education.”
Taking out one’s own faults on others
“When some folks listen to me and perceive a chasm between my ideals and their lifestyle choices (abortion versus adoption, day care versus raising one’s own children, marriage versus shacking up, no dating when divorced with minor children, marital lovemaking versus hooking up, children are best served by a mommy and a daddy–married, and so forth), they get very uncomfortable, and often they want to shoot the messenger. Hence, some of the most vicious Web sites, often almost totally dedicated to smearing me, fill the Internet.”
(This may also be the reason that the TV show Saturday Night Live made fun of Dr. Laura by using her son in a most vulgar way. Frasier, one of her favorite shows, did a story line having to do with her and her “crazy mother”. Law & Order and The West Wing had story lines about a radio talk show host dealing with psychology who had no credentials (though Dr. L does have credentials).
Dr. L also says that a possessive spouse may “betray as they believe you have betrayed them by having other friends, or just having a life (children, hobbies, work, travel).”
Evil Motivations In General
Dr. Laura says she has learned the following very interesting lesson about motivations in general:
“I do believe strongly that people who do bad things range from sociopathic personalities to the everyday individual who justifies his or her bad behavior in the most extraordinary ways. It is not the sociopath that should worry you most. It is the everyday people, in service to their own egos, social status, financial opportunities, envy, and petty meanness, you have to worry about the most, as they are likely to pop up from the most unlikely places: school, church, family neighborhood, circle of friends, work…anywhere you interact with people.
Do these people know that they are “bad” or have done something “bad”? I talk to people every day who have performed the most egregious acts of hurt and betrayal, yet deny that their behaviors weren’t righteous. They try to give examples of what was done to them (usually innocuous) and convince me that their actions were necessary or justified.”
“It comes down to this: hurting other people feels good when it is in the service of the hurter’s ego. Plain and simple. It is an endorphin and adrenaline rush to have godlike power over the life of another human being who has or is something you want or wish to be.”
“…it comes down to one main factor: life should be all about “me”; what makes me happy, what makes me look good, what gets me what I want, what besides me explains my failures, how I can make others hurt like I hurt, how I can take from others what ought to be mine, how I can seem more important and powerful It is all about the “me.” And the universal “you” just becomes a means to the end: “me.””
Now suppose you are a target yourself of malice and betrayal. Dr. Laura says that: “You also probably found that most people were sympathetic at first, and then they didn’t want to hear about it anymore. You also probably found that not too many people would step up to the plate and speak up for you. Why? Because they don’t want a bull’s-eye pasted onto their backs next.”
Dr. Laura is not against revenge in some circumstances, but she describes a fun motorcycle trip she took and says:
“As I was about to mount my motorcycle, I thought for a moment about how delightful the day had been. And it occurred to me that I was unbelievably happy and content with my life..in spite of those who’ve spited me. That moment was transcendent. I was glad at that moment to be me and not them…I love my life, and I’ve worked hard to make it what it is… That is a philosophical approach to revenge. It is only because I realize this and am living it that I feel qualified to write this book for you.”
You may be interested in:
Dr. Laura’s blog: http://www.drlaurablog.com/category/evil/