Why does the family feud continue

between Oneself and Others?

Since prehistoric times, several factors have influenced why humanity has been cursed with the unresolved internal conflicts between Oneself and Others (which also results in the external conflicts between individuals, between groups, and between nations).

Creating another good guy and another bad guy

 

Most fundamentally, as with Now and Next, we make Others (being unselfish and looking good to others) as the good guy and we paint Oneself (being selfish and a showoff) as the black sheep of the family.

 

Why did we do this? It was because we believed (and continue to believe) that often we cannot satisfy both at the same time and we have to give preference of one over the other. We also noticed that, when Oneself is spoiled and Others consistently loses, it causes major damage and problems in our relationships with others. On the other hand, the person who has somehow managed to have their Others dominate (within themselves) will often appear to have good relationships with people and will have a good reputation, even though they have accomplished this at the expense of their own happiness, self-expression, and joy (and even their own life). To the extent that Others is able to dominate Oneself, it's done through wanting to take care of others, to look good to others, to avoid others' anger or blame, to avoid being ostracized by others, thereby requiring the suppression of any of Oneself’s desires or needs that might interfere with what Others wants. The desires and needs of Oneself are sacrificed by focusing on wanting to look good to others and to provide unselfishly to the wants and needs of others. We believe that Others is the good guy, whom we must encourage and support. We believe that Oneself is the bad guy whose needs must be sacrificed for what our Others wants.

Laudative words that praise Others

 

This fundamental ethical belief and attitude, woven into our culture and language, is reflected by a large set of laudative words and phrases that praise Others, both as he or she occurs in ourselves and in other people (a much larger set of laudative words than we have for Next). These include:

  • accepting

  • accommodating

  • affectionate

  • agreeable

  • altruistic

  • amiable

  • angelic

  • apologetic

  • appropriate

  • attentive

  • behaves themselves

  • being true

  • benevolent

  • benign

  • big-hearted

  • charitable

  • Christian

  • committed

  • companionable

  • compassionate

  • compliant

  • concerned

  • conscientious

  • considerate

  • contributor

  • cooperative

  • cordial

  • courteous

  • decent

  • democratic

  • dependable

  • devoted

  • deserving

  • dignified

  • diplomatic

  • does the right thing

  • does their best

  • does their job

  • dutiful

  • even-handed

  • fair

  • fair-minded

  • faithful

  • family oriented

  • filial

  • follows orders

  • forbearing

  • forgiving

  • free handed

  • friendly

  • fulfills their duty and obligation

  • generous

  • genial

  • gentle

  • giver

  • gives back

  • gives credit to others

  • giving

  • Godly

  • good

  • good guy, boy, girl

  • good mannered

  • good-hearted

  • good-natured

  • goodly

  • gracious

  • guilty (when they were selfish)

  • has an angel on their shoulder

  • has integrity

  • has their heart in the right place

  • honest

  • honorable

  • honors others

  • humane

  • humanitarian

  • humble

  • incorruptible

  • is a team player

  • keeps their agreements

  • keeps their word

  • keeps promises

  • kind

  • kind-hearted

  • law-abiding

  • like Robin Hood

  • loving

  • loyal

  • magnanimous

  • mature

  • merciful

  • moral

  • neighborly

  • normal

  • not greedy

  • obedient

  • open-handed

  • outgoing

  • patient

  • patriotic

  • paying their own way

  • philanthropic

  • plays fair

  • polite

  • praises and acknowledges others

  • principled

  • productive

  • proper

  • public-spirited

  • punctual

  • puts others first

  • puts themselves in others’ shoes

  • regretful

  • regular guy

  • reliable

  • reputable

  • respectable

  • respectful

  • saintly

  • scrupulous

  • self-abasing

  • self-denying

  • self-effacing

  • self-renouncing

  • self-sacrificing

  • self-unconscious

  • selfless

  • sensitive

  • sharing

  • sociable

  • stoic

  • sweet

  • team player

  • tenderhearted

  • thinks of others

  • thoughtful

  • tolerant

  • true American

  • true-blue, trustworthy

  • truthful

  • unbiased

  • understanding

  • unprejudiced

  • unpretentious

  • unselfish, virtuous

  • worthy

  • and many others.


Pejorative words that blame Oneself

On the flip side, this same attitude is expressed by another large set of pejorative words and phrases blaming Oneself, both as she or he occurs in ourselves and in other people. The words used to condemn Oneself include two types. The first type contains almost all the words that blame Now, since, when Now is getting his or her way, then it can be seen as interfering with what Others wants. Example: when Now is dominating Next and we are lazy, then serving and pleasing others will also be problematic.

The second type of pejorative words occur as a more direct assault against what Others wants and needs. This second set is even more populous than the set of pejorative words reserved for Now. These include:

  • abusive

  • acquisitive

  • aloof

  • antagonistic

  • antisocial

  • argumentative

  • arrogant

  • assassin 

  • avaricious

  • beggar

  • being a bad man

  • being a con man

  • being a drug dealer

  • being a peeking Tom

  • being a playboy

  • being a prostitute

  • being a sinner

  • being a slut

  • being a tart

  • being a thief

  • being a thug

  • being an enemy

  • being on the dole

  • being on welfare

  • being out for what one can get

  • being wrapped up in oneself

  • betrayer

  • big-mouthed

  • bitch

  • blabber mouth

  • blaming

  • boastful

  • brash

  • briber

  • brusque

  • brutal

  • bully

  • bum

  • callous

  • careless

  • cheap

  • cheater

  • childish

  • child molester

  • close-fisted

  • clueless

  • cold-blooded

  • cold-hearted

  • complainer

  • conceited

  • contentious

  • controlling

  • cop killer

  • corrupt

  • coward

  • creep

  • criminal

  • cruel

  • crybaby

  • defensive

  • deserter

  • disconnected

  • discourteous

  • dishonest

  • disloyal

  • disobedient

  • disrespectful

  • dog-eat-dog

  • domineering

  • draft dodger

  • egocentric

  • egotistical

  • envious

  • exploitive

  • flakey

  • forgetful

  • frigid

  • gold digger

  • gossip

  • grasping

  • greedy

  • guiltless

  • harassing

  • hard-hearted

  • hasty

  • hateful

  • hating

  • heartless

  • hostile

  • hurting others

  • hypocritical

  • ill-advised

  • ill-bred

  • immature

  • impatient

  • impertinent

  • impolite

  • impolitic

  • improper

  • inadvisable

  • inappropriate

  • inattentive

  • incautious

  • inconsiderate

  • indecent

  • indifferent

  • indiscreet

  • infamous

  • inhospitable

  • inhuman

  • inhumane

  • injudicious

  • insensitive

  • intolerant

  • irrational

  • jealous

  • jerk

  • jobless

  • just looking out for number one

  • kidnapper

  • lawbreaker

  • liar

  • like scrooge

  • litterer

  • long-winded

  • loud-mouthed

  • loose mouth

  • loser

  • malevolent

  • malicious

  • mean

  • meddler

  • molester

  • mercenary

  • miserly

  • money-grubbing

  • monopolist

  • murderer

  • narcissistic

  • naughty

  • neglectful

  • not a gentleman

  • not a lady

  • not being a team player

  • not considering others

  • not giving back

  • not ladylike

  • not pulling their weight

  • offensive

  • on the make

  • opportunist

  • out of integrity

  • parsimonious

  • penny-pincher

  • pervert

  • pitiless

  • polluter

  • possessive

  • power grabbing

  • predatory

  • price gouger

  • psychopathic

  • rapacious

  • rapist

  • rash

  • rebellious

  • reckless

  • remiss

  • sadistic

  • scalpers

  • self-absorbed

  • self-centered

  • self-important

  • self-indulgent

  • self-interested

  • self-involved

  • self-loving

  • self-seeking

  • self-serving

  • selfish

  • shameless

  • shirker

  • short-sighted

  • silly

  • skirt-chaser

  • spiteful

  • stingy

  • strange

  • stupid

  • sweatshop owner

  • tactless

  • taker

  • takes advantage of others

  • tax cheater

  • thoughtless

  • tightfisted

  • traitorous

  • uncharitable

  • uncivilized

  • uncooperative

  • undeserving

  • undiplomatic

  • unfair

  • unfeeling

  • unfriendly

  • ungenerous

  • ungentlemanly

  • ungiving

  • ungracious

  • ungrateful

  • unkind

  • unladylike

  • unmindful

  • unpatriotic

  • unrefined

  • unreflective

  • unthinking

  • unwise

  • violent

  • vulgar

  • wanton

  • wasteful

  • weird

  • wimp

  • and so on.

I challenge you...

I challenge you to find any word that truly condemns any behavior that focuses on taking care of others, no matter how unreasonable. Similarly, I challenge you to find any word that unreservedly praises a person or behavior that focuses on taking care of oneself. The only one that I have found is "self care." It has recently entered our vocabulary and has a fairly positive connotation.

We try to think of ourselves as Others

We try to hide and suppress Oneself

 

Reinforcing this conflict between Others and Oneself, we most often show ourselves to people as Others (at least the self we like to think we are and we want others to think we are), with Oneself getting little official recognition, consideration, and respect. Oneself becomes the disowned self, the immature child, what we think we’ve outgrown (or should have outgrown).


 

Someone has to be sacrificed

And it should be Oneself

 

Both Others and Oneself become entrenched in the belief that one of them has to be sacrificed to the desires of the other. So it seems that Others will “win” for a while, but finally, Oneself can’t take it anymore and he or she will try to take over, with Others fighting back with blame and trying to frighten Oneself. Oneself may dominate, but Others is always trying to wrest control back. For most of us, these painful life-destroying skirmishes continue until we die.

 

As an example, Others keeps accommodating his or her spouse's requests and complaints, but, after a while, Oneself can’t take it anymore and starts pushing back, usually resulting in open hostility and discord, and the “peace” being lost that was available when Others was in charge with their accommodating behavior. Often Others will then blame Oneself (especially if he or she cannot find good reasons to see themselves as the victim and thereby justified in blaming the spouse).


 

Almost everybody agrees that we must fight within ourselves

 

The assumption of the necessity of these continuing battles between the angels and the devils on our shoulders is perpetrated as unquestioned as axiomatic truths by our parents, our teachers, our mentors, our schools, our friends, our colleagues, our religions ("original sin"), our governments, and even by the stories and dramas that entertain us. The story “A Christmas Carol” with Ebenezer Scrooge is a classic example of a morality play in which Ebenezer-Others is the good guy and Ebenezer-Oneself is the bad guy (with the good guy, Ebenezer-Others, “winning” in the end).


 

But they’re not doing their share!

 

Many of us, taking on the identity of being the “good, giving person,” thereby not taking care ourselves in our relationships in the everyday process with others, end up being a long-suffering victim, building up a resentment towards others (often family members) for “not being fair” and “not giving back.” This resentment will often build to a point whether either they will explode in anger and blame (shocking the other person) or “file for divorce” (an even bigger shock).


 

Why powerful people are often the most ardent supporters of Others (in other people)

 

People in power (parents, teachers, preachers, bosses, politicians) have a vested interest in promoting the idea of Others (in other people) being dominant (to maintain and increase their own power and to avoid feeling out-of-control). They do their best to promote the idea that the good person is the one who focuses on giving to others and the bad person is the one who focuses on their own selfish desires. A famous, storied example is a quote from John F. Kennedy, former U.S. president, “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” What he doesn’t mention is that, if you do this, you will be serving his (and other politicians’) selfish interests to have more power. I especially like Ambrose Bierce’s definition of selfish in The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary: “Selfish, adj. Devoid of consideration for the selfishness of others.” If you look carefully you will notice that, whenever someone (including yourself) complains that another person is selfish, it is because that other person’s behavior occurs as an interference with the complainer’s own selfish desires.


 

And the feud continues...

 

With these good/bad convictions about Oneself and Others embedded deeply into our culture and into our psyches, it’s no wonder that most of us, much of the time, are continually struggling and fighting within ourselves. Only in those circumstances when Oneself and Others happen to be on the same page, do we have some semblance of peace. Even then, with this temporary truce, we remain aware of the ongoing animosity and know that the family feud will soon begin again.

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COPYRIGHT 2018-2020 BY DWIGHT GOLDWINDE