Ever since I can remember, I have always thought that if I would just be a good person, things would be alright. I would be able to be financially successful if I just worked hard and continued to be a good person. My life would be perfect with no problems.
That’s not entirely true is it?
If it were true, books that teach you how to spot sociopaths or how to protect yourself against powerful individuals would not be selling like hot cakes. Let’s face it, there are a lot of people that had to do ugly things to get ahead of the crowd. They lie, cheat, steal ideas and call them their own. They abuse their position of power and continue their behaviors with little to no repercussions.
Someone would argue that, yes Yari. People sometimes suck but they have to look at themselves in the mirror at the end of the day and face what they had to do in order to become a powerful individual with influence. Welp, to that I would argue that those in power often are those without a conscience. They are able to do to you what we ordinarily would find disturbing and be able to sleep at night without any type of remorse or regret. So then, I ask, how does “looking in the mirror” really deter someone from changing their ways once a deed was done?
The fact is that it doesn’t. And that’s really unsettling for most of us to really even wrap our minds around.
This might be disturbing to read, but I’m dropping it anyway. In 2005, 4% of Americans were sociopaths. Sociopaths are those without a conscience. For the remaining 96% of Americans, that meant that 1 in 25 people that you have come into contact with really didn’t have a voice in their head telling them that they done messed up. And a very small amount of these people go into counseling for treatment. When they do, it’s usually court ordered.
This also means that the remaining 96% of Americans have a potential to fall victim to these individual’s chase for power. Cause let’s be honest, that’s what drives people with this anomaly. Power. The thrill of having others under their control gives them a certain satisfaction that neither you or I can imagine.
Why is being good a downfall?
Suppose you are working in an office. You know, just minding your business, updating spreadsheets, listening to music in your headphones. You are awaiting to hear from your supervisor regarding a proposal that you made to change the way the company presents at meetings. You worked hard on the proposal, working out the smallest of all details for months. Then you get a ping on your computer for a new meeting. It’s in 15 minutes. You log in early and see your proposed company slide on the screen. You look to see who is presenting. It’s your supervisor.
Later, you find out from your department’s manager that your supervisor presented the proposal as her own work. It has been implemented for 2 weeks since the implementation and she has now been recognized for the work that YOU delivered.
Chances are that you are not the only person that this has happened to. Actually it has happened enough to make some books infamous that explain how to deal with people who have a remote sense of power.
People who are good, often get taken advantage of as this example has indicated. They often finish last, due to their hard work benefiting others and those individual’s success. Never their own. This makes it hard for them to achieve their own goals of financial stability.
As time passes, people who have been good all their lives often get worn down. They no longer want to be at the bottom any more. They get angrier and angrier. We can take a look at any instance of workplace violence and see that the underlying reason for all the pain caused was an individual who felt as they were continuously wronged over time. I’m not saying that this is the only reason workplace violence happens. I’m saying this is one of the prevailing reasons.
How did it become this way?
In the example I laid out, the supervisor got ahead by taking credit for work that was not her own. Often when this happens, there are little to no repercussions. THIS is the reason why most people who have very low moral standards eventually go on to climb to positions of power. They continuously use people around them to get to their end game, ultimate power. Colleagues might give excuses or call them ambitious. But there is a fine line where having too much ambition leads to ruthless tactics and complete control of others.
This is not the only circle of people who are capable of such “bad behavior.” Have you ever had a friend that only calls you when they need something? Some people see their connections to others as only a way to get what they want. What can you do for me? Will you be willing to do it when the time comes? Gangs, and really bad exes function under this mentality. After gaining your trust, there is a potential for financial, physical, and emotional abuse.
For some people, this type of behavior is acceptable. That is because this behavior has been taught to BE acceptable by parental figures. For these types of people, their whole lives have revolved around how they can use and manipulate others to get them to do what they went, when they want it done. It’s hard for me, as a parent, to imagine teaching my children that taking advantage of another human life is welcomed. But it does happen.
Beat them or join them?
Ultimately it is our choice to do what we want, and how to act. You can choose to fight or choose to join them in bad behavior. Here are some ways to work through those who choose to enact bad behavior:
In order for you to maintain a happy life, you must learn to be at peace with yourself. Treat yourself kindly, and respect yourself enough to know that whatever the circumstance, you can prevail.
Yaritza Ellison has been an nurse since 2010. She has been essential to the healing process of many and seeks to continue to do so. Her passion for mental health and self help literature has lead her to launch justyari.org, where she aspires to coach young ladies navigating through work-life balance.