This morning I had a minor event that compelled me to make a loud remonstrance! This was the first time in years where I yelled at a person with whom I was in a conversation. Part of the problem is that the individual is hard of hearing and I will grant that perhaps he wasn’t hearing my repeated complaints. We went through five or more cycles where he put me into the box of supporting all the evils of the American government because over the years I had done my duty of paying my taxes. He kept bringing up specific examples of questionable actions, of which there are many, and then proclaiming in a loud and I felt a haughty way that because I had paid even one cent of taxes that I was complicit in the evil.
I repeatedly asserted forcefully that I didn’t like being put into a category of complicity on things which I had opposed and sometimes opposed at considerable risk to my own well being. I didn’t go into any particulars on that issue, but he did know of some of my past actions, most of which have appeared here in this blog. I was feeling considerable annoyance and felt that he was bullying me with unfounded accusations. It was like Trump piling on one heap of accusations and before anyone can even respond, piling on some other nonsense accusations. And then before one can respond piling even more additional nonsense. The only thing that put an end to this cycle was my yelling very unpleasantly at him. He seemed to be astonished that I was not agreeing with everything he said and stopped talking. After a couple of minutes of talking with other people, we got back into a pleasant conversation.
This encounter seemed to fall under Sage tip #74, Only obey your own guilt and shame impulses. I was being subjected to guilt and shame being projected onto me and I was refusing to accept it. Normally, this is totally an internal struggle but in this case, the words just kept coming and with increasing vehemence. Because there was such intensity behind the accusations coming my way it now seems to me on reflection that it is he who has the problem with that issue. He is the one who is feeling guilt and shame because he isn’t doing more to combat the evils he sees.
The fact that he is disturbed by the problems he was projecting onto me indicates that he is concerned about the actions of his government which he feels were perpetrated in his name and to his benefit. I must side with the Stoic position and assert that I have no influence on those actions, or only vanishingly small influence and an influence that would have absolutely no influence. I can better serve my government, humanity and the world in general by putting my efforts into things that I feel can make a difference.
I am the sole arbiter of my guilt and shame, and I will not submit to other people attempting to manipulate me with their projections.