Buckle in, we’re about to go down a morality rabbit hole. Parsing out what is noble and ignoble behavior is definitely nothing new. It’s been the obsession of religion and philosophy for pretty much as long as we’ve been able to put thoughts into words.
But as time goes on, and fields like psychology become more robust and accessible, the discussion around what’s good and bad behavior has stopped being the exclusive realm of a few, and has become more democratized, with a larger conversation opening up in the general public. A great example of that phenomenon is this post on r/AskReddit by user darkwulf1:
What is a toxic behavior that is disguised as virtue? from AskReddit
It’s a great question, and it prompted a lot of pretty thoughtful answers.
Here are some of the more interesting ones to consider.
1. I’ve heard this referred to as a sort of martyr mentality.
I had an in-law who talked constantly about how generous and compassionate she was.
She could be both… But she had a tendency to get carried away by what she wanted for you rather than what you actually wanted.
She was the kind of person who would throw a big party for you when you explicitly told her you didn’t want a party, and she would talk constantly about how overwhelmed she was planning the party and how you should help in all these ways because, “I can’t do this on my own.”
2. Know when you’re needed.
Mum says several people on her facebook are ANGRY that they were told their services weren’t needed when they signed up to the towns volunteer service to help folk during this crisis (we had an amazing number of people come forward).
They’re mad because they “want to help” and “do their bit” and honestly she realised so many of them are the ones who do charity drives and stuff like that just to show off how much of a #GoodPerson they are and to have others praise them for being a #GoodPerson
The ones we know who are helping are getting on and doing it. Odd picture or post but certainly not what these people would be doing.
3. Support where it’s due.
Supporting a person to a fault. In other words, being an enabler.
4. You’re nobody’s referee.
When people get involved in and regulate other people’s relationships.
They try to act like they’re helping but they always make it worse.
5. Romanticism has given us a lot of bad ideas.
Grand “romantic” gestures.
I teach high school and it’s crazy how many times you see a kid basically bully their crush into being with them.
They make this huge public display and the kid is too shy to say no in front of everyone. It’s embarrassing and distressing for that poor kid.
6. As a former academic over-achiever, oof.
Over-studying, over-burdening, and excessive academic anxiety/self-doubt does not make for a dedicated pupil, but an unbalanced and miserable human being.
7. Suffering is not a contest.
When you tell people about how you’re feeling (to vent or when they ask how you’re doing in general) and they one-up you to make you feel like you don’t get to feel tired or sad or stressed etc cause they’re clearly having it harder than you are.
I was tired from school and work one day and I told my old roommate that I was feeling a little tired, and he hits me with “Oh YOU’RE tired? I only had 5 hours of sleep and I had to wake up early this morning cause I had PT (he’s in ROTC)”
8. Don’t validate yourself at the expense of others.
Telling kids that they are so different than everyone else while implying that they are somehow better.
The actual healthy thing to do is to stress that everyone is unique, and the kid’s natural gifts make them who you are just like other kids’ gifts make them unique.
9. As a freelance artist: SCREW. THIS.
Working for “exposure”.
This one gets me because companies use it as an excuse to not pay someone or not pay them the amount they deserve.
They claim “exposure is your payment” but last I checked exposure doesn’t pay the bills.
10. “Strong” can be a euphamism.
The entire “I hAvE sTrOnG pErSoNaLiTy” kind of people
11. The American worth ethic in a nutshell.
The rise and grind mentality, saying if you’re not working towards something you’re wasting your time.
It’s important to take time to just relax or pursue a passion without monetary gain.
But society as a whole has deemed this as wasting your time.
12. Blood doesn’t necessarily mean devotion.
“Family comes first.”
I grew up thinking that I had a very close extended family until I realized just how sh^tty and miserable most of them were.
I have cut them out and feel so much better about it.
13. Not all that glitters is gold.
Toxic positivity, ie: people who try to find the good in everything.
There’s a lot to be said for having a positive outlook but it quickly becomes toxic when you start defending abusers (I’m sure your parents still loved you in their own way) or trivializing people’s sadness (so you got fired – it just means you get to pursue a new opportunity!).
Sometimes the appropriate answer to a situation is to just acknowledge that things suck.
14. Corporate morality is literally “what can I get away with?”
Corporate passive aggressive behavior.
Yes, you’re saying all the right things and everything checks out if read back on a transcript, but you and I both know you’ve simply found a way to abuse the rules for your own gain.
15. You’re not special for being mean.
People who say ” This is just the way I am; If you can’t handle that, oh well”.
Like… No. You’re wrong.
I understand to an extent that if people don’t like you for being yourself, they can go f*ck themselves; BUT, if you are a person who seriously does not know how to speak to people or are just rude in general and claim “that’s just how I am”, you’re wrong.
People need to know it is not okay to be rude or obnoxious and that you should be able to know the difference of being yourself and just being a d%ck.
It’s a pretty fascinating thread to get lost in, and there are thousands more comments to comb through if you want to check out the original page. Remember everybody, be kind. Don’t make excuses. Consider others.
What are some other examples of this sort of thing?
Tell us in the comments.