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Persecution Complex

per-se-cu-tion com-plex (noun) an irrational and obsessive feeling or fear that one is the object of collective hostility or ill-treatment on the part of others.

It seems I have been cursed with a much greater burden than other people to be around people with persecution complex.

Hopefully, you recognize that as an attempt at ironic humor, as feeble as that attempt may have been. Nonetheless, it is a real condition that encompasses an array of psychological diagnoses, such as paranoia, that range from mild delusion to full-blown disorder.

I believe it is natural for people to think that they do more than their fair share of pretty much anything. After all, they know everything they did, and did not see what others who were not within their view had to do. For example, we had a particularly busy evening recently. As a dispatcher, my job is to assign rides to drivers. Four of them asked me if they were the only person working that night feeling they were carrying all of the load while imagining, I suppose, that we must have the other drivers relaxing by the poolside.

Dispatchers are certainly not immune to that. I have heard my fellow dispatchers question out loud why the drivers are not getting the rides done so we can get the rides that are slipping into red (red denotes a ride for which we are late) assigned and completed. Having been a driver, I have experienced those days when it takes ten minutes to travel two blocks during which time I was asked three times when I expected to drop off my passenger or arrive at a pick up point.

It is quite frustrating, and it was compounded with both the inability to get where I was going and a dispatcher bugging me for a prediction that seems impossible to make. Of course, now being on the other side, I feel the reverse compounded pressure with rides turning red, and the phone ringing off the hook with calls for us to get information that I know is frustrating our drivers.

The tendancy to only consider our perspective with the belief that life for others remains static, or that anything that plagues other people must simply be their own faults, is somewhat natural. Most of us, however, can intellectually rise above that natural tendancy and offer up some empathy for the plights of other people.

We are, however, seeing this persecution complex on a greater societal level than I recall ever happening in my lifetime. There have always been people who lack empathy for others while benefitting from the struggles of people in the past who suffered for the sake of giving future generations opportunities they, themselves, did not enjoy.

It just seems to be more rampant today than in it was in the past.

It may be the person with a good job that has benefits who believes that young people today wanting good jobs with benefits are undeserving because making that happen is somehow persecuting him. It may be the religious person who believes that people who have different faiths, or no religious beliefs, are persecuting him for wanting the same freedom of religion he enjoys. It may be the rich person who just used some of his inherited wealth to tie up control of a fresh water supply believing that he is being persecuted by poor people who are demanding they have access to clean water without buying it from a capitalist.

These are all delusions. People with power cannot, by definition, be persecuted. Heck, in today’s world, it seems they also cannot be prosecuted.

The working person who believes young people should not be given opportunities to succeed with the changing realities of these days is not persecuted; slaves were persecuted.

The religious fanatic who believes that the nation is going to hell because laws are not based on Biblical passages is not persecuted; Jewish people in Nazi Germany were persecuted.

The millionaire capitalist who inherited his business from his father who inherited it from his father, and who now believes that his right to sell clean drinking water for a profit exceeds the common person’s right to clean drinking water, is not persecuted; the poor people in Flint, Michigan who could not afford bottled water were persecuted.

I recently saw a political cartoon in which a candidate who believes people should be able to get college education without incurring debt, and earn living wages for full time work, was portrayed as a pervert offering children candy. It was put up by someone who would support a candidate against him who really said, except for the relationship, he would love to date his own daughter.

It had the added caption about how young people must recognize that people not only do not, but should not, get things for free.

It seemed rather ironic especially since the candidate that would be supported against him got his wealth through inheritance and not hard work. He also believes being paid a living wage for full-time work is getting something for free.

The lack of empathy, and the portrayal of how persecuted the person who put it up would be if other people were given a chance for success, was reiterated throughout a conversation that ensued with a commiserator about how persecuted they were to repay student loans and such. It never dawned on them, apparently, that if they somehow felt persecuted, why they would want that persecution to continue?

If they did not feel somehow persecuted for having done it, then what was the point of bringing it up? Did they feel enriched? I believe it was put forth to say, in essence, if we had to do it, so should you. Otherwise, you will not turn out like us, which, appears to me, are cynical people with persecution complexes.

Unless we truly are persecuted, complaining about it is like wearing a worn out shirt, despite having adequate clothing, to show how poor and pitiful we can make ourselves appear. There are people who have no clothing that would like to have that worn out shirt, assuming you would not share a nice piece of clothing you own as a gesture of empathy.

Of course, even that can be turned into persecution by someone with the complex: why is it only me who shares my clothing with the less fortunate?

Poor, poor, pitiful you.

Some other things I've written about: 

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