Compassion as a Vice from 12 Rules for Life – Jordan Peterson

Date read: 2020-01-15
Rating: 10/10
If you’re high on agreeableness and neuroticism, the sub-chapter Compassion as a Vice is a 10/10. This is a part of Rule 11: Don’t Bother Children While They’re Skateboarding. It can easily be named when compassion becomes co-dependence. It introduced me to the resentment and anger that stealing people’s problems can generate.

My Sub-Chapter Notes

Rule Eleven: don’t bother children when they are skateboarding.

Compassion as a Vice

Insufficiently aggressive people (the majority are women but also men), characterized by agreeableness and neuroticism, can be trained through assertiveness training.

They do too much for others, they tend to treat those around them as if they were distressed children, they tend to be naive, they assume cooperation should be the basis of all social transaction and they avoid conflict, which means they avoid confronting problems in their relationships as well as at work. They continually sacrifice for others.

This may sound virtuous and it is an attitude that has certain social advantages, but it can and often does become counterproductively one-sided. Because too agreeable people bend over backward for other people, they do not stand up properly for themselves.

Assuming that others think as they do, they expect, instead of insuring, reciprocity for their thoughtful actions. When this does not happen, they don’t speak up. They do not or cannot straightforwardly demand recognition.

The dark side of their character emerges because of their subjugation and they become resentful. One reason is being taken advantage (or allowing yourself to be taken advantage of) or winy refusal to adopt responsibility. If someone is taking advantage of you, you have a moral obligation to speak up for yourself.

Confrontation to do. This might mean confronting your boss or your partner or your child or your parents.

  • It might mean gathering some evidence, strategically, so when you confront that person, you can give them at least three examples of their misbehavior so they can’t easily weasel out of your accusations
  • It might mean failing to concede when they offer you their counter-arguments. People rarely have more than four at hand
  • If you remain unmoved, they get angry or cry or run away. It’s very useful to attempt to tears in such situations, they can be used to motivate guilt on the part of the accuser due, theoretically, to have caused hurt feelings and pain
  • If you can push your point past the first four responses and stand fast against the consequence emotion, you will gain your subject’s attention and perhaps, their respect
  • You must also know clearly what you want out of a situation and be prepared to articulate your desire. It’s a good idea to tell the person you are confronting exactly what you’d like them to do instead of what they have done or currently are doing
  • You might think: “if they loved me, they would know what to do”. That’s the voice of resentment. Assume ignorance before malevolence

Oedipal mother (sometimes father play this role too) says “I only live for you”, they do everything for their children. The deal is this: above all, never leave me. In return, I will do everything for you. As you age without maturing, you will become worthless and bitter, but you not have to take any responsibility. Everything that you that’s wrong will always be someone else’s responsibility.


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