A wise man once said “You’re either selling or being sold.” I disagree with his dichotomous and adversarial view of life, but, indeed, there are some people who constantly look for someone to push around and for whom this approach toward life becomes self-fulfilling. They are the bullies, the psychopaths, the sociopaths, and the cowards. This group moves around life looking for key indicators in those around them that communicate to the predator “I have an in,” “I have a hook,” “I can get this guy.” These people are a key reason it’s disadvantageous to talk about your health, disability, religion or any other matter when trying to invoke a face mask exemption. Don’t say any more than “I am unable to wear a face mask safely.”
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A wise man once said “You’re either selling or being sold.” I disagree with his dichotomous and adversarial view of life, but, indeed, there are some people who constantly look for someone to push around and for whom this approach toward life becomes self-fulfilling.
They are the bullies, the psychopaths, the sociopaths, and the cowards.
This group moves around life looking for key indicators in those around them that communicate to the predator “I have an in,” “I have a hook,” “I can get this guy.”
These people are a key reason it’s disadvantageous to talk about your health, disability, religion or any other matter when trying to invoke a face mask exemption.
Don’t say any more than “I am unable to wear a face mask safely.” That’s it. Leave it there. Pushy people, like those mentioned above, will seek to push against you and traverse your boundaries. Don’t get bothered by that, that’s what these people do.
Bullies bully people. That’s why we call them bullies. If that wasn’t what got them out of bed in the morning, they wouldn’t be called bullies. They live for it.
Bullies tend to flock toward positions where they can get away with bullying, perhaps even be rewarded for it. The rise of corona communism has opened up a new avenue by which bullies can bully. The face mask compliance checkpoints are one of the many new opportunities for a bully to do their thing.
And you, my friend, you are expected to do your thing. You know better than me what that is, for I don’t even know you, but if you’ve found this piece of writing, we probably have a few things in common.
We might both believe people with face mask exemptions shouldn’t be bullied into wearing them.
We might both despise tyrants. We might both even believe that it is not the tyrant’s fault if a person chooses to be so oppressible. Each person must stand up for themselves.
There’s excellent axiomatic reasons around privacy and decency. It’s just none of their business, no matter how much they might push and probe you. Their pushing and probing should not shock you, no matter how excessive or sincere it seems, because again, this is to be expected of anyone in a position that attracts bullies.
Instead of being bugged by their bullying, when at a loss for what to do, best to laugh out loud at them. It’s never easy to tell if a person laughed out loud intentionally or accidentally. It messes with a bully’s head.
With a bully, you can establish good boundaries now, or you can establish not so good boundaries later. Now will be easier. Later will be more painful.
If you don’t set a firm boundary around your health and well-being, you’re going to find yourself faced with renewed pushiness from a bully.
Seeing the world as a zero-sum game, a division between the haves and the have-nots, every interaction as having either a loser or a winner, an oppressor or a victim, the bully does not really comprehend the word “cooperation,” but truly and deeply understands the word “compliance.” Though commonly exchanged with each other as near synonyms, how incredibly different those two words are.
You see, compliance may not provide satisfaction for a bully. Compliance may signal weakness. The more outlandish the request, the more your well-intentioned “cooperation” will signal to the bully that you desire to be made into an easy victim. That’s why you must never simply comply with requests from strangers who you don’t have a longstanding relationship with. You do yourself a disservice.
This is the great ill behind “people pleasing.” The negatives have nothing to do with making another happy. Making another happy can be a wonderful thing to do. The negatives have to do with how little regard you show for yourself in such moments.
Luckily, there are ways to protect yourself from bullies. I don’t suggest you walk the path of the contrarian, by always saying “no.” In doing so you may deny yourself activity that is in your own interest. Being so rigid and preprogrammed makes you an easy target for the field of behaviorism called reverse psychology.
Instead, it is the 1.) Identifying of your own boundaries, 2.) Communicating of your own boundaries, and 3.) Defending of your own boundaries that should take place in such interactions.
Your actions should not be committed out of anything vaguely resembling blind obedience or blind disobedience. Doing so, especially blind obedience, makes you an easy victim for the bully. Please do no such thing at the compliance checkpoints.
You can give the bully your entire medical history and three doctors’ notes at the checkpoint. It might not matter.
The bully will push further.
You can agree to hop through the store unidirectionally and on one leg.
The bully will push further.
You can invite him home for dinner to spit in your mother’s food.
The bully will push further.
“We’re gonna need you to wear your mask until…” is what the bully might say, in response to your sincere and fully transparent explanation of why you need an exemption.
Or they might say “Well, can’t you wear your mask until….”
Just fill in the blank based on your exemption.
“We’re gonna need you to wear your mask until your heart palpitations begin and you faint.”
“We’re gonna need you to wear your mask until your panic attacks start and you have to rip it off your face once it’s too late to bring the attack back under control.”
“We’re gonna need you to wear your mask until blood starts coming out of your mouth,” a condition someone has recently written me about.
If you don’t say “no,” it will get worse. The neat things is, the courageous folks in touch with their own boundaries are rewarded in this situation. They bring the conflict to a head quickly. They consequently get it resolved relatively painlessly and easily.
“I am unable to wear a face mask safely,” quickly draws a boundary and communicates what is needed.
If you don’t draw a boundary, the bully will wrap you in tricks to take advantage of you and do his best to ruin the most special things about you, anything that you lay bare for that bully.
It’s just what bullies do.
That’s one way promiscuity is so harmful. Important human emotions are laid bare before people who do not deserve the trust. Pearls before swine. The odds are not in favor of those who allow intimacy to be pushed into the door of a relationship before the trust necessary to make it a safe environment is earned.
I don’t know what your mask-related health concerns are. It’s none of my business. And it’s definitely not the business of the compliance checker at the door.
Do yourself a favor and keep your private matters to yourself.
Do yourself a favor and never again wear a face mask that you are exempt from.
Do the world a favor and send me your stories from the compliance checkpoint, so we can put an end to this tyranny.