The Problem with Insults—Only Little People Belittle People

Long ago, I heard a psychiatrist on the radio talking about people who hear an insult and cannot separate themselves from it. He was restating an ancient idea: the mature response to an insult is not to feel hurt, but to see that the person making the insult is hurt.

Insults have fascinated me since I was called a n*****lover as a boy during the civil rights struggle. I learned something then: insults tell you nothing about their target and everything about what the insulter hates and fears. Since my parents taught me that…

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Will Shetterly

Will Shetterly

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If you’re losing an argument with me and are too proud to admit defeat, please feel free to insult me instead.