August 4, 2023

Prejudged, Excluded & Denounced

Have you experienced prejudice or slander from a third party yourself?
Have you ever met people and had a cold aura of rejection even though they don’t even know you?
Based on things they’ve heard about you? Where no one asked you what’s on it?

I was recently asked how I can deal with it in such a relaxed way when people (pre-)judge me because of my past (e.g. my former membership in the german conservative political party AfD, that some consider as extreme right nowadays) or because of other things, meet me with coldness, rejection or even hatred and aggression (without even having gotten to know me as a person). If these people who don’t even know me then even carry these prejudices further, because they think from a group as it is today (2023), to be able to conclude on me as a person, only because I was 8 years ago once in the board of a district & district association of the AfD – and then forget, however, that the AfD was at that time actually another party.

I will devote this post primarily to pre-judgment. Slander and passing on prejudices without knowing a person are energetically quite similar, as are other more aggressive actions against a person.

First of all, brief background information regarding AfD membership:

Yes, you read correctly. There was a time when I was a member of the AfD. I am writing this here, because for people in germany it’s “a big deal”, a “no go” nowadays.
I had joined in 2013 when the AfD, then led by Bernd Lucke, criticized the euro bailout policy, and was elected to two executive boards in 2014 and 2015. There is also a media report from 2015 on the Internet that is easy to find. Due to my work in IT for the AfD, which was added in 2015, my name and my old address can also be found on the websites of the left-wing extremist Antifa, where years ago they announced the invitiation to come to my house visit me and my children for intimidation. No one of them knew me – they just saw three letters and that was reason enough.
And even if it would have been easy to have them deleted after I left the AfD – why should I? So that people don’t prejudge me? Should I live in fear or deny what I have experienced? Strictly speaking, it is even a very good self-selection so that I primarily come into contact with people who are unbiased and open and really want to get to know me as a person.
At some point, I left the AfD. But hey, no media article about that 😉 I had no idea about the party program for a long time and what I heard did not correspond to who I am and how I see the world.

Dealing with Prejudice:

Recently, I was again able to experience how this made the rounds in a club behind my back. In WhatsApp groups where I was not a member. And where also none of the disseminating people ever asked me about it.

When these people, who didn’t even really get to know me or want to get to know me then saw that I got along well with certain members, they were written to them behind my back and “warned” about me. A screenshot of the press article from 2015 was included. It was apparently assumed that I was still a member and must share the political attitudes.

How can you deal with such prejudice?

  1. Compassion / Change of perspective
    Try to understand why the other person acts the way he does.
    Behind every behavior there is a positive intention (NLP basic assumption).
    Even if the effects are not positive for ourselves.
  2. Stay with yourself
    I know who and what I am, what I stand for and who or what I am not.
    I have no need to convince anyone of the opposite.
    When something like that hits me, I don’t need many words.
    “What do you want me to say to that? You’ve known me long enough. You will know for yourself what is true or not. Trust your gut feeling and if you have specific questions where you want to know my view on a specific topic, you can of course ask me anytime.”
  3. Primal Trust
    I trust that the people who have met me or are getting to know me will recognize the truth. That they will recognize who I am and what I stand for.
    And I trust that even the people with the prejudices will recognize who I am over time. Even if it’s just that they realize that many of the people they know themselves don’t seem to have a problem with me.
  4. Forgiveness
    Being able to forgive because you understand that certain actions with negative consequences for oneself only happened because of the things we have already recognized through the point of compassion / change of perspective.
  5. Let go
    And even if after some time someone still does not want to know you, he does not have to know you. Not everyone has to like you. Nevertheless, I will continue to treat those people with kindness and helpfulness as long as they do not explicitly say that they want nothing to do with me.
    And if you end up being kicked out of a club because of prejudice, or lose friends, your job or customers – who knows what it’s good for – good or bad, who knows?

The same tools to deal with pre-judgment can also help you deal with being actively slandered, defamed, or when the “warnings” even go as far as clients, employers, etc. In the past, I heard the latter very often in the context of the AfD. In some cases, they did not even shy away from the fact that children got pulled into it.

Compassion / change of perspective in the case of prejudice using a concrete example:

It is important to understand that these actions are only human and, strictly speaking, even have a good intention. It is an important primal human protective behavior that has great relevance for human survival.
It helps not to have to burn your hands anew with every stove. Once you have had a bad experience with a stove, you logically assume that you can also burn your fingers on any other stove.
And if you are warned by others that a snake can bite you, snakes can be poisonous and the poison can kill you, hardly anyone has the need to make the experience themselves and go to a snake and give it a chance to teach you better.
So it’s only logical that whatever people hear about the AfD, certain conclusions about individuals will inevitably be drawn. This is the way we humans tap into the world and the unknown in order not to come to harm. And that these people are then avoided for their own protection and for the protection of those who are important to you. And that other people are warned of the “(possible) threat” is also understandable.

Compassion / change of perspective in case of prejudice in other cases.

People talking behind your back can have many reasons.
It doesn’t always have to be a polarizing issue like membership in a political party.
In each concrete individual case, one must go in search of clues as to what prompts the other person to act in this way.
But once you have a fairly concrete idea, that already brings a lot of peace and quiet.

Thus, even a conflict of values due to different imprints, beliefs and convictions can have similar effects.

Or the feeling of not being able to “grasp” / pigeonhole a person often makes people uncomfortable. If they don’t know what they’re at.

In any case, the question is: How do I meet the people who react this way towards me?
Do I react offended? Am I putting myself in the victim role? Do I close myself off and not want to get to know people either? But then I should not be surprised if the other person remains stuck in his opinion or is even confirmed in it. Or am I open also to my counterpart and hold the door open for him in the figurative sense that one can talk to each other when both are ready? We reap what we sow.

Image from Roland Steinmann on Pixabay

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