Struggling with the Ethics of Dealing with Difficult People

In a lot of fiction, I’ve seen a lot of “teaching the ‘bad guy’ a lesson,” “fighting fire with fire,” and generally being mean to jerks because it’s supposedly “justified.”
I don’t know, though.
Such approaches effectively violate the “bad guy’s” human rights without a trial.
Doing those things does not reduce the amount of harm in the world; it only pushes that harm onto those who supposedly “deserve it.”
Is that wrong, or is that justified?
At what point does self-defense become something other than self-defense - and is that ever justified?
In response to this sort of questioning, I have heard the argument that someone may do as they please within their own space…
but I see that mentality very easily leading to abuse behind closed doors (“If they don’t like it, they can leave,” etc.)
What the eff?


Hi EckspeeHueHue,
thank you for reaching out.
there is quite much into your post with a wide range of answers to that i would say. i always would go with
“treat others, like you want to be treated”
and always consider seeing it from another perspective. boundaries always should be taken serious and respected
from human to human. we all see in the news every day, what happens on this planet, at that is horrible and disgusting. let not add to that.
you will find your way, you will get solution to your worries. but please, be always respectful and kind. that is what makes us human, what should be valued more in this world we all live in.
you are loved, you matter most :purple_heart:


Hi Friend, that is an interesting set of questions however I honestly believe that no one really knows how they are going to react to a situation until they are confronted with it.
I truly belive that common sense should tell us how to behave beyond that.

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EckspeeHueHue, you are asking a lot of really good questions that deserve a lot of deep conversations. Is there something specific that is causing you to ask these questions? There is so much here that is dependent on perspective. I think these are questions that humanity is dealing with constantly and there are no answers that everyone would agree on. Again, is there something going on that is concerning you?

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Hi friend,
I’m really interested in what has led to this line of questioning for you. It seems that you’ve been giving this issue a lot of thought. If you feel comfortable, I hope that you’ll provide more context. If not, I think it’s just important to remember that every interaction you have with someone has the potential to positively impact their life.


That is certainly a very hard thing to think about and come to terms with. I guess for me personally, it’s a matter of if someone is not respecting my boundaries to give them space and not to interact with them.

There’s a lot of different scenarios and situations that could possibly come from what you’re talking about, we can only control our own actions and words. For me it’s a matter of filling my personal time and space with people who are going to be a positive voice in my life, even if we disagree on a matter, there’s a basis of respect we have for one another where we can say “I disagree, but I respect you have your opinion”. If the conversation is going to cause either of us harm, it’s okay to redirect the conversation.


These are interesting philosophical discussions and can vary intensely. This is a very deep post you have shared.

I’ve always loved the expression of “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”. Being a bully, bullying bullies, getting revenge, and other such things can seem good in theory or in fiction but in the real world they can have real world consequences and we see the results of those every day.

There is a reason that fiction is just that, fiction. We allow the fake world to represent that which cannot and should not happen in our world as an escape and outlet to allow those things to not bleed into reality. I think that it is important to keep fiction in its world where it belongs.

Thank you for sharing this mental quandary and food for thought :hrtlegolove:


Thank you all for responding.
@Aardvark - Thank you. You definitely have a valid point about the seriousness of boundaries. That said, it doesn’t explain to me the phenomena of the glamorization of “payback.” I am not considering violating anyone’s boundaries - I’m trying to determine if it’s ever justified to do so. If so, then my refusal makes me weak. If not, then I can carry great confidence in my current approach.

@Lisalovesfeathers - I have been confronted with situations in which I did not respect my abusers’ boundaries. I have since determined this to be wrong, but then found much media glamorizing the notion of “payback,” leading me to question both approaches. Supposedly common sense does not hold the answer to this - a lot of people seem really into “payback,” which makes that common, but I do not know if it is right. I seek to understand what is right so that I can know how to respond in the future.

@Mamadien - You raise a solid point that humanity in general continues to wrestle with these questions. I hoped that the relative solidarity that has come from the internet’s blended culture could yield an appropriate answer. In the past, I was abused and responded in kind, and I consider that to be wrong, yet I see so much media referring to those seeking payback as “badass” and other traits generally regarded as positive. I do know that there exists a point at which one cannot idly stand by, but I do not know how to identify that point and would prefer to understand it so as to generate proportionate responses to things (neither suffering the social ramifications of supposed weakness nor engaging in unjust acts).

@JennaLouise - I seek the point of balance between compassion and (whatever word means “standing up”). Before, I responded in kind whenever wronged. Then, I did not respond in kind, choosing to instead take what I regarded as the high road. After taking that approach, however, I saw people lashing the heck out and being celebrated for it - and targeting me for defending anyone being wronged. I seek to understand that phenomena.

@ManekiNeko - Thank you for responding. I can definitely appreciate the concept of controlling such situations indirectly by only letting some people get close (and leaving the rest to whatever they’re doing).

@DustintheWind Thank you so much for responding. I should have specified in my post - I have seen this phenomena in fictional media, but then I have also seen it a lot on the internet. Do you feel that it results from people “watching too much television,” in a manner of speaking?

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I would agree with “watching too much television” combined with “desiring internet fame at any cost”. Plus I don’t believe most of what I see on the internet. Remembering every video you see online technically begins before the camera rolls and continues after they stop recording.

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Thank you for engaging with this topic. It really means a lot to me.
By “on the internet,” I more meant communities holding animosity towards “others” - it’s really common on Discord. I understand it is also common on Reddit, but I rarely visit there.