One of the many reasons for protecting secrets that we have is to limit malice should those secrets get publicized.
Simple examples of holding secrets close for the sake of not having to defend something of value include the decisions people have to make when they hit the lottery jackpot.
When would you tell your friends about winning the lottery, if you did? Would you tell them at all? How about your neighbors? Would you reveal how you’re suddenly able to afford the home renovations underway?
Revealing information about your lottery winnings will open you up to not only countless inquiries, but attacks of various sorts as well.
Rejecting a friend’s plea for a small loan after revealing your winnings can entice them to channel their bitterness by publicizing your status as a greedy lottery winner.
Telling your neighbors about your winnings can encourage them to numb their newly acquired low sense of comparative self worth. They may seek to bring you down a peg in aspects other than in the financial one they perceive themselves to have lost in.
They may feel justified to report you for breaking insignificant rules toward which they never batted an eye prior. They may take issue with your loud music as you give your car a wash, and may scold your kids for riding bikes on the edges of their lawn. Some will simply want to see you lose.
This article is about people’s development of courage to send subtle attacks your way in light of discovering information you want to keep hidden.
Confidence in Pushing Boundaries With Those Who Have Something to Hide
It seems that as someone discovers a sizable vulnerability of ours we want to keep hidden, they grow more comfortable in taking risks and making mistakes around us. They do so with the implicit understanding that should we take issue with any of their actions, they’d have an ability to cause reciprocal damage by exploiting our larger vulnerability at hand.
Examples of such vulnerabilities vary. The general theme however, surrounds their knowledge of certain facts about you which allow them to act maliciously without you being able to reciprocate their malice.
Dumping Chemicals on the Street
For example, if your neighbors witnessed you illegally felling a small tree in your backyard a month prior, their act of dumping excess chemical waste into the sewer will be difficult to address and curb. Should you raise issue with their environmentally damaging behavior, they’ll be able to hold your past actions over your head if they so choose. Since you’d be perceived as going on the offensive from their perspective, they’re likely to use whatever prior knowledge they have against you as a response.
Someone who knows of a certain weakness of ours and uses that knowledge to act with toxicity in other facets of their interactions with us plays a game of daring us to respond. We’ll often raise concern over their subtle attacks; seldom perceiving such attacks as being connected to sensitive information they know about us. To our surprise, these individuals often aggravate the situation by attacking what they know we’ve been hiding.
It’s an act of reciprocity of sorts; with them perceiving you to be placing yourself above them as you defend against their pesky attacks. In an effort to limit your defense trumping their sly behavior, they go after the weaknesses you’ve shown prior.
Your neighbor’s act of illegal dumping of chemical waste will thereby be backed with the confidence of being able to turn your past actions into current vulnerabilities. The things they deem you to be vulnerable for will be used to silence your response to their subtle missteps and guilty acts.
Your simple act of defending yourself can thereby be used as an opportunity by those who’ve baited you into a battle to inflict even more damage. Though they may have wanted to attack your hidden vulnerabilities prior, a good enough excuse to go on the offensive might not have been there yet. In an effort to curate it, some individuals begin poking and prodding hoping that you’ll give them an excuse to target areas they perceive would result in the most painful blow.
Engaging in Battles Which Will Expose Things You Want to Keep Hidden
Unlike times when someone discovers a vulnerability of yours and gains confidence from it going forward, there can be times they operate blindly with their attacks. People around you may simply develop a habit of sending subtle attacks and jabs your way; either by way of words or actions.
Your decision to take the bait and respond however, can unveil other vulnerabilities of yours for their discovery and thereby strengthened attack.
For example: As a city dweller, you may have rural property passed down to you from previous generations. A lack of knowledge of that specific jurisdiction’s rules and regulations can give way to inconsistencies in paperwork / registration for that land. Since you wouldn’t be around too often, you may leave the property less kempt than it should be as you make a living elsewhere in the country.
Should neighboring property owners take issue with your unkempt grass and shrubbery, they may take matters in their own hands.
You may feel slighted if you arrive to find that a neighboring property owner has cut down some of your small trees, and got rid of your bushes which began growing onto their fence and land. In deciding to press the issue and respond to a perceived invasion of privacy, you may involve law enforcement or other regulators.
To your dismay, both you and the other property owner may discover that you’ve failed to renew the registration for that land and pay your share of taxes.
At that stage, what you perceived to be an attack from your neighbor would unveil a tangible vulnerability in the ownership status of the land in question. Your response to a rather inconsequential act would evolve to more stress and worry as you scurry to secure legitimate ownership of the land in question.
We’re always blind to some of our vulnerabilities, and our discovery of them may come at a time that’s too late. It’s difficult to know every specific detail within the context in which you find yourself fighting battles. What heated disputes do well is unveil the respective parties’ weaknesses and introduce new cracks in their armor to be pried open and stabbed into.
Be careful accepting invitations for battle on metaphorical land you haven’t surveyed prior. Should vulnerabilities you didn’t know about arise in the heat of battle, your opponents will have the upper hand. You’d be rushed in trying to patch those new discoveries up. You’ll be stressed and perhaps focused on the wrong things.
Ensure you perceive the act of participating in wars with extreme caution and seriousness. Your reciprocating attacks in the name of defending what’s important should only be backed by the educated, studied opinion that your chances of winning the war are high.