You know when someone sneaks up behind you and screams “BOO!” and makes you jump? That’s being affected. There are also other ways of being affected, most insiduously when someone says something that gets past your guard and changes how you think, perhaps redirecting your whole life in a direction they want your life to take, for whatever hidden reasons of their own.
I have always hated being affected. “Hated” might not even be too strong a word, because, in times past, I have experienced bitter, literal hatred for those who have affected me in unwanted ways. In my personal history, I have often been the victim of master talkers and expert sophists who have always had hidden motives and hidden agendas, using their oral skill as a prod to herd me like a cow wherever they wanted me to go, without my ever being aware that they were doing so. These were sometimes Olympic-level sophists, people with not only great inborn talent for manipulating others with words, but extensive training at turning other human beings into their marionettes just by talking to us. It sometimes took me years to realize that they had manipulated and used me and turned me into their victim; and, by the time I realized it, the damage they had done to my life was irreversible. So I am intensely suspicious of smooth talkers, and especially professional talkers. The suspicion is so strong that, any time an email customer service person asks me to phone them, I immediately suspect that they’re trying to use their gift of the gab in order to take advantage of me. And I generally despise dealing with people by phone and restrict myself to written contact if I can. In written contact there is at least a level playing field between us.
But there is a deeper truth beneath my hatred of being affected. After a mental breakdown caused by occultist manipulation back in 1996 forced me to move back into my parents’ apartment for the rest of my life (or what was my parent’s apartment until my mother’s death in 2011, when it became my father and brother’s apartment), I began to wish for autonomy. As my attempts to achieve autonomy were repeatedly blocked and thwarted by the combination of the entire population of the Greater Toronto Area and the way it does things, that wish for autonomy became a wistful pining and then a desperate wish for death of natural causes because autonomy had clearly proven unattainable for me. It suited the convenience of those who control the Greater Toronto Area to store me in my father’s apartment like some piece of furniture in a storage locker. I doubt they gave the matter any more thought than what was convenient for them. But it plunged me into despair and enduring suicidality that lasted for years. It wasn’t until I forever gave up the idea of ever having my own little 300-square-foot bachelor apartment, with its own private entrance, where I wouldn’t have to share space with anyone and could make my own decisions without constantly being parented by my father and denigrated and belittled by my brother, that I became able to seek happiness. So every time I am affected in any way, it touches that nerve at the root of my being, the one that will never stop being tender and bruised and wounded from the fact that the only thing I wanted out of life from 1996 to 2013, which was autonomy, was an impossible and unattainable dream for me. So I quite literally hate being affected in any way at all.
It is, however, impossible not to be affected by somebody, some time. Every single person who ever lived, including those Olympic-level sophists with their hidden agendas, has at some point been affected. And being affected on an ongoing basis is simply part of the life of all living things. So it’s inevitable that, from time to time, some piece of manipulation by someone, somewhere will quite unexpectedly wound me to the core by reminding me how my dream and goal was slain and now rots in its grave. Which will not at all be the intention of the person affecting me. They will be thinking only of themselves and only of getting what they want, because the people who most affect others worship their own perspectives and are incapable of forming a thought unless it directly relates to getting what they want. And it’s a bother that I can’t be continuously happy 24 hours a day, because I have nothing left, and can expect nothing any more, except happiness in the present moment; but such is life, and such are the foundations on which others have built my life for me.