Secrets of a Parallel Universe              Stress: Are You Coping or Failing?

 guilt you felt over what you were becoming and your need to rationalize your violence-or at least find a way to blame it on those who "insist" on provoking you. In the process of blaming, and thus turning the tables on them, you develop contempt for their weakness. It is almost as though you subconsciously realize that a non-reactive stance on their part would stop you in your tracks and heal you in the way you would like to be healed. So you blame them for their failure to do so. Consciously, of course, all you see is their weakness, and you blame them for that.
     In time, you can become timid yourself out of fear of the damage you might do with your free-wheeling violence. So even though you tower over everyone around you, you might shrink from a fight while seething with rage inside. This is the kind of person who might suddenly go berserk and gun down scores of perfectly innocent persons, much to the consternation of his family and friends, who never dreamed he had so much potential for violence. "He was always such a quiet, gentle person," they say.    
     You can see by these examples how resentment can be responsible for aggressive behavior in one type of person and fearful defensiveness in another. And how fear can trigger aggression in the adversary and aggression can trigger fear in the victim.
     The point is that both reactions, violence and fears, are failings, and each produces its own brand of sickness and general deterioration. Both are products of the dream state we fall into when we allow ourselves to be tempted from the center of dignity that is our birthright.     
     In the dream state, losers "find" themselves as they fall from grace to the pressures of temptation. Once you begin to lose to pressure, chances are you will react as a loser all your life. Pressed too hard, you might switch to the role of bully, but you can no more find contentment in that role than you could in the cowardly one. You try to build your confidence by all the familiar "loser" strategies-blaming the other fellow, picking fault with him in other areas, rationalizing your own faults as "slips" of consciousness.

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