Ironically—and this is key—the very unusual personality traits that make me so unlikely to be an offender, are also what throw off my accusers’ detection algorithms, and make them double down on their wrong theory. When I’m trapped, I tend to fall back on the only tools I know: argument, openness, frank confession of my mistakes and failings, sometimes a little self-deprecating humor. Unfortunately, I find this often backfires, as my accusers see in my vulnerability a golden opportunity to mount another wretched evildoer above their fireplace.
Or, to go even further out on a psychoanalytic limb: I sometimes get the sense that it gradually does dawn on my accusers that I’m not who they thought I was. And then, far from prompting an apology, that realization seems to make my accusers even angrier, as if my throwing off their model of reality so badly, was an even worse offense than actually being guilty of whatever they thought! A thief, a misogynist, they know how to handle. But a living, breathing adversarial example for their worldview?
Something exactly like this happened with me recently in a personal situation. While I was reading the first para above, I was only wondering whether being so vulnerable with someone (that I could never really do before) is actually worth it and whether handling this situation with reason, openness, and confessing my mistakes around when the conflict started was a good idea. The second para basically reminded me of what happened as a reaction at the end of the conflict. Somehow rationality and vulnerability don’t go so well together and there is so much more to learn to navigate them together, hope I will, eventually.