I recently caught myself in an act of hypocrisy. A commenter had responded to a post I made by saying “Have fun!” He meant it ironically — his point was I was being an idiot. As I was driving to my office I figured out how I would respond. “Bless your heart! You have fun too!”
As I drove I thought what I was doing. I was deliberately pretending to misunderstand the aggressive intent of his message in order to annoy him. In my fantasies he would waste time and get mad trying to tell me that he meant to hurt and his message “Have fun!” should not be taken at face value. He would feel ashamed to have to cop to his aggression or perhaps just baffled — not sure why my concept “Bless your heart!” annoyed him, but annoyed all the same. My fantasied riposte — “Bless your heart!” was therefore designed to cause pain, and also designed to hide the fact.
I don’t want to cause pain to random people, and I want to be honest. I also knew why even though I don’t want to cause pain or be dishonest I had been about to be cruel and mendacious. If I posted the comment I would have the feeling of having power over another person without without risk and vulnerability. I believe this is impossible, so once I realized what I was up to my desire to post the annoying comment melted away.