You always here about those who are being tried for horrid horrid things. Rape, murder, abuse, etc. Then everyone groans when they try that famous defense of “I was mistreated as a child.” It is almost frustrating how often people use that defense for their actions, almost as if it will absolve every horrid thing they have ever done to someone else.
While it is frustrating that it has become a fall back excuse, I find that it is truly fascinating to me why people act the way that they do. I love to write and I am involved in numerous roleplaying games where I build characters. Always I sit and figure out who the person is and what it is about them that has made them act the way that they do?
For example, I have a few characters going right now that we will look at.
In my post apocolyptic zombie LARP I play a character known as Jeanie Thomas. She is of a race that is bred for slavery. Many people in town are frustrated by her intense hatred for one of the other races in the game. They comment about how I will purposefully leave them to die. However, when one did die and my character was blamed for it, she freaked out because she would never do that. Her hatred is less a hatred and more of a fear. She knows this. She has shared it with only one other person. But her actions all stem from still seeing herself as a slave and seeing this entire race as owners that she does not want mad at her. All the while, the nasty things she shouts at this race are entirely her hoping that because this town has taught her that she can say whatever she wants without getting into trouble, maybe if she shouts loud enough then no one will acknowledge the number on her face.
Another example. In my Star Wars collaborative fiction, I have a young teenager as one of my characters. She is constantly fighting with her mother and is even tempted to leave the Jedi order. (Yes, I know canoninicly that Jedi are not supposed to have kids. This story takes place around 300 aby and we’ve changed a few things.) The character who was her father was killed off (not my decision, I didn’t play the father. Someone else did.) when she was quite young. So the father figures in her life were an alcoholic mandalorian and an old bitter sith. Both of these individuals made a huge impact on the young girl. It is hard for a mother to teach peace and emotional control when two of the people that this teen looks up to have taught her to act without thinking and act upon emotion. Combine that with the word teenager and it is no surprise that the character is always fighting with her mother.
Everyone has reasons for acting as they do. I am not saying that should be an excuse for the actions. I just find it interesting to try and understand why they act the way that they do. Maybe I can apply it to myself and one day understand why I act the way that I do.