The Moralizer is that hard to avoid, ever-present personality which tries to instruct others on the “right” and “wrong” ways of being, doing, and thinking. The Moralizer considers their particular way of living to be the most virtuous, correct, and/or successful, and will often offer their advice, whether asked to or not.
Thoughts of the Moralizer might conjure up images of church leaders or political extremists, but not all Moralizers are so forward. Some prefer to command others through close relationships, where they use condescension, manipulation, and often attempt to instill a sense of shame in others to get them to change their ways. This is not always conscious on their part, but the Moralizer is one personality I find peculiarly difficult to tolerate, for a few reasons:
Right and Wrong are Relative
While there are a few things that are considered universally morally right or wrong, most of what we each view as right or wrong is informed by our biases, experiences and individual lifestyles. Thus no one person’s views could or should serve as the template by which all others should live by. In addition, what may be considered wrong in one context or situation may be considered right in another time or place.
Moralizing Can Be Imposing
Moralizing can often become a subtle form of imposing on the right and freedom of others to simply be, and in extreme forms can be downright bullying. With less outgoing Moralizers this tendency may not be so obvious, but victims of their moralizing may feel a strong sense of being intruded on. Some would say the Moralizer is more interested in converting others’ to their viewpoint than in trying to help them.
No One is Perfect
While Moralizers consider the thoughts and actions of others to be in serious need of adjustment, Moralizers rarely scrutinize their own lives and behavior in the same manner. Often their own way of living does not hold up to the high standards they set for others. Since the best way to live is merely an opinion, someone may view the Moralizer’s lifestyle as flawed and in need of change.
Have you ever encountered a Moralizer? What do you think of moralizing and a fixed idea of right and wrong, in general?