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Monthly Archives: February 2017

Don’t disrespect me.

When I’m teaching beginning English learners about verbs, I categorize them into 4 basic types; state, do, feel, and think.

A state verb is basic ‘to be’; I am (a woman, a mother, a daughter, a teacher, alive), I am — years old, I live in –. Your basic states of being…

A do verb is whatever you do….   Run, eat, play, sleep, etc.  Feel verbs are happy, like, love, angry, wishful, etc.  And a think verb is along the lines of want, plan, consider, believe.

So, what is respect?  For me, respect is a think.  Respectful can be a feel or a do, or even a state, but actual respect is a think.

And along the lines of you can’t love anyone else until you love yourself first, I believe that you can’t respect someone else until you respect yourself.

So how would I define respect?  I find it difficult to define think verbs without using variations of the word, but if I had to choose one synonym it would be equality.

When I believe that the life of another is equal to mine, I respect that life.  Which, when turned around, if I believe that someone else’s life has more worth than mine, I cannot fully respect myself.  If I believe that my life has more value than someone else’s, I can also not fully respect myself, because then I have subscribed to a value system that ranks life value, which automatically places me on a spectrum, in which I can be less than, putting me right back at unable to fully respect myself.

So, in my definition,

Respect is the belief of equal value of life, its states, thoughts, feelings, and actions.

When I feel respected I feel as if I am seen with equal value.  When I feel disrespected, I feel that I am seen as having less value, by the other person.

This concept of respect, it is something I think about a lot.  I’ve been through enough situations, seen enough abuse in my life, that I’m constantly trying to figure out how to respect myself and others, without being victimized.

Can someone be respectful without having respect?  Yes.  Doing a respectful action is part of social manners.  Someone can know and perform all the social manners without having ‘the think’ of respect for the other people they are performing those manners around.  Abusers use that skill very, very well.

Abusers are sure to point out all the “nice” or “good” things they do, trying to prove they’re a good person.  Look at this thing I did.  I do everything for you.  Watch me do this good thing, see I’m good.  I got this for you.  I did that for you.   I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking. I would never hurt you, remember all those good things I do?  Those prove what a good person I am.

But see, abusers don’t respect themselves or the people they abuse.  They’re trying to stay on top to prove they’re not less than anyone else.  There’s a deep need to be seen as being good, that people who respect themselves and others don’t have.  In my experience, people with high levels of respect don’t have to point out the good they do.  They hardly even recognize their respectful behavior as anything but just what should be done.  There’s no need within themselves to prove they are good, they just are good.  It becomes a state verb, not just a think verb.

Abusers, in my opinion, have subscribed to a rather stark value system; one with very few steps between, a rather black and white system.  They need to feel as if they are seen at the top of that system, because they feel that they’re not.  They make sure to use more, have more, be more so they aren’t seen as less.

And they see their victims as lower.  They test, and then pick people that have more respect, who subscribe to a much different view of the value system.  Isn’t that the crazy thing, I think to myself all the time; the people who respect others, who value the people around them, treat people well, fairly, respectfully, those are the people preyed on by abusers.

Truly, I think that if we subscribe to a value system on life at all, we are all, at some point or another, within a wide range of abuser and victim.  But, it has really struck me that the people who respect the lives of others, treat others the way they want to be treated, are caring, empathetic, giving, those are the people most often targeted by abusers for relationships.

It’s a weird kind of circle, abusers feel afraid of being less, so they make others feel less, to feel like they are more.  If you stay, you are clearly less because the abusiveness is tolerated.  But….. at the beginning, it’s tolerated because of the very respect for others that makes them a target.

And if you show any kind of equality, then they must knock you down to make sure you are less.  Insults become more personal, more derogatory.  Threats become more realistic.  And, I’m sorry’s become more frequent.

Sociopaths and narcissists aside, the abuser feels bad for being abusive, making them feel bad about themselves, perpetuating the need to make you feel bad, so they can feel good, which cycles around and around and around.

The nice side of an abuser can only be seen for a limited time though.  An abuser can only allow themselves to be seen as not having the power for short amounts of time.  Those short amounts of time are a manipulation, a way to stop the consequence of losing their victim; win them over again, prove how good they are again, be equal again.; because they want the respect, from their victim, that they can’t give themselves.

That respect then becomes demanded for.  Respect me.  Look at everything I do.  I’ve been good, now respect me.  I’ve been respectful, respect me.  Respect me -or I won’t do these things -or I’ll take these things away -or I’ll make you fear me.  Fear=respect right?

Once those cycles have repeated enough….. it can, and often does become more than threats, more than derogatory slights.

People who haven’t seen these cycles, in all their stages and multiple wraps around a relationship, struggle to understand.  But it really comes down to value, equality, and respect.

 

I continue to stretch out and increase the many increments of the value system, trying to get as close to the zero point on this half-life depreciation.  I meditate and pray for help to respect myself, by seeing the intrinsic value of all life around me, as well as preserving my self-respect by not allowing others to treat me as less than.

I’m not finding it very easy.  Power is a corrupter for those who don’t respect themselves or others.  I do not seek out power.  Others see that as weakness.  I am open about my short-comings, because I want to learn, not because I think I am less than, but others see that as a weakness.  They cannot see their own faults, and so shift the repercussions of their faults to me, blaming me, saying she even says she has faults, this is her fault.

Because I do not seek out power, does not mean I don’t have power.

I have my power, my control of self.  I do not need to control others, because I understand that any form of trying to control someone else, is abuse.  But others see that as weakness.

 

I am not weak.

 

I keep getting up, and I learn.  I learn and I grow.  I have been getting stronger and stronger.

 

Just like learning a language requires repetition, practical experience, and meaningful use, so does truly learning respect.

I’m confident I can say, I respect me.

I respect you too, so understand that means that I won’t accept your disrespect of me or others.

I’ve spent a life time earning my own respect through giving, forgiveness, educating myself, kindness, tolerance, and doing my best to understand even those people who have hurt me terribly.  I’m not perfect.  I still have trouble fully shaking the value system.  I have spent a lot of time working through that system to get where I am now.  I still have much to learn; but I respect myself enough to understand I don’t know it all.  I respect others enough to know that I can learn from them, I can talk with them, I can share with them, without ever needing to hurt them, belittle them, or make them feel less than.

This is my life in words.  I keep writing about abuse, learning, traveling, and being me.  Glimpses into my head means glimpses into my progressions through healing.  It’s a freaking process man.

Maybe someone out there today needs to read that they’re not alone in trying to understand respect.

Maybe it was watching the special on the Dalai Lama…..  maybe it’s just my life right now……

Whatever it is,

Light and love to you all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We are no longer establishing ourselves as the brightest beacon for freedom or opportunity.

I will never forget my children’s words that day.

I remember where I was when I got a phone call from a friend, who knows I don’t watch much television, and especially not news.  It was early in the morning; the kids had just left for school.  I was cleaning up breakfast.

Turn on your television.

What? Why?

Just turn it on, I don’t even have words, I can’t…. just turn it on.  Turn on the news.

And then, hours of staring in disbelief as one of the Twin Towers was in flames after being plowed through with an airplane.  Then the second airplane. The second Tower. The people running covered in dust and ash.  The horror.  The tears and emotions I couldn’t even describe or put reason to.

I lost all track of time until my youngest son, only in Kindergarten, so only half days at school, came in the front door.  It took me a second to register that he was standing at the door looking at me.  I immediately called him over to the couch to sit with me.  I put my hands on his head, kissed his head, his face, and pulled him close.

How are you?  Did you see what happened?  Did they say anything at school?

Mommy, it’s so sad.

I know Boo.

He turned at looked at the TV, stared for a minute.  I could see so many thoughts going through his young mind.

What are you thinking?

There are so many kids without their mommies or daddies.  So many kids that won’t get hugged tonight.

This child blew me away.  I thank the stars for his incredibly sensitive teachers.  I don’t know that he came to that realization on his own or with their help, but I do know that if they had not been very sensitive to the fact that they had very young and impressionable children in their care, while they were trying to deal with their own emotions that morning, he could have had a very different outlook that day.

Those words would be enough, the enlightened realization that other children would be not just suffering, but unable to find comfort from their parents.

But, from the mouths of babes we find real truth.  I’ve told this story before, maybe 20 times.  But it has not felt more poignant than today.

President Bush came on the television later that night.  The kids and I all watching, listening as he said “America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.”

Then, as the President ended his speech, he quoted a bible verse and said, “May God Bless America”.

Now, I am perfectly fine with that in general.  I believe that if you are American, you should pray to whatever your version of God is, that America stays safe.  That’s cool.  I’m even ok with the President quoting a bible verse, even though I do feel there is a little mixing of church and state in that, which by all technicality shouldn’t really be done. But, since the President is Christian, and he is doing his praying to his belief of who God is, ok, he’s entitled as well as any of us.

What surprised me, and has stuck with me is my oldest son, then 11 years old, looking at me, a million questions in his eyes, and saying,

Didn’t the people who flew the planes into the Towers do it because they think their God is better?

Sort of.  These people were very extreme, but yes, they claim they did it because we don’t have the same faith.

Then why would the President say God bless America? Isn’t he doing the same thing?  Isn’t he saying our God is better than theirs? Won’t they come do something else to prove their God is better?

And then my 3 young children and I had a pretty incredible conversation about how the pilgrims first came here to flee religious persecution, and why that was the main reason our Founding Fathers created a government that was separate from any church, so that religion would not guide the way our country ruled itself; allowing the tired, poor, huddled, homeless and tempest tossed because they understood that religion can rule the home, but should not rule the state.

We talked about how the President’s words could make people like those who flew those planes want to hurt us more, but that freedom is what our country is standing for, not God.  That’s why we have freedom of religion here.  Some people don’t want freedom for everyone, they want to control everyone instead; and very often they use religion to control. Being ruled by one religion is exactly the opposite of what our country stands for.  Freedom is what our country is founded on and what we hope to preserve.

It has been so difficult to watch the events of the last year, as the freedom our country stands for is being turned on its heels, when the words of President Bush,

“A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.”

“Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened.”   (Emphasis added),

have been twisted and turned in on themselves.

We are now in a time when our beacon of freedom and opportunity have been shut off.  Our doors are being shut to the religiously persecuted.  We’re pushing out or shutting down anyone that doesn’t suit the religious beliefs of the ruling party, fit the physical description of the ruling party, or the ‘class’ of the ruling party.

We’re being regularly lied to, gaslighted, slight-of-handed, and fed a stream of incompetence disguised in power.

On one level, this has been very good for the awakening of the people to see how we just haven’t come as far as we thought.  Merely pushing things under the rug, doesn’t make them go away.  Hiding under “that’s just the way it is”, isn’t going to work anymore.

Now more than ever we need the prayers, to whoever you see as God, to pray for America to make it through this intact.  Those who help build our country, feed our country, and strengthen our country, have had their sense of security and safety threatened… by our own government.

Those lucky of you not to feel threatened by this, try to understand that just because you don’t feel threatened, doesn’t mean no one else does.

We are no longer establishing ourselves as the brightest beacon for freedom or opportunity.  Our government is trying to close off entrance to our bright minds, our families, our doctors, scientists, our workers, that come from Muslim countries our government doesn’t have business interests in, or Mexico because “they’re not like us”.

Our government is not only trying to rule using religious beliefs as a motivator, it’s trying to push an elitist, xenophobic, misogynistic back-peddle.

I know it’s going to hurt a lot of feelings out there, but America is not a Christian nation.  We are a nation that allows freedom of religion.  Our founding fathers separated church and state on purpose, so that we could not have a national or state religion.  You cannot claim to stand by the Constitution and also say America is a Christian nation.  You can’t, it’s not true; the First Amendment makes that idea illegitimate.

Church can rule the home, but it should not rule the state.  Choose to or not to use birth control, depending on your beliefs, but NOBODY’s personal religious beliefs should be determining the choice of other Americans.

I don’t believe in abortion personally, I have never had one, but my belief should not rule out the ability of another woman to make that heartbreaking choice.  It’s their choice.  Let God do his own work in the end, it’s His/Her/It’s decision on who is ultimately “heaven” worthy, not ours.

I understand the concept of it being murder, but while there is no viable ability for the fetus to live outside the womb, it’s inside her body.  That gives her the choice to choose how to best take care of her body.  Some people take vitamins, some people take a prescription to keep their bodies and minds healthy.  Sometimes, a woman may need to terminate an unplanned pregnancy to keep her body and mind healthy.  It’s never an easy choice, it’s not made lightly, and it’s none of anyone else’s business.  Trying to create laws about abortion is a religious verdict, and has no right to be part of our country’s laws as such.  And planned parenthood does SO MUCH MORE than abortion services.  Abortion counseling, that happens before any services are rendered, clearly indicate and elaborate on options other than abortion.  Planned Parenthood also offers adoption counseling….

They say it’s so unfair that Muslim men “make” their women wear hijabs, (to cover themselves, to protect themselves from unwarranted stares).  They must stay covered up? That is terrible.  That is abuse of male power.

But, yet it’s acceptable to “make” someone have a child, no matter the circumstances.  No matter their ability to emotionally or physically or financially take care of the child.  It’s acceptable to “make” someone risk getting pregnant, risk getting sexually transmitted diseases, risk not detecting breast cancer.  That’s ok.

It’s morally right to have no option for gynecological health care, but to make someone wear a head covering, no.

And yet, a woman who is raped, will be asked that horrible victim-blaming first question, “What were were wearing?”

They say it’s so unfair that Muslim men “don’t allow” their women to have freedom.  They must be accompanied always.  They’re under their man’s thumb constantly; that’s so terrible. That is abuse of male power.

But yet, it’s acceptable to “not allow” women to have a legal foundation to argue upholding or gaining their legal rights as citizens, because American citizens are still allowed to be treated differently by gender.  Women face far more difficulty fighting for their rights as citizens, if those rights have been violated because they are women. The government can still pass laws that consider men and women as different kinds of citizens.   Yes, still. Yes, in America.

I don’t want any more terrorists in America.  But I sure don’t want an America that sits inside its walls shivering in fear either.  That’s what Shrump is trying to do.

‘Everyone that doesn’t fit into the plan, OUT.’  ‘Quick! build the walls, their coming to get us!’  ‘Aren’t we great?  Look all the bad guys are out there now.’ ‘America first, America only.’ ‘Why doesn’t anybody like us? We’ve been so good to them before.  Look at all those good things we did, very good things, the greatest things, that’s why we’re great.’ ‘Fine, we’ll show them!’

All the -isms are being put out in full force for the masses to feed on.  It’s so familiar.  We’re ok, the -isms don’t affect us.  The -isms are only going to find the bad guys. Only bad guys fall into the -isms, and they’re all bad guys.  Sure, there’ll be a couple mistakes along the way, but it will be mostly the bad guys.

America, wake up.

Please.

This isn’t going to make America great.  It’s going to make America fall.

I want a great America, for my children, for my future grandchildren.  I want a great America.

But, for that to happen, we need our beacon turned back on.  We need to stand for freedom and equality for ALL. We need to have compassion, dialogue, and a standing respect of the land.  Greatness does not come from supreme powers, greatness comes from shared values, mutual respect and understanding.

It certainly doesn’t come from cozying up to Putin, or devaluing the media, or having no ascertainable ability to tell the truth, or repeating propaganda, or hiding personal ties to whatever, or telling everybody in the world fack off, America first, or religious persecution, or racial profiling, or any of the astounding non-American things that have happened in what is days away from only the first MONTH of Shrumps administration.

This guy is what is going to make people like those who flew those planes want to come back again, not saying God bless America.

 

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Almost

It’s almost time to write…. Still processing….. But almost

 
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Posted by on 08/02/2017 in living

 
 
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