Moralizing Behaviors and Emotions

Statesmen No.34: Caricature of Mr AS Ayrton MP...

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Self-Care Tip #233 – Stop moralizing behaviors and emotions to be a real friend to yourself.

Responses to yesterday’s blog-post, I believe, revealed my point in time position in moralizing behaviors.  It is no excuse, but yesterday for reasons of my own limited perspective, personalizing behaviors, perceived judgment from myself and others, and cultural biases including some good old-fashioned well-intentioned holy roller atmosphere, I hooned in on that darned word selfish.

That word, selfish, reminds me of any class bully who hurts others but maybe not for the reasons assigned by observers.  It is more than that though.  Inherent to its own definition, morality is more than implied.  In efforts to destigmatize it, evolutionaries, such as George C. Williams, coined the term, “the selfish gene.”  We as well, in efforts to peel it off of us “self-carers” here at FriendtoYourself.com, have discussed some of the biopsychosocial reasons for behaving in ways that disregard the needs of others.  We have talked about freedom to choose and losing abilities to choose.  Because we believe in magic, or miracles, or yet unexplained science – however each of us prefers to describe the unknown – we claim some awareness that we still haven’t yet given over fair perspective, despite our intentions.

The wonderful, ever articulate, gentle writer, reader and commenter, Cindy Taylor, reminded me of this yesterday, saying simply,

I found that taking an adrenal supplement has improved my sleeping patterns greatly.

What a girl!  That one and only Cin.

Yet yesterday, somehow, I didn’t say much about those things.

Questions:  What does “selfish” mean to you?  Why and how do you extricate yourself and others from it even though they appear to be just that – selfish?  Please tell me your story.

“He’s Never Hit Me.” Abuse.

Self-Care Tip #163 – Name abuse when it is there.  Be a friend to yourself.

Alexandria (Alex) was crying a lot.  She was trying to divorce her husband but he wouldn’t leave.  He wouldn’t speak.  He only yelled.  He yelled at her, alone, in front of their kids, in the morning, when he came home from work, he yelled.  And he never spoke to her any more.  It’s been weeks since they spoke.  When I asked her if she thought she was abused, she said, “No.  He’s never hit me.”

Mar de Emociones / Emotional Landscapes

What do I do?  I can’t go on like this but everything I try, he won’t listen!

There are so many things many of us would tell Alex.  But would any of it make sense if she didn’t know she had rights?  If she didn’t know what was happening to her?  If she didn’t know, this is abuse.

The “Do You?” questions, per Dr. Quijada, to ask yourself if you aren’t sure if you are abused:

Do you feel good about yourself when you are together?

Do you feel scared?

Do you feel like you have choices?

Do you have effective boundaries; observed boundaries?

Do you say, “No,” and are heard?

Do you have a balance of power?

From the outside looking in, we could answer these questions for Alex.  But anyone who is or has been abused in any way knows that from the inside, answering these questions is hard.  It was hard for Alex.

Alex missed a few beats.  She didn’t want to see herself as abused.

Identifying abuse, naming it, is a start towards the other side of things.  It is reaching the peak of a hill or mountain of life-stuff, taking the view in after the fog lifts, and knowing that things are the way they are.  This is abuse.  A tangible thing.  Not the drifting mist of fights or arguments that once stalked you, leaving you bewildered and empty-handed.  Simply naming abuse is the start of empowerment.  Name it.  Name it out loud.

“I am abused.”

Alex said,

Wow.  I didn’t know that what he is doing is abuse.  I didn’t know.

After we talked about the name of what she was suffering, she talked about what she thought she could do about it, such as:

Call 911 if she feels unsafe.

Record him.

Say the words out loud, “I am valuable and should be treated well.”

Get a restraining order.

…And other things.

Alex didn’t have a lot of extended family support, so for her, that was out.

Alex said,

I feel more empowered.  I didn’t know I could do that.

And there it was.  A dandelion growing out of the cracked cement.  Hope.  A redistribution of the unequal power.  Alex was growing a plan.

Question:  What would you tell Alex, yourself, or anyone else in her position?  How do you see words being a form of abuse or not?  Please tell me your story.