Friday, May 5, 2017

post estrangement: coming to understand aggressive behaviour

Learning to recognize actions that are wrong
and then speaking out, saying that it was unacceptable
is the first step to letting others know you will no longer tolerate such actions against you.

“all tyranny, bigotry, aggression, and cruelty are wrong and whenever we see it we must never be silent” 
~ Ingrid Newkirk

Far too often we think that all the evil and cruelty in the world is "out there" somewhere.  Out in the streets of an impoverished neighbourhood, in another country where there are injustices, in another place where there are ancient grievances still being rehashed generations later.

However even within our own personal lives, within our relationships with family, friends and co-workers there lurks the tyranny of aggression and cruelty also.  It is well camoflagued often with the flowery words of "I do this out of love" or "it is for your own good".  And because of the disguise we fail to recognize that hurt or if we recognize that emotional hurt, we flagellate ourselves for being too sensitive and we tell ourselves how wrong we are for feeling put down and being made to feel shamed and guilty when after all it was done with the best of intentions.

But healing is about learning to recognize actions that are wrong.  Simply because a verbal aggression has been justified as coming from a loving place does not make it less aggressive.

The cruelty of unkind, demeaning or belittling words is not diminished because the speaker of them professes to be doing it for our own good.

The bigotry of insisting on one set of rules for themselves and a different set of rules for us, is not lost because they are spoken by a family member!

The tyranny of being expected to be something for someone else to the detriment of what is good for ourselves is not ameliorated by the after thought "but it is for your own good."

When we experience wrong actions or hurtful words we have to learn to not only unmask them from the flowery sentiments used to justify them, we need to recognize them as bullying and aggressive behaviours perpetrated upon us in the name of love. 

We need to recognize that if the intent had been to show love we would feel love and not emotional pain and rejection.  When you feel the accusation of "you are not good enough" there is a reason.  The reason is that you have been told in some disguised form that you are not good enough. 

Maybe there was a sneer on the face or some other micro expression that delved deep into you psyche letting you know that the tidbit of corrective information was not meant as a loving suggestion but as a gleeful criticism of your inadequacy.

Maybe it was their body language that showed the separation of "me up here superior and you down there inferior".  Whatever triggered that feeling of "not good enough" it came through.  Your gut reacted, that deep primal part of you recognized it, even when the present you tried to deny that any offense happened, that you are just overreacting.

Our first step is to learn that when we feel emotionally hurt there was an intention to inflict that emotional hurt.  We have to stop denying this and thus protecting the aggressor.  There was some need in the "hurter" that was satisfied with delivering the hurting message.  As long as we deny that, we continue to be hurt by the same people over and over again becasue of the simple expedient, what they got away with once they have now learned they can get away with it again.

We have to learn that they won't change a behaviour that has been giving them good results until we change.

We have to learn that we have a right to speaking out and say, "that was unacceptable."  We have a right to say "I don't buy your excuses anymore".  We have to say "I see through your words because your actions are the exact opposite"

We, the acquiescing doormats, the perpetual people pleasers, the conflict avoiders have to take that first step to letting others know we will no longer tolerate such actions against us.  For if we don't change, if we don't set a higher standard of what we will tolerate, if we don't set personal boundaries of acceptable behaviour towards us; then those whose personality it is to be tyrannical bullies, even well meaning disguised tyrannical bullies; will continue their aggressive cruelty with impunity. 

Renate Dundys Marrello
2017 - 05 - 04

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