Not long ago, somebody reminded me that an abuser’s strongest weapon is not his (or her) fists and not harsh words. The tactic every abuser can use with devastating results is simply to isolate the abused.
The effects of being pushed off in a corner by yourself are appallingly negative and long-lasting. You doubt your own judgment, you doubt your value, you doubt that things can change, and begin to see yourself as a victim, even if the only thing keeping you from associating with other people is a threat of disapproval. When you’re prevented from being around other people who approve of you, your spirit dims, and depression beckons. This is part of the reason why locking up so much of our population hasn’t made us any safer, but that’s another discussion.
Isolation has been on my mind as I’ve decided to pull back from some of my social media associations.
In my FB feed in particular, I’m seeing some hateful, nasty stuff. Part of me wants to counter-comment, to splatter links all over those posts, to get up on my hind-lawyer-legs and yeah-but the nasty people into being nicer. What entity claiming to be a Deity of any stripe wants us hatin’ on each other, fer cryin’ inna bucket?
I worry about why the media wants us to feel isolated and powerless, about who thinks they’ll step into the void created by fear and skewed journalism. “Knock it off,” I want to say. “Stop the self-interested spinning, ALL ya’ll.”
But a rant from me (or you, or you) won’t work. Once fear gets hold of us, we’re very hard to reach. We isolate ourselves, clinging to those who fear what we fear, and agree to hate what we hate. We get cozy with our real or imagined victimhood, and burn up all our courage just looking for more news stories to scare ourselves with.
Well, pooey on that. I believe in love. I believe love can inspire us to grow in ways we never dreamed we’d be brave enough to grow. I will keep writing the books that say what I believe to be true, and I will try to model the values I hope will keep us all connected:
Respect, particularly as it relates to open-minded and open-hearted listening.
Kindness, for everybody, not simply toward the people I like. We’re all scared and tired, and in need of compassion.
Patience, because we didn’t get into the present swamp overnight, and we’ll not win free of it easily either.
I will delete posts that try to scare me out of my ability to reason for myself, or that offend my sense of decency. Other than that, I believe in love. So that’s how I’ll try to act.
How to you keep the values that sustain you front and center? Do you feel like they’re under attack, and what would make you feel less besieged?
To two commenters, I’ll send the new AUDIO version of Darius: Lord of Pleasure.
How sad, though, to neglect the bonds of love and good feeling, in favor of the utilitarian