Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Backbones, Babies, and Boobies

This may be the weirdest title a post has ever had, but I like to call it "smart women with backbones." (Or, men.)

I was talking to someone the other day who was telling me about her friend. Let's call him Stan. Stan's girlfriend "Jellyfish" called him and told him she would see him in a year. "Jellyfish" is a very nice, friendly, well-educated grown woman. She has a good job, good education, and a great personality. But, she's a jellyfish and needs to grow a backbone. She pays for her mom a place to live. The mother kicked her out (yes, of the place that she herself is paying for), told the grandpa to threaten to disown her, and disapproves of her relationship with Stan. Jellyfish pays for everything her mom has, but let's herself be kicked out of her own place... then goes back to the mother and lets her mother dictate her relationship with Stan (to put it off for a year). Jellyfish isn't a child, she's an adult woman. She needs to grow a backbone and respect herself.

My advice for those in Jellyfishes shoes?

Grow. A. Backbone.

Respect yourself. Don't let people treat you like crap and disrespect you... especially when you're bank-rolling their life! While you shouldn't expect endless praise for helping a family member or expect them to do whatever you want or fawn over you, you also shouldn't tolerate emotional abuse or yelling. If your mom really loves you, she wouldn't kick you out of your own house. She would respect you and your relationships, not "force" you to dump your boyfriend in order to move back in her/your house and not be disowned. Families don't disown someone under any kind of normal circumstances. Families shouldn't treat each other like that. Families help each other. Families should want happiness and support each other in a positive way emotionally.

Families who love each other treat each other with respect-- whether or not they agree, disowning, kicking out of the house, yelling are all unacceptable.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

In middle school, we did a musical called "R-E-S-P-E-C-T." I've seen so many friends and family members not demand in their relationships and get used, get yelled at, and other non-sense. I should start with... respect is not people fawning over you... it's not them doing everything you say... it's not them speaking your praises endlessly... it's not them expressing their gratitude and praising you.... it's not them bending over backwards for you... it's not them being impressed with your achievements or ideas or or status or looks.

Respect is when a person values you as a person, as a relationship partner, and as an equal.

Maybe everyone should listen to that musical all over again. 


Respect is not yelling at your family or friends.

Yelling at your loved ones is inappropriate, childish, and wrong. We're not a all bunch of apes with larger boobies. Respectful relationship partners talk about problems, not yell like a baboon.

The day my spouse yells at me is the day we divorce.

I would never put up with a yelling spouse, a yelling friend, or a yelling boss. I respect myself, and I insist that those around me respect me. Sure, they might have a problem with me or get mad at me, and plenty of times where forgiveness is needed, but I don't tolerate yelling. Discuss it like a grown up. A marriage is a partnership of 2 adults who respect each other, not a dictatorship where one of the partners has temper tantrums like a three year old. No way will I put up with a spouse or anyone who treats me that way.

Yelling at spouses is unacceptable. It's not normal. People, especially women, shouldn't put up with it. I've seen many women who think their spouse is just having a bad day or a bad mood tolerate yelling. Sure, he is... but there's zero excuse for him taking it out on you by yelling. I wouldn't reward my spouse's unacceptable behavior (yelling) by succumbing to his "commands." Good day or not, it's not ok for a spouse to take out their anger, their problems, their issues out on you. Yelling should not be rewarded, it's inappropriate. Maybe the spouse is yelling because he/she is a control freak, is insecure, has anger management problems, or whatever-- but their choice is either get help and cease the yelling, or I'm not staying married to them. This isn't 1872. It's 2012. A good marriage does not involve yelling, it involves an adult discussion of the problem.Yelling is hateful, hurtful, juvenile, inappropriate, and accomplishes nothing.

Yelling is for people who don't know how to express their emotions appropriately. Yelling is for people who are insecure, have anger management issues, or are control freaks. Yelling is for those afraid and feel out of control, so they yell at the people even more vulnerable than they are. Yelling is not a normal part of life.

Respect is not doing whatever your family, spouse, or friends want you to do.

You're not being respected when those demand you live a certain way. It's your life. Choose your own life. Accept their advice, but at the end of the day... it's your life to live, and your choices to make.

BABIEEEESS. Where do babies come into this conversation? I believe parents have to respect their kids, too. Yelling at your kids is not teaching them acceptable adult behavior. Talk to your kid and explain why their actions are wrong. You can sternly, rationally, and effectively "discipline" a child without yelling. Count to 10, then talk to your kid in the right way. Yelling hurts and scares people-- it doesn't teach your child why what they did was wrong. And, yes, I am 100% against spanking. Spanking is antiqued, hateful, and accomplishes nothing. You don't want your children to fear you, you want them to respect you and know you have their best interests in mind. This is done by setting a good example through your actions, your attitude, and your appropriate "discipline" towards them. Not yelling at a kid doesn't mean not disciplining... it means effective discipline. Yelling is ineffective. Young kids might cry, but it's not because they realize they're mistake... it's because you're being hateful. Proper discipline is when a kid realizes their mistake and learns from the mistake, not when they cry out of fearing (or hating) you. What's more, yelling makes kids feel insecure for a while, then angry, resentful, and ready to lash out. You yelling at them started a very negative chain reaction of bad behavior for you and them... counter-productive to what you're trying to do.

It's unlikely that your kid will learn a lesson and the morals behind it if you're yelling. People who are being yelled at can't think about their mistake, and instead just are fearful of the yelling. Yelling teaches kids absolutely nothing, other than that screaming like an idiot lashing out at others is an appropriate way to handle life's difficulties. Kids need to learn how to express their emotions appropriately. You yelling like a 2 year old with a temper tantrum before a spanking isn't exactly an ideal example to set for a kid, now is it?

Yelling, not appropriately disciplining, a kid is as deplorable to me as cursing at each other. An old roommate I had actually had the audacity to get in her mom and her sibling's face and call her a b**ch. The parent's response was... more yelling. The kids response... yelling back, and more cursing. Really?!??! You've got to be kidding. That's sickening. Calling your family a b**ch is deplorable, hateful, and... disgusting. Yelling at your kids isn't acceptable, either-- the same hate, immaturity, and anger is behind yelling and cursing. Don't tolerate cursing at you from your child-- show and tell them why that sort of behavior is lamentable. Explain how they would feel if they were you. (And, ground them!) Better yet, set a good example of behavior from day 1. Teach them how to express emotions and anger in an acceptable and productive manner. Ban yelling from the house. Explain why mistakes are mistakes, and why it's important to treat each other with respect.

I've heard people say not yelling at or spanking your kid makes you a wimp. Wrong. Sinking to the level of using fear (yelling) or physical force (spanking) makes you a wimp. Grow a backbone and be the adult... set a positive example for your family which involves conversation, not temper tantrum yelling. 

In summary, R-E-S-P-E-C-T... is everything. Respect yourself. Surround yourself with people who respect you as an equal. Don't tolerate childish and unacceptable yelling from family or friends. Life's too short to put up with such unacceptable and hurtful behavior. Respect yourself, your spouse, your kids. Choose a happy, peaceful, kind, and appropriate tone for your life... and it will be a much happier life for you.

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