posts 5/8/2006 10:30 pm
5/11/2006 9:42 am
|Recently I have read a few posts on the subject of abuse. First I read MzHuny's story ASK ME HOW I KNOW and the other night I read Kellyi4u2dew's Abuse - my story. |
I must say that in my opinion, abuse of any kind is a cowardly act, and plain horrible. MzHuny asked the question 'Is physical or mental abuse worse?'
This question has haunted me. I can't say that I am an expert in either in any way. I do know what I feel. Yes, physical scars heal ... eventually. But mental scars take much longer to heal ... IF they ever do.
But how do you know what mental abuse is? Does the smart assed answer that fly out of people's mouths mental abuse? For instance ... I can walk through my house and stub my toe, say "Owwww!", my hubby's comment is "I didn't feel it". Or when I was growing up, there were many times when my mother compared me to my older sisters, telling me that I was just a 'stupid girl'. Telling me that 'you are so fat and ugly, no man is going to want to date you, much less marry you'. And then when I was married, and looking for a job, her comment to me was 'You are too fat and ugly, no one is going to want you working for them'.
I never termed my mother's comments as mental abuse. Maybe it was. At the time her words cut very deep. And I realize now that she is largely responsible for my nearly non-existent self esteem.
I have tried to raise my two girls differently. But I still worry about slipping into the habits I learned from my mother. It's hard work to build a girl's self esteem. The hubby and I tell the girls often that they are smart. That sometimes their decisions are stupid and we know that they know better, but just didn't think long enough. I tell them they are pretty. And compliment their manners. My oldest daughter and I attended the funeral of a prominent church member, and then we helped out in the kitchen serving sandwiches and cake and drinks. The other ladies in the kitchen gave her many compliments for the way she conducted herself. The hubby and I were and are very proud of her. We haven't yet discovered what her abuse story may be. And it terrifies me that I failed her. I know it's still just a theory. But that doesn't make it any less heartbreaking.
Our youngest daughter has been struggling in school this year. Her grades have just remained low. Tutoring is not helping. Lord knows I can't help with some of the stuff they are teaching ... especially not math. Anyway .. the principal came up with a new 'program' to 'help' the students with grade trouble. It's called LOP (Loss of Priveledge). First he raised the failing grade to 74 ... so anything 74 or lower is failing (when a 70 used to be passing). Those students (all Freshman and Sophomores) who's grades are failing, would lose their lunch priveledge of being able to leave campus to go eat. The school has a very small cafeteria and would not be able to handle all of the high school students if campus was closed. So all of the 'failing students' must go to their Advisory room when the lunch bell sounds. Then they go into the lunchroom 20-25 minutes later than the rest of the school. So now all of the passing students (and any Juniors and Seniors) are already in the cafeteria, when the failing students are brought in. They then get ridiculed for not being 'smart' and for having to attend 'LOP'.
So my question to the principle was "What is this going to teach my daughter?" His answer was "It will make her want to pass." Okay, that is true. But if her teachers are not 'teaching', or answering her questions when she asks for help, or not explaining to her because she is not one of the 'popular' students .... what then? Like the old saying .. Want in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up first. She comes home complaining that she is 'stupid' and will never understand this stuff ... whether it's Math or Biology or History. So now the school that is suppose to be teaching my daughter, has just destroyed the little bit of self esteem that I have worked 15 yrs to build. So, now what?
Is that mental abuse? Is it mental abuse for teachers to tell students that they need to not be so dumb? Is it fair to students to put questions on a test about material that was never covered in class time? And then tell the students that they should have known the answer anyway. How do you get a child that is virtually paralyzed by test anxiety to do well on a test?
The words from mental abuse can be compared to being whipped with a cat-o-nine tails. A person lets the words replay over and over in their mind, until they are convinced that the person who uttered those words are right. Whether it comes from a parent, a sibling, a friend, a boyfriend/girlfriend, other relative, or lover. The result is the same. You doubt yourself. You are convinced that you are a failure. You spend much of your life trying to get that one critic (your parent, your lover, your friend, whoever) to accept you for you ... to love you for who you are ... even if you aren't 'perfect'. And sometimes you are devastated if that person goes away without ever giving you the recognition that you subconsciously crave.
One of my older sisters has continued where my mother left off. The day my mother died, she rushed into Dad's home (he is her stepfather) and demanded to know 'who opened MY mother's mail'. And then she and another sister proceeded to tell me that I had no write reading the letter - even though it was addressed to both Dad and Mom, and he was the one that actually opened the letter.
I made my peace with all of that when we put my mother's remains in the ground. I have forgiven them all ... Mom and sisters. Maybe someday I'll travel back and tell you in Blogland about it.
Peace Be With You .....
posts5/9/2006 6:11 pm
Words have a lot of power that is for sure. I always try to be considerate of how my words may be perceived because I would hate to ever hurt anybody. But there are those who not only don't try - they enjoy the reaction and I think they're are terrible people. Also, I think physical abuse has some of the same demeaning components as mental abuse. But it's compounded by the physical aspect. |
I've been reading a lot of the same posts you have and it bothers me so much to see how many of us have been abused, even if just a one time thing - so many people are hurt every day. Very, very sad.
I think what you're doing with your daughters is about as perfect as you can get - supporting them - praising them - loving them. I think what the school is doing with the LOP programs sends a terrible message to children and agree it sets them up for ridicule. I hope the school ends this program and quick!
Best wishes to you. It's such a challenge to raise children and I have so much respect for people like you who really think on it and try to do right! With parents like you I'm sure your daughters will mature into fine and healthy adults.
posts5/10/2006 10:41 pm
The LOP is crap. You're right, if the teachers aren't teaching (and just showing up in the classroom and making assignments isn't teaching), then you need to find someone who will teach her. All children are capable of learning. Some learn at a slower rate. It doesn't mean they're dumber that someone who learns faster. |
Something you need to do is find something that she's good at and encourage her. That will build her self esteem and flow over into the rest of her life.
When I was in grade school, I had the ugliest glasses and I was the smallest one in the class. Other kids teased me unmercifully and bullied me. I finally broke down and told my dad. The next week, he enrolled me in judo classes. When I showed an aptitude for it, he encouraged me to take up karate. I never had to beat up any kids, but the confidence that I could changed the way I felt about myself and carried myself. That changed the way the other kids looked at me, and the teasing stopped.
It may be art, or sports, or something else. There is something she can be good at.