Thursday, April 2, 2015

I Can Say What I Want

Today I read a posting which said: “I like when I don’t have to be careful about what I say. That’s when you know you're with the right people.” (Spirit Science)

Caution to not confuse this with saying whatever I please because I know you well. In the work I do with families of domestic violence it has been my experience abusive people use familiarity as a justification to say or do what they want. For example: one session we were discussing the use of words that are considered profanity.  I was trying to draw out the thinking behind the actions. Many times the thoughts are “that fuckin’ bitch”.  I was having difficulty getting the group to use the language that is inherent to their habit level thinking which produces abusive actions. I stopped and asked why they were having difficulty saying those words in class.

Them: I am trying to be respectful to you.
Me: Why do you believe you need to be respectful to me?
Them: Because you are a woman and you are older and the teacher.
Me: I see.
Me: How long have you known me?
Them: The answers range from 1 week to 26 weeks based on the client’s attendance.
Me: I see. So what I am hearing you say is I deserve more respect from you than the people you profess to love the most (mothers, fathers, wives, girlfriends, and children).
Them: Well they know me and how I am. I am with them all the time so I say what I want. You know when people get to know you that’s just how you talk.


No matter how well I know someone I still am required to be respectful, kind and considerate. Many times abusive people have habit level thinking of no matter what I say, my "wife, husband, child---whomever, understands that's just the way I am. In these families, there is more consideration given to strangers than the people they profess to love. Even in the most intimate of relationships there is still the need for basic respect.  Being able to tell you anything is much different than saying anything I please.