Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Harm and Shame

I am not going to offer any scientific proof or quotes from experts in this post.  I am just going to put something out there today, just to get it out of my head.

Let me start by saying that I have been very fortunate to not only have been raised by strong women (my mom and Nana), but by two very strong and different men (my dad and stepdad).  Men whom I respect and love and am grateful for.  They are just about as different as two men could be (for example: one is a retired scientist, the other is a retired cop), while still be amazing and kind and inspiring to a woman like me.  They know that I am stubborn and capable and strong and they encourage all of it.  They want me to be safe and secure, but they believe that I can do it on my own.  They believe in me.

Recently I was in a discussion with a man I know (have known, for years), and I was trying to make a point about something I am actually somewhat familiar with.  This man raised his voice (just so) and told me to calm down, cutting me off and treating me like a "hysterical female."

The worst part is that I allowed it.  I shut up.  I didn't defend myself.  I felt that I was in a position where I couldn't fight back because of the type of relationship I have with this man (which is to say feeling that I owe him). 

And I regret allowing this behavior.  I will always regret not standing up for myself, to anyone.  I have been taught by everyone who raised me that I am worth more than that.  I have no excuse, really.  And I am very familiar with the kind of men who attempt to put women "in their place" because of their own insecurities.  I generally don't have anything to do with men who behave that way.  I certainly have no respect for them, no admiration, and I find it hard to come up with redeeming qualities because it is so harmful, what they do.  It is something I find very hard to forgive.

But what is more important is that I forgive myself, and not ever allow it again.

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