Hurt

It is my experience that when someone tries to hurt you it is generally because they have already been hurt themselves. Sometimes by you, more often by someone else, sometimes by many others. Sometimes this hurt is the result of deliberate, abusive behaviour. Sometimes it is the result of well-intentioned, behaviour that is based on a misunderstanding of what is helpful, or good for, that person.

Understanding that there is an original hurt does not excuse the behaviour, but does make sense of the incomprehensible.

It has recently come to my attention that several years ago someone was bad mouthing me behind my back. When I was told what was said I laughed, because the slander/libel was so unbelievable… to me. I’ve been turning over in my mind the fact that it may not be so unbelievable to people who do not know me.

This is how such abuses work. The defamation of someone’s good name is a serious legal issue. After all, who will deal with someone they believe to be bad. Unfortunately, most people who commit this offence do so in such a way that legally challenging it only increases the number of people who get to hear the lie. And they make sure that the lie is one that would be very difficult to refute, and the more the defamed party protests their innocence, the more desperate they seem and the less credible they appear.

It is often a mystery to the victims of such defamation why they have been targeted for such abuse. Jealousy if often part of the trigger, but it is seldom jealousy based on the reality that the victim (for want of a better word) experiences, but a jealousy of a fantasy created in the mind of the perpetrator.

It is very sad that the internet can now be used to spread such lies, usually to a large audience who have no personal knowledge of either protagonist, and usually without the awareness of the “mark”. Such lies can be spread by other people in all innocence. Having no first-hand knowledge of the liar or their target, why should they disbelieve what they have been told?

The additional problems are, firstly, that mud sticks. People find it very hard to believe that they have been lied to, especially if they think the liar is their friend. We all like to think that we can tell when we’re being lied to, but some kinds of liars convince themselves first and because they believe it (well nearly) they are very plausible.

The second problem is that once it is on the internet it is always on the internet. I’m sure you can see why that may be a problem.

I’m not setting myself up as any kind of saint. I’ve done some things that I’m really not proud of. But I’d rather be hanged for the sheep I did steal than the ones that someone created out of thin air.

‘moron Again!

The newly re-elected British prime minister has just made an extraordinary statement. He has said “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone’,” !?

What is that meant to mean? That the government has the right to intervene in our lives when we have broken no laws? This from the party that eschews the “nanny” state. Do this bunch of over-privileged, socially isolated, socio and psycho paths really think that they have been given a mandate to tyrannise the whole of Britain?

He wants new laws to “crack down” on people holding minority extremist views! People who don’t conform to the great British consensus. I think you translate that to mean “anyone who doesn’t agree with Dodgy Dave and his mates”. Will you look after my family when they come for me?

Apart from the self serving, xenophobic, divisively, dividing subtext to this utter bollocks, I’m intrigued by who he thinks is going to enforce Dave’s law? He’s consistently cut funding to both the police and the armed forces, is he going to start a new private enforcement body to do his dirty work? Because as quiet as they are, he’s not popular with the official bodies who might be expected to do it.

What a sad, paranoid world Dave must live in. It’s such a shame, Britain used to be a haven for people who needed a safe place because their ideas were radical, or before their time. People have come here through the centuries to get away from persecution for their beliefs (mind you a lot of the early emigrants to America felt they were persecuted).

Britain has never been a perfect place, it never has been a beacon of hope (don’t let them kid you), it’s just a convenient little island which used to bully every other country it met. It’s politicians (and some of it’s population) still haven’t gotten over their delusions of grandeur. There are good things about this collection of countries, but expect frightened people to be trying to get away from the knee-jerk actions and paranoid rantings of the government the rest of us will probably have to put up with for the next 5 years.

On Being A Parent

Being a parent is the most difficult job you can ever do. I am no expert I have only one child, and two step children. When I had my child I was aware that many people don’t think about parenting, they just repeat what their parents did to them.

My parents thought about how they had been parented (bear in mind they grew up during the world war 2). They tried to be better parents than their parents were, I tried to better them.

I started from the belief that no child asks to be born, and, whilst not everyone who becomes a parent wants to be one, they do at least have the advantage of having some knowledge of what’s going on (though I doubt that anyone fully understands just how demanding a job it is until it’s too late). So, as I had consciously chosen to become a parent, it was only right that I put my child’s needs before my own.

This doesn’t mean that I didn’t take care of myself, but that I did so in ways that I hoped would be helpful to her. I was very lucky to do a ParentLink course (before it got muddied by outside pressures). It reinforced some of my ideas and challenged others.

I learnt that saying “no” is sometimes the most loving and supportive thing you can say to a child. I learnt that I didn’t have to be a perfect parent, just a “good enough” one. I learnt that I didn’t have to know everything, or be right all the time, I just had to be honest (congruent).

I already knew that the most important thing for my child was for her to know that she was loved. I also knew that a certain amount of structure in her life was important to give her a sense of security. But I learnt to think about what I wanted her to learn from me (through my behaviour, as well as what I thought I was teaching her), and what would be the best way of helping her understand.

I already knew that many parents have little understanding of their child’s age and how this impacts on both their behaviour and what they are capable of learning. It was a steep learning curve for me, to work out just what was appropriate to expect from her. I saw mothers shouting at their children for being to young to understand what was expected from them. I had to stop myself from intervening.

I also saw mothers who had handed over all control to children too young for that level of decision making. I found that scary, I wanted my child to know something of the freedom of childhood. I wanted to allow her to be a child, and to see that I valued her play at least as much as I valued her work. I wanted to give her the time to grow up at her own pace.

I also realised that I had to provide her with a role model. There are so few positive role models, especially for girls, that I had to show her that she didn’t have to conform to anyone’s stereotype, she could be herself.

I struggled with all these things. I made lots of mistakes. But I tried.

I love my daughter very much and I am immensely proud of her. Every now and then I apologise to her for the mistakes I made, for the fact that I was also trying not to succumb to depression all the way through her childhood. And I am so grateful for all the fun we had together, and for the joy she still brings me.

And I wish I could have done more of these things with my stepchildren. But things don’t always (ever?) turn out the way you want, let alone expect, them to. I will have to live with the feeling I have let them down.

And I remind myself that very few people have a wonderful childhood. Most of us wish things could have been different. But the past is gone, and, whilst it’s shadow may still hang over us, all we can do is make the best we can of today – and make sure our children know we love them.