November 2017
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making someone feel inferior NEVER INVOLVES THEIR CONSENT


I LOATHE that quote from E. Roosevelt that no one can "make" you feel things. OH YES THEY CAN. This statement is as ridiculous as saying that if someone punches me I have the choice as to whether or not to feel pain. Emotions work like nerves -- they sense stimuli and tell you what it means. You cannot choose what your emotions say any more than you can choose what your nerves say; your only choice is what you do with the emotion. Someone CAN make me feel inferior, sad, angry, etc. Then if I have the skills, I can process that emotion and turn it into something useful. Failing to acknowledge the power other beings have to cause me pain does not make my suffering disappear, it just makes me unable to process it.

Human beings have the power to evoke emotions in each other -- you can MAKE someone feel something as an initial reaction. Humans also have the power to re-contextualize their feelings and change them, so people can't make you CONTINUE to feel something without continuing to provide stimuli. But there aren't limits to how much hurtful stimuli they can provide.

If you tell me every day that I am inferior, I can re-contextualize that every day and end the day not feeling inferior. But that is a FUCKTON of work, and eventually I'm either going to find a way to escape that stimuli or I'm going to just put up with feeling inferior because shucking it off is too damn much work.

It reminds me of the massive pile of bullshit that is the "don't be a victim" propaganda. Victim means that something was done to you against your will -- YOU CANNOT CHOOSE to NOT be a victim. You can choose to seek help to learn the skills necessary to cope, but hey guess what -- help is not available to everyone. Some people do not have the privilege of getting counseling and support to recover, and shouldn't be shamed for their inability to cope. The "victim/survivor" dichotomy puts the responsibility for fixing the damage of the crime on the VICTIM. Which is a GIANT PUTRID CESSPOOL OF OPPRESSIONIST PROPAGANDA.

ETA: Consent is saying "I choose this" -- merely putting up with an action is never ever consent. Giving up or giving in is NOT consent. If I am unable to move and someone strikes me, I am allowing it because I have no choice but I am NOT consenting. If I am unable to escape a verbally abusive boss, I am allowing zir to berate me but I am NOT consenting. Disallowing requires power, and if you are powerless you must allow whatever the more powerful person wants. This is not the same as consenting, which is an act of free will.

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Comments
frecklestars ══╣flying owl╠══
Ooooo I KNOW! Every time somebody says that, my response is usually something to the effect of "it's not weakness on the part of the individual being insulted; it's weakness on the part of the one doing the insulting". Frustrates the crap out of me when someone tells me to "get a hold of myself". In other words "shut up about your emotions and pretend they don't exist". That's _not_ productive!

This whole rant actually reminds me of what my high school boyfriend told me: "control your dreams". When I responded with what I thought was a pretty understandable "um, I can't do that b/c I'm unconscious", his response was "try harder". Nice guy right? :P
lorelei_sakti ══╣╠══
I totally agree with everything you said in this post. I hate that quote so much.
verviana ══╣╠══
THANK YOU!
sidheblessed ══╣╠══
I fucking love you for saying this. ♥

I find it so disrespectful and inaccurate when people say things like "You are responsible for your own emotions," when you express hurt over someone's actions and that dreaded Roosevelt quote. I'm also not fond of the old sticks and stones adage.

Look, if someone says something cruel to you, you will feel it just as much as you will if they punch you. It's strange to me that if someone is physically hurt by someone, no one tells them they have a choice to feel hurt or not but when someone is emotionally hurt, they are essentially told any emotional reaction is their fault. And the don't be a victim thing? Not like you have a choice there once someone commits an act of violence, emotional or physical, against you.

The thing that bothers me most? It takes ALL THE RESPONSIBILITY AWAY FROM THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE. If someone hurts you, they are responsible for their actions and for the hurt they've caused. It might be your job to heal but it's they who put the hurt there in the first place.

Thank you so much for writing this.
kmiotutsie ══╣╠══
Hmmmmm. I hear what you're saying, but I think I disagree! I think people can try hard to make you feel things, but that there's a zen element to transcending those feelings. More often than not, awful things a person says indicate more about their feelings about themselves than anyone's feelings about you. I also don't think that being told you're inferior every day will necessarily wear a person down; I think it's a factor of how open your eyes are, and I don't think it necessarily takes resources like counseling or outside support (though both help, I'm sure) to transcend that. Plenty of people grow up much stronger (though often more angry) because of awful things that have been said to them, but they don't internalize the hurt feelings by letting someone "make" them feel anything. (I also think that the effect of becoming stronger, tougher, or more angry is a side-effect of poor treatment and not something the abuser should be thanked for, in case that's not clear.) Becoming stronger or angrier are not feelings that have been put upon people, but results of poor treatment, which are not necessarily bad results, even if the means were less than pleasant.

Recommended reading if you have the time or interest:
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg

NVC is a little more hokey and tedious to get through, but I think there's some good material inside. The four agreements is much shorter and more concise, and generally more of a spiritual way of moving through life than anything else, so I'd recommend that more highly. I'd love to hear more of your thoughts, so if you get a chance to read either of these, do tell me!! :-*
adamantplatypus ══╣╠══
This. You can be insulted and kicked verbally to kingdom come, but if you've been instilled with self-love and self-confidence, it won't make a lick of difference.

I know, I live it. :)
kmiotutsie ══╣╠══
Something semi-related that I randomly remembered on the bus the other day was a thing my college roommate told me her yoga instructor told her... That I wish I could remember well enough to quote directly.

BASICALLY the effect was that people are like flowers and we can't grow up strong without getting a lot of shit dumped on us. I have mixed feelings, since I think in a better world (where the "soil" is already healthy soil) we wouldn't need all the excess shit for fertilizer, but in THIS world, I think it's good to experience a good fistfull of life's hard knocks just to have a good skin for it.

We can respond to the knocks by curling up in a sad ball of sad, or we can devour them, assimilate them, and channel them in to our own passion. (fuck yeah!)
secret_keep ══╣╠══
the word consent comes from two latin words-
con * senterai
with * to feel or desire
that is, to consent to something, means to do something with feeling, or with desire. By that definition (and I really like to use word roots to determine meaning), making someone feel something about themselves that they don't want to CAN NOT be consent. It's simply not possible.

@person with the pretty symbol for your icon-
I agree that zenning out about insults can be very strong and powerful. However, zenning out is a skill that needs to be developed, and on top of that, it's even harder to under stress.
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.