You Need Us – Stop Abusing Us, Mister

What do you call it when someone says mean things about you?

What do you call it when someone says mean things about you that aren’t true?

What do you call it when someone takes from you but tries to make you feel bad about it?

What do you call it when someone tries to get others on side by lying about you?

There might be many alternative names for each of the questions.

Or one word that sums the whole lot up.

Abuse.

Look up the definition.

Noun or verb. Take your pick.

Scotland is NOT subsidised by the rest of the UK.

Yet again this morning I’ve heard that from another politician.

In fact, the records for the last 30 years tell the complete opposite.

Scotland’s Balance Sheet

Labour forced to admit Scotland isn’t subsidised.

The figures used are provided by GERS  – the same figures the UK government uses but manipulates to tell one side of a story.

The information is there. It has been there for years. Try the sixties – pre-oil boom. It is known by those who slander our name. It is known here. It needs to be known elsewhere. And widely.

One sure way to irrevocably break the union that the political mainsteam and media are so fond of is to continue to perpetuate the myth that we here in Scotland are the ‘subsidy junkies’, so earnestly spouted by every politician with a vested interest in maintaining the staus quo.

I am sick of listening to the lies.

I wanted independence so that we could manage our own affairs and not be dependent on the UK government allocating us a share that is less than what we contribute. Not because I don’t want to share. But because Scotland needs to run its own affairs completely to effect real change for the future of our children. Waiting for English controlled government via a bi-party monopoly to do so we will wait forever. Based on population size that’s a fact.

Do you think it was for love of union that the politicians fought the No campaign with promises of devomax? No way. The thought of losing Scotland’s taxes was more to the point.

Do you think the reason they are running scared of any deal with SNP is for fear of breaking up the union? No. They are afraid to be held account to promises made and run the risk of losing much needed revenue to prevent a much greater UK deficit than if Scotland were not contributing to the coffers.

But will they admit that? No chance. That the UK government should be dependent on a paltry nation of just over five million. In a pig’s eye will they admit it.

So let’s divide and conquer. Bite the hand that feeds. Vilify. Abuse. Negate any right to a voice.

In the absence of independence at this stage I want full fiscal autonomy. Keep the Barnett Formula. Keep English votes for English laws. I have no problem with that AS LONG AS we keep what we raise here. Being dependent on a proportionate share via policies decided elsewhere is not my idea of autonomy of any kind.

And yes there will be ups and downs. We know that. The UK government knows that. Ask them. Selective representaion of numbers evades the fact that the UK proportion of deficit exceeds that of Scotland. It evades the fact that the proportionate UK contribution to GDP is less than Scotland’s contribution. But waxes lyrical about the Barnett Formula.

The fact that politicians and media are still purveying the lie that Scotland takes more than it gives leads to the divisiveness being created NOT by SNP or any other Scot but by those who should know better and do better. Or maybe they don’t read their own statements. I doubt it. Read, masticated, spat out. Nasty taste.

At the point of no return from such divisiveness is the scenario where the union will end. Not by referendum. But in any spirit still hanging by a thread. And by the hands of the ones who claim to support and defend it.

Get the facts on the table.

You need us.

If you don’t want us, fine. I’m good with that. We can go. And take with us what is ours. Our national pride and right to autonomy. But you can’t have it both ways. Abuse will be answered one way or another.

It is no accident that SNP has grown in stature and volume here. They represent us, our voices, our needs.

The mistake the government is making is in believing or suggesting that SNP are the bogeyman.

We are the bogeymen. People informed. Because we made ourselves be. We needed to be. There is no going back from what has been put into public domain. Economics is one factor.

But just one.

The right to fair representation is the force.

I’m not even an SNP member but I will vote for them until the time comes that I can vote Green.

In my ideal UK right now there would be a force for change wrought by the voices of those from the Green party and other parties/independents who have real social justice and environment on their mind. There would be enough representation the length and breadth of the four countries to take every seat in parliament, rid ourselves of eltist, self-servers and work for the good of the whole nation and the rest of the world.

I know I’m a dreamer.

But I’m not the only one.

It’s time to give politics back to the people. Or take it.

But I will take no more abuse.

And neither will my children.

Not from anyone.

Would any mother or father do less?

That’s all we’re doing.

Defending ourselves and kids from abusive power

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Rebuilding Bridges

Our realities were where they lived. They had always lived among us. Mingling and breeding, filtering the external ugliness over millenia, shape-shifting within families, extending their reach and influence, feeding their appetite for souls. We bled spiritual plasma to these psychic vampires; the Trolls piercing, sucking us almost dry and moving on to greener pastures while burning our bridges between the possible and the proscribed. Sometimes the medication helped, blurred the edges of the fairy tale we lived. Sometimes nothing helped. Spent souls huddled in silence awaiting the Banshee, keening their need to end the days, pleading for the stake that would ease their pain and transformation. Some bridges remained. We began the Rebuild.

I Am. We All Are.

Your human rights are less important than mine.

You’re gay.

 

I had Pankhurst.

I had Mandela.

I had Gandhi

And King.

Every voice

In history

Who cried

For justice.

Equality.

 

Royalty now.

But back then,

Merely

Perceptive,

Provocative,

Proactive.

Reaction

Causing

Change.

 

So take the beatings

And the vitriol

While we watch

And say little.

Do nothing.

View the games

With blackened eyes

And bruises.

 

This your legacy.

This our pride.

To stay silent.

Shh!

While waiting

For a regal voice.

 

I am black.

I am woman.

I am all nations.

I am gay.

We all are.

The Circle

I have been reading a number of posts on abuse and bullying. There has been some coverage on TV about the same. The impact of child abuse or bullying on the child and the later adult may never be fully understood. One such post I read had a huge impact on me. The author speaks of her own experiences as a survivor. http://nae50.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/might-have-could-have-was-abuse/  And links to a video and song ‘Committing Slow Suicide’ by Scott Stapp from the group Creed. The video is harrowing to watch. It may even have been taken down by now.

The levels of abuse and types suffered by children enrage me. I cannot thole bullying in any form. My reactions are visceral when I read or hear of it. I was bullied by someone as a child. I stopped it. No one else. I took control. But. It left its imprint. I will not and cannot tolerate any sort of control of myself. And view others who seek to exert control as similar to monsters. My experience, however, was as nothing compared to the suffering of others. If people suffer more, they hurt more, it takes longer to heal. And their methods may be quite different and not always effective. The struggles of survivors to heal and find understanding and reasons for the actions of others leave a lifelong mark. And it may break them or make them stronger. Those I have been reading are among some of the strongest people I have ever encountered.

I’m drawn to hurt like moth to flame,

Others’ pain fills me with shame

That angsts I feel, though deep and wounding,

Hold no candle to some depths of hurting.

 

Mind sets, altered in early days,

Fight with nature’s inherent ways.

A struggle then, a lifelong one,

To come to terms with what was done.

 

Comprehension and forgiveness

Demand some reasons, any answers.

Dependence on an earthly crutch

May transfer or hide so much.

 

Seeking some oblivion

From hurts performed by some or one.

That child of then exists right now,

Trapped in time, until somehow

 

Someone, you, maybe another

Comforts, absolves, helps uncover

What was hidden or openly done,

Unobserved or viewed by some.

 

Abuse of child in any form

Is not so rare but is not the norm.

Many kinds or types there be

Killing, suffocating, we

 

Who know the hurt a bully causes,

Inflicting pain, causing losses

Of memories of childhood pleasure,

A time when all should build as treasure.

 

But stolen by the hands of one,

Abandoned then to struggle on

In adult life with child inside

Who seeks still love, approval, pride

 

In being who they ought to be

Not discredited and forced to flee

From inner mind where sanctuary

Sublimates or sets them free.

 

Acknowledgement of all who hurt

From childhood trauma. Not your fault!

Beating, words or actions done

By other must be owned by one

 

Who perpetrated such a crime,

Robbed innocence, God’s divine

Gift to child and all the world

To view with wonder when beheld.

 

Those who steal such gift away

Will answer, surely, come the day

When asked, ‘How did you fill your life?’

To answer, ‘I killed a child, as if with knife,

 

By stabbing at the hearts of pure.’

No one escapes! But some endure

An endless query. Why me? Why then?

To ask those words again, again.

 

No answers here, I cannot claim,

But trust that love always reclaims

The heart of child for loving much

Is what they do so well, with such

 

Belief in trust. May, then,

Trust and love, regrow again.

And pain depart or recognise

That no guilt attaches in your eyes.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Carousel Stands Still

Image

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/writing-challenge-1000-words-four/

 

They kill the child

As sure as knife,

Draining dreams

And hope from life –

More surely than

Such gargoyle faces

Gushed forth rain,

Like effluence,

That pours from

Those inside.

No place to hide.

 

Screaming, hurting,

Suff’ring pain,

A mother’s crying

Once again

From love’s fierce blows

That he inflicts,

While child escapes

Outside

And licks

The wounds.

Parents scar her heart.

 

The chainlink fence

Is quite unneeded

She’s trapped within

Herself, unheeded

By those who sear

With brand.

Black and blues,

That teach her how,

Or not,

To choose

A partner for life.

 

Anointed with

Example of

Such unrequited

Jealous love,

She stares at feet,

A four-year old

Diminished –

And all true fun

From ugly life

For her

Is finished.

And carousel stands still.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Good Riddance.

Image

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/writing-challenge-1000-words-four/

 

I can see the little tike from my window again. Jasmine. Normally, she’s such a bubbly little girl with a cheery laugh and a smile for everyone. Today she looks lost and alone. Four years old with the worries of the world on her back. And there is nothing I can do to help.

Just yesterday, she waved up at me as I leant from my window and watched her and her friends at play. They were trying with all their might to turn the hideous toy that her father had brought home from some scrapyard or junk shop.

It had creaked in its rustiness and refused to budge more than a few inches. I had urged them to greater efforts but what force could three infants exert against the rigid metal?

Optimistic children that they were they had plonked themselves on the backs of the creatures and pretended to ride for all they were worth, whooping and giggling as if at Disneyland. Their smiles had been genuine, unlike the gargoyle faces of the freak show on the ride.

Undaunted they had been in the face of failure and it made me realise again how hardy and resilient children can be.

Not like today. Resilience is not what I see etched on her face. Sadness is there. And a hopeless realisation that life is not going to be the same after today.

I can hear their voices from here, yelling at each other while that little angel listens to the people she loves the dearest tear strips from one another.

I can hear the mother screaming at him to just get out, to let her get on with her life and leave her with the little one. But, he’s having none of it. He’s not so loud but I can make out his bass voice ranting in return.

Jasmine glances up at me and I smile kindly at her. What else is there for me to do? I can see her eyes glistening with tears from here even while she tries to adopt a stoic pose for my benefit.

Four years old. That’s all she is. For the four short years of her life she has listened to them haranguing each other on an almost weekly basis. The routine is always pretty much the same.

He comes home the worse for wear. Drink and drugs, I’m pretty sure. He’s not a particularly aggressive type, I don’t think. At least, not around the child. But, I have seen him lift his hand to the mother. He’s never yet hit her that I’m aware of but then I don’t see inside their house. I just hear from across the way.

He accuses her of all sorts of things. Just last week she fled into the yard from her house and he came after her, shouting that she was a slag and a whore. Well, God bless me, I don’t know where he gets these ideas from. That mother is always with Jasmine; playing with her, tickling her, reading her stories while they sit at the back door. She barely has time to wipe her nose let alone entertain anyone. And, if she had been, I would have noticed.

Not much gets by me. I’m always in the same position every day, watching the world go by. And it makes for a great alternative to television. Why, a few weeks ago, I was able to help the police with their enquiries, as they say. I had spotted the culprit as soon as he clambered over the wire fence at Jasmine’s back garden. Up to no good, I knew, straight away.

Every house had been in darkness except theirs and her father had sneaked out the back door to meet with the intruder. I had seen them exchanging packages. I’ve seen enough of the world and how it’s reported to know bad news when I see it. Idle men with nothing to do but push their nasty wares on an unsuspecting public.

One quick phone call was all it had taken. I was quite surprised at how quickly the squad car had arrived. They had been in through the garden gate and caught that man before you could say, bless me.

The no-good father, of course, had slipped back inside before they knew he was involved.

I’ve watched closely ever since, keeping a careful eye out, knowing that I’d catch him at it again.

And I did.

I don’t know why he’s roaming free after the information I gave the police. You’d think they’d have him locked up by now. I mean, what does a person have to say to get someone arrested?

Wasn’t it enough that he had been dealing drugs?

Obviously not.

Jasmine peeps up at me again and now there is no pretence from her to hide her tears. They’re rolling down her cheeks and her tiny shoulders are shaking.

Without even realising what I’m doing my hand snakes out to lift the phone receiver and I dial.

Even if I have to lie I will rid him from their lives. And I can lie.

Too many years I spent covering for the sins of my husband while he beat me. And my son watched. He watched the repeated show until he could watch no more. He’s inside now, serving a life sentence for patricide. That’s what someone called it. Murdered his father, he did. Everyone talked and looked at me, like I was to blame. And I was.

I hid away. But I watch every day, as the worst shows enacted are played out in real life. I do what I can to help now. And good riddance, is what I say. 

Bullying.

I apologise for the length of this post in advance. But it is a subject that riles me so much that I find it difficult to be too precise.

http://zanyzacreviews.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/a-note-on-bullying/

and

http://lesbianlove97.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/why-must-people-judge-love-is-love-right/

I cannot agree that there is an instinctive sadistic urge in us all.

I do agree that there are many people who have a distorted perception of the world. Their inability to empathise or, at the very least, sympathise with differing human conditions still manages to shock me to the core.

I see bullying in my workplace. Children on children, adults on adults, adults on children.

Thankfully, among the adults it is more rare. You expect ‘grown-ups’ to know better. Although that is not always the case.

I always, without exception, act on bullying that I am made aware of. And try to put preventative measures in place even where no bullying,apparently,exists.

Teaching young people to ‘walk in another’s shoes’ is one of the most valuable lessons I can give the children in my care.

I have questioned the need that some people seem to have for bullying another and, over the years, I have come to one or two conclusions.

Firstly, let me say, it is never acceptable. Never.

However, understanding motives behind actions does help to go some way in being able to effectively redress those actions.

In many cases, those bullied have been victims themselves, not necessarily in the same environment in which they perpetrate their crime.

Disclosure of facts by children and other bodies leads me to believe that many children are bullied at home. Sometimes by other siblings, sometimes by parents. Strict authoritarian rule, without the ability to negotiate anything and absolute adherence to the rules regardless of how ill-conceived they may be, can lead to rebellion. If unable to express it at home, it can become manifest in other areas of life.

The desire to exert control or power over someone else, when you have none yourself, is strong.

Seeing one parent bullying another is also too often the scenario children bear witness to on a day to day basis.

I have first-hand dealings with children whose inability to control temper is beyond description here. In most cases, it has eventually been revealed that their own home life experiences are a replica. They know no better example.

There are then children who ‘rule the roost’ at home. In these cases it is too little parental authority that is the root of the problem. They are given license to be as obnoxious as they wish. It is not what they need. It is not even what they want. They need boundaries. These children want boundaries to show that someone cares enough to exert them. There is, sometimes, on the part of a parent, the desire to instil so much confidence in their children, that they forget a couple of other life lessons. Like how to treat other people.

It’s a tough job but parents have got to do it.

I have heard,  more times than I care to think about, vitriolic comments that do not come from the school environment. These children are being taught, systematically or accidentally, to hate and ridicule in the same ignorant fashion as their parents. Football teams, religion and colour are usually high on the agenda.

Yes, and maybe- just maybe- there are some who are plain bad. I, personally, do not accept this as a generality. Dig deep enough and you will find the reasons.

Unfortunately, this all seems like little help to anyone being bullied. What does understanding motive have to do with dealing with the problem? How can knowing the possible or probable whys help with the very pressing hows? How to stop it? How to prevent it?

I am no expert on this subject. And there are behavioural psychologists out there who will have better advice to give on the subject of the whys and the hows.

But.

I deal with children every day. I have taught for over thirty years. I have seven children of my own. One or two of them have been bullied at some point. I have been bullied in my life.

My advice to stop someone bullying you?

First, accept that this is not your fault. That’s right.

You do not deserve this.

You have not done anything to warrant being bullied.

Not your ears, not your eyes, not your nose, not your glasses, not your skin colour, not your religion, not your sexuality, not your geekiness, not your introversion, not your weight, not your intelligence, not your clothes, not because you play chess.

Nothing.

You do not deserve to be bullied.

By anyone.

So get that in your head, first of all. Bullying is not on.

Secondly, recognise, and I mean really recognise, that the bully is the one with the true problem here. True, as in psychologically disturbed.

Perceiving the world as they do is not considered normal by many, many people.

Now, how do you get them to stop?

Well, once you’ve acknowledged the first two and accepted them as fact, do this.

Lift your head up. Square your shoulders. Look straight ahead. Practise this first in front of a mirror, by all means. Now say,

‘I am God’s creation. Creation is beautiful. God does not make rubbish. I am His beautiful creation.’

And do you know what? You are. Whether you believe this or not. You absolutely are. Say it enough times. And stop criticising your own nose/spots/glasses/hair/weight/height/colour/whatever.

I really mean that. Stop it! And stop it now.

Walking about dejectedly, feeling ugly, not loving yourself can make you a target. You’re vulnerable.

What do bullies do? They pick on the most vulnerable. Or, at least, who they perceive to be vulnerable. Don’t make yourself a bullseye.

Now this is not a criticism of people who are bullied. It is merely an acknowledgement that those most likely to be bullied are those who appear to be the most vulnerable. Easy pickings, they think. A lot of bullies are cowards. They don’t want the challenge.

Paedophiles, questioned on how they picked their victims, responded that they could spot a target in a crowded room. Body language speaks volumes.

Get your head back up. You are not that person.

You are God’s beautiful creation. What are you?

‘I am God’s beautiful creation.’

Now shout it out loudly, somewhere, anywhere.

‘I AM GOD’S BEAUTIFUL CREATION!’

Belt it out!

Now some practical tips.

If someone says something to you, turn it back on them as a question.

It doesn’t have to be smart or witty or even sensible. It helps. But it doesn’t have to be.

Examples:

Bully: Does your mother let you walk about looking like that?

You: Do you want to ask her yourself?

Bully: Are you trying to be funny?

You: Is it working?

Bully: I’ll waste you.

You: Would you like me to give you something else to waste?

Now, as I said, it doesn’t have to be smart or witty or even sensible. Just answer back with a question.

A question turns the tables and often leaves the bully too perturbed to know what exactly to do next.

And sometimes, the bully may come at you, fists flying.

My advice? Go mental back at them. You might not win this time but they will think again before tackling you if you have given as good as you got.

As a rule, I do not, absolutely do not, advocate violence. But. And, it’s a big but, sometimes it is your only tool.

All of the above can work for adults as well as for children.

Think about it.

You are in your workplace and someone – boss/colleague/bully is about to give you a hard time. Ask a question.

Boss: Have you finished that report yet?

You: Was it urgent?

Boss: Duhh, I needed it yesterday.

You: Would you like me to get on to it straight away or stay at this meeting?

Boss: Well, I need you here. So it will have to wait.

You: So, it’s not that urgent?

Have a retort ready. Anything.

When one of my children was being bullied I did not know. After I found out, I was devastated to think I had so badly misjudged his poor behaviour at home. I accused him of having no patience/control of his temper/consideration for others.

When I found out, through my daughter, that he was being bullied, my reaction was typical of most mothers.

I wanted to go up to that school and rip the neck off of the child/ren that was the source of my son’s unhappiness.

How dare they? How absolutely-fucking-dare they?

I’ll eat them alive.

You know? A measured approach.

I didn’t.

I would have lost my job/been arrested/restrained in a white jacket.

After all, I was the adult.

So, what did I do?

I listened.

I asked questions.

I got the whole story.

I thought.

I read up on bullying.

I studied it.

I swotted.

Obviously, this is the responsible human equivalent of ripping someone’s neck out.

Then.

Oh, then.

I put my son through a course on bullying.

We practised retorts and comebacks.

Sometimes, I was the bully and he had to give the retorts. Sometimes, he was the bully and I got to think up all the fabulous things I would say.

My daughter joined in.

She said she actually like when people came onto her because she never knew what she was going to say until she opened her mouth and was invariably delighted at her sarcastic wit. (She always has had a smart mouth on her.)

I am not trying to be flippant on a subject that is capable of making me imagine violence.

I have read posts on this site, too many posts, where young adults and older adults alike, suffer at the hands of people who amuse themselves with exerting power over others.

This subject gets to me in a way that a few others do. I imagine violence. Then I try to think smart.

Bullying is never, ever, ever acceptable.

Bullying is a way some people try to control their environment or people within it.

It affects children and adults.

We can choose how we react to their behaviour.

I choose never to accept it. I choose to always fight it with whatever means are at my disposal. I choose to bleed sometimes. I choose not to be a victim.

What do you choose?

And what are you going to do about it?