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FDR 2221 Stef's mother's table


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716 replies to this topic

#1
Marc Moini

Marc Moini
  • 425 posts

Listening to you (Stef) saying that the table was more important to your mother than you were. How about another explanation:


You were much more important to her than the table but she had too much to deal with on her end, too much had been done to her, she wasn't able to connect with herself enough to realize it. And even in the rare moments when she was able to discern that love, she just did not know how to communicate it to you. She would have told you, shown you, had she known how. Just never had the good luck of someone showing her how, nor the capacity (again, because of lack of knowledge) to put her own pain aside long enough to be able to care for you the way she would have liked to, the way any mother, any parent, wants to care for their child.


Separately, that table probably represented in her mind a part of what she thought she needed in order to attract and keep someone whom she thought would have helped her climb out of the hole she was in, in order to be happier and in turn, as I'm sure she was dimly aware at times, be able to better attend to your needs too.


Best wishes,


Marc


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#2
Marc Moini

Marc Moini
  • 425 posts

Email question: "You suggest that Stef's mother didn't know how to communicate that he was more valuable to her than the table. Do you really believe that?"


Yes but it's not just that, she is/was likely convinced, just like Stef seems to be, that if people don't do what is expected of them, if they don't behave according to what is considered "good" by society, then it's because they are bad/evil people, and they deserve to be punished. It's this way of thinking that you find at the core of christianity, islam, judaism, etc., which is the cause of so much violence in the world. Do you get how, when you think that people "should" do this or that and you brand them as evil and deserving of punishment if they don't do it, it makes it difficult to care about them?


Plus when you hold this belief, you apply it to yourself too, and it makes you despise yourself, which doesn't really help you achieve the inner peace that is needed in order to empathize with others (or yourself), and without this empathy communication is extremely difficult.


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#3
Stefan Molyneux

Stefan Molyneux
  • 19730 posts

You don't express any sympathy for me, who, as a helpless and dependent child, received a vicious and sustained beating. In fact, you only criticize me.


Your post has nothing to do with me.


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#4
Marc Moini

Marc Moini
  • 425 posts

It was horrible for you, I get that and I am deeply sorry that you were mistreated for so long and in such a terrible way. I wish I had started by saying that, I am still learning how to communicate and I made a mistake. You were helpless and dependent and you were abused, repeatedly and by multiple people (your mother, the headmaster, your brother and likely many others I don't know about), and I can only guess how sad and hurt you felt and still feel about that.


My intent is to help everyone consider that it's not anybody's fault things are so bad, that no one is to blame, we are all trying to do the best we know how but the way we have been brought up to think makes it unnecessarily difficult. When I glimpsed the possibility that maybe it wasn't my fault, that I didn't have to blame myself for being "wrong", that it was just mistakes, I found it incredibly liberating. 


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#5
xelent

xelent

  • 2176 posts

My intent is to help everyone consider that it's not anybody's fault things are so bad, that no one is to blame, we are all trying to do the best we know how

These are some of the most well used excuses a parent can give and are designed to assuage them of any responsibility for their actions. So your help probably requires a rethink


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#6
Marc Moini

Marc Moini
  • 425 posts

I don't follow your logic, are you saying that because some people use this as an excuse, it makes it impossible or even unlikely that most people are actually saying it truthfully?


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#7
Arius

Arius
  • 786 posts

Perhaps, it is entirely incorrect to make excuses, rather than assign responsibility, for inappropriate behavior.  Simply, it doesn't matter if brutally beating a child is a mother's "best" or not, it does not mitigate anything.  Equally, rejecting individual responsibility, especially to a victim of violence, is a distasteful action. For future reference, a more proper order of pity, empathy, and understanding enqueues the victim in front of the victimizer.


 


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#8
xelent

xelent

  • 2176 posts

No one uses this statement truthfully, since if it were the case that a parent had done the best they could, then why make the statement. As I say, it's meant to minimise and dismiss the childs experience once they are more able to defend themselves as adults.


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#9
Mira

Mira
  • 100 posts

It was horrible for you. You were helpless and dependent and you were abused, repeatedly and by multiple people.

and

 that it was just mistakes.

 

There's a disconnect there. The key words here are repeatedly and multiple. I'm sure we'd all agree that spilling your coffee on someone's desk at work is a mistake. Or misplacing a a paper. But if you'd spill coffee on someone's desk everyday for years, and if other people at work join you and spill their coffee on the same desk, what do we call that? Bullying. We realize at that point that it's deliberate. 

 


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#10
Mira

Mira
  • 100 posts

Marc, actually I want to apologize to you. I felt that my previous post was motivated by just "wanting to be right". I'm not sure how much I actually helped this discussion. You seem to be new to the board and I'm sorry my first post to you was like this. 


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#11
Marc Moini

Marc Moini
  • 425 posts

Mira, thank you.


To address your point, which I find very helpful because it gets to the core of the matter, it is mistakes in thinking. Here's an example:


If I think that part of my role as a parent is to punish my children whenever they do something "unacceptable" in order to teach them good manners, then I might do that multiple times over the course of many years, without feeling too bad about it because even though I can tell that I am hurting them I think there is no other way (and also that overall I am doing them a favor, that they hate me in the moment but they'll thank me later).


Then if one day someone explains to me that there is another, better way to achieve my goal of being a good parent for my children, and that this other way is more respectful of their desires too, and does not require using violence at any time, I might realize that there was a mistake in my thinking, that I did not "have to" punish them the way I thought was the only possibility.


Some people might prefer to call this a lack of knowledge rather than a mistake, to me it can be argued either way. But the main thing for me is that it does not imply wrongness or evil, only human imperfection.


I lived this example myself. When I realized what I had done to my children I was crushed almost to death because I blamed myself for having been wrong. Then I blamed my parents for having raised such an ignorant fool. Then I began to understand that I would have to blame their parents, and so on, until the beginning of time, if I chose the way that consists in assigning blame to people. Slowly, over many months, the other perspective that I mentioned above grew in me and now I think in terms of mistakes in thinking, or lack of knowledge of a better way to do things, rather than wrongness. For me, blaming no longer applies, nor punishing, although sometimes I still do fall back to my previous way of thinking.


I hope this makes sense. Thanks again and best wishes,


Marc


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#12
Marc Moini

Marc Moini
  • 425 posts

Arius, xelent, if you find that my reply to Mira does not address your points as well please let me know.


Best wishes,


Marc


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#13
xelent

xelent

  • 2176 posts

Mira, thank you.

To address your point, which I find very helpful because it gets to the core of the matter, it is mistakes in thinking. Here's an example:

If I think that part of my role as a parent is to punish my children whenever they do something "unacceptable" in order to teach them good manners, then I might do that multiple times over the course of many years, without feeling too bad about it because even though I can tell that I am hurting them I think there is no other way (and also that overall I am doing them a favor, that they hate me in the moment but they'll thank me later).

Then if one day someone explains to me that there is another, better way to achieve my goal of being a good parent for my children, and that this other way is more respectful of their desires too, and does not require using violence at any time, I might realize that there was a mistake in my thinking, that I did not "have to" punish them the way I thought was the only possibility.

Some people might prefer to call this a lack of knowledge rather than a mistake, to me it can be argued either way. But the main thing for me is that it does not imply wrongness or evil, only human imperfection.

I lived this example myself. When I realized what I had done to my children I was crushed almost to death because I blamed myself for having been wrong. Then I blamed my parents for having raised such an ignorant fool. Then I began to understand that I would have to blame their parents, and so on, until the beginning of time, if I chose the way that consists in assigning blame to people. Slowly, over many months, the other perspective that I mentioned above grew in me and now I think in terms of mistakes in thinking, or lack of knowledge of a better way to do things, rather than wrongness. For me, blaming no longer applies, nor punishing, although sometimes I still do fall back to my previous way of thinking.

I hope this makes sense. Thanks again and best wishes,

Marc

So might you agree then perhaps.. Given what you have said above. That your question to Stef was more about how it contrasted for you as a parent rather than genuine sympathy for Stef's situation as a child?


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#14
Marc Moini

Marc Moini
  • 425 posts

xelent,


I was repeatedly beaten while growing up (I would hide under my bed to try to escape it), and also in many other ways denied the respect due any human being, just like Stef, so I feel I can empathize with him.


I think I've learned something valuable by living a similar situation both as a child and as a parent (and by having had the good fortune of being told about this other perspective I mention) and my wish is to share it with anyone interested so that they may benefit as well. 


Does that answer your question?


Best wishes,


Marc


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#15
Dave Bockman

Dave Bockman

  • 2839 posts

Marc, just curious your thoughts on this: is a parent who rapes their child acting morally because they think it's in the child's best interests?


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#16
Marc Moini

Marc Moini
  • 425 posts

Dave, are you serious? Since when is rape moral, and have you ever heard of anyone who thinks raping their child is somehow in the child's best interest?


I don't understand why you ask this, care to explain?


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#17
Dave Bockman

Dave Bockman

  • 2839 posts

I'm going to presume from your outrage or bafflement that your answer is 'no', is that fair to say? In other words, regardless of the mindset or belief system of the parent, the act of raping a child is evil, is that correct?


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#18
Marc Moini

Marc Moini
  • 425 posts

Dave, thanks, I understand your question now.


My answer is indeed no, I don't think rape is ever moral.


However that doesn't mean that I would want to think of the rapist as evil. Yes what they did is terrible. But I find it more beneficial for all involved to try to understand how this person could come to see this horrible act as a good thing for them to do at the time. Blaming and punishing is one option, which in my mind only leads to more violence in the future.


I try to think of this person as a human being like any other, who for some reason did not think of a better way to get what they wanted at the time. Perhaps they were feeling extremely lonely after being rejected again and again by others, and it became so unbearable to them that they tried to satisfy their hunger for closeness by holding the child close to them, and then got caught up in memories of being raped as a child themselves and lost control. It certainly does not excuse anything, but by trying to think of this person as a fellow human who was feeling helpless, and interacting with them from this perspective, it helps us give them the empathy they need so badly in order to feel that they are worth something and not just a monstrosity, so that they may hope again to overcome their difficulties and start contributing to our shared time on this planet with more efficacy and less violence. Labeling them as evil and condemning them does not have this potential upside. In time, the person might even be able to help the child heal more effectively, whereas if we focus on the moral/immoral nature of their act I don't see how that would be possible.


This is an extreme example of course, which is probably why you brought it up, but I hope it illustrates my point that even in extreme situations it is more beneficial, for all involved, to try to see each other as fallible beings rather than good/evil ones. What do you think?


Best wishes,


Marc


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#19
saveyourself1

saveyourself1
  • 359 posts

It was horrible for you, I get that and I am deeply sorry that you were mistreated for so long and in such a terrible way. I wish I had started by saying that, I am still learning how to communicate and I made a mistake. You were helpless and dependent and you were abused, repeatedly and by multiple people (your mother, the headmaster, your brother and likely many others I don't know about), and I can only guess how sad and hurt you felt and still feel about that.

My intent is to help everyone consider that it's not anybody's fault things are so bad, that no one is to blame, we are all trying to do the best we know how but the way we have been brought up to think makes it unnecessarily difficult. When I glimpsed the possibility that maybe it wasn't my fault, that I didn't have to blame myself for being "wrong", that it was just mistakes, I found it incredibly liberating. 

wait, what? "

"My intent is to help everyone consider that it's not anybody's fault things are so bad, that no one is to blame,"

maybe I don't know what you mean by blame, but.... if it's nobody's fault, and there's no one to blame, then who are you talking to right now and why? I mean, you just directly called out Stefan, and I don't think it's a stretch to say that you were "blaming" and "faulting" him....and also, if there is no one that is at fault or to blame, then who is responsible for writing what you wrote in that post?....if no one is responsible for anything, then how are you using a computer, or a tablet, or whathaveyou?.....if it's no one's fault about anything, then why would you feel sorry for Stefan, as you say? In order to feel sorry for him, someone had to have done something to him, which you even indicated......

 


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#20
saveyourself1

saveyourself1
  • 359 posts

Mira, thank you.

To address your point, which I find very helpful because it gets to the core of the matter, it is mistakes in thinking. Here's an example:

If I think that part of my role as a parent is to punish my children whenever they do something "unacceptable" in order to teach them good manners, then I might do that multiple times over the course of many years, without feeling too bad about it because even though I can tell that I am hurting them I think there is no other way (and also that overall I am doing them a favor, that they hate me in the moment but they'll thank me later).

Then if one day someone explains to me that there is another, better way to achieve my goal of being a good parent for my children, and that this other way is more respectful of their desires too, and does not require using violence at any time, I might realize that there was a mistake in my thinking, that I did not "have to" punish them the way I thought was the only possibility.

Some people might prefer to call this a lack of knowledge rather than a mistake, to me it can be argued either way. But the main thing for me is that it does not imply wrongness or evil, only human imperfection.

I lived this example myself. When I realized what I had done to my children I was crushed almost to death because I blamed myself for having been wrong. Then I blamed my parents for having raised such an ignorant fool. Then I began to understand that I would have to blame their parents, and so on, until the beginning of time, if I chose the way that consists in assigning blame to people. Slowly, over many months, the other perspective that I mentioned above grew in me and now I think in terms of mistakes in thinking, or lack of knowledge of a better way to do things, rather than wrongness. For me, blaming no longer applies, nor punishing, although sometimes I still do fall back to my previous way of thinking.

I hope this makes sense. Thanks again and best wishes,

Marc

but the thing is, some people apologize so they can continue their behavior....

"blaming no longer applies"

so if somebody rapes you, who is responsible?......and what do you call that, and if it's not blame, what do you call it?


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#21
saveyourself1

saveyourself1
  • 359 posts

Dave, thanks, I understand your question now.

My answer is indeed no, I don't think rape is ever moral.

However that doesn't mean that I would want to think of the rapist as evil. Yes what they did is terrible. But I find it more beneficial for all involved to try to understand how this person could come to see this horrible act as a good thing for them to do at the time. Blaming and punishing is one option, which in my mind only leads to more violence in the future.

I try to think of this person as a human being like any other, who for some reason did not think of a better way to get what they wanted at the time. Perhaps they were feeling extremely lonely after being rejected again and again by others, and it became so unbearable to them that they tried to satisfy their hunger for closeness by holding the child close to them, and then got caught up in memories of being raped as a child themselves and lost control. It certainly does not excuse anything, but by trying to think of this person as a fellow human who was feeling helpless, and interacting with them from this perspective, it helps us give them the empathy they need so badly in order to feel that they are worth something and not just a monstrosity, so that they may hope again to overcome their difficulties and start contributing to our shared time on this planet with more efficacy and less violence. Labeling them as evil and condemning them does not have this potential upside. In time, the person might even be able to help the child heal more effectively, whereas if we focus on the moral/immoral nature of their act I don't see how that would be possible.

This is an extreme example of course, which is probably why you brought it up, but I hope it illustrates my point that even in extreme situations it is more beneficial, for all involved, to try to see each other as fallible beings rather than good/evil ones. What do you think?

Best wishes,

Marc

 

hmmm.....You've said this several times now "I don't think we should blame and punish".....if blaming and punishing is bad, what about the person being raped.......? Also, it's punishment when you tell someone they shouldn't blame the rapist.....when they're the reason they're traumatized. I mean yea, maybe they shouldn't have gone down the dark alleyway, or should choose better friends...etc. but that also applies to the rapist, he/she shouldn't rape people because of a feeling inside of himself. The responsibility for the rape is purely on the rapist though, there's avoidability by the victim in cases, but that doesn't mean it's their fault, although it's another behavior to investigate overall - such as, if the person is just playing the victim....

Imagine.....

I'm a seventeen yearold girl walking down a dark alleyway to cut across the parking lot.... I'm wearing a tight miny skirt and a support bra with a low-cut skirt, it's a friday night and I just got out of a friend's house watching a video about Katy Perry's life, and now I'm going to chase the town, I'm happy, I'm anxious to discover the fun in the rest of my night...and then a lone male, 32 years old, six foot two, decides that his sexual impulses or going to have the best of me, and though its quick, he pushes me against the wall hard, bruises are impacted on my buttocks and back....I feel incredible pain....and my night's ruined, my psychology, my new founded fear of walking in the dark, of tall males, of white males (pretending the male was white and the woman is black), of ..... going out at all at night, even with friends.... I only go where there are bright lights and crowds of people mostly my age. I usually just stay inside out of fear though......

What would you say to that person, we'll call, cherry...... and the raper, Peter.....

Is it Cherry's fault that she was in the dark alleyway?.....

is it Peter's fault?

well, if there's no one at fault (like you said earlier), then how was she raped?....

if it's not Peter's fault because he was raped, and so on, and so on, up five or six generations....then basically it's no one's fault for anything, but if it's no one's fault for anything then who's responsible for the window that I broke just now (hypothetically speaking)?.....

The thing is, you are responsible for everything you do, because without you those actions would not take place. You fundamentally own your body, in and out, and hence, the consequences of your actions. I heavily recommend the book "UPB", that Stef has free on the website here.


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#22
Mira

Mira
  • 100 posts

You know, when talking to ourselves about the past, I do think it's essential to have compassion and empathy for ourselves. It's having compassion and empathy for the child we once were. Realizing that we did what we did because of the messages we internalized as children about our worth or lack there of. It's only through that compassion and empathy that we can understand what happened and can have empathy and compassion for our children, and other children.  Punishing and blaming in that context is not helpful and is in fact part of the internalized voices from the past. I think perhaps that this might be what you mean when you say "mistakes in thinking". The mistakes were to believe and internalize the shaming messages when were kids, and not learning how to get our needs met in peaceful ways, or even think we deserved to have them met. That leads to thinking "there is no other way". 


It seems to me that that powerful part in the podcast compelled you to come here and post, and perhaps you did not want to specifically call out Stef as much as share what came up for you while listening to it and have a discussion/feedback from others. Like, I could be wrong, but that's my impression. Do you think that was what you intended? If that's the case then sort of clarifying that would prevent the discussion from derailing.


Thank you for this post and for sharing your thoughts on this, it got me thinking.


 All the best, Mira.


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#23
Heiko Cochius

Heiko Cochius

  • 146 posts

The question Marc threw up has been coming up for me over and over again. What would my father, my mother actually have been able to do? How debilitated has he actually been? How capable of acting differerently have I been as a father?


The influence of philosophy and FDR has been on me as a father and husband and friend that I have achieved more clarity about my values and about the consequences of not living up to my values. I took my guilt and shame feelings more seriously because they pointed me to those actions that contradicted my values. Through that process I realized that I could not have acted with that degree of moral integrity that I am capable of acting now. In a sense, one could say that my values are more important to me now than earlier. Earlier, I would have proclaimed that those values are of high importance to me, but I did not live up to that claim as well as I do now. Because I am more capable of accepting emotions of guilt and shame as guidance toward moral integrity.


So, what I am saying is: moral integrity is a skill that has to be developed and trained. It is like a muscle. To be able to listen to the conclusions of reasoning with respect to morality and relationships is an ability that not many of our fellow human beings have. Just how much of that muscle did my father / my mother have? The more I realize just how much work it was to reach that higher level of moral integrity the smaller the elbow room becomes that I see my father as having had when he treated my horribly.


Which is a different question from this one: Was it morally wrong what my father / my mother did? What my parents did (e.g. beating, neglecting) was wrong. It is not compatible with their objective responsibility that comes along with their role as parents. Another way of saying this is: Some of their actions were not universally preferable. Or to put it still differently: If they would have rationally thought about it, would they have been able to justify it? Regardless of the answer, I did have an array of emotions in dealing with those injustices and damages received due to their actions.


Where these two questions come together is in the question of moral condemnation: Do I condemn my mother morally for beating me severely and dangerously? I would only be able to do that if she was capable of choosing differently. If I come to the conclusion that she did me wrong - meaning that her actions were not rationally defensible -, but that she did not have enough strength to choose differently, because her trauma consequences were too mighty, then I could not condemn her. I could be aware that she is dangerous and I could be avoiding contact with her, but that would be it. How much of a robot were they really when it came to their traumas being triggered by me?


I have found that I am quite satisfied with protecting myself. That included imagining beating my mother into a pulp and enjoying it in order to establish boundaries that my father never set against violence. That really helped. But I did not need clarity about moral condemnation for distancing and protecting myself against my mother or father.


What I do find interesting is how much my father is able to change his egocentric exploitative behavior. I still have contact with him, and as I get better in calling his egotistic behaviours I feel less and less anxiety around him. And I realize how impulse-driven he is, and how little of a freely choosing person he is. That is shocking, like encountering a different species, but it is grounded in reality and experience and relaxes me into a more peaceful attitude towards the sad fact that my father is relationship disabled.


I hope my thoughts fit into this thread and are helpful in differentiating the questions around parent-child abuse.


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#24
Stefan Molyneux

Stefan Molyneux
  • 19730 posts

My mother never hit me in public.


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#25
Arius

Arius
  • 786 posts

But I find it more beneficial for all involved to try to understand how this person could come to see this horrible act as a good thing for them to do at the time.

It is entirely possible that a rapist might believe such an act was correct at the time of commission. However, that fact does not mitigate any portion of the events which occurred.  No matter how the rapist psychologically frames the event, the victim still suffers.  I will say that the intent of the attacker is the primary deciding factor in which response is appropriate.  For example, if a adult hits a child accidentally (bumps into them or something), then it's reasonable to expect that, after an apology, the child might forgive the parent and their relationship can continue as before.  Alternatively, if an adult hits a child intentionally, then segregating the two might be best.  My point is, the motivation and rationale for violence are not relevant to how responsibility is distributed.  There is no way to empathize with the attacker without attempting to reduce their responsibility in the situation.  At best, you could argue that the woman should be placed in a metal hospital rather than jail.  That is, you could argue that violent retribution was an inappropriate response to violent acts. 

I don't doubt, for even a second, that someone who would brutalize their own child was not quite right in the head.  However, that mental problem does not change the act which occurred or who is responsible for what happened.  At best, it might change which response is proper.  In our specific case, if a woman brutalizes her child because she is mentally ill, then (once she has received curative mental treatment) the child may wish to reestablish a relationship.  Consider this:  Suppose the woman had epilepsy.  As such, she periodically had seizures, during which she wildly beat her child.  If she refuses to seek treatment for the condition, her actions (the beatings) are (essentially) deliberate.  That is, she could choose to stop, but she doesn't.  By that same token, if a person has some mis-alignment in their mind which drives them to violence, not seeking treatment makes violent acts deliberate.

I'll conclude with this.  Ask yourself:  How many times do I need to find myself looking down at the beaten body of my child before I know there is something gravely wrong with my mind? Personally, I'd be horrified if my count ever reached one. Knowing that, aren't you going to take every possible action to protect the little guy?  Now, apply that same reasoning to Stef's situation.  From what I've heard Stef was systematically assaulted for years.  This wasn't a single outburst followed by attempts at rehabilitation.  This was habitual, sadistic, and unremedied.


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#26
Marc Moini

Marc Moini
  • 425 posts

saveyourself1, thanks for your questions. I can see I did not express myself very clearly, I'll try to explain better:


I agree with you that each person is responsible for their actions, I just think they did what they did not because they are evil and wanted to cause harm, but because they are so hurt themselves and so full of contradictory ideas that at times they feel overwhelmed and end up doing thing that they regret. Maybe they are not even able to regret it, if the ideas they have imbibed from the culture leads them to think that their victim was at fault for something already and deserved the punishment. I guess something of the sort goes on in the mind of soldiers at war, who are conditioned to see enemies on the other side instead of fellow human beings. Or religious people who think of those with different beliefs as sinners who deserve to burn in hell.


Does this make more sense to you?


Best wishes,


Marc


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#27
Blank

Blank


  • 14136 posts

And so, it's the responsibility of the helpless victim in the war zone, and the helpless child in the violent home, to have sympathy for the person who is more or less unrepentent about causing him suffering or death? 


If sympathy is to be set up as a moral virtue, then how shall we judge Stef's mother, who clearly had no sympathy whatsoever for two boys she severely abused, and then abandoned for years on end?


 


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#28
Marc Moini

Marc Moini
  • 425 posts

Mira, yes, this is what I tried to express with "mistakes in thinking".


And yes, that part in the podcast is what motivated me to come here (I wouldn't say compelled) and try to share this perspective which I think leads to more happiness for everyone. I have trouble understanding what I did that you interpret as criticism of Stef, I'd appreciate if you would help me to see it. I don't want to cause any harm to anyone. Was it the tone of my first post? Listening to the podcast I was feeling frustrated because I would like so much for everyone to stop torturing themselves and each other by using the blame/punish way of thinking, I would like more people to see the beauty and relief that the "imperfection/so already full of hurt themselves" way of thinking can bring instead. Maybe some of this frustration which I was feeling towards my lack of action to further this wish of mine (until I began to write the post) found its way in my tone?


Thank you to you too, I am glad to hear that you got something out of what I am trying to share.


All the best,


Marc


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#29
TheRobin

TheRobin

  • 817 posts

I don't quite get what makes you think, that people are "torturing themselves" for ascribing blame where blame is due. Where did you get that impression from?


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#30
Dave Bockman

Dave Bockman

  • 2839 posts

Marc,


I'm pretty certain holding victims of child abuse & mistreatment to a higher standard than the perpetrators of those acts is corrupt.


Also you are conflating 'blame' and 'anger' with 'the accurate laying of responsibility'. I do not blame my abusers; I accurately identify them as responsible for their actions against me.


They are morally culpable. If you do not hold them as such, then you must absolve me of my errors also, and stop posting about this-- since the mislabeling and unfounded anger I experience when contemplating the decades of abuse I suffered are far less egregious actions than those violations I mentioned.


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"Use the flame of knowledge to light candles, not peoples' hair"-- S. Molyneux


#31
Kowalski

Kowalski
  • 302 posts

Dude, you realize you're using circular logic to avoid confronting your parents and taking responsibility for what you did to your kids right?


Implicit in what you're saying is that people who judge child abusers are acting in an unfair way and should change their behavior to one that's more fair, which is a moral judgment. But people here genuinely believe condemning child abuse is the right thing to do, so how can you hold them responsible if they can't hold abusive parents responsible?


Either no-one is responsible for anything, or both unfair judgments and child abuse are things to be condemned, and hitting a child is a lot worse than passing even an inappropriate judgement on someone else (let alone a valid judgement)


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#32
Gnostiphile

Gnostiphile

  • 132 posts

Hi, Marc

I am curious where you are going with this. Let's assume that you are right, that Stefan is thinking about it all wrong. Let's say he adopts your way of thinking on this issue. Then what? What happens next?


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#33
Marc Moini

Marc Moini
  • 425 posts

Heiko, thank you for sharing your thoughts, your idea of moral integrity as a skill that has to be developed, along with your insight into the role this plays in the eventual moral condemnation of someone, resonates with me.


I am sorry to hear of yet another person who was subjected to such difficult conditions during childhood, I wish you had had more luck.


I am glad however that you found your way out of hatred for your tormentors and that you find peace in seeing their behavior towards you as the tragic result of their lack of development rather than a desire to harm you. I am also glad that you did not fall into the trap of blaming yourself for having been their victim.


Many hundreds of thousands of children are living the same sort of hell right now, we really need to get our act together and do something to help them. And also help all the grownups who used to be one of these children, including those who have not been lucky enough to find or be shown the way out of hatred that you did find.


Thanks again for your contribution and best wishes,


Marc


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#34
Kevin Beal

Kevin Beal

    :)


  • 1405 posts

I agree with you that each person is responsible for their actions, I just think they did what they did not because they are evil and wanted to cause harm, but because they are so hurt themselves and so full of contradictory ideas that at times they feel overwhelmed and end up doing thing that they regret. 

These things are not mutually exclusive.

Obviously the intention was to cause harm.


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"There is no law, no compulsion, no law of physics or man that is preventing you from living the life that you want" - Stef (The Greatest Gift in the Entire Universe)


#35
Marc Moini

Marc Moini
  • 425 posts

Stef, thanks for your interest in this discussion, and I appreciate your patience (English is not my native language and perhaps I am sometimes unintentionally using wordings that convey nuances I do not mean). I guess it is uncomfortable for you to consider revisiting your interpretation of your mother's hurtful actions towards you, because the pain is still very much alive in you. And you don't want to lose the resentment because it is what keeps the pain at bay? Please correct me if I misunderstand.


To you the fact that your mother never hit you in public is proof that she had the capacity to refrain herself from hitting you, and also that she knew that hitting you in public would make her look bad, correct? And you deduce from this that she was clearly evil because she could also have chosen to not hit you when you were alone. I agree it makes sense.


It seems to me however that it is also possible to explain her behavior in a way that does not involve labelling her as evil but instead merely seeing her as making tragic errors based on erroneous knowledge and perhaps faulty reasoning as well. Plus as Heiko said above, undeveloped moral integrity (or capability). In public, her desire to appear respectable/nice overrides everything else. She still thinks you deserve to be hit for whatever it is that she doesn't like from you, but she refrains herself. Alone with you, she doesn't need to hold back the blows because of concerns with her public image. So far I think you'll agree. Then we get to the reason(s) she has for hitting you. I think she does it because she thinks you are being bad, and in her way of thinking someone who is bad deserves to be punished. It's as simple as that (the other way of thinking, which I have tried to explain a few times above, mostly unsucessfully it seems, is much more difficult to apprehend for us because we live in a society that adheres to the good/evil blame&punish model and has done so for thousands of years). It doesn't mean she doesn't love you. Now in your mother's case from what I understand she has additional difficulty with expressing affection (meaning she never learned to do it or she learned to NOT do it), and perhaps there are a number of other areas where she didn't have the opportunity to develop her latent capacities, all of which made it all the more difficult for her to be able to show you her love the way you needed it.


Please do tell me what you don't agree with and I'll do my best to try to address your concerns. Or perhaps I'll realize that I missed something important and she really is evil! Thanks again for your patience and curiosity.


Best wishes,


Marc


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