The real reason I posted the “courage” statement this last week had nothing to do with Down syndrome. It has much more to do with a person in my life who has been extremely critical lately. They have been ill, and I am hoping that as they get better, the verbal abuse will go down.
Last night I inadvertently interrupted their listening to the hourly news update, and I was roundly told off. So I apologized. So then I got told off for “apologizing all the time”. (What else am I to do when they get angry at every little thing?) I held my tongue, but I felt like saying:
-Sorry I am breathing.
-Sorry I am living.
Now I do not REALLY feel this way in general (I LOVE living). I guess that the person being discussed does not realize how negative they sound, nor its effect on others. But I, personally, am getting fed up with it.
Then I read Dave Hingsburger’s blog ( http://www.davehingsburger.blogspot.com/ ) (an interesting blog on disabilities, but, again, I do not identify with all of his positions) yesterday on verbal abuse. I quote:
The woman in front loses patience with her daughter, "You need to shut up now, it's times like these that I can't believe I gave birth to you. There's a decision I'd like to take back sometimes." Shock trailed through the line up. Then the boy got a withering attack, "you were useless as a child and it looks like your going to be useless as a man.'
I looked at the woman's face, expecting to see hate there. I didn't. I saw something worse. Pleasure. She was taking pleasure in what she was saying. I looked back down the line. Everyone had the look that I was sure was on my face, "I want to say something but I'm afraid I'll make it worse, later, for the kids."
(PS if you have a kid with DS, look up the original blog. There is an added story there…)
I know how I feel after one week (two?) of constant mild criticism. How could the children weather life if they have such a parent? The answer: they probably don’t.
And my reaction?
It is so easy to see the wrong in such a blatant verbal attack. Yet I suspect that any of us who are parents (excluding any angels who read here), should use this as a wakeup call. Are we guilty of a 5% attack? 3%? Lets each try to be a bit more positive and less critical today.... Have a nice day (and good “Shabbas” ie, Saturday)!