The Right to: Disagree.

We can’t all agree on everything otherwise what would be the point of having opinions? What kind of a life would it be if we all just nodded in agreement with each other even when we believed differently. I know people who do this – conflict haters. Shamefully, I have acted this way before as some situations deem it, especially when confronted by an aggressor; nodding along can save hours of torment. However, in the actual world, away from abuse and when dealing with people of trust or friendship, you hope that your opinion is taken and respected whether others agree with it or not.

Recently, a “friend” on Facebook un-friended me. I use the term “friend” pretty loosely here. We were friends once, maybe not close friends but good friends. She was a good enough friend to be invited to my wedding and clearly I was a good enough friend for her to accept and attend it.

(Although after my recent discoveries that many a so-called ‘friend’ only really showed up for free food and a party, I can pretty much put her into that bracket).

I had noticed she un-friended me the week before but thinking, perhaps hoping, it had been a mistake, I re-requested her back. She accepted which led me to believe albeit naively that the prior case was true. That was until a week later I was “dumped” again. She hasn’t had a request from me since and she won’t.

There are several reasons I believe she has done this.

Six weeks ago and as something I often do, I asked some mummy friends on Facebook for some advice about my daughter’s sleeping patterns. We discovered that she was going through something called “Sleep Regression” where at a certain point in their first year, when baby is learning to sit up and crawl, they will find it hard to switch off their brains at night therefore will spend many hours waking up on all fours VERY upset and frustrated. It’s frustrating and incredibly upsetting for the parents too. No one wants to witness their little one so distressed and unable to do the one thing that brings them so much peace. We all need our sleep but especially babies. It is crucial for not only their physical development but their mental strength too.

Having witnessed my daughter waking every hour on all fours three consecutive nights and rife with worry, I asked my mummy friends for their take on what was happening. Many responded with past and current stories, sympathies and support. A few contrasting comments were made and many we could not all agree on. Much advice was offered too and I was extremely thankful for it. As a mum you question everything that you do and worry you aren’t fully doing your best so to hear different techniques was incredibly welcomed. I answered as many mums’ responses as I could, embracing each offering. Some were quick to dispel others but for me, any advice was good advice; I was at my wit’s end!

A couple of nights later I realised that some of the techniques that were suggested were not suitable for us as a family. They went against what we believed was right for us and our child and I posted that on Facebook. Something that was suggested that we did not agree on was given by the woman who has now disowned me. I was so shocked that she seemed to have taken personal offence to my words. All I had said was a certain technique was not for us. It was her choice to be offended by it.

I have the right to disagree.

I have the right to realise something does not suit me.

It does not question or disapprove someone else’s beliefs but it’s my right to make that decision for my daughter. After all, we know our own children better than anyone else.

To delete me is absurd but perhaps your motives were something else entirely?

You barely uttered two words to me after my wedding, joining the gang of pathetic girls who did the same. Yet, foolishly, I believed you were better than that. Educated, caring and responsible are how you came across, people liked and like you. I often hear very good things about you. You even gave me well wishes when my daughter was born prematurely.

There are many people that do things that look good.

What about just doing good?

No questions. No expectations. Just true.

Thank you to all the mummies who helped me last month. Your advice is very much appreciated.

xxx

The personal rights we forget we deserve.

You and I have the right to:

  1. put my needs first – there are times in our lives where we have every right to be selfish. It is our life after all. It is essential that we have concerns and care for ourselves. Within reason, we need to be selfish in order to be happy.
  2. be treated with respect – I spend most of my time worrying about how I treat everyone else that I forget I deserve the same treatment. For years I feared my father who demanded constant respect. I associated the word with him and that there was no justification for me to get it. I know now that I deserve it too, I deserved it all along. Respect is a basic right.
  3. express my feelings whatever they may be – Anger, hurt, sadness, fear, happiness: I have the right to feel these things and not have to justify them when I do.
  4. say NO – If and when I need to, this is an essential right for me, one that I am only just getting to grips with, one that will take more time to develop but one that I hope will strengthen in me. Someone called me a “walkover” recently. It hurt me. I am not a walkover or a pushover. I have a soul and I have rights and I do not appreciate being perceived in that way.
  5. have opinions and values – they count. They are relevant and as important as yours. They are mine and should not be dismissed at any whim. I am a woman with a mind. Accept it.
  6. not take on other people’s problems – A very significant right. At times, we want to and will be there for others. That may be part of our character but like anything else, we have rights to refuse this when it becomes too much. Mentally, there is only so much a person can take on. Other people’s problem bring a new stress into our lives, we worry and fear for them, we become consumed by their issues often neglecting our own. It seems selfish and unkind but this is not a right that we demand constantly. I have spent hours listening to the trials and despairs of my family wishing they’d factor in that I have problems too. They didn’t and I was left dealing with theirs, feeding them advice and becoming a confidante to them. A position I was so desperate not to be.
  7. make mistakes – it’s okay to be wrong. It happens. I have the right to be wrong. Do not punish me because I am not perfect. No is.

Not even you.

Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, Don’t give up the fight.
Bob Marley

Am I manipulative?

I would not class myself as manipulative since finding out what this kind of behaviour is. I would however, class some people I know as owning this behaviour. After discovering its meaning, I have been looking out for it this last week and have been surprised to see it in the people around me. Often, you do not know when you are doing it. I cannot admit that I am never manipulative.

Examples of manipulative behaviour are:

  • Guilt tripping – If you really cared about me then you would….
  • Using ailments as an excuse to do something – my back has been hurting all week/I just feel too tired to….
  • Use of emotional bribery – I’d be forever grateful if you could…..

Of course, in certain circumstances, it would be wrong not to have sympathy for these reasons but it is all dependant on how often they use this as an excuse. You may begin to identify that there are specific people in your life that manipulate you constantly.

Mu husband probably sees this behaviour from me. For example whilst walking past some shoes I may like, the occasional “If you want to make me happy…….” might trickle out of my mouth but usually in jest. Sarcasm can be manipulative too. What do they say, “50% of sarcasm is truth”? We trick people into believing it’s a joke, but of course there must be some truth behind it. We wouldn’t say it otherwise.

Children are the key grouping that fall into manipulative behaviour using their position as someone you love and care about to get what they want. Just because they are children doesn’t give them free reign to behave inappropriately. This is when clear boundaries should be set so they understand what is appropriate and effective behaviour.

Adults can be manipulative too.

My father was and I believe my mother has been too. The latter may not be realising when she is.

My father regularly used manipulation to get what he wanted. He played on everything possible: his age, his ethnicity, his culture, his position in society, his job, his illnesses, my lack of empathy. All these things manifested into me feeling extreme resentment towards him.

Love comes when manipulation stops; when you think more about the other person than about his or her reactions to you. When you dare to reveal yourself fully. When you dare to be vulnerable.
Joyce Brothers