Wednesday, 19 November 2014

If You Care, You Can Say What You Want

We've all seen things like this, haven't we? This one is about people who have been abused                                                                    

Here's another one:

These are both symptomatic of a trend that I am starting to really dislike, and here's why. I had 'liked' a Facebook page called 'The Grief Toolbox' because it was really helpful and a comfort when my Dad died, and had remained so for a long time. I finally was prompted to 'unlike' it recently, after yet another piece written about 'what not to say/do/think when in the presence of the bereaved' came along, and with it yet more comments from people bemoaning how cruel and unfeeling other people are/how dare they say that/no-one understands unless they've been through it and even then they are still arses etc etc.

Well bollocks to that. 

I am grateful for every last thing anyone took the time to say to me when my Dad died. Even the things that were a bit 'off', the things that I didn't particularly agree with, the things that really didn't make any sense to me. Cos you know what? Those people tried. They saw I was in pain and they tried to make it better. I'm also grateful for the people who said nothing because they didn't know what to say. We've all been there and I know they don't love me any the less just because they had no clue what words to string together. Who can blame them really, when the Grief Fascists are out telling people they are the lowest of the low if they tell you they 'know how you feel'?

Same with depression. When I was depressed, it didn't matter what anyone said to me, I wasn't going to feel any better. And in the same way, I wasn't going to feel that much worse either. Again, you know the people who love you, even if they don't say the right things. And you also know the people who don't give a shit, whether or not they remember not to look at their watches.

And as for being abused - well, I am just grateful for anyone who put up with me and my enduring capacity to completely ignore all the good advice I was given whilst in an abusive relationship. I don't give a teensy little rat's ass what words came out of their mouths - and in fact, the views that least chimed with my own were probably the most useful in the end. 

To me it seems like it is all part of a victim mentality that is ultimately dis-empowering. It's as though being a victim of something means you should have special privilege to be a delicate flower that the world and his dog have to tip-toe around just in case they upset your little cotton socks. Well thing is, shit happens. And shit happens to everyone - the people being slagged off for being insensitive about grief may well be depressed people themselves. So slagging them off makes the slagger themselves a bit of an arse, doesn't it? We are all human, and we all have our own crosses to bear. A lot of times when people screw up what they are saying about your situation, it is because they are extremely uncomfortable, they think you are too, and they are trying to make you and them both feel better. What on earth is so wrong with that?

Wouldn't it be better for groups and meme-makers to encourage people to be a bit less touchy and a bit more tolerant of eachother's failings? Not everyone has been bereaved. Not everyone has been abused, or depressed, or raped or mugged or whatever. But we have all been in situations where we haven't known what to say for the best. Why make it harder for eachother? Why not take whatever comes out of a person's mouth (or whatever doesn't) for what it is? Because usually what it is, is an act of love.