Today I read a post that pegged me and fostered self-examination. So of course I have to try it out on you. The post is Trust.
Ritual abuse, the sort that is in the name of religion and cult, is quite real and I am relieved to be informed without having to have had first-hand experience.
When I was young, I trusted everyone I met with everything about me. Frightening, isn’t it? As an abused child, I wasn’t a discerning adult; I wanted and craved close relationships instead of superficial ones and silence.
I’m still learning to trust and how to trust, not just whom to trust. After a particularly disastrous choice to trust, I no longer trusted my own judgment. I began eliminating friends, family, co-workers and anything that appeared to be an attempt at a relationship. I did well and soon had no one to which I could turn—or hurt or be hurt by.
After seven years of isolation, I am relearning the skills of small talk, which I despise. My counselor and I discussed having a group of friends to meet with and laugh with; this is foreign, intimidating. It was my brother who put it into perspective: Start with “hello” to the checkout clerk and “thank you” to someone who guided you in some small way. When you meet someone for the third, fourth, fifth time, it is okay to ask how their day is going.
There is an older gentleman who works at a national chain store near me. I see him nearly every time I enter the store. He speaks to everyone and I used to just nod. Then I began to respond quickly as I pushed my cart past him. One day he wasn’t in uniform; he was hanging out at the store on his day off. I immediately recognized he was lonely. He said he was checking his schedule—while standing in the middle of a main isle of the store. I had an actual conversation while waiting for my husband to join me.
No commitment there for me, and he appreciated the recognition that he was a part of the store’s culture.
I’m no master, and I’m learning.
One of humanity’s most basic–and most unmet needs, is the need to belong–to be recognized, to be–if only for a moment, the full focus of someone’s positive attention.
While I believe a sense of anomie is an inherent part of the human condition, life in this post industrial, post extended-family, compartmentalized world is more profound than in previous eras.
When our children are first born it is so easy to make them the center of our universe. As they grow, as their personalities begin to emerge, their demands on our time and attention become less frequent and the times of intense bonding does too. Our attention is demanded on so many fronts that we forget how to truly see our children for who and what they are. And most of us spend the rest of our lives trying to recapture that complete sense of belonging.
Perhaps it is because of the intensity of my own feelings of isolation that I easily recognize the often quiet desperation of others whose biggest failure is their inability to fit into their own skins. Like you Sandra, I’m finding that it doesn’t cost much to look at and really see and acknowledge the people, like the greeter in the department store, whose lives pass on the fringes of our lives. A few words well spoken, a look, a smile, a touch, can make all the difference in the world.
Though I don’t think I was physically abused as a child in the church, it did do a number on my brain. We all still feel the effects of religion rather or not you are religion is of no consequence to it’s effects. It should be banned and outlawed.
Formalized, organized religion is henceforth declared banned and banished; all shamans, priests, pastors, clerics, Imams and rabbis, all those who have had no direct spiritual experiences with God, who stand between God and man, are also henceforth outlawed.
This quote comes from this article over at UFO Digest. What? Yes, I follow the whole UFO thing, it’s better than church. Link: http://www.ufodigest.com/article/if-i-ruled-world-and-end-religion
Really good article Ms. Sandra.
Thank you, and I’m glad you found it though provoking.
“It should be banned and outlawed.”
Formal religion has done as much harm as good; many need it. Some trade drugs and/or alcohol for religion. Banning, outlawing—this would be as morally unacceptable as requiring a certain religious state.
“You don’t believe what I believe the way I believe it so therefore you are…” to be put to death, to be imprisoned, to be strung up as an example to others.
Better to choose what you can change, which is your social circle, your friends, your beliefs (and you have changed at least some of these). This may leave you with only nodding heads around you (people who approve of your ideas and ideals) and so limits potential for your own growth and development of ideals.
With me, as you know, it all comes back to individual. I am. And you are. (And I’ll check out your link, too. If is a big word.)