First Posted 10-Oct-2014
Placating is a losing game. Teachers in Nebraska back in October of 2014 were asked to use gender neutral so as to not cause offense. My itch today is a big middle finger salute to those who would impose their orthodox pronouns on the rest of us because a minority resent the pronouns that exist in the language. The LBGT community too often behaves like a tail that wants the dog to wag in a pleasing manner in the name of progress. Placating these folks just sets up a rinse & repeat where the demands are escalated.
I spent many a school day fighting a maneuvering war with my bullies. If I could behave in a particular way I might escape a beating today. Tomorrow? Dunno. Tomorrow is tomorrow. You don’t have to threaten me in my presence to bring up those old bad days of keeping my head on a swivel and paying very close attention to the body language of my nemesis. A news story about some LGBT kids (?!kids!?) attempting to control the behavior of the majority through dictating acceptable language works just fine.
I was bullied as a kid. I could not make it through recess or walk home from school without being threatened, teased or beaten up. In second grade, my teacher used to throw her high heeled shoe at me and when that was not enough, grab me by the ears with her long fingernails and shake my head while yelling at me. More than once I went home with scabs behind my ears to accompany the bruises and scrapes delivered by my tormentors on the school yard and in the classroom.
I survived by outsmarting my bullies. I feigned sickness so the teacher had to send me to the nurse. I got really good at figuring out where my bullies planned on hiding to ambush me and then making sure I wasn’t there to ambush. I didn’t try to placate them. Telling my Mom was useless. My Dad gave me orders not to fight and I suffered for honoring his words. So, I am sensitive to behavior that feels like bullying. This week’s news story about Nebraska teachers being asked to use gender neutral pronouns feels like bullying from people who claim to be victims. It’s the sort of insane reason to abuse or use I’ve heard from addicts or abusers. To claim that the use of gender-specific pronouns is offensive, to use that as a bat with which to beat the larger society with, feels like bullying.
One of the things children of addicts do to try and survive is placate. They drop their healthy boundaries and let the addict do most anything. They apologize profusely to the addict, take on responsibility for things no reasonable person would be held accountable for. It gets insane. Mixed in with it is often all sorts of wicked psychological, physical and/or sexual abuse. It becomes a feeding frenzy for evil, a hurricane of ugly that destroys the child. This can be incredibly hard to heal.
Incredibly, for some who survive this, they pick partners who are exactly like the abusers they swore they’d never be mixed up with. It’s as if the momentum isn’t toward love but down a dark and unstoppable road to hell. Some carry on the addiction and abuse they suffered in their own lives, becoming perpetrators where they were once victims. In the story from Nebraska, a proposed alternative is “purple penguins.” I hear this and can’t help connect the placating of children or adult children of addicts to this. We are trying to placate a minority of folk who are themselves deeply broken. It won’t matter what pronoun we use to refer to the students. The root of it is dysfunction of one sort or another that will find offense in any pronoun we use.
Addiction or abuse or both is stopped by those around the addict or abuser refusing to continue a destructive relationship. One of a few things will happen. The abuser or addict will get treatment and perhaps return to being a positive, contributing member of society. Or the addiction and abuse will escalate to the point of crime putting the addict or abuse in custody for a stretch. Last, they may die.
For those affected by the addiction or abuse the outcomes of the addict or abuser don’t really matter. In a way, they are so captured by evil as to be dead anyway. What matters is healing themselves from the wounds caused by the addiction or abuse. Placating just perpetuates the evil and gives it room to escalate. We have to just stop placating. We have to take the stand, finally, that this is nuts and must cease. Until we do the sick folk who take offense at gender specific pronouns will just continue to escalate, continue to accuse us of being abusive to them through our language.