I like looking at my understanding of the world, mentally laying everything out there I know, trying to imagine the view from a slightly different perspective. Could this situation be interpreted another way? Could that situation have more to it than I’m able to understand? What am I emotionally projecting onto? What am I not allowing myself to see because it doesn’t fit within an easy conclusion I’ve already determined I want the outcome to be? It is even possible to derive an objective truth in this occasion? Where should I hold a hard fast line for myself? Where should I give in a little, even if I’m not 100% certain of a things “rightness”, and just accept and follow along with the easiest flow that everyone else is going with?
But then again, I’m pretty sure I’m just a weird person who thinks too much.
I am not someone who is easily persuaded.
But up until recent recent years, I have not been very good at sticking up for myself.
I’d feel affronted. Sure. I’d feel wronged and angry and distrustful and betrayed.
But I didn’t really do anything. I couldn’t do anything. How could I?
People typically only speak out against things they feel to be wrong when they feel supported and affirmed in their judgement of that thing being wrong. If no one else around them also thinks the thing is wrong, then no matter how strongly they believe the thing to be wrong, a person is highly unlikely to speak up for themselves against the wrong.
Is something only considered wrong if enough people are willing to rally around the cause?
Or can something still be wrong even if only one person recognizes the wrongness of the thing?
This is not as simple of a question to answer as you may first think.
Let’s take a marriage, for instance. The personal, private interactions between spouses are not always easy for an objective 3rd party to properly piece together. A husband and wife have an argument. The next morning, the husband states that the wife said this. The wife states that she did not. The wife accuses the husband of something, the husband accuses her of misreading the situation.
They both feel wronged. Have they been? Is anyone right? How can anyone tell? The couple can go to counseling. They can talk it out. Share their individual perspectives in a calmer environment. Feel heard. Listened to. Supported.
But not justified in their feeling of rightness or wrongness.
Let’s say the spouses don’t go to counseling. Don’t talk it out calmly. Don’t feel listened to or supported by each other. Instead, they just sit there continuing to feel wronged. Now let’s pretend that one of the spouses, let’s say the wife, thinks too much and eventually decides that there’s no way to know what’s true and what’s not. There’s no way for her to tell if she’s truly been wronged – of if she’s the one who’s done the wrongdoing. After all, when there’s no affirmation of your judgement of wrongness, how can you feel justified in speaking out and speaking up for yourself?
So the wife decides to let it go. To not be right. To not be wrong. To not speak up. To keep the peace.
Then another fight. Neither spouse feels heard by the other. The wife again doesn’t speak up. So the husband does instead. She leaves the argument knowing what she feels, but not knowing if she’s right. He leaves the argument convinced that what he feels is right.
This is how the hole is dug.
The hole Kyle and I found ourselves and our marriage in.
This is how emotional abuse, psychological abuse, verbal abuse, and gaslighting get started. And grow.
Because someone doesn’t speak up.
Things always start simple.
Both the bad.
And the good.
Let’s go back to the married couple. Let’s say they went to counseling. They talked things out. They feel listened to, they feel heard, they feel supported. Even still, neither spouse is decided as right. Neither side is decided as wrong.
Whether or not something was said the way it was claimed, whether or not situations were interpreted accurately or misread, it doesn’t matter. It can’t matter. We want it to matter, and the very core of our being tells us that it SHOULD matter…but it can’t matter.
No one can see the world entirely objectively. We all have different perspectives. This is not to say that there are not things that are RIGHT and WRONG – but that it can be near impossible to feel validated in your sense of rightness or wrongness if no one else shares your conviction.
Perhaps though, in the absence of that validation, it is better to strive for an environment of openness that allows us to speak up in spite of non-shared conviction. So that regardless of whether one is right or wrong, there is still support for honesty about feelings. Perhaps speaking up for yourself is the key virtue.
This rambling ronni post is coming from something personal right now. Not about marriage. Just about a thing. A thing that not’s a huge thing in the long run of life. There’s a community group I’m in. I saw a concern, something I felt to be wrong. I spoke up when no one else did & was met with little support from others. I wonder if this is because:
a) I care about things other people don’t.
b) others are too scared to ‘rock the boat’.
c) I’m over-exaggerating a problem that isn’t really there.
I think it’s probably b and a little bit of a, though I’m sure others would say its c. But either way, I’m realizing that It doesn’t matter. It’s not about me being right, or me being wrong. I have no way to truly know and I can’t drive myself crazy over analyzing the situation anymore. It’s about being able to state what I’m feeling. To speak up for myself. It’s about whether or not there is openness for one to say “hey, I’m noticing this and I’m not comfortable with it”.
Maybe I am wrong. Maybe I’m not. That no longer matters.
I could decide to let it go. To not speak up. To keep the peace.
To let the other side convince itself that it’s right.
And that no one should speak up against it.
I could let it go. Quietly leave. Keep my opinion to myself. Not rock the boat.
Give up. Go away. Take the easy route.
Tell myself I’m probably wrong.
But that was the old me. I can’t do that anymore.
I can’t cower. I can’t give up. I can’t back down.
I don’t have to be angry or mean. I don’t have to prove anything.
It’s not about being right or wrong.
It’s about having the strength to speak up.
Not giving into others’ power plays.
Not allowing people or spouses or peer groups to have the control.
Moral of the story:
It’s not about whether you’re right or whether you’re wrong.
It’s about feeling supported to speak up for yourself either way.
It’s not about giving up, running away, and finding the easiest way out.
It’s about having the self-confidence to do what it takes to try to improve a situation.
You know, I feel like there might be a “proper” blog post on my regular blog here in all this rambling somewhere.