Shunning is Abusive! End of Conversation!

If you are a parent, most surely you have used the “Time Out” method to discipline your child for unacceptable behavior. A moment for the child to “reflect”, if that’s even possible for a child to do on what he or she did wrong. The child is set aside, as the world around them either at home or school continues on. After about 5 minutes, a parent will lovingly kneel down next to their child, look at them straight in the face and ask them if they “learned” their lesson, give them a hug and kiss as the child promises to never commit their “horrific” transaction again. All is good in their world. But research has proven that neglecting, ignoring or rejecting a child leaves them without the proper resources to cope with difficult times. If they receive little to no affection or attention from their inner circle, they become open to anyone outside ready to cause them harm. They also develop depression, stress, social anxieties and personality issues.

Have you ever asked why a prisoner experiences solitary confinement? He most likely acted against prison rules/standards/laws and the idea is to punish them by depriving him/her from normal human interaction for a few days, in hopes to rehabilitate the prisoners behavior.  Here’s where it’s very different from a loving time out though. Regardless of where in the world, prison officials have been guilty of isolating prisoners for months or even years at a time. After countless research, professionals have found that this type of segregation has contributed to increased mental health problems, including anxiety, panic, insomnia, paranoia, aggression, hallucinations and depression.

Interestingly, some religions similarly practice shunning as a “loving” method to discipline congregational members for either committing a biblical sin, not meeting an organizational standard, or even just questioning certain religious ideas. This practice of shunning is in essence solitary confinement for the sinner or wrong-doer from all family and friends, by persistently ignoring, avoiding or rejecting the one targeted. And as with the two examples prior, depriving a person from NORMAL human interaction, in this case from their loved ones, will in fact have a negative effect. In religion though, just as long as the one being shunned turns BACK to the organization, then all has been validated, without assessing the psychological and emotional damage already done.

Take a closer look to what you truly consider as loving disciplinary methods and research the facts. I hope my experience gives you the strength to say “no more”.

— The Pretty Platform

“I Had Strings, But Now I’m Free” – Ultron

When was the last time you felt trapped? Were you feeling seized due to a situation beyond your control or was it self-inflicted? I invite you to pause here for just a moment to think about this thoroughly and honestly.

I’m trusting you recalled the moment and you clearly remember what it felt like.

Let me begin by stating that I’m deeply pained and sad for those of you still feeling cornered and I truly wish for you to gain back your control.  I celebrate those of you that have found freedom. May both parties be able to relate with what I have to share next.

For the better part of my years alive, my life wasn’t truly my life. My choices weren’t my choices. My accomplishments, my smiles, my happiness were all superficial. They were all the result of the choreographed strings attached to my person as a whole. I was a marionette. My outward actions delighted the spectators that made up my inner circle, but inside I was wooden. And like Pinocchio I longed to feel the essence of ME. But I was trapped because everyone else around me, essentially the people I loved, all found contentment and peace in what had been carved out as my ideal life. The life of a jehovah’s witness.

Sounds a bit dramatic, doesn’t it?

But it’s the truth. It’s my truth. It’s how I felt and I kept if from everyone else. They got to know the me that was expected. The me that was considered exemplary. The me that allowed my circle to remain my circle. These people were my family, my friends, my world. If I was ever honest about what I truly believed in or didn’t believe I’d lose everything and everyone. No one is ever ready for that. No one is ever ready for pure isolation. So I became the best version of what THEY needed to stay in my life.

With that comes some serious repercussions. There will naturally be adverse effects due to even the unintentional hypocrisy of this behavior. Whether the actions came from me or from those around me, the foundation of it was never laid upon honesty. No one can truly remain in that type of “relationship” and succeed long-term.

I recently gained control of my own life, my own choices and faced the fear of losing the one thing they will always keep hostage. So all those that claimed to be my friends and family that have remained within that organization are no longer allowed to speak to me and are no longer allowed to perceive me worthy of life or even consider me capable of human decency. Those that claimed to be my friends and my family agree to those conditions.

And with one giant leap, what I once thought to be scary is now a huge relief. I desperately cut the strings that pulled me along and finally found safety, honesty and peace in the life that I choose for myself. It’s not wooden or choreographed or anyone else’s. I finally found freedom.

(This is an intro to a series of “declaration” posts that will appear regularly on this topic as well as a book revealing the life of a child trapped in an organization chosen for them).  

— The Pretty Platform

 

 

I Questioned my fear… and I learned from it

I’ve made many changes this year. Due to that, as of late, I’ve been taking advantage of every moment of silence to pull apart the inner depths of who I am, what I want and how to reach my goals. On the bus to and fro from the NY office, there are days I never get around to opening the book I’m reading. As I drive to the daycare, I rather listen to my own thoughts than blast the radio to the sounds of Adele. And say what you’d like, but on our way back home, to allow for my moments of meditation, I equip the boys with their own tablets and headphones. Everyone is happy and to cover my parental bases, I make sure to ask them about their day as I’m tucking them in to bed at night.

These moments when I’m deep inside my head, despite the amount of people and commotion that surround me can be enlightening or filled with anxiety, many times both. I have not yet found a way to take up residence in the confines of my mind and not have an emotion emerge from the experience. Positive or negative though, it’s quite educational.

One emotion that had surfaced some time ago was fear.  Traveling in to your own head and heart can be a scary thing.  I had to quickly sort out exactly where it was stemming from and learn how to combat it. This required more thought, more meditation, and it was time to use my analytical skills.  I had to walk down that stereotypical path of “facing my fears”. I made sure to question everything to help understand everything. I summoned up the basics I learned back when I was in school and found that using the five W’s was useful at a moment like this.

Below are a few of the questions I found needed resolution (not all are included since this brain was on constant overload). Personally, I found it helpful to write these down in a journal for the occasional reference.

 

Who?

Who am I, for real, deep down, without filter, without guilt, without imposed expectations? Who do I want to be? Who’s supportive of my life and decisions? Who’s a true friend? Who can I count on, eyes closed and heart open? Who’s been there through it all without judgement?

What?

What do I expect of myself and others? What positive things do others bring in to my life? What drama and negativity do I need to avoid? What am I so concerned about? What purpose do I want to fulfill, not what others or an organization expect me to fulfill? What makes me happy? What have I learned from this experience?

When?

When did this all begin? Was the timing of my changes right for me and my family? When do I want to take a stand against negative folks and negative talk? When will I say “enough is enough”? When will I give everyone else that bring nothing to my table the finger?

Where?

Where do I place those that have turned their backs on me as far as importance in my life? Where do I see them in the future? Will their absence truly matter? Am I in a better place without them?

Why?

Why was this bothering me? Why are they behaving this way? Why does it matter? Why do others that claim to be good people find justification to treat others so poorly? Why did I need to make the changes in my life despite the risks?

How?

For journalistic integrity, I instinctively kept in the How as well. This part was definitely essential…. How do I move forward? How do I close the door on the ugly and open the door to a brighter me? How do I release the fear of losing some people, or being judged or shunned? How do I accept the inevitable?

 

After I answered all of the above honestly I realized that the people I was so concerned about were not in my life when I was at my happiest or when I was most in need. They were not there to contribute one iota to my goals, they were not there when I got married, they were not there when I was caring for my ailing mother. They either provided superficial support when my youngest son needed open heart surgery or they weren’t there at all. Plus they didn’t care to understand my changes by asking questions or showing interest.

I realized that the reason stepping deep in to my brain and heart was so scary was because they were taken hostage for so long by the organization I belonged to. My thoughts and heart needed to belong to their teachings. If I veered from that, even in the slightest I would lose everyone that was part of my social circle, my children would lose their so called friends, my religious family would easily turn their backs on us all. And in the process I had to forget who I was, who I truly was, forget who my children could be and mold in to their expectations. But we all grow up some time. Just as children need to leave the nest and find a great big wonderful world out there filled with adventure and information and make it on their own, at 44 I finally grew up and away from the trapped expectations of others.

What I once feared losing is what I now fear being a part of. May they too find their true selves one day.

 

— The Pretty Platform

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Happy Pill

He chooses a pill to fill him with the joy
that was lost so long ago.
When she left. She left him sad.
She left because he was already sad.
Well, she didn’t necessarily leave.
More like escaped.
And now he too needs to escape the memory of her.
He falsely remembers being happy.
Happy with her.
If he remembered the truth,
the truth that he was never really happy,
he just may end it all.
He chooses a pill to stay happy.
To remember she too was happy.

To survive.

— The Pretty Platform