My youngest son is still sleeping and my mind is going a mile a minute and so I thought I'd sit and type... (until my hands fall asleep...thanks cts!)
I've been thinking about words and how they can be used for good and/or evil. I prefer to use mine for good. I don't enjoy hurting others. I get no pleasure out of it. I feel that those who do, are quite insecure with themselves and that makes me sad and sorry for them. That being said, I am still capable of being hurt by words. The old saying "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me".... They may not create outward cuts, bruises and sores, but they surely create emotional ones. Ones that could possibly take longer to heal. When you start not trusting the person behind those words, it takes a LOT to gain that back.
Words and Kids
Hate. I hate the word hate. I actually try not to use it at all. If I do, it's mostly in jest. When my kids use it, I tell them hate is a powerful word and we see if we can come up with an alternate word. Example "I hate this kid Billy" . I ask why and usually it's "well he's just mean". I go about asking if he's done anything hurtful to them and usually he/she/they haven't really done anything. So instead of hating Billy I suggest we dislike his attitude and hopefully he can find peace one day. It may sound cheesy to some, but it's how I feel. I don't know Billy's home life. He could have it a terrible one and was never taught anything nice. I have no idea. He could have a great home life and is just genuinely mean to others. But since we don't know, I try and instill some other ways to think of Billy in to my kids lives. I don't know if it's working, only they can decide how they ultimately want to feel. If what they feel is true HATE, then I want to know why and how I can help. Hate is too powerful of an emotion in my eyes to just let slide. If my child came to me and said I don't like Billy so I just stay away from him. I may try to dig deeper just to see why and if he's done anything harmful, but they have made their decision and actions clear and for that I would be proud.
I refuse to call my kids demeaning names. Their actions can be called things, but my child won't ever (by me at least). If they make a mistake I will tell them I love them but they didn't make a good decision. If I see my child acting mean I tell them my children are to be kind to everyone (there are exclusions but when I'm saying that it's because they may be taunting one another with bad names and such) I refuse to raise mean kids. I know I don't have control of their feelings and actions, but I do know that how I treat them, what I call them and how I teach them to treat others will have an impact in their lives and ultimately how they treat others. As a parent, we should be our kids biggest fans, advocates, encouragers and so-forth. I have reasonable expectations for them meaning I don't expect them to be the best at everything (even though they may want to be), I don't expect straight As, but I expect good grades and if they're not getting them I will see why. Doesn't mean they're stupid or lazy. It could be they're just struggling. Kids have stress just like adults do. One is not more significant than the other. As adults we may THINK their stress is immature or not worth it, I assure it is. Learning how to cope at a young age helps us as adults. We were all kids once and there were things we found quite stressful that we may not now as adults. There are also stressors that mirror ours as adults. Peer pressure, upcoming test/project/assignment, drugs, sex, alcohol, being accepted, speaking in public, personal appearance, weight, height, build, gender, love, lust, bullies. Those are all things both children and adults have to deal with. So I communicate with my kids. It helps having such an open conversation. I cannot complain how my parents raised me, but I didn't feel comfortable talking about certain things. I do believe it's mostly generational and I am more aware of that need so I make the effort with my kids. I truly believe my parents raised me the absolute best they possibly could and I cannot ask for more than that. I was and still am loved by both of them and I will never question that and will always be grateful to have them as my parents. Heck, they created an amazing a group of amazing people!!!
Words in relationships
It's taken me 20 years and a divorce to learn how to communicate in a relationship and I'm still struggling every single day. I'm sure there are a zillion relationship books out there, but none are written specifically for me and my partner. I have to write my own and I mean that figuratively ...though, by how much I share it could literally happen one day.
Calling your partner (boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse) names in anger is incredibly hurtful. I know in the past, when angry, I have said so many things just because I knew it would hurt the other person. I vow to no longer do that. In fact, I am pretty sure I have never done that to Steve. I am very cautious about it. It doesn't mean those words and phrases pop up in my head on occasion, I just push them away and think of another way to get a point across or to communicate my frustration. There are many demeaning words that can be said to one another. One in particular I cannot stand. I won't even write it, but it starts with a "C". I think by calling a woman that, it's basically saying she's worthless. She has no worth which means she should probably just die because she's sucking out any positivity this world has to offer. I find that quite rare in a person (man or woman). I truly do not know a more hateful word out there. Believe it or not, I have been called that word by a couple different people when in a drunken stupor. I don't think being drunk is an excuse. It's because they knew that word was one that I cannot stand, is why it it was used. I will happily say that one of those men was court ordered out of my life and I hope to never see him again. However, if anyone sees me running away from a crazy man in a wheelchair, it's him. I don't have anything nice to say, so I won't say anymore about him.
Back to shutting your partner down with demeaning words and phrases. If your fight has come to that, then I believe the relationship needs a good long look. When someone is in a committed and loving relationship, those words should never be uttered. I am not going to get into extreme situations like cheating, rape, and horrible situations like that. I'm talking about a stupid fights about money, time management, disrespectfulness, jealously, priorities, double standards, lying, inebriation, and other poor choices the other person may have done in ones eyes. I am sure some people won't agree with me, and that's up to them to decide. If that person is my partner then I know I cannot dictate how that person responds in an argument, but I can choose my own words and actions. I can chose to forgive such words, but my full trust won't come back for some time...if at all. I do believe verbal abuse exists and can be just as detrimental to a relationship as physical abuse if not stopped. My mom always told me to leave immediately if a man ever hits me. Thankfully, one never has. As I said, I am willing to forgive those who have verbally struck me if the person is sincere about apologizing and works on themselves and the part of them that feels the need to fling hatred towards someone they claim to love. Per the dictionary "Verbal abuse is the excessive use of language to undermine someone's dignity and security through insults or humiliation, in a sudden or repeated manner." also known as bullying, berating, insulting. It's using words as weapons to hurt someone else. Why does anyone wish to hurt someone they love in that manner? When the need to hurt is there, so is the lack of respect for that person and I do believe lack of true love. The word love has been used poorly by people who claim to love yet continuously hurt those they claim to. It contradicts the word and shows a lack of love. I don't want to be in a relationship where my love is not reciprocated. I wouldn't think anyone else would too.
Please use your words for good whenever possible.