The Misuse of Respect

I deeply and fully believe in respect, rue and attempt to rectify whenever I lose this perspective. However, I have come across many examples in which the true meaning of respect is lost and the word is used to control, misuse, rob, reject, wipe out another person’s perspective, their reality and need.

A woman has been living with her boyfriend for over a year. She is an adult. Her parents, very narrow-minded religious people demand that she move out. Her parents take her staying with the man she loves as a sign they do not respect her. Her sister will not speak to her for “…what she is doing to our parents.” Her brother, a military leader stationed very far away, wrote an endlessly castigating letter for her co-habitation and demanded she return to the fold. Only then would she be accepted. It was the order “be a child again.”

Her boyfriend floats back and forth between being terribly hurt that she does not clearly state her union with him as a fine decision, that she creeps after reunion with her parents who see her only alone. They have a meal in the kitchen with no one else present due to her “fallen state.” When told she them was moving to an adjacent state where her boyfriend was offered an important job her mother whined “.. we won’t be able to go shopping.” Her daughter reassured her. “You know Mom, there are trains.” After hearing more castigating of her boyfriend, that night on the phone, she asked whether Mom would come to the wedding. Her mother said, “Have a nice wedding.” This same mother put a statement in FaceBook about mourning her daughter’s death. You do not agree with me. I wipe you out.

And what about the coming children? Also to be disowned by her parents who were very angry after her boyfriend confronted her father and said his girlfriends siblings had sex before marriage, only did not live together; the boyfriend added you probably also did it.

Well that was that. Her father was affronted. Called it disrespected. One can  conclude that Dad demanded the false front of a hypocrite. You pretend you aren’t having sex and I pretend it too.. This supports my moral views. What kind of morality is this? Dishonesty as a way of life.

Their daughter is in that great divide between respecting her choice regardless of what her parents deem appropriate. She wants to get them to go to a Christian therapist who will tell them that their anti-loving view is not Christian. She wants to believe that they can be swayed by their own religious principles.

I think when people accuse you of disrespecting them by leading your own view of what is a moral life, one not intended to hurt anyone else, their motives are suspect. Do they know that they are expressing something not true to the values they claim to possess? The more you scream and reprimand and reject someone for presumably doing something against you in the way they lead their life, the less you are able to get an objective perspective of your motives. A child in the middle of a tantrum cannot think.

We take make of our misguided judgment, a self-designated principle that others must “respect,” into a cause which we must defend even to the point of losing connection to the one we love. We do this because the “child within” us fears it will be attacked by the “parent within” if it admits to clinging to an opinion with which the ‘”parent” disagrees. The “parent within” is dogmatic. The adult expresses its demands.

Any time we find ourselves incredibly dogmatic, we need to look for the underlying fear which supports our stance. Fear is not a good reason for making a judgment. It leads to short-sighted and frequently disastrous behavior. If we cannot get away from our current mood of panic, it is time to go for a walk, talk to a friend, read a book, take a break. It is amazing what comes to our objective mind if we take a break from our righteous opinion and have some time to breathe.

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