Family Culture is an ongoing series discussing the problems with modern families under Stance and Notion. This first topic covers how families intertwine discipline with verbal abuse.
“It’s for your own good”
That is how my relatives defend their actions when it comes to discipline. I am by no means a perfect person. I will make mistakes here and there. However, in such a modern setting, I am constantly clashing with relatives for simple reasons like my views. This is one of the reasons why I am at odds with them. I hate destructive criticism and I don’t like waking up to the verbal alarm clock in forms of yells and hurtful words. I’m pretty sure no one does, really. I do not like it and I have said it many times.
With my frail condition, my anxiety often spikes up when it happens and there are times when I experience episodes of Tachycardia with it. The temporary paralysis that comes with such attacks makes it hard to get my emergency medication. That is a valid reason that one should consider before proceeding with their plans. In response, they bring up their childhood and compare their former situations to mine. They often resort to using a flawed reasoning that is as repetitive as a broken record. The logic, or the lack of it, lies in the past and is seen as an act of preservation.
It is a part of our culture
Yes, the stereotypical Bungangero and Bungangera. These are the words that we Filipinos use to describe people who love to talk. In their eyes, it is a normal trait and practice. I’m an adult but I still find it difficult to deal with people with such habits. To be talked down and be put in a humiliating position in front of friends and relatives is traumatizing. To hear your name echoing around the compound and come home to be berated. Many times, I find myself in situations wherein I have to endure hour-long lectures about family, that they know what is truly good for me.
Their ways to express themselves have a strong impact. My psychiatrist came to the conclusion that part of the reason I have Bipolar Mania is that cycle of verbal abuse under the umbrella of discipline.
It is not normal
In the first place, discipline aims to correct mistakes. It is not always a case of two wrongs make it right. On the contrary, it destroys a child’s ego at a young age and weakens their spirit. It’s obvious! When a child fears to commit mistakes and walks on eggshells to achieve an idealistic theory of perfection, you know there’s a problem. Sometimes, verbal abuse can be a cause. From observations to real experience, and a cycle I endure to this day, I can definitely say that words have a big impact. Of course, they will consider it normal.
It’s either the hour-long lecture with voices louder than a boombox or anything within their reach, in some instances the use of their hands, to hit you.
It’s not Discipline, it’s Verbal Abuse
When the words are hurtful and harmful.
It’s not only the time that goes to waste but the voice that develops inside one’s head. That certain voice echoing each and every word that targets one’s traits and flaws. It’s not just the loud voice but the whispers and mutters that are meant to be heard. The gossip through phones whenever you’re around, the simple things adding up that leads to breakdowns and ultimately, Depression.
Discipline is the act of solving a problem. If a lecture consists of comparisons of their childhood and yours, belittling your condition, hurting your feelings and destroying you in the long run-it’s verbal abuse. Let’s face it. Denial will only hinder progress. Such acts destroy families, secretly harboring hatred and creating walls that separate each other.
Let the past contain its Flaws
Diversity is essential for a culture to grow and retain. Cultures advance when bad traits aren’t part of a practice. To disguise bad intentions and actions behind your culture is cowardly. No berating, belittling. At the end of the day, discipline aims to let someone grow as a person. In a time wherein Human Rights are addressed, it is time to do it at home. Not everyone can end up being a famous comedian with tales of how their parents were deadset against them at every turn. Some of us end up with antipsychotics and therapy to cope. Times have changed. Family culture is a part of that too. It’s time to cope and catch up with it. Let the bad things turn into cautionary tales. Disciplinary actions, not traumatizing sessions. Love not fight, don’t create wrongs, make things right.