What I'm depressed about, part one.

Discussion in 'Rants, Musings and Ideas' started by cruztacean, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. cruztacean

    cruztacean Member

    This is the first in a series of things that have been depressing me, even to the point where sometimes I'm not sure I want to live. Yeah, I hate that question, "What are you so depressed about?" Depression is an illness. You don't always have to be depressed "about" something, anymore than I am diabetic "about" something. But, maybe there are things more specific than I thought.

    I'm 47 years old. “But that's still so young!” Yes, apparently it is. At least, it's young enough so that I am not worthy of being shown respect, and have no right to ask for it.

    How do I know?

    Growing up I constantly heard:
    • Don't argue with your elders. It's disrespectful.
    • Don't you dare talk to your (whoever) in that tone of voice! Show some respect!
    • I don't care if he isn't your father, he's an adult, so you respect him.
    • If your friend's mother tells you to call her K--, you smile, say “yes ma'am,” and continue to call her Mrs. G--. You're going to show respect anyway, even if other people don't enforce the rules.
    • If an adult says it's Tuesday, you keep your mouth shut even if you can prove it's Wednesday. It's disrespectful for a child to correct an adult.
    • Why? Because I said so. Now, respect me and do it.

    At the same time, from the same people, I heard:
    • Respect is something you earn. You can't just demand it.

    Obviously THEY can, but I can't.

    When I was in my early 20's, a man in his mid-40's told me, “Of course people don't respect you. You're still young. If you get to be my age, and you're still not being respected, then you'll have the right to complain.” Well... here I am, in fact even older than he was. Am I being respected? Here is the evidence: Teenagers and young adults are more likely to call me “sweetie” than “ma'am.” Only my husband calls me Mrs., and that's as a term of endearment. Strangers, even children, address me by my first name, which the vast majority of the time they mispronounce, even after I correct it. Half of the people I've been going to church with for the past five years still aren't getting it right. My name has only four letters; how hard can it be? I am not entitled to an opinion. People still find it acceptable not to merely disagree, but also to fling hateful personal remarks at me while doing so. Just look in the comments section of almost any internet site. “Shut up, you stupid fat ugly old cow,” is among the tamest of the likely reactions. If someone makes a joke and it offends me, it is not that the joke was rude or disgusting, it is that I don't have a sense of humor. If people hurt me, I am not entitled to an apology. As a matter of fact, it's my fault, because I shouldn't be so sensitive. If I say I don't like being treated a certain way, I don't get what I prefer. I only get a lecture on how I shouldn't try to control others. They are allowed to stand up for themselves. I am not.

    I am now older than anyone was who ever preached respect to me, at the time they said it. So what do I hear now, when it's long supposed to have been my turn to receive the respect? Of course I still hear that it has to be earned, not demanded, but also:
    • Respect doesn't necessarily come with age, nor should it.
    • Respect gets respect. You have to respect ME first, and then I'll respect you.
    • You teach a child respect by respecting the child.

    Not that I am ever deliberately disrespectful, but that second bullet point sets up a possibility for an endless Zax situation. “You have to respect me first.” “No, YOU have to respect ME first.” “Well, I'm not going to respect you until you respect me.” And on it goes. I certainly wish someone had told the adults bringing me up that you teach a child respect by respecting the child. Of course, they probably would have laughed and called it the most ridiculous thing they've ever heard. Children are supposed to respect adults, not the other way around.

    Ever play a game with a child who, like Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes, calls “do over” when he misses, wants extra head-start points when it's his turn, and keeps wanting to invent new rules designed to make it impossible for him to lose? Life has Calvined me. It changed the rules, just when I got to the point where it was my turn to benefit from them.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 12, 2011
  2. cruztacean

    cruztacean Member

    What I'm depressed about, part two.

    So I ranted about respect, and how just as I came of age, the rules changed. The behavior that was expected and demanded of me as a child--the "respect your elders," the "ma'am" and the "Mrs." and such--are no longer required of young people today. Just when it got to be MY turn to be on the receiving end, the rules changed.

    Here is insight offered by others on the subject:

    From a teacher in the UK:
    Mrs. S... does make a strong point. When it comes right down to it, I'd rather have a 15-year-old call me "sweetie" and then listen to me, as opposed to calling me "ma'am" and then disregarding every word I say.

    My brother had much to say. Too much, in fact, to quote directly. ;) What I take away from it is this:

    People back then, and people now, meant two different things when they said "respect." In my childhood, when an adult said, "You'd better respect me," the translation was, "You'd better obey me." Not the same thing at all. Respect is a mental action. Obedience is a physical action. Those adults would see the obedience, and call it respect, when on the inside the child may have been feeling anything but.

    I know that in my case, pretty darn near all of the time, what I was feeling was not respect but fear, dread, and occasionally hatred. I didn't behave because I was a "good kid." I behaved because I was terrified of that belt, switch, hairbrush, or whatever was going to be used on me if I didn't.

    Sure, we all WANT respect, but there are those who will settle for obedience born of fear, because it looks the same.

    You know, sometimes on Facebook I come across one of those "repost if you agree" status updates that talks about, "Our generation was raised this way and that way, and we turned out OK." I never repost those things. I most certainly did not "turn out OK." I've had to work hard to even approach being normal.

    The reason it bothered me, when I say life Calvined me by changing the rules, is this: Just when I came of age and qualified to be "ma'am" and "Mrs.," society decreed, "You know what? That's passé. Let's stop doing that." Why did it make me feel as it did? Déja vu. It reminds me of many a game during my childhood, in which when it was my turn to be "it," the other children all simultaneously heard their mothers calling them.

    Well, at this point, thanks to the help from these people, I am no longer feeling like setting fire to myself (FIGURATIVELY speaking!) because someone doesn't call me "ma'am." But, as I say, this is a series. My next installment will be something I touched on in the first: How every conflict or hurt turns out to be my fault, the result of my character flaw, never the other person's.
  3. windlepoons

    windlepoons Well-Known Member

    I think that society has changed a bit, children live in a bigger world, thanks to the internet. They feel more 'enabled' I think and so respect people less.
    Also like you as a child I was scared of adults and what they could do to me, now they can call up Social Workers and get taken away. We have swung too far the other way.
  4. maries

    maries Active Member

    i think it depends on where you live. i currently live in America, i'm 19 years old, and many of my classmates are so disrespectful. i was taught the same thing as you, to respect my elders, and i do. being the youngest one in my family, i've had to respect everyone, and i get none of it back. i know i'm only 19 and maybe others think i shouldn't be respected, but i dont care how old i am, i'm a human being and i deserve respect, too. respect is to be given to everyone, regardless of their age. i respect my elders more because they're older than me and they deserve the respect, but i've lately been finding it hard to respect my elders if they can't respect me. we're all human beings and we all deserve respect.

    i'm sorry you're not getting the respect that you deserve. there are just some people in the world who don't care about anyone in the world and disrespects people left and right. i think that you need to find a way to tell people, to show people, that you're a human being, too. it doesn't matter how old you are or anything else, every human being deserves respect. as for being offended when someone makes an offensive remark at you, you ARE entitled to an apology, and demanding an apology is NOT controlling them, it's what that person should be doing. if i told someone to not go to a supermarket and shoot down random people, is someone gonna tell me to stop controlling them? no, because that person shouldn't be going to a supermarket and shooting down random people. it's the same thing. people know something bad is happening and they do absolutely nothing to stop it. many times they enforce it. it's a really messed up world with really messed up people. my advice to you is what my advice is to myself: try to put yourself above these people and show them that you're worthy of respect because you're human. you deserve the same amount of respect as what you give them, and maybe even more, if the person's younger than you

    no one deserves to be treated like how you're being treated and i'm sorry. i hope you find a way to show them up and live through this.
  5. gloomy

    gloomy Account Closed

    I agree that the nature of respect has changed quite a great deal.
    Society is now much more focused on the individual as opposed to the collective.
    Chivalry, nationalism, and blind faith are mostly dead.
    This has made respect subjective.

    Most people respect things like power, success, money, ambition and status…
    Some people respect things like compassion and selflessness.
    Some people respect intelligence and ingenuity, but only if it is applied and there is a successful outcome.
    Some people don't respect anything including themselves.

    The Japanese have the concept of giri and ninjo-- giri being a social obligation to perform certain duties and put on certain appearances in order to preserve a harmonious surface, and ninjo being a genuine expression of affection between an individual and another individual, or the individual and an organization, or whatever. Sometimes, one is mistaken for the other… and there's an awful lot of self-denial and constant unknowns involved.

    Giri is on its way out the door… at least in Western society. In a way, it makes everything more open… which I think is a good thing, but it also makes for a lot of rude behavior… mostly because that's what people are really like.