Stop the blame game

Joey Garcia

There is so much hate and blame on Facebook for President Barack Obama, for the poor and for the sick, and a lot of it is actually verbal abuse. How should I respond? I have tried to insert the truth, but I got exhausted. I also realized that my replies were defensive. I feel irritated by what is posted, and that feeds my anger. How do I lovingly respond to a hateful post, especially since most of the time people don’t realize that what they are saying is hateful, racist and part of the blame game?

The best way to confront lies is by acknowledging each one as a teachable moment. And teaching is exhausting, honey! That’s why stories about spiritual teachers always include references to that teacher resting away from the crowds. It’s also why educators need extended breaks away from the classroom to refresh and restore. Instruction, by its nature, demands that we place ourselves in the middle of other people’s resistance.

A good teacher provides a context for growth in the knowledge required to build skills while simultaneously deconstructing stereotypes, piercing illusions and tipping sacred cows. The pushback can be intense and heartbreaking, but when real teaching is engaged, students of any age can develop qualities and capabilities like respect, resilience, compassion and creativity.

The overwhelming hate and misinformation on social media reveals something startling. Many people are committed to powerlessness. Behaving as the victim of a situation (layoffs) or a person (the president) or a group (the poor, those who are ill, a political party) is a symptom of the deep hopelessness spreading across the country. People who have not learned to value their own internal and external resources and accept their limitations will feel angry, hurt or depressed about their lives. A lot of people express those emotions by bullying others, especially online.

The next time you see a negative post on Facebook, consider how you can respond with humor. Don’t be sarcastic. Sarcasm is humor favored by people who feel powerless. Instead, employ a playful attitude. Be mentally objective, spiritually open and creative in writing a response. Those who are ready to mature spiritually will embrace the truth you offer.

For a few hours each month, I visit family or friends. I feel entitled to this time, but when I return home, I am on the receiving end of my husband’s anger. I wish he could send me out happily and welcome me back happily. Often, I can’t relax because I am anticipating his cold shoulder or snide comments when I return. I think his meanness is related to the loss of his parents and his unwillingness to face his feelings. He refuses to go to therapy. If I completely stop visiting family and friends, that seems wrong, too. Please help!

Your husband’s response to your outings seems extreme, even emotionally abusive. Yes, he might be mourning the loss of his parents. But that is not a valid reason to control your brief and occasional visits with family or friends.

That said, let me add that grief is illogical. Your husband may be unaware that the death of his parents has triggered his fear of abandonment. He reacts to his lack of control over loss by attempting to keep you close. Since he refuses to see a therapist, invite a family member he respects to talk with him.

You must also manage your guilt. During outings, focus on where you are and who you are with, not on your (absent) husband. When you return home, share your joy with him. If he is angry, don’t try to control him, let him have his feelings. But don’t permit his negativity to dampen your joy.

Meditation of the week
“An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one,” said Charles Horton Cooley, the American sociologist. Are you having fun as you create your life?

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