Posted by: Judy | October 27, 2011

Truth/Lies and making mistakes…

There was a cutesy sign going round FaceBook, last week. I saw it, and hated it, and couldn’t figure out why everyone was cheering it. I also couldn’t figure out why I hated it so much. “You never make the same mistake twice, because the second time it’s a choice.”

I read responses of “Right on!” “Yes!” “This is so true.” My first thought was “Someone has an axe to grind.” My next thought was “The Truth has no agenda.” So what was up with this?

Then it hit me: My mother did this to me: “What can we do to make sure you never make that mistake again?”

This is a perfectionistic mentality, either for yourself or someone else. Either way, someone is being set up to fail.

Is this statement true, sometimes? Yes. That being said, hitting, pinching, insulting, using derogatory language, touching inappropriately, murder, stealing, cheating are choices the first time. Somewhere along the way, the person who displays these behaviors has decided it’s acceptable. I don’t care how much they apologize afterwards. They decided it was an option before they followed through. I’ve never beaten anyone, because I decided long ago that it wasn’t acceptable. I used to hit, the kind where you hit someone in the arm. I didn’t mean to hurt, usually. However, I don’t have the option of choosing the consequences of my choices. I had to change my choice from not hurting to not hitting, because I accepted that I couldn’t choose the consequences.

There is one thing I liked about the cutesy saying: It made me stop and think and clarify my own thinking.


Responses

  1. Your thoughts on this go in a totally different direction than mine. My thought was if you didn’t feel it was a mistake in the first place, doing it again is no big deal. I think another way that I think about this is in those relationships where the person hits you, apologizes, hits you again, apologizes, hits you again….you know the cycle. People are cheering because they have a cutesy little saying that tells them they don’t have to put up with a lifetime of little “mistakes.” I like your willingness to say that their actions are not OK to begin with. Just because something was a mistake doesn’t remove the consequences.

    • “if you didn’t feel it was a mistake…” Too many abusers don’t feel what they’ve done was a mistake. “You asked for it.” “You deserved it.” “If you hadn’t made me so mad, I wouldn’t have hit you.” “I’m only doing this because I love you.”

      A saying doesn’t really work if you have to constantly explain it. This particular saying is one that can be used anyway one wants.

      It also bothers me that people are willing to put up with the “mistake” the first time. I know plenty of women who have said that if their husbands ever hit them, they’d walk away. No second chances, because it isn’t a mistake by the husband; it’s a revelation of a willingness to cross a line of decency.

      Instead of making excuses, ie, the first time was a mistake, wouldn’t it be better to set healthy boundaries? The saying and the replies I read had a victim mentality to them: It was a mistake… instead of standing up and saying, “No that was not a mistake the first time; that was unacceptable behavior anytime, for any reason.”

      Mistakes happen, and will continue to happen. No one is perfect. Abuse is not a mistake; it’s an evil choice.


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