Thursday, September 22, 2011

Communication to create change

Some of the things that have never created change for me are: Fighting.  Attacking.  Trying to prove right/wrong.

The original title of this post was "Communication -- Abuse or Healthy?"

Is your communication a healthy means of expression?

Does it emanate from an intent of balance; neutrality; non-judgmental true humor and nourishment of the life form you are delivering it to?

As a survivor, I learned sarcasm from cradle to nearly grave.  It is a destructive tool, bent on shaming and blaming (yeah my spelling on that originally came out blamming ::grin::) with pejorative and punitive intent.

Last paragraph sound familiar?  All of those are descriptors of abuse--whether, physical, emotional, mental or spiritual.

I learned to emulate and use sarcasm both defensively and as an attack, to the point that I have been called brutal.  I have been accused of wielding a shank, a sledgehammer, an axe fatally ...  with words.

A person who has been abused learns both sides of the coin -- how to be a victim and how to be an abuser.  So the fact that I know this tool is not surprising.

Sarcasm is often called pointed dialogue.  Just as anything else pointed ... it begs the issue of the heartfelt intent behind it

I question dialogue using it.

In my mind it's a euphemism for attacking.

Pointed -- the implied intent is to "stick the point of the blade to someone."

I ask difficult questions of all those around me ... friends, teachers, acquaintances, those who think differently from me.

When I observe something I consider dangerous, I ask questions.

Not only do I ask questions, I gather data and share my viewpoint.

When I place a value that something is abusive, I take action.  I file complaint letters.  I write and publish op-ed articles raising my questions and expressing what I see as dangerous.  I have filed official grievances with institutions and I ask for change to happen.

I don't always get the response I want.  That spurs me into finding the ways and means to bring about the change I'm looking for. 

None of those ways and means need sarcasm or attack.  Nor do I need to hijack the means of expression used by those opposing me, which is another form of abuse.

Abuse is terrorism.  Terrorism is not just a political term.  Literally, terrorism is the attempt to induce fear -- in an individual or in a group.

Today, more and more people cop to feeling "fear".  However, many people seem to associate stigma with feeling "terror".

"Oh, it's okay to feel fear, but terror, that means you're inferior.  Nope, no terror here."

I was terrorized when I was little.

I was terrorized when I was a teen.

I was terrorized when I was an adult.

You can substitute any term you wish for terror "brutalized", "scared", "afraid" ... you pick an emotional or feeling term.  It's probable I felt it.

As a survivor I learned sarcasm and pointed dialogue well .. how to use them outrageously and subtly.

I want to create change with my communication.  Not fear.  Not terror.  Not abuse.

I help others by the fact that I express my voice.  I educate by how I act, as well as by my words.  Others observe me and think to themselves ... "what if I tried what she's doing?"

I get responses; even from those who oppose me.  Groups are composed of individuals, groups do not communicate, individuals within the group do.

What is your intent in the communication you use?  (Answer these to yourself, release the fear of what others may think of your answers, because they won't read them here.)

  • Are you trying to express something you are feeling? (anger, bitterness, joy, love, balance, confusion, fear, ______________)
  • Are you trying to feel something by expression? (peace, comfort, power, control, satisfaction)
  • Are you trying to get a response? (nurturing, provoking)
  • Are you trying to make a point? (collaboration, cooperation, nourishing, skewering, being right, proving someone else wrong)
  • Are you trying to promote dialogue and create meaningful change?
Is your communication effective in achieving your intent?

Interested in making it so?

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