Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Righting wrongs: a Hump Day Hmm for March 12, 2008

Angela at mommybytes asked about being wronged and reparation.

I've written several times on this topic. There was the post about:

* the time I followed a good example and stood up to a bad teacher

* the time I finally said enough and left a horrible job rife with sexual harassment and hostile work environment

* the chapped hide olympics in which I complained about bad customer service and the resolution from the companies that post brought

* how I do, and don't speak up at times when I am feeling wronged

* the downside and upside of being perceived as assertive

* the time I testified to the EPA about the personal effects of a toxic environment

It's not always just about me, either. I'll speak up for wronged friends and object to injustice (too many links to insert, LOL).

Angela, in all my experience of frequently speaking up, I've learned that you can speak as much as you want, but by the time people act, they have already created a mental rationalization for why what they did was okay. People generally operate within their own norms of fine. People who grab sports t-shirts away from kids, cars that cut other cars off in traffic lines, businesses that don't back up their products, employers who don't offer proper health care for their employees, yard services that dump grass clippings down storm drains, and so forth are all acting after having thought and decided, and are all functioning according to a set of their own principles---which are different from yours, and mine, and the ones generally associated with courtesy. It's probably a pattern. They---we---always have excellent rationalizations for this type of behavior, and it usually begins and ends with the "every man for himself" argument, which I admit is often compelling.

I don't think you can change people; I do think you can plant a seed, though, or create a new boundary (with you at least). You can use situations as teaching and learning examples for your kids. You can use the event as a chance to consider differences, and to evaluate our position on issues.

Speaking up doesn't always mean engaging in direct conflict (even diplomatically). Sometimes it means, simply, teaching and learning within a moment.

So for those who often sit quietly within a moment...fixing a wrong doesn't always mean confronting the wrongdoer. Sometimes, the best solution is to create the change you want in your own life.

How do you think wrongs ought to be handled?

Copyright 2008 Julie Pippert
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Christine said...

that is one of the great things about you julie--you speak up. and no matter how people act or fail to act in response you, like you've said, have planted a seed.

it will grow.

Running on empty

Robert said...

When I have been wronged, I tend to either speak up quickly, or say nothing, with saying nothing being the more frequent of the two. I have learned from my own mistakes that very often people don't mean to cause me pain but do so without realizing it. I cut those people some slack. The ones who get overbearing in their improper behavior sometimes demand a response, though. I am often more than happy to oblige these folks as well. If I have been wronged by a business, I tend to avoid it in the future and share my knowledge of their ways in the future. Very often I bring my grievance to that company, though, and expect resolution. I have a fair track record at getting what I want or something close to it, but I don't think anyone in this day and age really gets a positive response even half the time from customer service employees. Calling out a wronged teacher tends to have a painful effect (as my post today demonstrates) on the GPA, if not the career in general.

I look forward to more responses.

Gwen said...

Didn't I just inadvertently do this Hump Day Hmm? I mean, being threatened with bodily harm over a quiz seems .... wrong, lol.

I'll be bahk .....

Angela at mommy bytes said...

I am quiet way too often, so thinking of it as planting a seed rather than a confrontation would work better for my style. Thanks for your insight Julie!

Melissa said...

If you plant enough seeds...

Great post as always. :)

we_be_toys said...

Excellent post!
I really liked where you went with this. I'm just sorry I've been on a different path in my writing and not able to join in.

I didn't always speak up, when I was younger, but as I age, I find I no longer care if what I have to say isn't the popular thing, I HAVE to say what I feel.

niobe said...

I'm sure others would disagree, but I like to think that a large part of my job is about righting wrongs.

As for the non-job parts of my life, I probably don't make nearly enough effort to plant seeds and I'm far too willing to write people off as lost causes. Something to work on.

thailandchani said...

It's still all about balance and really taking stock of what is important .. really important .. right here and right now. It's also important to try to make it right if it will have a long-range negative outcome. For the most part though, the older I get, the less i want to live in conflict. So it needs to be critical before I'll invest in that frame.

Mama Drama Jenny, the Bloggess said...

I am a big hidden seed planter. I avoid confrontation as much as I can costs but drop subtle hints that I hope will germinate and grow.

An excellent analogy, sister.

Anonymous said...

You are SO right that people have their rationalizations. I have a theory that my step-mother thinks she is a good person, because we all think that of ourselves, right?

Anonymous said...

Oh Julie, this is so true. And I get so riled up about it sometimes.....accepting this has been part of that loss thing. Yeah.

Angeline said...

when I was younger, didn't have enough courage to stand up for myself or anyone.

even if time prove me right, the people who have wronged me didn't even bother to say sorry. Anyway the hurt was done already.

but throughout the years of 'unfair' treatment, inner voice have become my outer voice.

so whoever that's out there, don't you dare wrong me. You will not want to do that.

another good thing said...

Sometimes I write out a reply to whomever I feel wronged me... but I don't send it. If it is especially emotional, I can't get over it for a while-- I even find myself having imaginary conversations where I am finally able to assert myself with the perfect comeback... ah, the imagination!

Gwen said...

You know, I'm not sure that everyone has carefully thought out their positions. I actually hold the opposite view--that many people live pretty thoughtlessly. But maybe that's just my own rationalization, lol.