Skip to main content

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
Also blogging at:
Julie Pippert REVIEWS: Get a real opinion about BOOKS, MUSIC and MORE
Julie Pippert RECOMMENDS: A real opinion about HELPFUL and TIME-SAVING products
Moms Speak Up: Talking about the environment, dangerous imports, health care, food safety, media and marketing, education, politics and many other hot topics of concern.


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 .....
Anonymous 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.
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.
Anonymous 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.
Unknown 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.

Popular posts from this blog

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Quorum

After being confronted with written evidence, Julie admits that she is a total attention whore. In some things, in some ways, sometimes I look outward for validation of my worth and existence. I admit it. It's my weak spot, my vanity spot . If you say I am clever, comment on a post, offer me an award, mention me on your blog, reply to a comment I left on your blog, or in any way flatter me as a writer...I am hopelessly, slavishly devoted to you. I will probably even add you to my blogroll just so everyone can see the list of all the cool kids who actually like me . The girl, she knows she is vain in this regard , but after much vanity discussion and navel-gazing , she has decided to love herself anyway, as she is (ironically) and will keep searching for (1) internal validation and (2) her first person . Until I reach a better point of self-actualization, though, may I just say that this week you people have been better than prozac and chocolate (together, with a side of whi

In defense of vanity...I think

Do you have one of those issues where you argue with yourself? Where you just aren't sure what you actually think because there are so many messages and opinions on the topic around you? I have more than one like this. However, there is one topic that has been struggling to the top of my mind recently: vanity and perceived vanity. Can vanity be a good thing? Vanity has historically been truly reviled. Vanity is number seven of the Seven Deadly Sins. It's the doppleganger of number seven on the Seven Holy Virtues list: humility. There are many moralistic tales of how vanity makes you evil and brings about a spectacular downfall. Consider the lady who bathed in the blood of virgins to maintain her youth. Google Borgia+vanity and find plenty. The Brothers Grimm and Disney got in on the act too. The Disney message seems to be: the truly beautiful don't need to be vain. They are just naturally eye-catchingly gorgeous. And they are all gorgeous. Show me the Reubenesque Pr

Is your name yours? How your name affects your success...

Made by Andrea Micheloni Not too long ago I read What's in a name? by Veronica Mitchell. She'd read the NPR/USA Today article, Blame it on your name , that shared new research results: "a preference for our own names and initials — the 'name-letter effect' — can have some negative consequences." Veronica's post and that article got me thinking about names, and their importance. Changing to my husband’s name and shedding my maiden name was no love lost for me. By the time we married, I’d have gladly married any other name just for a change. My maiden name was a trial; I was sick of spelling it, pronouncing it, explaining it, and dealing with the thoughtless rude comments about it. My sister and I dreamed and planned for the day we could shed that name. So I wonder, sometimes, whether I adequately considered what a name change would actually mean. Heritage and genealogy matter to me and my maiden name reflected a great deal of familial history. Histo