By H. Nemesis Nyx
Oct 6, 2016
I am watching it. It is happening again. It is all around me. I see it. ThisBEAST that brings my insides to a rolling boil. Good hearted, kind and loving people are engaging in this behavior right before my eyes and I can’t sit and watch this quietly anymore.
I am a person living with a severe disability. I have a complex case ofStockholm-type PTSD. I do not know all my triggers. I do know some.
There is one that triggers me harder than any other thing I can think of and that is —
Invalidation is the fastest way to send me into full-blown rage. It doesn’t matter if it is happening TO me or happening TO others. I am enraged right now. My insides are boiling. As I watch the invalidation happening to my family members — People of Color — when they try to talk to us White peopleI LOSE MY FUCKING MIND.
I know what invalidation does to a person. I grew up immersed in it. We are traumatizing other human beings because we are so individualistic and fragile that we cannot deal with their JUSTIFIED grief, disbelief, pain and frustration.
Instead of seeing them doubled over in pain, crying, hurting, asking for help, giving us chance after chance to be to them what they DESERVE, allowing themselves to become vulnerable enough to SPEAK about how they feel inside — instead of HONORING THEIR TRUST, THEIR TRY, THEIR CRY FOR ASSISTANCE by using our EARS instead of our mouths — we respond with our OWN hurt feelings because of HOW THEY SPEAK about theirs!
This is NOT OK!
As I witness this, my whole body shakes violently, my heart races and I remember… I remember the times I cried and was told to SHUT UP. I remember the times I was in pain and tried to get comfort from my family. I remember being SHUT DOWN — told it was MY fault — I remember feeling so helpless and alone. I feel it again. I feel it in my bones. It hurts. Please stop doing this to our brothers and sisters. Please put your own self aside. We are so busy being defensive — we aren’t being good to our fellow humans who are struggling with something we cannot begin to understand.
PEOPLE ARE DYING
No one is making a mountain out of a molehill
People are dying. It does not get any more urgent and serious than that — saying things that come across hurtful to your ears is an APPROPRIATEresponse to being put on on notice that YOU COULD BE NEXT because you wear the same color skin.
This is not a philosophical discussion. And we are not the priority here. We are not dying in the streets because of the color of our skin. We are being called to SUPPORT those who are. If we cannot march, if we cannot write things in a way that does not drown them out, that is in support of them and what they NEED from us right now… we need to just DO NO HARM. We can do that by NOT invalidating them.
What can you do as a white person that will help this situation?
You CAN try to imagine what it might feel like for you if you were at your brother or sister’s funeral and someone told you that you were upset for no reason. After you get that picture clear in your mind, you CAN use it to guide YOUR OWN words.
- You CAN respond to other people’s grief the way you’d like someone to respond to yours.
- You CAN ask open-ended SUPPORTIVE questions.
- You CAN refrain from asking for JUSTIFICATION for their feelings.
- You CAN tell them you don’t know what to say.
- You CAN ask them how they are doing.
- You CAN treat them as you would want to be treated if you felt — FOR ANY REASON — that you had to survive in a world that didn’t want you around.
- You CAN respect their RIGHT to have BOUNDARIES.
- You CAN refrain from criticizing the WAY they EXPRESS their PAIN.
- You CAN refrain from making it about you.
- You CAN choose not to take it personally when they do express their pain.
You CAN refrain from denying their REALITY or trying to make them UNDERSTAND YOURS.
They ALREADY UNDERSTAND YOUR REALITY.
They live in it, everyday. They have to so that they can survive. They have to live with and navigate within OUR reality EVERY TIME THEY LEAVE THEIR HOME. THAT IS NOT THE TRUTH FOR US. We don’t have to live in their world. We can go about our lives entirely, never seeing a glimpse of it if we desire.
If you don’t know what Double Consciousness is, please educate yourself.
You cannot survive in an environment where there is an IMBALANCE of power without UNDERSTANDING those on the rung above you or those on the rungs above them. You cannot survive without understanding at a basic level, trying to read, trying to process what is coming at you or what could come at you at any moment.
You have to be prepared. You have to be ready to MOVE OUT OF THE WAY.
Or you will not survive.
You have to play by THEIR rules. And the rules are different at every level and that is why it is so hard for white people to see it.
Besides, we have FLEAS.
We also have to play by the rules. We have become maladaptive to the point which we cannot understand when we are invalidating and hurting other people. We think this behavior isn’t what it is. Here’s what invalidation REALLY IS:
“Invalidation — The creation or promotion of an environment which encourages an individual to believe that their thoughts, beliefs, values or physical presence are inferior, flawed, problematic or worthless.”
IS THAT HOW YOU WANT PEOPLE TO FEEL AFTER THEY READ SOMETHING YOU HAVE WRITTEN?
And don’t even turn it around. Don’t even try it. I will not deal with anyone who responds to this by saying, “but isn’t that what you are doing to me!?”
The answer to your question is — NO I am not. I cannot create an “environment” at the same level — our country — as the environment we continue to support here in these United States. The worst thing that can happen to you by reading this is that you get your feelings hurt.
Do you know what happens when you invalidate People of Color when they are grieving?
Invalidation does HORRIBLE damage to human beings, including:
- making a person question their senses
- making a person question their ability to process the world around them
- making a person question their own inner world
- it breaks down their self esteem
- it breaks down their self worth
- it blocks them from feelings of love and belonging
- It PUSHES THEM into a pit of despair and shame
- It makes a person feel helpless, terrorized and powerless
Invalidating a person at a time when they need to be alert, need to be able to TRUST THEMSELVES and the messages their emotional centers are sending them for SURVIVAL puts them at risk for harm or even death.
Fear is a protective emotion! How dare we try to rob our brothers and sisters of this REQUIRED MECHANISM because their FEAR hurts our feelings!
HOW DARE WE DO THAT!
I don’t want to loose my loved ones. I want them to live in safety and comfort.
YOUR FEELINGS ARE NOT MORE IMPORTANT THAN THAT TO ME.
WHITE PEOPLE — GET OVER YOURSELVES
YOU ARE NOT DYING.
YOU ARE NOT THE ONES AT RISK EITHER.
I am going to go lay down in the closet now and bawl my fucking eyes out until I can no longer breathe.
Stop hurting the people I love. If one is in pain, we are all suffering. We can do better than this…
We can HONOR other people’s rights. Because their RIGHTS not HONORED ARE OUR RIGHTS NOT HONORED. No one is free until ALL are FREE.
Thanks for reading,