People think it is easy to combat abuse.

They look at people in abusive relationships and more often than not, judge the person being abused, accusing them of somehow being a failure or blaming them for being abused with sentiments such as ‘well, if you stay with someone who’s abusive then it’s your fault.’

No, it is not your fault.

It’s never anybody’s fault that they are being abused.

Why? Because nobody deserves to be abused and if they are and IF THEY ARE OK WITH IT, there is something much more serious going on.

In the Philippines we like to say we are malambing. Which is true. SOMETIMES. The other side of Filipinos is in fact incredibly critical, judgemental and in line with crab mentality which we all know we suffer from, very negative about our failures or short comings.As children we feel this attitude being thrown at us; for some reason Filipinos seem to believe that if you make someone feel stupid, or ashamed of their failure, they will learn faster. If you are somehow ridiculed or criticized and made to feel inadequate, you will change and be a better person. “Tough love” I believe it’s called. Yes, Filipinos are not the only ones who are like this, many countries are guilty of the same behaviour but somehow, in our long line of being colonized and made inferior to other races, we have in fact taken on this attitude towards each other and unfortunately, this has made is unkind towards our fellow brethren.

In our society, starting from a young age, we feel pressure from all angles to be a certain way or be rejected and ridiculed by almost everyone in our lives. We must be:

Tall
Smart
Light skinned
Never fail a subject
Be top of our class at all times
Pretty/handsome
Well versed in the opposite sex
Rich
Successful
Something to brag about to your titas and titos.
Married at a certain age
Have many children
Support your other family members
Never be a disgrace

I mean what the hell. It’s good to aspire to be the best version of yourself you can be, but what if you can’t or don’t even want to achieve all the things this auto imposed list has on it?

Unfortunately, many Filipinos do not have a choice. Generations of family members have been raised by their own parents to work towards these goals and this means years and years of social conditioning to get people to be exactly what others want them to be, or what has been considered ‘successful’.

In the dog eat dog world that the Philippines has become, this mentality runs rampant.

What does this have to do with abuse you say?
Everything.

What happens when you can’t meet the ‘requirements’ society imposes on you from a young age?
You feel like a failure.

In fact we all know very well the ‘tanga’, ‘bobo’, ‘dapat mahiya’ culture that is prevalent when we fail. In less educated families where the pressure to succeed is even worse due to desperation, it must feel even more terrible.

What happens when you feel like a failure? You have low self esteem. INCREDIBLY low self esteem. In fact, positive reinforcement is so vital to a child’s upbringing, if they constantly only hear negative feedback, think how bad it would be?

Parents underestimate the effect the way they raise their children has on them. If a child is constantly being critisized, constantly being berated and made to feel worthless (being compared to standards which are RIDICULOUSLY unrealistic I might add) they will grow up into either resentful, critical adults who will treat others the same way they were treated or incredibly insecure and abused individuals who are so used to being abused they don’t fight back.

This is why so many people have a hard time leaving abusive relationships. Once you are accustomed to being treated like dirt, you will keep letting others do the same until someone ELSE can tel you that something is wrong. In many cases, those being abused don’t even know they’re being abused. It’s just another case of emotional manipulation and control imposed on them by someone else. These people are victims to their circumstances and those who abuse them KNOW THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH IT. Why EVER be abusive to a person anyway?

Sexual promiscuity in people is also a tell tale sign of abuse. Think about it, if someone is willing to let anyone use them for sex, where did that mentality come from? Who taught them that it was ok? Why didn’t anyone ever teach them their true value?

We need to start being more aware of how we treat other people, especially emotionally. Emotional damage can traumatize people for life and make them live in unhealthy cycles they don’t know how to get out of.
We also need to stop putting unrealistic and unhealthy pressure on people and instead encourage them to do well at what they are good at instead of berating for something they cannot change.

The self esteem of our people is so low, many of us allow ourselves to be treated very badly on a daily basis by those we love because we were made to believe it is ok. We even make it permissible to ridicule others through the media, making jokes at other people’s expense somehow makes us feel better about our own shitty situations.
These things are NOT ok and the emotional well being of our people is hinged on changing an attitude that has plagued us for centuries.

The value of SELF WORTH is incredibly absent from our people.
Instead of being critical of those who are being abused, instead help them see the truth. Many people don’t know to love themselves enough not to let others treat them like dirt.

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