Relationships at 80 MPH

I can see the humor in the 80 MPH video.  That being said, my primary reaction to it was sadness.

I think it is a sad testimony in our day and age when anyone thinks it is appropriate and funny to deliberately expose a loved one to public ridicule and humiliation. Especially when it is a husband whose job it is to cherish his wife and stand between her and with her against the harm that can come from being in the world at large.

This is a mentality that has been increasing throughout the last 60 years.  The wholesome family sitcoms of Leave It To Beaver and Father Knows Best gave way to The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch, followed by Roseanne and Home Improvement, and now we are living in the Survivor era with Bart Simpson and Peter & Stewie Griffin from The Family Guy.  Family based humor and entertainment has morphed from idealizing family relationships to dehumanizing and demonizing them.  The prevalence of “reality” t.v., where people and their worst character defects and most extreme and outrageous behaviors are amplified and applauded for entertainment is also a factor and a symptom of how unhealthy our society’s views of love and relationships are.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not blaming these or any other show for the deterioration of our society, nor am I advocating a t.v. free lifestyle or suggesting that networks should remove these shows from their line ups.  I’m not in favor of censorship, rather I don’t believe any individual or group has the right to determine how others live their lives.  I am advocating for each person to put a little bit of thought into what they find entertaining on t.v. and decide if that’s how they want others to treat them for entertainment.  If not, then please don’t seek to put a loved one on the line for entertainment’s sake.

There are so many cases of suicide, hate crimes, bullying, domestic violence, and abuse in it’s various forms.  Each individual that is involved in these things, whether as the instigator/perpetrator or recipient/victim started off life the same way…as a small child who needed to be cherished, nurtured, protected, and guided.  Everyone experiences some kind of interaction with other people that causes them to question if they are good enough, cared about, loved, and worthwhile.  However, when we experience that kind of event at the hands of someone we trust to care for us and are put on display for others to ridicule and laugh at, it not only causes a breakdown in the relationship between the people, it causes the recipient to have a break in his or her relationship with self.  This then affects every relationship that person will have moving forward. The ripple effect.

The careless, seemingly harmless laughter because someone genuinely just doesn’t “get it” can cause some serious harm inside of the person on the receiving end of that laughter.

I’ve been guilty of doing it myself.  So, I am not casting stones at glass houses and judging or condemning others.  I’m just saying be careful and consider how what you might think of as harmless fun could affect someone you love.  I have personally witnessed the loss of innocent trust and internalized rejection when I unthinkingly said something to other parents about one of my children that I found funny, only to realize that my child experienced it as something different.  Seeing the dimming in the eyes and the hesitance the next time that child had something to say or share, was heartbreaking.  Hearing how mean-spirited and bitchy I was being instead of witty or funny as I thought, was a bit of an eye-opener as well.

There came a time when I began to realize that part of the reason my friendships didn’t last, my relationships with my children were strained, and I had difficulty making significant connections with others was because what I considered entertaining and funny other people experienced much, much differently.  At first my attitude was “juck ’em if they can’t take a foke.”  Then my response was to reject before being rejected.  Slowly, over time, I’ve been learning how my attitudes and actions create feedback – either positive or negative, based on what I put out.

Golden rule or karma, taking relationships at 80 mph is an accident looking for a place to happen.


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