Freud gave a lot of importance to the unconscious mind as the one thing standing between us and utter insanity. He believed that we use repression as a defense mechanism, wherein we shove all that we wish not to deal with, into our unconscious mind. We get into the habit of ignoring anything and everything unpleasant.
Sometimes walking away may be a good thing if it gets you out of a violent situation, or keeps you from being a jerk to someone, but more often than not, it’s really not the best option.
You simply have to choose your battles.
When someone treats you like a doormat, you need to speak up.
Or when you are judged and condemned for personal choices that affect only you, you need to speak up.
When you are forced to do things that make you unhappy, you speak up.
You either speak up, or you allow your silence to make you an accomplice in all that is done to you.
Over time, you get into a habit of retreating from situations that cause even the slightest discomfort so much so, that you forget you even have a voice. Worse, you learn to like it. It stops feeling unnatural. The behaviour turns into a reflex.
The most unfortunate part is that the people who have the courage to speak up are outnumbered by those who don’t. What do you think that’s doing to the world we live in?
Victims of sexual and domestic violence suffer for years because they don’t have the courage to raise their voice, and fight back. This repression, whether you realise it or not, is the reason why sexual violence is rising so rapidly. Bullies get away because people would rather suffer in silence than force a confrontation.
Even when someone hurts and humiliates you, in my family, you continue being cordial to them. You pretend that things are okay. This isn’t something typical to just my family. Most families do it, and of course, children internalise it, and as adults do it to others.
It was only a few years back that I realised the utter ridiculousness of the whole situation, and how it was impacting my life. At that point, I was done hiding how I felt in order to maintain the status quo, and live up to everyone’s standard of correct and appropriate.
It took some long, tough conversations, but I made my parents understand, and eventually, not only did they show support, I really believe they respected me for standing up for what I believed in. It was hands down, the most liberating thing I could have ever done for myself.