September already?


Where’s summer gone?  What’s happened to the hazy lazy warm days when we slap on our sunscreen, dress in flimsy apparel designed to keep as cool as possible, enjoy a surreptitious whippy ice cream and think wistfully of weekend barbeques and long summer evening walks in the meadows……   Summer didn’t last very long at all… too short and over too soon.  July’s thunderstorms are past although the memory of a bolt of lightening joining with a sharp crack of thunder just beside me as I walked to my house is etched into my memory.  Little Meg, the Dandy Dinmont who was faithfully trotting alongside me at the time, moved with a hitherto unknown speed, dashing into the open door of the kitchen, where she lay, panting, her little heart fluttering wildly and her already big eyes huge looking bewildered.  Her response showed me that I was not exaggerating my horror at almost being hit directly with a lightening bolt!  Considering a single lightening bolt can contain up to 1,000 +  volts of electricity with the accompanying hot air discharging as thunder: if this happens in close proximity as I experienced, the flash is infinately powerful and the clap of thunder, deafening!  ….A close escape for both me and Maggie especially since we were outside in the open near the neighbour’s tree: perfectly placed as conductors of electricity.

August too has come and gone: those of us with the belief (and the stomach!) cheerfully consumed oysters on the 5th of the month, knowing that our finances would be healthy for the next year.  The ‘Glorious Twelfth’ saw the start of the hunting season when grouse need to be canny and careful to survive the hunter’s bullet.  Sad the heart that hears the crack of the shotgun on shooting days,  hoping that each volley finds its mark causing the least amount of suffering to the innocent bird.     Farmers are as always, busy working on their land, harvesting precious crops until late in the evening.  From early morning till long after dusk, the familiar rumble of tractors can be heard on country roads returning home having cut the corn all day long; perhaps looking forward to a hearty harvest supper of home made game pie, lashings of vegetables, all rounded off with warm freshly made crusty bread and pickles from the previous harvest!  In truth, not to burst romantic bubbles, farmers wives are all too often an essential part of the harvesting and can often be seen driving tractors alongside their spouses, so the idea of the comely farmer’s wife dutifully serving a home made supper in her Cath Kitson apron is probably a myth nowadays.  Still, such a meal could constitute a wonderful Sunday lunch with friends and family.

Lastly, our little feathered friends have too soon flown off to sunnier climates, leaving us bereft of their delightful company.  Swallows, swifts house martins are perhaps most identifiable as they collect in flocks, sitting on overhead wires, twittering softly until, drawn by some unidentifiable instinctual signal they leave, taking to the sky to begin their amazing journeys which will end as far away as Africa and Morocco.

The Autumn Equinox around September 22nd marks the time when the sun is above the horizon for 12hrs and throughout the world the day and night are similar in length which is a remarkable feat.  Enjoy !

So the scapegoat is ostracised

Thank you to Colin who contacted me to say,
“When I read your article about scapegoating I found it interesting and well observed but I think your friend may be the victim of Ostracising rather than or as an addition to, scapegoating.” Later he commented, “Please tell her, life is too short to wear a doormat or ‘dump on me’ sign.”

Well that had me thinking, so I contacted my friend and listened to her experience. Sure enough, when she was pointedly not invited to his daughter’s wedding, she was ostracised. “He told me he missed me at the wedding:” she told me ruefully, “But said that he felt powerless to change the situation.”
But how does she feel about it? She explained with a look of wistful sadness that this was nothing new and as she told her story to me I realised that she has been shouldering the effects of toxic behaviour for a very long time. Being shunned, ignored and excluded are the experiences she has had since she met her now husband from some of his now grown up children.
What baffles me is the intensity and endurance of the behaviour. Why don’t they let it rest? Why hasn’t her husband stopped it?
So I oft and did a little research into this hitherto unknown to me, form of abuse and I was shocked by the effects of ostracism : “Recent studies have shown that the emotional impact of rejection and ostracism can be devastating, especially if the form used is severe and prolonged.” Dr Willims, writing for ‘Science Daily’June6, 2011, notes that the pain of ostracism whilst not being visible, “…can cause pain that often is deeper and lasts longer than a physical injury.” Feelings of depression, despair, social anxiety and suicidal thoughts are common, even when the offence happens for a short amount of time.
Whew! I contacted my friend again with this news which she found empowering and strengthening. She told me, “For so long I’ve felt on my own with this as it’s one of those situations that the rest of the family know about but no one acknowledges, and other family members think they are really lovely.” WHAT!!!! Where are they looking! Who is covering up for this unacceptable behaviour?
This is another example of the complex dynamics of abuse and bullying.
So what’s my friend planning to do about it? Well, she actually feels grateful for this latest public slight as it has forced her to talk about it, and to realise that she needs clear boundaries and limits to what is ok and not ok from these people. She is planning to seek counselling support to work through past injuries and she has joined a support group on line which is helping her to feel that she is not alone. Here’s the site for anyone with similiar experiences:

Thanks very much Colin.