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For many years the attitude in Dominica towards men “chastising” their women to where it is now seen as physical abuse, is an example of how perceptions change. For generations, a number of Dominican women, without seeing themselves as masochistic, often voiced their appreciation of a man who gave them some “licks or beatings”. They saw this as a sign that the man cared for them, and if not he would have been indifferent to the others.

Weird as it sounds, this type of thinking is not far removed from that where we commend chastisement (corporal punishment) of children as a necessary result of caring for them. While a woman is not a child, the idea that “love” was what prompted the beatings appealed not only to some men, but the women being beaten as well, perhaps in an attempt to rationalise the experience.

Nowadays, no such ideas are favoured and female magistrates have warned that they will be dealing harshly with men who beat women. I’m anticipating that if the shoe is on the other foot, where it is the woman who is found guilty of beating her man, will the court also not be amused. I’ve heard on many instances where men have reported abuse from women – and these cases were never investigated.

The law warns that matters “of a domestic nature are not going to be treated lightly by the courts,” and advised people about the need to be clear about ending relationships. It is the growing tendency of many relationships to have physical abuse as a feature that is causing concern. The idea of men beating up women and then kissing and making up or vise-versa is not encouraged these days, maybe because a growing number of such situations have been getting out of hand, sometimes with fatal results.

What is ironic about those who find themselves in a “chastising” mode is that it is always the weaker partner who usually is chastised. The stronger one, however wrong or “deserving of being chastised”, need have no such worry or fear.

On the other hand, some men wouldn’t dare lift their hands in anger towards certain women who they know will not take it lying down. There is a saying which goes “Money don’t climb prickle Trees” – men who beat women usually know the ones they can safely beat up without the women fighting back. They will not risk beating certain women since they know they will suffer physically as a result.

This is why when men beat up their women it is often said that they “take advantage of the women”, while in truth it is not the women these men “take advantage of” but the situation. However much men enjoy beating up women, they know that in certain situations it would be unwise to do so…Come on guys we’re are better than this – lets love and respect our queens.

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Too many times I’ve seen, we take criticism as a personal attack, as an insult to who we are. But it’s not. Well, perhaps sometimes it is – there are some people who just love to criticize everything and everyone. But we don’t have to take it that way. Here is a tip, take criticism towards your actions and not towards you as a person. If you do that, you can detach yourself from the emotionally side of criticism and see what should be done to improve.

So many of us handle criticisms (whether it’s constructive or not) as a personal attacks and in turn we attack right back. “I’m not going to let someone talk to me that way,” or how we Dominicans say it “I not going to let someone take their foot on me.” You have to defend yourself, and attack the attacker … right? Especially if this criticism in made in public, a perfect example of public criticism – when someone will post a comment on this blog criticizing something I wrote about or apart of the blog.

Attacking back most of the time is wrong. By attacking the attacker, you are stooping to his level. Even if the person was mean or rude, you don’t have to be the same way. You don’t have to commit the same sins.

Be the better person.

If you can rise above all the insults and attacks, and respond in a calm and positive manner to the meat of the criticism, you will be the better person. And guess what? There are two amazing benefits of this:

  • Others will admire you and think better of you for rising above the attack. Especially if you remain positive and actually take the criticism well. This has happened to me, when people actually complimented me on how I handled attacking comments.
  • You will feel good about yourself. By participating in personal attacks, we dirty ourselves. But if we can stay above that level, we feel good about who we are. And that’s the most important benefit of all.

How do you stay above the attacks and be the better person? By removing yourself from the criticism, and looking only at the actions criticized. By seeing the positive in the criticism, and trying to improve. By thanking the critic, and by responding with a positive attitude. After you did you will feel good about yourself and the way you acted…trust me.

How do you handle criticism? Please share your tips and suggestions in the comments.

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