Elinor Roosevelt was wrong when she said…

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” 

This showed up once again on my twitter feed the other night, and the same usual surge of agitation, that I have felt every other time it appears on my timeline surged through me. You see, for me, that quote is a trigger to several issues, relevant, but not essential to this post.

So, I replied thus,

I totally disagree, but it is impossible 2 explain why in 140 characters and cite supporting evidence which i cud do.”

For the rest of the evening it troubled me, and I felt compelled to write this blog, but last night wasnt the time, it was late and I was tired, but I felt I had to support my statement, then pondered if this suggested unrational behavior of a compulsive beleive that I had to prove myself sane.

Of course, I didn’t have to do anything, no one was forcing me, I had no legal obligation to elaborate on my opinion, but it remained an #intrudingThot ,it was twitter, none the less I tweeted,

feelings r emotions often illogical & based on learned believes, not consented, but feelings can be proven wrong “

then replied to my own tweet cos I didn’t have enough characters with my attempt at suopport my statement in alocated character space.

I felt a little better after tweeting these two tweets, I had not supported my argument as I had said I could, however I felt I had clearly explained my logic, perhaps not in one 140 character tweet but in 2, and surely that wasn’t bad!.

I had a bad nights sleep, waking often, thoughts that had been triggered, impacting on my mind.

I still wasn’t happy so I set myself the task that today I would write this post to elaborate and cite supporting evidence to my claim. Why? , because the topic is important to me. My trigger had been pulled, I needed to do something positive to manage my emotions, my feelings, in a logical manner, and to back up my assertions from a mental health perspective, as that is important to me.

I will try to keep this short, by breaking it down, which is how I apply logic.
So, there are four words I believe are relevant to my argument, make, feel , inferior, consent.

Lets look at the definitions .
Make = verb 1. form (something) by putting parts together or combining substances; create.
synonyms: construct, build, assemble, put together, manufacture, produce, fabricate, create, form, fashion, model, mould, shape, forge, bring into existence
2. cause (something) to exist or come about; bring about.


Feel = verb
1.be aware of (a person or object) through touching or being touched.
“she felt someone touch her shoulder”
synonyms: perceive, sense, detect, discern, make out, notice, observe, identify; More
2. experience (an emotion or sensation).
“I felt a sense of excitement”
synonyms: experience, undergo, go through, bear, endure, suffer, be forced to contend with;
1. an act of touching something to examine it.
2. a sensation given by an object or material when touched.
synonyms: texture, surface, finish, grain, nap;


Inferior = adjective 1. lower in rank, status, or quality.
synonyms: lower in status, lesser, second-class, second-fiddle, minor, subservient, lowly, humble, menial, not very important, not so important, below someone, beneath someone, under someone’s heel;
1. a person lower than another in rank, status, or ability.
“her social and intellectual inferiors”
synonyms: subordinate, junior, underling, minion, menial;


Consent = noun 1. permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.
“no change may be made without the consent of all the partners”

synonyms agreement, assent, concurrence, accord;

verb 1. give permission for something to happen.
“he consented to a search by a detective”

synonyms: agree to, assent to, allow, give permission for, sanction, accept, approve, acquiesce in, go along with, accede to, concede to, yield to, give in to, submit to, comply with, abide by, concur with, conform to

“all the patients consented to surgery”


Now that we have clear definition of the words, I will explain why I believe it to be wrong.

“Language is an ever-changing minefield, and alerts us to the power it has to buoy us up or pull us down, inflict pain or to encourage, to influence positively or negativily, to enhance self-esteem or sabotage self-confidence or to manipulate or to understand”. Lago, C. (1997).

So, let me now ask these questions:

  1. Does the abused child, groomed by an adult give consent to his or her abuser? or
  2. Are they made, moulded, forced , by the abuser to participate, or concent under duress, fear, threat, or through ignorance of innocence, by way of tactical manipulation of grooming process, based on emotions and feeling , such as fear of punishment, retribution, or promise of reward, be that the promise or even sense of (feeling) love, acceptance, affection or even absence of punishment.& always   Baring in mind, children are generally taught that adults know better, are their superiors and as such have authority and power over them, and therefore should or must be obeyed.
    Alternatively, may I suggest,
  3. The domestic abuse victim, whose life and confidence is sabotaged by verbal, & or emotional, and or physical, and or financial abuse. Who although able and capable  does not consent to their abuse, but becomes a victim of the treatment, and langauge used against them, for the purpose of control, which will invariably happen over time, reducing their self believe and self-awareness, until they come to feel or beleive themself inferior , not by consent , but by the treatment, and use of language, used against them.

And is that not a practice, tried and proven to be effective in the torture chambers of government’s around the globe over decades, nae centuries?

I could go on and offer more suggestions to support my argument that Elinor Roosevelt was wrong when she said

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”

but I believe these two examples are adequate to support my argument and shall end this blog with further reading suggestions .

Before I finnish this post, I would like to suggest that as suggested by Hutton, W.(2001) and explained by Thompson (1998)

Communication is paramount in care delivery where the biggest cause of inadequacy is often a result in political correctness gone mad, causing major inadequacies and discrimination in our ability to communicate.”

and that perhaps the onus is on the care professional / service provider ,to be mindful of their own use of language and communication skills when writing reports in relation to services users.

In an age where service users have a right to access personal data held on them under data protection legislation, health professionals should remain mindful of how their langage & reporting skill could affect service users.

I believe langage provides a bountaful harvest of words that can enable even the most negative facts to be delivered with compassionate words that minimises risk of harm, in most if not all circumstances, if we are attentive to all evidence and facts, and don’t make assumptions without checking detail.
Finally, I wish to give the last word to Elinor Roosevelt, on something which I  very much agree on, who said

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”



further reading
Lago,C. and Smith, B.(2003) Anti-discriminatory counseling practice. London; Sage publications
Maslow (1908-1979) and Rogers (1902-1987).Anti-discriminatory practice in counselling (2001)
Mcllveen,R. and Gross, R. (1998)

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