Rubrics of judgment

So, last night, I was attempting to explain to a friend the thoughts from the latter half of the last post.

That to me, there’s a big difference between a deliberately crafted lie, and a spur of the moment first impulse lie.

That to me, the intent makes a large difference, even if the end result is the same for the action.

And to make my point, I went to the topic of discipline.

Now, there have been a lot of posts that were years and years back about my daughter…. because we dealt with a lot of issues with meltdowns.

She does have some struggles, including ADHD, and there were a lot of situations that were going into extreme modes. Sometimes the hyperactivity that she was not capable of calming… but often there were also meltdowns due to anger or frustration coming from a similar source.

It hasn’t been a major issue in several years. We saw a therapist for a while to do teaching on self-soothing and diverting things before they got to the meltdown point, she’s been on medication, and we’ve gotten a lot better about knowing what is likely to be a trigger and trying to minimize it before it causes an issue.

We do occasionally still have some meltdowns, but they are generally relatively rare, and usually associated with major changes in routine like holidays, or when she isn’t feeling well.

But it used to be a very big issue.

And so, when it came to discipline, the circumstances very much mattered.

If she broke something in a deliberate act of defiance, or through willful actions, then yes, discipline was appropriate.

However, if the same object were broken during a time when she was in meltdown mode and completely out of control, then that became a different issue.

Because it’s not going to do any good to discipline for something that she wasn’t in a place that she was capable of making another decision under the circumstances. She was in an overwhelmed meltdown mode, and wasn’t acting on the fact that she knew better and was choosing to do so anyway, she was in a state that her actions were following impulse.

So, generally the strategy there was to wait for things to calm back down, have a discussion on cutting things off before they get to that point, and just letting the natural consequences of her actions be it’s own punishment.

And so… in this discussion… as my mind brought the discipline example to mind.. I realized it.

That’s why I’m believing that intent matters with Prince Charming as well.

Because it very much was a completely different story with Boo based on intent, I’m using that rubric on him as well.

It’s sort of interesting… because at several different points during this, there has been questioning about the family that I grew up in.. and if the reason I was allowing the behavior was because it was allowed and normal in my home as a child, and it kept just not fitting. Yes, my family had/has some big issues, but it’s never been anything that really matched this much.

It never even dawned on me to stop and consider the older issues we had with Boo. It’s been years since it’s been a daily battle.

This seemed to explain a lot.

It seemed to explain why I went into mothering mode with him when things got emotional, and that I was projecting Boo’s struggles and lack of deliberate malice on him would explain why the jerk actions weren’t being seen as evidence of him being a jerk.

Thus, making it a simple matter to deal with and just remind myself that he is not Boo.

But, the more I’ve thought about it since that realization… the more I’m not sure that it actually is that simple.

Because I’m not sure that the rubric isn’t the same one that should apply.

Yes, the issues suggested by both of my therapists may or may not be the case with him, but at this point in time, with as crazy as things have been, I don’t think there is anyone who would argue the case that he is in a stable mental position and making decisions with a rational mind.

Actually, that’s pretty much been everyone’s case towards running, is that he does have big issues he’s battling.

So, if Boo’s issues were requiring a different rubric based on her mental state at the time of actions, it seems reasonable to allow that a similar rubric could also apply for his actions based on mental state.

So, is there a difference?

The main one seems to be the fact that I can choose not to be with Prince Charming, and he can choose not to be with me… where Boo and I were not able to make such decisions (or at least without a whole lot of good cause and legal effort.)

I had to put up with whatever state Boo was in, and do whatever we could to improve that state… to put the work in to make it better… and to endure until it was.

I don’t have to put up with being treated anything but like a princess by Prince Charming. There are no formal commitments in place, no legal ties, no biological ties, no financial ties. The only ties that exist are emotional. (Spiritual can be argued..)

I’ve been reminded by various people all through this that I’ve dodged a bullet that there were no ties… that had things waited longer to break loose, there may have been. But, in a way, that would make things easier by creating an obligation to try all means before declaring it unable to be tolerated.

Again, there is the giant issue here that he does not choose to try, and that ends the question for right now.

But, it’s still worth exploring and resolving in the case that things change and that is someday not the case.

Having no obligation to do so, do I choose to put up with allowing the current behavior by using a rubric that takes intent into account?

It annoys pretty much everyone that I feel this way, but as of the moment, I do feel like the benefit is greater than the harm.

But, I do know that is not an unconditional thing…. that there may be a point that I would consider that not to be the case. That there may be a point in which the harm is greater than the benefit, physical violence being an extreme example.


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