…You must have been very loved when you were a child,” he paused observing, “look at how you are. It’s easy to see.”

We spoke about what it means to grow up healthy, grow up with a solid sense of self, to be happy and confident, to develop the ability to speak up for oneself, to have a moderate temperament, to have a moral spine, to be compassionate. Today’s post is about a social problem worldwide that makes me quite angry… but it’s here, now, in Chiapas, so I’m going to elaborate.

…Two days ago over lunch, Maria and I chatted over chai and caramel cream tea and guacamole chips. During the afternoons she works with pregnant mothers under detestable circumstances, mostly indigenous girls who have been raped, harassed, assaulted or brutally forced. In the lighter cases, the men who impregnated them simply abandoned the mother. These unwanted pregnancies (sometimes as young as eleven years old) leave permanent psychological deep scars all around poorer parts of Mexico, not only for their traumatized mothers, but for the unborn children as well. The mestizos would grow to be messed up douchebags, justifying lying and stealing and cheating, never feeling loved enough, feeling like the world owes them, sometimes they’d be delinquents, many other times they’d just grow up ready to be repressed and abused again, almost all of them resigning themselves to unhealthy submissive relationships even though they know better !

The resentful anger must brew somewhere deep down inside, so hidden that they’re not even aware… so every day continues on seemingly normal. Something’s not normal. In Chiapas, there is a curious phenomenon that is unseen to the passerby traveler, and noticed only after you meet several people who are curiously here for an extended time with no specific reason or plan. Disgusting cases of sexual and domestic abuse and using fear to intimidate people, only to result in the fact that… the “victims” actually tolerate this sort of emotional duress….and encourage it to happen again and again.

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Douchebag Nation

In addition to shady Mexican characters, there have been several foreigners who come escaping their troubles at home and psychological wounds and hoping to nurse their wounds by either feeling self-important compared to the indigenous by “helping” or “defending” or “protecting” the poor, and then something ugly occurs and it’s kept hush-hush. At a certain level especially in development/philanthropy we value remarkable talent over moral fiber and overlook “incidents” if overall that person’s accomplishments seems to serve a greater good. Spitzer certainly didn’t get away with it.

And so I heard again, today, about a North American guy who has lived here for years, very respected for his lobbying to protect and conserve the Lacandón Mayans, and yet more and more whispers of a history of raping indigenous girls when he makes trips to the villages. Yep there are credible testimonies. Yep inside witnesses actually see him being violent and drunk with young girls. Yep, occasionally there are sounds of screaming and crying out of the dark hut as they are violated. But not only do villagers and volunteers and his colleagues do nothing about it and turn a blind eye, in fact, they protect him. In fact, even as the administration (who also heard reports and has the power to at least revoke his travels) they keep sending HIM as their privileged representative to the villages to symbolize this privileged organization! (How sick is that?! What is wrong with these people?! Welcome to Chiapas, Mexico.) At a certain level especially in development/philanthropy in poorer regions we value remarkable talent over moral fiber and overlook “incidents” if overall it seems to serve a greater good. And it’s not just rotten men doing unspeakable things. Women too who have suffered psychological trauma, seem to have no problem exactly cruelty on their fellow human beings, and justifying themselves or “just wanting to be happy.”

Come on. We are better than this. We’ve got to hold ourselves to higher standards,” I say, to myself and others.

Thankfully, the vast majority aren’t like this… or maybe I just don’t know. Even the messed up people are rather amicable over the brief duration of knowing them; usually nothing seems awry. But dig deeper, and there are “incidents”. And weird stuff. Last week conversation: A Mexican-Mayan who spent all his family’s savings to go to the United States to work for two years as a gardener in Florida and Alabama. “So you must have saved a lot of money for your family here?” I asked, figuring that most illegal immigrants go to North America to work hard for this reason. “Nah, I blew it all on booze and women. All the women in America wanted a Mexican man, and I spent all my money on girls.” Translation: he went to Hispanic whores, the whole time he was supposed save money indebted to his family, but he returned broke because he couldn’t afford life in the states. He seems not to have any remorse, smiles happily. Nobody here even denounces him. Later, he shows us a picture of his Mayan wife. I felt sad for her. And even worse, this douchebag cholo was actually common among the poor in the south of Mexico and into Central America, that’s how horrible the men were. (And the women aren’t that much better.) And I get angry that his wife actually welcomes his behavior.

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Integrity is Born

So what makes a person with values, what makes a person grow up to be good, what factors make for a well-adjusted adult with principles that s/he lives by and the capacity to love others and be more compassionate? What makes us have the spine to say no to behavior that is unacceptable or abusive. What standards do we think we deserve? Why do people here not only tolerate, but promote, bad behavior?

If you look at all the overwhelming social problems that plague a developing country, so much of it comes directly from negligent sh*tty parenting skills combined with these very people making more than five babies and not investing in any of them. Not investing love, not investing attention, resources, time, encouragement or brain stimulation. In a place where much of the parenting skills are slightly above “functionally retarded” you see everything I’ve told you about. Sometimes actions so dumb you want to scream.

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“You’ll Thank Me One Day”

Good parenting is *SO* important to a society… in bio-developmental ways that we can’t quite explain. Many times it is the difference between self-esteem, self-sufficiency and self-love that makes a human capable of healthy love for one another. Lately at home, I’ve been reading a lot of reports about maternity and child development in Chiapas, and it’s the first three years of life and even life inside the belly. And no government programs, no aid, no talented development, no money nor foster parenting is going to match up the psychosomatic damage of the woman who has an unwanted pregnancy and doesn’t want her child. Something is etched into the biological imprinting that somehow tells the life that it is unwanted, and it intuitively knows. It starts within the womb, something tragic happens, even during the final trimester, during gestation. And even in cases where adoptive parents dote all their attention and love on the newborn (sometimes not even telling the child she was adopted) oftentimes something is very different, something is abnormal. The child just feels hated, and therein, the seed of resentment.

So, if I’ve learned anything from what I’ve seen in Chiapas, Mexico, I think I’ve got to really thank my parents for wanting me, raising me well, and frankly just taking care of me. And whereas I would have been inclined to adopt newborns in the past and consider adoptions to be just as good as their natural counterparts, now, I’m hesitant. And on my stance on abortions, I don’t know. But I do know what happens when an unwanted newborn enters this earth… you can see it all around.

The images of the impregnated young indigenous girls haunt me. Their offspring, an result of violence and hate and a living and breathing scar. Their mothers who don’t even care that their flesh and blood has been violated and humiliated. Think about it.

“My rule in life is that you just shouldn’t suck…” —Phillip Jones

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