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Forums / Staying well / The frog and the scorpion. Our nature

Topic: The frog and the scorpion. Our nature

  1. white knight
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    22 May 2021

    Briefly the story goes like this-

    A scorpion eager to get to the other side of the river asked a frog to transport him there in his back. The frog refused telling the scorpion that he'd sting him once he got there and he'd die. The scorpion insisted he wouldn't kill him so the frog took him to the other side. Almost at the bank the scorpion sung the frog and before dying the frog asked the scorpion why he did that as he pledge he wouldn't....the scorpion replied "because its in my nature"..

    And so we come to the theme here. The inherent qualities both good and bad inside us that cannot be changed. The foundation of our character will not budge. All the other parts that are plasticine can be moulded to improve on our faults. But we really are a ship on a course with our nature.

    That leads me to ask the question- if there is a characteristic you don't like (often highlighted by another person) that is in ground in your personality, what can you do about it?

    E.g. I have a slight anger problem. I usually brush it off with "stress" but in reality I have to own it. Even though it's my nature, with anger there is a victim, be it a slight raising of your voice (my case), or worse.

    The fact remains, change is near impossible. The "slight raising of my voice" is the result of a build up of disappointment that one tries to suppress, then balm! It all overflows.

    I've come to the realisation that with the ever predicted outburst if I can move on quickly then life's good. However if that event repeats itself too often the victim can tire of it.

    To judge if your trait is inherited just look at members of your blood family. Do they get angry? Are they selfish?

    To summarize- we are talking about personality flaws we don't choose, they are part of your inherited make up.

    Do you have any and how do you control them?

    Tony

    1 person found this helpful
  2. missep123
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    22 May 2021 in reply to white knight

    Hi white knight!

    Wow- this is such a thought-provoking post. I really think that reflection is so useful and I realise that I don't do it enough! Your story of the scorpion and the frog was truly compelling.

    One characteristic that is a challenge for me is the need to be 'the best of the best' or perfectionism. I have always been this way and no one else puts this pressure on me but myself. At high school it wasn't too bad but for the undergraduate and postgraduate degrees I studied there was a need to be in the top percentile in order to progress. Unfortunately those who didn't meet the cut-off weren't able to do very much with their degree even if they studied 4+ years of it.

    Honestly it has it's strengths and weaknesses.

    Strength- I do enjoy working hard and the marks and results usually pay off

    Weaknesses- Catastrophising if I don't get the marks I wanted

    I am slowly getting better, I have always had this quality in me but I honestly feel like my degrees really pushed it to it's limit.

  3. topsy_
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    22 May 2021 in reply to missep123

    Hi White Knight

    I’m not sure I can get mine into words, but here goes -

    I suffered prolonged (years) of abuse of every type as a child & teen. All I ever wanted was a happy family, which would have included being loved for myself.

    My first marriage ended in divorce but I had three young daughters to raise. I loved them dearly but those years were incredibly difficult as my mental illness was at its most severe & I was hospitalised numerous times each year.

    Since my daughters have left home & had their own families I’ve still needed to bury my real self in order to help them, be needed by them & thus loved by them. It’s taken me years to realise that I am a person of some intrinsic worth that doesn’t need validation by them.

    And of course, the cruncher, at the first sign of my “new” self showing through, each daughter in turn has shut me out of their lives.

    I’m not sure if this is what you mean Tony, but I think wanting to be loved is born in us. I went to catholic schools & was taught by nuns & we were told how lucky we were to have a god that loved us as well as a loving family (I used to shudder/grieve/& pine for a family like that).

    The person I am & the person I’ve always been has been worthy of love. I just have to stop trying to mould myself into what I think others want me to be.

    The biggest saving grace in my life has been my second husband. We’ve been married 23 years but we were married 17 years before I fully realised & really believed he loved me. Who ever said I’m a little slow?!

    I still have a lot to learn.

    T.

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  4. white knight
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    22 May 2021 in reply to missep123

    Hi Missep,

    You used a word that highlights this post - "Catastrophizing". If that is in your nature (and confirmation of that is if other members of your family are also) you'll be hard pressed to counter it. Being realistic is a plus eg try to lower the catastrophizing to a more manageable level that means to a level whereby your life is less effected and for only short bursts. This transformation however might take a long time before you get results.

    EG I was a chronic worrier. Nicknamed the "worrier" by a teacher at aged 12. A permanent frown!. So I recognised this as being part of my nature that I inherited from my mother. My mother was in denial with everything in life but not I, so I went about fixing it.

    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/anxiety/worry-worry-worry

    Now, a few decades since that realisation, I worry just a little more than most people.

    I'd suggest that Catastrophizing is very similar to worry be it more compacted. Anxiety I'd suggest has a good deal of ingredient to catastrophizing.

    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/anxiety/anxiety-how-l-eliminated-it

    Reading the first post of that you'll see the long term effort needed to overcome anxiety....22 years! but the improvements along the way are noticed so it is satisfying.

    PS The metaphor of "the frog and the scorpion is told in the mini series "the Bangkok Hilton" starring Nicole Kidman in her early days of acting.

    Have you improved your symptoms over time do you think?

    TonyWK

  5. white knight
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    22 May 2021 in reply to topsy_

    HI Topsy,

    Your expressions werent what I meant really however I'm happy you posted in such a raw way and I'll include you in my answers and can continue on chatting here about your issues.

    From what I've read you have transformed into a "new person" which rapid or radical change from your past character? Am I right?. This new "Topsy" is a person that your daughters cant or wont accept to the point whereby they reject you, even cutting ties.

    From what I've learned out of life including having my youngest daughter reject me several times over a 14 years period till I then rejected her for my own protection, children are on loan. That they are in our lives forever is not a "given" and of course this depends on many factors, no two families are similar.

    What is the best way to go about your future with your on and off adult daughters situation? Well once your situation goes on for a long period of time you'll grow tired of the "fight" to have harmony, just like I did with mine. Once I was convinced that my daughter was playing hurtful narcissistic emotional games (as her mother taught her) it was time to let go. It was the hardest thing I've had to do in my life. Yes, as a loving father I still find times hard when I think about her. Then I remind myself that it was her that refused to give me her phone number, her that refused to give me her address, her that would block me from Facebook when she wanted to without any reason at all and so on. To list these unacceptable decisions would take an A4 page. So I did what was best for me other wise my devotion would do mental damage to me. In contrast my oldest daughter has been a blessing. No problems whatsoever.

    In your case you can find a blend of actions that might see yourself distancing from your daughters depending on their mood. A big part of that alteration to your attitude will be-

    • Less expectations from you to your daughters. Even mothers day for example, if they dont want to make the effort to contact its their loss
    • A few more interests in your life https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/staying-well/depression-distraction-and-variety
    • Adopt others as family that are or arent blood (I have my mother estranged for 10 years, I have two other mother figure in my life now). Better to focus on those that appreciate you.
    • Continue to send birthday card and gifts if you like. If they want you they can contact you.

    I hope that helps. Repost anytime Topsy

    TonyWK

  6. missep123
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    31 May 2021 in reply to white knight

    Hi TonyWK!

    Thank you for your thoughtful and detailed reply! As you mentioned it has definitely been a journey to combat my anxiety. I feel as though this year I am doing much better at uni than I have previously. I still treat every assignment seriously but it does have it's perks in that the results are really showing. However, now I tend to tell myself 'this really isn't the end of the world'. It truly is only one assessment after all.

    It's going to definitely take time but I'm trying to hold on to the happy or proud feeling I get when I react to situations differently than I have previously. I will keep working on this!

    Thank you for your support and I hope we can support you too!

  7. white knight
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    31 May 2021 in reply to missep123

    How nice!

    Essentially Catastophising is at the end of the thought process. It's an extreme reaction that likely disappears with maturity. Mine did. It's also imo a tell tale of a symptom of anxiety. It also show lack of calm. Being calm promotes wisdom because we give ourselves time to think.

    A good idea is to have on you a "reality list". When an incident occurs you take a few moments to access the real effect. From 1 to 10 gauge the seriousness of the event. 10 is a heart attack or a life threatening incident, 1 is a minor worry e.g. running late for class.

    Getting issues into perspective improves your responses and pigeon holes them effectively freeing up your mind to tackle other challenges.

    Commonly you know someone is doing this when they say "I'll worry about that later"

    Every obsession has it's penalty. Perfectionism results in disappointment. Doing your reasonable best is a more measured expectation that leads to that wisdom zone.

    TonyWK

  8. missep123
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    14 June 2021 in reply to white knight

    Hi TonyWK!

    Those are some wonderful insights, the next time I feel anxious I really want to implement the '1-10' list as I have to admit that I've never thought in that way before! I really give my 100% to everything but honestly it means that I worry as much for something small like being late to class to something large for example an accident! I agree with you though, as I am getting older it is definitely become less and less. I like to remind myself to practice self-kindness and realise that I am on a journey of self-awareness and self-growth.

    Thank you for all of your support and tips!

  9. white knight
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    14 June 2021 in reply to missep123

    Hi Missep

    Running late for class... another example of needing to be realistic.

    You get anxious asnd rush etc. But walking swift will get you there 20 seconds later. Reverse your feelings e.g. while walking think about your partner, a bird flying by etc. Smile!

    Life is too short to worry about a minute or two.

    Guilt feelings are not helpful

    Google-

    Beyondblue topic guilt the tormentor

    TonyWK

  10. missep123
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    21 June 2021 in reply to white knight

    Hi TonyWK!

    Thank you for the continued support, you are so right! I have been less anxious recently which feels great!

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  11. white knight
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    21 June 2021 in reply to missep123

    Thats good news, A few quotes-

    • Wisdom goes missing when we are anxious
    • Perspective is distorted when we rush
    • We should stop saving the world
    • Anxious moments build up to mountainous peaks of emotion over time that bite you years later
    • Anxiety leads to depression. Stop it if possible
    • Worry is non productive except developing ulcers
    • your calmness is a priority over restlessness

    TonyWK

  12. missep123
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    24 June 2021 in reply to white knight

    Hi TonyWK!

    Great quotes! I really love quotes, especially when I find ones that truly speak to me!

    Some of the ones that have been helping me with my anxiety:

    - (From a fortune cookie) A single cloud can eclipse the sun

    - Worrying is suffering twice

    - Everyday is a good day (Comment: this quote helps to remind me to try to see the positive in the day no matter what I have been through)

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  13. Guest9337
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    29 August 2021 in reply to white knight

    Scorpions do not lie. Thus a scorpion will never even pretend to you or others that it won't sting you and thus the entire story is an anthromorphological disaster. Like that long word there!

    What I say is that in truth, Humans will lie, and they have the right to lie in relationships, but they do not have the right to sting you physically. Thus the Human who says they will never hurt you might seem like a great thing to aim for, but ultimately they may prove themselves wrong for their overreaching about honesty or harm.

    Much better to say, yes I have hurt people before and I redressed that harm appropriately. I want to love you, but such love is a commitment that goes way past hurt or harm and goes into pure acceptance that I will hurt you even when I am trying not to, and yes, you will hurt me, even though you do not want to. So instead let us say, that we aim to do no hurt, but when we become aware we have hurt someone else, then we will take immediate and appropriate action to redress all of the hurts and their associated hurts and hope to heal and make well that which we hurt.

    love dng.

  14. Guest9337
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    29 August 2021 in reply to white knight

    Re : we should stop saving the world.

    I look at this in several ways. Sometimes saving the world is such a massive job that we should avoid taking on that burden for it may be too heavy and crush us under it. Another way is that we are already saving the world, just by incrementally improving ourselves! For we literally are made of the stuff/atoms/chemicals of this world and when we save ourselves, we are thus saving the world by default!

    Is "saving" just one creature or just one person, or even just one historical building an expression of improvement to just that one thing, or does that saving spread out and ripple across the globe and contribute to our humanity? I think sometimes it ripples and sometimes it stops at one, but sometimes that stopping at one, is itself a ripple of saving that spreads : how about yourself?

  15. white knight
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    30 August 2021 in reply to Guest9337

    These quotes are often made to put things into context.

    If we branch out away from our normal line of thinking for some reason then we need to realise where we are going wrong and correct it.

    In the case of "stop trying to save the world", that refers to the "whiteknight syndrome" (hence my avatar name) which is to save people or enforce justice to the point whereby you damage yourself. Eg If a policeperson worked tirelessly to enforce the law and did not rest or chill out a little now and then he/she could end up harmed mentally and physically. This "save the world" quote would be apt because the level of devotion is out of whack compared to say the average work done by the average police officer. People the try to "save the world" obviously have elevated anxiety and often some other illness eg hyperactivity from bipolar mania or ADHD.

    As for "Scorpions do not lie" the story is a metaphor and was told in the mini series "The Bangkok Hilton" in the context of someone in jail telling another person (Nicole Kidman) how not to trust anyone. It didnt matter if it was a frog, a scorpion, a beaver and a snake. I dont know if you got that or not David.

    TonyWK

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  16. Guest9337
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    30 August 2021 in reply to white knight

    G'day white knight, thx for ur reply.

    I am aware of the story, it is an old tale, and I first became aware of it in Star Trek Voyager, episode Scorpion parts 1 and 2. It's a cool story which I like, but it is actually one of those stories that can be useful or might not be.

    The story as you say is about not trusting an entity that says "trust me".

    The interesting analysis for me is that a scorpion truly never lies! So using a entity that never lies, as a means of talking about humans who do lie, creates an incongruence for me. That does not exclude others benefits from the story, nor even my own benefit for I like the story!

    Fundamentally animals, insects, tree, birds, none of them lie at all, and thus using a "beast" to tell that story is itself hindering the acceptance that the real issue is that humans do lie and often they won't even admit they lie at all, neither to others, nor even themselves.

    I just think the stories point is better said thusly.

    "Humans may lie about their own trustworthiness."

    No need to bring in fallacious positions about scorpions to express the actual concept about humans in just 7 words.

    So, I'm not having a go at anyone, neither yourself, nor the story, nor the author, because such considerations are indeed fun! And revealing under analysis hey mate!

    love dng.

  17. white knight
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    1 September 2021 in reply to Guest9337

    Hi

    Thankyou for clarifying.

    As you see I try to use all tools at my disposal to spread a message or utilize it.

    All for members benefit.

    Of course scorpions don't lie! But they all have a saying in their tail lol

    TonyWK

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  18. white knight
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    28 January 2022 in reply to white knight

    DNA meaning- the fundamental and distinctive characteristics or qualities of someone or something, especially when regarded as unchangeable.

    Unchangeable characteristics! If ever you have been trying to transform yourself on things that you cant change, then you have been wasting your time.

    This one real thing could, if accepted, free up a lot of time and effort to use to focus on what can be changed.

    Eg My weight has been an issue all my 66 years. If people knew my parents, sister and those long gone up the family tree they'd realise I didnt have much of a chance being slim. I accepted that about 10 years ago and since then simply focus on what quality foods enter my body.

    You might have other ideas of what you've tried to change without success and realise now how futile that was.

    Talk about it if you want.

    TonyWK

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  19. Ggrand
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    28 January 2022 in reply to white knight

    Hi Tony and readers...🤗..

    The meaning of DNA...is very intriguing and has me wondering now...if our mental health is also a part of our DNA structure...is it even possible to change those parts of our brain?....is our mh all part of a bigger picture of our DNA that has developed and grown into what it was supposed to do...and impossible to change it..

    Kind thoughts dear Tony..

    Grandy...

  20. white knight
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    28 January 2022 in reply to Ggrand

    Dear Grandy

    It's a good thing brainstorming and asking questions, even if we dont find the answers.

    I believe some of us are more susceptible to mental illness than others. If a person was born as you but with different parents, she might not have succumbed to the mental struggles you have endured. Then again she might have gone on to be prime minister or not reached 18yo. This is the ultimate individualistic froentier in that you have ended up in your position because you as an individual ran your life that way and the cards fell where they fell. Some bad luck, some behaviours around you that created difficulties, cultures, poverty and lack of strength.

    This is why I'm a strong advocate for not blaming people for their situation. The only time I think blame can be soundly attributed is repeated happenings as if nothing was learned.

    I could also ask "what is life"? Life is many things but life is most importantly- unfair, hard to accept for its cruelty, indiscriminate, some entitled, some not, unpredictable, challenging etc but it can also be - inspirational, wonderful, powerful, kind, loving etc. The only obligation to ourselves is to ensure we survive it as long as we can and assist others to as well and to do that we should put more emphasis on forcing the positive to the surface and not allow the bad things to cover the surf.

    To focus on the things we cannot change is wasted energy frothing to become worry that can manifest into a sad existence.

    TonyWK

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  21. missep123
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    31 January 2022 in reply to white knight

    Hi everyone,

    @white knight it really resonated when you distinguished between what you can and can't change. This is something I have been especially working on recently. Learning that there are events outside my control and the only thing I can really control is my mind. It has been taking practice but I have been noticing my 'less than ideal' habits of thinking - which is a good thing because now I can work on changing them!

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  22. white knight
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    31 January 2022 in reply to missep123

    Hi missep

    Yes, when we concentrate on the things we cannot change it is pure worry. Worry is not productive, gets you nowhere except reverses progress.

    Google beyondblue topic worry worry worry

    TonyWK

  23. missep123
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    14 February 2022 in reply to white knight

    Hi TonyWK,

    That is so true! I heard a quote recently and it completely resonated with me 'Everything except the current moment is just a thought'. It is so true! Also 'Happiness is a choice'. Those two quotes have been really helping to ground me and overall I really do feel less stressed and more happy (it's a journey of course though!)

  24. white knight
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    15 February 2022 in reply to missep123

    Hi Missep

    "Happiness is a choice". To a great degree. Luck has a lot to do with it though.

    Take inheritance... money does assist in happiness or rather lack of money brings sadness. Some people get huge amounts at a young age, no mortgage, more spending ability, more saving ability.

    Happiness more likely.

    TonyWK

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  25. missep123
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    21 February 2022 in reply to white knight

    Hi TonyWK!

    You are right! I guess it is a case by case scenario!

  26. white knight
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    21 February 2022 in reply to missep123

    Hi Missep

    The way I see our "nature" as being the most predominant thing that shapes our lives, is that our nature is us. We cant change our nature at all significantly but we can mould our personality to improve our quality of life.

    Our nature for example could include- excessive weight. I'm from a large family weight wise, we are all over weight. Some members have had surgery to enable them to lose up to 65kg. I'm a strong build but also over weight at 135kg. I can argue it is my nature- it's me, thats who I am. But I can mould my weight to some degree with diet and so on, however it is limited in success.

    As the title and story depicts, the nature of the scorpion is that he stings other animals and no matter his promises- he still stung the frog. Therefore the metaphor is clear to us with mental illness- that it's part of our nature even if or illness is developed through incidents or environment, its still part of our nature.

    That results in focussing on mending what we can mend and not trying to mend what is not mendable like our nature.

    TonyWK

  27. missep123
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    27 February 2022 in reply to white knight

    That is very thought provoking TonyWK!

    Maybe a part of my journey then is to accept my nature and not be so resistant but rather perhaps see the positive in it and what I can change I can mould for greater life quality and happiness :)

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  28. white knight
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    27 February 2022 in reply to missep123

    Yes, accepting your nature, your personality, is not only steering your attention away from places that your efforts aren't productive, but it has an indirect result- that being, by accepting yourself you begin to like yourself as you are not focussing on your main character.

    As an example- I used to own a car, a french car, 4 door sedan. One day I cut the roof off to make it a convertible. Eventually the car bowed in the centre as it didnt have the strength in the chassis, the backbone of the car to do away with the roof. Point is- it was never a convertible, its bones were a sedan. I could have modified the sedan by leaving the roof on and painting the car to make it a really nice car.

    Our DNA is set. Our character and personality is ours and ours alone. We can eb proud of that embrace it but focus on the things that need attention...and only those things... and have reasonable expectations of a goal

    TonyWK

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  29. missep123
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    14 March 2022 in reply to white knight
    I really like what you wrote Tony about having reasonable expectations of a goal. For example one thing I have been working on for increased happiness and my wellbeing is to write in a gratitude journal. At first I did this everyday but what I often do with new things is that I end up forgetting to do it! So rather than being tough on myself for not doing this everyday, I congratulate myself when I do remember to do it. I want to be gentle with myself in this regard as usually I am too strict.
  30. white knight
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    15 March 2022 in reply to missep123

    Hi M

    I'd just turned 17yo when I joined the Air Force as a trainee radio tech. My goal however was a pilot. My problem was, my goal of pilot was way too unrealistic as I didn't have the academic ability.

    We are usually much fairer on others than we are in ourselves. That pat on your own back makes up for the loss.

    That frog and scorpion are examples of the nature of animals. We are animals which is often overlooked, in fact we differ greatly. The collective of society has narrowed down what the majority believe is "normal". Unfortunately, this means a big chunck of individuals are over that boundary fence. It's unfair, judgemental and divisive not to mention cruel.

    We, the mentally impaired are normal, we developed normally as we are, we have every right to be in society as those in the Coral of normality.

    These normal people the smirk over that boundary fence are so... well...abnormal at times

    TonyWK

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