Sunday, October 18, 2015

What Are Scofflaws and Sewer Rats?

  I am joining Kate Motaung and others who are writing every day in October. My intention is to record my reactions and feelings about Brené Brown's newest book, "Rising Strong". You can find the other posts I have written here.     

   "Chapter six in Rising Strong is a chapter you should definitely read for yourself. I can't do it justice to try to summarize the concepts. Let's just say that Brené had me laughing, agreeing, judging her behavior as mean spirited, feeling remorse for judging her behavior as mean spirited, and judging my own behavior as equally mean-spirited. In other words, she took me for quite a ride.
   First, to define some terms. The definition of sewer rat comes from the movie "Flushed Away".  A sewer rat is someone who goes against all the common rules of decency. They disgust us and cause self-righteousness to rise up in our very souls. A scofflaw is a person who scoffs at the rules and laws of society and mocks others who do abide by them. They make life difficult by not conforming to what we think is right. They can be annoying at best and down right challenging to our self-esteem.
   I think we must all have encountered these nasty creatures. When we rumble with a story that has a scofflaw or sewer rat we run into a fork in the road. The road to the right is a pathway of self-justification. We horriblize them and objectify them to maintain our position as hero in the story. They run rough shod in our thoughts. We find others who agree with us to maintain our superiority over them. 

"Self-righteouness starts with the belief that I'm better than other people and it always ends with me being my very worst and thinking, I'm not enough."

Ah, Brené, I have walked that path with you. And then, you introduce the other road. The pathway to the left. Tomorrow I write about the haunting question in chapter six. 

Could scofflaws and sewer rats be doing the best they can?


  1. So many times when I read Brene's work I think of the men we work with in recovery. The 12 Steps are similar in dealing with underlying issues in addiction that I believe are woven in the lives of most of us, addicts or not. This particular post made me think of that. Thanks for continuing to flesh out the book for us. You are very brave to do so.

  2. Oh Gabriele, it's a question I'm still battling with in regards to my (still) husband.

    His illness(es) mean that, yes, perhaps his behaviours were the best he could do, making it easier to forgive him in some respects but, harder, emotionally to cut the ties (some part of me finds it still very difficult to believe that it was all a sham).

    I'm looking forward to your post later today.

    This seems like a book I most definitely need to read.


    P.S. I absolutely loved your description of the ride she took you on: such fab writing!


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