When did it become standard practice to regard people as property? 

I was standing in line at the grocery store.  To either side of me were gossip rags screaming the latest in bi-coastal celebrity breakups.  Each one seemed more ridiculous than the next and I wondered if the Midwest was the last bastion of reason and common sense.  Or at least I did until the dowdy housewife behind me started unloading into her cell phone.  “It just makes me sick,” she said while piling frozen Lean Cuisines and boxes of Twinkies onto the conveyor belt.  “I know she’s gonna steal him away from me.”

Given the circumstances, it seemed fitting.  Where else could one feel a sense of cameraderie with the lovelorn if not next to the latest copy of Star magazine?  This particular story, however, did not require any reading.  Before I had a chance to pay and escape with my purchase, she was already onto her next gripe.  “…and after everything I’ve done for him, he owes me!”

That was more than enough.  I grabbed my bags and ran for the exit, hoping the bad juju wasn’t trailing me out to the parking lot.   I felt a cold sweat gather around my neck and I knew why.  It’s only when you’ve been oppressed, that you know the price of freedom.  Which brings me to the point:  When we commit to another person, do we sign our lives away and become their defacto possession?

It seems a strange road, the one that leads from an affectionate joining to the bitter haggling over whom gets whom.  Where along this path did we learn to regard our partners as inanimate objects?  Aren’t people sentient beings who decide their own destinies, or have I lapsed into some idealistic dream again?

I thought about the mindset of the individual who could reduce human value to a commodity which can be transferred or stolen.  Surely their self-esteem must be as low as their regard for others.  Why else would they continue claim possession of a person who has no interest in them?  Or invent highly-charged emotional reasons to justify their action?

In addition, it’s interesting that despite all the posturing and tears, the slaveowner rarely inquires into the feelings of the slave.  Apparently self-absorption doesn’t allow for it.  The only objective is to keep themselves contented, and if that means sacrifice of all others’ needs on the altar of their own glorification, so be it.

It’s ludicrous.  When did we move from gratitude to entitlement?  It’s not a given that we all will have the privilege of experiencing intimate relationships;  there are many who drift through life completely disconnected. They would give their eye teeth for a loving companion.  Yet those of us who have the good fortune abuse it and abase our partners until love is destroyed and only duty remains.

We’ve been told that a solid relationship requires faithfulness in both good and bad times.  Certainly we ought not desert each other just because we’re bored.  However I would argue that those who diminish their beloved in any way have already dissolved the union.   Marriage or other lifelong committment is an agreement between equals, not rank and file.   Once subjugation begins, the loving attachment ends and is replaced by the master/servant dynamic.

That job is a lot harder to quit.  An employer conscious of his role and the rights of his employee will accept a two-week notice.  A lover or spouse who has played the part of CEO will reject it and revert to their dual role of clingy dependent just long enough to get the agitator back in line.  Afterwards, the no trespassing sign is posted and you’d be wise to heed its warning.  We may not care for the sanctity of marriage, but in this country, property rights are defended to the death.



  1. Your reference to a CEO is interesting. A marriage or union is not unlike that of a business. There are responsibilities and consequences. If business partners have a disagreement they attempt to come to a mutual understanding and solution. If one allows themsleves to be stepped on then it is no ones fault but there own. There will always be those who prey on that type of partner.

    It is always easy to dissolve a partnership. It takes a certain person to think of others, and not always themselves and thier feelings, to be successful in life. To see another persons soul is what matters in a relationship.

    The woman in the grocery store, or housewives as you degradingly refer to them, might have just been feeling neglected and unappreciated. That is one job I dont’ envy.

    You definately need to broaden your scope and not be so self absorbed. Once you accomplish this task your writings might lighten up and so will your somewhat pitiful, depressed life. Good Luck.

  2. What’s the matter, doll, did I hit a nerve? 😀

    I’m actually enjoying my somewhat pitiful depressed life -thanks for asking- even more so since I finally addressed my own vanity and need for dysfunctional relationships.

    If you had any real experience with this, you’d know that dissolution of any union is always much harder than not. Even in the best case scenario, it’s a wrenching process made worse by angry partners who’d rather pout and gaslight the other than face their own foibles.

    You state that the trodden have only themselves to blame, then why the sympathy for the housewife? If she feels undervalued and dismissed, by your own argument she’s responsible for her lot.

    One last thing, just between us girls, try using Spellcheck. It might lend more weight to your snarky comments.

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