Thank goodness, the show of shows (aka the presidential election) is over. Some of you are happy campers; others are discouraged or angry. The silent majority may be relieved that this show has closed — with bad reviews, I might add.

bits_and_pieces_largeJune through the end of October is deemed the “silly season.” I beg to differ! What we witnessed is far from “silly” — it was ugly, vile and contentious. The grave issues facing our nation were overshadowed by vicious character assignations. The ugly heads that were reared represented the worst of America—a real American horror story.

What strikes a bad chord in me is the loyalty factor. How in the world could any candidate sustain such a loyal following in the face of scandalous, bombasting or incriminating charges?

It makes me wonder whether loyalty is all that it’s cracked up to be.

A good friend, whom I had worked closely with in Staten Island, recently had to face the loyalty challenge. Her employer invited the staff to a celebratory luncheon at which time the director showered them with praise, commenting on their loyalty and work ethic. Then he dropped the bomb: the medical practice had been sold to a corporate group, however, he would stay on—but shorten his hours. He stressed that nothing would change. Really?

In my former life, I was a medical practice and hospital administrator and in my humble opinion, the director’s statement didn’t hold water. Not all, but some practices, will spin fairy tales to ensure staff loyalty and appease their patients’ anxiety. Down the road a piece, one by one the staff are given an ultimatum: work at a lower salary or don’t let the door hit you in the rear on the way out!

I told my friend to “start her engine” and she did. At first she felt disloyal to the staff and physicians. But given some time and a new stable position, she heard through the grapevine that most of the staff was given the aforementioned ultimatums. And the doc? He hit the road along with “loyalty” and received a big payout.

How many times have we heard this disturbing scenario: a spouse or partner turns a blind eye to the obvious misconduct of their partner out of loyalty to the marriage, children or relationship? C’mon, the contract was broken when the misconduct occurred. Where is the self-respect or the self-love? This is a brand of relationship that I could never understand, nor tolerate.

Folks should walk away from anyone who treats them badly, but that doesn’t always mean they will. How tragic is that! Misguided loyalty? Fear? Who knows. Unhealthy? Absolutely, positively, yes!

One who allows misconduct in a relationship commits an unspeakable sin—against themselves. In this case, loyalty to the marriage or relationship is poppycock!

Loyalty to one’s family is essential; blind loyalty leads to degradation and dysfunction. Being loyal within the family nucleus is an honorable trait. We support those whom we love by being emotionally present through times of crises, stress and in some cases financial hardship.

A blindly loyal person follows all too quietly without questioning the inappropriate behavior of some of its family members. I have known persons whose loyalty to their children’s irresponsible behavior almost bankrupted them.

Research has shown that blind loyalty is formed in childhood in order to seek parental approval—and what kid doesn’t want and need approval. However, even if the parent displays emotional or abusive behavior, the child fearfully continues to walk the straight and narrow, silently screaming.

Stories abound citing parents who physically and emotionally abuse their children. Here’s the kicker: When the parent dies, the adult “child” still lives with their blinders fixed firmly in place sporting an unsightly emotional scar. Unfortunately, through conditioning, these folks usually harbor the “keep the peace at all costs” mentality. Loyalty or stupidity?

Those who are strong enough or have had enough of the dysfunction may try to break away and “pull the plug” so to speak. In the meantime, other family members who are stuck in an unhealthy loop of blind loyalty urge silence. I have heard it said: “Blood makes you related; loyalty makes you family.” But at what cost?

Feeling disloyal is a bitter pill to swallow. We wallow in misguided loyalty to folks who really don’t give a hoot about our faithfulness. They disappointed us during the “worst of the worst” but we hang on because we considered them family, of sorts. Conversely, some friendships die on the curb where we were kicked when we weren’t our sunny selves. Here’s some good news: The disloyal pill is easier to swallow when we wash it down with a good dose of self esteem.

Back to the tricky question of the day: Is loyalty all that it’s cracked up to be?

Seems to me that being loyal is seen as a good quality. However, don’t you feel there are times when loyalty could be self-destructive? Let’s face it: Some folks continually turn a blind eye to reality and see only what they their fragile psyches can bear.

Obviously there are two sides to loyalty. But there is only one side to this glaring truth: never push a loyal person to the point where they no longer give a damn. Someone special will be irrevocably lost to you —and most times, they will never return.

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Iannelli Celia 2014

Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in ‘retirement’ — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.

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Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in 'retirement' — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.