Thursday, December 10, 2015

Face Book posting: Men who hit women are scrum

My history of living in an abusive relationship and experience of sixteen years working with batterers and my Unity principals, tell me a different story. Many of the men I have worked with grew up in homes where they were taught how to behave this way. They were victims of abuse as children. They lived in homes where they were taken to churches that told them they were the boss and women and children were subservient to males. Domestic violence has a very long history in the world.

Please don't misunderstand, what they did and/or do was and is wrong. Calling them names or beating them up will not undo the harm they have done. Nor will it change the future for other women and children. This is where we really can make a change. Abuse isn't just hitting someone, it is the way we talk to and treat each other. How many of us have given an evil eye warning to one of our children to get them to stop what they were doing? (Intimidation).  How many have spanked their child and called it discipline? (Fear), no lesson is taught in hitting a child except to fear adults. When we discipline in love with a clear lesson children learn how to become compassionate, loving adults. They learn not to speak with abuse or act with abuse because it is wrong to do so.

People who abuse other people have learned a thinking pattern that gives themselves excuses and reasons why this time using abuse is the right thing and even the only thing to do.  This time it is okay to treat someone differently than I want to be treated because...  

When we use these excuses we are pushing down that voice inside that knows it isn't okay. We relieve our "guilt" by explaining it away.  We push the responsibility of our behavior on to another.  "If you hadn't said that or done this I wouldn't have to do the things I do".  At Nonviolent Alternatives, this is called "blame shifting" Shifting the responsibility for my words and actions to another.  By doing so, it becomes easy for me to see myself as a victim, convincing myself I had no other choice, they made me do it. We have been conditioned to see the level of abuse which reaches a level that breaks the law, that isn't where it starts. There is probably long-term abuse which has reached the level where law enforcement is now interceding.

Abuse is abuse no matter if it reaches the legal definition or not and can go on for many years and never reach the level that law enforcement becomes involved. This is the abuse that is carried from one generation to the next. I have watched people look at children and say things like "those kids have no respect" if I live in a home where respect isn't taught then where do I learn to be respectful?  As we go through this holiday season may we rethink our values and those we want our children to have.  Be the shining light of example in a child's life.  Each child deserves at least one healthy parent, let that parent be you.

Blessings and happy holidays to all.