Lately, I have been pondering this conundrum:
Why do people make violence acceptable? I see so many photos and videos of people hurting animals and people, images of abuse that whoever shot the films somehow think is cool. I understand why folks post them so that someone can identify the perpetrators and stop them. As a therapist for decades I have heard the adage that ‘hurt people hurt people’; but I know they don’t have to. I know that abuse, hitting, striking, shaking, spanking, threats to do these things, does psychological, physiological and neurological damage so that judgment is impaired and impulse control is poor. There are studies that validate this and yet it continues.
That doesn’t excuse it. Although I consider myself an optimist (and opti-mystic who sees the world through the eyes of possibility), there are times when I feel really discouraged about the ways people interact with each other. I know that all I can do is be aware of my own behavior and the ways in which I relate to people in my life. If I am loving and ‘do no harm,’ then I am doing my part to increase the peace. If I allow anger and resentment to get the better of me, then I am feeding the collective soup pot with that energy as well.
Last night, I was having a conversation with a long time friend. We were both observing relationship patterns in our lives. Both seasoned women- she is divorced, I was widowed. Neither in a long term, committed relationship since our respective marriages ended. Although I say I want to be in partnership and (as a friend who studies astrology has told me over and over, that since I have so many planets in Libra, I am a relationship magnet- my work is all about relationships, including my radio show by that name) I remain (mostly) blissfully single. Part of it is conscious choice, part a lingering fear that I may attract what I recently referred to as another ‘paradoxical marriage’. My husband and I loved each other dearly and there were elements of co-dependence and dysfunction that we didn’t have the wherewithal at the time to manage or change. Some of it involved generational wounding. Relationships are not 50/50. They are 100/100, as each person brings their history, baggage and beliefs to the table. His was about healing from family of origin addiction, abuse and mental health challenges and mine was about co-dependent ‘savior behavior’ and people pleasing. Not a great combination or indicator for a healthy relationship. He was a hurt person. I wanted to kiss the boo boos and make them better. I couldn’t.
This, by the way, is not to martyr myself or make myself into some kind of hero. I had my own ‘mishegoss’ (Yiddish for crazy) going on. I simply want to understand the dynamics and change them for the next round of my life. I desire to be a force for good in all of my relationships and although I have experienced hurt (who hasn’t?), it is my solid intention to heal my own woundings so that I break the cycle.