I realize I didn't have the most normal childhood.
I was pretty much raised by my grandparents until my early teens.
Later on, I lived with my aunt and uncle.
They owned a bail office where I worked and lived until early adulthood.
Violence was a part of life. Our clients came in torn to shreds. On many occasions, I provided basic first aid while they signed the paperwork.
Over and over again, I'd hear the same story.
"I'm not going to press charges. He loves me. He's sorry."
One time a woman actually told a 12 year old me: "Look, sweetie. The bruises will heal, but the diamonds are forever. Whenever he goes off the handle and does something like this, he buys me a make-up present. A BIG one."

Violence was also no stranger after-hours.
My aunt and uncle used to get into rip roaring fights that would put a hurricane to shame.
By no means were either one of them a battered spouse. Each gave as good as they got. I clearly remember my uncle shoving my aunt up against the wall hard enough to leave a crack in the plaster. Without missing a beat, she went into the kitchen, got out a cast iron frying pan, and then made groaning noises like she was hurt. He came charging out of the bedroom only to get cracked upside the face hard enough to lose a tooth and brake a cheekbone. She got four stitches to the back of the head. Once when he tried to leave, she totaled her Porche into his classic Malibu. Because of their connections with the police, no charges were ever filed, even if someone dared to call the police on them. They pretty much owned their small town in Northern Nevada.

I've fought in competitive martial arts since age eight. I was teaching before I was old enough to drive. Even now, years later I'm considering Krav Maga as a way to stay in shape and re-hone old skills. Martial arts and self defense were never about real violence to me, though. Anything that is taught on plush carpet or in an air conditioned studio is a SPORT...an ART.
When I was eighteen or nineteen, I dated people with like interests. One guy was a nationally ranked ground fighter. Twice, we got drunk and argued. Things escalated.
Out of those two times, once we both ended up in the ER. (I was cut up from a display case, and he had two broken ribs.)
We both felt foolish and very sore after, but neither of us ever considered involving the authorities. To this day, I can't remember what triggered the fights.
My later relationships were pretty uneventful. A few long term boyfriends. A husband.
Another husband. (I'm keeping this one.) None of these men ever attempted to physically harm me. I never even considered raising a hand to them, either.  Verbal abuse has been non-existent since my first marriage. Why? Because I grew up. I got a hold of my emotions and of my verbal skills.
. Now, despite our chaotic, crazy life, we don't even bicker. I'd like to think it is because my husband and I have exceptional communication skills. There isn't a need to. Both of us are capable of saying, "I'm not ok now. Let's talk about this later. I'm going to go do something to calm down. I'll be back in twenty minutes."
Really, it's that simple.

I think all of this has numbed my compassion for victims of domestic violence.
I really, really cannot get my head around it.
I understand the psychology behind it. I understand the theory of dependency and self esteem...of gradual control and intimidation....
But it's only the textbook knowledge, I guess. It isn't real understanding.

Another thing that has possibly clouded my judgment is the fact that I used to have a very close friend who put herself and her three children through HELL because she was in love with an emotionally manipulative, crazy person. I watched her kids go from happy, sweet boys and girl to disturbed, regressed, utterly screwed up sub-humans  who listened to and repeated the things they heard in that house.
My friend had a support network and family ready to go to bat for her INSTANTLY (and we did on more than one occasion.) We paid to move her to a new house. We lived with her to babysit while she worked (the abuser was the primary care taker.) We went through days and  nights of crazy drama over and over and over again. Each time, she took this person back. "Love is my crack" she used to say. I eventually cut off all contact with the entire family to preserve my own sanity. For a long time I felt like I had bailed on a friend. When she finally caught up with me years later, she told me that nothing I could have done would have made a difference. She couldn't leave until she was ready to. Things worked out for her. She's happily married to a nice guy. The kids are still screwed up, I can't get over that part.

I've learned from that mistake. My opinion of the majority of abuse victims are that they are ok with the abuse until they decide not to be. Like drug addicts, you can't help them until they make the choice to quit.
If someone close to me was suffering abuse, I'm not sure what I would do.
Part of me says "Find the abuser. Beat them to an inch of their life."
The other part says. "Meh. Let the abused know they have help and support without limits when they decide to cut ties for good."

It's a delicate subject. It's also a very volatile one.
That's the reason why I'm posting this here instead of in a blog.
If there are a lot of replies, the discussion format is easier to manage.

Being atheist means that NOTHING is sacred. All subjects are up for transparent discussion. Nothing of intellectual value is taboo. 
There is an honesty in that, I think. There is also a higher level of emotional maturity here as opposed to a lot of other internet communities. Being that this is a very sensitive topic, I'd like to suggest that we practice some of that maturity.

Tell me your opinions, thoughts and personal experiences.
Keep it civil.
I'll practice what I preach and do the same.
Trolls and other nasty vermin will not be warned.




Tags: abuse, domestic, violence

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Could this be related to Stockholme syndrome?
I would assume so.
It would probably depend on the degree of traumatic experience within the violent relationship.
Thanks for sharing this. Very interesting. There was some physical/emotional abuse in my household when I was a teenager and my mom remarrried, but not to the extent that you shared. I really like what you said about growing up and getting a hold of your emotions. That's something that we all need to do at some point in our lives. Unfortuanately some people never grow up....they just grow old.

I appreciate the statement you made about how you and your husband communicate. My husband and I are working on better communication ourselves. He tends to be very sarcastic and facetious at times. I tend to be iracible at times and I know I need to learn to ignore some things that I know he does in order to provoke me. They call it "starving the behavior".

It can be emotionally draining sometimes. It's like the example Stephen Covey gives in the book "7 Habits of Hightly Effective People". You can become emotionally bankrupt when the other party does nothing but make withdrawls from you emotionally, but rarely, if ever, makes deposits.

Good communication is a very important skill to have in ANY relationship. My former pastor used to say (yes, there were a few useful sayings lol), "when communciation breaks down, abnormalities set in, and when abnormalities set in, it leads to death in the relationship." Learning to communicate, and to do so WITH LOVE takes work. I'm going to try what you said next time I find myself getting upset-"I'm not ok now. Let's talk about this later. I'm going to go do something to calm down. I'll be back in twenty minutes."
Thanks :-)
Do not forget emotional violence as well. My wife and I worked so hard to bring up our daughter (Kim) to have self-confidence. When she came out as a lesbian we were there to support her (even her older brother supported her and they never got along). We were there when she was married; it was a beautiful ceremony. Shortly thereafter, Kim's wife started to get very controlling and we occasional heard her wife really putting her down. Kim was starting to turn in on herself. I was losing my shining inquisitive daughter. Things got worse when Kim came out as bisexual. This did not set well with her wife. The only bruises were emotional. I felt so helpless! My wife and I had many conversations with Kim but she just didn't see it. Finally, after 2 years in this abusive relationship, something clicked for Kim. She dumped her wife and moved on.

That was 3 years ago and I still see scars, but they are slowing healing. Kim has even asked us to be very blunt with her if we see any signs of abuse in the future.
I grew up without any violence in my household, except between my older sister and I or my cousins and I. But that was just for good fun! I went to college and lived with a family that was verbally abusive, mainly her on him. She'd chase him down when he'd try to go to another room for a break. It was horrific just to see that for me.

As an adult I dated a girl for three or four months (someone I grew up with) and I saw her slap her brother. Just the display of her being at the ready to strike drove me to walk away. It was clear that one day, that would be me, and i'm not opposed to hitting a woman. I actually believe in equality. I just don't know how violence is allowed to escalate. Of course background has a lot to do with it. But if you are with someone and you see violence from your partner, why would you stay? I'm not asking that in judgement, it's a rhetorical question that you should ask yourself. There are thousands of people in this world whom would love you. Beautiful, ugly, smart, stupid, a hunch back and drawn on eyebrows, someone will love you and you don't need to accept violence. In a Criminal Justice class I was once told by the instructor that an Assault is an "unfinished homocide". There might be some truth in that. Extrapolate out that violence to the potential of a homicide and then decide if they really love you. I'm reminded of the ref's instructions in a MMA fight, "Protect yourself at all times!"
I 100% agree.
Mind you, I've been in my share of bar brawls and other stupid, childish behavior (when I was a child.) But to think that a woman could hit a man, and then demand safety just because she has a vagina is disgusting to me. If you are going to throw a punch, you better be able to take a punch.
I have and will always feel that "Don't every hit a woman" morality is absolutely misogynistic.
What is the difference between hitting a woman and hitting a man of smaller build?
What justification does anyone have to think that it is ok to return a hit to a man that weighs 120lbs but not to a woman that weighs the same?
Beating the snot out of someone that is thirty pounds lighter than you is bullying behavior in most circumstances. I say most, because every once in a while, a good old fashioned ass-beating is what it takes. Mind you, I've been on both ends of this statement.
I'm also a big fan of never, EVER striking first (unless there is a weapon present or I honestly feel my life is in very real danger.)
My only real striking of a woman was a stranger. A cousin of mine had a after hours party (lived way out) and there are 50-60 people having a good time. A guy oversteps and grabs some girls ass that he doesn't know. She's pissed but he's putting distance between them. We are out on a deck and she flings her beer bottle at him and it hits the house with maybe 20 people standing around. i scoop her up in a bearhug with my arms right under her armpits. I tell her that we cant't have bottle flying through the air. Her friend hands her a 2nd one and she wings it again. "One to go!" I'm running through the house with this girl and get her out front where the lights aren't on. The next thing i know, i'm surrounded and in the excitement and darkness I don't know who everyone is and I have someone that I'm face to face with. I set her down and say, "If everyone of you motherfuckers don't get back, I'm gonna fuck all of you up." I'm pissed and nervous because I'm surrounded and don't know anyone in close. The friend of the girl is drunk and bold. She grabs my shirt on my shoulder. I grab her hand, bend her wrist back to her apply pressure, she goes down and it ends with a boot to the ribs and her crawling away coughing and everyone else stepping back.
What are you going to do? Surrounded by a bunch of drunks, the sex of the person grabbing me played no role in what I was about to do to defend myself. Domestically, I can't see the women that I know swinging on me, but if so, i would think that I'd take them down and nullify the attack rather than punch. I grew up as a wrestler so it's more natural anyways. Don't feel bad about defending yourself. The story that you laid out is more than reasonable from your end.
Mike-
I actually think the idea that you should 'never hit a girl' actually adds to the problem of female-on-male domestic violence and the fact that it is very much under reported.
Think about it for a moment.
A whole lot of cultures see it as taboo for a man to hit a woman (hypocritically so.)
What is the reasoning behind that?
Because women are smaller?
Well if it was a matter of size, then wouldn't it be just as bad to hit a man that's lighter than you?
Because women are more fragile?
Nope. Women actually have a higher tolerance to pain than men do.
So what is it, then?
Oh! Because women are lesser!
You don't hit a woman for the same reason you don't hit a disabled person.

So of course there is major shame in the reverse of it.
If you are ever harmed by a woman, there is a much thicker layer of humiliation, because women are supposed to be sub human and lesser beings.
When you support the superstition/taboo of hitting a woman, you are in fact supporting domestic violence towards men.
You incapacitate a man's ability to rightfully defend himself and propagate the idea that there is something shameful about what he experiences.

"I still feel a man should show some restraint, especially in my position where I did damage with what I still feel was a jab. I know feminists would kick off at that statement, but that's how I feel about it and I dare you to say I'm bad for that."

Nope. I won't say that you are bad for it. I think it is perfectly natural to feel horrible when harming another human being. Our pack/tribalism nature has hardwired us to experience emotions when we are involved in acts of violence.
If you have a size advantage and a training advantage, and your well being is clearly NOT in any danger, then I agree. Show some restraint.
However, showing restraint just because of gender?
Yeah, that is pretty degrading, and as I said above...it only helps propagate those horrible scenarios you unfortunately experienced.
I entirely agree!
It is degrading to restrain yourself just because your attacker has a vagina, however it is even more disgusting to exploit such an idiotic stance.
(I wouldn't say degrading, because in all honesty, it is nothing more than manipulation and exploitation, not degradation. Those are two totally different words, but both are still utterly distasteful.)
Though I agree and would knock heads for equality, treating women as you'd treat a man. But there will always be irreconcilable differences. Women have strengths, men have strengths, sometimes these are equaled, but for the majority; men are harder and women are more fragile.
-The majority of women are more fragile because they are smaller. As long as you feel the exact same about a man of equal size and fragility, then that's fair enough. If it comes down to the idea that women are weaker because they are female, and not because there is a weight and strength difference, then there is obviously some lingering issues at work.
To be perfectly honest, even I don't hit women as hard as I hit men (for the most part.) I feel it is unnecessary. Now this is always circumstances depending, but a lot of women are less used to being hit than men are. One good punch will usually stun then enough to make them back down. You can end the situation with less force facing a woman than with a man. Again, there is also size to consider, too. How hard do you need to hit anyone to ensure your own safety?
Though I must say, living here in the Bay Area, California, I often encounter very large women with mullets who carry chains and wouldn't hesitate to cut me open with a broken bottle. On the other end, there are plenty of cute little nerdy boys that weight less than me, wear expensive glasses, have acne issues and would go down with one jab.
Nothing is typical. Judge every situation based on threat level and weight.

....and don't be shocked if one day you see a cute little blond girl tear into a person twice her size and come the winner without even breaking a sweat.
um Mike....
You do realize I'm married to a Brit, right?
And to meet the qualifications of citizenship status, we have to live in the U.K for three years?




...I'm bringing my neck of the woods to YOUR neck of the woods, baby!
Consider yourself warned.


Oh.
And P.S.



My scars are fucking HOT!
Well, I've seen this topic here a few times, and tried to ignore it, but I guess I'll throw in my two cents this time...
I never had a bad family life, in fact, I had a phenomenal one, especially compared to my friends. But that's where the trouble started...
I was born and raised on Detroit's west side, to a couple of pretty damn decent parents who are still happily married. But I was a child of the streets. I found my friends in the gutters, and they dragged me right down with them like it was the cool thing to do. I still remember the nights spent at my best friend Steve's house, where his mother would come home at 0200 and beat us both mercilessly for any one of a hundred reasons. I was placed by my parents in very strenuous Martial Arts courses since I can remember (for self-defense purposes, due to the area we lived in), so I always had that excuse for bruises and other injuries. This was the norm for me, by that point, as it wasn't only Steve's mom (there were MANY other instances, none that my parents ever heard of, though). This, of course, led to some of the very same behavior on my part. I was never abusive to any 'significant others,' but I seemed to have this very damaged view of life, where things aren't 'right' unless they're wrong. I was suspended from high school for smoking, then shortly after, I was expelled for drinking and having an illegal weapon in my possession. I lost a good amount of my childhood to drugs, and I never felt right unless I was healing from the latest scuffle. My parents couldn't handle me, and shortly after my expulsion, they disowned me (for the safety and well-being of my younger siblings, and I respect them for that choice, as they seem to be turning out quite well so far). Even after high school (which I graduated from, miraculously, while living on my own at 16, with a full-time job), I still couldn't get my life right, and ended up spending A LOT of time in jail cells (after a while, I even figured out that using my 'one call' to order pizza for my 'captors' usually lessened my sentence. That just goes to show how many times I've been there and done that.). I'm now a 26yr old military vet with a drinking problem and no job. While in the service, I was found to be a passive-aggressive sociopath (basically bankrupt of any emotion, which can account for me being considered an asshole by a healthy number of people), and I have the exact profile of 90% of prison inmates who are currently on death row (but also 50%+ of Fortune 500 company CEOs, gotta look at the bright side, right?). There IS a silver lining though...
When I was clinically tested, I was found to be "Incredibly intelligent, possibly the smartest person I've ever met..." by my shrink, which really boosted my attitude in a positive way... Also, while in martial arts, I ended up learning to never let anything get me down. I'm the most positive person you'll possibly ever meet (In my mind, I'm still 12yrs old, in that I don't think there's ANYTHING I can't do), and I look at everything that comes my way as a challenge to be met with 100% of my focus. I know I'm still a very broken individual, but that's just another challenge in my life that I WILL one day overcome.

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