Domestic Violence is Alive and Well
Violence is "alive and well." It seems quite clear that we still, as a global society, believe that violence is the solution to some problem. (Funny, it looks l to me like the symptom of some problem!)
All violence probably starts at home---the meaning of "domestic." It is true that some entire groups are persecuted by those in power; but those who use violence as a tool are clearly not operating from the “best of” aspects of the human race or soul… and I suspect they, too, were abused as children. I think their hearts (and souls) were damaged. No heart that was not deeply damaged would seek to harm another, not in a flash of anger but coldly, deliberately planned or ongoing harm, death or dehumanization.
But I do want to make one important point about "domestic violence" -- most people seem to assume it applies ONLY to men battering women. Not accurate. Women batter, women abuse… men do not report. Imagine-"hey world-I am so unmanned my wife beats me! Lets share!" NOT!
And mothers don't always protect their children. Sometimes they use them. Sometimes they scapegoat them. (This is called the "designated patient" syndrome.) This is because they, too, are sick, but lack courage to heal, so they use this twisted system to avoid their own illnesses. I may get some flack for stating this, but it's true--- and those far wiser than I have noted it, and written of it.
Children who are abused are pretty much "always" abused by both parents--one is in collusion and stays quiet. (See M. Scott Peck, M.D. "People of the Lie.") And, now, I am going to make the truly heretical statement. Men are also battered and abused by women. Often women engage in repeated verbal abuse (formerly called "castration." This is no longer a fashionable term--but fashion is not the yard stick of truth.)
Yes, women are weaker physically, but this is not the whole of battering--abuse is a power dynamic, and not all power is physical. Women more often than men use courts to continue the dynamic during divorce and they too often use children to continue it after a divorce. It is not, alas, uncommon! And as far as I can tell (now in latte 2010) it has not been noted by many judges, and very little is being done to damp down the cycle—whichever party is initiating it.
How DARE I SAY SUCH A THING!? Well, I dare because I have lived it, watched it, encountered it in my work, and I have studied it.
My mother was abusive toward my Dad. God rest her soul--she is, I am 100% sure, quite reborn now-but I won't go into detail here abut how I "know" this. But I know all too well how much subtle abuse goes on in all sorts of places and situations where no blood is shed, no bones broken.
I think the worst abuser is the subtle narcissist--always looking perfect to the world; the subtle sadist, always unerringly seeing what the other player most wants--and not giving it to them. (Do I sound as though I know whereof I speak? Perhaps I do.)
These "people of the lie" DO lie-often managing to get multiple levels of lie into a single sentence or accusation. These folks are masters at confusion--as Peck notes--partly because what they do is so subtle. And confusion keeps the confused one off balance-just where a power mis-user wants them to be. And confusion is not in the least rare. Repeated, patterned, persistent confusion is abuse. (I think this is not absent from the workplace either-I have run into it there, it strikes me.)
Some of you are sure you know all about abuse; some of you may have dodged the bullet. But if you have never ever been confused--maybe you are more confused than you think! In all seriousness, though-we are barely scratching the surface of what we need to know about abuse in order to recognize it, and no treat the root causes, not just the symptoms. And may I say I doubt that punishing the wounded and damaged will heal their hearts? Surely if this were possible, we'd have gotten ourselves punished into perfection by now!
My two or more-cents worth.