Ending Violence

So, I have a dear friend who hit me in the face the other day. When I say dear friend, I mean, very close. So close that I call him "son" at times. So close that the same weekend, I took his kids out for breakfast as a nice treat.

He hit me in the face as a lark. He thought it would be funny, maybe? It was an attempt at humor perhaps? I was ranting on about being raised a privileged white ***** and babbling how even as I heard the classist claptrap coming out of my mouth I couldn't stop it, so he stopped it, by slapping me.

I was shocked. It changed the mood in the room, that's for sure. There was some awkwardness. One of my other boys was there, and he almost retaliated violence for violence.

Both of them were beaten and witnessed mothers beaten by step-fathers (and fathers?). Both of them have seen family violence at the extreme level. In fact, most the men in my life that were raised by abusive step-fathers only ended that violence when they finally beat the living hell out of the jerk. And in the case of some, like the hubby, that inspired a non-violent approach to dealing with family members (I haven't converted him to a fully non-violent mindset yet, but that's a big conversion for a human male.)

Recently another aspect of violence had come across our shared world reality. One of the young couples in our friend group split up a while back due to him being a dangerous predator. He'd finally worn out his abusive welcome when he choked her and slammed her up against a wall. I'm glad that's as far as it took for her to escape. I'm glad her boys didn't have to grow to manhood and beat the jerk. To be honest, based on his prior conviction and other pattern behavior, she may not have had that long.

However it got the conversation rolling, the conversation of violence, where do we allow it, what do we forgive, why do we say, "it's okay to spank" or "that's just their parenting style."

Why we can playfully smack a friend one time but not another. Or in one place but not another. Or in the right set of circumstances.

For me, the playful smack is rife with peril. I'm cautious to express the tiniest amount of violence in deed. And as I recognize the violence in word more and more clearly, I try harder and harder to control my own explosions of violence that come from my face like verbal diarrhea.

So when explaining that we would need to be circumspect in our behavior at the restaurant, and not swear loudly and such, I was not so surprised when a little voice popped up out of the back seat and said "or you'll slap us? Cause that's what Daddy does."

"Of course not. That's why I don't like it when you hit me. We don't hit in this part of the family."

When we make it okay to hit because of one reason, it's okay for another reason and then another. I know those reasons always seem reasonable. Especially when you're a frazzled parent. And you feel like there's no answer. And you really want your kids to behave.

The hubby was explaining to one of the now adult kids about his handling of discipline during their childhood; how after lunch for a bit when they were 6-8, they'd always start fussing and fighting. And inevitably end up in "quiet time." Where they'd all end up standing in the hallway for "gasp" ten minutes without talking or touching each other.

He forced them to meditate after eating. How freaking sneaky. And he allowed their own behaviors to drive it. To avoid ever hitting, but engage in behavior modification (there was a balance of authoritarian and authoritative in our home and we had some interesting ways of co-parenting!) he used exercise as "punishment". When they would harm each other, disobey or lie, they would engage in calisthenics. He got them to do one of the things humans need to do to reset their behaviors.

Removing violence from a family is the first step. I hope that the next batch of grandkids will be violence free. And their kids maybe even more so. Each bit we remove violence, we come closer to removing it from the rest of society.

Of course we'd have to stop glamorizing it. Which is hard. I'm a fan of horror, action and so forth as art genres. Heck, I enjoy a good spanking (maybe because my folks tried those till I was 6.) in the right set of circumstances. So we've got a long way, and probably more than a couple generations to go before violence is gone.

I think it may be on the way out. The signs point favorably to it's demise.
An Ep User An EP User
Jan 15, 2013