Intent does not always match result.
Were you assured things were true that they had no way of knowing?
Were you told honesty is the best policy when they lived dishonestly?
Were you subjected to verbal, mental or physical aggression in order to ‘teach’ you that aggression is not how to get your way?
They were right. I have seen the lies and falsehoods for what they were and through experience and research, have found that honesty is the right policy. The aggression that I was subjected to failed to discipline me or enrich my life. I continue to work past the effects and if I ever have the honor of raising children, will parent by modeling positive relationships, listening to and negotiating with them, setting rational limits and boundaries and other peaceful means.
This blog has been a form of journaling for me. Reading through and seeing the progression and changes in my mindset over time has been of great help.
Child abuse creates cognitive dissonance. It begins the process of creating mental blocks, fracturing your memory. If your caretaker is aggressive, your mind begins to create exceptions to your relationship with reality. Begins to make a potentially horrendous association between aggression and what you need to live.What you will eventually think you love.
Children can reason. Arguing they can not likely stems from excuses we made for adults in our lives that used or allowed aggression. ‘They didn’t know better so they did that to us,’ or ‘They were treated worse as children, so at least they did less.’ If the adults had not ability to reason, how could children? I am so thankful for those that reduced the levels of aggression they received, and know of many that had comparatively more severe childhoods, but abuse is abuse.
Instinctively we avoid what harms us. As a child, if leaving was even possible it would have meant a vast unknown, or outright death. So you make an exception that some pain and harm is something to struggle through for safety and comfort. Now this is not the struggle present in a hard won challenge, but the manifestation of an incomprehensible and uncontrollable force.
Many cultures hold that a man should never hit a woman, as he is the stronger or the two. They accurately claim that power discrepancies should not be used to inflict harm, terror and dominance. Can you think of a power discrepancy larger than that of Parent to Child?
It is not a coincidence that many religions have parent and child structures. Parents are the gods of children.
Child abuse is one of the central, if not the sole cause, behind most of what ails society. I have come around to the concept of Peaceful Parenting and believe it to be second to none in things to discuss and share.
This is not the most comfortable thing to discuss, which is unfortunately indicative of how prevalent an issue it is.
I did not come upon it without some apprehension. In the past I would say, ‘I was spanked but look how good I turned out,’ or ‘I was punished but every-time they made sure I knew what I had done wrong.’ Which later turned into a ‘the world would be better today if more kids got hit.’ This mindset among other issues, likely pushed away some people that could identify abuse and the results of it.
This isn’t even a complaint. They should, as I now do, have a viscerally negative reaction to anyone stating that it was okay or beneficial to hit children. This has come from a lot of introspection, pursuit of self knowledge and will likely require some serious conversations with my parents to fully understand what happened. Followed by talk-therapy.
The intensity of punishments varies from parent to parent, culture to culture. Even in the cultures where it is encouraged, there are usually differences in how boys and girls are to be treated, indicating that they know it is not a blanket positive. (realizing the societal acceptability of male genital mutilation vs that of females was a blatant and horrific example that will likely require its own post.)
If I had to pick between a chipped finger-nail and a broken leg, I would take the nail. If I had complete choice, I would choose none. Smoking a cigarette every now and then is not same as a pack a day habit, but neither are good for your lungs. If a glass falls over on a table it is not the same as falling off a table but both could break the glass.
This may offend and alienate many, but if someone reads this, and one kid is hit, yelled at, deceived or otherwise abused one time fewer than they would have, it will be entirely worth it.
If there are positive things about me, they are here despite the abuse, not due to it. It is an injustice to all those I care for to not admit this.
I welcome discussion of this. If you think I am wrong, right, want more information, want to share some sources, stories, whatever. Leave a comment or contact me in some other way
This is now part of a series titled Hands Up, Don’t Hit discussing the prevalence and negative effects of child abuse.