Wife Beating – domestic violence – forgiveness? forgetfulness?
My first memory is of my father throwing a plate of eggs at my mother’s head, like a frisbee. My mother had to duck to get out of the way, and the plate exploded on the wall behind her. His eggs hadn’t been cooked well enough, and this was his way of expressing that to my mother, who had cooked them. Then he punched his hand through a glass window. Blood and glass fragments were everywhere. I was 4 years old. I remember running to my bed and crying, and the already familiar feeling of hiding in fear.
My mother was a battered woman who didn’t leave her abuser.
My own comment:
Very personal and important story, and history. I remember my stepmother, Patty, and father, Bill, fighting, including him ripping out a handful of her hair, by the roots, and the bald spot she had, when I was 12 (6th grade – we moved every year) — Patty had hit him first, then.
Bill was a successful schmoozing alcoholic who cheated on my mother, home with 4 small kids, then cheated on my stepmother (after winning custody of the kids in a very nasty custody battle). Bill and Patty split up and got back together a few times; then for 4 years apart with my stepsister going with Patty, my 3 sisters going with my mother, and I going with my grandparents, dad’s folks. By then I was friendly with both my mothers, and would discuss with them why they had fallen for such a jerk as my dad.
Great at sex, great at making them feel good and desired, great at telling them the things they wanted to believe, honestly and clearly needing them.
Good looking Alpha male jerk, making the women feel better than they feel with anybody else, including the occasional put downs and uncertainty which lead to the higher highs.
The higher highs can allow acceptance of the lower lows.
I’m trying to truly forgive him, but mostly just don’t think about him. Jordan above has it correct: “brilliant salesman, lying scumbag, frustrated… Ultimately, you have to forgive such people for your own wellbeing.” << Yes, for my own well-being, do not forget, but forgive, and after forgiveness his abuse has less control over you. I have never struck my wife of 20 years.
How to break the cycle? Society needs to evolve (and IS! Thank God):
a) Violence in the home is intolerable.
b) Violence by the (usually) stronger man is intolerable, but equally violence by the woman is also wrong.
c) Violence against the children is wrong.
d) Violence is different than spanking/ swats/ quick little parental physical punishments to enforce the borders the parents have chosen.
e) Children should be raised by married parents.
f) Cheating/ infidelity by either the husband or wife is wrong — and needs to be punished.
For (a) and (c), US society is already pretty good among married couples with children.
Society needs a bit more equality on ending its tolerance of violence by women (b).
The difference between abusive violence and spanking (d) seems clear to many, but also unclear to many others. Those intolerant of any spanking don’t seem to connect the lack of punishment with a decrease in responsible (in the borders) behavior of young people who grew up as children in less than ideal homes (now a majority of kids).
(“Baby come back, I was wrong, and I just can’t live without you” — now on Jango as type)
Most agree that (e) is generally optimal for kids, tho there are cases where the parents are incompetent, but there is more cultural encouragement for promiscuity and sex outside of and before marriage, and thus more kids outside of marriage.
Most agree that cheating is wrong (f), but there is virtually no agreement, and little discussion, about what the right punishment should be. I suspect a majority of wife beating couples includes one or both of them cheating. [Allowing a President Clinton to rape one woman (or more), have multiple partners that he lied about, and avoid any punishment is a very bad signal about this. Various Kennedy infidelities being always forgiven, nearly unmentioned, is a similar cultural problem.]
Cultural support for promiscuity, which elevates Alpha male multiple sex mate behavior as “more successful”, is directly contrary to reducing domestic violence. Cultural intolerance of such violence is reducing it.