Recently, an incident of domestic violence touched way too close to home, affecting some people I care about very much.
A mother was stabbed and then shot at by her ex-husband who is also the father of her children. She barely survived and the young man in the home where this took place at, lost his life trying to save hers. This woman’s son has been my son’s best friend for five years, and I’ve come to call him my surrogate child because they are inseparable. Attached at the hip, if you would. I have come to love him as one of my own and to see him in severe emotional distress only pains me in a way words could never convey.
All of this has gotten me thinking, wondering why domestic violence is such a travesty in an educated, first world country and why so many people have to die at the hands of their loved ones, not strangers. The people who they shared their lives with, were intimate with, dedicated their loyalty to, day after day.
Not every abuser is raised in an abusive environment, after all. We can’t foresee or pick out who will or will not be able to control their tempers in an intimate relationship just by their upbringing. Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate against age, race, nationality, or gender.
Everyone gets angry and wants control over a situation they are otherwise not supposed to be in control of, but not everyone chooses to take it out on someone else.
So I began to evaluate how we, as a society, are taught to handle our anger, and what I realized is, that we are simply not being taught—not being taught to handle our emotions properly, at least. To suppress them, yes, but to actually control and diffuse them, we are not.
If we are not raising our children to be emotionally balanced, what do you think becomes of them as adults?
Emotional education needs to start early
Early on in childhood, parents begin training children to behave according to social standards before they can even walk. Society requires them to be polite, listen to authority, and follow the rules and laws set before them. It becomes the main focus of parenting our young ones and we somehow manage to forget about how our children are feeling inside—and feelings can be very overwhelming and scary with their unfamiliarity.
We lose sight of the emotions they are experiencing and don’t take the time to help them understand what they are feeling or why.
Instead, we push them to suck it up and swallow it down all for the sake of being considered well-behaved and punish them when they fail to do so, without acknowledging the factors which led to the unwanted behaviors in the first place.
We need to thoroughly break down the cause and effect of their negative behaviors and help our children learn to recognize their stressors before they are triggered more than we need to discipline them by the book. Not that discipline isn’t necessary, but it should be used only to hold a child accountable for their actions, not be the solution to end their negative behavior all together.
If we took the time from the very beginning to teach our children to not only recognize their emotions, but regulate and diffuse them, we wouldn’t see so many adults acting out in anger they are no longer able to suppress as they once did. If they ever did. The increased stress and responsibilities of adulthood can take a toll on the human psyche and those who were never taught how to regulate their emotions can become ticking time bombs under the pressure.
They lash out and release the pent up anger, rage, shame, humiliation, and hatred on those around them, causing a vicious cycle of abuse to form.
As mature adults, one would assume these people would understand they have a problem with their emotional balance and seek professional help to better regulate their emotional state, but sadly, that’s very rarely the case.
The maturity to ask for help
Many don’t have the emotional maturity to accept the fact that they need help. They become stuck in the teachings of their upbringing and believe as long as they are good citizens in the eyes of the public—responsible, hard-working, family-oriented, religiously, and politically correct people—their violent outbursts can be easily overlooked as forgivable mistakes in their mind. Just as the child who is so very sorry after throwing an epic temper tantrum and ready to play nice again. Even if they do recognize that they need help, the stigma of seeking mental health services holds many more of them back for fear of being labelled as broken or sick.
Domestic violence issues go way deeper than teaching our boys not to hit girls and our girls that good girls don’t mess up their pretty hair.
Bringing up our children to be good little citizens isn’t enough.
If we ever want to see a change, we have to make a change—and it starts with the children of today.
Watching my son’s best friend cry for his mother in my arms was more than my heart could take.
The senselessness of this tragedy could have been prevented long ago if her ex-husband had been taught to control his anger and hatred instead of suppressing it to please others.
If we, as parents, cannot begin to recognize how critical it is to take the focus off being good socially and put it on be good emotionally, I think this world would slowly become a much better place without all the unnecessary violence.