January 28th, 2007


I've got a friend who's posting about being in a violent relationship. I have a rather different take on such things.

I'm not a big man. But I am absurdly strong for my size, and I've never been able to realistically pretend that I wouldn't be able to do serious physical harm if I'd ever intended to do so. With that goes the responsibility for self-control, and I've never had a problem with that. I'd inflicted nonconsensual violence on a family member exactly once, and unintentionally; roust me out of the first uninterrupted sleep I've managed to get in three days and I might poke you. Once, before falling back asleep, if in fact I woke up. I don't feel guilty over that; no damage was done. Embarassed, yes.

I've encouraged other family members to take a poke at *me* if it'd help them express their feelings or help 'em feel better. And a few times they've done so, and the results were positive -- in one case, I grabbed the fist coming at my head, and held it while saying "You're obviously very upset about this, but I don't know what you're upset about. Why don't you tell me?", which led to a very useful conversation.

So I'm not a very helpful person to my friend in this case, and that bugs me. She's dealing with a guy whose self-control she doesn't trust, and I can see how that would be an uncomfortable situation. And there are kids involved, and that really stings. Kids are trying to figure out how the world works, and they take their first set of cues from the adults that are close to them. And if those adults don't have a consensus on how they want the world to work, the kids have to assemble one for themselves, and that's tough. And I want to help, and I don't know what's going on, and it's not technically any of my business anyway.

Maybe I should go make 'em an Italian dinner. It's a lot harder to be upset with a bellyful of good food. Of course, I don't keep as good track of my netfriends as I'd like, and I don't know if they're close enough to *get* to, physically. I'm pretty sure these friends are American, but it's a big country, and I can't fly a dinner to Atlanta or Seattle from here.

Other people are a great distraction from having to deal with my own problems. Theirs are often much easier to help with. Back to mine for now, though.