Moving Toward Upset People

I experienced lots of early childhood violence (who didn’t, really), so when people are upset, my first response is to get the hell out of there (run fast). Seems like the right thing to do! I’m no dummy! Why stick around and get hit?

But I’m an adult now. I’ve been discharging in the direction of staying and thinking (instead of running and hiding). The discharge has led to adoption of this policy: take steps toward the people who are upset, and think. 

So when I got home the other day, I heard my wife upstairs with our child. Mother was upset and speaking harshly. I followed my policy and walked into the room. I put my hand gently on her shoulder. I said, “I love you, and I don’t think this is what you want to be doing right now. You’re in the oppressor role, but you don’t want to be.” She burst into tears. The nature of her upset with the child changed course, and she could reach for the child. Afterward she said it had been helpful.

A big problem in our relationship as parents is, of course, sexism and male domination, but it is also the way we are willing to trash [criticize, be harsh to] each other in the name of defending our child from young people’s oppression. I am discharging, and learning that it is more effective to reach for the human adult lost in the grip of the oppressor role. I am an adult now. I can handle it. 



Reprinted from the e-mail discussion list for RC Community members

(Present Time 186, January 2017)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00