Before I begin, I need to start with a disclaimer. What starts as a post about the relationship between my rage and disempowerment ultimately becomes about my discussing domestic violence here in Australia and my actions as a perpetrator. This issue and my views on how to tackle it could be too confronting to some. While I wrote this post in good faith and with a spirit towards making a valuable contribution for a lasting solution to DV here in Australia, I understand that some readers may not understand the point I am making and could take things I say out of context. If you are unable to read this post in good faith, and take everything in context of the greater whole, I encourage you to not read any further.
This is a very long post, over five thousand words, I have done my utmost to be measured and balanced but, that may be lost in translation. Realistically, I can re-read this only so many times, and make so many amendments before risking what I am trying to say. I can only hope I am successful in getting my point across.
I will be taking comments on this post, specify if you wish to have your thoughts made public as I can moderate the comments section. I will consider your thoughts in good faith and in the spirit that they are offered.
Your co-operation is greatly appreciated.
I’ve been giving a lot of thought into things since my last post. I won’t lie, I am disappointed that I didn’t really gain much traction within myself as a result of my last post. It was this first time since I started this blog last year that I didn’t walk away from writing a post feeling better – the feeling better is generally temporary, around four to six weeks, but given where I am at any reprieve is better than none.
In a lot of ways, I need a break from myself, because it is a 24/7 job.
It requires my full and undivided attention at all times, and as a result there is virtually no room for anything else.
Moving away from that, I decided to finally try and look at is behind the rage. Strong emotions like anger and rage are usually underpinned by other emotions that haven’t been resolved, in fact, I am certain that those of you who are tuning in have heard about this too. My current counsellor has pointed this out on a number of occasions. The anger and rage is masking something deeper, what is it?
So, with that in mind…especially given that I woke up this morning, and like most mornings I leapt straight into feeling angry. After all, I can’t start my day without a coffee, a smoke, and some rage.
That is my morning ritual.
Anyways, I hired some burly blokes who tell dirty jokes while they work (they’re obnoxious, but good at what they do), some jack-hammers and other assorted diggy-type equipment, and prepared myself for a lot of digging.
We’d barely broken ground when the foreman informed me that we’d hit something.
Really? That doesn’t sound right because I had always felt that my rage was so deeply entrenched in who I am, and who I have been, that I was expecting a long slog.
But sure enough, there it was…laid bare, and a possible answer.
When I look back on things, it is those occasions where I’ve felt disempowered and disenfranchised that have stayed with me through all these years, which in turn has given my rage, anger, and hate all the fuel it needs.
My feelings of disempowerment are the fuel for my rage.
At the risk of making this a eureka moment, I could be on to something here. To qualify, the occasions where I’ve felt like I’ve had more control over and in a situation, situations where I have felt ‘powerful’, don’t have the hold over me in the present, like the situations where I’ve felt disempowered and ‘powerless’ do and have.
Now, it is very important that I say that power and empowerment do not necessarily go together, in fact I will go so far to say that it is a common mistake that people make. I firmly believe that.
Moving away from that, I am going to use some examples that are potentially provocative and might make people uneasy, especially women, because the examples I will be using do involve domestic violence, which right now is on the national agenda here in Australia. The simple reality is that men, such as myself, who as perpetrators do need to speak up because resolving this issue not only needs to happen, but needs to be inclusive so that the country can heal as a whole, and things can start to improve.
I need to be perfectly clear, do I know that domestic violence is wrong? Of course I do, and I am saddened that people would assume that just because I am a perpetrator I would magically forget, or fail to realise that what I did was wrong. Part of me wants to go down the road of having a weak moment…but, not going to cut it
So, where do we go from here. Well, putting it simply, the guilt I feel is from the act of violence itself – I pinned a young woman named Kylie to a cupboard by her throat. I don’t feel guilty about the intentions behind the violence.
Now, I know there are going to be those of you who are saying “Dude! Don’t fucking go there!”, the thing is…how do you even know where I am going with this?
It is at this point I encourage any of you who are tuning in, to take a break at this point if you’re feeling uneasy or uncomfortable, especially if you’ve been a victim of domestic violence – how I’m looking at this and what I will be saying, while well meant, isn’t going to be easy for some to cope with. I get that. I encourage you to consider giving the rest of this post a miss, not because you’re not welcome, but because I don’t want to aggravate past pains or strike raw nerves with people. I do want to make a small, but hopefully valuable contribution to helping solve the domestic violence problem here in Australia. Unfortunately, my contribution will take us somewhere that some people may not be able or willing to go.
Now, for those of you who are sticking around, thank-you. This is going to potentially be one of the most confronting posts I have ever posted, and possibly ever will post. This is not going to be an easy ride. Take your time, give what I am saying your full attention. Everything I have to say MUST be taken in context, in fact if anything is taken out of context this post and what I have to say will fall apart. I believe that goes for anything that anyone has to say, even though I don’t necessarily abide by that. I guess that unfortunately a bit of a hypocrite.
Rest assured, I will be taking responsibility for what I am about to say. I will endeavour to be clear in what I am saying, in the spirit that it is being said, with the goal of resolution. However, it is your responsibility as the reader to take what I am saying in good faith.
Are you ready? I know I’m not, but needs must…so here goes.
In regards to my assault on Kylie, I carry a lot of guilt about the act of violence itself. it should not have happened, but it did. I cannot take it back. Unfortunately what is done, is done. I have to live with that. To be clear, she was not my partner, just someone I was living with under share house arrangement. As a result of that act in particular, I will never have a relationship. I will never have a partner, or a spouse. Why? Because I have a vile temper, and in spite of the fact that I don’t have anywhere near as much control over it as I would like, the best and quickest solution I have is to firstly bottle it up as much as I can, and secondly keep it away from others as much as I can.
For those of you questioning why I am not in a relationship, are you fucking kidding me? Re-read this post, from the start, and come to the same conclusion I have reached. If you cannot either reach this conclusion or accept it, I need you to leave. I know my choice is the right choice.
I am not in a relationship for a reason – my temper. It is my way of taking responsibility. It is the right thing to do, in spite of past actions. I have a vile temper, keeping it away from others is my utmost priority, even though it is ripping me to shreds. If you do not get this, walk away.
Getting back on point, while I carry a lot of guilt over the act of violence against Kylie, I barely carry any guilt over the intention.
I can almost hear some of you going “Dude, what the fuck? Please don’t go there”, but you don’t know what I’m going to say next. For those of you getting worked up, relax. Breathe. Take a moment. Isn’t what you might think it is.
The reason that I barely carry any guilt, is that in spite of my final actions, all I wanted to happen is for the situation to stop. I wanted the situation at the time to end. I wanted the abuse to stop. I wanted the lack of courtesy to stop, and most importantly I wanted to actually be heard, have what I had to say actually carry some weight, but most importantly have a solution that included both myself AND Kylie be put into place, where both of us took responsibility for our ends of the situation.
Unfortunately, the way out was through. Was it a fight or flight response? Maybe, but I don’t want to be seen as using that as an excuse.
I was trying to be empowered during a disempowering situation, the choice of action that I ultimately chose in trying to be empowered and bring the situation to an end is where I fucked up, big time! I need to be clear, I am in no way saying that violence is an empowered choice, I hope that is understood. My choice of action in expressing power was awful and unacceptable, but the intention – bringing the situation to an end was not.
I know that I’m dropping the ball in explaining this, it’s all in there, I just need to get it out in a way that doesn’t confuse people or justify heavy handed actions like lashing out violently. What haunts me more than anything are situations where I didn’t stand up for myself, usually where someone is determined to be controlling and domineering, or simply put me in my place because they can, regardless or relevance or appropriateness.
That is what gest me…it is that level of disempowerment that feeds my rage.
So, to be clear – disempowerment haunts me and feeds my rage. I carry guilt over my actions and choice of actions, but not the original intentions behind the actions – usually trying to end a situation that I felt like I had little control over. Got it? I hope so, but I know that the logic may not sit with some.
The simple fact is that in the months leading up to my lashing out violently, the situation was beyond a joke. Did I contribute to the situation? Of course I did, but not in the way you might think. The simple reality was that Kylie was allowed to treat me how she saw fit, based on whatever mood she was in, and I was held to a higher standard, at ALL times. Every situation started with Kylie getting upset with me about something I wasn’t doing correctly, or to her satisfaction, which I find strange given that we were living in a shared accommodation arrangement, which means that other people should have been pulled up as well, but from my perspective they weren’t, and the proof is that nothing changed, but I was held solely accountable. I would start by trying to calm her down, she would retaliate, and it would escalate from there, culminating in me blowing her out of the water with words, as a result of my having had enough. From there, people who knew us both would generally side with her, and I would have my legs cut out from under me, because I knew ‘better’. Again, I will repeat something I said earlier, I do feel guilty for my final action in any of those situations, but not the intentions behind the action itself. Again, I wanted the situation to stop. I wanted resolution. I wanted improvement, but it never came. In the context of what this post is ultimately about – my rage being fuelled by feelings of disempowerment – the above is a prime example of that occurring.
During my life to date people in general, but women in particular for the most part, are permitted to treat me how they see fit. And yet, when I work with the same standard it magically disappears. Poof! And it’s gone, never to be seen again.
Going on a tangent, I need to be clear…reasons are not excuses. Reasons are not a justification. Reasons are contributing factors of the whole. It is high time that society pulled its’ collective head out of its’ collective arse and finally recognised this. In the case of everything that happened between myself and Kylie – “A” led to “B” led to “C” etc, culminating in my being violent, I was ultimately held to a higher standard, Kylie was not. To be clear this is not an excuse, but it is a contributing factor. At the risk of repeating myself.
Reasons are not excuses.
Reasons are not a justification.
Reasons are contributing factors of the whole.
If society does not treat all the contributing factors to any given situation as a part of a greater whole, the situation itself, in context, then problems and issues will NEVER be resolved. Ever.
The simple truth is that my final actions were wrong, they were immoral. My final actions in ending a situation in multiple instances were wrong, they were also immoral. However, my treatment as a result, in every circumstance was flatly unethical, and therefore disempowering to me. In every single circumstance in regards to my actions, outside parties were too busy being moralistic, they were too busy taking steps, and sides, that aligned with their fake values, so that they would feel better. Which in turn further exacerbated my disempowerment. It was a shit situation made worse by weak people. When the situation required strength; which in spite of my actions in the moment; that I was trying to provide, no one was interested. The outside parties involved chose to be moralistic and had the audacity to wonder why resolution was not achieved. The situation was a joke, end of story.
The thing about that situation as whole that gets me the most is that I was supposed to know ‘better’. I was supposed to know ‘better’. I alone, knew ‘better’. Utter bullshit.
The reason I am going there is because this issue has plagued me for years, and it has taken dealing with a professional, in this case my counsellor, who is also a qualified psychologist to find some answers. The simple truth is that because I’m intelligent – my IQ is just under 140 – I magically know better, at ALL times. I am capable of better, because I know better, therefore I have to be better, irrespective of the behaviour of others, at ALL times. And yet my actions towards others in turn have the full weight of self-serving moralism thrown at it.
My counsellor agrees, that situation is a fucking joke, and here is why.
The reality is actually is quite different. Under the Rule of Law, unless you have been legally declared to be of diminished capacity, your level of intelligence does not hold you to a lesser or higher legal standard than anyone else.
I will say that again.
Under the Rule of Law, unless you are legally seen to be of diminished capacity, level of intelligence DOES NOT hold you to a lesser or higher legal standard than ANYONE else!
End of story.
That standard is universal, period.
So, on that point, my frustrations and feelings of disempowerment are more than simply sour grapes or not getting my way. My feelings of disempowerment in this instance are one hundred percent appropriate. This point is reinforced when I try to hold other people to the same standard, a standard where we all should know better, and yet, that standard magically disappears.
That’s very interesting.
Diminished capacity in legal terms aside, we ALL should know better.
Like I said, it’s very interesting.
Obviously, that doesn’t happen. Which means instead of it technically being a legal issue, like it is supposed to, it is turned into a moralistic one.
Morals are NOT law.
However, I do believe that our legal system should have a moral grounding or foundation. I’m sure you will agree with me on that point.
I have digressed again, but I’m hoping that what I have been saying remains relevant.
One of the biggest arguments that is coming out of the domestic violence debate here in Australia is this;
There is no excuse or justification for violence against women.
Hmm. I sense a disturbance in the force, on this one. I sense the potential for one problem being replaced with another.
I know…”Dude, don’t go there!”
Again, you don’t know what I’m going to say. I will ask you to read everything I have said IN CONTEXT.
Before I continue, I want to say this. In regards to the argument “There is no excuse or justification for violence against women”, I can first and foremost take that statement in context of the issue of domestic violence and what that statement is aiming to achieve – elimination of violence against women. I can take that statement in good faith, in spite of my issues with women, and also given that I am a DV perpetrator, because the issue needs to be resolved. It goes well beyond being a moralistic issue (I don’t question the morality, just to be clear), because it affects our entire society on a fundamental level.
I can do those things.
Can I say the same of others?
All I have to say in response to the current argument is, “This isn’t going to end well”.
That statement concerns me deeply, but in order to do so, I have to take gender out of the equation. I have to explain myself using two genderless “entities”, to make my point. I’ll call them “A” and “B”. I will make both “A” and “B” equally emotionally balanced and consistent. Also, for the sake of consistency I will modify the original argument to “There is no excuse or justification for violence”.
I apologise in advance if I am being too general, I just hope I can make my point.
So, something happens that upsets and frustrates “A”. “A” then expresses that frustration at/to “B”. Now “B” responds how ever they respond to the frustrations of “A”; the response in and of itself isn’t necessarily relevant; but unfortunately “A” isn’t satisfied with “B”s response, and expresses as much. It is at this point, that in spite of both “A” and “B” being relatively emotionally balanced for the most part that the situation starts to escalate. Both “A” and “B” have opportunities to walk away and try again later when cooler heads prevail but sadly neither does, either because they don’t feel they can, the other party won’t allow them to do so, or they simply don’t want to because they want ‘satisfaction’. The situation continues to escalate, and potentially the original reason for “A”s frustration and being upset is long forgotten, it is essentially now about getting points on the board at the others’ expense. The situation has finally escalated so much, and tempers are at boiling point, that “B” lashes out physically and violently at “A”.
Using the logic that the argument “There is no excuse or justification for violence”, “B” is in the wrong. End of story. Case closed. “B” is a horrible person in the eyes of society, and deserves to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Guilty as charged, bash gavel, next case.
Seriously? Using that general example, is “B” in the wrong? Yes…violence is unacceptable. I am in no way condoning the final violent actions taken by “B”. However, what about the actions of “A”? It isn’t as though “B” walked up to “A” and smacked them out for no reason. Nor did “B” smack out “A” in response to them expressing their frustrations in the first place. The final act of violence occurred because of both parties contribution to the situation as a whole. Now, I know that for some of you this isn’t easy to consider, I sincerely get that.
My point is that situations need to be looked at and considered as a whole, and therefore resolved as a whole, with the intention of helping prevent situations like this escalating the way they do IN THE FIRST PLACE.
This means that if a lasting solution is to be achieved both men AND women need to be a part of the debate. Together. And that includes perpetrators like myself. While I don’t condone my behaviour, it was as a result of an escalation that was underpinned by double standards. I know…poor choice of words, but that is how I see it.
On a personal note, I have been belittled, degraded, and put down by women in the past. I have done the same, in turn. When I do it I’m a horrible person, when women have done it to me there must be a reason, or I deserved it, obviously. Seriously? What the fuck!?!? There is either an acceptable standard for behaviour, and how we treat each other, or there is not. This shifting standard is part of the problem, and more importantly why I avoid women at any cost.
Part of involving both men AND women in the DV debate is first and foremost acknowledging that men and women ARE different. We are. End of story. It is not about men being better than women because of “X”, or women being better than men because of “Y”, we simply need to accept that both genders are different. We are made differently, wired differently, view the world differently, have the world place expectations on us differently. We are different and accepting that is where this debate needs to start. I can no more claim as a man to truly understand what it is like to be a woman any more than a woman can claim they truly understand what it is like to be a man. To do so is not only foolish and short-sighted, but utterly absurd! We need to acknowledge and accept what makes us different, before we can see what makes us the same, to then come together and work this out.
To me, the above example between “A” and “B” is valid and needs to be considered. And what gets me is that standards magically change just because the perpetrator is a man, and the victim is a woman. The standards also change if a woman lashes out violently at a man it would seem as a result of his ‘provocation’. We either address the issue as a whole, or we don’t. It takes two to tango. I apologise if I’m offending people by saying that, but for me standards need to be applied universally, or not at all.
I can almost hear the hard-line feminists foaming at the mouth and getting ready to breathe fire at what I just said. To them, what I have to say is this – are you a part of the problem or a part of the solution? Are you genuine and sincere in wanting the situation in regards to domestic violence here in Australia to be resolved, or not? Are you voicing your opinions in good faith, with the goal of resolution; or are you out to get points on the board and get even?
Are you a champion for the cause of solving domestic violence here in Australia, or just a poser?
As a perpetrator, I forfeited the right to call myself a champion for the cause of solving DV in Australia, but it doesn’t change the fact that I do believe in the cause. I want to do better, but not so hard-line feminists can cut my balls off to get even. We either come together, and resolve this issue together, or we don’t. End of story.
Getting back on point, I hope my generic example was successful in making it.
As it currently stands, here in Australia, the argument that “There is no excuse or justification for violence against women” could potentially move us into such dangerous territory. That is because if that argument is taken out of context, and not taken in good faith, in the spirit in which it was offered, it will only ultimately create and encourage FURTHER acts of violence against women. This is a genuine concern of mine, I just hope as the reader you see that.
I say the above for this reason – if you take those words LITERALLY, what you will get is this – as a woman I can say and do whatever I want, whenever I want, and if he lashes out violently as a result…it is ALL his fault. I did NOTHING wrong, it is all on him!
Essentially it is the fucked up reverse of some of the justifications that some perpetrators have used in the past, which laws (to my limited knowledge actually existed) made acceptable and therefore legal. I just hope that my personal example shows that I am not one of them. I know I am walking a very fine line here
To clarify, the reason I say this is because in spite of my ignorance on how women have been treated over the years by men, I think that I am right in saying that there is a lot of bad blood and anger from women towards men over their treatment that WILL come out. While I want to believe that the argument “There is no excuse or justification for violence against women” is supposed to empower women, it ultimately won’t. I say that because one potentially empowering statement won’t empower a heavily disempowered and disenfranchised section of society. For the most part all I see happening is that attempt at an empowering statement being filtered through disempowered and disenfranchised eyes, and the wrong conclusions being reached.
To make things simpler, it is the difference between being assertive and being aggressive. I have seen it so many times in others, and I have done it myself. I am disempowered, which is what my anger and rage is sitting on. I try to be assertive, but aggression comes out in its’ place. That is what this post was originally meant to be about, indirectly it still is. I cannot be assertive, and therefore empowered until I firstly address my anger and rage, but more importantly the disempowerment my anger and rage is sitting on. While my anger and rage most likely far exceeds what many women could be feeling in terms of how they are consistently treated, and consequently disempowered, we may not be as different as you might think, as much as I hate to admit it. The circumstances are different, but the end result – disempowerment – is similar, if not the same.
To have more than fifty percent of our society potentially feeling disempowered and disenfranchised based purely on their gender is insane! It is no wonder our society is in the state it is in. In spite of what I’ve been saying I am on the side of women and empowering women. To prove that I say this; yes, I hate women, my feelings towards your gender run very deep. But in spite of that I want women to be empowered for one simple reason – so I can deal with you and you can deal with me without either side getting so frustrated and upset with each other. I want to be able to come together with women on a simple and basic human level, achieve what ever it is that needs to be done, and then go back to our lives with the satisfaction of knowing we got something done. That is it, no expectations, and no ulterior motives. Don’t believe me, re-read my earlier argument about why I’m not in a relationship – that means I don’t date either, as it is a part of the relationship process, in my opinion.
For me at least, moving forward will likely involve tackling my feelings of disempowerment. Part of that will involve how my disempowerment relates to women. I have treated women atrociously for the most part over the years, but I have also been treat atrociously by women over the years. Both sides have contributed to where I am at presently. It would be foolish and short-sighted to ignore that simple fact. While I am perfectly capable of making myself miserable, I’ve had plenty of help. That is also a simple fact.
To wrap things up, as a result of this post; which ended up going in a different direction than I thought it would; it is my firm belief that the solution to domestic violence is a full and holistic approach to this issue. It cannot happen any other way. Part of that solution is addressing disempowerment, which as a perpetrator of DV was a contributing factor which is incredibly relevant.
This means that men, especially perpetrators need to be heard. How this would be done, I cannot say, but I know that it won’t be easy. But I will say that for men like myself who have committed an act of domestic violence, we need to be heard, but without the moralistic attitudes that could potentially come with it. I’ve had my fill of moralistic people on this issue, in fact it is a disincentive to improve. I am perfectly capable of beating myself up over my actions, I don’t need help with that. I can be pointlessly moralistic with myself, I don’t need to import it from the outside.
I want to be better. While I do feel guilty about what happened, I won’t apologise for my actions, because they cannot undo what I did. A better substitute is for me to work on issues that I face, especially those in regards to women. The proof of my willingness to be better is the fact that I don’t have a partner or spouse, and likely never will. That is a choice that I made given my volatile nature and vile temper.
To any detractors, I know that my choice about relationships is the right choice, it is the right thing to do, and always will be. I don’t have to explain myself to you, and if you think that I do, just to satisfy your alleged values about relationships, ask yourself this.
Are you a part of the problem, or the solution?
I’m for the most part trying to be a part of the solution, and want to be a part of the solution.
Can you say the same?