Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.

The Cycle of Violence Goes Round and Round

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Jul 16, 2014 5:33 PM

Remember the movie "War of the Roses?" The abuse from husband to wife and wife to husband escalated until death did them part. Rival factions lived together and who did at one time, or many times, live together in peace.Like Israel and the Palestinians.  It's very reminiscent of couples in a bitter divorce, in a child custody dispute, in a big fight. One person starts the ball rolling and the other retaliates not with sharing of their honest pain and asking for help, not with an effort to see how such horror could never happen again and what he/she/they each brought to the conflict, not with reparations. Rather, the retaliation takes on all the vengence and bitterness which they have built up over time, whether concerning the other party or not, in fact often against all the perpetrators in their experience ever. So, the wife now hates her husband because of his perceived or real rejection and acts back aggressively (passive or active mode) with everyone who ever rejected her in mind. The husband hates the wife for being "mean" without seeing that state as a cover-up for her fear and hurt and retaliates with more rejection or active abuse. Etc.

It's the same between groups, ethnic, racial, national, whatever.... The reactions to any criminal or unfortunate act end of creating a vicious cycle of hatred and pain. In philosophy, there's a master-slave dialectic (see  Hegel, not Chuck, Wilhelm) in which the true master is the one smart enough to understand and manipulate the dynamic. So, the spouse pr group who reacts in an unexpected way, perhaps with peaceful and understanding communication and ideas for compromise, even if poorer in some ways, is the master intellectually and may act to develop a solution. It works with an oppositional child, in marriage and divorce and betweeen groups and countries. Let's see who's smart enough to try.....

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