Day 173/366 days Towards Self-Mastery.
Recently I attended a lecture on domestic and family violence. Watched horror stories from survivors and listed to detailed accounts of acts of violence. There are the meandering thoughts that I'm left with.
My nagging question is, "what motivates a perpetrator to such acts of violence. Even when they are otherwise normal healthy people, what is it that tips them into such heinous acts of destruction in their families."
Puzzled through the night by this question an epiphany arrived in the early hours of the morning. That blow by blow description had what I thought was an insight into at least some sort of an answer to that question.
"His eyes glazed over and I knew I was going to be in for it." His eyes glazed over. From my clinical experience this indicates to me that this man went into a dorsal dive, and stress response in his nervous system that activates the fight, flight or freeze response. Could it be that some perpetrators are actually entering their trauma cycle, triggered by some event that touches into their early life experiences, and their most readily available response is the fight response?
There's definitely some research there to be done. I'll be checking it out.
It leads me to wonder about the fundamentals. What's happening at the hearth in our homes? What is undermining our most fundamental needs in our modern society?
How are parents supported to provide the security and stability that the story books tell us are our god-given right in our family domains? How is society ensuring that we can achieve stability and security in our work life and the lifestyle that commercialism sells us?
What are the social distractions that interfere with our time and commitment to our closest relationships.
Has our lifestyle choices and the sheer cost of living diminished the importance of, or our capacity to provide physical and emotional connection for each other and our families.
What other societal elements are contributing to undermining a person's safety and stability, connection and belonging? Job insecurity, huge debt, estrangement from family, rising and rising cost of living, greater responsibilities with diminished ability to financially support them. The list goes on.
At the end of the day if we persist in following the economic plan of consumerism, we continue to build a society that generates the kind of stresses that are overwhelming. Maybe that stress is being expressed by the physically strong as fight, in the fight, flight or freeze response imperative. The physically weak continue to become the victims, the recipients of the rage that emerges from unmanageable social demands on an already fragile psyche.
There's no greater urgency for simplifying life than there seems to be right now, for discovering the essence of what's vitally important. Perhaps this time of enforced isolation with COVID-19 that we have endured has awakened in us a shift of focus to those closest and most vulnerable in our families, to strengthen our family ties, to shift our priorities and to live more simply and wholesomely.
Let's finish here with a recap of our fundamental needs. Check in with these to see where you might be struggling to have a need met.
safety and security, the need to be physically safe
closeness and caring, the need to feel a sense of belonging with people who care about your wellbeing
respect and recognition, the need to be acknowledged as a valuable contributor
Whether perpetrator or victim, these are considered our most fundamental needs. Needs that will stimulate trauma responses if we have been consistently or persistently unable to meet them.
Family violence is our most worrying concern right now. Check in to see what needs have not been met in your life. If you've been unable to meet them, it's only going to get worse as you get older if you don't get help.
We all need support to resolve unmet needs and unresolved early family trauma or neglect. Don't hesitate to reach out. It can be resolved, with support, the right kind of support for you.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.