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Unharmed. - The Life and Thoughts of Zach

Feb. 4th, 2004

01:56 pm - Unharmed.

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I just realized how remarkable it is that as far as I can recall: no one has ever done physical violence to me. I've never been in a fight. I've never been hit, pushed down, punched, kicked, or slapped in anger.

I've also never had a really bad accident. I've never had a broken bone. I've never had stitches. I've been to the hospital twice for accidents but both times it turned out nothing requiring medical treatment was wrong.

I wonder how this (lack of) experience has shaped my outlook on life and my fellow human. Some people say I'm more trusting or more forgiving than average. Is this because for all the random bullshit betrayals of trust or other interpersonal strife I've had, no one has ever really endangered me in a palpable memorable directly experienced way. Others point out that I am more risk averse than average. Is this because having never dealt with emotionally traumatic physical trauma, I don't have a model for coping with and overcoming it? Does it make me weaker that I've never had to face my physical weakness and integrate it into my view of myself? Does it make me stronger or overconfident that I've never had my physical weakness really demonstrated to me? How many of my personality traits, positive and negative, are tied to this (lack of) experience with physical violence or trauma?

I'm never clear where the line between forgiveness and avoidance is (this paragraph is not about physical violence, I'm not suggesting a non-avoidant strategy would involve physical violence, there was just a segue about the link between physical conflict and emotional rage in my head that made sense here). I've reached a point where I've basically washed the slate in my brain even for the 2 or 3 people that I'd years ago declared would and could never be forgiven for their betrayal of my friends (I forgive transgressions against me MUCH more readily than against my friends). This is largely because I've just hit a breaking point where I see no gain in maintaining the rage, it's non-productive and only hurts me. I realize the non-productiveness of it when I'm confronted with people I'm mad at and I realize that I have no desire to bitch them out. I make friendly with them and go away. I step around the conflict. I avoid them. If my rage isn't righteous enough to express then why have it? Is that forgiveness or avoidance? Is it a virtue if I'm avoidant? Have I lived the charmed life free of physical violence because I am avoidant? Is that really wrong?

Now of course I'm not always avoidant. If I'm able to express my feelings rationally and reasonably to a person who is willing to work out the conflict...then no big deal, that's the more common case which is why I'm only talking about 2 to 3 people above. This is what recently happened with a classmate. There was conflict, we dealt with it, no hard feelings.

Comments:

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From:wendywoowho
Date:February 4th, 2004 08:36 pm (UTC)
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Hell, even I've been slugged! A girl punched me in the nose on top of the monkey bars in elementary school. For no reason whatsoever. Blood flowed freely. I blinked. "I suppose you're going to cry now," she sneered. "No," I said. And I climbed off the monkeybars and went inside to stop the bloody nose.

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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 4th, 2004 08:42 pm (UTC)

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Nearly everyone I know had some experience with random physical violence in elementary school. I don't know how my nerdy self escaped. I had a friendly detached relationship with most of the tough kids.
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From:jane837
Date:February 5th, 2004 05:14 am (UTC)

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I missed out on the violence of elementary school. But my sister used to bite me on the arm all the time. She was a tenacious little 5-year-old. :)
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From:eee1313
Date:February 4th, 2004 08:39 pm (UTC)
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I've never been in a fight. I've never been hit, pushed down, punched, kicked, or slapped in anger.

Now I just have to ask: Do you have any siblings?
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 4th, 2004 08:52 pm (UTC)

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A little sister. We didn't really resort to physical violence when we fought. There was one summer (probably around when I was 9 or 10 and she was 6 or 7) where we did this thing where when we were fighting we'd grabbed each other's wrists and squeeze with our finger nails as hard as we could. A little painful but never broke each other's skins and it got old pretty fast. I don't know why we did it but that was as physical as our conflict ever really got as far as I can remember. Which isn't to say we didn't scream at each other and try to manipulate our parents against each other and whatsuch.

Of course, since I'm 3 years older than her, if we DID fight I probably would have subdued her pretty trivially so it wouldn't have been a palpable demonstration of my weakness as discussed above. I'll have to ask my sister if she remembers things any differently from her little sister perspective.

Besides the mutual arm pinching episodes with my sister, there was one time in my life that I remain ashamed of where I lashed out and hit someone else. This really arrogant annoying dude in high school was harranging me really meanly about some bullshit while we were at the video store and I just lost it and hit him on the head with the video, MUCH harder than I meant to. We both freaked out about it because it just came out of nowhere. I think I might have punched someone else in the shoulder in a moment of passionate argument harder than I intended too with the same momentary "oh shit, what did I/you just go" moment between the two of us. That's the sum total of violence that I have wrought, with not even so much as that stuff having been wrought upon me.
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From:jane837
Date:February 5th, 2004 05:15 am (UTC)

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My little sister could totally beat me up. :)
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From:folkyboy
Date:February 4th, 2004 10:54 pm (UTC)
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wow i bet it HAS shaped your life in a lot of ways, but i don't think it really did it with such naivete that you stated. i think you see the good in things more so than others because you've had kid gloves handled with you throughout your life. that is more of a blessing than a curse :)
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From:kingvermin
Date:February 5th, 2004 03:46 am (UTC)
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You forgot to KNOCK ON WOOD.

Get ready for the ass-kicking of your life!!

-paul
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 5th, 2004 04:42 am (UTC)

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But I know you'd be doing it out of love and not anger. So that wouldn't count. :)
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