Have You Ever Wanted To Kick A Puppy?

That was one of the questions I asked last night in a lively debate about love and sex and kink.

I had been talking about not ever wanting to hurt someone I love, and going out of my way to avoid doing it intentionally.

They countered with the claim that it was never intentional. It “just happens,” when people are upset and cannot control their emotions.

So, I said, “Have you ever wanted to kick a puppy? Or punch your child in the face?”

They looked horrified and said, “No.”

I asked if they had done those things.

They said “No” again, this time as if they were looking for the trap.

I pointed out that they did not do those things because to them, those things are anathema. Repugnant. Wrong.

They agreed.

Then I asked if they would do those things when they were REALLY REALLY angry.

They said they would not.

So, I asked, “Then why would you hurt someone you love with your words? Unless deep down in your heart you want to? Unless in the core of your mind you want to? You want them to hurt like you are hurting, to prove they love you or feel for you, or something.

“Because if you really believe that hurting someone you love is 100% wrong, and there is NO REASON TO EVER do it, you won’t.”

Humans will human.

I was very clear in the ensuing conversation that I am not perfect. I do sometimes want to hurt someone I love the way I am hurting, deeply and instinctually, and sometimes it slips out.

However, I mostly don’t. And when I do, it horrifies me.

There is no reason, ever (sure, prove me wrong—I can’t think of any though) to emotionally attack someone to cause them pain just because I am hurting.

Just like there is no reason (for me), ever to:

  • abuse animals
  • abuse children
  • abuse people
  • rape
  • cheat

And so on.

And so, I never have. Not on purpose—on purpose.

Yes, I’ve said some hateful things. Never with a conscious intent to hurt. But definitely with a subconscious intent to.

And because I realized that was wrong for me, I do that MUCH less often as well.

There is NO WAY that I can avoid hurting people accidentally, through misunderstandings or thoughtlessness or just being me. I accept that, and do my best.

And I am every day, in small and large ways also teaching myself that hurting people I love on purpose is wrong.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

The Language of Survival, The Language of Trust

Language of Trust

Each of us has a language of survival that we create as we grow up. We have a language of trust as well. In some, the language of trust has a huge vocabulary, and covers many varied situations.

They/we are the lucky ones.

CW: mentions of abuse

In some, the language of survival is the strongest, most nuanced, and pervasive language they understand.

Language of Trust

This conversation clearly shows the deleterious effects of languages of survival.

And as newvagabond points out, even knowing intellectually that they are safe is not enough.

The language of trust in their head is too small to overpower the survival mechanisms they’ve developed.

And if you live and love, you will meet these people. Perhaps you are these people.

And you could, if you choose, help them create their language of trust, by offering your own to them, and being a safe space.

Here are a few ways:

  • Validate. This does not always mean saying, “you’re right,” instead showing that they have the right to feel they way they feel. This means accepting and loving them for their fears as well as for their strengths.
  • Reassure. Speak to them of your OK-ness with their concerns.
  • Offer touch. Often, touch is as compelling, sometimes more, than the words. MAKE SURE THEY CONSENT. For those for whom touch is a part of their trauma, touch without consent can make things MUCH worse.
  • Be patient. Don’t speak the words, but project the opposite. Actually be patient. We all have things to learn. You may be an expert at trust and being not-afraid. Great! Use that with them. As with any language, it may take years to become fluent in trust with you and with others… or like me and Russian, they may never get it. That’s OK, too.
  • Understand this is not personal. It’s not YOU. It’s survival reactions to past lived-experiences. Also understand that as you hold your space safe for them, you are creating a language of trust with them as well. They KNOW/HOPE they are safe with you, or they would not choose to be with you, to put themselves in harms way. Their survival brain, though, doesn’t feel it. Like when you are safe at home, and a pan drops suddenly in the kitchen,a nd you jump, because WTF!?!? and it takes a while for your heart to slow down…instinct. It’s a bitch.

Last year, I wrote a piece about communication breakdowns when partners aren’t safe. I think that’s also a good reference to read. That one is also how we can add to their language of survival, often, even, without realizing the damage we’re doing.

How do you create your language of trust with your partners?

Or… on the other side, how does your language of survival affect you and your relationships long after the original behaviors that created it have past?