I don’t trust people completely until I’ve seen them furious. I feel like you can’t fully understand who someone is until you see what they get pissed off about. What’s important enough to get angry over? What makes you yell? What makes you mad enough to slam a drawer shut or throw your phone across the room or punch your foot down on the accelerator?
What is it that gets under your skin and creates a reaction?
What pisses me off is people who try to intimidate. People who get in your face when they’re angry. People who turn red in the face from all their shouting, who throw things or punch a wall or slam doors.
I hate it.
It scares me, and I hate it, because nothing makes me angrier than feeling scared.
It scares me, because it only takes one little push.
Slamming a door becomes slamming the door in my face.
Throwing something across the room becomes throwing something at me.
Hitting something becomes hitting me.
The problem is that we get desensitized to that first level of anger, so that when the next one comes — when the door slams in our faces or something is thrown at us or someone hits us, it doesn’t seem so shocking because the first level, by then, is normal.
It’s one of the reasons why people don’t leave abusive relationships. To anyone in that situation, having things thrown or being hit is an indication of lashing out, just like slamming a door or a drawer shut. At that point, leaving someone because they’ve hit you starts sounding like leaving someone who slammed a door; it seems like an overreaction to what you would hope is a rare or a one-time event.
Abuse is never a one-time event. If someone gets angry enough at you to lose control and physically hurt you, you can bet your life that they’ll do it again.
But you shouldn’t. Bet your life, I mean. It’s a bet you’re more than likely going to lose, and for what?
Slamming a door on its own is benign, sure.
Slamming it in someone’s face isn’t.
There are levels of violence, levels of anger. When I see the first stages of violence, now, I call people out on it. I don’t accept that first level of anger from anyone, because I know how fast it can turn ugly.
I know that it can turn ugly, and I know that very few people see it when it does.
I also know that no matter how many people actually notice or suspect, you’re lucky if even one person does anything about it.
So I promise I will say something if I see violence from or toward others. I promise I will ask why you have a black eye, and I promise not to believe you when you say you fell down the stairs. I promise that when I see two strangers fighting on their lawn and one of them shoves the other, I will pull over and call the police. I promise to notice you’re hurting and be there for you when you tell me why.
I promise not to accept violence.
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