Wayne Dyer said, “When you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out – because that’s what’s inside. When you are squeezed, what comes out is what is inside.”
Having children, for me at least, was like agreeing to live in a damn juicer. There were times it felt like everything in every moment of every day, put the squeeze on me. In times of great squeeze – like my son’s obsession with anything he could swipe and put in his mouth or his great love for parking lots and streets full of fast-moving cars – what came out was violence. I was deeply moved to scream at him about cigarette butts being nasty. I driven to beat a fear of streets into him.
Most of the time I didn’t fall for it. Usually, I was able to breathe instead of scream. Often, I could just retrieve him from danger and feel grateful he lived through it. Sometimes, I lost my cool… and violence was what oozed out of me. Sometimes, I yelled. On a few rare occasions, I actually spanked my children.
I hated myself for that.
I don’t believe in hitting people, not adults and not children. Not in war… and certainly not in love. In relationships, violence never helps, even in parenting. It doesn’t help. And over the years I picked up more and more tools to keep that from happening, tools to help me keep the violence within… trying to keep it from getting on them.
I have had similar experiences in intimate relationships. Again, I’ve worked HARD to get control of myself, to tame the beast who, when she rears her ugly head, erodes any possibility of trust from the woman I love. I have a patched but still unpainted hole in my bedroom wall from a night when a miscommunication put the squeeze on me… and the violence I’ve worked so hard to contain came pouring out. It’s been a couple of years since that incident. I broke my foot that night.