Like a silent thunderclap
The sun strikes a blade of grass,
— A sharp thrusting blade it is, a defiant green punch
Out of the soil at the sky —
Now struck and smelted with gold leaf,
Humming with new life and power,
Slow and ruminous the photosynthesis.
The Long Hand of Lugh
Has painted it alive.
— Jan 2009
The path to divorce began before I even met my wife; I’d placed my feet on it inevitably, irrevocably, following the stars of my deepest desires and fears. I wanted to be loved; was this wrong? I wanted acceptance, approval, completion; was this wrong? I wanted to care for, and to give affection to, and to love; was this wrong? I sought these, and found these, in her. I loved her, and desired her, and cared for her, and was completed by her, utterly, as I understood love and desire and care and completion. And we loved furiously and ecstatically and laid the beautiful plans that lovers do.
Occasionally we stop and take stock of ourselves.
Is our health ok? How about our family, and the other important relationships in our lives? Our education? Our career?
And usually we find ourselves wanting in one way or another. We could be a little healthier, our family could be a little more tightly bonded, and frankly we could be making more money than we do. And so we might draw up a list of goals, or at least join a gym or try to buff up our resume. And we might follow our new plans for a week or a month, and maybe we’ll even make some hard-won progress in these areas.
Frankly, this whole process is ridiculous, from start to finish. Read more
Afflictive emotions – our jealousy, anger, hatred, fear – can be put to an end. When you realize that these emotions are only temporary, that they always pass on like clouds in the sky, you also realize they can ultimately be abandoned. — the Dalai Lama
Warning! I give lots of unsolicited advice in this article — unsolicited, unprofessional, inexpert, etc. I am in no way a trained psychologist. All I’m doing is relating my own experience; so proceed at your own risk.
Fear, anger, worry, jealousy… These are some of the nastiest things we deal with in life. Why? Where do they come from? What are they for? And what can we do about it?
This article is a sequel to On Physical Violence, and carries forward a lot of its themes. However, I think a lot of the issues around emotional violence are less clear cut, and so the intent of this article is much more speculative and investigative.
What is Emotional Violence?
Some examples of emotional violence are:
- making threats
- trying to incite feelings of guilt or inadequacy
- constant non-constructive criticism
- intentional public embarrassment
What do these actions have in common? They are intentional, and they are an attempt to elicit an emotion; and furthermore, the emotion is an unpleasant one.
However, I don’t think the unpleasantness of the emotion is the defining characteristic here. If you’re in a bad mood, and some horribly cheerful person comes up to you and tries to cheer you up, I think this falls under emotional violence as well — not as severe, certainly, but nevertheless unwelcome. I suggest that emotional violence be defined as intentional elicitation of undesired emotion.
In other words, emotional violence is what is commonly called emotional manipulation, but with the addendum that the manipulation be toward emotions that are not wanted by the victim.
Does this correspond in any way to physical violence?
It is a dark day here. I sit with my head in my hands, the cold rough stone under me, the loose leaves clattering and swirling in the wind as it tosses through the bare temple. This temple is Apollo’s, but the sky is gray, the rain is cold, and…
Wraiths walk where there was sunshine.
NO violence — even in self-defense.
A few months ago, I mentioned off-handedly that my feelings about violence were close to that of Gandhi and Tolstoy. Kate Gladstone asked me about this in the comments, mentioning a book called THE RING by Piers Anthony, in which he describes a society in which some people wear a special ring that prevents them from committing any violence at all. She notes:
“…his conclusions on non-violence in THE RING include, *but* go fascinatingly beyond, the common sentiment that a rule of absolute non-violence makes its followers the inevitable victims of those who haven’t adopted such a rule.
Over a year has passed since my first post on spiritual weight loss, and it has been, frankly, extremely difficult — and at times harrowing. At first, things went very well; but then I began to lose ground — slowly at first, and then rapidly. In the spring, my health quickly became much worse, and I began to fear that I had serious problems.
But let me be clear: this was not because the spiritual weight loss program was failing. On the contrary — without the principles of the program to guide me, I would probably have been a lot sicker, and I certainly would not have made the complete turnaround and nearly-full recovery I achieved in July.
But I’ll begin at the beginning.