Domestic violence has become an everyday affair; sometimes we don’t know whether to get angry or cry, sometimes we feel both extreme emotions. In yesterday’s (15/8/16) news, a woman set herself ablaze because of domestic issues; in the previous news a man chopped of his wife’s hands and cut her on the head; In Kakamega a woman chopped off her husband’s manhood…..
It is like movie, like drama (ilikua nikaa movie nikaa ndrama). The details usually leave us in disbelief, in horrified fascination or we are repelled to turn away. The Kenyan societies today do not explore the roots of violence but are quick to react to the aftermath of violence. Why is this? Could it be that violence is deeply disturbing and in our hearts of hearts we don’t know if we can be victims or perpetrators?
Violent behavior can be triggered by frustrations, anger or perceived humiliation. The purpose of violence can be to retaliate, intimidate or exert control. That is why it is important that we explore violence and know the source. Better understanding can make a difference.
The internal Voice
“You are what you think” (Be careful how you think: your life is shaped by your thoughts- Prov. 4:23) says the Bible, and it’s very true. The negative thought processes flood the minds of the violent individuals influencing them to engage in acts of violence. After Research psychologist now understand that when a person behaves violently, their behaviors are being influence by thought patterns, Lisa Firestone Ph.D.. These are systematic patterns of negative thoughts against self and hostile suspicion against others.
1. The voices that contribute to violence include those that support mistrust. These paranoid suspicious thoughts encourage people to assume a self-protective and defended posture (physical change, like changed facial expression, shaking etc.) from perceived danger. Because the paranoia and misperception makes the threat seem real, people feel justified in acting out violence to protect themselves.
Socially this paranoia is supported by negative voices about other people being different, strange and bad. It is easier to hurt someone who is perceived as being different from you that is “not like you”.
2. Other voices that lead to violence are the ones that support peoples feeling victimized and persecuted. They advise a person that he/she is a victim of mistreatment by others. The voices promote and support thoughts of being discounted, blamed or humiliated by others for example “she’s making a fool out of you”, “He doesn’t respect you enough”……..
3. There are also voices promoting self-stigmatization. These are self-depreciating thoughts that make them feel unlovable, uncared for, useless…. These voices promote isolation and make them want to take care of themselves and may attack other people they view as rejecting them. This voice makes a person not listen to reason and not believe that someone else can do any good to them.
4. There are self-aggrandizing voices that encourage a person to think he/she is superior and deserve to be treated as such. This voices support inflated self- image (which usually compensates for deep seated hatred). When the aggrandized sense of self is threatened like in slights or perceived disrespect a person often reacts violently in an effort to regain the aggrandized self-image. “Who does she/he think he is…….” In older generation, “how can he pass without greeting me…”
Understanding what’s going on in our own minds and other people’s minds allow us to better assess the risk for violence and to intervene or avoid it all together hence protecting both the potential perpetrator and victim.
By changing our inner voice and helping others change theirs we decrease the chances of violence and being victims. We also minimize the ndramas….