Breaking the Cycle of Violence–October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
If you didn’t know they stung, you’d think they’re pretty cool. So daring with their wacky coloring, yellow and black—pretty auspicious to wear in the spring! They help keep the flowers beautiful, they create honey and bees’ wax and, in general, will let you go about your business unless you get in their’s. For most species of bee, after they sting you, that is it for them. They leave behind the maximum amount of venom along with their lower abdomen muscles and, as a result, they die.
Their legacy of pain has ended. They sting only in protection of their colony or in defense of their queen. Unless you are allergic (which I won’t go into here), your pain is temporary. Ensure the stinger is out of your skin, put some ice on the area and stomp an extra time on the dead bee carcass for good measure and cathartic release. Done. You’ll feel better shortly.
A parent’s disapproval can inflict so much.–Those crossed arms and that stern face. The down-turning of the mouth, like the weight of whatever you did will eliminate their possibility of them ever smiling again. Even when you are 30 or 40 years old, (and way beyond their grounding you for the weekend or taking away your TV privileges) a parent’s disapproval has power.
In hindsight, I see the echoes of that face when I was in my teens and the height of my “wrong doing:” sneaking out, hanging with the wrong crowd, experimenting with alcohol…My parents saw their “colony” threatened and they reacted. The grounding, the lectures, the taking away of my boom box (the 80’s equivalent of an I-POD)—It stung—but it was temporary.
“Train up a child in the way he should go. Even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6)
But what if what is delivered is more than just a stinging disapproval?
Yellow jackets, hornets and wasps are often confused with bees because of their similar daring springtime look, but they differ in vast ways. They aren’t called “angry wasps” for nothing! Wikipedia describes them as “social hunters.” Their primary focus is on protecting the queen, feeding her larvae and increasing their colony.
And, if you’ve been stung, you KNOW the difference. It hurts on a whole different level. It festers like an untreated infectious boil.
Yellow jackets, hornets and wasps have a slimmer, more lance-like stinger with smaller barbs, so that it does not dislodge at a sting, but rather they pursue you more aggressively and will sting you on, and on, and on and on. Even worse, the venom they leave in you marks you to their wasp friends as an enemy and, you know how friends are– they will follow the lead of their buddy. A legacy of recurring pain; and it doesn’t just go away, it lingers and perpetuates.
How do you stop it?
In researching the difference of these two summertime “buzz kills,” I found one answer in how to avoid the anger of the yellow jacket, the hornet and the wasp—
My college thesis was on the cycle of domestic violence: the abuse and abandonment– leading to the apologies and promises—rounding the corner on the cycle to the rest phase, which leads back around to escalation and abuse, once again (and on, and on and on.) Hollywood portrayed this cycle in “Sleeping with the Enemy” (Julia Roberts), “The Burning Bed” (Farrah Fawcett) and more recently, “Enough” (Jennifer Lopez.) Remember these?
I sought to gain an understanding of why people stay in this terrible cycle. My studies helped me to gather knowledge, but it left me in no way with a greater understanding.
Actually, it discouraged me to new depths.
Not only do the victims of abuse live in this cycle, finding escaping it too difficult or scary, they usually end up doing one of two things: they become the abuser in a next relationship, or they continue in relationship, after relationship, after relationship (and on, and on and on) with a new abuser at the helm of this ship on its often deadly course.
These wounds aren’t just “stings;” this is a legacy of violence.
What does it take to stop this?
I am not an expert, nor am I qualified to speak to most abuse victims-having not been in a physically abusive relationship-but I know about word-wounds. I studied the effects of abuse: low self-esteem, lack of feelings of worth, depression, substance abuse, cutting, and every other gamut of behavior that manifests when abuse exists and festers on the spirit.
How do you change the course of what must feel like a Titanic?
How do you dig that rudder in and change direction?
Maybe, just maybe, we take some advice from nature and in how to escape the legacy of pain inflicted by the wasps—We RUN!
Run to the arms of the ONE who promises to be “our refuge and strength, our ever present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
Run to the One who you can cast your cares on because he cares for you. (1Peter 5:7)
One who promises He will be your rock and your fortress, and under the protection of His wings, you will find shelter (Psalm 18:2 & Psalm 91:4)
He will provide a way-a new way—a new course and new hope for your journey.
With His power, the cycle can stop.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phillippians 4:13)
There is HELP available.
BE SAFE. TELL SOMEONE YOU TRUST. ASK FOR HELP.
In the event of a life threatening incident, immediately contact 9-1-1
For other help, contact the national domestic violence hot line at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Or go to http://www.thehotline.org