Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 19 2009

I'm starting this blog at the suggestion of my mother-in-law, who thinks it might help people and make it easier for me to find a publisher for the book Violence Anonymous - a program of recovery from violence, which I'm currently writing.  I also thought it might be cool to write a play-by-play of how I, a person who has resorted to power and control tactics to get what I want for most of my life, avoid perpetrating violence on my family, friends, colleges and business partners.  My hope is that this blog will inspire you to think about how you act/react to situations in a more peaceful and productive manner and how that can affect not only your life, but society as a whole.  

Today I brought my family home from a holiday in South Africa.  What I noticed was that I become very anxious and agitated in the airport, when I am lugging bags for myself, my wife and my son.  It's a 24 hour trip door to door and that's a long time to have an almost 4 year old on a plane.  My wife is also sick with an immune disorder and can turn into a wheelchair case if her illness gets the better of her.  So I'm already feeling stressed about the idea of getting all of us back home.  

At the onset of the trip, I had agreed to lug my son's car seat on this trip.  My wife felt is was best to keep him in his plane seat and even though I had arranged for her to sit a few rows away, so she could have a rest, which made me mr mom for the whole journey, I agreed to lug the useless thing from Austin to S. Africa and back.  I also had to haul a few other bags that I thought we unnecessary.  Any way...   the point is, I managed to keep myself from exploding with rage or shouting at my son, who was in need of extra attention that I couldn't give during the shlep through customs and security, but I felt like the fucking bore of the party.  I was the "don't do that, don't do this" guy and I could see the enthusiasm for life draining from my son and wife.  The best I could do was try not to speak while i seethed with resentment for getting myself into this.  What came to me was very simple.  Check the extra carryon bags and this fucking car seat and let him sit in the plane seat like everyone else.  I don't have to agree to every plan my wife has and play the flippin martyr so i look like the good guy.  This may seem simple to you, but it was revolutionary to me.  

I believe if I get myself into a bad situation in business, that It's my own doing and I should honor my agreement and never make one like that in the future.  This way I keep my clients happy by not complaining and next time I negotiate a better deal for myself.  that's the way I learn my lesson.  So it's the same with my wife.  there is no point in complaining, just change the situation and next time only agree to what will really meet my needs too.  So the new rule is, "if you can't carry it yourself it doesn't go on the trip".  very simple, no hard feelings.  Dad is no longer the pack mule.  once I made that the policy and let everyone know.  I felt great.  like a massive weight had been lifted from my shoulders and I turned back into fun James.  What's your story?

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    I am a counselor and in recovery from family violence. I just discovered this website and am grateful that I did! This is wonderful work and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    I saw that you have a book for VA and are looking for a publisher. Although it has been some time since I knew a personal contact in the group, I would recommend that you contact The Sidran Institute,
    They used to publish a newsletter called The Cutting Edge for people living with Self-Inflicted Violence (SIV). If they cannot help with direct publishing, I believe they may work with you to find someone who can as their mission is Traumatic Stress Education and Advocacy. I met them when I did a panel at Dare to Act, a Trauma Recovery conference in Baltimore in November 2004. From their website:
    The Sidran Institute business office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time,
    Monday through Friday.
    Tel: 410-825-8888 (For orders in U.S. only, call toll free: 1-888-825-8249)
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