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The following Featured Post comes from Relationship Group 7, Thread 42.

1. Maintaining composure
Tue, Oct 5, 1999 - 4:05 AM/EST
wayne

I want to preface these question with this fact I have a violence problem (not against females/partners) that has affected my relationships (not just romantic). My close friends do not consider it a problem because I react violently only in violent situations. I am wise enough to know that that does not excuse violence. Nothing excuses violence. It is under control and may not exist now that I'm older wiser and have a better sense of my mortality. My problem with violence is not considered a problem where I'm from. I grew up in a Texas suburb and when a man threatens you in a physical way you return the favor. When a man speaks to you in a disparaging manner you are almost obligated to do the same. This often leads to the physical threats I mentioned earlier. I think this violence was necessary when I was young to keep my sanity. I see it's antiquated now and I'm looking for alternative solutions.

My questions to the group are these: how do you handle the comments that are thrown at you in public, interracial relationship comments and just plain old demeaning ones too? This one is for the men especially, if you walk away does it feel emasculating? Is it for you like it was for me? I felt like I couldn't protect my partner like she deserved(esp. when it was a police officer or person of power). Do you/have you found yourself asking your partner to hold back on defense of your collective position? I did. I hated to do it but I felt that these confrontations would lead to violence. My girlfriend saw two men attack me and my reaction not only shocked her but even scared her. I'm just looking for ways to regain my dignity(I'm not fighting when I get called a nigger I'm too old for that) after someone degrades me so if you have any suggestions, I'm listening.

3. TO: wayne
Tue, Oct 5, 1999 - 12:00 PM/EST
lightnet

IT IS GOOD TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU HAVE A VIOLENCE PROBLEM. I CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH. I PERSONALLY KNOW SOMEONE WHO ALSO HAD THAT KIND OF PROBLEM. ONLY DIFFERENCE IS THAT HE DID NOT ACKNOWLEGE HIS PROBLEM AND NOW HE IS SIX FEET IN THE GROUND. (TRUE) THERE ARE A LOT OF WAYS YOU CAN CONTROL ANGER. ONE OF THE BEST WAYS IS TO NOT LET WORDS UPSET YOU. REMEMBER THAT PHRASE, "STICKS AND STONES MAY BRAKE MY BONES BUT WORDS WILL NEVER HURT ME?"

WORDS ARE JUST THAT, WORDS. IT TAKES A MOUNTAIN TO REALLY GET ME GOING. AS YOU CAN SEE FROM THE DIALOGUES THAT HAVE TAKEN PLACE HERE, ALTHOUGH I AM NOT THOUGHT OF AS CONSIDERATE OR NICE, I KNOW HOW TO CONTROL MY EMOTIONS REAGARDING WHAT OTHERS THINK OR SAY. THESE PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW ME PERSONALLY, IT IS SO FUNNY BECAUSE PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY KNOW ME LOVE ME AND KNOW MY FEELINGS AND STILL ENJOY MY COMPANY, ADVICE AND INPUT.

BACK TO YOU . . . .

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. DON'T LET WORDS CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS. THE WORLD IS VIOLENT ENOUGH. IT TAKES A BIGGER PERSON TO WALK AWAY AND EVEN A BIGGER ONE TO NOT LET PRIDE CONTROL THEM.


4. In our experience...
Tue, Oct 5, 1999 - 10:20 PM/EST
w&t

When my husband and I started dating in California, we didn't hear/notice anything but the positive comments. As we got closer to marriage, the negative responses got louder and louder. I heard comments like "sellout" from black men, we were spit at by a white man, we even tried to maintain our dignity while a group of TEENAGERS sang us a chorus of "ya'll got jungle fever, la la la" ( I think we've all heard that song by now :)

Our desision to react or not really depended on the situation. If we were personally in danger, or if it was just a group of irritating little brats. I would suggest to just use your head. It's not really worth bodily injury to get the respect of a few idiots!

By the way, we soon noticed that if my husband wore his black Robert DeNiro leather jacket and slicked back his hair, we never heard a peep from ANYBODY! :)

5. Something From the Amer. Love Stories about violence and fear
Wed, Oct 6, 1999 - /EST
kimetha

I was very surprised that both Bill and (oh how quickly we forget) his lovely bride (who's name eludes me) from the documentary were both frightened about violent repercussions from racists and other nuts. I can understand the wife I think but for both of them to be afraid was enlightening. I'm scared of lots of things and lots of situations (not to the point of neurosis but I've always been jumpy).

I've had two situations in the last couple of years where I upset strangers who happened to be men in public and they yelled at me (one guy was feeding goldfish to more agressive fish in a Walmart and I got an employee to stop him and the guy ended up in my face yelling, eyes bulging. I said "You stop it, you are abusing me!" and he laughed. I said "GET SECURITY NOW!!" and he skulked away, but the security guy walked us to our car later just in case he was waiting for me.

The other incident involved an outdoor flea market where one of the other shoppers had his tiny dog on a leash and it was almost consumed by a rottweiler that was lying under one of the tables. The owner of the little dog started yelling and cussing and pulled out a knife and said he was going to kill the big dog. I'd never seen the dogs or the man before but I said "Oh stop it. You aren't killing anything." The irate shopper interpreted that to mean the big dog was mine so he started cussing at me, still threatening to kill the big dog, and still waving his stupid knife!! I said repeatedly, "that isn't my dog but just calm down" and finally I YELLED "THAT ISN'T MY DOG YOU MORON SO QUIT CUSSING AT ME1111". Somehow that sunk in and the tiny dog's owner and enterage stomped away mumbling and cussing. I was scared and I kept an eye on them until they left the flea market, just in case. There are nuts out there folks and you don't have to be brown to find them.

6. Handling violence
Wed, Oct 6, 1999 - 11:19 AM/EST
xena

Wayne,

I appreciate your honesty. I asked my husband what his reponse would be if posed this question, he said:
1) age does make a big difference on how you handle different potentially ugly and/or violent situations;
2) it's important to always be aware of your threshold. How much can you really take, if it's approaching your threshold then it's time to find the exit;
3) walking away isn't emasculating to him.

My husband grew up in Brooklyn, NY and went to a high school where the student body was 90% white. He said it helped to come from a large family because isolation is a potential problem for those in the minority. Of course, the larger NY area also helped because of its immense diversity. Another important factor in his responses is that he's in his 40's - way past the fighting stage for most! My input: walking away can be empowering. To walk away is to relay the message that the other person is insignificant and not worth your time. Personally, this is hard for me, smacking them upside the head would feel oh so much better!

On a side note, we have never encountered an ugly and/or violent situation as a couple or a family. Perhaps it's because "Minnesota Nice" is a factor (people may think bad thoughts, but they don't usually voice them out loud - we're very polite, nauseatingly so!). We have traveled throughout the midwest and southeast, to DC, Atlanta, Boston, and throughout Oregon and the only possible bad thing to happen was when our daughter attempted to play with a cauc child at an airport and the parents ran over to her and immediately took her away. I guess there could have been a dozen reasons for them yanking their daughter away, but my gut tells me otherwise.

Also, Kimetha's surprise at both Bill and Karen's concern over violence is interesting. I'm curious why you thought only Karen would face the issue of violence, because to me I think Bill was most at danger. Thanks, Xena

7. To Xena in particular....
Wed, Oct 6, 1999 - 4:56 PM/EST
kimetha

I guess the reason I found Bill's fear surprising is because I'm a woman and I'm scared of some people and I just didn't realize men might feel the smae way. If I was a man I'd probably put on a very good front with the hopes of repelling trouble. I think I would be like you hear some prison inmates say they become....very hardened and very frightening.....'touch me and die, fool'. Geeze, chalk up another reason I'm glad I'm a woman!

8. To Wayne
Fri, Oct 8, 1999 - /EST
amym

Hey Wayne,
Let me take just a few and introduce myself and I will give you my take on the question you posted. My name is Julian and am the husband of Amym. I have lived in the Southeast my entire life and Amy and I have been together for 11 years. Early on when we were first dating like you I found myself compelled to protect my date and often did not take comments or insults lightly. I would often reply to the insults and add several of my own. I am fourtunate to say that the majority of these incounters were and have been non-violent. I like yourself felt that there was no way that I was going to let someone disrespect me or anyone that I was with.

Wayne, I can honestly say that this is something that I have not fully gotten past but I do feel that I am better able to control my emotions. The question to answer for me was what's important. What I found from personal experiences is that it is best to ignore the comments. The people who make comments are in most cases seeking to provoke some type of altercation and bring you to thier level. So why let them win?? Ask yourself what's important to you and your partner. Bottom line the only thing that you can control is yourself(mental state,well being,future) don't allow someone who is condemned by ignorance to condemn you.

P.S. Wayne I would like the opportunity to continue to converse with u about life.

Read more featured posts here or continue reading thread 42 from Relationship Group 7.





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