I want to make a few comments in response to JBs post, and the first is the general disagreement I have that physical assault is a deserved response for the contexts given.
But, before going into the rationale, I want to make clear that I agree 1000% that women are responsible in almost every case (excepting when in the grip of a pathologically violent or substance disordered person) of provocation when a man resorts to violence.
Even for women that are conscious of their susceptibility to defend and attack by verbal and/or emotional manipulation, when under enough strain, all people, no matter the sex, will fall back into a default mode that is familiar to them. This tends to be what we observed and internalized while developing from child to adult in the family of origin. We do, in times of stress. what we know , and it is what’s most familiar the overwhelmed mind will switch on cruise control.
As a personal example, last week I wanted to spend more time with the man I’ve been dating after we had already had dinner and spent a few hours having fun in the city.
He drove me home to drop me off but I was disappointed. Instead of recognizing that my disappointment was something that would resolve itself as soon as I stopped feeding it, I chose that opportunity to attempt manipulating my friend into spending more time with me by attempting to appeal to his emotions.
To his credit, he didn’t bite and went home. The next day I apologized for my inconsideration. It was a work night. He had to get up at 5 or 6 the next morning. He had already made a heroic gesture by asking me out after having spent the day working construction in the hot sun. I’m sure he was tired. His feet probably hurt. But, he likes me enough to think spending that time with me is worth the sacrifice.
And I was selfish and wanted my way. And I KNOW BETTER..but, I was under another kind of pressure and when stressed, I can return to a state that knows but doesn’t care. No one is perfect about any part of this relationship dynamic we each have with rest of the world.
When it comes up in my own life, the best I can do is recognize what I’m doing and take responsibility for it. I’m probably never going to be ‘cured’ of my human ‘underbelly’ but I can manage it.
And, then, of course there exists those creatures that take pleasure and great pride in their ability to create as much turbulence and drama possible. With women, it is invariably with the words they choose.
There are women, like my mother, who will provoke a man every way possible, even striking him first or mocking him openly and publicly, in order to ensure herself a chance to milk the rewards of victim hood once he responds physically. She’ll accuse him of doing so if he doesn’t physically respond that is how much she desires control. I’ll stop short of mentioning the contrived sexual thrill seeking this provocation serves, but its safe to assume this is as probable as it is inflammatory.
But does anyone, even a provocateur such as this, deserve to be physically harmed? I think that answer is “no”. I agree it would be valid to feel enraged enough to do it, but it is not useful and is basically feeding the troll, as it were. Baiting someone into losing their composure so as to respond with a physical assault is clearly a victory for the one who is baiting. It brings the other person down to the level of making decisions based solely on how they feel. Emotionally charged behavior is not usually the best choice of those we can make. Rage is especially dangerous because our ability to reason while actively enraged is physiologically impaired if not disabled, altogether, for a period of time.
The only defensible and deserved cause of a physical assault is one that is made because it is the most effective means of protecting one’s self from imminent harm or when protecting another person from imminent harm when a better alternative isn’t available.
Even the use of corporal punishment as it applies to children, is meaningless when done by an enraged adult. Why? Because the adult is reduced to behaving in the same emotional realm as a child.
It feels good to imagine it, but, again, there is that pesky feeling concept, again. Feelings are not facts. They aren’t accurate maps of reality. They indicate what direction the winds of emotion are blowing and the direction the ship may be heading if left with no one at the helm to steer her.