The Cycle

Abuse Cycle

Posted 03/22/2016, Richmond, VA by Alan Webb

I started my day as usual by turning my TV to our local CBS affiliate, WTVR. Oh, and before I get far with this, this is not a news site. It is at best, a feature and editorial site when I am bothering to be somewhat journalistic. The rest of the time it is a lies and libels site. Now I can move on. I am greeted by a wall-to-wall blast of breaking news that there were two explosions in Brussels, one at the airport and another at a subway station. At least 26 are reported dead and at least 130 are reported injured. CNN and WTVR are already reporting these as terrorist attacks.

Yes, it is a tragedy. The guilty need to be caught and tried and if convicted, kept in prison for life. I need to say something again. Violence, abuse, has a 6 part cycle: explosive event, depression, apology, honeymoon, calm, and tension building, rinse, repeat. With some exceptions it tends to escalate with each iteration. The most common endings are either a destruction of the relationship or the death of one or more parties to the abuse.

Abuse and terrorism don’t have a connection, do they? Maybe not. I was an abuser and I was abused, both as an adult and as a child. Terrorism feels like abuse to me. Days like today transport me back to the nightmares of my marriage and my youth. I’m there again, fighting or being beaten. I have to do it again, say the prayers again, write posts like this again, to soothe myself and overcome the feeling that the Belgian terrorists are hiding under my bed.

Ray(rob(ert))a Bob is busy in Toano on Itzel’s farm. March starts the busy season for them. He’ll be occupied through November when most of the harvesting is done. He stays on the farm for most of these months. It is Itzel that loads up the box truck with what they have to sell it at the Williamsburg Farmer’s Market. There stuff is organic, the farm part of “farm-to-table”.

RayBob lit up my phone last night with this story. He was threatening to unload the gun safe of its contents and break open his stash of .223 ammo and buckshot. He’d turned up the bed against the bedroom window and locked the bars on the other windows in the house. I was up for a couple hours while he exhausted himself. Itzel smacked him early in this and took a sleeping bag out to the hay loft. RayBob afraid is a bit much. I’d have slept in the barn too.

Here is where I am on this. First, in all the apocalypses that have occurred there were survivors. Life as the survivors knew it is destroyed. Life continues for the survivors. If I die, I have no earthly worries. If I live RayBob and Itzel will need farm hands. In the meantime the things I am already doing to serve my community continue. This blog continues. 2am text message walls from RayBob continue. There are still tomorrows.

Second, abusers can’t stop because the black hole in their lives is impossible to fill by being abusive. It demands more. Each iteration increases the hunger for the rush of the explosive event. Each time it takes more abuse to get the same or a bigger rush. Terrorism feels the same to me.

Muslim terrorists flew two airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11/2001. This was supposed to destroy the evil empire, bring down the capitalist system, all sorts of epic consequences were promised. This would cause us to send our 10,000 infantry to Syria for the epic battle signaling the apocalypse and following paradise spoken of by some Muslims. It was a massive blow to us, to the USA and to the world. We are still here. We sent our troops to Afghanistan and Iraq. We hit back, hard, and enjoyed a bit of euphoria. Then the depression hit as our soldiers returned with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress syndrome.

What the Muslims thought, what they told themselves in the run-up to 9/11, isn’t all of what happened. There was no apocalypse, the evil empire struck back, there was much misery and death, but the goals of the attack were not met. So, they’ve decided that the move is to create a brutal caliphate and have suicide bombers blow shit up. Apocalypse now? Nope. Pissed off first world? Yep.

RayBob elbow deep in pig shit is a good thing. Want to save money on therapy? Do some gardening. If possible, set yourself up with some chickens to take care of. RayBob bitching about cleaning out the pig sty today. He’ll live. Itzel had him build a methane capture and manure drying plant. Between what they get from the pigs & cows and their solar hot water and photovoltaics they are fully-off grid. It does mean listening to RayBob give me a play-by-play when he has to shovel pig & cow shit to the plant. Fun. Itzel just stops talking to him until he’s done.

Abuse never lives up to its promise. Violence never lives up to its promise. What we imagine we can accomplish by being abusive or violent never measures up to what we accomplish. It does far more to us, the abuser, than what it does to the victim. Yes, the victim is hurt. That passes. Good doctors and good therapy and over time the victim will recover. Even if the abuse becomes murder the survivors can recover. The abuser is looking at war, in the case of nations, or jail/prison or if not that, chaos and a need to abuse more. The torment does not stop for the abuser.

Some suicide bombers believed they were headed to paradise as they exploded their bombs. I like to think they landed in Hades in a rather nasty ghetto. other than that they are dead, we have no way of knowing what happened to them. The Daesh crowd that keeps hoping the next suicide bombing, the next terrorist will trigger the apocalypse that is supposed to portend an end to evil and a beginning of heaven on earth. They are fools.

God made a majestic world. He was right when he said it was good. He made a world in which transcendent beauty happens. He also made a world in which suicide bombers can blow themselves up and kill at least 26 people. The world isn’t inherently anything. What we do with His creation sets a direction for us that can make it beautiful or vicious.

My little blog won’t stop more Muslims from blowing themselves up. RayBob is going to be busy through November. God’s ultimate over 2,000 years ago was to martyr himself and though it was effective for some, evil persists. The things that have made a difference were true before Christ and remain true:
في الأساسيات، والوحدة، في غير الضروريات، والإحسان، في كل شيء، والحب. أحب الله من كل قلبك والعقل والقوة. أحب العائلة والأصدقاء والأعداء على حد سواء. خدمة الله دون أي أمل في العودة. هذه هي الثوابت التي يمكن الاعتماد عليها.

My friend Darlene needs me to take her to work. Another friend needs a ride out to Manakin-Sabot later. There is coding to do. My rugs need vacuuming. When Rome burned there was a tomorrow and survivors. In 1989 I woke up the following morning to an intact Berkeley YMCA. College resumed classes about a week after the earthquake. Tomorrow, Wednesday, people in Brussels will go about their lives. Life goes on. The wind blows where it will. We will grieve, be depressed. The only part of the cycle we need to change is the itch for the explosive event. The rest of it is just life.