The Thread of Anger

In this very personal story, a Dawson science student reflects on why she alone was subjected to her father’s abuse and laments on the fact that our society still hasn’t learned that we can’t solve violence with violence.

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As a child, “anger” and “fear” has always followed me like a shadow. It isolated me from others, taught me how to doubt, and took away every bit of confidence I had. Unfortunately, even children under the age of six can be plagued with negative thoughts and emotions, especially if they have been victims of everyday physical and mental violence.

Thinking back, how I wish I had forgotten that blue patch on my arm, that painful bruise on my forehead, that swollen left cheek… Instead, my father’s strong hands and menacing face have become the clearest memories of my childhood. But the worst part of it all was that I was the only one in the house to be treated in such a manner. My younger brother never endured such a treatment, since he was the “precious son” of the family. After all, in many cultures, boys are considered as more important than girls, so my father unconsciously thought that way too. He wouldn’t lay a finger on my mother either, since she never had the courage to stand up against his violent behavior. In short, I was the best person for him to vent on.

As I grew up, I started to believe that things might be better off for me if I was born as a boy. I constantly felt the need to prove myself, to do better than my brother, and to hope for a bit of respect and approval from my father. In my head, the best solution was to become as boyish as possible by cutting my hair short, by throwing away all my girly clothes, and by excelling at school (in order to prove that I can be just as smart as everyone else).

But after many failed attempts, nothing really changed, and I became more and more angry. Why can’t I fight back? Why can’t I protect myself? Why is strength given to those who can harm others? Although I was a weak puppet in front of my father, I became a brutal aggressive child once I was at school. I often lashed my anger onto my friends in order to reassure myself that I am not the weakest after all. If someone annoyed me, I would kick, punch or shout. If someone insulted me, I would insult them back with words that were ten times more hurtful.

However, during high school, something finally made me change. That day, I was reading a play called “Incendies” by Wajdi Mouawad, and fell upon a quote that made me truly reflect upon my actions. The dialogue was something along the lines of: “You also will receive anger as your heritage, but you must break this thread of anger to make a better world.” After some thought, I realized that I have become the violent individual that I used to hate. But if anger, revenge and violence wasn’t the right solution, then what is the true solution in this case?

That night, my father and I had a long talk for the very first time. “I need to know WHY you do this me,” I told him. At first, we just stared at the table awkwardly. After a moment of silence, he apologized. But I still felt skeptical. Was he truly sorry for everything he has done? Why was he sorry? And then I suddenly noticed how weak he actually looked. Why haven’t I noticed his sunken eye sockets and his exhausted gaze? “I never wanted to hurt you, and I feel guilty about it everyday,” he replied. He then told me about being stressed at work because of his Asiatic origins, and even admitted that as a child, he was a victim of domestic violence too. That day, his revelations broke my thread of anger. After all, forgiveness was the real solution, and my family finally found the path towards happiness.

Sadly, our society still doesn’t grasp that we can’t solve violence with violence. Many victims believe that revenge and strength is the only solution, but it actually only strengthens the thread of anger. One must keep in mind that violent aggressors shouldn’t be considered as non-guilty. However, instead of sentencing them to prison, healing the wounds of the violent criminal can actually be more effective than punishing him. (A violent person will still come out of prison as a violent person, and maybe even worse than before.) In short, it may be better to heal rather than punish, and to help rather than blame. After all, the main goal is to break the thread of anger that has kept violence and hatred alive until this day. If people were aware of their threads, and are taught to fight violence with forgiveness and understanding, maybe we could’ve lived in a better, more peaceful world.

A Dawson Student

Pure and Applied Sciences

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14 Responses to The Thread of Anger

  1. Sabrina Gagliardi May 4, 2016 at 11:58 am #

    I think that when most people are harmed in such a way either physically, psychologically or emotionally, the first response is to resent the aggressor and to seek revenge. I think that people view vengeance and standing up for themselves as a way of recreating their self-respect that was threatened while being abused. I’ve been told by many that letting wrong doings go without fighting back is a form of wimping out and a sign of weakness. I’ve learned through different life experiences, as well as this personal story, that it is in fact the opposite. Being able to communicate with those who have harmed you, seek for the truth and forgive takes much more strength than simply seeking revenge. Holding on to the anger only persists the pain and hurts the victim much more than it hurts the aggressor. I agree that breaking the thread of anger is essential in stopping violence, but I would also add that is it essential to alleviate the pain that the victim constantly feels when holding on to said anger. This anger is not only exhausting, but it is followed by the constant reminder of why you are angry, which then brings back all the abuse done to you. All in all, this is an inspiring story about forgiveness, strength and its power to end the cycle of violence.

  2. Olivia Rotondo May 7, 2016 at 12:39 am #

    This personal story definitely shows the issues that come with reacting to violence with more violence. I found it a very interesting article especially when learning that the father of this Dawson student was a victim of domestic violence himself. I would imagine that someone who has endured this kind of physical pain would not want to do the same to other people, especially not those who are in his family. However, this story showed me that sometimes people who have been abused become abusive themselves and might even feel guilty about their actions. This post definitely made me realize that it is more important to approach violence with understanding or forgiveness rather than with more violence in order to create more peace in the world.

  3. Sewsen A. May 9, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

    This is a very touching story! I must say, I am very impressed with the author’s mature ans pacific mind set. I agree that forgiveness is key in such cases. Her approach reminds me of that taken by the the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Indeed, she wanted to know why she went through such trials and tribulations, in order to heal and not only come to terms with her father, but also to find some sort of inner peace. Finally, she emphasizes that we must break threads of anger, which implies working towards reconciliation and, as scary as it seems, this would entail a victim working alongside their perpetrator. I am happy that this brave student is now able to share her story and help other girls, or boys, who may be facing a similar situation. All the best to her!!

  4. James Houghton May 12, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

    There is one thing that really strikes me as surprising in this article; How “easy” it was for her to break her thread of anger through forgiving her father. It just goes to show how powerful forgiveness can actually be, and people obviously do not know that. She makes such a good point when she says that violent aggressors should be healed instead of just sent to prison. Honestly, I agree with her because those people have such deep shame and as James Gilligan would say, shame is needed to be violent. So these people need help to try and solve what is so negative in their life.
    However, I would like to add that I am also surprised on how easy it was for her to forgive her father. If I had been in the same situation as her, I do not know if I would have been able to forgive so easily. So this brings me to think maybe thats why people do not understand how forgiveness can actually work. Maybe they do not think the can forgive those people for what they have done to them.

  5. Samantha May 12, 2016 at 10:28 pm #

    As mentioned in the article “violence cannot be fixed by violence” in other words as an expression I’ve heard all my life ” adding fire to the fire will just make it worse”. As I’m reading this article, I relate to my life because I’m the only daughter and I have a brother and I can just imagine what horrible things she has been through. As she mentioned in the article, people are often angry and believe that revenge is the best solution but in reality, it’s the worse thing to do because it will make the situation even worse. I’m proud of this girl to have changed in high school and come upon the quote she found in a book. This article teaches me that even though things may be impossible to solve, time will heal everything, it just takes patience.

  6. C.Charles May 12, 2016 at 11:53 pm #

    First of all, I would like to say that I am sorry that you had to endure such unfair treatment especially as a child since those kinds of experiences have lasting effects on individuals. I think it is great that you were able to figure out by yourself that anger was not the answer to anger and that we must break the cycle since we deserve to live a life that is free of resentment whether it is directed towards ourselves or to others. I think you’re a very strong person to have gathered up the courage to face your father head-on with your questions, and it can only get better from here on.

  7. Rachel Camiré October 24, 2016 at 4:53 pm #

    It’s extremely saddening to think that such young children could be treated so badly. It makes me appreciate even more my childhood, which was full of smiles and joy without a hint of fear and pain. Hopefully more and more people will have the same realization as you, that just because your father or mother beats you, doesn’t mean you should do the same to others.

  8. Elsa Wauters November 28, 2016 at 9:12 pm #

    It is really mature and impressive of you to understand such things. I have read ‘’Incendies’’, and I fully understand how this book is linked to your situation. It must be extremely difficult to fight violence with peace, since violence is often seen as the only solution. I am glad that you found a way to express your sadness and your anger to your father, I am sure he felt the same sadness and anger as you.

  9. Jessica Marcotte December 4, 2016 at 9:09 am #

    If someone continually exposed to violence can reform and change from within, I think that is proof that we all have the possibility to become more peaceful people. If people just listened to the message of this beautiful story, maybe they too could find the wrong doing in their actions and make the world a more peaceful place, just like the other states. A truly beautifully written story, I give my thanks to the author for having shared such a personal perspective.

  10. Alex F December 7, 2016 at 9:13 pm #

    I cannot say that I relate to this girl in anyway, but I can say I am happy that she found the courage to confront her father and she realized that his ways were wrongly affecting her. She didn’t just live in anger; she took a very mature route on this very difficult road and found closure. I really do hope that her father hasn’t laid a hand on her since.

  11. Annesha Persaud December 7, 2016 at 9:16 pm #

    This article brings to lights the vicious cycle of abuse. As a child, her father was mistreated and he commited the same acts on his daughter. This abuse caused a great rift between both parties. This goes to show that abuse towards children is quite easy even though unintentional, and children are very unlikely to speak up when you’re letting out their frustrations on them.

  12. A. Popov December 7, 2016 at 9:16 pm #

    Violence is a never ending cycle unless someone has the courage to step up to it. To feel as if you need to change your identity in order to feel stronger is heart breaking, especially since this is the case for many. I’m glad you put your foot down and asked your father why he did what he did, and that it helped the situation immensely. All the best.

  13. Wan-Ying Chan December 7, 2016 at 10:52 pm #

    Your story is extremely touching and it kind of opened my eyes. While I was reading, your anecdote reminded me of a saying that goes something like : “if you fight fire with fire, you’re only going to get more fire”. I find it to be very true. Life is like a domino, when one lashes out on another, it’ll only create create irritation within the other person, who will eventually seek to take their anger out on someone else, therefore creating an even bigger hassle. Next time I get an impulse to behave badly, I’ll think twice before acting!

  14. Wen Qing Hu December 7, 2016 at 11:46 pm #

    Just as the title name violence cannot be fixed by violence. In fact violence makes it even worse. Parents can not understand that their actions are contagious. I think that all the violent people in the world have been influenced by their environment either because their parents were violent or because they had a violent education. If we want to promote peace, we have to stop the violence. As a parent, you can’t expect your child to be good, well behaved and to perform at school if you constantly hit them. Yes, they will probably listen to their parents because of fear, but don’t you think that they will do it again as parents to their own children.

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