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Is violence and abuse basically just a fact of life?


When I look at the violence and abuse in my childhood from a subjective, personal perspective, I'm horrified by it and have invested a lot of time, energy and money into trauma therapy.

Now as I'm growing older, I wonder whether to some degree, violence and abuse are just basically a fact of life. They happen so much. It's everywhere, in every country, every population, every age throughout history. When you look at bullying at school, it's even prevalent amongst children. If you look at nature and animals, then violence is a natural part of life there too. If I look at my own society, then even when there isn't physical violence, there's certainly verbal and psychological abuse.

Should I feel less shocked/ appalled by the violence and abuse I went through because, in fact, it's just a normal part of life?
Violence and abuse just does my head in. I'm not sure I learned anything useful about it, growing up.

My grandparents lived in a dictatorship and my parents got to experience the tail end of it and the aftermath, so violence was a big taboo in our household. It was viewed as "that's what dictators and their forces do".

So I was totally blindsided when I did come across violence and abuse (including in our family).

Being incapacitated by PTSD for decades is not a very functional response to abuse and violence... sigh...

Nowadays, if I see even traces of violence and abuse anywhere, I'll overreact and leave and avoid that situation steadfastly.

That includes at work... if there's bullying in a workplace, I just end up getting stressed, going on sick leave and quitting the job.

I've also put myself in the path of bullying countless times, to protect others... Also not an entirely smart choice...

I hate witnessing violence and abuse... it feels unbearable...

And yet, people treating each other like shit is "part of life".

I feel like an idiot for being bad at coping with it.

And at the same time, I don't want to be callous enough to not care... I don't want it to "not matter" to me.

Maybe there's some middle ground between the overreacting to it (PTSD response) and becoming numb and callous.
It is a fact of life and part of human nature, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't strive to be above it. I think a society where abuse is uncommon is possible for us to achieve as a species. Human spirit is optimistic and innovative at its core, and is worth preserving that. But we are also resilient, and when we do face violence and hardship it is equally possible for us to overcome it.
Maybe there's some middle ground between the overreacting to it (PTSD response) and becoming numb and callous.
I would say ^^^this^^^ right here, is the ticket.

But that’s also the way I was raised, how my family operates, and how the vast majority of kids/parents/families I’ve known -both as an adult & child- operate.

There’s some reeeeeally broad cross-cultural samples in my history, which translates basically into a “generally understood definition of mean-cruel” exists within every culture/subculture I’ve ever lived in. When I was young it was always a bit shocking/curious/hilarious every time we jumped cultures

Discipline Children.
-Some places shout, some strike, some send on timeout. ALL of those have the vast majority of people trying their best to stay within an easy range. A small minority DGAF (neglect) & a small minority are cruel (abuse).

Children interacting under adult supervision

Children interacting beyond adult eyes

Growing Responsibilities & Identity

Young Adult (single, paired, groups)


Special Occasion Good/Bad

Ways of Life
(dictatorships, countries in conflict, emerging countries, established countries, borderlands, mountains, islands, extreme wealth differential, tribal, subcultures, etc., etc., etc..)

^^^ Now just picture a spectrum attached to EACH of those little headers, where the bulk of people fall into a very very WIDE agreed upon range of decent/moral/correct behavior, with 2 narrow ends of DGAF & Cruel as fawk.

Violence may or may not be normal, but cruelty/abuse is nearly always frowned upon, whilst neglect sneered at.

And that’s true, whether you’re looking at white bread suburban 1st world, where someone can be charged with assault for spitting on the ground next to someone… or… if you’re in a country where villages are massacred to take the children as soldiers, & calling the police to report a robbery just means your house will be set on fire after your wife is raped to death.

How to DEFINE overreaction? Is the synthesis between what OTHER people do, and your own conscience.
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And yet, people treating each other like shit is "part of life".

I feel like an idiot for being bad at coping with it.
It’s okay to be sensitive to humans treating each other like shit.

Personally, when this happens in my periphery, my goal is to defer my emotional response till I’m in a safe place to be upset, and compassionate with myself.

Violence is a bit like Work Health & Safety. One of those things where I accept that I’m surrounded by risk, and that people will get injured. But within the small circle of influence that I have? I will also strive to remove or minimise those risks.

To me, tolerance is the part that is unacceptable. But intolerance doesn’t necessarily mean blowing up or breaking down - it means constantly striving for better, and setting boundaries for the people in my life so that violence isn’t a problem for me personally so far as I can influence the situation.