When I was a young teenager, I remember my grandmother taking me and my brother to a war movie at my brother’s request, called The Battle of Midway in “Sensurround”, which basically meant loud sound that came at you from all directions.
I was shaken (literally) and left the cinema feeling quite disturbed, but unable to express what it was I was feeling. I actually wanted to cry. I did not like violence in any shape or form and seeing people being hurt and killed really upset me.
I became more aware of news reports detailing wars and violence around the globe, and developed a fear that there would be another world war and that there was a possibility that I could be conscripted to go and fight in such a war.
This fear lasted into my thirties and I always had a plan for how I could avoid fighting in a war. I considered myself a pacifist, a gentle guy, one that always avoided fighting at all costs, although there were a few exceptions.
After regularly being bullied by my brother up until the age of 13, something extraordinary happened one day… my usual defense became attack. My frustration was eventually unleashed from not having been able to break the cycle of having an older brother regularly trying to, and mostly succeeding, in hurting me and using, at times, extreme violence.
What really hurt was the awful feeling of that moment when I felt a change in my brother, from being a person that I could reason with, to someone who was so disconnected that he was unable to see or hear me.
I had also seen and felt this in my father and others and knew that what came next would hurt in terms of both the physical act and the awful energy behind it. For on this day, my fear of being hurt again led me to choose my own rage.
I felt an energy enter my body, and suddenly I had the strength of a bull. I ran at my brother as he was about to attack me, and knocked him clean off his feet. He was shocked as he found me sitting on top of him, pinning him down with clenched fists, demanding “That’s enough!”
We were both shocked at what happened and it changed something in the way we saw each other, for in this instance, we had both been in the same devastating energy, and we had both had to feel the horrible reality of the resulting damage that you are faced with when the rage is over.
It brings up a great sadness, regret, and if you allow yourself to feel it, a deep hurt. We had now felt the extent to which each other would go to avoid and defend feeling the depth of our sadness and hurts. We were both perpetrators and victims. There was still a love between us, but we now reflected to each other a behaviour that we had previously not wanted to see or own, but had been living with nonetheless.
What was this energy that I called in and how did I know to do it? It felt both familiar and scary at the same time. I knew that this energy was both harmful and dangerous as I had observed it many times in others, and always felt scared when I felt it and saw the results of this rage in action.
I called on this rage energy a few more times and it scared me more each time as I had become a strong young man and felt that I had the potential to kill another from this state that once called in, I could not control.
Twice in my teenage years I called in this rage energy, both times to stop bullies who had gone too far and repeatedly hurt others, and both times I was scared and shocked by the force behind my actions, and so were those around me.
I would say that from this time on, I decided never to call in this energy again, but the learning had not yet been completed. At the age of 20, one Saturday afternoon I received a phone call from an extremely upset girlfriend.
I arrived soon after with grave concerns about what had happened and how she was. A young Constable tried to tell me about the assault that had taken place, but was struggling to express what had just happened.
I was becoming extremely frustrated as my concerns for my girlfriend were escalating the longer I was left not knowing how she was. Eventually, a more senior female officer took over and began to explain the details of the sexual assault involving a man in a balaclava with a large knife.
At this point in time, I again felt a cold energy run right through my body, and in an instant, my thoughts changed completely. I recall that I could no longer hear what was being said, and all I could think about was harming the offender if he was caught and brought into my presence.
These violent thoughts lasted for only a few seconds and then, as suddenly as they had come, I was back in my body and wondering where all of that had come from.
The thoughts were quite shocking and I could feel at the time that they did not come from or belong to me. As soon as I realised this, the thoughts were gone, my concern for my girlfriend returned, and I began to listen again and worked with the police so that I could get to see her as soon as possible.
So there it was: I was shown in an instant that if I was pushed emotionally beyond a certain point, I was capable of having evil thoughts and potentially harming another human being.
The really strange thing was that after seeing that my girlfriend was physically ok, but deeply shaken and upset, my thoughts returned to the perpetrator for a moment, but this time I wanted to understand what could have possibly happened in his life to drive him to such harmful behaviour towards women.
Over the following months I began to see the deeper effects of the assault on my girlfriend. The assault changed the way she felt about herself and eroded her trust in men, relationships and life. I felt the result of the evil energy that impacted on another’s life.
The damage caused by abuse runs far deeper than the obvious physical damage. It makes us feel unsafe in the world, erodes trust and separates us with fear. Unless we begin to understand what happens in a person’s life to allow them to get to a point where they are capable of committing harmful acts, then we will never break the cycle of abuse and this evil energy will continue to separate us.
I have not had a thought to harm another or been physically violent for over 30 years now, but I have had times when I have felt my frustration again building towards a rage.
This offered a great reflection and I could immediately see that rage never comes in a moment,rather it is the result of energy building in the body over time, often for months or even years, until it is finally triggered by a deep emotional reaction to something and we explode in a moment of rage, which also explains why the energy feels bigger than what would be a true reaction in that moment.
From my own experiences and observations, I feel that I can begin to understand the energy and circumstances that lead to the rage that causes so much harm in so many situations. It is always awful and never ever justified, but at least I feel that I can relate to what people may be going through; the lack of connection, understanding and control leading to that point in time when the explosion and resultant harm takes place.
Abuse has been around for as long as we know and unfortunately, will probably be with us for a while yet. What I can do is to be honest about my own experiences and invite others to talk about their own experiences so we can all bring, without judgment, some awareness and honesty to this extremely disturbing and harmful aspect of human behaviour.
I know that we are not hateful or violent beings by nature, but what I have experienced both as a victim and as a perpetrator, is that if we disconnect from the caring, insightful, loving people we are for long enough, we can align to an energy that has the potential to make us act in ways which are extremely harmful to ourselves and those around us.
History can offer countless examples, from the personal to global level, that confirm the extremes of the harm that we can perform when we choose this ill energy.
Many of us grew up feeling the effects of a century of wars and the devastation and separation that still deeply affected individuals, families, communities, in fact, all of mankind.
Let the true conversations around violence begin. Let us bring awareness and understanding to the real force behind rage and violence. We all have a responsibility for our own actions, to begin to understand ourselves and others at a much deeper level and finally begin to break these very old and extremely harmful patterns and behaviours so we may once again return to the tender, loving, caring and compassionate beings that we truly are, innately so.