Train your boys to share their emotions
Didn’t you know that love means,
Never to say that you’re sorry,
How could you hurt the one you love,
Just like you don't care, no no in such a way
- Beres Hammond, Love Means Never To Say I’m Sorry
Sunday, January 12 saw two women’s lives – one in Portmore and another in St Elizabeth - being snuffed out by their partners. Recently there have been an increase in the number of women meeting similar fates at the hands of their lovers.
Trained counsellor and life coach, Dr Sash Shim-Hue reached out to Family and Religion in a bid to have women becoming more aware and tackle the issue surrounding the perpetrators that many, she said, are not addressing.
Questioning how they (men) got to that point, Shim-Hue said it started with their upbringing, from the home they were raised.
“Boys are taught to suppress their emotions. When a boy cries, persons typically respond by saying, "You are crying like you are a girl". If a boy shows any emotions when hurt in a sporting event, the response is "Tough up man, how yuh so soft? Yuh ah girl?” And sometimes when a little boy goes in for a hug, his parent may say, “nuh hug mi man, ah waah happen to yuh?” highlighted Shim-Hue.
She said she has seen and heard of how girls are pampered and not boys. They are supposed to be rough and tough. That is the early exposure they get.
“But they are not built to be devoid of emotion. We are all emotional beings and when you suppress one type of emotion, the others become dominant and an explosion will come. If you keep packing stones on a volcano, thinking it will lay dormant forever, eventually with the right/wrong conditions, it is going to erupt.
There is going to be an explosion and lava will be spewed all over,” she said, making an analogy that is the same way with men who have been taught to suppress their emotions. Eventually, everything that is bottled up inside will be converted into anger and that is why, from an early age, Shim-Hue said, men should be encouraged to talk about their emotions and what is bothering them.
Of course, she said, not all instances of murder, or murder/suicide is caused by suppressed emotions, but most of them, she said, stem from cases where the act is precipitated by jealousy or fear that the partner is going to leave them or by the fact that they feel they were used by their lovers. It is important to note that women also kill their partners. However, there have always been more cases of men being the perpetrators.
In light of the growing number of persons killings their partners, Dr Shim-Hue said persons should look out for red flags before going into relationships as it can cost them their lives. She said the red flags should never be overlooked.
Sharing from a potential abuser's list, compiled based on trends of abusers, Shim-Hue said one should avoid the following:
* Persons who are excessively jealous over everything, even the time their partners spend with their own family member.
* Controlling behaviour
* Someone who gets angry easily
* Dual personality – saint one minute, angry the next
Shim-Hue reminded that only Jesus can change people completely. She advised persons in abusive relationships to flee and not stay, thinking they can change the abuser.
Shim-Hue said there are questions one needs to ask before going deeply into a relationship with someone as well as if you are in a long-term one.
Among them are:
Does your partner expect you to spend all your time with him/her or to check in with him and let him know where you are at all times?
Does your partners act extremely jealous and/or possessive of you?
Does he isolate you by controlling where you go, who you see and talk to, what you wear?
For the parent who thinks they are sacrificing and staying in an abusive relationship for the sake of their child, Dr Shim-Hue said there has been no research to show that it helps.
“In fact, you are teaching them a cycle that they should tolerate abuse or become an abuser themselves and that’s not the lesson you want to share with someone else, especially your child” she said.
According to Shim-Hue, once you make up your mind to leave an abusive relationsip, never go back!
She said some abusers will even go as far as to act as if they have found the Lord and are genuinely sorry, but it’s just a ploy to have their victims back under their control.
“Don’t go back! Often men and women end up losing their lives as they become sad and regret leaving the years they spent with this person, they call you back to kill you,” she said.
Dr Shim Hue said victims must never be afraid to talk, as there is no shame in admitting that you are being abused.
To the perpetrator, your life matters as well, nothing or no one is worth dying for. You too need to have the courage to walk away from a person or situation that is causing you stress. Get help if you are finding yourself being overly aggressive and possessive. That is not normal.