I think we'd better look into the factories.
By Al Turtle M.Ed.
I think the continuing great need in our culture and in our families is to become more aware of what is going on so that we can make better and better choices. As a therapist/trainer who has worked with thousands of couples, I have heard a lot. I have become familiar with lots of patterns. I have become aware of things that most people don’t seem to want to look at.
Today I am inspired to let down my hair a bit (I don’t have much), and I am speaking now just as another guy in our community. I am getting tired by the continuing blindness of our media, our churches, our political leaders and even our schools and social institutions. I am tired of the surprise that people express when they hear of sexual abuse scandals from the past. I am tired of the surprise that people show when they hear of a local boy/man who stabs his daughter and leaves her for dead. I am tired of the surprise when a man from some states away comes around and kills local people, carting off children to torment one to death and just torment the other.
The surprise covers up the continuing blindness in our community to the idea that families produce children, and that families produced all these “villains” and are continuing to produce more. These are our neighbors and your’s that are doing this. It may be you.
Having worked with couples for so long, I have become used to seeing that all the awful things couples do to each other are almost always things that once apon a time their parents did to each other or to them, and got away with. I didn’t want to believe this at first. But after seeing the evidence over and over, I have given in. If a person does something awful, their parents either taught this or didn’t teach something more healthy to do.
I don’t want to point fingers. I want us to wake up and look. I want to take a lid off of a sacred secret. I believe parents are doing their best. But in their homes, with their children alone, they can do some remarkably terrible things. From what I have heard this is not just a few, but lots.
But we have a rule in our communities, if person X turns out to murder people, we only need to feel sorry for the parents. I think this is crazy. Sure I want to feel sorry for the victim, the victim’s families, and the murderer’s parents and family, and the murderer, – all of them. I am now comfortable with the idea that all of them are victims. But I want to look at the family that produced that murderer and maybe even stop them from producing another.
But we have a rule in our communities, that we cannot and will not look at the parents who produce the murderers. The rule seems to be “It is legal to mess up your kids, and the community will pay the bill later to repair them.” This is crazy and irresponsible on the part of a community. Are we ready to look at it?
The problems of violence in families seems more on our minds. But do we look at the producers of the violent ones? Nope. They, who are probably products of equal or more horrific violence, are ignored.
Our media loves to put forth people who point fingers at violence on TV or in music, anywhere to distract people from what I see as the more powerful sources of that violence. To date, I have not seen a couple who became violent, and who had not seen violence when they were children – violence at home that was shown to them as being ok, proper and legal. TV, hah. Let’s start with violent moms and violent dads!
I read Sunday’s Spokesman Review (7/31/05) and saw the lengthy article about Jim West and the molestation of boys in the 70s and 80s. Are people surprised? But did the paper urge anyone to look at the background of the suggested molesters? Did the paper urge anyone to think of the children of the suggested molesters? We know people who molest do not spring out of the ground. They are raised by people who are doing their best, but whose best is pretty awful.
The paper spoke of cover ups. Heck we are good at that, I think. We have a rule in our community, that we cannot and will not look at what is going on at home. We know that a significant percentage of children are sexually molested and physically abused at home. In a school auditorium gathering in Coeur d’Alene, Rathdrum, Sandpoint, Spokane, etc, etc., we know that 10–50 or more kids in that audience are currently being molested. Do we say, “Hey, step forward. Let’s fix this!” Nope. In a church meeting, sitting right there around you are kids being hurt and parents doing it. Do we stand up and say, “Who are you, so I can help?” Nope.
Our media recently and our schools recently started focusing on violence at schools and the pervasive presence of bullies. Sure, we are looking now because of the horrific events at schools like Columbine or Red Lake. Are we making a dent on this problem? One local high schooler recently told me that the biggest bully in the school was the Vice Principal and the next runner up was the head coach.
But we have a rule in our community, that we cannot and will not look at the bullying going on in homes. I have seen over 2000 couples in the Inland Northwest. These are what I call the “brave ones” who are willing to come forward and ask for help. These are the ones who finally believe that covering it up won’t work. Probably 90% of the brave ones have critical problems with bullying: between husband and wife, between parents and children. Often it is the children who become the better bullies. Who is the referee for bullying at home?
And who is doing the most to cover this up? I believe we are. ( I wrote and published a simple story on this in 1995. Click here.)
When I teach people how to stop this, they gasp, “Why don’t they teach that to us in schools.” I hear this over and over. And I get their point. I look into their homes. I get to look into their parent’s homes. I can hear it. And I am getting tired of fixing this one couple at a time. And I am getting tired of everyone looking the other way and passively leaving this in the hands of “professionals.”
I want some group to form, like MADD, Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers. How about Dads and Moms against Bullies at Home? (Could use a better name.) Does anyone want to stand up for this? I’ll teach. I’ll teach people to teach. I believe we have more potential terrorists here in the U.S. than we have outside. Yet we still want to look the other way. I think it is time we look into the factories, the terrorist factories – the homes in our communities that are building terrorists.
You with me?