Everyone faces conflict as a child, whether it is a quick fist-fight, hair pulling, name calling, or group confrontation doesn’t really matter. What mattered is we stood up to it.
Albie was new to the neighborhood. After being in a foreign country during his father’s last Embassy posting, he was still unaware of the adjustments he would have to make in the very near future. His young father was becoming an entrepreneur and placed more value on others, rather than his own family.
Moving into the neighborhood during the summer, everyone had fun in the new home, playing in the new subdivision with open pits, mounds of dirt, and loads of scrap to create anything the imagination could conjure. Ten years old, Albie, made a few new friends on the street before the start of school. New to the neighborhood, new to the school, new to Canada, Albie was the target that September 7th morning.
The fight was short lived with the instigator laying on his back with a bloody nose. Both were hauled off to the office and disciplined. Full of respect and new friendship, Adam and Albie walked back to class together, and everything was put behind them. Albie had pretty much forgotten the whole ordeal by the time supper had finished. Then Dad came home.
Albie’s father was very upset about the fight at school. His public image the centre of attention. To make his point he dragged Albie out into the backyard to have a fist fight, saying “You want to fight, let’s go. I’ll fight you.”
Albie was terrified, lost, and confused. He didn’t understand what was happening, why it was happening, and how it could happen? His father was supposed to hear his side of the story, to understand and support him. He knew it intuitively, though he couldn’t verbalize it. He was frightened by what might happen next. And it did.
His father’s fist landed squarely on his jaw, sending Albie sprawling backward to the ground. He was ten years old.
“Get up! Come on, you want to fight, let’s go! Get up!” his father continued to yell.
Naturally, Ablie defaulted to stay on the ground and agree to whatever he needed to keep from being beaten again. He wasn’t expecting this. He wasn’t ready for this. His only advocate and ally had betrayed him. And in return, expected Ablie to run from all future conflict. Failure to do so would result another beating like this.
Father’s Intended Lesson
Avoid conflict at all costs. Our public image is critical to our success.
The Lesson Albie Internalized
Who can you trust? No one. People are not safe.
The Adult Issues
With this internalized and, likely unconscious, lesson of life having been experienced, this leads to an adult with trust issues, and more than likely some relationship difficulties. More common are lacking communication skills during difficult conversations, states of high emotion or stress.
What strategies might you suggest to overcome these traumatic experiences, thus replacing it with a positive experience that begins to build a new perspective? Use the comments below.