“Woman kills husband over mobile phone text message.”
“Man charged with threatening to kill entire family and commit suicide.”
“A teenager kills his cousin in an argument over charging the phone.”
“A man kills his brother over fifty shillings debt”
“Man who killed brother after a fight had a protracted sibling rivalry with him.”
I do not watch news but in this era news have a way of finding you. Above are some of the headlines that I picked in the last one week via online print media. Every time I come across such, an interest sparks. If you have been reading my articles, then you probably know why. It’s my never ending interest in human behavior. It’s even more intriguing where a crime is involved.
This time I decided to scan through the readers’ comments. Needless to say that is what inspired today’s article. I could not believe how “shallow’ the comments were. They mentioned things like; “In that community killing is like slaughtering a chicken. Women should stay away from their husbands’ phone or this generation is so entitled.” Nobody looked at the bigger picture! Not even the journalists.
My question always is; Is it about the 50 shillings, the charger, the text message, the argument or something deeper? Of the five statements the last one made more sense. The relatives knew it was not about the day’s argument it was about childhood rivalry. In their words it was not if the incident will happen it was about when it will happen. In short, they saw it coming. Whether enough was done to prevent it is a different issue altogether.
Human beings are not robots. They are not triggered by a switch. They have emotions but they also have rationality and self control. The issue comes in when they have piled anger, hurt and resentment. This then becomes a ticking time bomb. The 50 shillings, the charger, the text message, the argument were a final trigger to an already formed explosive. She/ he did not just wake up and leave, she/he did not just fall out of love, it is an accumulation of unresolved resentment.
This reminds me of a coachee who once told me, “I just woke up one day and left, he wants us to meet and discuss but there is nothing to discuss.” “Does he really know why you left?” I asked “He should know; some actions don’t require an explanation. Who needs to be told to come home early?” She said in agitation. “How have you handled disagreements before?” I asked. “I compromise or ignore because I don’t want arguments.” She said. That was the problem right there! What people consider to be a compromise is actually accommodating. It is letting the other person get away with it for the sake of peace. Compromise means, both parties meet halfway.
In short she had unresolved anger and resentment. Some might walk away like she did while others will become statistics in our news with more tragic incidences. You can easily tell if you have unresolved anger and resentment;
- Recurring arguments – You consistently argue and the same issue keeps surfacing. Eventually you are left with more unresolved arguments.
- Overthinking bad experiences – persistently thinking about something that happened or something that was said. You feel emotionally stuck and unable to stop thinking about it.
- Criticism – Being sarcastic or attacking someone’s character by voicing their flaws during an argument. Attacking the person rather than the issue. For example, “You are so selfish and inconsiderate,” “You always ignore me, you are so irresponsible.”
- Retaliation – you experience feelings of anger, the need to hurt or revenge. You find yourself intentionally doing things that makes them angry or hurt to get their attention and reaction.
Since anger and resentment are a ticking time bomb, make an effort to work on it;
- Acknowledge where the anger or resentment is coming from – are there specific actions or incidences that caused it?
- Acknowledge your role in the situation – Though we may have been hurt we also have a role to play in every situation. This could be getting in a relationship with someone who does not identify with our vales, having unrealistic expectations from friends and family or being passive and not addressing issues that made us uncomfortable from the beginning.
- Address the issue – be willing to talk through the difficult and sometimes trivial things that are bothering you. If it matters to you, it is worth talking about. Address issues in a calm and objective way.
- Forgive – Some people may never acknowledge the pain they caused you. Find a positive outlet such as therapy, exercise, a hobby and learn to let go.
- Learn healthy ways of managing conflict – consistently avoiding to discuss issues or letting the other person get away with ‘mistakes’ builds anger and resentment over time. Sometimes getting away from a negative environment/person is also a solution.
“No matter how heinous what was done to you was, thinking negative thoughts will not harm the other person in any shape or form, the only person it hurts is you.” Ranata Susuki
Photo by RODNAE Productions: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-in-white-tank-top-sitting-in-a-car-feeling-annoyed-5617714/