Spirals of violence

It has been brought to my attention that people often come into tension with one another. This is not good or bad, it just is a result of different people encountering one another in a situation. Tension happens, but how we respond to that tension is what defines our character.

There is a story as old as the South about the Hatfields and McCoys. Honestly, I have never heard a specific story about these families, but I do know why they are a part of the Southern lore. They hated one another and had knockdown massive feuds with one another - often resulting in violence. As it has been told to me the dispute over who owned a pig was the seed by which members of one family was killed by members of the other family in retaliation.

All of which began over was the rightful owner of a pig.

Folklore or not, we can see these actions happen all around us; especially with children.

Child 'a' will be sitting too close for child 'b's liking. Child 'b' pushes child 'a' away and yells he is too close. Child 'a' hits child 'b' as a reaction for the pushing. Child 'b' cries and both call for the mother. Both explain that the other started the whole episode and they are innocent.

While this is a fictional account, it is not an untrue situation in many families.

These examples of the Southern families and children arguing over who "started it", are both embodiments of what I identify as a 'spiral' of violence. The action begins and then quickly spirals out of control until the parties involved do not even recall what the initial conflict was about.

Spirals are all around us. In fact I bet you could name a couple in your own life experience. Perhaps you were involved in a spiral yourself, even unintentionally.

Spirals are one way in which humanity deals with the tension or conflict we encounter. But it is not the only way...