This past Saturday, marked the 33rd anniversary of the death of Marvin Gaye. Gaye, was an African American Rhythm and Blues singer of the 60’s and 70’s, who became very popular with such hits as “Heard it Through the Grapevine, Sexual Healing, What’s Going On and Lets Get it On.” He had a sultry, distinguishable voice that left his listeners feeling special and mellow.
What was significant about Gaye’s death, was the way he died. He was shot by his father, while attempting to intervene in an argument between his parents. His father contended that the death was an accident; he, however (father), served time in jail for the shooting and died some years later upon release. This incident tore the Gaye family apart and left many wondering how such a tragedy could occur.
Locally, we have known of several cases of relatives turning on each other and have seen the added grief and sorrow such actions have rendered on surviving family members. No one wins in these situations. A common explanation is usually not readily found as each case is different. There are, however, some trends to which we can pay attention.
Firstly, let us establish the fact that every family has issues, and each handles things in its unique way. Pay attention to how your family resolve issues. You will never all agree with any particular point, so sometimes simple things can escalate into arguments. Doing such time, it is a good idea to listen to each other. If this is difficult to do, then ask for a time out from the situation, to revisit when calmer heads prevail. If this is not accomplishable, take responsibility and excuse yourself.
Secondly, know the person with whom you are having heated exchanges. If the other individual is one who gets angry easily, or has a temper or anger problem, be careful about picking physical arguments. Instead, you may want to leave a clear note about your issue of concern, identifying a later time for which to have the discussion. This gives everyone an opportunity to make mental preparations for his/her case.
Thirdly, know yourself and how you resolve conflicts. If you get hot headed, or are often unreasonable, take some time to deal with self. Be honest with self. Talk to someone about your emotions when dealing with others and get some help. Practice staying calm and learn breathing and other soothing techniques.
Fourthly, it is wise to note where you have a discussion that can escalate. If you know the other person, or yourself, is prone to throwing items when you speak, a place like the living room where there are many loose items (figurines, vases, etc.), may not be a wise venue. By the same token, the kitchen area where heavier and more dangerous items are kept, may not be the best place either.
Fifthly, always have a quick path for escape. Having a heated argument in a bedroom or bathroom where there is no exit door, leaves you or the person with whom you are arguing, in an extremely vulnerable state. The chances for outside help are less, especially if the door to the room has been closed.
Finally, know patterns. Anyone who makes threats, will soon deliver on these threats. Moreover, anyone who hits, punches, slaps, flashes knives, sharp objects or a gun, is a deadly person. Do not remain in that relationship; IT IS JUST A MATTER OF TIME!!
The bottom line is that anyone can cross the line of abnormality, or simply SNAP. If you, however, live around a situation that has a history of escalation, pay attention to the patterns, watch your actions and make a plan of escape. Listen to the words that are said, “I will choke, slap, or kill you,” and take these words seriously. Take care of yourself and use wisdom. It is better to be wrong and alive, than right and dead.
Most importantly, cleanse your soul and heart of negative thoughts, deeds and actions that may fester and harbor and bring about unproductive endings. See things for what they truly are presenting.
POINT TO PONDER: Staying aware may help you stay alive.
• Askdoctorpam is a column that appears in this journal every week. Your letters and comments are encouraged. You may email your letters or comments to askdoctorpam, or write to Askdoctorpam P.O. Box F43736. Dr. Pam is a Clinical Psychologist trained in all areas of mental health.
Published Tuesday, April 4, 2017