Additional Information for Chapter 4, page 47
We first consider various definitions of violation as suggested by web dictionaries:
- misdemeanor: a crime less serious than a felony
- an act that disregards an agreement or a right
- trespass: entry to another’s property without right or permission
- irreverence: a disrespectful act
- rape: the crime of forcing a woman to submit to sexual intercourse against her will
Each of the five may be adapted to personal forms of violation at some level
- Misdemeanor: Depending on your state, province, or country of residence, many forms of personal violation are illegal. Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect are all illegal in many settings.
- There are certain rights that we possess in the context of any relationship. We have the right to say “no,” and we have the right to make our own choices as long as those choices do not infringe on the rights of others.
- Although the third definition generally refers to physical property there are personal space issues that can just as surely be violated
- While this typically refers to violation of spiritual values, it might also be said that our mind and body are sacred and therefore should not be subject to violation.
- Rape by most definitions includes many activities other than sexual intercourse and is not gender specific. Any form of forced sexual activity or harassment is considered to be violation.
We have no comment about the legal side of violation. That is not our area of expertise. However we do have comment on how to recover if violation has occurred in your past
Model for Recovery from Violation
The model that follows is essentially sound whether violation has been relatively trivial or more severe. The application of the model will differ based on
a. the type of violation
b. the severity of violation
We call it the “Trauma Resolution Model” and it applies to many types of traumatic experiences. The model is actually presented in The Compatibility Code on pages 49 and 50 under the topic of anger resolution.
We reproduce the model here but adapt it specifically to issues related to violation:
1) Admit it: There are some who don’t like to admit they have been violated. They may feel a sense of shame or guilt over which they seem to have little control. However, to begin healing you need to be objectively aware of just how severe the violation was and how badly you have been hurt. When you acknowledge the severity of your emotions, then you can begin to do something about them. When you don’t acknowledge your emotions then you may attempt “band aiding,” or trivial efforts to deal with serious issues.
2) Vent it: With violation you may experience a wide range of emotions ranging from guilt to fear to outrage to devastation. It is very unhealthy to allow those emotions to rampage inside of you without any valid form of release. There are two types of venting: physical release, and cognitive/emotional release. Physical release (beat a punching bag, run twenty miles, scream at the top of your lungs) may assist in immediate reduction of emotions, but its benefit is only temporary. For permanent resolution a thorough externalization of the traumatic memories must take place. Violation differs from other types of trauma because it typically requires the assistance of a therapist. There are too many ambiguities and blind alleys for someone to negotiate this mine field on their own. For instance, you may feel that you have adequately processed an issue but then it attacks you from a different angle. A therapist is aware that this is the norm and can help you maintain perspective through a number of setbacks until you really have thoroughly processed all that is necessary.
3) Plan it: Once emotion has reduced to the point that you are thinking more rationally (this might take months if the emotions are extreme) then you and your therapist begin to plan how to deal with feelings or to deal with the circumstances that have caused them. Once again, this can almost never be crafted on your own-you lack the perspective of the therapist. When I was going through my divorce, there was a phase in which I had little rational thought and was planning to take my children from their mother and sneak into Canada. The idea was, of course, insane, and, in consultation with a therapist at UCLA, I eventually became aware of the destructive nature of the plan and dropped it. With the help of that trained, rational, outside perspective I was able to see things which would have bypassed me otherwise. In your situation what exactly may be planned goes far beyond the scope of this brief overview. The plans will be as diverse as the people and circumstances involved.
4) Do It: The therapist will help you not only plan but will make certain that what is planned is something you are able to do. There may be gentler preliminary steps before you get to the core of required work. Good intentions don’t work here. Some steps may be painful and require courage. I urge you to do what’s required to rid yourself of the monster that has the power to control your life.
5) Forget it: There are many of life’s traumas that, if you do the four steps listed above, the emotions associated with that trauma will fade into oblivion leaving no scars. Violation is not nearly so neat. The nature of violation is such that, if allowed, it will continue to haunt you. There are therapists who spend their entire careers helping people forget. Depending on the type of violation you have experienced this may be necessary. There may be settings in which the rubber band (described on page 57 in The Compatibility Code) may be helpful and other situations where it won’t. Your therapist will help you determine what the best course of action for you is.
Do you want to know what doesn’t work? Just skip the first four steps and try to perform step number five. The effort to forget painful emotions without thorough processing of steps one to four is what psychologists call repression. You internalize all the poison and find that it’s ravaging effects will continue to haunt you for a very long time, sometimes for a lifetime.
At the end of this process, you won’t have forgotten the events that occurred, but the emotional horror and the anger that results from it can be entirely erased. Once you haveresolved the issue by going through the steps of externalization (steps one and two) and taking the appropriate action (steps three, four, and five), then you can move on with your life. As suggested above, unresolved, it has the potential to turn into a cancer that eats away at your emotional health.
We acknowledge that what we have presented here will almost certainly not resolve your violation issues. We do provide the structure of a process that many therapists would follow. The reality is that the nature of violation is so diverse and the consequences often so severe that no generic form of advice can be of much help. A trained therapist would need to understand you, the nature of the violation, and then craft a recovery program that applies only to you.