Hurt people hurt people; loved people love people

Cleansing by Chris Lyimo

addiction and violence…

…violence in addiction…

in therapy, the counselor told me that there are only three options to dealing with violent behavior…

    1.  treatment
    2.  incarceration
    3.  treatment and incarceration

Although I was already in recovery a decade, Alice’s straightforward statement still felt like a punch in my stomach…

That I had not been jailed, was really but for the grace of God. I broke down in that room at not only the new sense of freedom but mainly at the deep realization of how lucky I had been.  I should have gone to jail.

A few years ago, a girl I was dating expressed her concern about what to do should she ever feel unsafe with me. Could I guarantee her safety? she asked.

She had been advised that once a person is violent, they’ll always be violent.

Alice’s voice echoed in my mind. Treatment. Incarceration. Treatment & Incarceration.

The hopelessness of the sentiment she was sharing, in all its sincerity or the fact that I could not truly give a guarantee that I wouldn’t be violent, led to a deathly silence.

I felt that I would only be assuring her to make her feel better now. Yet, I was left with the question of whether a non-violent future was truly truly within my control. Often, the need -yet needless need – for control and power over another is the premise for intimate partner violence.

I freaked out because I could not confidently assure myself let alone her.

“If ever you feel even an inkling of being unsafe, however, minuscule, this what you should do…”


“Just run!”

“You do not need any proof or justification. Run first and perhaps talk later.”

We later broke up. But it got me thinking. Why was I so shaken?

More therapy beckoned. And that’s where I faced that question head-on.

I yearned a space where I would never excuse the need for violence. Letting go of the need for control and power over another person seemed like a good place to start.

My father in law, in a pretty awkward premarital counseling session with my then betrothed ;-), asked me what I’d do if I ever found my wife in bed with another man. As awkward as it was, I quickly said that I would be disappointed, leave the room and the house.

Disappointed, not angry.

“Good answer,” he said.

That was one of the strangest “huh?” moments in my adult life.

I have my recovery from alcoholism to thank for the development of this attitude. I had since accepted that there would be absolutely no reason or need, so help me God, to ever desire or take a drink again, a day at a time.  It has worked thus far without the need to worry or swear off about having a drink in the future.

Similarly, the vow I made to Wandia on 30th July 2015, cannot be left there on that glorious Thursday five years ago. I actualize it every day. In word and in deed. It is not a trap. It is an opportunity to usher in a fresh start each day. After all, even the vow I made was certainly bigger than me.

It was a promise I cannot keep on my own. I need help. I choose help.

In the bigness of the promise, I also made it my business that I was 100% responsible for her safety in our marriage. Now, my job is to work at fulfilling that responsibility. It means being better, doing better. Which also means calling out the violence in the men with whom I walk in the recovery process.

Is it easy? No.

Is it simple? Yes.

I have often wondered whether I have gained enough responsibility to speak out against IPV or DV. Where do I start, I often wonder, without coming across as gloating or excusing it? Do I have the courage to speak up when it is seemingly being glorified or glamorized?

But how will they know that healing is real or even possible if I shut up?

I also continually ask myself whether I have earned the grace to forgive myself and seek forgiveness from those I hurt. I am intellectually aware that grace is freely given and it is ever sufficient as taught in the manual of ‘How to be an Arsenal Fan.’

In the faonabírítí, however, it still sometimes feels that I need to do some more jail time.

The freedom is such that the guarantee becomes a destination and the joy of the journey is the discovery we make in our fresh air moments, in our loudspeaker moments and in our intimate moments.

The answers, like yarns of wool, continue unravelling to knit a tapestry of life experiences; the good, the bad, and the growing ones.

At the end, wherever, and whenever that is, we’ll turn back and say, “we did good.”










Author: Chris

Thriving in The Love Edition

3 thoughts on “Hurt people hurt people; loved people love people”

  1. The grace to forgive others cannot be found in a the absence of forgiving oneself. I tell people that you forgive others, not because they deserve it but for the emancipation. I’m following this blog


    1. Thank you Nyambura for this. Yes, I agree that in essence, we give what we we have. In my case, I feel with the forgiveness work I have done, all that’s left is a decision. to forgive and let go. With this piece, and your comment, it was like the last baton I needed to the finish line of a forgiven and free life. It is finished. Once again, asante for engaging.


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