Feeling Of Shame For Not Knowing Native Language Site Reddit.Com "Kick The Cat" Syndrome

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"Kick The Cat" Syndrome

Have you ever suffered from “Kick The Cat Syndrome”?

I’d like to say I never have, but of course I have: “I’m only human” after all. This is one of the key refrains of “Kick The Cat Syndrome”. I am sad to say that at one stage in my life, the return and syndrome felt quite familiar.

Someone I know describes this syndrome more tellingly than I could. Like many of us, after an abusive childhood he fell into other abusive relationships. He writes: “I had so much anger bottled up in me, and recently it was me who got angry in anger at someone else .. especially because he was not honest with me .. but even so, I don’t. I don’t want end up being an “abuser”!”

There are, of course, different ways to throw at “The Cat”. You can do it both verbally and physically. Neither is particularly desirable – although a physical expression of anger seems less justifiable.

‘The Cat’ can be either the abusive partner or someone else who just happens to cross your path when you are already early and ready to strike. (For cat lovers let me apologize and specify that we absolutely are no talking about a real cat.)

What it is about, as my reader has well observed, has already had a belly of abuse (and I use the term belly in a recommended way, it is not surprising that abused women often suffer from the syndrome of irritable bowel) and then the abuser adds another unworthy on top.

The most recent outrage ignited what we in the UK used to call “the blue touch card” and blew it.

Sometimes it feels safer to blast someone who didn’t cause the mountain of hurt in the first place, because they are less likely to respond in a way that will be dangerous for you.

You’ve reached the stage where one way or another you’re bound to explode or implode: either you take your feelings out on another person or you feel like you’re going to be shattered into a million tiny pieces by yourself unexpressed pain and fury.

Does it do any good? No. It can make you feel better for a while. Like comfort food, the feeling of satisfaction ends with the action itself. An isolating sense of shame quickly follows in its wake.

The truth is that it is not a nice thing to do and it does not fit with your picture – and more to the point of your deep and accurate beliefs – about yourself. It happens because it is a model that you learned from the abusers in your life, as I learned from the abusers in mine.

What he sees – or, more correctly, interprets – from his behavior is that this kind of behavior is sanctioned. Should they be, shouldn’t they, or wouldn’t they? And don’t they always justify it one way or another? Some of the old trusted favorites include:

· I had a hard day

· You lead me to it

· If you haven’t done X, Y or Z…

· How do you expect me to….?

· You don’t know what to wear

Do you have the picture?

In fact, his behavior has been sanctioned, repeatedly, by you, because in the end, when that kind of emotional hurricane occurs, you try to slam the doors and wait for it to pass. It was also sanctioned by many other people, less central to the life of the abuser, who for one reason or another, either remove or neglect. So sanction this behavior and also recognize its power.

When we fall into “Kick The Cat Syndrome” it is fueled by the belief that such behavior is somehow avenged by past hurt. It may even feel preferable to the sense of helplessness you feel as a victim.

In addition, there is a kind of logic: he hit me, so I have the right to hit the next person. It’s all too easy to become one in an endless chain of Cat Kickers.

So how do you beat the syndrome?

First, start freeing yourself from the pattern of the abuser in your own head. Identify the behavior when the abuser perpetrates and remind yourself that it is childish, unacceptable, harmful – and you have a choice. You don’t have to behave like that.

Second, you begin to honor your own sense of hurt. Someone who has been in an abusive relationship has been very deprived of the love, respect and consideration they need and deserve. That deserves to be recognized.

Conventional wisdom focuses on that loss: it reminds us that what we wanted was not had in that relationship and those months or years.

Conventional wisdom does not tell us – because he doesn’t know – that our subconscious mind and our feelings live in the hour, the moment. (Although, consciously too many of us spend too long focused on the past or future).

So here’s the thing: You can begin to heal old wounds in the present by deliberately hurting yourself in a loving way. There is your hurt, damaged, need, but there is also care, love, resources, support that you share with friends, children and other loved ones.

You can begin to allow that mature, resourceful person to – metaphorically – put a comforting arm around the shoulders of the needy. You can begin to offer that need words of comfort that will percolate to the wound and help to heal from it.

This is work I’ve done a lot with abused women that is very powerful. In the absence of having someone working with you, you can take the time – maybe only 15 minutes at a time – to do it yourself.

Third, you can work with someone who can understand and help you work respectfully through the hurt. Just talking to someone who will support you and not judge you can shed these old patterns of much of their explosive charge.

Cats – and dogs – who have been mistreated by their owners, can heal from the trauma, given love and time. So can you too. Also, you can use the miracle of language and your persevering resources to heal faster and more completely than they can.

© 2006 Annie Kaszina

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