The word ‘reciprocate’ just came into my mind.  By itself the word does not include an indication of whether what is to be reciprocated is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – kindness or violence.  The definition of the word does include:  1:  to give and take mutually; 2: to return in kind or degree.  In other words, there is no ‘value added’ to this concept.

However, I find it interesting that the word ‘reciprocal’ has a different definition for its first meaning:  inversely related: opposite

Again I must be thinking about ‘intention’ and ‘motivation’.  When someone hurts another person, for example, did they MEAN to be MEAN?

A second definition of ‘reciprocal’:  shared, felt, or shown by both sides.

Isn’t this what shared empathy is?

I am confused even by the origins of the word ‘reciprocal’:  Latin reciprocus returning the same way, alternating.

Is this what communication is?

Is this a paradox?  How is ‘returning the same way’ the same thing as ‘alternating’?

I don’t even know why these thoughts and questions are appearing to me right now.  What am I asking myself?  What am I telling myself?  What do I know?  What do I need to know that is connected to these word concepts?

I don’t know.  But somehow this pursuit of mine into my own ‘unknown’ must be relevant to SOMETHING that interests me right now.  I wonder what that might be……..



Reciprocating meanness with kindness.  One thing.  Reciprocating meanness with meanness.  Another thing.  Reciprocating meanness with forgiveness.  Something else.

My next thought is:  “Nothing my mother did to me had anything to do with me.”

Is this a kind of understanding about the abuse my mother did to me that is unique to the context of my particular history of abuse – that because I know now how mentally ill my mother was I can begin to more deeply understand that this was true?

It relates to the questions about how abuse is passed down in some circumstances and not in others.  The most common statistic I remember hearing is that 65% DO NOT pass abuse on while 35% DO pass it on.

I told my daughter as I began to clarify how ‘the story’, the history (herstory) I am working toward publishing needed to start with my mother because she was in the exceptional 35% group:  She very definitely passed abuse on – albeit to ME as the chosen child of her six.

Pondering violence:  What makes some people VIOLENT?  What might make most or all of us violent in certain circumstances?  What is the relationship between anger and violence?  Is there always such a relationship?

Thinking about ‘reciprocal’ – how is it that the majority of abuse survivors DO NOT reciprocate with violence?  They obviously found an ALTERNATE way to be in the world.


I have a book I have written that is parked.  Parked.  Book in waiting.  For what?  For when?

As I write at this moment I realize that I have to wait until I can READ that book.  Will I ever be able to read it?  On some levels I clearly know the answer to my own question is “NO!”

“Story without Words:  The invisible silence of my mother’s abuse of me”

I remember writing something about CHOICE in that book.  Do those who reciprocate for the abuse they suffered CHOOSE that path?  Did they CHOOSE “to return the same way” versus choosing an alternate way?

Do people who have NO HISTORY of unsafe and insecure early attachment trauma – no history of ANY abuse whatsoever – act violently?

If some people who have suffered from unsafe and insecure early attachment and other abuse do not become violent people – then it seems logical that it can work the other way around:  that those without trauma histories can become abusers.

Well, what kind of pattern IS THAT?


I must see that the ‘issue’ of intention and motivation inevitably involves CHOICE.  In the case of my mother’s psychotic mental illness, I don’t believe she had a choice.  I therefore remove from her abuse of me equation the idea that she had any kind of intention or motivation other than the one her Borderline Personality Disorder with psychosis created for her.

Sometimes I wonder what patterns might look like when mental illness, and certainly psychosis in the abuser, were NOT in the picture.  Then I run up against my own brick wall:  Abuse only happens when mental illness is present, even if that mental illness is temporary as it causes all abuse to happen.

I must think that reciprocal peace is the norm, and that lack of peace reflects mental illness.  I must think that NOT hurting others is the norm, and that hurting others is mental illness.  I am not talking about so-called mental illness that is so-called because there is a disturbance in biochemistry.  I am talking about a kind of mental illness that is aberrant, that goes against what is GOOD — that is, what is health promoting.



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