I’m tired of folks hitting each other. #30in30

So, I’m on my way home tonight and hear that Chad Johnson had been arrested. For headbutting his wife, Evelyn Lozado. Actually headbutting his wife. Apparently over condoms that either were hers or his. It irritates me to no end to hear this because my first thought was, I can see her hitting him over this too.Was that wrong? Probably, but as a counselor, I’ve learned from experience that men AND women are aggressors in their relationships. So, for five seconds, I thought Chad is dead wrong for this. But then I remembered how aggressive and confrontational “Ev” could be in general. It’s a mixed bag of tomfoolery. But my major concern is……why has physical abuse become so commonplace in relationships? Full disclosure, I’ve been mistreated in relationships before, but never physically hit or threatened. It’s just not something I would tolerate even if it meant I would have to be alone. But for many, it’s become something we now accept and think is normal. I cringed as I wrote that last sentence because it’s true. We argue, state our point, may raise our voice and even become dramatic. But, when the point that I feel physically threatened comes, I’m gone. But not every woman takes this stance. And some are also of the belief that I will fight you if you fight me. It’s all a big mess, because as roles change, we take on different personas and are independent as women by choice or by force. But, one thing is clear to me, it’s a dangerous pattern that continues to grow out of control. I’ve seen women hit while pregnant, men punched by their wives, and fighting become the common way to deal with  conflict. I will never forget my freshman year of college when walking across campus witnessing a woman beating her boyfriend up in public. He took it, obviously embarrassed, but I don’t know how their relationship continued. I don’t know the details of Chad and Ev’s relationship, but I do know that a healthy relationship requires trust along with the ability to respect their body and personal space even when arguing. Since Evelyn and Chad already had a strange relationship where she expected him to inform her  if he decided to have sex with another female, this headbutting incident takes the dysfunction to another level. If Chad hit Evelyn, he was wrong. If Evelyn hit Chad, she was wrong. But somehow, I have the feeling this will be described as an “argument”, a “misunderstanding”  and that’s what bothers me the most. Misunderstandings come when we forget to pick up something from the store for our man. Headbutting is actually intending it hurt someone because you don’t have the social skills to resolve conflict in a civilized manner. There’s so many ways to touch this subject, but domestic abuse is never acceptable and never will be. I’m getting tired of people hitting on each other and it’s time to make it stop. Please seek a counselor if you are being hit on, pushed, shoved and STOP seeing any man or woman who behaves in this manner. You deserve better. And you can have better. And your safety and well-being more important than any “misunderstanding” that could ever occur.


Black Men and the Cycle of Depression

I just don’t think I’m going to be here much longer.”

Those were the last words Tony Cornelius heard his father, Don Cornelius speak before he fatally shot himself in the head. Don Cornelius, the man who had every black boy and girl pretending to wait their turn in the Soul Train Line on Saturday mornings.  Who else could get black women wearing halter tops with gigantic Afros and bell bottoms to play word scramble while dancing to the latest R and B hits? One of the most innovative African-American businessmen of our time, he created the model for success while controlling his own brand designed strictly for entertaining us, black people. After all that, he took his life because he didn’t believe there was any value left. He was older, divorced, rarely in the limelight and perhaps depressed by what life looked like. It’s hard to believe he felt he had nothing else left to give on earth. But he’s not the only one. I’m noticing a trend with our black men. When they reach the pinnacle of achievement, they are untouchable. But when they fall of the radar, or have public humiliations, it’s like they disintegrate into six-year-old boys whose only solace is their moms.

I can’t help but think of Jessie Jackson, Jr. who has been absent from the public spotlight for several weeks since suffering from symptoms of depression. Early reports show he’s inpatient for intensive treatment. I’m aware the Chicago Democrat is also under investigation for possibly soliciting funds for Barak Obama’s senate seat after the historic presidential election. Many are skeptical now and the assumption is he’s faking his depression. But if he’s not, he may have waited until the stress of the being investigated was unbearable before being forced to seek help.

I strongly believe black men carry a larger amount of stress in society.  They hide embarrassment on the job, from getting passed over for promotions to racially insensitive jabs. They hide the pain of feeling inadequate for their families and always getting second glances just to make sure they aren’t going to rob someone.

We need our men. Not a fractured, band-aid version,broken, leaking version, but healthy, happy men  God intended them to be. I know it’s not natural for men to share their feelings, but maybe it’s time to change the paradigm which allows men to keep the pain locked up until it’s too late.

Symptom for depression include a lack of sex drive, increased or decrease in weight, low  energy, and feelings of guilt or worthlessness. Anytime these symptoms continue for more than two weeks, it’s time to seek the assistance of a doctor or counselor who can further test and recommend help.

We are the least likely to seek help for medical issues, but the price were paying is too much to continue avoiding the issues. Depression untreated can lead to multiple illnesses and lastly suicide. We can’t afford to lose another valuable man in our community.