How I Hurt Myself By Hurting Others

By , New Delhi, India
'Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it.'
-- Seneca.

When you live with three boys, fist fights become a part of life. Whenever I needed something from one of my brothers, I sat on him or punched him to make him give it to me. The boys did the same to me. Of course, it never got too violent- my parents would never let anything happen to their baby girl, but I learnt how to kick in all the right places as a kid. When I grew up a little, I hardly had any female friends. I was ‘one of the guys’ until I turned 6 or so, when I changed my school. That’s when I met my best friend (a girl), and we clicked instantly.
Around that time I started acting more girlish, with a fetish for pink and Barbie dolls- something I had abhorred a few months back. Just like most girls that age I though boys were disgusting and wondered why God had put them on earth. A few years later, when I was 10 years old, I turned into a tomboy once again. The dresses were replaced by clothes stolen from my brother, the heels for Nikes, and the Barbie dolls for tree climbing.
I got through that phase quite fast, and now, as a teenager, I’m as comfortable in dresses as I am in track-pants. I have lots of friends, both girls and boys, and I have a blast with every one of them. I thought I’d become more mild-mannered, until a certain incident a few months back.
I joined Aerobics, where I work out with weights. My muscles got a lot stronger, without me realizing it. One day, I play hit one of my friends on his arm, injuring him by mistake. I was absolutely shocked when I saw the bruise I’d left on his arm, as was everyone else around me. After that, whenever I hit somebody’s arm or shoulder jokingly, they ended up getting hurt. The intensity of my punches increased, and once I elbowed a friend of mine in the stomach when he crept up behind me. When I turned around, I saw him doubled up in pain, but didn’t think much about it as I’d seen my brothers do that after fighting with each other. But he wasn’t used to it, and after asking me to sit down, and standing a safe 20 feet away from me, he explained to me why elbowing people in the stomach is wrong.

I didn’t really listen to what he said- I had a new-found love for hitting. I had two very basic rules- never hit girls (which I learnt from my brothers) and never hit your enemies. The second rule was due to the fact that friends are usually more understanding when you punch them. Whenever anyone teased me, they went back clutching their stomachs or limbs. The boys were too scared to come close to me, and stayed a good distance away while talking to me. Even my mother spoke to me about how I could seriously injure someone if I went on this way.
I started losing my temper very fast, and got very violent every time I did so. Once, I punched a friend of mine in the stomach and he would have fallen down two flights of stairs had somebody not caught him in time. Another time, I hit one of my closest friends so hard, he collapsed.

These two incidents scared me a lot. I thought about the monster I had become- I still do. I began making amends. I apologized. I tried helping people out. I started doing thing that make me happy so I wouldn’t get angry. My temper still flares up at times, but I try to keep it under control. It’s hard, but I’m trying. I wrote this article because I thought it would help me recover, and maybe, just maybe, help someone like me.





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