In the wake of the latest mass shooting in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, in which 22 and 10 people respectively, were killed, the question arises whether gun control laws in the US are adequate to prevent persons who are unfit to possess firearms from being in possession of such arms. Statistics have shown that 8 in every 10 Americans are in lawful possession of a firearm. This is a very high number when you compare it to what the position is in other countries. This high number of firearms in the hands of citizens would not be an issue if there were no incidents such as the ones in El Paso and Dayton. If citizens were handling their firearms in a responsible manner, then no problem. However, that is not the case in the US today. The frequency of mass shootings has gone out of proportion. The people rely on the Second Amendment to the US Constitution and was ratified by Congress on December 15, 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights. This provision in the Bill of Rights was influenced by the English Bill of Rights of 1689. The amendment was ratified by the States and authenticated by the Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, and reads as follows:
” A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
The English settlers at the time viewed the right to bear arms or raise militias as important for one or mire of the following reasons, namely:
Today, the United States, with almost 330 000 000 million people, and one of the best trained and equipped army and police force in the world, those concerns raised by the founding fathers appear to have lost their validity and yet the country has held onto the provisions to its own peril. In Dist of Columbia v Heller (2008), the Supreme Court affirmed that the the right belongs to the individual, exclusively for self defense in the home and that the right is not unlimited and does not preclude the the existence of certain prohibitions such as those forbidding the possession of firearms by felons and mentally ill persons. Although there is a certain measure of screening and checks and balances when people apply for permission to purchase a firearm through a licensed weapons’ dealer there are loopholes in the system to such an extent that 1 in 5 firearms transactions are finalized without necessarily going through the screening process.
According to the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), anyone can sell a gun without an FFL (Federal Firearms License) from their home, online, at a flea market or at a gun show as long as he or she is not conducting the sale as part of regular business activity. One example would be someone who sells a firearm from his or her personal collection. Others who are exempt include those giving guns as gifts. Only individuals whose “principal motive” is to make a profit via sale must obtain an FFL.
Commonly referred to as the “gunshow loophole,” this ambiguity also explains how a purchase can occur without a background check — and without breaking the law. A 2017 survey by Harvard and Northeastern universities estimates that roughly one in five transactions occur without a background check.
Perhaps the United States can learn something from those countries with very strict gun control legislation. In South Africa, for example, licenses to possess a firearm are controlled by a single central registrar within the police department and only one licence to possess a firearm for self defense purposes can be issued . No licence for an automatic or semi-automatic weapon can be issued for self defense purposes. As a result there are very few legal firearms in private hands. Penalties for illegal possession of a firearm are very stiff . Although criminals do acquire illegal firearms and use them in the commission of crimes, they know that if they are caught, they will have to answer for both the crime committed and the possession of the illegal firearm and ammunition. This serves as a deterrent as people know that the punishment for the unlawful possession of a firearm is harsh. On the other hand, in the United States, there has been several mass shootings in several states where a number of people lost their lives or were injured leaving them with both physical and emotional scars. The reasons appear to be disillusioned youth, mental illness, workplace conflicts, as well as family disputes. President Trump has vowed to bring an end to the scourge of violence in the USA. We hope that this happens sooner before another mass shooting happens.
Prophet TB Joshua, founder of the The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN), has died at the age of 57. He died at his home in Lagos, Nigeria, on 05 June 2021, shortly after attending one of his evening services. His death came only a week before his 58th birthday. The cause of death has not been given.
TB Joshua was born on 12 June 1963. He attended St. Stephen’s Anglican Primary School in Arigidi Akoko in Nigeria from 1971 to 1977. He showed an interest in the Bible from a very early age. He organised Bible studies for the local children while doing various odd jobs after leaving school.
Joshua was very well-known throughout Africa and Latin America. He hosted the Emmanuel TV channel from Lagos, Nigeria. His Facebook page has over 3 500 000 followers while his Youtube channel has over 1 000 000 subscribers. He was awarded the Order of the Federal Republic by the Nigerian government in 2008 and was voted the Yoruba man of the decade by the Yoruba media outlet, Irohin-Odua.
According to 2011 Forbes magazine, TB Joshua was the third richest pastor in Nigeria in 2011. According to The SCOAN, more than 15 000 members attend its weekly Sunday church service with thousands of visitors from outside Nigeria. The Nigerian Immigration Service released figures indicating that six out of every ten foreign visitors to Nigeria are bound for The SCOAN making it the largest tourism attraction in Nigeria boasting hotel accommodation and restaurants and increasing flight routes to Lagos from several African countries.
During one of his sermons, Joshua indicated his intention to relocate his ministry to Israel. Several prominent Nigerians urged him to remain in the country as the relocation would affect the Nigerian economy negatively. Several thousands Nigerians and overseas visitors register for the prayer lines where they are prayed over by Joshua to heal them of various ailments. TB Joshua held several rallies in Latin America attracting several hundreds of thousands of visitors at each one. In Ghana in 2013, four people died in a stampede at a service where they were to receive anointed water and on 12 September 2014, 115 people, including 84 South Africans, died when a guest house on the church premises collapsed.
Joshua visited several countries including South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Paraguay to hold crusades. In June 2019, he held a two day service at Mount Precipice in Nazareth, Israel. It was attended by over 15 000 people. Joshua supported various community and charitable causes both within and outside Nigeria.
He was married to Evelyn Joshua and they have three children.
Former SA President, Jacob Zuma, appeared in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on 17 May 2021 on charges of corruption, bribery and money laundering relating to the Arms Deal dating back to the late 1990s. He appeared together with French arms company, Thales.The matter was previously postponed on 23 February 2021 to 17 May 2021 for the trial to commence. Upon his appearance, his erstwhile lawyers, Eric Mabuza, withdrew as Mr Zuma’s legal representatives and were substituted by Adv Thabani Masuku and Mr Roux appeared for Thales. The Court found that the withdrawal of Eric Mabuza would not prejudice the commencement of the trial. The matter was postponed to 26 May 2021 as Zuma’s new legal representatives intended to apply that the lead State prosecutor in the matter, Billy Downer, be removed from the matter as Zuma believes that he will never get a fair trial if Billy Downer is prosecuting his matter. Billy Downer is the same prosecutor who handled Shabir Sheik’s matter nearly 15 years ago.
The former president’s application is very strange to say the least. If it is successful, it will be for the first time that an accused person successfully applies that a prosecutor be removed from his case. Applications for recusal are usually directed at presiding officers and not at public prosecutors as the appointment of public prosecutors to specific cases is the sole prerogative of the National Director of Public Prosecutions and not that of the accused. It seems that the reasons that Zuma gives for his objection to Billy Downer prosecuting his case is that there are international spy agencies involved in his prosecution. It remains to be heard during the next appearance on how these spy agencies will affect Mr Zuma’s right to a fair hearing.
Mr Zuma was accompanied by various supporters by including suspended secretary general, Mr Ace Magashule, MKMVA spokesperson, Carl Niehaus, KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala and others. The ANC has previously warned its members not to support members accused of criminal cases in their official capacities as members of the ANC.
Minister of Public Works, Patricia de Lille, was called as the first state witness in the matter, but had to be excused from court due to the application by Mr Zuma’s legal representative for the recusal of the lead prosecutor in the matter. eNCA was granted leave to broadcast the trial. Judge Piet Koen is presiding over the trial.
The traditional Prime Minister of the Zulu nation, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, addressed the media yesterday and made it clear that there are no disputes over the Zulu throne. He advised the media that the experts who are alleging that there is a dispute in the royal family over the appointment of a successor to the late King Goodwill Zwelithini are mere speculation and not true.
Addressing the media, Prince Buthelezi accused the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal of treating him unfairly and of accusing him of using his proximity to the King to advance his own political career. He disputed this and said that it was through his own efforts that he advanced to where he was in politics and building the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) to what it is today. He said that he spoke to President Ramaphosa and indicated that at his age, he is now living on God’s grace, and he wished to see the Zulu people and the ANC reconciled, but that it has always been the ANC in KZN that was opposed to his efforts at reconciliation. He concluded by saying that he was not born yesterday and that everyone knows that he is not an ass.
Prince Buthelezi said that as far as the Zulu nation is concerned, King Misuzulu kaZwelithini is already the king. All that they are waiting for is just a formal appointment by the South African government, which he said was the legacy of colonial conquest, as since the time that Zululand was a British colony, the appointment of the zulu kings has been required to be confirmed by the colonial government. He said that he was going to sign off the minutes of the meeting of the zulu royal family whereupon it will be forwarded to the premier of the province for further action.
On speculation that the King will not be in a position to take any decisions or issue any decrees in accordance with Zulu tradition until he is married, Prince Buthelezi said that that is not true as the King is already making decisions and issuing decrees. He said that the founder of the zulu nation, King Shaka kaSenzangakhona was by choice never married. So too was King Dingaan. There is no such rule in the Zulu nation that a king is unable to make decrees until he is married.
Prince Buthelezi said that Prince Simakade Jackson Zulu is fully behind the new king and he has welcomed the appointment of the new King as the right step for the zulu people. Prince Buthelezi read a statement written by Prince Simakade dated 11 May 2021 stating that he at no stage expressed any desire to claim the throne and that the uncles and aunts had warned them that once an announcement has been made about the successor to the throne, all the children of the late king are expected to support that appointment. Buthelezi disputed any speculation that Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, and former President Jacob Zuma, were assisting the Royal family in resolving the dispute. He said that the Premier of the Province had offered to mediate and the King and Queen mother had declined the offer stating that there was no need for any mediation as the royal family was able to resolve any dispute that may exist.
King Misuzulu kaZwelithini is currently 46 years of age having been born on 23 September 1974. He is the son of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini from his third wife, Queen Mantfombi Zulu. King Zwelithini died earlier this year due to covid 19 complications. Queen Mantfombi, who is the daughter of the late Swazi king, Sobhuza II, and sister to the current Swazi king, Mswati III, acted as regent pending the appointment of a successor to the Zulu throne. She died a month after the death of her husband leaving behind speculations as to what could be happening within the Zulu royal family. Immediately after her funeral, her last will and testament was read at a gathering of the royal family in terms of which Prince Misuzulu was appointed King of the Zulus. There was initially some opposition to the appointment but it appears from the statement read by Prince Buthelezi that all disputes have been resolved and the entire royal family is fully behind the new king.
King Misuzulu attended primary school in Durban and in Swaziland and furthered his studies in International Relations in the United States. He steps into the shoes of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini, who led the zulu nation for half a century and through difficult periods in their history.
South African businessman and ANC veteran, Tokyo Sexwale, made startling revelations about a ” Heritage Fund” that was set up by an Asian businessman under the name and style of White Spiritual Boy Fund with the aim of helping poor South Africans and South African students. According to Tokyo, the fund runs into billions of US dollars and was held at the South African Reserve Bank. He alleges however that the fund has since been accessed by questionable characters and that part of the money has already been stolen and transferred out of the Reserve Bank into various bank accounts belonging to individuals known to him.
Mr Sexwale alleges that when he was contacted by the founder of the fund about two years ago and requested to act as a curator for the fund. He was doubtful and reluctant at first considering the name and size of the fund. He, however, did his own investigations for almost a month and in the end, he was satisfied that the fund was genuine and that he could associate his name with it. He agreed to act as administrator for the fund.
He alleges that he and another South African by the name of Gordon Webb are custodians of the fund which was created for the purpose of providing assistance to countries in Africa and islands in the Indian Ocean. Mr Webb did not attend the media briefing held by Mr Sexwale on 22 April 2021 as, according to Mr Sexwale, Mr Webb was not feeling well.
During the media briefing, Mr Sexwale said that for two years he has been trying to alert the South African Minister of Finance and the Reserve Bank about the theft of the money, but that he was just simply ignored. He even tried to reach President Cyril Ramaphosa, but was unsuccessful.
The Minister of Finance, Mr Tito Mboweni, and the Reserve Bank’s response is that Mr Sexwale has been scammed and that their investigations could not find any such fund as is referred to by Mr Sexwale and that he is not the first person to speak about these alleged funds. Mr Sexwale is adamant that he has not been scammed and that there is a concerted effort to conceal the existence of the fund, which if it could be released, would have pulled several South Africans out of poverty and settled several debts on behalf of South African students.
Does the fund exist? Who are the people behind this fund? Is it worth investigating any further? It seems that there is more to Mr Sexwale’s story than meets the eye. In the coming weeks and months, we will be learning more about White Spiritual Boy and the Heritage Fund. When was it established? What is the relationship between the fund and South Africa’s gold reserves?
The Chief of the SA National Defence Force, General Solly Z Shoke, will be retiring on 31 May 2021 at the age of 65. He joined the SANDF in 1994, having transferred from Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the African National Congress, when all the armed forces in South Africa, including the South African Defence Force, independent homeland armies (Transkei, Ciskei, Bophutatswana and Venda) and Apla, were brought together to form the SANDF. General Shoke served the SANDF for a period of 27 years. President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as president of the Republic and commander in chief of the SANDF announced that General Shoke, who served as Chief of the SANDF since 2011, will be succeeded by Lt General Rudzani Maphanywa as Chief of the SANDF with effect from 01 June 2021. Lt Gen Maphanywa will simultaneously be promoted to the rank of General. He is 61 years of age and will serve as Chief of the SANDF for a period of 5 years. He is currently Chief of Joint Operations. Until 1994, he was a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe which he joined in 1978.
Chief of the Air Force, Lt gen Z Msimang, also retired in September 2020. Chief of Defence Intelligence, Lt-Gen Jeremiah Nyembe and chief of the S A Military Health Services, Surgeon Gen Zola Dabula will also be retiring in due course. Maj Gen Wiseman Mbambo has been appointed as the new chief of the South African Air Force. Maj Gen Siphiwe Sangweni will take over as the new chief of Joint Operations from 01 June 2021. Maj Gen Ntshavheni Maphaha will take over as Surgeon General from 01 Nov 2021. Maj gen Thalita Mxakato will take over as chief of military intelligence from 01 June 2021. She will be the first woman to serve on the Military Command Council. These major generals will be promoted to the ranks of Lt Generals upon assumption of their new offices. The SANDF has organised tours of its bases to make the announcement officially to the troops.
President Ramaphosa praised the SANDF for its contribution in maintaining peace and stability within the country and on the African continent as part of African Union and United Nations operations, particularly in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other countries in the region.
President Ramaphosa is hopeful that the SANDF will continue to carry-out its responsibilities to protect the integrity of South Africa’s borders under the new leadership.
For months now, former President, Jacob Zuma, has been defying both the State Capture Commission and the Constitutional Court by refusing to appear before the Commission and to give evidence. He first brought an application to the Commission that the chairperson of the Commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo should recuse himself as Zuma is of the view that the Deputy Chief Justice is biased against him. When that application failed, Zuma and his legal representative walked out of the commission and he vowed never to return.
In January 2021, the commission referred the matter to the Constitutional Court for the Court to compel Zuma to attend the proceedings. Zuma did not oppose the application and the Court ordered him to appear at the Commission and to give evidence. The Commission scheduled Zuma’s appearance for 15 to 19 February 2021.
Several political figures, including EFF leader, Julius Malema, visited Zuma at Nkandla, ostensibly to persuade him to obey the order of the Constitutional Court. The NEC of the ANC was unable to reach a consensus on the issue and in the end decided not to interfere and to leave Zuma to exercise his choice.
True to his words, Zuma did not attend the Commission. The Secretary of the Commission then brought an application to the Constitutional Court to declare Zuma to be in contempt of court for defying the Constitutional Court order for him to appear at the Commission. The Secretary further requested the Court to impose a term of two years imprisonment on the former State President, should he be found to be in contempt of the court order. The Minister of Police and the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service were cited as second and third respondents.
The respondents were given until 08 March 2021 to oppose the application. They failed to file any opposing papers to the application at the end of the day on 08 March 2021. The legal representative for the Secretary of the Commission, Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, filed written arguments to the Constitutional Court in which he argued that former President Zuma should be found guilty of contempt of court and be sentenced to imprisonment for a period of two years because if the Court cannot exert the authority of the courts then the country runs a risk of descending into lawlessness and chaos where people can choose whether to obey court orders or not. There was no counter-argument submitted on behalf of Zuma or any of the other two respondents.
The matter is scheduled for a virtual hearing on Thursday, 25 March 2021. The much anticipated date has finally arrived and the country is holding its breath. The MKMVA has previously promised to defend Zuma should the second and third respondents attempt to execute any warrant of arrest against Zuma. They even went to an extent of camping outside the Zuma residence at Nkandla to prove their point. The country is sharply divided with many saying that Zuma is not above the law and he should not be allowed to be above the law, while his supporters are saying that Zuma should be left alone. The Commission is saying that it will not have a complete picture of the State Capture project if Zuma does not testify. What the Constitutional Court’s decision will be remains a moot point. If the Constitutional Court agrees with the Secretary of the Commission, convict Zuma of contempt and authorises a warrant for his arrest, the second and third respondents are obliged to carry out the court order and effect an arrest on Zuma. That is thevreason why the second and third respondents have been cited in the case. The difficulty with Zuma’s case is that it involves both the law and politics and Zuma has been pushing for a full politicization of the case.
Zuma has got many supporters, not least of which is the Secretary General of the ANC, Ace Magashule. In a case where he was summoned to appear in the Bloemfontein magistrates’ court himself, Magashule has not defied the court and has been in attendance twice already. Precisely what the EFF leader and Zuma discussed during their meeting remains to be seen when the Constitutional Court decides.
King Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuzulu was “laid to rest” at Nongoma on Wednesday night, 16 March 2021, under top secrecy. The site of his burial is kept such a top secret that even some of the royal family are not aware of his exact burial place. The memorial service was held on Thursday, 17 March 2021, at KwaKhetomthandayo in Northern KwaZulu-Natal attended by several dignitaries including President Cyril Ramaphosa, HRH Princess Charlene of Monaco and the Zulu nation itself. Former President Jacob Zuma was also present.
Speaking at the memorial service Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, umtwa’ka Phindungene, pointed out that King Zwelithini was the longest reigning monarch in the history of the Zulu nation having been on the throne for nearly 50 years. That King Goodwill Zwelithini loved the Zulu people unconditionally. He became King on the passing of his father, King Cyprian Bhekuzulu, in 1968. Fearing assassination, Prince Goodwill Zwelithini sought refuge in the Transvaal from 1968 to 1971, while his uncle, Prince Israel Mcwayizeni, acted as regent. Zwelithini was installed as the eighth Zulu monarch on 03 December 1971 at a ceremony held at Nongoma attended by about 20 000 people. The King died in a Durban hospital on 12 March 2021 after he was admitted for blood glucose complications.
Announcing the death of the monarch, the traditional Prime Minister of the Zulu monarchy, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, confirmed that King Goodwill Zwelithini passed away of COVID-19 complications. Buthelezi said in an interview that the king contracted COVID-19 in hospital. He was 72 years of old. He passed away in the early hours of 12 March 2021. Buthelezi says the King was admitted to ICU in hospital last month for diabetes. Buthelezi made the announcement earlier on the morning of 12 March 2021 in a live SABC radio broadcast.
Also speaking at the memorial service, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that King Goodwill Zwelithini was a peace loving person and that he was often consulted for advice by many. He said that it was important that the legacy of the late King be preserved.
Kng Zwelithini was the ninth of the Zulu monarchs, from the founder of the Zulu nation, King Shaka kaSenzangakhona, who ruled from 1816-1828, followed by kaSenzangakhona , 1828-1840, Mpande kaSenzangakhona , 1840-1856, Cetshwayo kaMpande, 1856-1884, Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo (1st term), 1884-1887, Queen Victoria, 1887-1897, Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo (2nd term), 1897-1913, Solomon ka Dinuzulu, 1913-1933, Cyprian Bhekuzulu kaSolomon, 1948-1968, Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, 1971-2021.
King Goodwill Zwelthini was the custodian of Zulu traditions including the annual reed dance which is attended by thousands of Zulu maidens annually.
The Zulu royal family has appointed the third wife of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini as regent until a new monarch takes the throne.
Queen Mantfombi MaDlamini Zulu is the “Great Wife” of the late King, a position she held since her marriage to the king in 1977. She is the sister of King Mswati III of Swaziland(Eswathini).
Her appointment has increased speculation that one of her sons, Prince Misuzulu (47), will become king of the Zulu nation which is estimated at 11 million people . The king’s traditional prime minister, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, said her appointment was in accordance with late King’s wishes.
South Africans were recently shocked to the bone by a video of a male inmate and a female prison warder in their uniforms, having sex in the corridors of the prison facility. The incident happened at Ncome Correctional Center in Vryheid, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. It is not clear how the incident happened and why a video of the incident was taken, but the Department of Correctional Services said that they were investigating the incident.
The video went viral and has caused quite a stir on social media . The incident has exposed the laxity within the Department’s prisons. Many have even questioned the level of security at these facilities indicating that if a prisoner can have the luxury of engaging in sexual activities with his jailers, then the intimates may as well have access to the keys to the prison. This is traumatising especially for the victims of crime and for the police officers and prosecutors who worked hard to ensure that criminals are locked away and prevented from causing any further harm to society to see that their pain and efforts are being ridiculed by prison authorities. Some of these prisoners are the most dangerous on the planet.
The conduct of the prison warder is even more shocking when you consider that the prisoner was apparently convicted and sentenced for rape, robbery, housebreaking and attempted murder where he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2008. How the two lovebirds managed to secure an appointment within the prison facilty is still the subject of an inquiry by the Department of Correctional Services. The question that many are asking is whether this is an isolated incident or whether this is a regular occurrence at prison facilities in South Africa. Prisoners’ organisations say that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Many have questioned why the department uses female warders to guard male prisoners.
The Department of Correctional Services has vowed to take drastic measures against both the warder and the prisoner. They have already placed the prison warder on suspension pending a full disciplinary hearing. The department called the incident a serious embarrassment and vowed to leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of the incident.
It has emerged that the prison warder is a married woman with three minor children. The video is so graphic that it cannot be included here.
And here are some quotes from rape victims, victims of the brutality meted out by people like the one the prisoner warder decided to engage in a love relationship with.
“I just want to sleep. A coma would be nice. Or amnesia. Anything, just to get rid of this, these thoughts, whispers in my mind. Did he rape my head, too?”
― Laurie Halse Anderson,
The residents of the northern parts of the mining and tourist town of Phalaborwa have once again been plunged into darkness. It seems that their problems are far from being resolved. On 25 December 2020, it was reported that the residents were forced to spend Christmas without electricity. At that time they spent more than five days without any electricity in simmering heat. The problem has resurfaced again and the residents have taken to social media to vent their frustrations. The electricity went off just after 5pm when darkness was approaching.
It appears that the municipality has been notified and standby teams have located the problem. The teams are working on resolving the problem. There is no estimated time for the return of power. The residents now dread a repeat of what they experienced during Christmas of 2020 when they also had to go without electricity and water. Jaco Gericke, a community leader, kept the residents updated with developments from the repair teams and the last information he provided was that the repair teams would require a TLB as the damaged cable was burried underground and they could only proceed the next day.
What compounds the difficulty for the residents is that they live very close to the Kruger National Park, which is an international wildlife sanctuary, and when night sets in hippos and other wildlife share the streets with the residents. Those who have to walk or even drive at night often find themselves face to face with some of these wildlife. Residents are well-advised to remain indoors to avoid such encounters.
Residents have blamed the aging infrastructure and cable thefts as the source of their problems and have blamed the municipality for not doing enough to resolve the problem which causes them heavy losses every time it occurs.
It happens to the best of us. Communication is such a fickle thing, and the lines of communication can become blurred every so often, especially when love and feelings are involved. Even those who think that they are immune to the confusion of conflict can find themselves drawn into a communication breakdown when they least expect it, and chaos ensue.
Even those of us who are better equipped than many others are not immune. This happened to Sally on the weekend, and to be quite honest, it took her by surprise. Her husband told her something that really hurt her feelings, and she automatically lashed back in defense.
It was a silly argument, over something as simple as a misplaced bottle of perfume. But to her, it represented something much deeper that had been simmering away for a couple of weeks. She gets frustrated at having to search for something when it is not where she expects it to be, worse still when her partner has shifted it and she has no clue where to begin searching.
Perfume, needles and thread, car keys, a Tupperware container to store her baking soda in, covers for outdoor chairs, all were examples of instances where she had to turn the house upside-down. A simple answer from her husband when these things were shifted would have saved her a lot of time and frustration. And the answer she got? “You need to open your eyes and organize yourself better”
She was gutted. When she comes home from work she exercises the dog and cook dinner so that it is on the table by the time her partner gets home. The house is always spotless and warm, as she is very conscious of coming home to a tidy environment.
She sees this as a fundamental part of her role in coming home first, and it takes a lot of her time. To imply that she has the time to “organize yourself better” really hurt.
She doesn’t expect praise, but she hoped that her efforts were recognized. She got told that “I don’t expect you to cook my dinner every night.” That was interpreted by her as ingratitude, and hurt her even more.
So where to from here? Sally’s husband felt guilty at coming home every night to the perfect household, where she felt guilty if it wasn’t perfect. It was never about her trying to make her spouse feel guilty, but it seems it did. And this is where the communication fell down. He misinterpreted her efforts, and she misinterpreted his response.
Communication, communication, communication. Sally needed her partner to keep her informed of where things move to. She needs to be informed. She needs to voice her frustration before it gets to a boiling point. They both need to talk about their feelings more, and how each of their contributions to their home and their relationship make them feel, and how they interpret each other’s contributions.
Just because something isn’t spoken about, doesn’t mean it’s not important. A relationship or marriage is not a competition, but for many couples it feels like it is.
When people feel guilt or stress, it leads them to act in funny ways. Often stress and guilt are barriers to communication. The key to overcoming them is to recognize what it is, and have the courage to talk about it. You might be able to do it as a couple, or you might want the help of a friend who can listen to the way you are communicating with each other and offer insights and advice.
They got it sorted out, and kissed and hugged. It wouldn’t hurt so much if she didn’t feel such love at the same time. But it served as a good reminder to her. Sometimes you get so wrapped up in your own emotions that you forget to think of the other person. You also need to entertain the possibility that you are misinterpreting each other. Talking about it is the way to expose the miscommunication and let the healing begin.
A good lesson to learn, even for the experts.
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