Infatuation led to kissing. Whoohoo! I confessed to my parents that we had kissed on the playground. My Dad said, "Stormy, you had better stop kissing that little girl, because her daddy is going to get you." I didn't care. At least, I didn't think that I did. One night, my Dad reached around behind his chair and knocked on the wall. He got up and went to the door. When I heard him say, "Well, come in Mr. Claghorn," I flew to my room and hid in the closet. Of course, my father thought that was hilarious.
Our relationship didn't end well. One day, I walked out in the hallway and saw my girlfriend kissing another boy. I was hurt and furious, so I hit him on the nose. That made me feel better. For the first time in my life, I got a charge out of violence.
My father and his own history probably had a lot to do with the way I handled disagreements with people. He came from a long line of fighters and he taught me all that he knew, which was considerable. Almost as soon as I could walk, he started teaching me how to box and wrestle. Those became two of my favorite forms of play. There was an ethic that he adhered to, though. I can hear him say, "Never start a fight, but make sure that you finish it. Don't back down from anybody, even if they are bigger than you are. Never let a bully mistreat someone who is weaker."
His ethic became my ethic. I pretty much held to those ideas until I had my last fight at age 25. He also taught me something else. "If someone starts talking about how tough he is and how he's going to knock you out, don't talk, punch." That advice helped me win a lot of fights.
It's now a shame to me, but I once counted over 50 men and boys that I had fought, from age 5 to 25. My record was pretty good. At this stage of life, though, I realize how idiotic violence is. Yet, I believe that my fist-fighting was to some degree, an expression of my bipolar manic state. I had often said that a fight left me feeling relaxed and happy and more at peace. That sounds "crazy," but it was true. It was a mood release for me. Consequently, I believe that I often "invited" someone to punch me just so I could feel "good."
I have searched the Internet looking for a connection between boxing, fighting, and bipolar disorder. It seems reasonable to me that someone who has BPD would be drawn to boxing. I know that it was a sport that appealed to me, even though I never had a chance to box. I had plenty of opportunities (?) to fight. I believe that this is an area of study that clinical psychologists should pursue. I would be interested in hearing from other men who have BPD and have a history of this type of violent behavior. If there is enough anecdotal evidence for my theory, perhaps some of the medical professionals might become interested enough to investigate this phenomena.
So, why haven't I continued to get into fist-fights? I believe that there are two very important reasons. First, probably at about age 25 I started making the transition from Type One BPD to Type Two BPD. If you have read my earlier blogs, you may remember that my doctors believe that has happened, even though it is rare. Secondly, I became a Christian and that changed my whole life. I wanted to please God, and I wanted to get in control of my anger, and I wanted to be at peace with all men in spite of their sometimes provoking behavior. The coincidence of those two events has had a radical impact on the last 33 years of my life.
Though I try to avoid the subject, sometimes my history of fighting will come up in casual conversation. I believe that one of the greatest compliments that I have ever received is when people say, "Stormy, I just can't imagine you ever fighting." That's wonderful to hear, and I pray it never changes.
Some of you may be wondering if there are any circumstances in which I might use my fists. Probably, if it was to protect another person. Possibly, if it was to protect myself. I can say with all of my heart, though, that I hope that never becomes necessary. It would deeply sadden me, and that feeling wouldn't have anything to do with my depression.
NOTE: Miss Claghorn, I want you to know that it is still over between us.
"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18)."