To (verbally) cave someone’s chest in

It is exceedingly rare and  hard to get me into moments in which I’m tempted to give my not-so-better-angels full rein. Moments when I’d like to (figuratively) cave someone’s chest in, through the use of well-aimed words.

Now, I know caving a chest in is something of a harsh visual. I learned the phrase in late December 1969, in reform school, the New Hampton Training School for Boys. It was located, not surprisingly, in New Hampton, part of New York State’s, Orange County.

Learned the phrase only days after my arrival. I heard one boy, my age, say to another boy, who’d angered him, “Say that again, I’ll cave your fucking chest in.”

Right away I realized that my big threat when angered, “Say that again and I’ll punch you in the nose,” sorely lacked the drama and breath-taking imagery his did. I’ve never ever threatened to punch a person in the nose since.

The impulse to verbally “cave a chest” in is infrequent for me these days. Has been for many years. 

However, blatant human cruelty can push my buttons.

I’ve verbally caved White Power Icon Stephen Miller’s chest in many times, Trump’s too.

It’s much harder, though,  when the blatant cruelty you are facing has been aimed at you by someone who would swear to the high heavens they love you (and you genuinely love and care about) who will, lose their shit, as the saying goes, at aim sentences at you that are rooted in heartlessness, absence of any empathy, and,  reeking of so much self-absorption you’re thinking, not without reason, narcissist.

The challenge, at least for those in my position, is what to do. One thing is for sure, not tolerate an iota of cruelty from anyone, much less one who claims to love you, is the place to start, and understanding, massively hard as that is, that another person’s unhealthy and destructive behavior does not deserve so much power in your life, it leads you to make choices you’d later regret having made.

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