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Tim Van Winkle, '67, 1949-2021
ESSAY: To "Kill"
Sep 16, 2021


In group therapy and family therapy, there was an expression  we used:  to"kill". 
To "kill" is to make a remark that's destructive and devastating, and that hurts someone very deeply and may cause permanent emotional damage. We are responsible for what we say to people and the predictable effect it has on them.
To "kill" is far beyond what's acceptable in human communication.
Group therapy is a special situation with special rules, but the danger of "killing" also applies t u day to day lives.
1. After 38 years of marriage, a couple considered a divoce. The husband was an alcoholic and an intellectual bully. ne night he called his wife "a stupid cunt!" She was hurt so badly she left the house and came back only after the decree was issued and husband was gone.
2. In 1992, a girlfriend broke up with me, and said, "Let's face it, Paul. You're damaged goods."   (refering   to my hearing lss). I was so shocked that I couldn't breathe for 15 seconds. I never wanted to see her again.
To "kill" is almost like playing baseball and hiding a knife in your pocket to stab the first baseman when you get n base,  
To "kill" is an exaggerated expression of anger, frustration and resentment that may cause permanent emotional damage to anothe person. There is never any justification for "killing".

Human beings are strong and resilient, and also fragile.