Retire The Punisher Hat

Retire The Punisher Hat

Retire The Punisher Hat

1. The infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense.
“crime demands just punishment”
synonyms: penalizing, punishing, disciplining

Are you a punisher?
I was…I have been…so I guess I am.

I’ve withheld sex after a fight. That’s a classic.
I’ve withheld my attention when I’ve felt misunderstood.
I’ve given the silent treatment, which to some was actually a reward, so I stopped.

I’d venture to guess we’ve all got a little of the punisher inside us.

I’m not passive aggressive, I’m actively aggressive. I do not shy away from confrontation. To me, passive aggression is a form of punishment. You say everything’s okay, when you think it’s not. You avoid direct confrontation, then pout, procrastinate, or fail to complete the task you were asked to do. Ugh! Don’t punish everyone. Just say no next time.

When I’ve punished, I’ve felt unheard or misunderstood, so I didn’t feel like rewarding that behavior with my time, attention or affection.
Disappointment is the worst. “I will make you pay!” 
“You get no Janet love!”
But what made me think that bad behavior would get me my desired results? Again, it is a false sense of power, who’s unstable foundation is fear and insecurity. There’s so many of those, and they wamboozel us. Remember ultimatums?
What made me think I could be a bitch to you, and THAT would make you do what I ask…or want me more?

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say it stems from my childhood. (Gasp)
[Cue the cheesy organ music from the old soap operas] I’m certain I saw it as a child. The silent treatment. We screwed up and mom’s not talking to us. Uh oh.

“Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children do better, first we have to make them feel worse? Think of the last time you felt humiliated or treated unfairly. Did you feel like cooperating or doing better?” 
― Jane Nelsen

Right?! I’ve REALLY grasped that concept as I’ve reached my 50’s. No need for public humiliation. No need to “find fault.” Ohhhh that’s another one. I had a boss, that when something went wrong; before we problem solved and tried to fix it, we had to all stand there and figure out whose fault it was. All two, maybe three of us.

Mistakes are made, people mess up, feelings get hurt, stuff gets broken (sorry mom) and now I for one, will be trying my damnedest to hang up my punisher hat.
You know, the one with the bright red: “I’m always right” on the front.
How about you?


Are you a punisher? Do you know someone who is? I’ve confessed, Don’t leave me hangin’
Let me know in the comments below.

  • Laura says:


    Before I make a comment specific to this post, let me say that although we’ve just met, I f***ing love you! I tried to say so at your “About…” area, but couldn’t do so for some unknown “techno” reason. It could be me; I was up way past my bedtime last night having a “Live Chat” with a Skype rep. Quite a charming fellow, I must say, and he handily solved all of my problems. (Well, with Skype, anyway…)

    A therapist told me this years ago: “Somewhere along the line you acquired the belief that if you do something that feels good to you, you will be punished.” This meant that not only had I been punished, but I had internalized “The Punisher,” so I was able to give myself nasty consequences for joy, achievements, having fun, etc., etc. I refuse to say this was an “Aha!” moment for me (I’m punishing Oprah.), so I’ll just say it was a “Holy SH**” revelation. I took those words to heart and have worked hard; now I’m merely my own worst critic, so I’m busy rewriting my inner dialogue. Self acceptance isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s the only way to move forward happily and the rewards are endless. I’m IN!

    Thank you for being here in the blogosphere and providing delicious slices of your own life, served with great wit and wisdom. I’ve noticed I have lots to say, as you’ve mentioned, especially since I turned 60 last year while kicking cancer’s ass. I’m glad I finally silenced my inner critic enough to put my words into print, in public.

    So nice to “meet” you!

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