There’s been a few high profile cases of domestic violence in New Zealand recently (see Veitch opens up over violence shame and Ex-partner tells of fight with Fox). I don’t want to comment on these here (except to congratulate our Prime Minister with her balanced statement that “it is never right to hit your husband or wife”).
No, I want to raise an issue which must be relevant to many New Zealand households. This is the constant taunting and ridicule, the frustration of individual ambitions and pleasure, even the destruction of one’s honest attempts at creativity which is a common experience for many of us. Its this sort of constant provocation which can cause people to ‘lash out’ – and for most of us there is no-one to turn to for help.
Even when the situation doesn’t precipitate actual physical violence victims of this provocation can suffer emotional damage as a result of constant feelings of frustration – even rage.
I’m talking, of course, about rage resulting from technical provocation by some of today’s household devices.
Who hasn’t thrown their TV, video or DVD recorder remote across the room? How many of us have actually lashed out and physically attacked the TV set or recorder?
Even worse, in my experience, is the continual provocation of the home computer. How often do we lose information, carefully and painfully entered over a period, to a computer ‘crash’? And there’s no one to turn to. Has anyone tried to contact Microsoft for help with their operating system. At least at work there is the IT department. And if you have problems with your spouse you can get counselling. But with the home computer you are on your own.
The most recent straw which almost broke the camel’s back for me was the latest Windows XP security update. These happen automatically – the problem is that this one automatically prevented any further contact with the internet. Restores to return to the pre-update setup were inevitably followed by re-installation of the update and re-isolation from the internet. No information was forthcoming from Microsoft – and my attempts to get online help (after each restore) was an exercise in circular frustration.
Boy, was I ready to ‘lash out’. However, after a week I got a message from ZoneAlarm who produce my virus anf firewall security software: “Microsoft Update KB951748 is known to cause loss of internet access for ZoneAlarm users on Windows XP/2000. “
OK, the updated version of ZoneAlarm resolved the programme – but not before the experience had wrecked extreme emotional damage on me. I can no longer trust my operating system.
And I am that much closer to ‘lashing out’ when the next provocation occurs.
It could mean divorce
I’m seriously considering a divorce. I’ve been eyeing up an iMac lately. It look so smart. It responds much more quickly than my old system and it has a reputation of being more caring – not resorting to the constant taunting and provocations of my current operating system.
Still, I wonder if I’m doing the right thing. After all there is so much invested in my current relationship. Despite the provocations of WindowsXP I know how to use it and am aware of its problems. I’m not young and silly anymore. I know that a new relationship means risks. There will be a new learning curve. And I am sure that the iMac OS will have its own problems. I may be opening myself up to whole new set of provocations and emotional damage.
I need some counselling on this issue. But who is there out there who can be objective when it comes to such important relationships?