Reflections from my Barn Cat on Circular Conflict

When you engage in circular conflict with toxic people, you actually teach them how to beat you.

Our new kitten is bouncing around on the floor, literally tormenting a daddy long legs. She bats it, throws it, mouths it, and slings it around. As I’m watching her “practice” hunt I considered stopping her, but remembered she needs hunting practice to become a skilled mouser.

Then I thought about our adult cat who has been attacking the kitten 2-3 times per day. It’s like a switch gets flipped and she goes from existing in our space to full on psycho killer mode, growling, spitting, and yelling as cats do. Puffed tails, lingering tension, that’s what our Biscottina does to the kitten.

AI art made by me, Catherine Wilder, on OpenAI.

She’s going to be a strong barn cat, I thought, before laughing at the irony of the big cat literally training the little cat to fight and be strong. She is raising and manifesting an enemy out of another cat by constantly attacking and fighting with her.

And then I realized that’s exactly what I did. I spent a decade of my life fighting with someone, in an attempt to control my experience of them. I showed them my weaknesses and taught them how I work. I gave them every opportunity to become skilled and proficient at fighting me, specifically.

Our sweet kitten in this story has gone missing. So I decided to publish it in honor of her and the lessons her short journey with us brought. Living in the forest is hard. You cannot turn your back for a moment, or let your guard down. Coyotes, birds of prey, feral hogs, big cats, I could go on. Love you Stella, thanks for being the sweetest kitten I’ve ever known.

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Reflections from my Barn Cat on Circular Conflict

When you engage in circular conflict with toxic people, you actually teach them how to beat you.

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