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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings


Earlier when working out—using the power of a male-driven society through the exploitation of physical strength—my shuffled music produced Kendrick Lamar’s song “FEAR.” from his Pulitzer Price-winning album DAMN.

For those unfamiliar with the joint, I’ll provide lyrics to the verse I’d like to highlight:

I beat yo’ ass, keep talkin’ back

I beat yo’ ass, who bought you that?

You stole it, I beat yo’ ass if you say that game is broken

I beat yo’ ass if you jump on my couch

I beat yo’ ass if you walk in this house

With tears in your eyes, runnin’ from Poo Poo and Prentice

Go back outside, I beat yo’ ass, lil’ nigga

That homework better be finished, I beat yo’ ass

Your teachers bet’ not be bitchin’ ‘bout you in class

That pizza bet’ not be wasted, you eat it all

That TV bet’ not be loud if you got it on

Them Jordans bet’ not get dirty when I just bought ‘em

Bet’ not hear ‘bout you humpin’ on Keisha’s daughter

Bet’ not hear you got caught up

I beat yo’ ass, you bet’ not run to your father

I beat yo’ ass, you know my patience runnin’ thin

I got buku payments to make

County building’s on my ass, tryna take my food stamps away

I beat yo’ ass if you tell them social workers he live here

I beat yo’ ass if I beat yo’ ass twice and you still here

Seven years old, think you run this house by yourself?

Nigga, you gon’ fear me if you don’t fear no one else

Picture a child. Picture a seven-year-old child. Think of a mother. Think of abuse. Think of an abusive mother. Imagine a child being abused by a mother.

I’m not alleging that Kendrick Lamar’s mother is or was abusive. I’m merely envisioning what an abusive mother may look like and considering what a small child may experience through sustained abuse.

Can you picture it?

Set aside the rhetoric you’ve likely heard about “toxic masculinity,” “patriarchy & power,” and the engagement of “men and boys in primary prevention” of male violence. Are you able to fathom how women, too, can be toxic, powerful, and violent?

Picture a child, a seven-year-old child.

What level of physical aggression is appropriate for a kid who talks back to a parent? A slap on the buttocks? An open-fist strike to the face? Perhaps a closed-fist strike to the abdomen, as not to leave a readily visible mark?

Suppose the child says his game is broken or he’s caught jumping on a couch. What act of violent aggression is warranted? An ass-whooping? An ass-beating?

Picture a seven-year-old boy.

For walking through the house while fleeing violence from other children, is violence perpetrated against the child in turn a reasonable response? Is a standard of, “You fled violence so I’m going to be violent with you,” in any way justifiable to you?

Are you still thinking of that young boy? Is it uncommon for children not to finish homework, talk in class, waste food, play the TV at a higher volume than preferable, or to dirty their shoes?

Is hostile behavior towards a kid for simply being a kid something you condone? Do you simply bob your head to the beat, laugh due to reminiscence of a shared experience, or shrug off abuse as acceptable in certain cases?

Picture that seven-year-old.

Is curiosity about a little girl in the neighborhood abnormal? Is it cause for beating the little boy’s ass? What message is communicated when evoking such fear over sexuality?

Think of an abusive mother.

What excuse for her behavior do you offer as she threatens the boy for fleeing to his father when being struck? Is patience worn thin the justifiable reasoning you propose?

Does projection of the woman’s problems with social assistance warrant beatings? Is secrecy from authority figures outside the home something that may perpetuate the cycle of violence within a home?

Are you still thinking of that abusive mother? Does battering a child for being in the presence of his batterer serve as just cause for additional beatings simply because the kid had the audacity not to disappear?

What do you think about a mother declaring that the child will fear her if no one else? What comes to mind when you imagine a seven-year-old boy being abused by his mother?

Do you think of a psychotherapist who writes subpar blog entries?

For some, we don’t have to brainstorm too hard in order to picture the violence depicted in “FEAR.” Some of us lived through it. Instilled fear knows no particular sex or gender. Picture that.

If you or someone you know experienced abuse in childhood and are now haunted by the shadows of remembered violence, you aren’t alone. Would you like to know how I dealt with my shadows?

Albert Ellis, creator of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), once said, “The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”

I’ve used REBT in my own life to shine a light on shadows from the past. Fear doesn’t have to consume you. The past doesn’t have to weigh on every fiber of your being. There is hope.

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

As a psychotherapist, and hip hop head from the old school, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW


Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-based Violence. (n.d.). Patriarchy & power. Retrieved from

Enriquez, A. (2021, October 25). Q. How does fair use work for book covers, album covers, and movie posters? Penn State. Retrieved from

Flood, M. (2014, November). 27 Preventing male violence. Oxford Textbook of Violence Prevention: Epidemiology, Evidence, and Policy. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, March 25). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Ixnay on the Hombre. (2017, August 28). Kendrick Lamar – Fear [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from

Morin, A. (2022, September 10). What is toxic masculinity? Verywell Mind. Retrieved from

Nemko, M. (2016, August 19). On an Albert Ellis quote. Psychology Today. Retrieved from

Sinedgfx. (n.d.). Kendrick-Lamar [Image]. Retrieved from

Unbiased Katie. (2021, March 19). Dear men: Stop working out. Only Feminists. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Albert Ellis. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Damn (Kendrick Lamar album). Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Kendrick Lamar. Retrieved from

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