December 14, 2012

The Universe is Talking


I swear I feel like every time I turn on my computer, there is a suicide headline.  Worse, half of them seem to involve homicides, where the sociopath first takes down a family member, or a group of kindergarteners, for Christ’s sake, before ending his own life.

I’m reminded of the crazed look on my sister’s face that fateful day, when big darling and I came barreling down the street after learning that Dave had shot himself.  She was out of her mind, because until she saw me, she hadn’t known whether he had killed me too.

I often wonder if he did think about killing me.  Did it cross his mind?  Did he ponder killing all of us?  Or just himself?  How many times were we in the same room together, maybe even conversing, and he was consumed with thoughts of carrying out his plan?  Did he hug me for the last time and think, “This is the last time I will hug my wife?”  Why didn’t he tell the children goodbye?  He let big darling just walk out the door…didn’t even tell him 'bye.  He didn’t tell me goodbye either.  Because he was a fucking sociopath.  And let me tell you something….I’m a pretty smart mutha…but I DID NOT KNOW THIS.  This, my friends, is scary.  Normally, this would make me feel pretty stupid.  Except that too many of my friends have been involved in similar circumstances.  Dating someone, or even married to someone, all the while NOT KNOWING that this person had a whole ‘nother life going on.

I hate to attack men right now, but I’ma have to…because it’s the fucking men who do it.  They kill themselves WAY more than women do.  They kill others WAY more than women do.  There are FAR FAR LESS women serial killers and very few women child molesters.  It’s not women shooting up malls and kindergarten classes.  It’s MEN.

Now, big daddies, don’t go all cray cray on me.  I fully understand that the majority of you are about as close to normal as we can master as a species.  But WHAT IN THE HELL is wrong with the remainder of you?  How does this go SO HORRIBLY WRONG?

I’ve arrived at the conclusion recently that the single most important thing in all the world is called STRESS ADAPTATION.  I just made that phrase up.  How do we respond to stress?  Because the truth is that stress isn’t ever going to go away.  It’s here to stay.  Some of us can let shit roll off our backs.  Some of us pick up guns and massacre kindergarteners.  WHY?  I NEED TO KNOW WHY!!  I need to know how my husband could have the balls to aim a .38 special at his chest and pull the trigger.  I need to know how that crazed Colorado killer could walk into that theater and kill innocent people.  I need to know why a handful of NFL players have killed themselves and their girlfriends recently.  I need to know why I have legions of readers who are in the same God forsaken predicament that I am in.  They’re widows.  SUICIDE WIDOWS.  Their children have no fathers.  WHY????

Theories abound.  The kids were not spanked.  Were not disciplined.  Were not loved.  They played video games.  They did drugs.  They didn’t pray.  They were narcissistic.  They were depressed.  Pick one…any one.  Because I’m not sure it even matters.  It could be one or none of any of those things….or….it could be….these people never leaned COPING SKILLS.

It has occurred to me, as I enter midlife, that I possess the ability to train my brain.  All along I have assumed that the whole world operated this way.  For example, if I don’t like something, I change it.  Don’t like my thoughts, I change them.  Don’t like my behavior, I change it.  Don’t want to smoke anymore, I quit.  Don’t want to be sad, I kick myself in the arse and get happy.

How do I do this?  I simply declare it.  I stay alert.  I am alert to the subtlest of a shift.  You can’t wait until you’re a psychopath.  All day every day we gently ebb and flow.  The audio tape plays in your head.  What does it say? 

Remember how researchers used to suggest playing a tape with all the answers to your science test under your pillow at night.  Your subconscious would absorb it, they said.  True or not?  Who knows?  I was never interested in sleeping with a hard tape recorder under my head.

But there is a tape playing in your head every day.  It tells you that you are hungry or full.  Cold or hot.  Energized or fatigued.  Listen a little more closely and pay attention to what is being played repeatedly.  Do you have many anxious thoughts about one of your kids?  What is the thought?  Do you have many frustrating thoughts about your spouse?  What are the thoughts?  Why are you ignoring them?  You can’t let the tape play on for months and months without acknowledging it...this 'voice' which is YOUR EMOTIONS.  You can’t keep burying them.  The tape is playing for a reason.  Is yours screeching? Is the volume on 11?  Why are you ignoring it?

The tape will tell you that you smoke too much.  Drink too much.  Jerk off too much.  It will tell you that your kids are sad, mad or bad.  How loud does it have to be for you to hear it?  What exactly needs to happen before you take action?  Why do you ignore the emotional channel, yet satisfy your physical craving for food or water or a blanket or a nap?  Because your emotional health is no less important.

My tape recorder is set with the volume low.  Because I listen.  I’m paying attention.  My eyes are open.  My ears are open.  My heart is open.  The universe is talking to me every day.  I’m listening.  Are you? 

32 comments:

  1. Amen! I think the hardest thing to deal with is wondering "why" and knowing you won't get an answer, even if there is one. Some things are so far beyond my ability to comprehend.... today's massacre of little kids is well beyond it. So sad.

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  2. Very powerful words. As far as coping skills go - I think we've been told and shown enough over the years that no one else gives a crap about our well being. If we are lucky, we may have a very small group that actually does care if we are hot or cold, hungry etc. When we have issues with others, a lot of people internalize it because we have come to be, as a society, self-centered and scared of others reactions/views of us. We need to love each other more and ourselves a little less. There is no explaining crazy - doctors have tried for decades without any success. You know why there are fewer female killers - because we are naturally caring, nurturing individuals (motherly). We are in tune with the universe on a level we may never notice or understand - but we do understand everything has a consequence. And we go through our lives looking at others as "some one's baby" even when that person is our age and acting a fool.

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  3. Exactly what I have been thinking of all day. I seriously love looking at your posts. You are someone to look up to. I am a young mother and I admire your strength. Please write a book, I will buy 100 copies :)

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  4. Here are a few of the MANY Female Serial Killers our world has endured to date:
    1. Juana “La Mataviejitas” Barraza. She killed at least 10 (and possibly as many as 40) by strangling them with such force that blood oozed from their ears. Her victims were elderly women.
    2. Marie Noe. She admittedly smothered 4 of her small children to death. When asked about her 4 other dead children, she stated she wasn't sure what had happened to them.
    3. Beverly Allitt. While working as a pediatric nurse, she is responsible for the murders of 4 children in her care.
    4. Susan Smith. Killed her two small boys by running her car into water- after she conveniently exited the vehicle herself.
    5. Andrea Yates. She killed her 5 children by drowning them, deliberately and methodically, one after another in the bathtub.

    Maybe it's time for you to put down your glass of wine and do your homework before saying "there are no women serial killers" and blaming today's tragic school shooting on "you F**KING MEN". I have enjoyed reading your posts, have been saddened by what has happened to your family, and have applauded your efforts at finding a sense of humor again. However, this post sickens me. Today's tragedy isn't about YOU or what has happened to YOU. You owe your readers, and men in general, an apology.

    Writing Pad Dad

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    1. The percentage of female serial killers is FAR FAR LESS than males. Period. I agree I shouldn't have sad 'there are no women serial killers'...but let's get real here. More men kill. No one can dispute that. If you think I'm trying to take this tragedy and make it about ME, then all I can say is sorry that either read something into it or misunderstood the intent. That wasn't my intent. I don't feel I owe anyone an apology, especially men in general, since I very clearly said that 90% of men don't possess these evil tendencies. You can google and argue with me over percentages all day too....I am guilty of grabbing numbers out of the sky to make my point. However, my point still stands. Unless you're in that small percentage of weirdo evil man category, I don't see why you're offended. Peace.

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    2. You owe no one an apology. The First Amendment rocks my world. Keep writing your truth, and never, ever apologize.

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    3. As a man and father to a small son, I think taking yesterday's tragedy as an opportunity to point the finger "at you f**cking men" is unhelpful and in poor taste. Period.
      Writing Pad Dad

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    4. More killers are men. Sandy Hook, Columbine, the theatre killing in Colorado, all the college killings in the last decade, etc. all have one thing in common. A MALE PULLED THE TRIGGER. You are choosing to feel threatened or bashed by this reality. I'm just making an observation. I already said twice that I don't feel all men are evil killers. I have a dad and brothers and three sons. I'm not expecting them to start bloody massacres. And, I'm also the VICTIM of a psychotic killer. You've a right to your own opinion, which is, I assume, that I should not dare say "fucking men killers". But your opinion doesn't change the facts (more men kill) or that I happen to notice it and then say it out loud and publish it because I'm a blogger. I say alot of shit that no one says. I won't apologize for that. If you're not an evil man killer, why do you care that I'm pointing out that more men kill? Every person who watched this horrible tragedy unfold wants to know how to stop it. Every one is exclaiming at once, "What the fuck is going on?!" I'm making an observation. I'm sorry you're offended by it but what I said is still true. More men kill. I don't see that as being unhelpful. As far as it being in poor taste, well, 'there's no accounting for taste,' as they say. The world comes in many flavors. Stop lickin it if you don't like it! ;)

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    5. Obviously, my earlier comments must have had more merit than you are giving me credit for since you updated your post and considerably softened what you originally said. I appreciate the changes you made and your point about us listening to our emotional tapes is shining through!

      Writing Pad Dad

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    6. Justin, I give you full credit for steering me into a somewhat softer position. My intent was never to attack all men...but to point out that men kill more. This is an emotionally charged subject for me. I've always been one to question WHY...and after Dave's suicide my awareness and interest has only been intensified.

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    7. I so appreciate you being open to what I had to say (and agreeing to publish it. Sometimes that's hard for me to do on my own blog!). Between running after my son, blogging, and cleaning up dog vomit off the couch (again), I have been reading more of your previous posts (you originally had me hooked with your "Things Wrong With Christmas" post http://seriouslythisreallyhappened.blogspot.com/2012/12/things-wrong-with-christmas.html). It's not Jesus you hate, it's his party. Hilarious! Anyway, in reading your posts I have a lot more understanding about where you are coming from. You are an excellent writer and should REALLY pull all of this into a book!
      Writing Pad Dad

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  5. Random stat: Women attempt more, men succeed more. Why? Because the number 1 way women attempt suicide is pills. Some hang themselves, others slit their wrists, but more than likely, it's pills. Usually, they don't take enough or someone manages to find them before the pills go into full affect. Men often use more lethal methods--like a gun, or hanging. Sooo.. with that said...

    I've had a very hard time today wrapping my brain around "Why?" I can understand on some crazy, warped level, why so many crimes occur from a psychological stand point. Right or wrong doesn't matter, the point is, I get it. I can explain chronic depression, schizophrenia, and many other diseases (disclaimer: I'm not saying that what they did is justifiable or that I agree, think they're innocent, etc--just that I can distance myself and understand why it happened). This...this I do not understand. When I had that realization, something in my brain, literally, broke. I heard it snap. It was the strangest feeling--I was brain-dead for hours. To know that parents will not get the answers they deserve, to know that 9 days before the biggest day of the year (for most kids), their lives were taken by a grown-ass man, is mind-boggling sad. I wish I could hug the parents. I wish that they could have the justice they deserve. I wish I could tell them why this happened. But I can not, and it hurts my soul.

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  6. I think the reason it's always men who seem to do these things is the same reason that as boys they think that the best way to solve an argument is to punch each other. They disagree, they hit each other, then they're best mates again. Is it any wonder that it escalates for some of them to that point, when we don't make sure their teenage selves know it's the wrong way to deal?

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  7. I hope to teach this to my stepsons so it doesn't take them until they are in their 40s (like me) to realize how much control we actually possess over ourselves.

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  8. My personal opinion (and really, we all have one, so mine is nothing but a grain of sand in the universe)is women are the fountain of life. We make, create, incubate life at the very beginning. It goes against every womanly instinct to take life. We protect it at all costs. Not just our own children, either. Those teachers yesterday.. I'd be willing to bet they gave their very own lives to try to protect those sweet, innocent children that other women gave life to. We preserve, and persevere. It's what we do. It's what we are. It's why you still stand, and come here and nurture all of us. Women are fucking amazing.

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  9. As a former social worker that investigated child abuse (now stay-at-home dad) I would tend to blame society on the way men handle stress. It never ceased to amaze me how many people I would visit and the message to young boys was "don't cry" or "be a man" or something similar.

    Society places a lot of pressure on boys today. They are told it's not okay to show their emotions and in some cases not to feel anything at all. As these boys get older they don't know how to handle various circumstances. They are taught it's not okay to seek help or find a resolution.

    Look at our media and the way it often portrays dads (and men by proxy). Dads are shown as bumbling idiots with little thought or care for there children. Men are often shown as "macho" with little emotions or thoughts. I would ask is this the role models we want our children to have? I would answer no but others feel differently because they are still making the vast majority of shows with this in mind.

    Now am I saying that the young man that did the horrendous act has no responsibility? Hell no! The responsibility still belongs to him but I question if society as a whole doesn't play a role. We have gun laws that evidently don't work, society itself has become more distant and self-centered and many people believe males shouldn't show emotions of any type.

    In my opinion, we need to look at everything and find out the reasons we aren't discovering someone is in trouble or going to do something horrendous until it's too late.

    I will add that attitudes are changing somewhat about men being and emotions or as a stay-at-home dad but it is an uphill battle. I have been asked on more than one occasion why I stay home with my son, accused of defying god's plan and told something must be wrong with me because I stay home. I guess for now I will just hold my son a little tighter and closer (he is only three). I will continue to monitor what he see's and who he interacts with, teach him he can show emotions and try to be the best dad and role model I can be.

    Aaron

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    1. Thank you Justin! I appreciate that!

      Aaron :)

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    2. Aaron, I will take your words to heart as I raise my sweet six-year-old boy. I was volunteering in his classroom Friday morning and today he told me that after I left, he cried. I asked what his teacher said when she saw him crying, and he said that she told him, "you have to stop crying." This made me so sad. I told him he can always cry if he needs to. I told him it made me happy that he cried when I left, not because I want him to be sad, but because it shows me how much he loves me, and it makes me feel special to know he loves me enough to cry when I have to leave him. His face absolutely lit up when I told him that! I know his teacher didn't mean anything by her words, she's actually a wonderful teacher... but it got me thinking about this very topic - how boys are taught to suppress, how they're not supposed to feel, much less SHOW emotion. I wasn't sure if I said the right thing to my son, but after reading your comment, Aaron, I think I said exactly the right thing.

      -Kristen

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  10. Aaron, I might have a li'l crush on you. Thank you for your eloquent response, which I believe is dead on. This subject just hits close to home for me, hence my emotionally charged post...directed at 'men', which has no doubt offended a few. But having lived with a man who just woke up one day and killed himself a few yards away from our children, how can I not question WHY? I get the whole testosterone thing...we are different beings...this is true. But we are no longer cavemen. This is why I hated the Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus series, because it seemed to substantiate that men hiding out in a man cave and not speaking should be considered normal and acceptable. Perhaps there was a purpose for the behavior in the neadertal days...but how is it relevant today? My husband never admitted being depressed until he wrote the suicide letter. This despite that I asked him daily if he was depressed and badgered him to get help. I know I'm generalizing saying "men are killers" because the reality is that these issues go much deeper. White males are serial killers, while African American males are generally not. African American males tend to kill one another more frequently when in dispute, while white males typically don't. Females kill their own children, but usually not other people's children. I think our SOCIETY plays a large part in determining why or how these scenarios exist.

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    1. WOW! You gave me chills! Very thoughtful points! Well said, and well taken! :)

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    2. Agreed! We should never stop questioning about the actions of others. My hope is as long as we continue to question in a positive manner we can make changes for our children and their future. Like you, I understand that men and women are different but we have to have find common grounds to come together too (I was never a fan of the Men Are from Mars...Women Are From Venus either).

      What happened in Connecticut was senseless and people will never have all of the answers but maybe we can try to stop anything else from ever happening. Life is far too short for any of us as it is. Thank you for your wonderful response.

      Aaron :)

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  11. I am so glad you altered this blog post. I read your orginal post and then came back later to comment. I am so glad I reread it before commenting! You have softened your tone toward men (thank you).

    I think that men tend to act big and tough, but many of their emotional wounds are from tongue lashings from women and the media.

    I think some women just say what they want to the men in their lives, and they think that it won't leave a mark.

    Our own media makes men look like bumbling idiots compared to their "evolved" wives.

    We (ladies) need to be careful about the attitudes we portray to the men around us, especially those of us married to or raising males.

    Every human being adds to the emotional tape (or inner voice) of the people around them. I think my whole point in this commenting here is this, "We all need to choose our words carefully, because your audible voice can become someone else's inner voice"

    The whole emotional tape thing was well said.



    I know that this topic resonates deeply for you. A man picked up a gun and caused pain. That is going to cause a huge tug at your heart.

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    1. Looking at how we are raising males is a super point! Clearly, something is going wrong somewhere along the line.
      Writing Pad Dad

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    2. "Every human being adds to the emotional tape (or inner voice) of the people around them."

      Very good point to remember.

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  12. All I want to add to this that I didn't see mentioned in the comments (sorry if it was and I just missed it), is that people with mental illnesses do not have that voice in their head telling them that something is wrong. They can't "listen" and know what their mind is saying to them, because the are sick.

    People don't just decide one day to kill themselves or to kill a classroom full of kindergarteners. That is something that is brewing in their minds long before it actually manifests itself into action.

    I understand that your husband's suicide seemed sudden and I trust that you did ask him constantly if he was depressed or if he needed help, but perhaps he wasn't aware of the severity of his sadness because he was that sick. No one decides to do that kind of thing on a whim.
    I have read your story since the beginning and rarely comment, but this subject just gets to my core.

    Mental illness is what causes these people to do these things. And I'm not talking about the gun violence between young males in this country that usually does arise over disputes, but I am referring to these monsters who shoot up movie theaters and schools and who decide to kill themselves in their own homes.
    These men are sick, and for whatever reason, they did not receive the help they needed. But we cannot always blame the families of these killers, because as you said, you tried to help your husband, and he insisted he didn't need help.

    Some of them cannot be helped, but I believe most can, and that most of these awful tragedies could have been prevented; especially in the instances where the killers were young enough that their parents were in the picture.

    I think a problem we have as parents is the inability to admit that there is something very wrong with our children. I think a lot of parents have an incredibly difficult time with acceptance and denial, and that is the cause of a lot of mentally ill people slipping through the cracks.
    I think parents of mentally ill kids think that it's a phase or that their kid would never be capable of killing someone. That would be an almost impossible thing to admit to oneself. Hell, I have a hard time admitting to my husband that my son has behavioral problems. I can't imagine knowing that my child is a sociopath and having to admit and accept it. I'd want to do everything I could to prevent him having to be committed and isolated and made to feel abandoned.

    There is no way that this kid who killed those babies in CT had no warning signs. His mother had to know something at some point, and maybe she did. Maybe she tried to help him, but he didn't want the help.

    Who knows? We may never know really, but we are human and we always want answers to these kinds of things. We have a hard time just accepting that it happened because a mentally ill kid finally reached the end of his rope.
    There may be no one to blame except the gunman and his mental illness, which is surely the main culprit. Why it wasn't being treated is a mystery, but it definitely played a role; because no sane person commits such a horrific act.

    Love and light to you.

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  13. I guess it's hard to accept that evil exists, as the absence of good, just as darkness is the absence of light. Why some people turn to the dark side is a mystery, but it is a fact of human history. I believe we are engaged in a spiritual battle here, and no amount of laws , restrictions,or prisons will ever change the fact that some people do terrible things that we cannot understand.

    As CS Lewis and others have said, the devil's greatest accomplishment is convincing people he does not exist. The analysis of this school shooting by the secular media seeks to find an answer within earthly realms, like psychology, when this is just as likely an act of unspeakable evil.

    Kat E. Chism

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  14. I try to be like this as much as possible, I don't always succeed but I never give up trying, really great post!!!

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  15. my husband died a week ago in a hotel room surrounded by his pain meds. Your posts are helping me so much. Things were chaotic in our home and marriage before this happened, not that many people knew the extent of what was really going on.

    I am surprised by how many different people have said to me that they are relieved that he did not hurt me and our children. Outside of our home my husband was successful and well liked, but somehow people thought he was capable of hurting his family - how much of that is simply because he is a man, I'm not sure. The people closest to us knew he was a sociopath and have told me as much. Thank you for making it ok for me to embrace that diagnosis and for it to bring me an ounce of comfort.

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  16. I have four boys. I would love for them to Not be like their dads. Yes 2. And every day I try to give them the love and guidance and moral standards that I can do foreach boy that I can...at least with all the false media out there, we know that most of these serial killers had many traits in common. I look at my kids all the time and give as much hugs ands kisses and magic moments that my brain and body will allow because never forget that one thing that all those evil people have in common; they were once all cute smiling happy bouncing baby boys....something somewhere went terribly wrong...

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