Fear and Loathing

Posted: August 26, 2014 in General
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Some recent events in my personal life have led me to a bit of clarity with a topic I do not understand very well, fear.  I am not going to make the manly boast that I am never afraid or that I have never felt fear, that would be an outright lie.  Everyone at some point gets afraid, even doing something they are an expert in, it happens.  I have my share of irrational fears too: snakes, deep water, and I have had a run in or two with claustrophobia that I needed to overcome.  I personally see nothing irrational about my fear of snakes, sneaky little deadly creatures all need to die.  I have never had a life-threatening deep water experience to substantiate my fear so  that one is a bit irrational, but I do prefer to not be at the lower end of the food chain.  Tight, DARK, spaces and I have a love-hate relationship, but a little mental preparedness and a few deep breathing exercises have allowed me to move beyond a fear I did not know I had until just a few years ago.  I have been a Paratrooper for 20 years now and have had my fair share of “oh shit” moments.  I have also traipsed across some of the most dangerous places to be an American during that time frame, so I am quite accustom to fear and what it takes to move beyond and continue to operate with it.

The type of fear I am speaking of is the fear of another human being.  I do not mean this from my perspective, there are few if any people I am either afraid of even though I have a very healthy understanding of the potential for someone to destroy me in a physical confrontation.  Despite my regard for my own well-being, I cannot say that I am afraid of anyone.  Having said that what I just came to understand about myself is that I do not understand or know what it is to be abused and/or bullied.  Particularly to the point that someone will not take the steps to break that cycle or possess the wherewithal to stand up for themselves in the case of someone being bullied.

My natural tendency is to stand up for the bullied or the abused.  While my personal psyche tends towards ‘White Knight’ syndrome, I recently had an epiphany that I hope will allow me to look at and think of the victim or victims of this type of abusive situations a little differently than I have and maybe make my helping hand to them a little more successful in the future than I have in the past.  While I have no problem with the application of personal justice upon someone who would abuse someone they allege to love or directs their disdain for their own personal shortcomings and fears on those who cannot protect themselves just to make themselves feel better, I have probably not actually helped those victimized take that step that they need to in order to move themselves to a different place in their own lives.

I have never been victimized, never mind repeatedly, to the point that I am somewhat subjugated to the abuser.  I am wired differently and have never had the experiences they have.  As such my “suck it up and drive on” mentality is probably as unfathomable of a concept to them as their inability to simply move on is to me.  It may just be me, but now that it is readily apparent to me, it makes me think that maybe my desire to stick up for someone who needs it has not been as noble of an effort as I thought it was.  I still think it is right to stick up for and bring justice to those who need it, but I will approach how I view and offer advise to the victim quite a bit differently.

Empathy is not my strong suit, but I need realize that the best I can do is be there for them each time and lend that helping hand when they are ready to grasp it.  Pushing someone who is not ready will probably add to their hesitancy not make them more eager.  I would do anything for my family up to and including putting my life on the line for them.  I would probably, if faced with the situation do the same for a stranger.  I do know that I cannot force someone to do anything that they are not ready for, something they have not prepared themselves to do.  What I can do is not add to their burden with forcefulness, no matter how well intentioned, since that could possibly be seen as a reminder of what they are living on a daily basis anyway.

I am a believer that you can be victimized but not let that victimization determine how your life turns out.  There are countless examples of this every day.  I do understand that not everyone can move on and each thing that happens to someone has a different effect on them.  What one can handle someone else may not be able to, and we are all just one incident away from facing something that we are not able to handle or cope with.  I hope that should I ever become a victim that someone with way more wisdom and compassion than I possess is able to move me to the next phase and that I am strong enough to accept their generosity.

My initial thought process in reference to events in my personal life was to give a graphical demonstration as to the benefits of facing your fears by shoring up your backbone and the proper way to apply dimensional lumber to the head, thorax and lower extremities to a tyrant with a Napoleon complex and an uncanny ability to combine mental and physical distress to the point of normalcy into the life of someone who deserves much, much more.  While I welcome the opportunity to apply a judicious use of martial force, I recognize in what I can only call, a moment of maturity, that as gratifying as it may be to scratch this itch, it will only add badness to a less than stellar situation.  I do however feel better putting it into words.

I hope should I ever accept the opportunity to help someone who desperately needs it in the future that my moment of clarity stays true and that anyone I have ever tried to help before has not been hurt by my good intentions.  I have recognized something about my own character that I hope can allow me to be a better person and be better able to assist someone who needs it.


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