E,  Self care,  Special Topics,  Thinking

Violence Changes People

FEMA 5618 (9-11 SAR Dogs)
(FEMA 5618 9-11 SAR Dogs. Photo credit: smiteme)

That night, I gave a talk to a group of businesswomen.  The topic was probably supposed to be how they could help victims of domestic violence.

I don’t think I was able to do that but I was apparently able to use our collective shock and disbelief as the basis for a pretty competent talk about what happens to people when they experience random violence. It changes them.  It changed me.

I spent part of the next day with my grandfather.  The national tragedy broke his heart.  He said he couldn’t imagine anything worse. He gave up, let go, and left us a few days later.

[bctt tweet=”What happens to people when they experience random violence…” username=”AndreaPatten”]

When I went home it was to a man who was angry at the rest of us for ‘making such a big deal out of this thing.’ I shouldn’t have been surprised: he was always angry about something.

Violence changes people.  It changed me.

[bctt tweet=”Violence changes people.  It changed me.” username=”AndreaPatten”]

I no longer work in the field of child abuse and domestic violence: I had shut down and become a less effective human being. I am committed to doing things that work.

I wrote a book for parents — positive, uplifting, supportive.

My work now has to do with different ways to help people prepare for and respond to life’s ‘ups and downs.’ To be more resilient. More solution-focused. To think differently. To be themselves and to turn up the volume.

I got single in a hurry. I stayed that way for a long time. I created a single life that I loved. Quiet. Creative. Violence-free.

[bctt tweet=”I try to do things that bring joy and add value.” username=”AndreaPatten”]

I try to be more aware and more congruent — to do things that bring joy and add value. I do not view that as selfish but as necessary if I am going to improve anything for anyone else.

And when I wonder if I’m headed down the right road I think about how often the Dalai Lama laughs.

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