10.5 years later and survivor's guilt - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 32 Old 02-01-2012, 07:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
CatsCradle's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York City
Posts: 2,006
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I don't expect anyone to respond to this post, but I just need to write it out.  About 10.5 years ago, two towers in my city crashed to the earth and thousands of people died.  The morning that it happened, I was north of the city in a constitutional law class.  When I got back home, I had to clean a thick layer of dust from my window sills, and over the months I discovered various items in my apartment that were covered in a black, thick dust.  I knew what it was...that dust.  It is 10.5 years later and I'm still not over it.  Why doesn't the sadness go away?

 

My biggest problem with the whole situation is that I had the good fortune of living.  Another big problem is that I live in the minds of the deceased every day.  I didn't have to make the phone call, I didn't have to decide to jump.  But yet, I'm there, I'm thinking about it.  Every day I look out of my window in my tall office building and think:  I don't have to make that decision to jump.  And, I feel GUILTY.  It has been 10.5 years, and I think about it every day.  There are so many reasons why I could have been in the area at that time (my office was only a block from the site and someone in my office actually died in the collapse).  After all these years, the day and experience is still in living color to me.  I walk around the area and still "see" dust in the cracks in the sidewalk.  I am surrounded by ghosts.

 

I'm having trouble looking through any other lens than the lens of that experience, and I wasn't even a first-hand participant.  I didn't stand at the base of the towers, but I stared at the dust on my window sills.  I walked around in the haze and smoke of the murdered.  I walked around the shell of a place and look(ed) up into the blank sky where there was once steel and shadows.  My daily life is filled with constant reminders.  Every time a movie comes out about the experience, it seems super shallow to me even though I know the other person's experience and interpretation is valid.  

 

I've read about survivor's guilt.  I'm not a survivor in the sense that I actually survived a tragedy, but I feel like I was a reluctant witness.  I feel like I've been cleaning up ever since.  There is no peace yet.

 

Thanks for listening.  I haven't really talked about it all to anyone.


"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
CatsCradle is offline  
#2 of 32 Old 02-01-2012, 11:04 PM
 
zebra15's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 4,712
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)

hug2.gifI was 3k miles away that day and still feel guilt.  I still cry when I see images, cry when I see movies.  It's ok,  That was a horrible day and that day is something to remember and honor.  I can not imagine having to clean the dust for months on end

 

I know its many years later but have you gone through therapy?  Sometimes just talking about what you feel is a great relief and helps in processing the entire event.grouphug.gif


Mom to J and never-ending , 0/2014 items decluttered, 0/52 crafts crafts completed  crochetsmilie.gif homeschool.gif  reading.gif  modifiedartist.gif

Seeking zen in 2014.  Working on journaling and finding peace this year.  Spending my free time taking J to swimteam

zebra15 is offline  
#3 of 32 Old 02-02-2012, 07:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
CatsCradle's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York City
Posts: 2,006
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Thanks so much, Zebra.  I do think that writing it out was a good thing for me to do. 


"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
CatsCradle is offline  
#4 of 32 Old 02-02-2012, 07:56 AM
 
Bokonon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: San Diego
Posts: 2,975
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

hug2.gif  I was also 3000 miles away that day, but grew up in New Jersey, with friends and family still in and around NYC.  I felt so trapped that day because I wouldn't have been able to get "home" if I needed to.  I was fortunate that none of my loved ones died that day.  My experience is piddly compared to what you went through, but it affected me greatly and triggered a long, severe depression.  So I really can't imagine how hard it must be to have constant reminders of that horrible day as you and other New Yorkers are faced with.

 

I can't watch movies about it or even the footage from that day.  I don't want to relive it.  I don't know anyone who will ever forget.  I don't know that the trauma from that day will ever go away, especially when there are always new movies and TV specials about it and we are faced with the same horrific images over and over again.  You have my utmost sympathies for what you have gone through.  I was just thinking that there must be support groups for people like you, who didn't lose loved ones but are still grieving - there must be millions like you (not that that diminishes your experience by any means) who need to get this out too.

 

More hug2.gif.  I wish I had any wisdom about this, for you and for me.


A, jammin.gif mama to a boy (2005) and a girl (2009)
Bokonon is offline  
#5 of 32 Old 02-02-2012, 08:17 AM
 
CI Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 796
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I think this is why human beings need art. There are things that are too big and too overwhelming to understand through ordinary means. Art gives us tools for exploring and expressing things that are outside of our ordinary experiences.

 

Writing is a good place to begin. I find your words about your experience very moving. They are helpful to you, but they are also helpful to others (like me) who feel similar things that they haven't yet found a way to articulate.

 

Are there other expressive mediums that you can use to create a container for your experience?

 

I think some things we are not meant to "get over" or "forget" or "be at peace with." We just have to find ways to carry our grief and unease, and our awareness of that which is beyond the ordinary, and to see those things as gifts, not burdens.

 

Please keep sharing your experience with us.


Living in Wisconsin with my partner of 20+ years and our DDenergy.gif(Born 10/09/08 ribboncesarean.gif). Why CI Mama? Because I love contact improvisation!

CI Mama is offline  
#6 of 32 Old 02-02-2012, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
CatsCradle's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York City
Posts: 2,006
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Bokonon:  no experience is piddly, and I totally get what you're saying about the depression.  Sometimes I think that when things like this happen, it is impossible for us to process.  Intellectually, I've come to terms with it.  I understand the specifics, I've come to terms with the "whys."  Emotionally I can't deal.  I don't think proximity makes it worse necessarily.  I grieve for people that existed long ago in history, even before I was born.  I think it is the human condition to put one's self in the place of others and to experience their pain from afar.  Sometimes I think if one didn't feel these things, there is a disconnect that is foreign to me.

 

CI Mama:  thanks always for your thoughtful posts.  It's funny, but I'm a visual artist (the lawyer thing...that's just for retirement purposes...LOL), but art (visual and theatre) is the thing that ultimately motivates me.  It's interesting that you bring up expression and art, because it reminded me of the big controversy when Eric Fischl, the famed art star of the 80's here in NY, created a piece called "Falling Woman" (I think that was the title) in response to the tragedy, and people were outraged.  People thought it was highly inappropriate.  Oddly, I could see both sides:  the artist creating something which was his own reaction; the public who had not quite healed.  It's a catch-22.  

 

Sorry, I have to run but this discussion is so great for me.  Be back  soon.


"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
CatsCradle is offline  
#7 of 32 Old 02-02-2012, 07:14 PM
 
MrsGregory's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: The 'burbs of Central Texas.
Posts: 1,030
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I was 13 miles away that day, and I am still unable to put into words exactly what I feel.  But I am happy you came home.  I am happy for everyone that came home, and sorrowful for everyone that didn't.

 

What made you think about it today?  What made you write about it today?

 

hug2.gif


lovestory.gif   And on 09/23/2011, we were three;  husband, daughter, and me!

MrsGregory is offline  
#8 of 32 Old 02-02-2012, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
CatsCradle's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York City
Posts: 2,006
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsGregory View Post

I was 13 miles away that day, and I am still unable to put into words exactly what I feel.  But I am happy you came home.  I am happy for everyone that came home, and sorrowful for everyone that didn't.

 

What made you think about it today?  What made you write about it today?

 

hug2.gif


There's a new movie out:  "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close."  I haven't seen it yet but I've read plenty of reviews.  The posters are all over the subway system.  I haven't decided if I'm going to see it.  It is from the perspective of a child.  

 


"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
CatsCradle is offline  
#9 of 32 Old 02-02-2012, 09:26 PM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,676
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 67 Post(s)


Quote:

Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post

 

I've read about survivor's guilt.  I'm not a survivor in the sense that I actually survived a tragedy, but I feel like I was a reluctant witness.  I feel like I've been cleaning up ever since.  There is no peace yet.

 

 

 

you are a survivor.

 

and you live with it -- so many of us live where we can forget from time to time -- we can go about our day without seeing the reminders, without people missing, without it being quite so real.

 

You don't have that option. You are right there. Right now.

 

There are a lot of books on trauma and about how human beings process overwhelming events such as war or being victims of crime. It's possible that honoring that you have had a traumatic experience, that you ARE a survivor, may be the first step to processing all that has happened. 

 

You are right, what you went through isn't the same as what someone went through who was in one of the towers. It doesn't have to be for what you experienced to be Valid, or to require tremendous grace.
 

 

Spring Lily and Bokonon like this.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#10 of 32 Old 02-02-2012, 11:13 PM
 
Mama505's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 819
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Wow, so much that I'd like to write...

 

This is such a hard topic, I commend you for reaching out.  I watched from across the East River and this is probably the most I have said since.  Every time I try and talk about it, I feel like I am cheapening "it".  (Already) 

 

For me, at least, there is a cocktail of things... empathy, guilt, and this 'other thing'.  The other thing feels like a complete invasion of personal privacy (maybe like a burglary, but I don't know), but like something no one else can understand, not even the people who sat on the roof with me watching and crying.  I am not sure.  This is more than I have ever said before, and it is so unclear. 

 

I feel for you, and send you warmth. 

Mama505 is offline  
#11 of 32 Old 02-03-2012, 08:07 AM
 
MrsGregory's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: The 'burbs of Central Texas.
Posts: 1,030
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post


There's a new movie out:  "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close."  I haven't seen it yet but I've read plenty of reviews.  The posters are all over the subway system.  I haven't decided if I'm going to see it.  It is from the perspective of a child.  

 



Aha.  I think that movie looks beautiful and moving, but I don't know that I'll be watching itself, myself.  I'm sorry you're going through this, still, again, right now.  I wish peace for you.  hug2.gif


lovestory.gif   And on 09/23/2011, we were three;  husband, daughter, and me!

MrsGregory is offline  
#12 of 32 Old 02-03-2012, 01:59 PM
 
Nazsmum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: In the vine
Posts: 2,676
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)

I watched the plane hit the 2nd building. It is something I will never get out of my mind.

 

My friend was late for work that morning and worked in the towers. She would have been gone. So thankful for her being late.

 

I feel sad in Sept.  Matter of fact I HATE SEPT.

Nazsmum is online now  
#13 of 32 Old 02-03-2012, 02:19 PM
 
34me's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,473
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I grew up on LI and my dad worked in Manhattan most of my life.  On that day, the only reason that I switched on the TV is that one of the local football players snapped his leg in Monday Night Football the night before.  It affected me in a visceral way that I can't explain.  I lost several classmates, the mom of one, MIL of one so many associated.  One class mate was on maternaty leave so wasn't there that day but would have been if it was just a couple months earlier/later.  So from 2,000 miles away I grieved and no one got it.  I think what you are going through is totally understandable.

34me is offline  
#14 of 32 Old 02-03-2012, 02:22 PM
 
purslaine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 6,937
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

hug.gif

purslaine is offline  
#15 of 32 Old 02-03-2012, 02:46 PM
 
Imakcerka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 4,071
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)

That was such a yucky day.  DH and I still talk about it.  We fought on our way to work and that country song was on the radio "it's a great day to be alive".  We picked up breakfast drove onto Ft. Meade and an hour later we were the hub of all Gov't business in our small little building.  I remember wanding people in checking badges and guns.  16hrs Walking the perimeter as all of NSA emptied and us lone 12 were stuck guarding our area.  I didn't cry until I got home that night.  The day was so ugly.  People calling their wives and husbands at the pentagon.  I remember one guy literally falling to the ground in tears because he couldn't get ahold of his partner.  I hate that day and I hated everything that came after.  Everything changed. 

 

It doesn't matter where you were, everyone was affected.  We felt so helpless.  That's a horrible feeling in uniform. 

Imakcerka is offline  
#16 of 32 Old 02-04-2012, 07:55 PM
 
HappyHappyMommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 5,922
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post

I don't expect anyone to respond to this post, but I just need to write it out.  About 10.5 years ago, two towers in my city crashed to the earth and thousands of people died.  The morning that it happened, I was north of the city in a constitutional law class.  When I got back home, I had to clean a thick layer of dust from my window sills, and over the months I discovered various items in my apartment that were covered in a black, thick dust.  I knew what it was...that dust.  It is 10.5 years later and I'm still not over it.  Why doesn't the sadness go away?


...

 

I've read about survivor's guilt.  I'm not a survivor in the sense that I actually survived a tragedy, but I feel like I was a reluctant witness.  I feel like I've been cleaning up ever since.  There is no peace yet.

 

Thanks for listening.  I haven't really talked about it all to anyone.


OP, thank you for sharing. I think talking about the things that are difficult is a courageous thing to do and often helps a lot. And as you and other PPs have suggested writing and art can be very helpful. I think the events of September 11, 2001 affected many, many--in New York, DC, PA, and around the world--and each of our reactions are different, but I haven't yet met anyone for whom the events were not difficult.

 

I say this gently and with a great deal of support, from what you describe, I think you may be struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and getting some assistance from a therapist might really help you so that the sadness and the thoughts and guilt and the pain and the ghosts aren't with you daily. If you don't know much about PTSD, this link may be helpful: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/DS00246. As the article discusses, lots of people deal with and recover from PTSD. And being a witness to a traumatic event (such as a terrorist attack) can lead to PTSD.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
you are a survivor.

 

...

 

You are right, what you went through isn't the same as what someone went through who was in one of the towers. It doesn't have to be for what you experienced to be Valid, or to require tremendous grace.

 

 

 

I totally agree with the lines above. OP, I wish you peace and healing. I don't think that anyone will forget the events of September 11th, but I do believe that you can move to a place where it's not hurting you and haunting you daily.
 

 


hh2.gif Head over to the Holiday Helper forum and be a part of this wonderful Mothering tradition! joy.gif

Wondering about Mothering in general? Check out Mothering's User Agreement! smile.gif

HappyHappyMommy is offline  
#17 of 32 Old 02-05-2012, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
CatsCradle's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York City
Posts: 2,006
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyHappyMommy View Post

 

I say this gently and with a great deal of support, from what you describe, I think you may be struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and getting some assistance from a therapist might really help you so that the sadness and the thoughts and guilt and the pain and the ghosts aren't with you daily. If you don't know much about PTSD, this link may be helpful: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/DS00246. As the article discusses, lots of people deal with and recover from PTSD. And being a witness to a traumatic event (such as a terrorist attack) can lead to PTSD.

 


You don't have to say it gently, HappyHappyMommy, because I know intellectually that what you say about PTSD is probably true.  It is hard to admit that kind of thing because it is one of those psychological things that people can't quite grasp.  Which leads me to the following:

 

I think as Americans (and can probably include Canadians in the mix) that in our modern era, we've seen very little mass violence first-hand.  We "experience" wars from afar, we live relatively violence-free lives (except for the random psycho events that happen in very limited circumstances).  My grandparents and great grandparents only experienced the great wars in the respect that they had to cut back on goods or they knew someone from their town who lost life or limb.  We don't live it everyday, first hand.  Through my work, I'm assisting some Iraqi individuals in applying for refugee status to the U.S.  They send me e-mails every day talking about the violence and terror.  Even with my own experiences of that fateful day 10.5 years ago, I still haven't grasped the concept of daily fear.  I don't know, I'm just insensitive and raw at the same time, if that is something that can be accomplished.  

 


"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
CatsCradle is offline  
#18 of 32 Old 02-07-2012, 04:43 PM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,676
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 67 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post


It is hard to admit that kind of thing because it is one of those psychological things that people can't quite grasp.  Which leads me to the following:

 

I think as Americans (and can probably include Canadians in the mix) that in our modern era, we've seen very little mass violence first-hand. .... Even with my own experiences of that fateful day 10.5 years ago, I still haven't grasped the concept of daily fear. 


 

You are still in denial.

 

I've seen lots of violence first hand -- I grew up with it. Lots of Americans do. I think by making your post about "americans"  you've completely gotten out of your OWN experience and what is going FOR YOU.


 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#19 of 32 Old 02-07-2012, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
CatsCradle's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York City
Posts: 2,006
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


 

You are still in denial.

 

I've seen lots of violence first hand -- I grew up with it. Lots of Americans do. I think by making your post about "americans"  you've completely gotten out of your OWN experience and what is going FOR YOU.


 

 


You've seen "mass" violence first hand?  Because that was my qualifier in my previous post.  I'm not trying to be snarky or dismissive but I don't think very many Americans have seen "mass violence" first hand.  You may have people who have seen shooting and the like where a number of people have died, but I'm trying to think of a situation post-Civil War where Americans have experienced mass violence on our own soil outside of situations like Kent State, Columbine, individuals going postal, etc.  

 

Violence exists in our every day lives and many people experience it more than others, in their homes or otherwise, but on a grand scale, but not many of us in contemporary times have experienced the total obliteration of large groups.  Violence is violence, but the point I was trying to make above is that the wiping out of people in an instant is not something that I have experienced in my lifetime, nor do I think that most Americans have experienced this, and while I think it is hard for any person anywhere to process, I don't think it is something in our national psyche because we've never been presented with it our modern times.  I guess I wasn't explaining myself well and perhaps thinking more in philosophical terms. I'll shut up because I guess I'm digging a hole.  Not trying to diminish others' experiences with pain and suffering because I more than recognize that it exists, just observing that violence on a large scale is not part of our daily existence.  

 

I'm sorry I posted this because I feel like by doing so, I may be diminishing others' experiences, which I recognize as real.

 


"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
CatsCradle is offline  
#20 of 32 Old 02-07-2012, 06:17 PM
 
Imakcerka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 4,071
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)


violence is violence in my opinion. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post


You've seen "mass" violence first hand?  Because that was my qualifier in my previous post.  I'm not trying to be snarky or dismissive but I don't think very many Americans have seen "mass violence" first hand.  You may have people who have seen shooting and the like where a number of people have died, but I'm trying to think of a situation post-Civil War where Americans have experienced mass violence on our own soil outside of situations like Kent State, Columbine, etc.  

 

Violence exists in our every day lives and many people experience it more than others, in their homes or otherwise, but on a grand scale, but not many of us in contemporary times have experienced the total obliteration of large groups.  Violence is violence, but the point I was trying to make above is that the wiping out of people in an instant is not something that I have experienced in my lifetime, nor do I think that most Americans have experienced this, and while I think it is hard for any person anywhere to process, I don't think it is something it is something in our national psyche because we've never been presented with it our modern times.  I guess I wasn't explaining myself well and perhaps thinking more in philosophical terms. I'll shut up because it doesn't effing matter.

 



 

Imakcerka is offline  
#21 of 32 Old 02-07-2012, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
CatsCradle's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York City
Posts: 2,006
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post


violence is violence in my opinion. 
 



 


Thanks.  See my edited post above.  I'm bowing out.

 


"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
CatsCradle is offline  
#22 of 32 Old 02-07-2012, 06:44 PM
 
Imakcerka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 4,071
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)


I don't think you need to bow out and I don't think you need to explain yourself.  Seeing what you saw is terrible.  People remember these kinds of things for life and they don't go away.  Each individual experience is valid, ugly and terrifying.  No one can ever say they can understand. 

 

Don't let anyone pick it apart.  Mass violence is terrible, any violence is terrible but trying to minimize someones experience is wrong.  I think that my have been done here.  There is no way you can shake what you feel.  People can say that you will somehow come to terms with it but until they themselves feel and see devastation... they just don't know.  Many of my sisters and brothers to include my own husband have seen things and been apart of things they can never get out of their minds.  No matter what kind of help the VA offers... the pain does not lessen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post


Thanks.  See my edited post above.  I'm bowing out.

 



 

Imakcerka is offline  
#23 of 32 Old 02-07-2012, 07:08 PM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,676
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 67 Post(s)


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post
 I don't think it is something in our national psyche because we've never been presented with it our modern times.  I guess I wasn't explaining myself well and perhaps thinking more in philosophical terms. I'll shut up because I guess I'm digging a hole.


 

I think you are thinking about it philosophical terms and strongly doubt that is going to help you make peace with it, especially as long as you define "the American psyche" (a group you really can't get out of) as unable to process violence, ever.

 

What happened on 9/11 was a scale completely unthinkable anywhere in the world the day before. Although it happened on US soil, people from all around the world died. It was the WORLD Trade Center.  It was an attack that was felt all over the globe and effected billions of people's sense of safety.

 

My DH grew up in Belfast N. Ireland during The Troubles, so if growing up with terrorism and violence *prepares* people somehow, then he should be. None the less, the scale of what happened shook him up. The scale of what happened is almost too much to comprehend.  Most people died on 9/11 that died in the entire history of The Troubles in Ireland.

 

So yes, I agree with you that it was unprecedented. But I think that is true on a world-wide level.

 

I disagree that living through violence better prepares people to cope with violence. These are horrific things to deal with. People do figure out how to have peace again, how to move forward.  The fact that "the American psyche" as you see it is unaccustomed to violence doesn't mean that you CANT move forward.

 

I highly recommend you find a therapist or support group. You can heal from this. But you'll have to stop making excuses first.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#24 of 32 Old 02-07-2012, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
CatsCradle's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York City
Posts: 2,006
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

I disagree that living through violence better prepares people to cope with violence. These are horrific things to deal with. People do figure out how to have peace again, how to move forward.  The fact that "the American psyche" as you see it is unaccustomed to violence doesn't mean that you CANT move forward.

 

I highly recommend you find a therapist or support group. You can heal from this. But you'll have to stop making excuses first.


I'm sorry, Linda, but there is a huge disconnect between what I'm trying to say and how you are interpreting it, and that in great part is due to my inability to say what I actually mean.  If I inferred that living through violence helps people better cope with violence, I apologize for that, as I wasn't thinking that at all and I truly regret that it could be interpreted as that.    

 

I'm thinking out loud and working through some of my thoughts.  If that is making excuses, then so be it.  I thought talking about it might deflect some of the issues, but my inability to articulate in a correct fashion is getting me into trouble.

 


"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
CatsCradle is offline  
#25 of 32 Old 02-08-2012, 12:59 PM
 
tiqa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 503
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I think saying that she's making excuses is unnecessarily harsh.  You might be trying to shock her into starting therapy, but I still think it's harsh.


I too have a lot of survivor's guilt to deal with - not through 9/11 but for other military-related things.  It's very hard when you're living with it every day.  Therapy might help but it won't erase it.  Talking about it helps as well - and yes, even if it's only online it can help.  I think it's a good step for you to be opening up.  I know it is difficult, but many people do understand and can relate.

 

(And fwiw I agree with violence = violence = violence.  "Scale" doesn't necessarily matter.  It's all relative.)

Imakcerka likes this.
tiqa is offline  
#26 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 08:48 PM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,676
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 67 Post(s)


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiqa View Post

I think saying that she's making excuses is unnecessarily harsh.  You might be trying to shock her into starting therapy, but I still think it's harsh.

 


I'm not trying to shock her into therapy, but rather trying to point that that a belief that it is impossible for any American to deal with violence and terrorism completes blocks the person with the belief from  recovering. It's an excuse to not do the real work necessary to live a complete life after surviving.

 

Every body get shit to deal with in life. Different people get different shit and trying to work out who's is worst is pointless.

 

1. Some people figure out how to move on. They have complete lives in spite of what happened. They learn to live in the moment they are in Right Now. (this is where I am)

 

2. Some people are able to take the evil that touched their lives and not just go on, but transfer it into something beautiful. They are the saints and angels among us.

 

3. Some people are so completely destroyed they go insane. (my sister)

 

4. Some people just wander around living a half life, which is where the OPer is right now. She might stay there for the rest of her life.

 

But she doesn't have to. She can have a full life and experience joy. It's possible. Being an American doesn't block that.

 

Her belief that being an American blocks that possibility, however, is very, very dangerous for her future.

 

What I was trying to say is that it also makes a good excuse to not do the difficult, painful, and terrifying work of looking at exactly what she went through and how she felt about it and how it still effecting her. That's hard to do. Very hard to do. Some people choose to live the rest of their life as a half-life instead of doing that work.

 

If you believe that there is no way for YOU to work through what happened, then why bother trying?

 

I have had evil touch my life. And I did work through my shit. It can be done.

 

A really wonderful book is "Man's Search for Meaning" by Frankle. It was written by a therapist who was also a concentration camp survivor.  That was another horrific experience on a scale that was unthinkable, that no one had the background to figure out how to move. Yet people did.

 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#27 of 32 Old 02-12-2012, 02:39 PM
 
Mama505's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 819
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

So, maybe her first step  to confronting her "shit", to moving on, was to post here.  Maybe this is the beginning for the OPer.  For me, empathy and advice do a lot to help move me in the direction I need for further growth and a more enriched life.  When I am confronted by someone (even if what they say is 100% true) I put up defenses and draw into myself.  Just sayin'.

Mama505 is offline  
#28 of 32 Old 02-12-2012, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
CatsCradle's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York City
Posts: 2,006
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


 


I'm not trying to shock her into therapy, but rather trying to point that that a belief that it is impossible for any American to deal with violence and terrorism completes blocks the person with the belief from  recovering. It's an excuse to not do the real work necessary to live a complete life after surviving.

 

 


I'm still trying to figure out where I said (or even implied) that it is impossible for any American to "deal with violence and terrorism [and] it completely blocks the person with the belief from recovering."  I've re-read my post that you are referring to several times, looking for possible alternate meanings.  I guess I can't see alternate meanings because at the same time (in that post) I was talking about my work with with Iraqi refugees who see people being blown up every day and it is a concept that I don't experience every day, and I can guarantee that none of my fellow commuters experience that fear every single day.  I didn't infer anywhere that it makes it impossible to recover.  I didn't infer anywhere that people don't experience violence in their lives elsewhere (I think I mentioned that in subsequent posts).  I agree that violence is violence, no matter what the situation.  I'm freaking sorry that I ever typed out my thoughts of "Americans" because obviously it was taken the wrong way and in my opinion, out of context.  

 

1.  I agree that violence is violence.

2.  I know that Americans everywhere experience violence on some level.

3.  I'm an a-hole for ever posting this post, because it diminishes others' experiences.

4.  I don't believe that being American blocks the opportunity to recover.  JHC...that post was is my only true regret.

5.  This is exactly why I don't post personal things here.  

 

 


"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
CatsCradle is offline  
#29 of 32 Old 02-12-2012, 03:41 PM
 
jmarroq's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 303
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)

I didn't even live in NY any more, and I was depressed for the first time in my life after it happened. A few months later, I got up the courage to look up a list of the deceased and found the name of someone I dated briefly. It was a casual fling that only lasted a summer. He told me he wanted to be a cop or fireman one day. He actually knew what his fate was at that time, if you can believe it. He said that when he died, it was going to be something very big...and the whole world would be watching. Pretty freaky stuff. It's totally normal to be having issues with this. I got over my depression, if that is even what it was...but I have friends who were living in the city at that time who still have issues. One of my friends gets panic attacks when she tries to take a subway. She has to stay above ground now. I would talk to a counselor about it if you can.

jmarroq is offline  
#30 of 32 Old 02-12-2012, 03:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
CatsCradle's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York City
Posts: 2,006
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

And Linda, I like you a lot and appreciate all your thoughts on MDC, but if I'm sounding defensive it is because I think you have taken this to a subject that isn't even on my radar.  One of the reasons I posted was to start talking about something that I've been silent on for a very long time.  In doing so, I didn't want to deny others of their own feelings or to make this about blame or excuses or whatever.  I know myself and why I feel the way I do.  I just need to release it.  I need to tell others how I feel.  I'm not so dumb that I think that others don't have these feelings (in whatever capacity) and I know that talking is part of healing.  I'm sorry if I offended anyone.


"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
CatsCradle is offline  
Reply

Tags
Personal Growth

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off