Category Archives: Violence

Got A Knife

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Got A Knife

 

I can feel my pulse quicken in fear just thinking about him again. But I’m getting ahead of my story. A true story.

 

It was the week of Thanksgiving, and the mood of the staff I supervised was a bit more lively. It was the PM shift—the 3:00-11:30 pm in what is called the Psych ER of a behavioral health hospital. The staff in our adjacent registration department were in good spirits, too. My son, Bret, worked there after classes at Lake Forest College. He and his co-worker Beth (not her real name) were anticipating the four-day weekend.

 

There was a steady flow that night of people seeking assessments for substance abuse, hospitaldepression, anxiety, psychosis, eating disorders—all areas of mental health and substance use. The outcome of the assessment determined what treatment would be recommended.

 

Later in the evening, an older couple brought their adult son in for an assessment. I’ll call him Joe. He was friendly and responsive, but Joe also was depressed and had some delusional thoughts. These thoughts interfered in his ability to care for himself. So Joe and his parent’s agreed when the psychiatrist recommended an inpatient stay for a few days to stabilize his mood. Joe’s parent’s decided not to wait for the sign-in process and they said their goodbyes until visiting hours the next day.

 

Then, it happened.

 

I was in the hub of our department where all the clinicians and nurses complete their notes, speak with doctors, and so on. From the corner of my eye, I saw Beth running to me from the registration department, shouting something. Then I heard what she kept screaming over and over. I felt like I was under water and someone was yelling something very serious, but it was all a muffled echo. My brain tried to take it all in.

 

“He’s got a knife.” “He’s got a knife.” “He’s got a knife,” Beth yelled pointing to registration. I didn’t have to ask where Bret was. I started running.

 

knifeAs I turned the corner into registration, there was my son …MY SON …pinned against the wall …with a knife pressing on his neck. A KNIFE ON HIS NECK! Someone’s got a knife!

 

I was in charge and I tried to focus, but in one second my brain took in the entire traumatic scene and then warped my mind a mile backward at what felt like the speed of light. What is that called when the brain does that? Disassociation? Paralyzing Trauma?

 

No, no, NO, I thought to myself. Then I was back.

 

“Hey,” I yelled.

 

It was Joe. I startled him. He looked at me still pressing the knife on Bret’s neck. Joe explained he knew we were the FBI and our plan was to kill him. He wanted out.

 

“You want out?” I asked. Without waiting for an answer I said “I’ll let you out.” Joe looked at me and then at my son.

 

“Joe, you let him go and come over to me,” I pleaded, “and I’ll get you out of here. I promise.” I aged 20 years waiting for a reply. Joe slowly took the knife off Bret’s neck and walked over to me brandishing his knife back and forth in front of him, and in front of me. We were face-to-face.

 

“Okay Joe, let’s go. Just follow me.”

 

Joe remained behind me with his knife at my back. I unlocked the door to leave registration. I hospital2could see my staff going towards Bret as we left. I took Joe down the main hallway—the one he used to come in. This way he would know I was keeping my promise and taking him back to the main doors. When a mob of staff appeared to join the fight I waved them back. Yes, Joe should have gone upstairs to an inpatient unit, but how many would be hurt getting that knife.

 

I walked Joe through the main doors and we entered the lobby. I told the receptionist to let him go and Joe walked out our main entrance and into the night.

 

Returning to our department, my staff had already called 911 and the police were outside waiting. Bret was fine. Everyone was okay. We learned the police had Joe in custody.

 

My son, in his late 20s at the time, laughed off the whole experience. No big deal for him. I, on the other hand, needed therapy for months after this event. Symptoms of Traumatic Stress plagued me. Even now, today, I close my eyes and see the image of my son being pinned against the wall with a knife at his throat. It’s been almost ten years but feels like last night. Thank God it’s all in my head!

 

FullSizeRender (6)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

How To Hate

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How To Hate

Only a person with self-contempt can contemplate murder. Self-worth and self-respect can’t co-exist with hatred. But organized hatred helps give new meaning to the lives of those who feel marginalized. That’s how to hate.

In 1915, D.W. Griffith used the technology of motion pictures to make Birth of a Nation, a film prejudicethat portrayed African-Americans as stupid, lazy and inferior, and glorified the Ku Klux Klan for standing up for the rights of the white supremacy majority. It was so effective in fostering hate against blacks that even Griffith himself was said to have been shocked.

One hundred years later, in Charleston, South Carolina, Dylann Roof walked into a Bible study on Wednesday evening, June 17th with a mindset of how to hate. His reason for attending was to shoot and kill everyone there. For an hour, Roof sat with the group and participated in their discussions about Scripture. Later, Roof told police he almost aborted his plan to kill the group because they were so welcoming and kind to him.

Michael Daly of The Daily Beast wrote:

But that would have meant giving up the hate that filled the hollowness of being born of a fleeting reunion between his parents three years after their divorce and of getting no further in high school than the ninth grade, but wearing a jacket with an “Academic All Stars” patch rightfully worn only by seniors in the top 10 percent. 

He had compensated for that false claim by sewing two other patches on the jacket, flags of apartheid-era Rhodesia and South Africa, symbols for those seeking another kind of supposed supremacy. 

And his older sister, Amber, was to be married on Sunday. To have just left the Emanuel A.M.E. Church on Wednesday night would have meant going to the wedding at the end of the week as a rank loser from a fractured family who could rightly declare himself supreme in nothing at all.

Even so, Roof seems to have understood in his moments of indecision that these warmly devout people of the Bible study group were putting the lie to his racism. He may have sensed that the faith filling their lives might also fill his own.

After an hour, just as he was apparently losing his resolve and his hate was slipping away, Roof seized it anew. He allegedly produced the Glock .45 automatic that he is reported to have purchased with birthday money from his father.

That was when Tywanza Sanders is said to have told him, “You don’t have to do this.”

Roof is said to have replied as if he were also trying to convince himself. He was not some loser. He was a champion of the white race about to start a race war.

“I have to do it,” he reportedly cried out.

His next words were the language of white supremacists. “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”

Hate is a painful state of being because the mind is not intended to hate. Everybody is born with an inner purpose—to love ourselves and to love others.

IMG_2247It is not only our hatred of others that is dangerous but also and above all our hatred of ourselves: particularly that hatred of ourselves which is too deep and too powerful to be consciously faced. For it is this which makes us see our own evil in others and unable to see it in ourselves, wrote Catholic Monk Thomas Merton in New Seeds of Contemplation.

A zero self-worth is a developed misery. It’s miserable because it’s painful and unnatural to hate one’s self—it goes against our very nature. Our core disposition is to love, not despise; to include, not shut out; to embrace, not isolate.

When we as a society stop the hate, end the prejudice, and embrace all human beings of all ages with dignity and respect they’re entitled to, then maybe the violence will end. When we encourage and support one another, then the inner flames of self-worth are not extinguished.

FullSizeRender (6)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

Racial Murders in America

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Racial Murders in America

I am not a politician.

I don’t understand all the finite workings of government in our Congress and Senate.

But I AM AN AMERICAN.

I am an American who is burdened by the racial murders and hate that grows more rampant in our city streets, and our neighborhoods.

I feel deeply moved and impelled to apologize to the African American people of this country.

I realize in the big picture, my apology won’t really matter and it won’t heal the many emotional wounds, but I am so sorry for the hater’s, and the ignorant, and the arrogant individuals of my race. Like the shooter, I am white. And because I’m white I feel disgraced today, and a sense of responsibility to speak up about the hate in our country.

Prejudice and hate are taught. No child is born with prejudice. It starts in the home. Kids, little kids, are learning that people are bad who don’t look like them. They hear adults make spiteful remarks. Kids listening and watching and mimicking. Shame on you parents who raise your children to hate other people of the HUMAN race. Shame on you! There is no superior race. There is only a human race.

How can the American people not realize this pattern of shootings and murders and terrorism must stop, NOW. Or I fear for all of us living in America.

It’s WE THE PEOPLE. I am THE PEOPLE. You are THE PEOPLE. WE THE PEOPLE decide who to place in Washington. WE, as a country, need to face the stark reality that these shootings will not end unless we end the hate. Why hate? What’s the purpose, the goal? I already know what the outcome will be–more dying sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, wives and husbands.

Death. That’s the outcome. That’s the stark reality. Needless death.

My heart is grieving for the community and church members of the African-American Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

God help us all.

Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

 

Anger and Frustration: You’re Killing Me

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Anger and Frustration: You’re Killing Me – Dr. Sandy Nelson

So here’s the deal with anger.

Some family origins consider anger and frustration a language. That’s how they communicate. They shout, they sass with words. Even pep talks are amped up with sarcasm and yelling. Ever watch The Sopranos? Some people are untroubled by the use of anger when they interact. But I think they’re a small CAPUPVE5CARS043CCAOF72XDCA75Z6V9CADGWZF6CAOBVH8ICANMHFYZCATKRO9PCA9XJ8MACAUZ5MIOCA45A0SUCA0R2TBZCAN0OEEQCAZF83JVCAI62Q52CAQ6I7R1CAP6RTDMCAF1ZI92group.

If you’re erupting in anger and frustration with strangers or yelling critical wisecracks at people you claim to love, regardless of the reason, YOU NEED HELP. If you blame others for making you mad, YOU NEED HELP. If you use your anger and frustration to threaten or scare people, YOU NEED HELP.

Anger increases your risk of depression, alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders and other compulsive behavior. Workaholism and marital affairs are strongly associated with anger. Anger causes you to make mistakes and use poor judgment. It makes you a reactaholic—when other people push your buttons, you become a reactor. It’s connected to violence, crime, spouse and child abuse. Anger creates power struggles.

Steven Stosny, Ph.D., a Clinical Psychologist, a consultant in family violence and a noted expert witness in criminal and civil trials, says, You have a resentment problem if some subtle form of resentment that you may not even be aware of, makes you do something against your best interest, or keeps you from doing something that is in your best interest.

Dr. Stosny offers an Anger Test and a Resentment Test to determine a current status with both. Are you ready?

ANGER TEST: Check each of the following that you experienced the past week.
____ Lost temper easily.
____ Got angry.
____ Got annoyed.
____ Felt rage.
____ Was impatient.
____ Felt restless.
____ Wondered why people can’t do what they should?
____ Got hot-tempered.
____ Had trouble sleeping.
____ Felt hostile.
____ Became infuriated.
____ Could not relax.
____ Became enraged.
____ Felt irritated by other people.
____ Felt like attacking people.
____ Was shaking with anger
____ Thought that if people would cooperate, you wouldn’t have these problems.
____ Got mad.

RESENTMENT TEST: Check all that apply. Do you ever feel . . .
____ Taken advantage of?
____ Manipulated?
____ Like whatever you do isn’t enough?
____ Unappreciated?
____ Like all you get from loved ones is a few crumbs now and then?
____ Like nobody understands you?
____ Like people rarely consider your feelings?
____ That you give more than you get?
____ Like hardly anything works the way it should?
____ That people hold you to a higher standard?
____ That you work harder than others for the same reward?
____ “Why should I be the only one who bothers?”
____ That you sometimes feel like nothing matters anyway?
____ “All I’ve done for them and look what . . .”
____ That you’d like to get back at those jerks?
____ That you can’t get over how unfair it is?

If you found yourself checking three or more statements as true for you in the Anger Test, Dr. Stosny would address you as having an anger problem. If you checked three or more as being true for you in the Resentment Test, Dr. Stosny suggests that you have a problem with resentment.

IMG_0222Some people view anger as power. A person who lacks self-worth, often demonstrates anger as a way to display power. To compensate for inferiority, insecure people use anger to show power. We can see this in bullies and batterers.

Now, if you can admit that maybe, just maybe, you might have a few issues in handling anger a better way, I have a FREE guaranteed way to chill frustration and anger, in 15 minutes, right now, privately. Just click HERE. Please.

FullSizeRender (8)Think about it.
drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Use Of Anger To Get Your Way – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Some people use anger to get their way. Do you know someone like that?

They adopt anger for power. They mistakenly blame others for their own weaknesses, choices, or situations. In anger they justify hurting others to boost their deflated ego—to conceal their own fear and inadequacy.

Any situation that frustrates us, especially when we think someone else is to IMG_0508 - Copyblame for it, is a trigger for anger, resentment, and aggression. But detonating anger, and acting with violence, does not set one thing straight. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Reacting in anger destroys relationships—we lose cooperation, we lose integrity, we lose respect and we lose loved ones.

Anger that’s expressed reactively murders. It kills happiness, peace, trust, love, success, and dreams. It shortens life. People who can’t keep their temper under control and who tend to explode in anger double their risk of a heart attack.

How anger and resentment from disappointments, frustrations, and setbacks are handled influences not only our character, but also our physical and emotional health. While anger can be justified, exploding in anger is NEVER condoned.

whoaToday, if you’re about to lose your temper, remember it’s more than your cool that you will be losing. You will be losing not only the respect and regard of others, but also put your health in danger. If you want to be a leader in your company, in your family and in your community, you will need to manage your anger, and use self-control—refuse to blow up.

Learn to express anger calmly, showing regard for the people in the room. They will be more apt to listen and respect you for it. And you will be more on target to get what you want.

Think about it.FullSizeRender (8)

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

5 Ways To Be Rejected – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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5 Ways To Be Rejected – Dr. Sandy Nelson

1. Think only of yourself

If you’re looking to be rejected among pals, co-workers, and even as a romanticme1 partner, make everything all about you. Be sure to make it obvious you have no interest in conversating about stuff that doesn’t involve yourself. Do that, and the goal to be excluded will be only moments away.

Healthy relationships require a mutual genuine caring for and interest in another person. As the saying goes There’s no “I” in Team.

 

2. Don’t compromise

Compromise? Don’t be silly. You want things your way. There’s no meeting half-way for you. All plans voiced by others are iffy until approved by what works best for you. Refuse to have any consideration for the needs or preferences of those around you and soon enough you’ll be left in the cold.

Making concessions with others is only necessary when you value a relationship and want to be a decent human being.

 

3. Act like a Know-It-All

You think you know everything. In fact, it’s a dumb idea for others to question knowyour authority on everything. The words: I don’t know never come out of your mouth. You’re a chatter box on thee way to do all things on earth and you’re happy to be the interrupty of conversations to point that out. So it should come as a no-brainer when you’re kicked to the curb because no one likes a Know-It-All.

I repeat, no one likes a Know-It-All.

 

4. Be dishonest

Here’s a good idea: make yourself look good using lies. Tell tall stories that inflate who you are, what you do, and who you know. In conversations expand on your fake talents and gifts to the world. Makes promises you have no intention of keeping. Forget having any relationships because that would require the real you, who even you don’t know anymore. When you dodge the truth, c’mon people know you’re lying, and those people will dodge you.

Real relationships require real people.

 

5. Practice prejudice

Acceptance is a word thrown around, but rarely considered by you in chats prejudice1about other people. No way. Suspicion is what you preach when talking about cultures and races different than your own. You denounce any way of living that doesn’t meet your authoritative standards. Judging and condemning people by the color of their skin is the least you can do. Your ignorance leads you to perceive that you possess supreme superiority. Rejection will be a cakewalk.

Here are two human enlightenment’s: 1. There is a God.  2. We are not him.

 

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

 

 

 

 

Can self-worth and self-respect co-exist with hatred?

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In Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing, UK educator A. S. Neill wrote All hate is self-hate. Neill felt that teenagers turned to self-hate and internal hostility when they were denied an outlet for their expression in the adult systems of emotional regulation.

Soon after the Columbine High School shootings, I watched a program that focused on possible explanations that could account for 13 murders by two teenage boys on April 20, 1999. There was discussion about what could have prevented Eric and Dylan from shooting 12 students and one teacher. Gun-control, banishing bullying, and teaching tolerance were all valuable conclusions.

IMG_2044However, I see those explanations as useless without imprinting kids with the significance of self-worth. You see, only a person who hates himself can hate another person. Only a person with self-contempt can contemplate murder. Self-worth and self-respect can’t co-exist with hatred. The horror of additional shooting events since 1999 that involve schools, children and young adults have stunned our minds with shock of disbelief. How does this keep happening?

It is not only our hatred of others that is dangerous but also and above all our hatred of ourselves: particularly that hatred of ourselves which is too deep and too powerful to be consciously faced. For it is this which makes us see our own evil in others and unable to see it in ourselves, wrote Catholic Monk Thomas Merton in New Seeds of Contemplation.

Hate is a painful state of being because the mind is not intended to hate. Everybody is born with an inner purpose—to love ourselves and to love others. When this inborn flame of self-love becomes diminished during childhood, it has a devastating impact on the person as an adolescent and as an adult.

If we don’t see ourselves as a uniquely special, God-created individuals with many talents, abilities, and gifts, then a lack of self-worth can easily exist in theIMG_1747 mind along with a constant state of uncertainty and fear. In uncertainty there’s no rest, no peace—we must stay alert for possible prejudice, rejection and disapproval from others. We want to believe that we have something to offer the world, but we focus on a few people that say we’re pond scum—and we believe it! This incorrect feeling of being flawed adds fuel to the resentment and loathing we feel towards those who persistently criticize and bully us. We don’t fit in. We’re kept outside the circle of popularity. We’re judged and condemned. This opens the door to a budding mental illness where moral standards of right and wrong can become blurred.

A zero self-worth is a developed misery. It’s miserable because it’s painful and unnatural to hate one’s self—it goes against our very nature. Our core disposition is to love, not despise; to include, not shut out; to embrace, not isolate.

When we as a society stop the hate, end the prejudice, and embrace all human beings of all ages with dignity and respect they’re entitled to, maybe violence will end. When we encourage and support one another, then the inner flames of self-worth are not extinguished.

Think about it. In caring, Dr. Sandy

 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com