In the wake of all the murders that have stirred up a lot of buzz recently in our city and country, many have posed the question: how does one become such a blood-thirsty monster? Although I am no expert in criminal psychology, nor do I know enough about each of those individuals to fully understand them, there are indeed moments when I feel as though I can understand where they are coming from because there was a time when I found myself in a very similar place.
The incident with the knife in the kitchen triggered a series of thoughts in my head. Even though I had no intentions of hurting anyone other than myself, I could not deny that I was slowly turning into a monster – a self-destructive one. It had become clear to me that something was awfully wrong about the way I was thinking, reacting and responding to the emotions I was feeling, and I knew it would only get worse.
It is often said that the first step to fixing a problem is acknowledging the fact that there is a problem. I had not fully identified what the problem was at that point, but the fact that I knew there was a problem I had to deal with meant I was taking a step in the right direction, and that encouraged me to seek out the true source of my inner torment. I knew that I had to dig much deeper within myself to understand what was going on. The question was, where would I start?
Around that time, I came across a book called “When the Body Says No: The Hidden Cost of Stress.” Initially, I was interested in this book simply because I was always stressed and thought it would be beneficial to learn more about it. Upon reading the book, I learned that stress is as much a physical condition as it is a psychological condition that affects people, and it is much more complicated than what it is widely known to be. The author, Dr. Gabor Maté, used many case studies throughout his book to show how stress is associated with a vast number of illnesses. The cases in the book also talked about how a person’s childhood greatly impacts a person’s life and, in turn, how it affects the way a person responds to stress as an adult. It inspired me to review my own childhood, which slowly allowed me to realize where my misery was coming from. Perhaps the most important lesson of all was understanding that for every cause there would be an effect, and that everything we do today will affect how we are tomorrow.
Many years of neglect, fear, anger and repression created the monster inside me. It would be years later before I could realize that the only way to destroy that monster is by understanding, forgiving and healing.