Trigger Warning: Gun Violence, Domestic Violence, Trauma Responses
I couldn't stop shaking...
Have you ever been so cold that you literally could not stop yourself from shivering? Or been so traumatized that you found yourself shaking uncontrollably?
This was me just four days ago.
I was holding a staff meeting when my cell rang. The caller was someone who rarely reaches out with an unplanned phone call, and in my gut I felt something was wrong. Then, I heard the words, "Allyson, Lisa*'s husband shot her and their twin boys. They are all dead."
My body started shaking - almost convulsing - as the shock-waves overtook my system. I heard myself saying, "Oh my God," repeatedly.
Lisa was a woman who I adored and bonded with in a mutual coaching program we had completed just last year. I would later learn that the boys walked in on their dad just moments after he killed Lisa. He was standing there about to take his own life when the boys burst into action by attempting to take the gun away from their father. In the process, they both were shot several times and then their dad took his own life.
The boys did survive as Carl*, the oldest of the two, pulled his cell from his pocket and dialed 911. He spoke the address twice before losing consciousness. When the police arrived, they assumed all four were dead and that's what they told the grandparents when they called them. However, when the EMT's arrived, each boy had a pulse and both were rushed into surgery. They are expected to make a full recovery.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because look around the United States, hell - the world for that matter. Boys are not taught emotional intelligence. Okay, maybe not all boys, but the majority of boys are NOT taught to feel their feelings. And those boys grow into men who are trying to balance their jobs, families, and hobbies, all while not understanding their own emotional foundation. Do men have a lot of advantages that are not accessible to women? Absolutely they do. BUT - men are up against one hell of a battle when it comes to emotional intelligence and safety.
"Don't cry," is what most boys hear when they start to shed even a single tear. Meanwhile, girls are hugged, coddled, and soothed. Okay, not all girls, I get that, but look around our world. How many women are the shooters in these mass attacks? How many women do you hear about shooting their children and husbands?
I have EMPATHY for men! This isn't about blame or hatred. This is about awareness that something needs to be done. Yes, we need better gun laws, but we also need to normalize better education for boys and men on emotions and HOW to handle them.
Boys and men need to be taught the truth about developing emotional intelligence, and that is exhibiting emotional intelligence makes for better friendships, business partnerships, and intimate relationships. It is very sexy to be in touch with your emotions in a healthy way.
You cannot walk around pissed off your entire life and build a strong foundation for yourself. It's impossible to not have negative thoughts - even very dark ones - when you're walking around with a broken heart, or low self-esteem, combined with a jacked up nervous system.
It's all going to come to a breaking point eventually. It's inevitable.
Is love the answer? Yes, but that love is SELF-LOVE! Does it help to be loved when you're emotionally broken? Absolutely. Here's the thing, though. Lisa loved her husband. She loved him more than he deserved, quite frankly, because their boys are now revealing from their hospital beds SEVENTEEN YEARS of abuse that all four of them hid away hoping that dad would somehow magically get better. They even hoped that once they were out of the house that maybe, just maybe, their parents would finally get along and that their dad would stop saying horrible things to their mom.
Unfortunately, a healed home was not in the cards for this family because of generational trauma, hidden shame and guilt, and a multitude of other factors that most likely would have been mitigated had the father figure in that home considered his own trauma and shortcomings. With therapy, empathetic and knowledgeable mental health counselors, and with the right love and support from peers, coaches, and family, all of this could have most likely been avoided and THAT is what left me uncontrollably shaking on the day I received that awful news.
Men, if you are reading this, please know that you are LOVED! Your pain is acknowledged and you are seen. The boundary is that you can't just keep hurting, taking your pain out on others, and expect those who love you to stick around.
Women, if you are reading this, please know that you are LOVED! The boundary is that you cannot pretend like everything is fine and pray that it will all magically go away.
Get help for the trauma that your past has caused you. If not with me, with someone else who is also properly trained, and makes you feel safe and valid.
You matter. It's time.
All my love and support,
*All names have been changed to respect the privacy of those involved in this horrific event.