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Warning Signs at Fort Hood and in Relationships

Posted Nov 07 2009 10:02pm

A psychiatrist goes postal. I’m not surprised. As a psychiatrist and a keen observer of the descent of our society over the past 40 years or so, it is clear to me that all things are possible.

People are capable of acting out their conflicts and aggressions in all sorts of spectacularly outrageous and deeply disturbed ways, which demonstrate a severe lack of insight as well as mind-boggling self-destructiveness.

These days, anybody has the capacity to go postal at any time. We might as well get used to it and not be surprised by it, because being surprised could be hazardous to our health.

Not being surprised means being aware of what’s going on around us. The more attention we pay to potential red flags popping up, the better chances we have to react effectively.

With the psychiatrist who perpetrated the Fort Hood massacre, there were warning signs which, perhaps, were sufficiently downplayed or ignored such that he didn’t get the kind of help that might have enabled him to avoid the actions he took.

There are warning signs everywhere, particularly in our relationships, and we don’t see them because we’ve got blinders on and we’re into denial, or we see them and ignore them with a variety of rationalizations.

The bottom line is we don’t address them. The warning signs come and go, and before we know it the relationship has reached critical mass and is near total meltdown and all the kings horses and all the kings men are unlikely to put the relationship back together again.

By ignoring warning signs, the resentments and antagonisms build to the point of no return, and what might have been salvaged if both people were paying attention, goes away painfully.

Take-home message: Forewarned is forearmed.

We can repair relationships that are failing. By developing effective communication skills, we can mediate disagreements while validating each other, and without diminishing ourselves.

So look for the warning signs. Have the courage to address them and maintain a calm mind while doing so, so as to be most effectively heard.

When we pay attention to the warning signs, we are choosing to be proactive and not a victim. By doing so, we are increasing our potential to steer our relationships and our lives in the most positive directions.

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