This article is not for the faint of heart, but is extremely interesting and educational in showing how one tragic event can change the trajectory of a whole life, sometimes bad but occasionally for the better.
1. FEAR OF THE DARK
About 16 years ago, a friend and I were out to get some junk food and encountered a few people demanding our wallets or else. We handed the wallets over, but they decided we didn’t have enough. They pulled out their knives and stabbed us. To this day, if I’m in public, I can’t be in the dark. If I’m in my (locked) car, or a hotel room, I’m somewhat OK, but extremely on edge.
2. FAMILY ISSUES
All in all, my brother tried to kill me three times. I haven’t gotten over it, and I probably never will. The memories never fade, but the burning hatred might. It has changed my life somewhat. I’ve grown resentful and angry, mostly because no one seems to be able to understand what I went through. “But he’s your brother! You’re family!” Not any more. It has caused me to re-define what family is. Family isn’t genetics; it’s the people you care about – not the ones trying to strangle you to death.
3. CHANGING LIFE PATH
I was held up with a gun to my head for over an hour. It’s been 2 years and I still freeze in fear at the thought of it. To the man who made me re-evaluate life and death, fuck you and thank you. You are the reason I can’t sleep at night, yet you are also the reason I’ve decided to major in traumatology and grievance counseling.
4. PTSD SYMPTOMS
It really affected me for a while but I got over it, for the most part, eventually. I was really angry for a long time about the whole situation. I felt like I couldn’t trust anyone and was paranoid in public. I always carried a weapon after that. Years later, I realized I had symptoms of PTSD. I had always thought that was only something soldiers get. On the bright side, it gave me a better perspective on my own, and others mortality.
5. CHANGING LIFE CIRCUMSTANCES
My father tried to kill me when I was a kid and about 15 years later I was robbed at gunpoint twice, working as a manager of a retail store. I’m hyper vigilant and paranoid of most strangers when I’m by myself but otherwise incredibly grateful to be alive. I don’t ever put myself in compromising situations and I rarely take any type of risks. I think the biggest impact it had was it motivated me to get out of the ghetto situations my family was used to and I was probably destined for. I put myself through college after that and now I’d consider myself middle class and invisible, no longer a target.
6. RUINS FRIENDSHIPS
A friend tried to kill me with a knife. He did this because I got with a girl he liked. I haven’t gotten over it. To this day I have trouble trusting people in my home, and trouble falling asleep in any setting that isn’t my own bed, where I feel safe. This, along with other things, has attributed to some horrible PTSD.
7. PHYSICAL TICS
I don’t let anyone touch my neck. I get really panicked if a shirt is a bit tight around the neck, or a necklace. It’s been almost 15 years, and it took a long time to trust men again. I did get over the anger, the “why me” sorrow, but it sticks with you and freaks you out at strange moments.
8. RECURRING FLASHBACKS
Realistically speaking, I’ve never gotten over it. It’s what I’m on disability for. Although to be frank, it wasn’t the murder attempt that scarred me for life. It was the fact that, because my would-be killers and the adults who put them up to it were popular, school officials took their side over mine, and told me that if I did call the cops, they’d testify for the killers that I was a liar and not to be believed. That was 40 years ago, and callous bureaucrats give me flashbacks and/or panic attacks to this day. Any time I have to have an interaction with a bank officer, or an insurance claims adjuster, or a revenue official, or a human resources clerk, or any other petty bureaucrat? And I can tell that there’s nothing stopping them from giving me what I need, genuinely need, other than that they just don’t want to or because they don’t like me? It costs me at least one day in bed semi-comatose, if it doesn’t put me in the hospital, because it’s that day all over again.
9. AFFECTING DAILY ROUTINE
What has affected me more and what I remember more vividly are the endless nights that I sat at the top of the stairs with a knife in my hand, waiting, instead of sleeping or doing my homework because of my fear that he’d be coming back.
But today, I feel like that was someone else’s life. When I replay it in my head, it’s like a movie about some teenage girl, not me. I moved abroad, happily married an amazing dude, and my life is pretty normal. Plus, I consider myself a fairly perceptive person now and a good judge of character. I can usually figure out rather quickly whether or not someone has ill intentions. I spent most of my childhood on edge and desperately reading the body language and faces of people around me because I was constantly surrounded by volatile people.
10. NEW PERSPECTIVE
I am not a victim, I am a survivor, and my children have one of the toughest fathers in the world – someone who knows the absolutes of right from wrong, and someone who will give his life to prevent what happened to me, from happening to them.